Barstool Basketball Mailbag: Benching Star Players, What's Actually Wrong With Kentucky And Way More

Basketball is a year round sport, so due to that we’re going to do a year round mailbag. We’re still going to run this every Friday like we do during the season, but we’ll be talking about college hoops, transfers, NBA Draft, NBA and recruiting questions. That’s right you get an NBA and college hoops mailbag all rolled into one every Friday. Reminder you can always submit questions on Twitter @barstoolreags

I actually don't have a huge problem with this. Don't get me wrong, if you read me you know I am very pro-player in most cases. BUT, in this instance I don't have one problem with it. Brannen is a first-year coach and needs to get his personality in there and let the team know what's up. From all reports that I've heard the benching wasn't necessarily shocking and Cumberland is too good of a player for shit like this to happen. Plus, they played Alabama A&M so let's not act like he was suspended for a massive game. 

Yeah, this is a tough spot. Wake needs to pay Danny Manning something like $15 million if they let him go. That's not the easiest pill to swallow when looking for a new coach. But, one thing is clear is the Danny Manning experiment is not working at Wake. He had the one decent year of being a play-in team for the NCAA Tournament but then unexpectedly losing John Collins set them back again. I mean if they can get some help from boosters to pay off that $15 million (I believe the number) then yeah he has to go and you need to make the right hire. Maybe someone like Wes Miller at UNC-Greensboro would fit there. 

This is actually a difficult question. Let's look at who could possibly be the No. 1 team as the calendar turns. The options are: Duke, Louisville, Michigan State, UNC, Virginia, Kentucky, Kansas, Gonzaga, Maryland, Ohio State and Oregon. Some of these teams play each other with Ohio State/Kentucky in Vegas and Louisville/Kentucky in Rupp before the new year. Oregon and Gonzaga are in the Battle 4 Atlantis, Kansas/MSU in Maui. So this will all shake out. So I'm going to rule out Louisville because I think Kentucky gets them in Rupp and that's on December 28. Going to rule out Oregon, as much as I like them, that field for Battle 4 Atlantis is a brutal draw for them (open with Seton Hall, then gets Gonzaga). I actually think it'll be Michigan State. They'll have a win over Kansas in Maui. They'll have a home win over Duke too. 

Alright, a popular question so lets get into it. First things first, health is what's wrong. EJ Montgomery just got out of his boot. Immanuel Quickley missed the last game with a chest injury suffered in practice. Ashton Hagans has apparently been playing with a bum leg. They need to get healthy because Montgomery will then limit Nick Ricahrds/Nate Sestina from playing 30-35 minutes. They need to be playing 20-25 really. Second is outside shooting, something that should correct itself simply by a numbers game. This team is a great FT shooting team - especially Maxey and Quickley. Scouts will tell you that's the best thing to look at in order to help figure out if someone is just in a shooting slump or if they just suck at shooting. Quickley/Maxey won't keep shooting 27% from three. Johnny Juzang is a good shooter. Once that's fixed you're not playing 3 guys that aren't shooting threats so teams can't just clog the paint and take away drives from Hagans/Maxey. Finally, Keion Brooks/Khalil Whitney need to improve. They can play the 4 in college and be mismatches. With this team not being a great rebounding team, they are 2 guys that can crash the offensive glass. It will be fixed I'll say in mid-January like it typically is with a Calipari-coached team. 

So I like this Seton Hall team as Final Four good IF and only if Myles Powell is healthy and playing. Remember, we're expecting a team that played in the 7/10 game last year to take a jump while returning pretty much everyone. That typically doesn't happen. Now, the improvement of Gill is important but it all revolves around Myles Powell. What makes Seton Hall unique is how the pieces fit around Powell. It reminds me a bit (just a bit) of the Shabazz roster at UConn. You have the star, a decent next option and then roleplayers that each fit a piece. That's what Seton Hall has here. Again, I think they are Final Four type good as long as Powell stays healthy. 

Battle 4 Atlantis is by far the best field - UNC, Michigan, Iowa State, Gonzaga, Oregon, Seton Hall and Southern Miss. UNC has the easier path to the finals being in the top half of the bracket with Michigan, Iowa State and Southern Miss. But, this Oregon team is sneaky really, really good. I don't love their draw, but I'll pick them. Dana Altman is just such a damn good coach and the way this roster fits and an experienced point guard pay off here. Close wins over Seton Hall and Gonzaga to get to the finals.