We’re heading into the last month of the college basketball regular season. So, why not fire up a mailbag for old times sake.
There’s plenty of questions about every single team in college hoops this year. While there isn’t necessarily a great team, doesn’t mean there’s not going to be star power in the NCAA Tournament – even if Ben Simmons doesn’t make it. You have Buddy Hield and Kris Dunn, who can carry their teams to a Final Four alone.
So, let’s get right into the questions this week. As always you can send your questions to me on Twitter @barstoolreags
This is one of the more intriguing scenarios going forward. Has Indiana bounced back incredibly since the disaster that was the beginning of the season? Yes. Do I think Tom Crean is a good coach? No. He has impressed me this year though with his ability to adapt, especially with his practice schedule. Crean was notorious for long ass practices and shootarounds – somewhere between 2 and 3 hours a piece. He’s cut back on that, which has gone a long way in keeping his team loose and not hating him. There’s still a large part of the Indiana fan base that wants Crean gone and I can’t blame him. After looking like the perfect hire, from building that program back in 3 years, Crean has ultimately struggled to keep the program respectable. I would say Indiana needs to make a Sweet 16 and lose to a better team for the dogs to stay off of Crean.
I absolutely love this Dayton team. They have one of the 10-15 best coaches in the game and the best young coach in the game with Archie Miller. They have a ton of experience, with a run to the Elite Eight and winning two games last year in the NCAA Tournament. There’s plenty of depth and Dyshawn Pierre is a monster. I think Dayton wins the A-10 regular season and tournament, which will elevate them to a 4 seed. They currently have the 65th toughest schedule, which will help them a little bit. I’m currently working on a bracketology (expected to drop tomorrow) and have them as a 5 seed as we speak.
Yes, Keith Dambrot has turned Akron into a decent mid major program, but the true appreciation won’t come until he wins a NCAA Tournament game. That is always the breaking point for a mid major coach, especially one who is older. Dambrot is currently 57 years old, so he’s not going to draw the interest of big time programs like an Archie Miller or Bryce Drew. Dambrot has been at Akron since he left St. Vincent-St. Mary High School, where he coached LeBron. He’s compiled a 267-125 winning percentage, but has only made the NCAA Tournament 3 times. If he can win a game in this year’s NCAA Tournament, don’t be surprised for a bigger program to be calling him.
Right now the Atlantic-10 has three in for sure. There’s a legit chance they get four in if George Washington decides to win a game away from home. VCU and Dayton are locks for the NCAA Tournament with George Washington and St. Joe’s right on the bubble. Both have chances to pick up quality wins since they play each other and GWU has VCU twice while St. Joe’s has Dayton. With the bubble likely being a soft bubble, I’d say they only get three in, unless someone steals the automatic bid. The GWU losses to DePaul, St. Louis and Richmond will ultimately cost them in the end.
Right now it looks like a three-way race for the regular season title. Iowa and Indiana are both 9-1 while Maryland is a game back at 9-2. To me it will come down between Iowa and Maryland, who are the two best teams in the conference, but I’m giving the edge to Iowa by a small margin. I think Iowa is a better team, spare me the fact Maryland beat them at home. Iowa would win at Carver-Hawkeye and the line on a neutral court would be a pick em. On top of the one-game lead, Iowa has an easier stretch of games coming up. Despite having to go on the road, they get to play Ohio State, Illinois and Penn State for three of the five road games. Maryland still has to play Purdue twice, which could be a weird matchup for the Terps with the size of Purdue. Iowa gets Indiana twice and is a better matchup for the Hoosiers than Maryland – although that Yogi/Melo matchup is going to be wild AF. If I had to predict final records, I’ll go Iowa at 16-2, Maryland, 14-4, Indiana at 13-5.