Barstool Basketball Mailbag: Disappointing Teams, No. 1 Seeds, Dark Horse Title Contenders & 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 don't think it's necessarily the inconsistent shooting as much as it is lack of great guard play. Now, I want to say WVU is a damn good team. That's not a secret or anything. But to win in March you need great guards. Look at the title winners from the past decade: Jalen Brunson, Arch, Kemba, Shabazz, Marquis Teague, Peyton Siva, Quinn Cook, Ty Jerome, Tre Jones and Joel Berry. WVU doesn't have someone like that in the backcourt so I'm hesitant to call them a true national title contender. That's ultimately what it comes down to for me.
I'd probably vote Obi Toppin right now for POY - but it's a close race with him, Peyton Pritchard, Markus Howard and Myles Powell. Those 4 are locked in to All-American teams. As for the 1 seeds: Baylor, Kansas, San Diego State and Gonzaga. Think it's a pretty clear consensus right now who are the No. 1 seeds.
Gross. I'd prefer not to. But for the sake of answering the question I'd say Texas Tech, I guess. They all have massive flaws but Beard is the 2nd best coach out of all listed, just behind Tony Bennett. While Tech doesn't really have a point guard and struggles to defend at the rim, they still are a nasty defense and have guys that can score. I don't think they necessarily completely figure it out, but I trust them the most out of all the teams listed.
No. Go Cats.
Yes, I do think they are a legit contender. They have that star lead guard in Ayo. They have the two bigs in Big George and Cockburn. They have role players that fit their role. More importantly they understand their roles and realize they are good. That's been as large part of this run they are on more than anything else. Everyone bought in to what they are trying to do and accepted roles. Along with that a ton of credit goes to Brad Underwood, who completely changed his defense and its paying off. I do worry about playing two bigs as much as they do and wish they had a better stretch 4 option. But, with a guy like Ayo and the talent they have, they are a contender.
I don't think they do. They have a bunch of work to do to get there and they keep losing games late. That can't happen. Also, Quade Green isn't coming back early enough to help them out. They are 12-10 and just 2-7 in the Pac-12, even with the Pac-12 improved, it's not good enough to have that sort of record so far. Not to mention, they only have 1 quality win - Baylor early in the year. They only have 3 quad 1 games left right now too - at Arizona, home to Stanford and at USC. I'm not sure that's enough to get them on the right side of the bubble without complete chaos.
Locks: Nova, Seton Hall, Creighton and Butler
Likely in barring a mess: Marquette
Bubble: Georgetown, St. John's, Xavier and Providence
I think they get 1 bubble team in, so 6 teams are my guess. I think Xavier gets in. Don't ask me why I think that - I just trust Marshall/Goodin/Scruggs/Jones to figure it out at some point - plus they have 8 quad 1 games left. I also think the development of KyKy Tandy is huge here.
Taking out the obvious answers of Dayton, Gonzaga, etc. I'll go with UNC-Greensboro. They have a star young coach in Wes Miller. They have dudes like Isaiah Miller and James Dickey. I don't think a mid-major makes a run though. Maybe a couple win their first round game, but I'll be shocked if any are in the Sweet 16 - barring matchups of course.
Dayton can absolutely make a run. When you have an offense like they do where they run 5-out and have a star in Obi Toppin. Actually, not even just that. Toppin is so unique in his ability to shoot/handle the ball/initiate offense with his size makes a unique matchup. Now, I don't have them in my 7 teams that I'd take vs the field but they are right there.
So I did this the other day on a podcast. I was asked what 7 teams would you take vs the field. I'd go Baylor, Kansas, Gonzaga, Kentucky, Louisville, Seton Hall and Michigan State. Those are the teams I trust the most right now and think they have ceilings that can be national title contenders. That said - Oregon, Dayton, Villanova and Duke are right there for me in the next group.
Not all big time freshmen figure shit out right away. Isaiah Stewart has and will probably be an All-American. But Jaden McDaniels has been up and down. Simply put they turn it over a ton. We see that down the stretch all the time, but they are 310th in the country in turnover percentage. They also seem to panic in close games - refusing to get the ball to Stewart in the post and settling for jumpers instead.
I don't think they can get all the way to the Final Four. Actually, any team probably can, but I'd bet against it. Their guards are damn good and they are figuring it out. But, this is a team that really relies on shooting the ball and we've seen what happens when they get blown up or shots don't fall - look at Butler. I also don't trust their defense for 4 games in a row. It's better but not great.