5 March Madness Trends Fixed as Annual Traditions

BY MATTHEW DE SARLE

The NCAA Men’s College Basketball Tournament overcame COVID-19 in 2020-2021 to produce on of the best tournaments ever. This version of March Madness featured a Cinderella 15 seed nearly making the Elite 8, ten double digit seeds making the field of 32, and one final upset for the record books.

And we buried our lead about 2021’s March Madness. That’s because historic basketball icon UCLA actually made the Final Four as an 11 seed!

Despite the unusual year including quarantines and mask-wearing, college basketball observers shouldn’t be surprised by some of the normal antics. Here are 5 normal ingredients that renewed themselves as fixtures in a melting pot of madness.

5. Skaky Teams Get Shocked in The First Showdown

This happens literally every year. A team that has flirted with the AP Top 10 throughout the season gets bounced in the first pair of days. People look at the roster on paper and ask, “how can this happen?” This year was saw NBA draft pick Jericho Sims surrounded by a fleet of future (possible) lottery picks like Greg Brown and Kai Jones. You watched them lose at home down the stretch of the regular season to other in-conference mid-Top 25 AP programs like West Virginia and Texas Tech and ask “how is this happening?”

4. Leading Scorers Nationwide Need Be Feared Regardless of Conference, Size

If CJ McCollum and Harold “The Show” Arceneaux haven’t taught us anything, then Max Abmas and the Oral Roberts Eagles have made it officially official. The scoring abilities of a guard who ranks top 5 (or first overall) in scoring nationwide can translate in the tournament.

3. CBS Hosts a Questionable Yet Must-See TV Immediate Sunday Matchup

Wichita State basketball fans are still not over the let-down of losing to 8 seed Kentucky on Sunday, March, 23rd of 2014. Sorry, too soon? Yet, they have good company now this season with Illinois basketball fans. Anyone who follows basketball, especially the inner workings of how the bracket is constructed, knows that Illinois had no business playing Loyola Chicago as a 9 seed just 72 hours into the tournament. And yet, it happened. Loyola Chicago was ranked in the neighborhood of the 10th best team in the nation when the tournament started, according to which poll you subscribe to. However, the Sunday matinee television programming of Sister Jean and the Loyola-Chicago Ramblers renewing their Cinderella ways against an in-state foe was too flavorful for the NCAA to pass up. You tell me that NCAA and CBS aren’t working together to make that storyline possible, and I have the Clark Street Bridge I want to sell you.

Sister Jean roots on Loyola Chicago Courtesy CBS Sports/NCAA

In fact, let’s just have the NCAA and TV executive comes out and say it. “We schedule the bracket in such a way to provide great sports drama on television!”

I mean, I for one would not protest that sentiment if it got published to the record. I want sexy matchups in the bracket, but I would prefer we call it for what it is.

2. The Media Darling Doesn’t Always Win

As much as the previous take about television executives conspiring to have a great TV drama could have some truth, there’s also something to be said about the populous favorite not making the Final Four. There’s been a “Little Mac” quality to many NCAA stars in recent years. Players like Luka Garza and Jimmer Fredette capture the imagination of audiences, despite their lowly NBA stock values. Those players have gotten knocked out when going into later rounds against deep teams.

Mike Tyson’s Punchout-type characters might emerge in March
  1. Future NBA Greats Don’t Always Dominate

    If you’re a fan of 1990s NBA hoops, think of the best players of the past 3 decades who actually played some college basketball: Shaquille O’Neal, Allen Iverson, Kevin Durant, Tim Duncan. None made a Final 4. In fact, most of these greats struggled to advance beyond the first weekend.

Final Thought: In closing, it’s a murky picture. Some might even say it’s madness. As you pick your bracket in future years, remember that your future NCAA legend should be good, but not too great. The team should be must-see TV, but not have a tragic character whose reputation could never outpace his play. Good luck with that.

Max Abmas made a name for himself in 2021’s March Madness.
Courtesy: CBS Sports/YouTube

Editor’s Note: This author and collegebasketballeyetest.com supports the rights of student athletes to receive equal pay for the millions (if not billions) in revenue they help create. Please consider supporting these young people by signing online petitions like this one on Change.org.

College Basketball’s All Glue Guys Team, According to the Eye Test

What is the eye test? Here, the eye test means that you celebrate and respect the nuances on the basketball floor that can’t be seen in a stat sheet. A defender can affect an offensive set without a block or steal, a senior can hold an underclassmen accountable with tough love, and a hockey assist can set up a game winning basket. The collegebasketballeyetest.com is dedicated to retweeting and sharing first hand observations, whether that’s from fans inside the arena or watching all the action on television during the COVID-19 global pandemic. Here is a list of the most important players in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, according to the eye test over the stat sheet. In other words, here are the glue guys propelling the best teams in America. Enjoy our starting 5.

PG Joel Ayayi, Gonzaga

In today’s college basketball landscape, with the popularity of “one-and-dones” and “the transfer portal,” it takes a special player to commit to being an upperclassmen at a winning program. Enter Joel Ayayi who entered his junior year at a newly cemented blue blood program, Gonzaga. Ayayi did well in his sophomore campaign as a starting point guard, but still had room to grow. And so when other point guards entered the equation, many other players might have become a flight risk to guarantee playing time. Joel Ayayi stayed. And he proved that he can run among future lottery pick Jalen Suggs and newcomer transfer Andrew Nembhard. Ayayi can control a game with the way he defensive rebounds from the guard position and gets this dangerous offense into instant mode on the other end. His efficiency in the areas of free throw percentage and three pointers has only improved. He has great hands to harass and poke the ball from opponents in the post. Joel Ayayi has elite speed when dribbling. When you think of “getting downhill,” this guy comes to mind. It shouldn’t be a surprise if Ayayi cashes in a triple double in the tournament because his ten points are almost guaranteed and because of the way he rebounds. Consider this: he grabbed 18 rebounds in the game against Iowa and also finished with 6 assists and 11 points. I mean, that’s Iowa! Joel Ayayi is the glue guy we need running any successful Glue Guy All Star Team.

Joel Ayayı will rebound, lead transition, defend, and/or score his way into the All Glue Guy Team.

SG Da’Monte Williams, Illinois

One of the secrets to Illinois’s success this season has been the certainty of the rotation. Senior shooting guard Da’Monte Williams started the season at shooting guard, but slid to the bench mid-way into the season to make room for freshmen Adam Miller and Andre Curbello, who started to accumulate more minutes. Did Williams complain? No. He only responded by continuing to check the other team’s most dangerous wing scorer, rebound on all areas of the floor, and take an open 3 pointer with no hesitation to expose teams that haven’t scouted properly. Williams is a strong shooting guard who can help out in a variety of ways in the post. He can have a mean streak on the floor, ripping balls away from opponents and showing lots of fire at both ends. Da’Monte Williams is the type of player championship teams need. Entering the tournament, he should be proud of co-leading the Illini program that he helped re-establish with a 1 seed.

READ ALSO: Sons of NBA Players Dancing

The midseason All Glue Guy Team differed slightly from the final roster.

SF Jordan Schakel, San Diego State

Jordan Schakel might be the Aztecs starting shooting guard, but we are slotting him into the all glue guy team here at small forward. At 6 foot 6, Schakel can confuse the opponent with exactly which position he does play. When starting forward and fellow senior Matt Mitchell was out with injury this mid-season, Schakel picked up the slack in terms of scoring. And so Schakel offers flexibility for the roster. Aztec fans tell me on Twitter that he has started 20 games this season at the shooting guard spot, but can play small forward as well.

Jordan Schakel’s San Diego Aztecs team made it comfortably into March Madness as a 6 seed after winning the Mountain West.

Schakel is third in the nation in 3 point efficiency. He has a knack for knowing when to double the post. Schakel can be seen calling out plays on the defensive end like a veteran linebacker. Jordan Schakel doesn’t block a lot of shots, but when you watch him you’ll see that he contests everything. He plays 29 minutes a game and has reached the 24 point plateau in four games this season. But as you watch him play, you realize he never hunts shots. Still, he averages 14 points per game which is up 4 points from his junior year. This guy is a selfless example on the court and epitomizes what it means to be a glue guy.

Aztecs senior Jordan Schakel rushes over to help with a double team and sticks with the All Glue team.

PF Kyle Young, Ohio State

Kyle Young ended the season in concussion protocol. The Ohio State Buckeyes need their glue guy if they’re going to advance to a Final Four. Young rebounds, defends the best post player most times, can knock down threes, and definitely shows the best hustle among all the glue guys nationally. Young is the type of player that wins over a neutral crowd with his hustle. It’s too bad that he’s in concussion protocol and that there isn’t a neutral crowd of people this year. Still, Kyle Young is a slam dunk for the All Glue Guy team.

See the full CollegeBasketballEyeTest.com Bracket Picks Here: March Madness 2021

C Myles Johnson, Rutgers

Myles Johnson is cool under pressure and snags the rebound or blocks a shot when his Rutgers team really needs it. He is the prototypical last line of defense that can erase mistakes up front. Moreover, he is just a great player and a total teammate. You can even look to what his leadership has been doing off the court. Myles Johnson has a long wing-span and uses it perfectly for outlet passes and passes from the post. When doing so, he looks like an Olympic Athlete in water polo. His arm slings back and his body patiently buoys before making the right play. He never see him sweat or the paddling underneath. Johnson is a favorite to watch. His effort, rebounding and timely plays are to be admired. In this year’s Big 10, you almost needed a legitimate center to compete for an NCAA bid. Myles Johnson rounds out the All Glue Guy Team with a lot of class.

Myles Johnson rounds out the All Glue Guy Team for 2020-2021 Men’s College Basketball at center.

The full body caricatures were designed by the artist Eilvain on Fiverr.com.

Morehead State Looks Legit Punching the first March Madness Ticket

BY MATT DE SARLE

So much is going to happen between today’s OVC Championship and March 19th, so do not forget that this Morehead State basketball team is for real.

But first, here’s a Final Four of the Favorite Blog Posts, According to our Readers…

  1. Sons of NBA Players in College Hoops vs. 4. Injuries to Monitor
  2. Best Hair in College Hoops vs. 3. Suspect Spreads Saturday

More Context About Morehead State’s March Madness Entrance

The Eagles won 19 of their final 20 games of the season. Those of you who watched the OVC Tournament knows there aren’t just “cupcakes” in that conference. Jacksonville State, Eastern Kentucky, and Belmont are real competition and highly athletic for mid-major programs.

During the OVC Semifinal game against Eastern Kentucky, the Eagles took absolute haymakers from the Colonels. Eastern Kentucky played a legitimate full court press throughout the entire game. The Eagles were worn down some after nursing a lead throughout, but they did not succumb the lead to Eastern Kentucky. The Eagles lead the nation in steals and the Eagles were still able to stand the pressure.

A nice thing to watch during Morehead State’s impressive win against defending champion and veteran bunch Belmont was its wire-to-wire victory. It never shied away from an open shot. The Eagles put the game on ice by knocking down clutch threes or gut-punching put backs every time Belmont responded with a run.

The headliner for Morehead State is probably Johni Broome, a freshman who has clearly put the work in and operates with a lot of skill in the post. If you like Evan Mobley’s game at USC, consider his mid-major cousin Johni Broome at Morehead State. His footwork is impressive, working the baseline and his pivot foot to perfection at times.

Four players scored double digits in the OVC Championship win.

At 22-years-old Nick Muszynski is a high level established post scorer for Belmont, and the Eagles neutralized him.

Click here to check out Morehead State’s roster. Tyzhaun Claude is still listed, although he has long been out for the season with a knee injury.

Now, the nation will need to wait a full 13 days to show the same gumption that the Eagles had during its championship and take the Eagles in a humungous upset (or at least a cover).

College Basketball Eye Test Midseason Report 2021

BY MATT DE SARLE

In a “normal year,” this would be the time of the season where college basketball teams are just now getting into conference play. However, there have already been some critical in-conference games that have been played by January 5, 2021. San Francisco already had its crack at blemishing Gonzaga’s perfect record, Texas embarrassed KU in Lawrence, and Northwestern has made itself a tournament team with strong play at the start of the Big 10 schedule.

Here are some of my observations from the last month or so of play.

Gonzaga poised to runaway with NCAA Championship

Right now Gonzaga looks like the Dream Team. And I am not exaggerating. Look at the recent games they played against Iowa and Virginia. A 20+ point loss looks respectable from Virginia. (They are like the Croatia in this metaphor). And Iowa was beat wire-to-wire by Gonzaga. Their 11 point loss on paper is different from what we saw on TV. Gonzaga has something they have not had, perhaps ever. Jalen Suggs has the type of swagger of a top 5 NBA pick. He is great. And he knows it. You’d have to think back to Adam Morrison to envision the type of game-changer that Suggs can be. And, Suggs is just a freshman surrounded by all time great Gonzaga players such as Drew Timme, Corey Kispert, and Joel Ayayi. The fact that Gonzaga landed stud transfer Andrew Nembhard is just evidence that the rich get richer. Sure, Baylor could give Gonzaga a great game if/when they play in a NCAA Championship game. I don’t believe that regular season game will be rescheduled, because there is far too much hype to build on for that to be the title game all broadcasts “tease ahead” to. Alas, Gonzaga is laughable at this moment as a 3 1/2 -to- 1 favorite to win the title. Would you take a bet on the USA Dream Team at 3 to 1? Because that’s what we are starting to watch from Gonzaga. Their WAC conference schedule wins may be taken for granted in January and February, but don’t forget what they looked like against Kansas, Iowa, and Virginia when it comes to March.

Midseason departures shake up College Basketball’s Top 10

In my preseason prediction video, I picked West Virginia and Houston among a shortlist of great value bets. Each team has slowly progressed into the top 10. However, each team has also lost a star player here midseason. Houston’s Caleb Mills has stepped away this past week from the team, citing personal reasons. His status for returning is uncertain. Mills was the pre-season pick as player of the year among American Athletic Conference beat writers. However, most recently in the team’s loss against Tulsa, Mills was coming off the bench. The Cougars rebounded well in a win on the road against a feisty SMU squad. However, it will be tough to replace Mills’s ability to create a basket late in games. Houston has no shortage of wing scorers, but Mills is not the type of offensive firepower you want to lose when you have championship aspirations. The hope, of course, is that his personal situation is not too serious and that the team culture can rally in his absence.

West Virginia lost Oscar Tshiebwe and he’s not coming back. The Karl Malone watch list candidate (i.e. best power forward candidate) left the team after a shockingly lower-than-expected productivity in the first half of the season. West Virginia quickly transitioned to a smaller team that put up more three point attempts. As this transition took place in real time, West Virginia lost its first game without Tshiebwe to Oklahoma. On TV there were moments where this game looked like a 3-point-shooting contest. The Mountaineers lost. Afterwards, they played another tough road contest against a soon-to-be-bubble-team: Oklahoma State. The Cowboys were leading heavily heading into the 2nd half and throughout the 3rd quarter. Then something clicked. The shots started going in. In March, it will be interesting to see if the perimeter shooters like Sean McNeil, Miles McBride, and Taz Sherman meet the moment. Emmitt Matthews Jr. also had a great game on defense and in transition during this pivotal Oklahoma State win. It will be interesting to see if he becomes an X-Factor for their success.

The Big 10 is the best basketball conference ever

I am not a “hot takes” writer. I don’t like making bold predictions in order to get clicks. But if you watch college basketball, you realize that this Big 10 is the best college basketball conference ever. In a season where conference league play will look more like an intra-team scrimmage (as COVID-19 took away offseason, preseason, and all traditional dress rehearsals), Big 10 teams will hit March Madness as dangerous as ever. Just look at the landscape. Michigan is undefeated and blossoming with young talent and transfers to fill what little gaps remained from 2019-2020. Northwestern is winning big games. Iowa, Illinois and Wisconsin came into the season as championship hopefuls and remain that. Rutgers has carried on its success from 2019-2020. The Scarlet Knights have basically the same roster as the one that shocked national onlookers last season. Indiana is playing for a bid. And Michigan State is fighting for its life to stay in the top 25 while (Survivor style) battling its allies in each challenge. The big men remain a mainstay of this conference. Marcus Carr looks like a closer who can win clutch games for a Final 4 team (at Minnesota). I didn’t even mention Purdue, which has two giants who play consecutive sessions at center. The ACC has had some great years with double digit teams making the NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament. But have we ever seriously had this many legitimate Final 4 contenders from one conference? And the irony is that none of these teams will snag a 1 seed, which is a crime. The conference is canabalizing itself. Joe Lunardi’s bracketology on January 5th shows all four 2 seeds as Big 10 teams!

Joe Lunardi’s bracketology predictions on January 5, 2020 show four Big 10 teams as 2 seeds.
College basketball blogger Matty D. dips into his notebook for a midseason report.

5 Best 2019-20 NCAA Basketball Value Bets

College Basketball Futures
Best Values 
BY MATT DE SARLE

Like you, I am always curious to know the future odds for teams winning a national championship.  My curiosity spikes right before the season begins.  That’s when I am convinced that past performance dictates future results.  And, as the disclaimers at the end of financial services commercials say, that cause-effect is never guaranteed.

However, the past performance from these 5 teams has me intrigued.  If you’re reading this blog for the first time, welcome to the College Basketball Eye Test.  As always, I am going to discuss characteristics that I see.  A team’s personality dictates its winning potential.  Yes, KenPom.com is outstanding at tracking metrics.  Here, we track warning signs that are visible.  You can see when a team is selfish, timid, lacking leadership, soft.  On the contrary, it’s so enjoyable to watch a team that navigates adversity well, shows aggression, and doesn’t flinch when pushed.  Here are my five times to consider putting a small wager on for a huge payout.

South Florida Bulls Basketball

5.  Odds 750/1 in Preseason

The Bulls return nearly everyone from the 2018-2019 campaign.  Alexis Yetna was on a lot of people’s radar as a possible breakout star.  But he suffered a season ending injury as this season begun.  As devastating of news as that is, the Bulls still have a lot of potential.  And now they have a cause to rally around, and Yetna is still a young player with a bright future.

This team popped on my radar as it ran Memphis out of its gym last season.  The Bulls got off to a 20 point lead by ripping the ball away, running the fast break, and banging threes with no conscience.  Coach Brian Gregory has an impressive resume that includes leading a competitive George Tech team in the ACC and serving as an assistant to Tom Izzo at Michigan State.  This team has the talent, identity, and leadership necessary to still make the tournament without Yetna.  If they make the tournament and you have a 750-to-1 ticket (a $5 bet would pay $3,750) in your pocket, be sure to hedge your bet by taking its opponent as well.  You will likely have a dangerous team heading into the field of 32.

Ohio State Basketball Future Odds

4.   60/1 in the preseason

Headlined by brothers Kaleb and Andre Wesson, this team is very interesting under the leadership of coach Chris Holtmann.  Holtmann had immediate success at Ohio State, after also ushering a transitional era after Brad Stevens departure from Butler.  There is a solid core here with a lot of guards who will compete for playing time and relevance.  Holtmann should be trusted to pull the strings successfully.  In a conference that hasn’t won a championship since 2000, and that program in Michigan State prepped to get all the attention, Ohio State may just slip under the radar until a Sweet 16 berth.

Wichita State Basketball Future Odds

3.  400/1 in the preseason

Give me Gregg Marshall and 400-to-1 odds any year.

Colorado Buffs Basketball futures

2.  Odds 250/1 in the preseason

Tad Boyle is one of college basketball’s most under-appreciated coaches.  Boyle has made 7 of 8 postseasons in his Colorado tenure.  He has also supported the development of future pros, sending rotation-ready guys like Spencer Dinwiddie into the league.  Last year was the first time in Boyle’s tenure that Colorado did not make the CBI, NIT, or NCAA tournament.  However, a roster laced with underclassmen developed, and you could see it during the PAC-12 tournament.  They advanced to the semifinals and gave #1 seed Washington a run for their money.  Tyler Bey is a Shawn Marion in the making.  The Colorado Buffs can run the floor, clog you up, and play any discipline they want.  They’ve been surging in the PAC-12 while their peers like Arizona, UCLA and USC are amidst major changes (even some identity crisis).  This is a conference where it was recently Utah’s turn for a tournament bid, Arizona State’s turn, and now it’s the Buffs turn.  When the Buffs come to eat in the tourney, they’re arriving hungry.

Seton Hall Basketball Futures Odds

  1.  50/1 in the preseason

Seton Hall might be the sexiest of all sexy picks, so I won’t dwell too much.  The bottom line is that Myles Powell may be the nation’s player of the year.  If he does that, it should be in the fashion of a Jimmer Fredette or a Buddy Hield.  He is a score-first guard but can distribute well.  Sophomore wing Jared Rhoden showed flashes last year as a freshmen.  If he and Myles Cale can be the complimentary swingmen they’re capable of, this roster has no shortage of dogs who can defend and rebound down low.  Head coach Kevin Willard was rumored to take on jobs like UCLA and Virginia Tech this offseason, but doubled down on his pirates by declaring himself disinterested in those (perhaps) higher profile jobs.  Willard will serve a two game suspension to start this season for transfer tampering.  All in all, I am shocked that this team is a nebulous 50-1 wager headed into the season.

 

 

NBA Mock Draft Stocks Due to Rise

College Players Whose NBA Stock Will Rise

The so-called NBA prospects that rank highly in early February are not always the ones to rock the baseball cap in the first hour of the NBA Draft.

No, stocks rise and fall.  And the whole sports nation watches March Madness.

Modern History Lesson: College Players Whose Stock Rose on NBA Draft Boards Because of March Madness

In 2006, LSU forward Tyrus Thomas was on no one’s radar as a top 10 pick.  After his sensational play led the Tigers to the Final Four alongside Glen “Big Baby Davis,” Thomas found himself drafted #4 overall.  That was moments before the likes of Rudy Gay, Randy Foye and Brandon Roy that year.  A similar scenario happened with Joakim Noah during that era.

Hey, even the great Steph Curry wasn’t really on people’s radars until his Cinderella run with #10 seed Davidson.  He was even deemed a risky pick at #7 overall in 2009.

Stock Up for these 5 NBA Prospects Come March 2019

Here are some players who currently don’t rank on the top 10 on the fashionable draft boards, but you’ll be hearing about spring of next year on an NBA roster.

Eric Paschall’s NBA Draft Stock

  1.  Eric Paschall – Villanova G/F

If LeBron James takes to social media to compare you to current NBA pro Paul Millsap, there really isn’t much else to say.  I will say this for the people not familiar with Millsap’s game.  At first glance, you might make the mistake of thinking he is undersized.  Paschall is a tenacious rebounder, scorer, defender, there isn’t an act on the basketball court that this guy does half-ass.

However, currently, he is listed as a second round draft pick by top Google search result, NBA Draft.net.  Those experts have him going 33rd overall to the Orlando Magic as this article premieres on February 3, 2018.

Cameron Johnson’s Draft Stock

2.  Cameron Johnson – North Carolina F

Do you know of an NBA team not looking for a “power 4” who can stretch the floor with 3PT-abilities.  Johnson has the perfect measurables at 6-8 and 215, and was torching the nets at 47% from 3PT in early February.  His teammate Nassir Little ranks in the top 10 on draft boards, but two Tar Heels could soon occupy the top 10.  NBA Mock Draft.net currently has him listed at #42 overall.

Rui Hachimura’s NBA Draft Stock

3.  Rui Hachimura – Gonzaga F

In early February, Sports Illustrated updated its mock draft board to reflect the “skyrocketing” prospects.  Somehow they fell asleep and didn’t include Rui Hachimura in the top 10.  This dude will be a top 7 pick, and has the ceiling of being a top 3 pick.  He is one of college basketball’s best mid-range jump shooters.  Hachimura is a tough cover, as a slippery 6-8 for bigger guys and a large load to handle for the smaller guys.  Rui averages 20  points and 6 rebounds a game, on a loaded roster.  We get it, this Gonzaga swingman was listed 11th overall by SI.com at the time.  However, when this Gonzaga squad gets it rolling in March, look for #Rui trending on a Twitter timeline near you.  And he’s just a junior.

Check out #21…

Bruno Fernando’s NBA Draft Stock

4.  Bruno Fernando – Maryland C

If Deandre Ayten can go #1 overall, Fernado is a lock for top 10.  He is not the full court sprinter as much as Ayten, but might compensate with a little more nastiness on the defensive end.  Fernado is becoming more agile as a new age NBA center type.  Ayten is the comparison worth considering.

To pick on SI.com again, they had Fernando going #17th overall to the Brooklyn Nets.

DeAndre Ayten Bruno Fernando Comparison

Markus Howard’s NBA Draft Stock

5.  Okay, this one actually pisses me off.  In world where Trae Young is drafted #5 overall, how the hell is Markus Howard ranking #41 overall as we speak?

If you haven’t seen Howard, it may be because he doesn’t play on ESPN channels.  And therefore, the hype machine hasn’t been pumping the way that machinery has been moving since Thanksgiving with Zion Willamson.  You rarely see a Markus Howard highlight package on SportsCenter.  But this guy is averaging an even 25 points a game, having dropped 45 points on 14th-ranked Buffalo, 53 on Creighton, and 45 on the K-State Wildcats (widely considered on of the nation’s best defenses).

Dude, come on now.

Watch the highlight package…

Related:  Does it seem like less sons of NBA players are in the college game today? You’ll be blown away to see how many there were just three years ago!  Click here.  

NBA Mock Drafts Predicted in February 2018

NBA Mock Draft snapshot nbadraft.net February 3 2019

Family Ties in College Basketball 2018-19

Family Ties in College Basketball

If you feel like there family ties throughout college basketball, you’re right.  It’s not just sons of NBA players who are smattering the college basketball landscape this year.  It’s sons of pro players, brothers of pro players, brothers playing together, player coach son-father combos, and players with family members starring in other professional sports.  Yes, college basketball is fun to begin with.  But when you add the guessing game of, “why does that guy look familiar?,” or “I remember when his pops was…” it makes it enjoyable on a different level.

3 Brothers Playing Together For Vermont Basketball

Ducan brothers courtesy burlington free press

Photo courtesy of the Burlington Free Press. See the link below for

Topping this list is the clearly the Duncan brothers.  They take the cake.  For the first time since the Plumlee brothers at Duke University, the three siblings are together on an NCAA roster.  And they all get playing time.  In fact, each younger brother beat out his predecessor in their Evansville high school record book.  They’re only the fourth trio of brothers to ever play together in Division 1 college basketball.

Click here to learn more about their story, courtesy of the Burlington Free Press.  

Brothers playing together in college basketball

Wesson brothers courtesy Ohio State athletics

Kaleb Wesson and Andre Wesson (both left) are one of several pairs of brothers in the NCAA game today. Photo: Ohio State Athletics

There is a very real chance that four pairs of brothers get playing time together during March Madness.  In fact, it would not shock anyone watching closely if that’s the case for the Sweet Sixteen.  Kansas, Nevada, Ohio State, and Marquette all have brothers who log minutes together.  And all of those teams ranked top 40 on kenpom.com and on most bracketology projects in mid-February.

Andre and Kaleb Wesson grew up in Columbus, Ohio, and are now fulfilling a family dream of playing for the Buckeyes together.

K.J. and Dedric Lawson played two years for Memphis before bolting to Lawrence, Kansas to play for Bill Self and the crimson and blue.

Caleb and Cody Martin (video below) are twins tantalizing defenses with very different and complimentary skills on the court.

Sam and Joey Hauser aren’t twins, but Marquette teammate Markus Howard says that sometimes he can’t tell them apart.

Hauser brothers

Sons of NBA Players in College Basketball 2018-2019

Let’s get to the sons of NBA players on current college basketball rosters.  There are many holdovers from last year:  First, the son of NBA legend Julius Erving, Jules Erving, is just a sophomore at California. Justin Robinson, the son of Hall of Fame Center David Robinson, is still working his way in the Duke University rotation.  Trey Mourning, another offspring of a 1990’s All Star Center (Alonzo Mourning), is now playing for coach Patrick Ewing at Georgetown  Talk about a big man fraternity!  B.J. Stith remains on an Old Dominion roster where his brother used to play and father (longtime Denver Nugget) Bryant Stith coaches.  And Wyatt Lohaus, the son of former Milwaukee Bucks forward Brad Lohaus, plays on the UNI team.  All of these players are holdovers from a stacked “sons of NBA players” 2017-18 roster.

Click here to read the full list.  

Former NBA player (and Duke great) Johnny Dawkins is not only the proud papa of a current college basketball player.  He is also the coach of Aubrey Dawkins at UCF.

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Sons of NBA Players Coming Soon To College Hoops

If you are a college basketball fanatic like me, you remember Jamal Mashburn, Greg Anthony, and Kenyon Marton more so for their college basketball contributions.  Well, their sons “have next.”  Check out this unbelievable list of prodigy children of NBA stars set to play in college basketball 2019-2020 and beyond:  Courtesy 247Sports.com.

abdur-rahim

Siblings of NBA Players in College Basketball

Now for the fun part.  Can you name current NBA players who have little brothers in the college game?

Watch the story of Logan Johnson, the little brother of Miami Heat guard Tyler Johnson, courtesy of 49ers Cal-Hi Sports Report.

Grady Eifert, the brother of Cincinnati Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert, is a senior on the Purdue Boilmakers.

Stay tuned for more updates as we comb the nation for branches from the college basketball family tree!

 

 

March Madness game times and locations Thursday

Here are the teams, times and locations for Thursday’s NCAA Basketball Tournament.

All times Eastern Standard. 

(10) Oklahoma vs. (7) Rhode Island
12:15 p.m. in Pittsburgh, PA

(14) Wright State vs. (3) Tennessee
12:40 p.m. in Dallas, TX

(13) UNCG vs. (4) Gonzaga
1:30 p.m. in Boise, ID

(16) Penn vs. (1) Kansas
2 p.m. in Wichita, KS

(15) Iona vs. (2) Duke
2:45 p.m. in Pittsburgh, PA

(11) Loyola-Chicago vs. (6) Miami (Fla.)
3:10 p.m. in Dallas, TX

(12) South Dakota State vs. (5) Ohio State
4 p.m. in Boise, ID

(9) NC State vs. (8) Seton Hall
4:30 p.m. in Wichita, KS

(16) LIU-Brooklyn/Radford vs. (1) Villanova
6:50 p.m. in Pittsburgh, PA

(12) Davidson vs. (5) Kentucky
7:10 p.m. in Boise, ID

(11) San Diego State vs. (6) Houston
7:20 p.m. in Wichita, KS

(14) Stephen F. Austin vs. (3) Texas Tech
7:27 p.m. in Dallas, TX

(9) Alabama vs. (8) Virginia Tech
9:20 p.m. in Pittsburgh, PA

(13) Buffalo vs. (4) Arizona
9:40 p.m. in Boise, ID

(14) Montana vs. (3) Michigan
9:50 p.m. in Wichita, KS

(11) St. Bonaventure/UCLA vs. (6) Florida
9:57 p.m. in Dallas, TX

 

Best Hair in March Madness

Vote for your choice of best hair in college basketball below in the comments.

Here’s the field of 16…

16.  Garrett Collins – UNCG Spartans
Forward Garrett Collins gets the party started (and happy belated) with our Sweet 16 list.

15.  Caleb Wood – Pennsylvania Quakers
Caleb Wood looks like one of the 3 Musketeers on the guard as the Quakers march into tournament territory.

14.  Bobby Morehead – Montana Grizz
The headband game needed to be represented in this bracket.

13.  Terrell Miller – Murray State Racers
Terrell Miller makes the NBA’s Nene look thin-haired.

12.  Jaylen Barford – Arkansas Razorbacks
Jaylen Barford’s distinguished grey gives “senior night” a new connotation.

11.  Rob Gray – Houston Cougars
Replacing Kyle Guy this year as an ambassador of team man bun.

10.  Trae Young – Oklahoma Sooners
Some chicks dig the “just woke up” look.

9.  Dylan Osetkowski – Texas Longhorns
You should see this modeled in corn rows.   Osetkowski broke it out earlier this season.

8.  Collin Sexton – Alabama Tide
This freshman has entered the college game and surpassed his own teammates – like Dazon Ingram and John Petty – with the voluminousness.

7.  Jalen Fisher – TCU Hornfrogs
Jalen Fisher brings color, curls, and style to the bracket – a Cinderella story in the making.

6.  Nate Watson – Providence Friar’s
Nate Watson rocks the sherbet colored frosted tips, as do some teammates.

5.  Cartier Diara – K-State Wildcats
You can define this one.

4.  Lonnie Walker – Miami Hurricane
Anyone comfortable with the nickname pineapple head belongs on this list.

 

3.  Vincent Edwards – Purdue Boilermakers
Edwards reminds us of Rufio from Hook but has drawn other comparisons on Twitter.

2.  Jacob Evans – Cincinnati Bearcats
Coaches nationwide are looking for versatile players this time of year.  Evans has displayed his range this season, showcasing earlier this season the short dreads, and now sporting something more reminiscent of the 1990s New York Knicks front court.

  1.  Donte DiVincenzo – Villanova Wildcats
    Nicknamed “The Big Ragu” by Gus Johnson, his hairdo matches the theme.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Friday’s Picks

I like the teams on the left:

Wyoming +7 vs. Northern Iowa
Coastal Carolina +19 vs. Wisconsin
Maryland -4 vs. Valparaiso
New Mexico State +10 vs. Kansas
UC Irvine 8.5 vs. Louisville
Georgia +5 vs. Michigan State
Gonzaga -17 vs. North Dakota State