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Barstool College Hoops Mailbag: Hami Diallo's Struggles, Kevin Ollie, New Coaches and More

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Just another ho-hum week of college basketball in which there were plenty of upsets and crazy finishes. Been a pretty fun season, hope everyone joins in watching before March. That said, we won’t waste any time getting into the weekly mailbag questions. Reminder this goes up every Friday and you can submit your questions via Twitter.

It’s truly hard to pin point an exact weakness for Virginia this year simply because of how good they have looked. I’ve seen people tell me they wish Virginia had a true post scorer – and I get that – but I don’t put too much emphasis on this. I’ve said it numerous times, teams with a top point guard win at this level. Virginia has a top backcourt with Hall/Jerome/Guy. Jack Salt (who looks exactly like you’d think a Jack Salt would look like) isn’t going to go put up 20 points, but he also doesn’t have to. I guess the weakness for me is still the pace of play only because it can allow weaker teams to hang around simply due to less possessions. It’s not even really a true weakness, just more of a change I’d like to see then do. I’m not saying play at Oklahoma’s pace, but play a few possessions more a game. Make those seven point games where you dominate the half go to 15. This is truly an incredibly balanced team though.

I mean it’s just who he is as a player. I’m not reading anything into it. He’s not trying to ‘get his’ or worry about anything else. His mentality is to go get buckets, that’s what he attempts to do. Now, would you like to see him pass it more? Sure. But, he’s not wired that way. It gets him trouble, especially on breakaways where he can force a bad shot or commit a turnover by putting his head down and barreling into someone, but it also works for him. Plus, it’s not like he ‘never’ passes. He had the nice kickout to Knox late in the game against South Carolina that rimmed out that would have given Kentucky an 8 point lead late. Instead Nick Richards missed the dunk and the rest was history.

Should Kevin Ollie be fired? Yes. I’ve gone pretty in depth on my thoughts on that. The problem is the state is literally broke and can’t afford his buyout at the moment, so unless something drastic happens, it doesn’t seem that likely that he’ll be fired. I’ve listed my realistic replacements – it should be Steve Pikiell, Danny Hurley, John Becker and Tom Crean as my top-4. Those are the four they should try and target. UConn should be a destination job, even in the AAC. We’ve seen guys like Mick Cronin turn a job into that, even with the move from the Big East to the AAC. UConn is an established enough program that you should consider it as such. Now, the thing here is we’ve never seen a coaching search at UConn. So perhaps they take a younger guy and hope to keep him for a decade and let him decide from there. Perhaps he goes to one of the true blue bloods or builds UConn back to what it once was. The AAC will always be in a weird spot because 3/4 of the league are destination jobs while a couple can be considered destination jobs.

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I feel like the answer should just be yes, but it’s the NCAA which means likely not. This is a weird case simply because we haven’t heard much about it. It sounded originally like it would be a 9-game suspension but here we are and he still hasn’t been ruled eligible or ineligible. It’s a complete guess at this point whether he plays or not.

I get it. Michigan fans constantly talk about this and I understand why. John Beilein is one of the more underrated great coaches in America, but the fact is Izzo is a great coach. He’s one of the three best coaches in the game right now while Beilein is one of the 10 best. That’s not a slight, it’s a compliment to both guys about how damn good they are at this thing. I also don’t know how you can say Beilein has done more the last 5 years. In that time, Michigan has been ranked 50 or lower in KenPom twice, Michigan State’s lowest is 40. Both have made a Final Four. Izzo has also developed guys who aren’t 5-stars, see: Valentine, Denzel. Again, you’re talking about two of the 10-15 best coaches in America.

St. John’s got unlucky this year with the injury to Marcus LoVett. The Red Storm were a NCAA Tournament team with him and looked like one of the top-5 teams in the Big East during nonconference play. Then LoVett went down and St. John’s fell apart, that’s not a coincidence. So with that in mind, I’ll say I think Mullin can get this thing figured out as he seemed to do this year before the injury. UConn, I’m out on Ollie. I talked about him enough and everyone knows my thoughts on his offensive schemes and ability to develop players – or rather lack of ability to do so. So with that, I want to talk about Georgetown. I’m wildly impressed with Patrick Ewing and how hard he has Georgetown competing. I hated the hire when it happened. I thought the Hoyas needed to do anything possible to get out of the John Thompson tree but clearly understand why they didn’t/couldn’t. Ewing has provided something to make these kids go out and compete. They are winning games to comparable teams. They are competing teams that are slightly better than them and then getting blown out by great teams. That’s not a problem. I think you see Ewing really turn this thing around and Georgetown – assuming everyone stays – challenge for a NCAA Tournament bid next year.

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As long as St. Mary’s doesn’t get blown out by Gonzaga the next two times they play, they are fine. The Gaels have road wins over BYU and Gonzaga and a home win over New Mexico State (all top-55 teams on KenPom). They’ll have four more guaranteed chances at Tier A/B games on KenPom and if you go 3-1 in those you’ll be sitting with a record of 6-2 in those games which isn’t terrible for a team like St. Mary’s. The other thing is that win over Gonzaga keeps looking better with the success of Ohio State, Texas, Creighton and Florida (all teams Gonzaga beat). I would have St. Mary’s in right now, they just have to avoid the blowout.

This is an off year for the A-10. I don’t understand the freak out that this is how the A-10 is going to be going forward. Dayton, one of the cornerstone programs here, lost four starters who also happened to have the most wins in school history. The Flyers also lost a top-30 coach in America. VCU has a new coach and lost JeQuan Lewis and Mo Allie-Cox. UMass looks better. Duequesne looks better. Davidson has young talent. I’m not worried about the long term success of the A-10, it will be fine, especially if URI holds on to Danny Hurley and that recruiting class for next year. This is a conference that has had 3 programs in the NCAA Tournament every year since conference realignment.