Barstool Basketball Mailbag: Answers For All Your Sweet 16 Questions


As I said after the brackets were released, I plan on doing a mailbag for every round. So here we are 48 teams cut, 16 left. Let’s get right into it. 

It’s not necessarily how they pack the paint. It’s the fact they press and then pack. It’s a bit different than how UCF plays where it’s slower, get back and sit. I think it’s a bit of both though. The recipe to beat Duke is force them to shoot jumpers and make plays at the rim contested. Virginia Tech doesn’t have a Tacko Fall to put at the rim. I think you see them more try turn Duke over and get some easy points in transition than what UCF did.


I don’t know if any lose. I think in order of confidence I’d go: Virginia, Duke, UNC, Gonzaga. But, I have 0 confidence in anyone at this point. Or I should say I have 100 percent confidence in everyone.

I have no idea if PJ Washington is going to play. I think it’s dumb to say one way or another. I also have no problem if he doesn’t play. This is the debate we always have and I’m not going to blast the kid. He wants to be out there. He’s played through injury before. Now as if they can advance? Sure, they can advance. But, it’s a whole hell of a lot more difficult. Houston likes to double the post with both bigs. That’s where PJ is huge. He’s an excellent passer out of the post. He’s also a floor spacer with his ability to shoot threes this year.

Sure. We always see this happen. I mean Jordan Poole could up his stock. Tyler Herro could become a top-20 pick this year instead of next year. EJ Montgomery could up his stock with PJ Washington out. Nassir Little can lock in that top-5 pick. Naz Reid can continue to jump up boards. Tre Jones could settle in around the top-20 mark with a good run. Nickiell Alexander-Walker is a guy that could potentially go lottery to top-10. There are a ton here.


Yeah, I absolutely think FSU can win this game. They have the depth and size to bother Gonzaga. It’s ultimately going to end up coming down to can FSU take advantage of Gonzaga’s defense. That’s the one weakness that Gonzaga has. They are an average defensive rebounding team. FSU can take advantage there. I can’t wait to watch this game.

Yeah, this an interesting one. Because Texas Tech runs so many ball screens, especially with Culver that off the ball is just as important. Culver has gotten way better at being a playmaker out of the PnR set and you have two shooters in Moretti and Mooney who can also create for themselves. I’d probably put Simpson on Mooney to start. Mooney is a bit better at creating and I think you want to take him away more than Moretti.

Yeah, they absolutely can continue to make these runs as long as Chris Beard is there. I mean we’ve seen him develop players year after year. He’s hitting the transfer market and bringing guys in. He’s starting to recruit and get top-100 talent in now. You know they are always going to defend. You know someone is going to break out for Tech every year. As for Beard staying long term? I have no idea. I don’t know his personal goals. He may want to coach at Texas or a blueblood. He may be content just staying at Texas Tech.


Define slow down because Nick Ward isn’t stopping Zion. He doesn’t have the lateral speed to guard him on the perimeter. He’d have to really just sag in the paint while still not getting too low so Zion doesn’t have room to create. I don’t really love any of the MSU bigs matched up on Zion – not that there is a great matchup for him. But, you saw what UCF did. They put a smaller guy on him and let Tacko Fall clog the paint by ‘guarding’ Tre Jones. That’s what you need to attempt to do.

For me personally and rooting interests: Virginia Tech/LSU, Gonzaga/Texas Tech, Virginia/Purdue, Kentucky/Auburn

For me as a fan and what I think the best matchups are: Duke/LSU, Gonzaga/Texas Tech, Virginia/Tennessee, Kentucky/UNC

That’s the beauty of this Sweet 16. I don’t think we can have a bad Elite 8 on paper. Even if No. 12 seed Oregon wins, they are playing as well as anyone right now. They have big time talent in Louis King. Every Elite 8 possible matchup has an intriguing storyline.