It's no secret that college basketball is, well, bad this year. That's not a knock on the sport, it's going to happen from time to time with the fact that no one can stay longer than 4 years and you're going to have a drop in recruiting talent every once in a while. But what is it about this year? Let's get into it because everyone around the sport is talking about it right now.
In the video above they talk about different things that we mentioned along with transfers. I don't buy the transfer theory, simply because that's an easy out. Kids should have every right to transfer, especially if it's an up-transfer to better themselves for a pro contract or whatever. Does it take time for a transfer to get used to a new place to play? Absolutely, but it's not a main reason as to why college basketball stinks this year.
Then there's the theory of the 3pt line being pushed back to the international line. There's some truth here for a variety of reasons. 1) There just aren't great shooters this year. That's the major thing for me vs the theory of pushing it back. 2) It's disrupting spacing. Remember, the corner three is now closer to the out of bounds line and people are stepping OB way more. I go more with option number 1 because defenses are now just packing the paint and daring people to shoot making the spacing going away. It's also making for shitty offense and just bad basketball.
The main two reasons are correct. First, college hoops lost more people to pro basketball than ever before. That number is only going to go up because people are able to make a decent paycheck overseas and the growth of the two-way contract and G League is not a lie. Because of that you're losing guys that are going to take a jump as a junior or senior. Because of that you have to play a guy that should probably be a 7th man, as a starter and play 25 minutes or so. It's happening with every team in the country.
This is EXACTLY why the NCAA needs to let players make money off of their name, image and likeness. It's not going to keep guys like Zion or Ja around obviously. But some of those others who are going overseas or just trying to make money for their family? What if they could make $50,000 off of endorsements for a year? That's nothing to scoff at in your early 20s. Along with the fact that college sports is just a different animal than when the rules were put in place, this is just a way to keep talent around for another year.
The other major reason is not only the down year in terms of talent from the freshman class but where they ended up. Pretty much every other year we saw clumps of talent play together at Duke, Kentucky, Kansas, etc. This year? You have a couple good guys out at Washington. But other than that? No one really played with Cole Anthony at UNC. No one is playing with Anthony Edwards at Georgia. Memphis had a few guys but James Wiseman is obviously out of college hoops now. Duke and Kentucky got guys that are top-20 together, but this isn't a typical recruiting class for either team. The top end talent simply isn't there.
So who is good this year?
I'd say this - right now Duke, Kansas, Baylor, Gonzaga, San Diego State and Butler all are good. Dayton might be good - they past the eye test but the resume isn't necessarily there. Their offense is awesome though. Kentucky and Michigan State are starting to look more like the teams we thought they were in the preseason. I like Oregon and Auburn. Louisville might figure it out. Michigan is inconsistent. Ohio State doesn't have great top end talent but have been impressive. Just look at some of these title odds:
It's going to make for a crazy tournament. This has all the makings of the Final Four having like two 3 seeds, a 5 seed and a 7 seed there. But, that doesn't mean the season has been good. It's been bad basketball with a bunch of fun, crazy nights. That's going to happen with the way college hoops is set up but in terms of long term this is a fear. What if 100 people leave after this year instead of 87?
So yeah, don't tell me college basketball has been good this year. It's sucked. But it's been fun, there's a difference. The reasons why are laid out above.