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
Markus Howard, Myles Powell, Obi Toppin, Payton Pritchard, Jordan Nwora
Cassius Winston, Vernon Carey, Devon Dotson, Daniel Oturu, Jared Butler
I think most of those are pretty locked in so far. The first team was fairly easy for me to come up with, only debating Nwora in the last spot. The second team gets a bit tougher. I know people will say where is Luka Garza, and I'd have him 3rd team, but he's just so, so bad defensively that I can't put him over Carey or Oturu. Butler gets the last spot over Kamar Baldwin because of just how consistent Butler has been all year. When you're the best player on the best team, that matters.
So this is an interesting debate that Michigan fans are starting to get all pissy about. Juwan Howard's theory is to not double the post. It's from his NBA background and something he's sticking to his guns with. I get it, to a degree. You don't want to leave a guy cutting or a guy for an open three. The problem this year is the Big 10 has a bunch of awesome bigs and a lack of great PGs (Cassius obviousy. Zavier is really good but can't shoot, etc.). So this year, you actually want to double the post when you have all those bigs. Instead guys like Luka Garza is dropping 44 on Michigan. I get long term you want to stick to this plan, but this year especially you have to adjust.
Yeah, so here's the thing with a team like WVU. This year the better your defense is, the more 'legit' you are. Offense is just way down in college hoops this year, so unlike years past, it's more predicated on how good you can defend. WVU has gotten away from Press Virginia and instead arep laying halfcourt defense, still physical, but they are beating you up and challenging every shot with the two bigs they play. That's why they are legit.
I'd still slightly lean Butler, just because I trust what they can do defensively more. That said, there's a clear top tier in the Big East with Butler, Seton Hall and Villanova. All three teams can make a Final Four and I think you have 2 legit national title contenders right now with Nova starting to figure it out to get there.
There is a path because of how good the Big East is this year. You're getting a quality win with every win so that helps. Now the obvious glaring problem are those 4 losses to sub-100 teams and a sub-300 loss in there. It's obviously not going to be easy, but if they can get to 10 wins I think they have a legit chance to be there. The other key is going to be Texas getting wins so that nonconference win looks better.
Most years we're down to like 7-8 teams around this time of the year that are legit national title contenders. This year? Baylor, Kansas, Butler, Seton Hall, Duke, Louisville, Florida State, Auburn, Kentucky, Gonzaga, San Diego State, Michigan State, Dayton, West Virginia, Oregon, Arizona are all teams that I won't be shocked to see win. Just fucking insane.
Yeah, this is another weird one. They don't have any great wins - Wisconsin is fine. Arizona State/Nevada are whatever. They do have the win over BYU, which is massive. They probably need to go 2-1 vs Gonzaga/BYU in the regular season and beat BYU in the WCC Tournament to feel okay. If they lose to 2 more WCC teams then I think you can really worry. That nonconference just wasn't great.
Part of me wants to say Stanford, just because I think they are wildly undervalued. But I'll lean Oregon still. I know they have a shitty loss now to Washington State, but they already have a win over Arizona on the resume and went through the mountain trip (hardest back-to-back in college hoops) 1-1. If they beat Washington I love the Oregon pick even more. I'll throw Arizona in the race too, but think they finish 2nd or 3rd depending what happens with Stanford. Colorado could make a run if they win at Oregon.