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I Wasn't Able To Sleep After Watching Kentucky Basketball Die, So Here's A Take Orgy For College Hoops Teams Around The Country

Between watching Kentucky suffer death by a million paper cuts last night, general insomnia and having a kid I was up all night just thinking about college hoops. Specifically college hoops outside of Kentucky because they are making me miserable. So as a blogger I decided to write this blog. Quick takes for a bunch of different teams around the country, a take orgy if you will. Things I've discussed with people who also cover the sport, my own brain, my dog, basically anyone that will listen to me. This will be all over the place as I'm writing whatever popped into my brain. Let's get into it because God only knows where this blog will end up. 

Take the field vs Gonzaga and Baylor 

Are these the two best teams in the country? Without a doubt. But we've reached the point of the season where we are now doing these two vs the field. My answer is always take the field. If it was the NBA we could just go ahead and put these two teams in the finals because they aren't losing a best of 7 series. But that's the beauty of the NCAA Tournament. One game, you win or go home. It's beautiful and frustrating all at once because it's the worst way to determine the best team, best way to determine a champion. It's rare we see the best team win this thing because all it takes is a cold shooting night, some random team getting hot or a bad matchup. Yeah, I think there's a decent gap between these two teams and the rest of the country, but I'd still ride with the field. 

Corey Kispert should be right there with Luka for NPOY

Don't get me wrong Luka Garza has been awesome, but at the same time part of this is preseason hype. Everyone in the world had Luka as NPOY and rightfully so, he was the runner up last year. But we need to talk about what Corey Kispert is doing. He's been the best player on the best team. His ability to play the 3 or 4 for Gonzaga is what makes them so dangerous. Yeah, Suggs has more natural talent and the better prospect. But Kispert is putting up 21/5/2 while shooting 48% from three. Absurd numbers. It shouldn't be this Luka runaway, even if he's the favorite. 

Villanova needs Jeremiah Robinson-Earl to be the best player on the team and/or Justin Moore to take a jump to win a title

Villanova is weird to me. They keep winning games so it's tough to argue with them and they are a top-5 team in the country for me. But when talking about Nova winning 6 in a row, they need more from Justin Moore. He was everyone's pick as the breakout player this year and I actually thought he was going to lead the team in scoring. Instead he's basically the same player as last year, a little bit better defensively and shooting way worse. We know who Collin Gillespie is. He's a good player and would be the perfect 2nd best player on a national title team. If Moore can shoot 39% from three like he did last year instead of 30% the rest of his game plays well off of that. 

I'm still not convinced Iowa can win a title 

Am I stubborn? Yep. But I also have eyes. Iowa is arguably the best offense in the country. That matters. You can win some games that way. They can't defend anyone. They still rank 70th defensively and the last time we saw a team like that win the title was Duke in 2015. That took a historical turn defensively in the NCAA Tournament to win 6 games. Iowa doesn't have that in them. Their zone is still a bit of a mess and the rotations don't make sense. I also want to see more from them. Right now they are 12-2, great, obviously. But look at their schedule. Their best win is a home win over Purdue. They only have two KenPom top-25 wins and that's Purdue and Minnesota. They only have 4 KenPom top-50 wins - throw in 36 UNC and 39 Rutgers. We'll know more about them towards the end of the year when we see them against Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin. 

Mid-majors matter this year

As a bunch of power 6 teams struggle, mid-majors are taking advantage. There is a window this year for spots with Duke, UNC and Kentucky all likely missing the NCAA Tournament. Drake and Winthrop are undefeated and just keep winning games. St. Louis has been on pause, but should be the favorite to win the A-10. Boise State is on a ridiculous winning streak and has a star in Derrick Alston. BYU has figured shit out after looking a bit off to start the year. Loyola still has Cam Krutwig from the Final Four team. This is a year where we could see more mid-majors either get at-large bids or better seeds than normal. 

I can't fucking figure out the Pac-12

The moment it feels like we get a read on a team something happens. Colorado lost last night to Washington, typically that's not bad except Washington might be the worst power 6 team in the country. They are BAD. Oregon started to look good, got hit with a pause. UCLA is ranked but their game against Oregon was postponed. The winner of that would have likely gotten more national talk. Arizona has a self-ban on the postseason. USC is ranked 21st on KenPom but just lost to Oregon State and don't have a top-25 win. Arizona State was supposed to be the favorite to win this thing and they are 4-6 overall. 

Illinois needs to figure out its defense ... fast

Illinois is an enigma man. They have two stars in Ayo and Kofi. They have two key freshmen in Adam Miller and Andre Curbelo. They have a modern offense. They typically rotate Kofi and Giorgi and play 4-out, 1-in. But their defense is so hit or miss. Teams typically try to stretch Kofi if they can and play him off the floor. This is especially the case in the PnR. Illinois gets destroyed in PnR sets. The biggest problem for Illinois is they are missing Alan Griffin. They need that stretch 4 to play and think that would help. That's really the biggest thing missing from me saying this is for sure the best team in the Big 10. 

Teams that have been overrated this year

Kentucky, Duke, Clemson, Arizona State, Stanford, Tennessee, Michigan State

Teams that have been underrated this year

Alabama, St. Bonaventure, Xavier, Purdue, Florida State, Texas, Missouri

Yeah, I said Tennessee has been overrated

Tennessee has been pretty much a consensus top-10 team this year. They aren't that. The reason why? They rely on being the tougher of two teams. Yes, that matters and helps you get to that top-10 ranking, but the offense is a disaster and we've seen what happens when they don't have the intensity for a game. Florida kicked their ass by simply playing harder. You can defend Tennessee fairly easy and while they are a top-3 team in the SEC and a top-15/20 team in the country, they aren't this title contender that people thought when they were blowing out teams in December. 

The Big 12 has the most Final Four contenders

The Big 10 is better because they are deeper and teams not named Nebraska tend to be able to compete. But the Big 12 has more Final Four contenders. For me the Big 10 has Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin and Michigan as teams that can make a Final Four. The Big 12 has Texas, Kansas, West Virginia, Baylor and Texas Tech. If any of those teams make a Final Four I'm not going to bat an eye, even if I don't love Kansas this year. Shit, KenPom has Big 12 right on the Big 10's heels as the best conference rating. 

Here comes Virginia - with the help of a weak ACC

Virginia was a preseason top-10 team. Then they lost to San Francisco. Then they got their ass kicked by Gonzaga. Then luckily for them, the ACC came along. It's not a secret the ACC is kinda bad this year. They just have two KenPom top-25 teams. Virginia is now 5-0 in the ACC, kicked Clemson's ass by 35, swept Notre Dame and took care of business against BC and Wake. Is that going to shift what you think of them? Probably not. But the biggest thing is Tony Bennett scrapped a new offense he tried installing at the beginning of the year and is back to the blocker-mover offense. Also Bennett's teams tend to get better as the year goes on. That's what happened last year when they were a mediocre team and got hot right before the shut down. They are back to having a top-10 defense and more importantly being efficient offensively. They are shooting 38.5% from three as a team. They also now have established roles for guys like Trey Murphy, Tomas Woldetensae and Reece Breckman. It now seems like a two-team race in the ACC with Virginia and Florida State. 

There you have it. A handful of takes that popped into my brain overnight. I'm sure more will come up, people will disagree and want to talk about more. We'll do this every so often. Drop your take to me on Twitter.