I know this is typically the part of the blog where I explain Sharp Cheese and list what happened the day before. But I have to take a moment to talk about Maryland. This is ... bizarre. Look, they should have moved on from Turg this past offseason. Instead they signed him to a contract extension that didn't make any sort of sense. Now on December 3rd there's a 'mutual' agreement for him to step down. Here are some jumbled thoughts:
1. You can 100% do better than Turg. Maryland is a good job, even in the Big 10 where it makes less sense than this move. They have Under Armour, they have a good recruiting base, they have enough historical success.
2. Why now? This makes no sense.
3. I've thought about it and the three names that make the most sense are as follows. Note, this is just from my brain:
a. Sean Miller
b. Kevin Willard
c. Mike Brey
I know people will say other names - most notably Kim English, Juan Dixon, Rick Pitino, Nate Oats and Eric Musselman. Maybe even Ryan Odom pops up. First, it would make no sense for Oats or Muss to leave. They both have built monsters and are recruiting incredibly well. Pitino would be awesome but he has publicly stated he doesn't want to leave Iona for any other job. Age also a factor here. Dixon/English, both younger guys with ties to the area obviously Dixon being a star at Maryland. But English is in his first year as a head coach. Dixon has spent a few years at Coppin State and while it's nearly impossible to win there it's not like he's tearing it up.
As for the 3 names I listed. Sean Miller, sure people will bring up the FBI investigation but I remind you - Rick Pitino got hired, Will Wade is still coaching, Bill Self got a lifetime contract and Bruce Pearl is still coaching. He's not someone you can't hire. He flirted with the Maryland job in the past and we know what he can do. He can recruit his ass off. Remember he also made three straight Elite Eights. He was a couple shots away from having a Final Four on his resume and people not talking about how he didn't make one.
Kevin Willard, he has Under Armour connections with Seton Hall and can coach his ass off. He built Seton Hall back into a respectable program with a handful of NCAA Tournaments. He's a bit of an underrated recruiter and also player developer. Honestly, he's the first guy I'm going after if I'm Maryland.
Then there's Mike Brey. I know people will laugh about it, but he's been at Notre Dame forever. Yes, they've been bad lately but the question is if that's a Brey thing or just checked out. It happens. Age is a bit of a concern at 62 and starting new, but he has ties to Maryland. He coached at DeMatha and can build some recruiting ties there. That's one of the important things about Maryland. Navigating the AAU and high school pipelines.
Okay, onto today's bets.
As always - all the lines come from the Barstool Sportsbook. Download the app here.
2021-22 Season Record: 56-57-1
This is a HUGE game for St. John's. Obvious, I know. But they don't have any other quality nonconference games or chances for wins. They've looked bad since the Indiana game too. But here's the thing. Julian Champagine is a mismatch here. He's too big for the Kansas guards. Who do they put on him and really slow him down? Feel like he's due for a huge game in this sort of setting. I am worried about Kansas just torching the press because they don't turn the ball over. They have enough guys to handle the press and can really attack off of that.
Pick: St. John's +6.5
Alright two big names missing this game in Andre Curbelo from Illinois and Geo Baker for Rutgers. Both teams actually looked decent without them in the last game though. Kofi is a monster. No other way to put it. He just keeps getting his and draws all the attention from the defense. Rutgers does have hope here because they do have Cliff Omoruyi who can at least match him body wise and play him straight up. If he stays out of foul trouble and does a decent job to at least make Kofi work for his points, Rutgers should hang close enough. But I'm ready to start getting behind Illinois.
Pick: Illinois -8.5
113 points! That's so low. My hands are tied here. I'm taking another Virginia over. I think they can get some free points because Pitt turns the ball over ALL THE TIME. Just get to like 65 points and we have a chance at the over. I just can't see 113 and not want to take the over. Virginia also may have found something in Jayden Garder, the ECU transfer.
Pick: Over 113
I actually think Siena is a bit undervalued and it's not because of Clem. They got Andrew Platek in a few games ago and since then they beat Harvard and Army and lost in OT to Bucknell. Manhattan's offense is also awful. Just flat out terrible. That helps a Siena team that has struggled defensively a bit. The key is going to be if Jackson Stormo stays out of foul trouble.
Pick: Siena -3.5