Buy or Sell on General College Basketball Thoughts, Top-25

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So with this week – especially tonight – being a relatively weak slate I wanted to do something different for the blogs. I’ll be looking at different ways to talk about what’s been going on this season and where certain teams/players are instead of the game breakdowns and recaps. Today I’ll be doing it buy/sell style based on just general public thoughts. I took to Twitter to ask what people thought of certain teams/players/coaches and will use that as the basis. So we’ll get into it that way.

Buy or Sell: Buy

I’ve been on this train for quite some time and I’ve seen nothing to make me think otherwise. Michigan State is by far the best team in the Big 10 and the most talented team – usually a good combo to have. On top of that the Big 10 schedule is in their favor as they have Purdue just once at home, Minnesota just once and gets Rutgers, Indiana and Illinois twice – three of the 5 worst teams in the conference. With the unbalanced schedule that’s worth mentioning as we’ve seen teams take advantage of it despite not having the best team. Michigan State also has plenty of depth to where they can sustain a minor injury and not really miss a beat unless it’s Miles Bridges. I think they win the league by at least 2 games.

Buy or Sell: Buy 

I’m going to barely agree with this one here as Nova will be the No. 1 overall seed for two years in a row. The premise as to why? First, they just have to beat Temple, UConn and Hofstra to finish the nonconference undefeated, which is always the first step here. Second, they are the favorites to win the Big East and if past history tells us anything they ‘ll win the league by a couple of games. That helps when the Big East is the second best conference in America right now and they have chances to pick up quality wins over Xavier, Seton Hall and Creighton twice (all currently ranked). Finally, we’ve seen the committee respect Villanova as they were the No. 1 seed last year. While it’s not necessarily fair to judge year over year, it’s fair to look at how the committee tends to place teams and conferences. They have a respect for Nova. They are likely to enter conference play as the projected No. 1 overall seed and that should hold true.

Buy or Sell: Sell

I’m selling this for two reasons. First, the return of Mickey Mitchell isn’t making Arizona State a Final Four favorite. They are already a Final Four caliber team and he’s played sparingly in one game. The team does need some wing depth so it helps getting him on the roster, but this team will go as far as Evans/Holder take them. The other reason I’m selling this is Washington isn’t going to be a NCAA Tournament team. The conference will get 5 teams in but it will be Arizona, Arizona State, USC, UCLA and Oregon. I’m not sure where the Washington inclusion came from unless you’re just thinking of them beating Kansas. Outside of that win they have exactly 1 other top-200 win and losses to all quality teams. That’s not getting you into the NCAA Tournament.

Buy or Sell: Sell

Look, I love this Nova team and obviously think they are the best team in the country right now. But, there’s no chance they are undefeated heading into the conference tournament. That league is too good and the fact you play everyone home and away makes it way too tough to go undefeated. You’re talking about winning at Xavier, Seton Hall, Marquette, Creighton, Butler, Providence and St. John’s? Absolutely not. Two of those teams are top-12 teams in the country. Another team can go 20-for-25 from the 3-point line on any given night. Another one has a guard that can actually slow down Jalen Brunson. There will be no undefeated teams come conference tournament time across the country.

Buy or Sell: Sell

I talked about this with Rob Dauster from NBC Sports on his podcast last week. Trae Young is the most must-watch TV player we have this year. He’s been really good, but in order to be NPOY you have to be a title contender type team. When you look at previous NPOY winners McDermott and Jimmer are really the only two who won it while their teams weren’t considered true national title contenders – although both were top-4 seeds. I don’t think Oklahoma ends up being a top-4 seed, which means Young will be relegated to All-American and not NPOY. If I’m voting right now my top-5 NPOY would be: Marvin Bagley/Jalen Brunson/Trae Young/Trevon Bluiett/Tra Holder.

Buy or Sell: Sell 

I’m 100% out on Kevin Ollie and have been for some time based on stories I’ve been told by those who know a lot more about the program/state of the union than I do. First off, what’s his offensive scheme? He has absolutely no design for offense and it’s beyond atrocious to watch UConn try and go get a bucket. That has to develop at some point and Ollie is now in his 6th year. If it’s not coming around now, what makes you think in three years he’ll all of a sudden develop some sort of offensive scheme besides ‘Jalen, go get us points, please.’ The second thing is he’s been awful at developing players. There has been plenty of talent to come to UConn during his six years, but how many actually got better? Why couldn’t he turn someone into a consistent All-Conference or borderline All-American player? People will hold on to the national title he won, but a) it wasn’t his players and b) you don’t get too many Shabazz Napier’s coming around. If I’m UConn, I’m changing the scenery and finding someone outside of the Calhoun tree after this year.

Buy or Sell: Sell

I’m going to sell on this because that’s not the problem with this team at the moment. Young and Sexton both don’t help on defensive pick and rolls. Also they don’t help 3-point shooting from the wing, which is the other place Kentucky needs serious help. Quade Green has been fine, especially over the last few weeks shooting the ball. The Wildcats have a good point guard duo with him and Shai, but they need shooting on the wing or a stretch four. If they had that, they might be a top-3 team in the country, but this team just constantly feels more top-10/top-15 than top-3.

Buy or Sell: Both 

I’m going to buy the first half of the question here. Guy is currently averaging 17 per  game and while it’s tough to imagine a Virginia player averaging 20 a game, Guy is a good enough shooter and explosive enough to get there. I think he’ll end up averaging right at 20 next year as a junior as that team will take another year together, especially him and Jerome in the backcourt. Now, I’ll sell that they won’t make a Sweet 16 in the next three years because we’ve seen them get there before. Plus, I don’t buy into the need of having a big who can create his own offense. I’m way more concerned about having a point guard or wing who can go get their own, that’s just the way the game is going. Throw in the fact Virginia can defend and the NCAA Tournament is all based on matchups. They could easily get two teams who struggle against the pack line and jump them into the Sweet 16. Not to mention this team is made to score more than most Virginia teams in the past, especially against pressure.

Buy or Sell: Sell

I got asked quite a bit about this one and while I think TCU is good, I think they are 3rd in the Big 12 still. We find out shortly if Kansas will add depth to the frontcourt in the second semester, but we know for a fact they’ll get Sam Cunliffe, which adds another shooter and just more wing help. West Virginia still adds Esa Ahmad, which is a scoring threat, especially in the halfcourt which West Virginia needs. TCU is extremely well-coached and does have the experience to get wins over these teams, but in a conference where you play everyone home and away, I don’t see them getting enough sweeps to win the conference. I do think Kenrich Williams and Vladmir Broadziansky don’t get enough respect from a national level.

Buy or Sell: Buy

Yeah, the A-10 is way down this year. They are currently ranked 10th on KenPom in conference rankings, the lowest they’ve been in the last 10 years. You have to go back to the 2006-07 season to find the conference ranked lower. On top of that it feels more and more like a 1-bid league, although I think you see two get in. The return of Jaylen Adams to St. Bonaventure should help the Bonnies as they do have wins over Maryland and Yale so far with games against Vermont and Syracuse left. Outside of URI though – who should be a top-8 seed in the NCAA Tournament, who do you feel good about? VCU has one top-100 win and are sitting at 5-5 right now. That’s the 3rd best team in the conference. Davidson has 0 top-150 wins. St. Joe’s is battling injuries again this year with 1 top-100 win and 3 sub-150 losses. There’s just nothing about this conference outside of URI and Jaylen Adams that makes you feel like it’s a strong conference. Now, the conference should bounce back as URI has a nice recruiting class coming in, Anthony Grant and Mike Rhoades are good coaches who should get VCU/Dayton back to what we’re used to seeing.

Buy or Sell: Sell

They might have the best shooting backcourt, but no way do they have the best scoring backcourt. That goes to Arizona State right now with Tra Holder and Shannon Evans. Part of this question is also how do you define the backcourt, is it just two people or do you extend it to wings since that’s the way everyone is playing now? Like can you count Mikal Bridges for Nova because he’s a wing and DiVicenzo off the bench? Because that would be the best scoring backcourt with Brunson and Booth there too. Florida is another team who might have a better scoring backcourt with Chiozza, Allen and Hudson. Markus Howard and Andrew Rowsey are all sorts of fun to watch though.

Buy or Sell: Sell 

I was high on this Louisville team in the preseason but to say they put it together and be a top-16 team in the country is something I don’t see at the moment. Let’s not forget they still have Kentucky and then the loaded ACC, which could be a positive if they get wins there. But, where do you rank them in the ACC right now? I think they are like the sixth best team and the conference isn’t going to put 6 ACC teams in the top-16 seeds. There’s just going to be too many losses here. Now, I think they can make a Sweet 16, but they are just too inconsistent right now to make me feel like they’ll put it together during a deep ACC schedule.

Buy or Sell: Buy

Yeah, I’m buying my own tweet. Deal with it. But, this is something I was discussing yesterday with some people and the more I go back and look at Cincinnati’s schedule and past history with the committee the more it feels like that lost to Florida will end up hurting them. On top of that they got a little unlucky with UCLA dropping a game to Michigan it shouldn’t have and never getting to play Iowa in the Cayman Islands Classic. That nonconference schedule isn’t great and if they go 2-0 against Mississippi State (home) and UCLA (road) this week they’ll still only have 2 top-100 wins and 1 maybe top-50 win. Now, the AAC did get Wichita State this year, which helps to a degree, but Cincinnati needs to beat Wichita State in order for that to really help. Looking at the AAC schedule, Cinci does get Wichita twice, SMU twice and Temple twice. Those are six chances for top-50 wins as of right now and you have to 4-2 in those games. On top of that you really need to go 6-2 when looking at Mississippi State and UCLA as well. But as we saw last year the committee had Cincinnati and SMU as six seeds. If UC doesn’t win the AAC regular season or AAC Tournament it’s hard to imagine them getting above a 5 seed. It just goes to show you how thin the margin of error can be in some games for certain teams.

Top-25

1. Villanova (2)

2. Michigan State (3)

3. Duke (1)

4. Arizona State (15)

5. Xavier (16)

6. Texas A&M (5)

7. Miami (6)

8. Kentucky (12)

9. Wichita State (8)

10. Seton Hall (15)

11. TCU (19)

12. Gonzaga (25)

13.  West Virginia (20)

14. Florida State (NR)

15. Virginia (16)

16. UNC (18)

17. Kansas (4)

18. Notre Dame (10)

19. Creighton (22)

20. Texas Tech (23)

21. Florida (7)

22. Arkansas (NR)

23. Oklahoma (NR)

24. Purdue (NR)

25. Arizona (NR)