Welcome to Sports activities Illustrated’s weekly faculty hoops mailbag with Kevin Sweeney. Right here, Kevin will area questions submitted through Twitter and electronic mail about a wide range of subjects within the sport. Have a query you’d like answered in a future mailbag? Ship it to @CBB_Central on Twitter or [email protected] (questions round both males’s or ladies’s basketball are welcome!). With out additional ado, let’s get to your questions, which have been evenly edited for grammar and readability …
Tristan asks: Excluding Emoni Bates and Patrick Baldwin Jr., which wholesome five-star freshman has had probably the most disappointing begin to the season?
It is a robust one, as a result of it’s nonetheless early and every participant is in a really completely different context. That stated, I’ve been fairly underwhelmed by Peyton Watson’s affect (or lack thereof) on UCLA. Watson is an elite athlete who I believed could possibly be a recreation changer in a 20-ish minute per recreation function defensively, however his offensive struggles have made it onerous to get on the ground. Watson is taking pictures simply 30% from the ground and 10% from three, and he hasn’t made a area objective in any of his final 4 video games. The Bruins have actually missed massive man Cody Riley, however Watson failing to stay as much as the hype has additionally damage UCLA’s ceiling.
Just a few different names I haven’t been overly impressed by:
- Caleb Houstan at Michigan, who has didn’t make an affect besides as a spot-up shooter.
- Daimion Collins at Kentucky, who I truly suppose deserves extra minutes than he has gotten however barely bought off the bench in UK’s losses to Notre Dame and Duke.
- Hunter Sallis at Gonzaga, who has but to make a 3 this season and has been relegated to a bench function behind Rasir Bolton and Julian Strawther.
Brian asks: Which crew isn’t ranked now that you simply suppose will likely be at the top of the yr?
There are a number of good solutions for this one. My selection? Illinois. I noticed the Illini in individual final weekend towards Arizona, and I got here away extra impressed with them than I used to be to begin the day regardless of them dropping a good recreation to Arizona. This crew is much from a completed product but: Level guard Andre Curbelo has been out for the reason that season’s third week with a neck damage, and a lot of Illinois’s offense within the preseason was constructed round Curbelo taking part in in ball screens with massive man Kofi Cockburn. However veteran guards Trent Frazier and Alfonso Plummer have shot the ball at a particularly excessive stage to maintain the Illinois offense afloat in Curbelo’s absence. It could take a while to re-integrate Curbelo as soon as he’s wholesome given how distinctive a participant he’s, however by March I feel this Illinois crew will likely be extraordinarily harmful.
I additionally suppose Wisconsin and North Carolina are extremely more likely to wind up within the prime 25 by March.
Brad asks: Between DePaul, Marquette and Creighton, which crew is most definitely to make the boys’s NCAA match and the way most of the three (if any) make it?
I want I may wait till the weekend to reply this query since all three groups are set to get résumé-building alternatives on Friday or Saturday, however I sadly don’t have that luxurious.
Proper now, for those who requested me who the most effective crew of those three will likely be on March 1, I feel my selection could be Creighton. It is a younger group that’s loaded with expertise nonetheless studying to play the school recreation collectively. However primarily based on résumés thus far, Creighton doubtless has the worst probability of dancing. We don’t know but how properly the Bluejays’ impartial courtroom win over BYU will age, and the crew’s house loss to Arizona State may wind up being one thing of an eyesore. I’m not betting on this crew getting an at-large.
DePaul has the cleanest résumé thus far, with a pleasant street win towards Louisville and no dangerous losses. However as onerous because the Blue Demons are taking part in proper now, I’m simply unsure they will recover from the end line and be an at-large crew. My eyes inform me that is an NIT crew proper now, and I’m not shopping for it is going to end above .500 in Large East play and get in.
Marquette has the most effective résumé thus far, with a house win over Illinois, neutral-court victories over Ole Miss and West Virginia and a street win at Kansas State. It is going to be robust to beat on its house courtroom, and also you’d anticipate that its younger gamers (Justin Lewis, Tyler Kolek, Kam Jones and the like) will proceed to enhance into league play. I might wager on the Golden Eagles discovering their method into the sector.
So to reply the query, we’re going with considered one of three groups getting in, and proper now my choose is Marquette.
Ross asks: Is WKU’s ceiling with Jamarion Sharp larger than what it was with Charles Bassey?
There’s little question that the 7′ 5″ Sharp has modified the sport for Western Kentucky. To date this season, he has posted a 20.4% block fee when on the ground, which per KenPom could be the best mark by any participant in 15 years if he had been to take care of it for a complete season. He’s not a lot of an offensive participant but, however he’s taking pictures 70% from the sector thus far when he does catch it on the block.
On the query of crew ceiling, I do suppose the thought of surrounding one hawking shot blocker with numerous ball dealing with and taking pictures makes for a really intriguing (and hard-to-guard) offense. That stated, I nonetheless suppose for those who had been provided considered one of Sharp or Bassey, it’s important to take Bassey. The present Philadelphia 76er was an excellent shot-blocker (he ranked within the prime 15 nationally in block fee himself), however was additionally a really environment friendly offensive participant as a result of he was good within the low submit and made his free throws.
Now, if the argument is that WKU reached its ceiling below Bassey (since he’s such a high-usage participant) and that surrounding Sharp with higher guards may produce higher outcomes, I suppose I may perceive the case. I nonetheless would fairly take Bassey, however the truth that that is even a dialog says every part about how good Sharp has been for the Hilltoppers.
Rob asks: Who would win in a battle between 5 Kihei Clark-sized Zach Edey’s and two Zach Edey-sized Kihei Clark’s?
This query would possibly prime final week’s ‘coaches as Seinfeld characters’ one for better of the season, so thanks Rob. (For reference, Clark is Virginia’s 5′ 10″, 172-pound level guard, whereas Edey is Purdue’s 7′ 4″, 295-pound behemoth.)
I’m fairly assured the reply right here is 2 Zach Edey-sized Kihei Clarks. Clark is fast however extra importantly scrappy, and giving him the bodily instruments of Edey would make him fairly unstoppable. Edey’s a bit sluggish and really mild-mannered; I’m unsure he has the grit in him to win the battle even going five-on-two. Bear in mind, Edey has spent his total life being, I might think about, the most important individual in any room. Clark has been hardened by years of being the shortest. Give me the 2 big Clarks.
And for the file, SI’s personal Jeremy Woo agrees with me:
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• NCAA Drops the Ball With Auburn’s Sanctions