yardbarker
RealGM Basketball

VCU Rams ArticlesVCU Rams Articles

College Basketball Preview 14-15: Atlantic-10

Earlier Previews: ACC Preview, MWC Preview, SEC Preview, WCC Preview

Now that the Power Five conferences have achieved autonomy, a lot of people fear that this will destroy a league like the Atlantic-10. I’m not buying it. Even today, the A10 is not recruiting on a level comparable with the top leagues. There are only nine former Top 100 high school recruits in the entire A10 right now. Compare that to a league like the Big Ten, which is supposedly not a great recruiting league, and you see that the Big Ten has 45 former Top 100 high school recruits on its rosters.

In the new era, A10 teams will have to try to win the way they always have, by finding hidden gems, developing players, and giving players a second chance. (Of the A10’s nine former Top 100 recruits, four are transfers from Power Five conferences.) Even with this strategy, the A10 can continue to occasionally have brilliant seasons. Last year the A10 sent six teams to the NCAA tournament. The problem for teams in the A10 is that it can take longer to restock the cabinet. Five of last year’s tournament teams; Datyon, UMass, George Washington, St. Louis and St. Joseph’s all lost significant pieces. When talented seniors leave, teams in the A10 sometimes need a year or two to rebuild, while teams in the Power Five conferences simply reload.

VCU is the prohibitive favorite behind a stellar recruiting class. Dayton will be good again. And UMass and George Washington still retain enough of their best pieces to make another run at the tournament. Jon Rothstein is correct that Rhode Island is the trendy pick to jump up in the standings. And in this case, that trend is backed up by the numbers. With better injury luck, Richmond should be better too. But the league as a whole looks like it will be taking a small step back.

A10 Favorite

VCU: Many expected the new foul rules to hit pressing teams harder. If hand-checks prevented players from grabbing on the perimeter and if defenders could no longer step in to draw charges at the last minute, HAVOC might become less effective. But at least last season, that was not the case. VCU fouled less than the year before, VCU forced more turnover than the year before (the most in the country), and VCU’s defense was as dangerous as ever.

And with Shaka Smart repeatedly turning down contract offers from other power conference teams, recruits are starting to believe he’ll stick around. This year, Smart has by far the best recruiting class in his tenure, led by Top 50 recruit Terry Larrier. And VCU’s roster now has the highest average star rating (most potential as measured in high school) in the A10. VCU is no longer the plucky underdog trying to win in the big bad A10. Thanks to Shaka Smart, VCU is now the blue blood program in this league.

Hoping for the Top 25

Dayton: Dayton made the Elite Eight last year, but they were only rated the 38th best team in the country by the margin-of-victory numbers. Still, I felt like the margin-of-victory numbers might be wrong because they might overlook the incredible winning streak Dayton went on to end the year. But after I crunched the numbers, they were less impressive than I expected.  During Dayton’s brilliant 13-3 finish to the season, Dayton’s opponent adjusted margin-of-victory was only the 31st best in the nation. Dayton’s Pythagorean Winning Percentage was only 0.8487 in that stretch with an adjusted offense of 113.6 and an adjusted defense of 97.8.

And maybe that shouldn’t be a huge surprise. Dayton was quite fortunate during their Elite Eight run. Dayton drew two offensively challenged teams in Ohio St. and Syracuse in the NCAA tournament and beat them by a combined three points. And the Flyers were fortunate to draw a low-seeded Stanford team in the Sweet Sixteen. It was an incredible and memorable run, but it isn’t necessarily indicative of a team that was playing dominant basketball.

The good news is that during last year’s tournament run Dayton played 11 (and sometimes 12) players, and seven of those players are back. The bad news is that four of the returning players had very low ORtgs last season, and one of those players (Kyle Davis) didn’t really play enough minutes to fully evaluate his game. With Jordan Sibert and Dyshawn Pierre back next year, Dayton will still have a very good team. The Flyers should make the tournament again. But my statistical projections think Dayton will spend more days sweating the bubble than they spend in the Top 25.

Hoping to Make the NCAA Tournament

George Washington: When ESPN ran its college coaching series this spring, I was shocked that Dayton’s Archie Miller was voted the 26th best coach in the country. How is it possible that a coach that has never achieved a margin of victory better than 31st in the country could be the 26th best coach? It is not as if Miller took over a moribund program. In the ten years prior to Miller taking over, Dayton won 58% of its conference games. In the three year’s Miller has been a head coach, Dayton has won 54% of its conference games.

George Washington wasn’t really a moribund program either. But head coach Mike Lonergan has taken the team on an upward trajectory in his tenure and Lonergan was a proven winner at his former school Vermont. And despite a series of critical injuries to Patricio Garino and Kethan Savage, Lonergan kept George Washington playing at a high level and managed to avoid any long losing streaks last year. Miller and Lonergan are both entering their fourth year in the A10, and if you asked me whether I think that Miller is a better head coach than Lonergan, I think it should be a tough call, not a landslide vote for Miller.

With Garino, Savage, point guard Joe McDonald, and big man Kevin Larsen back, George Washington has a solid nucleus of four players with great efficiency numbers, solid rebounding, and effective passing. But the drop-off to the rest of the roster is pretty steep. John Kopriva has posted horrible numbers for three straight years, and he should not be playing meaningful minutes for an NCAA tournament team. Nick Griffin had a few moments of brilliance, but played so little last year it is hard to evaluate his game. And the rest of the roster is filled with freshmen. Many of those young players are three star recruits which means they may be able to play well from day one. But whether George Washington makes the tournament will depend on how fast those new faces adjust to the college game, and how many mistakes they make in the process.

Massachusetts: Cady LaLanne, Trey Davis, Maxie Esho, and Derrick Gordon were all quality players on last year’s NCAA tournament team. And the team doesn’t have to go with a young unproven PG to replace Chaz Williams. West Virginia transfer Jabarie Hinds is a former Top 100 recruit, and he’ll slide nicely into the lineup.

But there are three major problems. First, UMass may have earned a six seed last year, but they weren’t really that good. They won key non-conference games against bubble teams like LSU and Nebraska that boosted their profile, but they won those games early in the year, before a team like Nebraska really hit its stride. In A10 play, the Minutemen were just 10-6, and their margin-of-victory said they were really a bubble team, not the tournament lock their seed would suggest.

Second, like George Washington, the drop-off from the starters to the projected bench is pretty steep. Don’t let Tyler Bergantino’s high efficiency rating fool you, he basically never shot last year. After the starting five, the bench projects to be a major liability. Third, Hinds is a significant downgrade from Chaz Williams. Hinds had a worse assist rate, worse turnover rate, and he never got to the free throw line at West Virginia. Finally, Hinds was a worse outside shooter than Williams, which is saying something given that Williams wasn’t known for his outside shot. If Hinds has made significant personal strides in his year practicing with the team, UMass can make the tournament again. But it won’t be easy.

Rhode Island: With every key player except Xavier Munford back, with the likely upgrade in the post with the return of Jordan Hare (who missed last year due to personal reasons), with the addition of Top 100 JUCO Earl Watson and the addition of Top 100 recruit Jared Terrell, Rhode Island will finish in the Top half of the A10 next season.

The question is how high they rise, and that may depend on two things. First, it will depend on how loyal Danny Hurley is to his veteran players. Jarelle Reischel, Biggie Minnis, and Mathew Butler all played last season, but all three players were extremely inefficient. All three were also 2-star recruits. With the talent that is coming in, they should be used sparingly next year. If that happens, Rhode Island’s offense should take a major step forward. But if Hurley gives these players another chance to prove themselves, it could hold the team back.

Second, there are questions how good the defense will be. Rhode Island’s defense took a huge step forward last year, but it might have been a bit of a mirage. Rhode Island’s opponents made only 29% of their trees and 67% of their free throws last year. Rhode Island probably won’t be nearly that fortunate this season. Obviously the return of Jordan Hare will help, but big improvements on offense might be slightly mitigated with more typical luck on defense.

Richmond: Chris Mooney’s version of the Princeton offense works best when you have a big man who can step out beyond the arc and knock down outside shots. When the offense can put four or five players on the perimeter and draw the defense out of the paint, that opens things up for cuts to the basket. The last time Richmond made the NCAA tournament was when Justin Harper was playing in the post for the Spiders. Harper was a great rebounder and shot-blocker, but most importantly, Harper was a lights out perimeter shooter. Since Harper has departed, Richmond hasn’t really been able to duplicate that same level of dominance with its Princeton sets.

Last year’s big men Terry Allen, Alonzo Nelson-Ododa, and Deion Taylor tried to make the perimeter attack work, but they all struggled to consistently make outside shots. On the full season they made 14, 13, an 17 threes respectively. It wasn’t the kind of perimeter threat to really draw opposing defenses out of the paint. Enter Niagara transfer TJ Cline. Cline was a solid rebounder and post-player on a winning Niagara squad two years ago. But what makes Cline a potential difference maker is that Cline has a much better outside shot. Cline made 40 threes two years ago.

Moreover, Cline appears to be natural fit for a cutting offense. At Niagara he rarely turned the ball over while finishing 67% of his two point shots. If his goal is to take threes and then back-cut the defense, everything about Cline’s statistical profile fits the bill.

The team’s guard play will probably take a step back, so Richmond projects as a fringe bubble team. But if Chris Mooney can develop one of the young guards to compliment Kendall Anthony and ShawnDre’ Jones, the improved post-play might just be enough to sneak Richmond into the tournament.

Hoping for the NIT

La Salle: Jerrell Wright and Steve Zack make up one of the best frontcourts in the A10. And even though Tyrone Garland has departed, after he struggled so much with his shooting last year (23% of his threes and 39% of his twos), his loss might be addition by subtraction. But Wright and Zack can’t do it alone, so let’s spend a minute talking about transfers.

Last week I noted that the number of points produced by D1 transfers in their debut season has nearly doubled over the last few years. But you may be wondering whether this growth is due to the increase in scoring by graduate transfers or transfers that sit out. The next table shows this comparison. The first column shows the points produced by players that were eligible immediately (EI) or who played back-to-back seasons because they were a mid-year transfer (MYT). The second column shows the points produced by players that sat out during their transfer year (SO) or who spent a year at a JUCO before transferring to another D1 school.

Since 2007, the points produced by transfers who were eligible immediately has grown by 441%. Meanwhile, the points produced by transfers who sat out has grown 56%. Spinning the table another way, transfers that play in back-to-back seasons for different schools once accounted for 8-13% of transfer scoring. Now they account for 27% of transfer scoring.

Year

EI or MYT

SO or JUCO

2007

380,678

3,617,092

2008

323,027

3,602,261

2009

526,820

3,408,367

2010

397,456

4,358,821

2011

783,590

3,347,771

2012

907,914

4,850,382

2013

1,421,079

4,521,055

2014

2,060,438

5,657,524

Obviously graduate transfers and hardship waivers are fueling the transfer trend, but I think it is important to note that graduate transfers do not account for all the growth in scoring by D1 transfers. D1 transfers that sit out have actually added 2 million points since 2011.And for most teams, transfers that sit out will still be the most important.This is particularly true because my data reveals that transfers that sit out a year will typically debut with ORtgs 3 to 4 points higher because of the year of practice with the team.

La Salle is banking on that fact. La Salle is re-stocking their roster with former Top 100 recruit and Auburn transfer Jordan Price, as well as Georgia Southern transfer Cleon Roberts. Both players were efficient with their previous team. But thanks to a year of working with the head coach in practice, and learning the offensive system, they should be more prepared to win right away.

The PG situation is very much up in the air for La Salle. And the team’s depth is not strong. But with two returning quality big men, and two transfers that they hope will have an impact, La Salle has a chance to finish in the top half of the league.

St. Bonaventure:  The Bonnies used a tight seven man rotation last year, and their offense was better than you remember. Unfortunately, three of the most efficient and important offensive players have graduated, which means the offense will probably take a small step back. On the other hand, the core is still very talented. Dion Wright, Youssou Ndoye, Andell Cumberbatch, and Jordan Gathers could all average in double figures this year. And with two key JUCO PGs (Lakeem Alston and Marcus Posley) coming in along with three star freshman big man Jordan Tyson, the offense will still be good. The question is whether the defense can take a big enough step forward to really make the Bonnies competitive with the top half of the league. Even with the shot-blocking 7 footer Ndoye playing major minutes last year, St. Bonaventure’s defense was among the worst in the conference.

George Mason: George Mason has incredible depth in the frontcourt. It starts with former Top 100 recruit and Georgia Tech transfer Julian Royal who is debuting this season. But don’t overlook the slightly undersized Jalen Jenkins and Eric Copes, who were outstanding shot-blockers and rebounders last year, though Jenkins is the better offensive player. And while ESPN, Rivals, and Scout had mixed reviews, Scout gave a very high ranking to freshman Therence Mayimba. The difference in recruiting ranking probably comes down to potential vs ability. Mayimba is a great athlete and rebounder who is raw. Meanwhile Top 100 JUCO recruit Shevon Thompson is a true 7 footer who should make an impact right away. I honestly keep waiting to hear that incumbent junior forward Marko Gujanicic has transferred. That’s what tends to happen in these situations. And I don’t know why three star forward Trey Porter chose George Mason over George Washington when he’s almost guaranteed to redshirt at GMU.

The backcourt has one true asset, lights out three point shooter Patrick Holloway. But Vaughn Gray is a weak backup and there are no other obvious three point-shooters on the team. The PG spot is also very shaky with either turnover prone Marquise Moore, turnover prone Corey Edwards, or freshman Isaiah Jackson taking the reins. Most importantly, Paul Hewitt checks in as one of the worst player development coaches in my data set. He’s a solid recruiter, but his offenses rarely live up to expectations.

And even if you don’t buy the historical stats, when you look at that type of roster construction you can still sort of see why the model would not be in love with this team. With only one good shooter and no good passers, it is not clear how the team will have the spacing to run a competent offense.

St. Louis: The only reason I’m not picking St. Louis to finish even lower in the A10 is because Jim Crews kept the defense playing at a high level after taking over for Rick Majerus. If he can get a young group of players to play defense, they can be competitive. But on paper, this looks like the worst offense in the A10. No player projects to have an ORtg over 100 at this point.

(For those of you who care about the details, while Austin McBroom had an ORtg over 100 last year, with 71% of the team’s minutes leaving, over 71% of the team’s points leaving, and most of the replacements being sub 3-star recruits, McBroom will probably see even fewer open shots than last year. Similarly, Tanner Lacona had a decent ORtg last year, but he only took 33 shots all year. Not only don’t we have enough data to know if Lacona is good, he’s going to have to be more aggressive this year, and that should hurt his efficiency.)

Villanova transfer Achraf Yacoubout will get his chance, but if fans in St. Louis have suffered through some ugly games the last few years, things could be even more ugly this season.

Davidson: I could write a lot about how Davidson will struggle to replace De’Mon Brooks. Brooks may not have been the player of the decade (thanks to Stephen Curry), but his four year numbers should be enough to get his jersey retired. But rather than harp on the past, I should emphasize that five of Davidson’s returning rotation players (Tyler Kalinoski, Brian Sullivan, Jack Gibbs, Jordan Barham, Jake Belford) were efficient and skilled and that should keep the Wildcats competitive.

If Davidson was a different type of academic institution, they could have added a couple of transfers and had a shot at the tournament this season. Instead, Davidson will go young this year, with five sub-3 star freshmen and the very raw sophomore Andrew McAuliffe. That’s going to leave them extremely weak in the front-court, something that will be exposed more in the A10 than it would have been in the Southern Conference.

Duquesne: Micah Mason fascinates me. On the one hand, the 152.7 ORtg he posted last year cannot be sustainable. He clearly isn’t going to make 56% of his threes again next year. And then you remember that Mason made 50% of his threes as a freshman. Better yet, he’s an outstanding passer who gets bonus credit for his assists. And yet Duquesne doesn’t need him to be the primary ball-handler thanks to Derrick Colter, and so Mason’s turnover rate plummeted last season. Mason almost certainly won’t post an ORtg over 150 again, but fundamentally there is no reason he can’t be fighting to be the nation’s most efficient player again.

As for the team outlook, the biggest problem is that besides Dominique McKoy, there are no quality post players. The defense was already dreadful last year and the lack of experienced post players will make it hard to improve in that area.

St. Joseph’s: A lot of emotions were obviously going through Phil Martelli’s head as he wiped away tears after winning the A10 tournament last year. But one of those feelings had to be relief. While he had built a dominant team a decade earlier, there were questions about whether the game had passed him by. Could he still build a team that was tournament worthy?

Clearly Martelli could still recruit and develop players. His roster the last two seasons was one of the most exciting in the A10, with dynamic drivers, athletic dunkers, and big men with crazy passing skills. But despite putting together a talented roster, St. Joseph’s didn’t make the tournament in 2013. And if they failed in 2014, it might have been time to walk away. Instead, Martelli gets the green light on one more rebuilding project.

And make no mistake, this will be a rebuilding year. St. Joseph’s rode its five starters more than any team in the country last year, and the three most efficient and talented (Halil Kanacevic, Ronald Roberts, and Langston Galloway) are gone. The team can and will try to ride DeAndre Bembry, Chris Wilson, Papa Ndao, and West Virginia transfer Aaron Brown to as many victories as possible. But the downgrade in skill from last year’s starters to this year’s projected starters is enormous.

And, at some point this season Martelli will have to turn the reins over to his freshmen class and let them learn through their mistakes. This is a really outstanding recruiting class and with Bembry just a sophomore, the future can still be bright. St. Joseph’s just won’t be a very good team in 2014-15.

When will it end?

Fordham: Fordham’s combined record in the A10 the last six years is 10-86. That’s 1.7 wins per year and a winning percentage of 10%. Jon Severe is the only player on the roster who was rated 3 stars or higher out of high school and he should lead the team in scoring again.

Way Too Early Top 25 Projections

I am once again breaking out my lineup-based projection model to predict the 2014-15 season. A lot can still change. ESPN’s #2 Recruit Myles Turner has yet to make his college choice. There are a number of intriguing players available who have graduated and are eligible immediately. And there are also several Top 10 JUCO recruits who have yet to commit. Last year, I had Kansas as a borderline Top 25 squad in my first projection, and then they added Andrew Wiggins and Tarik Black and became an obvious Top 10 squad.

Somewhat unusually, I think we have a pretty good idea who is leaving in the draft this year. When a player’s decision is an open question, I list that in my discussion below. For the record, I’m projecting that Julius Randle, Will Cauley-Stein, James Young, and both Harrison twins leave Kentucky, but that everyone else returns. And I’m assuming that Kyle Anderson and Jordan Adams leave UCLA based on the CBS Sports notes that suggest they will leave.

One final technical note: The results I am presenting are based on the mean projection for each player. I am saving the simulation portion of the model for later this year. The idea of the simulation is to show what happens if players fall above or below expectations and show the best and worst case scenario for each team. But the real purpose of the simulation model is to evaluate each team’s depth. And right now a number of quality teams would look pretty bad based on limited depth. That will be corrected with the addition of a late signing, eligible transfer, or JUCO recruit. Because the bottom of each team’s roster is in such flux, I don’t think it makes sense to show the simulation results at this point in the year.

Pred Pyth = Predicted Pythagorean Winning Percentage, the winning percentage against an average D1 team on a neutral floor.

Pred Off = Predicted Offense, Points Scored per 100 Possessions

Pred Def = Predicted Defense, Points Allowed per 100 Possessions

2014 Off = 2013-14 Offense

2014 Def = 2013-14 Defense

RMin = Projected Returning Minutes

T100 = Projected Players on Roster who were once Top 100 recruits

Rnk

Team

Conf

Pred Pyth

Pred Off

Pred Def

2014 Off

2014 Def

RMin

T100

1

Arizona

P12

0.963

119.8

90.1

114.7

88.5

82%

8

2

Kansas

B12

0.952

120.0

92.5

116.8

96.3

68%

10

3

Duke

ACC

0.943

122.0

95.5

123.5

102.3

47%

10

4

Wisconsin

B10

0.934

121.9

96.7

120.8

97.6

82%

3

5

Florida

SEC

0.920

116.3

94.0

115.3

89.2

47%

7

6

Michigan

B10

0.919

121.8

98.6

124.1

102.1

73%

5

7

Kentucky

SEC

0.916

118.9

96.6

118.4

97.1

21%

7

8

N. Carolina

ACC

0.914

116.4

94.7

111.7

95.4

74%

10

9

Connecticut

AAC

0.910

113.8

93.1

112.5

92.5

55%

6

10

Virginia

ACC

0.909

112.7

92.3

114.4

90.1

72%

4

11

Villanova

BE

0.909

116.6

95.5

113.8

94.4

78%

7

12

Wichita St.

MVC

0.908

116.9

95.8

118.1

93.3

64%

0

13

VCU

A10

0.907

109.6

89.9

107.9

90.2

70%

4

14

Louisville

ACC

0.899

113.6

93.9

116.6

90.0

41%

8

15

Syracuse

ACC

0.899

113.2

93.6

112.3

93.6

41%

7

16

Ohio St.

B10

0.898

113.4

93.9

106.5

89.6

54%

8

17

SMU

AAC

0.895

113.3

94.1

110.1

94.7

75%

3

18

Colorado

P12

0.878

114.2

96.2

105.1

96.9

99%

4

19

Baylor

B12

0.877

117.6

99.2

117.8

100.0

61%

4

20

Texas

B12

0.876

115.8

97.7

111.0

98.4

100%

6

21

Maryland

B10

0.873

112.1

94.8

107.6

95.5

99%

9

22

Iowa

B10

0.873

118.9

100.6

119.8

102.7

69%

2

23

UCLA

P12

0.872

114.0

96.5

117.0

97.3

35%

6

24

Gonzaga

WCC

0.872

116.3

98.4

111.4

94.4

64%

4

25

Utah

P12

0.861

112.2

95.8

108.7

96.5

94%

2

I see three teams that missed the NCAA tournament jumping into the Top 25:

SMU: The Mustangs had the 30th best margin-of-victory in the nation, and Nic Moore and Markus Kennedy are back. The team also adds elite PG recruit Emmanuel Mudiay.

Maryland: The Terrapins finished with the 41st best margin-of-victory in the nation in 2014. With virtually everyone on the roster back, and four four-star prospects joining the roster, there are no more excuses for losses. If Mark Turgeon cannot turn Maryland into a winner now, he is not going to keep his job.

Utah: The Utes had the 42nd best margin-of-victory in the nation last year and they bring basically everyone back. By simply upgrading the non-conference schedule, the Utes will be in the NCAA tournament hunt.

Focusing on the rest of the Top 25:

Arizona: Aaron Gordon was the least efficient offensive player in Arizona’s primary rotation, but he was also the heart of Arizona's defense. Thus as Arizona seeks to replace Aaron Gordon with elite recruit Stanley Johnson, I project that as helping the offense but hurting the defense. But the real reason I expect a big jump in Arizona's offense is the return of Brandon Ashley. Arizona's offense was four points better with Ashley in the lineup. If you don't like Arizona near the top of the rankings, you must think Nick Johnson is going to declare for the draft (which seems like a mistake) or that the defense is going to fall apart without Gordon. Given the athleticism Rondae Hollis-Jefferson showed this year, I think Arizona's defense will still be championship caliber.

Kansas: Joel Embiid and Andrew Wiggins should enjoy life in the NBA next year, but don't cry for Bill Self. With elite recruits Cliff Alexander and Kelly Oubre joining fold, he has already found replacements. Also, don’t forget about Arkansas transfer and former elite recruit Hunter Mickelson who is joining the team. Finally, Kansas gave a lot of minutes to freshmen besides Embiid or Wiggins, and you can expect a big sophomore leap for many of those players, including Wayne Selden.

Duke: Even without Jabari Parker and Rodney Hood, Duke has a loaded recruiting class, and I think a lot of people will be tempted to slot them #1 overall. I agree that the offense will be great and project Duke's offense as the best in the nation. The overall ranking depends on how high you project Duke's defense relative to last year. Jahlil Okafor and a more mature Marshall Plumlee will help, but Mike Krzyzewski's defensive prowess has faded in recent years. Can he really depend on a freshman to anchor the defense when the scouting reports say Okafor is good but not great on D?

Wisconsin: Only Ben Brust departs from a Badger team that was one shot away from the national title game.

Florida: The Gators front-court is graduating and the defense will take a hit. But I'm projecting Chris Walker to return, and along with Dorian Finney-Smith, Kasey Hill, and Michael Frazier the Gators should still have a dominant lineup. Also, don't overlook the importance of a healthy Eli Carter and elite recruit Devin Robinson.

Michigan: I'm assuming Nik Stauskas leaves and Mitch McGary comes back. If both come back, Michigan will have a real chance at a national title.

Kentucky: James Young got a huge steal late in the national semifinal against Wisconsin. But he had only 29 steals on the full season before that. And despite NBA size, Young and the Harrison Twins were not elite defensive players on the full season. Having a player with the quickness of elite recruit Tyler Ulis will certainly help the perimeter defense next season, and even without Will Cauley-Stein, Kentucky should still have enough elite athletes to best this year's defensive effort. Offensively, Kentucky has reached another level in the NCAA tournament, and I don't expect next year's club to match that. But with a few more non-freshmen on the team, they might be able to avoid some of the mid-season struggles, and I see a slightly better offense on the whole year.

North Carolina: The Tar Heels found a rotation late in the year that really worked. Replacing James McAdoo should be doable with incoming elite wing Justin Jackson, who lit up the McDonald’s All-American game, and returning big man Brice Johnson. The real question is perimeter depth, but the team will have three elite passing PGs. And as Connecticut and Florida showed this year, that's a formula that can work.

Connecticut: Replacing Shabazz Napier's defense might be harder than replacing his offense. Napier was an elite defensive rebounder for a guard, and he was fantastic at getting steals. The combination of NC State transfer Rodney Purvis and elite recruit Leonard Hamilton should fill in for the loss of Napier's offense, especially with Ryan Boatright easily taking over the PG role.

Virginia: A year ago I would have said Virginia would fall off a cliff when Joe Harris and Akil Mitchell graduated. But with the emergence of Malcolm Brogdon and a strong core back, Virginia should have another extremely strong season.

Villanova: Every critical player but James Bell should be back from a team that dominated the Big East.

Wichita St.: I feel like my model is under-valuing the contributions of Cleanthonly Early. But Wichita St. has four super-efficient rotation players returning (Fred Van Vleet, Darius Carter, Tekele Cotton, and Ron Baker).  And while they'll need to pick up some frontcourt size from the JUCO ranks again, that plan has worked well in recent years. Overall, Gregg Marshall is on such a role developing less heralded players, there is no reason to expect that to stop next season.

VCU: PG Briante Weber, a healthy three point shooter Melvin Johnson, and leader Treveon Graham will be back. But the best news is that Shaka Smart has finally broken into the elite recruiting game with three Top 100 freshmen coming in this year. That formula doesn't always work. Sometimes managing elite prospects is more difficult than it sounds. But on paper, this is the most athletic team Shaka Smart has ever assembled.

Louisville: Losing Russ Smith will be devastating to the offense, but you cannot under-state Smith's impact on defense too. Right now the team has enough elite recruits and returning players that the perimeter offense will be solid. But most of the young forwards are a year away from dominating at the D1 level. Thus Montrezl Harrell's NBA decision might be the most critical of any player in the country. If Harrell comes back, Louisville is a real Final Four threat. Here I project Louisville without Harrell in the lineup. Either way, I think Louisville is a team that will benefit from the simulation model when I break that out later this summer, as they have significant quality depth.

Syracuse: Based on where he is showing up in mock drafts, I'm assuming Jerami Grant declares for the draft. Even without Grant, CJ Fair, and Tyler Ennis, Syracuse still has talent. Rakeem Christmas became a better defender last year. (Jim Boeheim no longer had to give him the hook for Baye Keita nearly as often.) Chris McCullough is a quality big man recruit. And DaJuan Coleman still has the recruiting profile to say he will be a dominant player if he ever stays healthy. Michael Gbinije is a natural wing. Trevor Cooney slumped at times, but he can be a dominant shooter. And thus you can see why Jim Boeheim is so frustrated that Tyler Ennis declared for the draft. For Syracuse to stay at an elite level, they need an elite PG. Kaleb Joseph had a lower recruiting rank than Ennis, and the reality is that freshmen PGs are a big risk.

Ohio St.: Ohio St. loses the three most important offensive players from a team that was not that great offensively last season. They are easy to write off. But they have a veteran PG in Shannon Scott, they gained a huge boost with the addition of Temple transfer Anthony Lee who is eligible immediately. They add three Top 30 recruits who should boost the offense. And they get back Kam Williams, a great SG prospect who was injured and forced to red-shirt this year. Ohio St. isn't going to be the same elite defensive team, but the talent is there for the offense to make a meaningful jump.

Colorado: Colorado finished the year with the 77th best margin-of-victory numbers in the nation. Thus they make the biggest jump of anyone in my projections. There are two key reasons. First, they gave a ton of minutes to freshmen, who should take a big jump forward. Second, PG Spencer Dinwiddie should return from his injury and substantially improve the team’s offensive execution.

Baylor: Kenny Chery was a brilliant PG last year. Ish Wainwright and Allerik Freeman (an injury redshirt) won't match Bradly Heslip's shooting, but the former elite recruits should improve on his defense. Royce O'Neale is a dominant wing who should take on a larger role. Rico Gathers is a dominant rebounder. And if Austin comes back, Baylor is clearly a Top 25 team. Isaiah Austin says he hasn't made up his mind about going pro. And given that he is projected as a 2nd round pick in most mock drafts, I’m projecting that he returns here.

Texas: The Longhorns made the Round of 32 and everyone is back. They should be in everyone's Top 25.

Iowa: The Hawkeyes lose three seniors, but given how many players the team used last year, those losses are not devastating. The addition of elite JUCO PG Trey Dickerson should also help the team to find the right scorers in more situations. But the real reason this team fell apart down the stretch was because the defense collapsed. Head coach Fran McCaffery has had mixed success on defense in his career. He's had some good defensive teams and some bad ones. With just a little defensive improvement, Iowa should be back in the Top 25.

UCLA: Bryce Alford, Norman Powell, and a now-eligible Isaac Hamilton will man the perimeter. Meanwhile elite recruits Kevon Looney and Thomas Welsh will join Tony Parker in the paint. That's a pretty good core, but the lack of depth is a concern. On paper, UCLA is not that much better than Stanford, but the model has more faith in head coach Steve Alford than Johnny Dawkins over the long grind of the regular season.

Gonzaga: Transfer big man Kyle Witjer was a very good shooter at Kentucky, but his defense was suspect.

And a few notes on teams that surprised me by missing the cut:

Iowa St: If Bryce Dejean-Jones makes the jump from UNLV, that should bump the Cyclones into the Top 25. I’m making projections based on current commitments, but given Fred Hoiberg’s track record in closing the deal with transfers, I don’t have a problem with anyone assuming he will get that commitment. And I don’t have a problem with anyone putting Iowa St. in their Top 25 right now.

Oregon:  Super-scorer Joseph Young, Dominic Artis, elite PG recruit JaQuan Lyle,  elite transfer recruit Brandon Austin (eligible in December), Elgin Cook (who broke out against BYU in the tournament), elite recruit Jordan Bell (a late qualifier and red-shirt), and Top 10 JUCO forward Michael Chandler are all reasons to love this team. But I think Oregon had more talent last year, and they still finished 29th nationally. Right now this team has limited depth in the paint, but with one more transfer addition in the front-court, they can easily jump into the Top 25.

San Diego St: It cannot be over-stated how vital Xavier Thames was to the Aztecs offense and how important Josh Davis' rebounding was to the team's defense. San Diego St. has a great recruiting class filled with players who should be stars in 2016. And Angelo Chol is a transfer who could put the team over the top. But without Thames and Davis, the team falls just outside the Top 25.

Stanford: I really feel like Stanford should be in the Top 25. With Chasson Randle, Anthony Brown, Stefan Nastic, and three elite recruits, this is a team that can build on the Sweet Sixteen run. But even with the Sweet Sixteen run, Stanford's margin-of-victory on the season was only 36th nationally. And that continued a trend where Johnny Dawkins has failed to develop teams that perform on a per possession basis. Dawkins saved his job this year by making the tournament, but the long-run stats say he hasn't been great at developing players. Perhaps he will prove the model wrong by turning Reid Travis into a star this year, but right now the model isn’t convinced.

Dayton: The Flyers will show up in many people's Top 25 rankings because they played a deep lineup and advanced to the Sweet Sixteen. But they lose their two most important offensive players (Devin Oliver and Vee Sanford), and don't have anyone coming in to replace them. For a team that finished 38th nationally in margin-of-victory, that isn't the formula to move up into the Top 25. But if you are looking for a reason these projections are wrong, consider that Dayton played much better basketball after February 1st.

And now a note on a few other teams that might spend some time in the Top 25 next year:

Michigan St.: The Spartans lose three critical offensive players in Adreian Payne, Gary Harris, and Keith Appling and they don’t have anyone coming in who projects to make an immediate impact. The return of key role players like Travis Trice and Denzel Valentine will keep them near the edges of the Top 25, but the Spartans take a big step back this year.

Pittsburgh: The return of Durand Johnson from injury should help offset the loss of two key seniors.

Bottom Line: Even though Michigan St. and Pittsburgh are not in my top 25, never bet against Tom Izzo and Jamie Dixon. These teams will still be very dangerous.

Georgetown, Seton Hall, UNLV: Great recruiting classes, but each team needs to improve in a number of areas to be a Top 25 team.

LSU: Another team with elite talent, that isn’t quite there yet.

Memphis: The Tigers have enough elite talent to finish in the Top 25. But they had Top 25 talent last season, and they finished with the 37th best margin-of-victory numbers. Realistically, with zero seniors in 2014-15, Memphis projects to peak in 2015-16.

Tennessee:  The Volunteers lose a ton of production, but if Jarnell Stokes comes back, they will be in the hunt.

Illinois: Jon Groce’s team finished with the 49th best margin-of-victory in the nation last year, and the team adds three quality transfers, plus incoming Top 100 recruit Leron Black in the paint. They still don’t have many star scorers besides Rayvonte Rice, but given the upgrade at PG and PF, Illinois is intriguing.

Nebraska: Tim Miles is very close and brings almost everyone back. But considering that Nebraska still has zero Top 100 recruits, if Tim Miles can get the team to jump from 44th to 30th nationally, that would still be a huge accomplishment.

Cincinnati: The offense was bad with Sean Kilpatrick and Justin Jackson in the fold. They deserve respect as the defending American Conference champs, but it is hard to see this team defending that title.

Stats To Pick Apart The Bracket

Quick note: Every year the committee picks out a team and leaves them out because of a weak NCSOS. This year the victim was SMU. And if you look at their team sheet, you can understand why. There simply are not very many games in the two left columns.

I do not have a lot of unique hints to help you pick your bracket. But reading the research other people have done on the topic, here are the most important factors:

1) Margin of Victory (MOV)

See Jeff Sagarin’s Predictor, Ken Pomeroy’s Ratings, ESPN’s BPI, or a similar MOV-based system.

2) MOV

3) MOV

OK, fine. There might be a couple of other things that matter a little:

4) The ability to create turnovers

This tends to matter because almost every team you face in the tournament is going to be good on offense and defense, and if you force turnovers, you can even score on a good defensive team. But relative to MOV, this is a very small factor.

5) Having a coach who knows how to win in March.

By now, you’ve probably seen lots of studies about Performance Against Seed Expectations (or PASE). The idea is to pick out coaches who exceed their typical NCAA seed. But I’m not a huge fan of that analysis because all it takes is one loss for a coach to completely blow his numbers. And the NCAA tournament is filled with small sample sizes.

Today, I’m going to present some numbers that offer an alternative measure. What I do is take each coach’s efficiency margin from November to February, and compare that to their efficiency margin in March. I include all March games, not just NCAA tournament games, so that I can do something with seasons when a coach does not make the NCAA tournament. For example, the table below gives Scott Drew credit for his team's NIT run last season.

Efficiency Margin = Opponent and Venue Adjusted Offense minus Defense

AEMFY = Average Efficiency Margin November to February

AEMM = Average Efficiency Margin March

Here are the coaches with efficiency margin improvements of more than 1.5 points late in the year:

Seed

Team

Coach

AEMNF

AEMM

DIFF

5

VCU

Shaka Smart

14.3

22.0

7.8

2

Michigan

John Beilein

12.7

16.9

4.2

6

Baylor

Scott Drew

8.5

12.4

4.0

8

Memphis

Josh Pastner

15.1

17.5

2.4

4

Louisville

Rick Pitino

22.2

24.6

2.3

1

Wichita St.

Gregg Marshall

12.3

14.6

2.3

6

Ohio St.

Thad Matta

23.0

24.8

1.8

4

Michigan St.

Tom Izzo

20.3

22.0

1.6

By focusing on efficiency margin instead of just the outcome, we get a slightly different picture than the PASE stats. Thad Matta’s team has not always exceeded the expected seed in the NCAA tournament, but his teams rarely play poorly. Thad Matta’s team has lost its final game in the last five tournaments by a total of 13 points.

Josh Pastner’s inclusion on this list is the most dubious. This is mostly about his team rolling teams in the CUSA tournament. But it is worth noting that his team lost a close game to a brutally under-seeded St. Louis team in 2012 and lost by two to Arizona in 2011. Pastner’s less than stellar NCAA record may not be completely representative of his team’s March performance.

Conversely, the following coaches have all seen their teams efficiency margin plummet by more than 1.5 points in March:

Seed

Team

Coach

AEMNF

AEMM

DIFF

9

Pittsburgh

Jamie Dixon

22.5

20.9

-1.7

2

Villanova

Jay Wright

17.5

15.3

-2.2

5

Oklahoma

Lon Kruger

12.3

9.9

-2.3

1

Arizona

Sean Miller

16.9

14.6

-2.4

9

Oklahoma St.

Travis Ford

12.6

9.9

-2.7

1

Virginia

Tony Bennett

15.9

12.0

-3.9

9

Kansas St.

Bruce Weber

19.2

15.2

-4.0

7

Texas

Rick Barnes

22.0

16.2

-5.8

10

BYU

Dave Rose

18.1

12.0

-6.1

2

Wisconsin

Bo Ryan

24.6

18.3

-6.3

5

Cincinnati

Mick Cronin

12.0

5.1

-6.9

3

Duke

Mike Krzyzewski

29.2

21.0

-8.2

Mike Krzyzewski’s inclusion on this list is a bit misleading. His teams have not always under-performed in the tournament. The issue here is that Duke has historically been dominant in November and December, and has not quite kept that up later in the year.

Mick Cronin’s numbers are also a little misleading. Cronin didn’t win a game in March until his fourth season. He has been better in recent years and in the tournament.

But all of the other coaches on this list have had dominant stretches in the regular season that they have not been able to duplicate in March.

(I’m always puzzled by some of the above distinctions. Michigan and Wisconsin both have similar philosophies. Both avoid fouling and rarely turn the ball over. And yet John Beilein has had the magic touch in the NCAA tournament while Bo Ryan might be the best coach never to reach the Final Four.)

6) Teams that have under-achieved in the regular season are good upset picks.

Various folks have shown that the preseason AP poll still has predictive power at the end of the season. Thus your instincts are correct. Louisville is under-seeded due to few quality wins, but has the talent to win it all. Michigan St. when healthy, has the talent to win it all. And if Kentucky still has plenty of talent and upside, even if they haven’t always shown it.

Now, if you need some help on coin flip games, here are some totally useless facts:

Vs Tournament Field

Here is how teams seeded 1-13 in the NCAA field have fared against teams seed 1-13 in the NCAA field. (Note, given the small sample sizes, I am not capping margin-of-victory here. I didn’t want to throw away any possessions, but given that these are all quality teams, it didn’t seem like this was critical.)

Seed

Team

Off

Def

EM

W

L

1

Wichita St.

119.4

85.9

33.5

4

0

1

Florida

116.1

86.3

29.8

8

2

1

Arizona

116.2

87.6

28.6

12

3

3

Duke

128.2

99.9

28.2

8

5

4

UCLA

121.0

94.8

26.2

8

4

3

Creighton

130.4

104.4

26.0

9

5

2

Kansas

118.7

94.2

24.5

12

8

1

Virginia

109.1

87.2

21.9

6

4

2

Michigan

122.2

100.6

21.5

9

6

2

Wisconsin

114.2

92.6

21.5

7

4

4

Louisville

114.4

93.2

21.2

4

5

2

Villanova

117.7

96.8

21.0

8

3

3

Syracuse

115.4

95.1

20.3

7

3

5

Oklahoma

121.6

101.5

20.1

9

6

4

Michigan St.

116.3

96.2

20.1

8

6

6

Ohio St.

111.6

91.7

19.9

7

5

5

VCU

109.7

89.8

19.9

5

5

8

Kentucky

118.3

98.9

19.4

3

6

5

Cincinnati

108.9

90.1

18.8

7

5

6

North Carolina

114.0

95.2

18.7

7

5

11

Iowa

115.2

96.7

18.6

4

8

3

Iowa St.

115.1

97.0

18.1

12

6

11

Tennessee

108.7

92.2

16.5

2

7

9

Pittsburgh

112.7

96.6

16.2

3

8

7

Connecticut

108.0

92.1

16.0

7

5

6

UMass

110.2

94.3

15.9

7

4

5

St. Louis

102.3

86.7

15.6

5

4

6

Baylor

116.2

100.6

15.6

10

9

7

Oregon

117.1

101.6

15.5

4

6

9

Kansas St.

114.1

99.1

15.1

7

8

9

Oklahoma St.

112.2

97.2

15.0

5

11

7

New Mexico

108.1

93.3

14.8

4

4

12

Xavier

110.8

96.6

14.2

4

7

10

St. Joseph's

112.5

98.7

13.8

6

5

8

Gonzaga

112.7

99.1

13.6

3

4

4

San Diego St.

104.0

90.4

13.6

3

3

8

Memphis

115.3

102.7

12.6

4

7

7

Texas

112.6

100.1

12.5

8

9

11

Providence

112.9

100.5

12.4

3

6

10

BYU

113.6

101.3

12.4

3

6

12

North Dakota St.

118.6

106.5

12.1

1

1

10

Stanford

112.8

101.9

10.9

5

9

9

George Washington

106.9

97.6

9.3

5

6

11

Dayton

113.3

104.0

9.3

4

6

10

Arizona St.

105.4

97.1

8.3

4

7

12

NC State

109.2

101.7

7.5

3

8

11

Nebraska

107.4

100.6

6.8

3

8

8

Colorado

105.1

98.7

6.3

5

8

12

Harvard

101.9

96.5

5.3

0

2

13

New Mexico St.

108.7

103.8

4.8

1

3

13

Delaware

111.2

106.9

4.3

0

3

13

Manhattan

110.3

108.6

1.7

0

1

13

Tulsa

106.5

104.9

1.7

0

3

12

Stephen F Austin

102.7

101.9

0.7

0

1

Wichita St. hasn’t played many tournament teams, but they played well against Tennessee, St. Louis, BYU, and Tulsa, particularly given that only one of those games was at home.

It is a totally meaningless stat, but I am still amazed that Kansas has played 20 games against teams seeded 13 or higher in the NCAA tournament. The Jayhawks are the most battled tested team I have ever seen. In another totally meaningless stat, 16 seed Coastal Carolina has not played a team seeded better than 13th in the NCAA tournament all year.

The above table makes Iowa vs Tennessee seem like a compelling match-up. But the reason I am not buying it is the following:

Last 10 Games – Who’s Hot?

Looking at uncapped opponent adjusted offense and defense in the last 10 games, Louisville has absolutely been crushing teams:

Seed

Team

Off

Def

EM

W

L

4

Louisville

122.5

81.5

41.0

9

1

1

Arizona

117.1

85.7

31.5

7

3

1

Virginia

121.5

91.2

30.4

9

1

1

Wichita St.

122.7

93.7

29.0

10

0

1

Florida

117.1

88.1

29.0

10

0

11

Tennessee

113.2

86.7

26.6

6

4

2

Villanova

115.2

91.1

24.1

8

2

7

New Mexico

113.2

89.1

24.1

9

1

5

VCU

110.2

86.7

23.5

7

3

2

Kansas

122.7

99.3

23.4

6

4

2

Wisconsin

121.8

98.6

23.2

8

2

6

Baylor

127.0

103.9

23.1

8

2

4

UCLA

120.9

98.3

22.6

7

3

2

Michigan

126.3

103.7

22.6

8

2

3

Creighton

129.7

107.6

22.2

7

3

4

Michigan St.

124.4

102.9

21.4

6

4

5

Oklahoma

119.8

98.9

20.9

6

4

13

Tulsa

108.5

87.8

20.7

10

0

9

Oklahoma St.

114.7

94.1

20.7

5

5

11

Nebraska

111.7

91.4

20.3

8

2

10

St. Joseph's

114.9

94.6

20.2

8

2

3

Iowa St.

117.9

98.0

19.9

8

2

14

NC Central

113.9

94.2

19.7

10

0

6

North Carolina

115.8

96.2

19.6

8

2

4

San Diego St.

107.3

87.7

19.6

8

2

12

Harvard

113.2

94.0

19.2

9

1

7

Oregon

119.5

100.3

19.2

8

2

3

Duke

121.5

102.3

19.1

7

3

8

Gonzaga

109.9

90.9

19.0

7

3

12

North Dakota St.

113.2

95.9

17.4

9

1

11

Providence

120.8

103.5

17.3

7

3

9

Pittsburgh

116.9

99.7

17.2

5

5

13

New Mexico St.

113.7

97.5

16.3

9

1

6

Ohio St.

106.7

90.8

15.9

6

4

5

Cincinnati

109.9

94.5

15.4

6

4

8

Kentucky

112.7

97.4

15.2

5

5

10

Stanford

115.6

100.6

14.9

6

4

12

Stephen F Austin

117.4

103.0

14.4

10

0

3

Syracuse

108.1

94.8

13.3

5

5

9

Kansas St.

111.1

97.9

13.3

5

5

12

Xavier

114.7

101.8

12.9

5

5

10

BYU

112.7

99.8

12.9

8

2

11

Dayton

111.9

99.5

12.5

8

2

12

NC State

119.1

106.7

12.4

5

5

11

Iowa

121.7

109.3

12.4

3

7

7

Connecticut

103.4

91.1

12.3

7

3

7

Texas

110.8

98.9

11.9

5

5

13

Manhattan

105.8

94.6

11.2

9

1

5

St. Louis

104.7

93.8

10.8

6

4

9

George Washington

110.3

100.0

10.3

6

4

14

Western Michigan

109.9

100.2

9.7

9

1

8

Memphis

109.0

99.4

9.5

6

4

10

Arizona St.

105.9

96.7

9.3

5

5

14

Louisiana-Lafayette

116.0

106.9

9.1

8

2

6

UMass

107.1

98.4

8.7

6

4

14

Mercer

106.6

100.1

6.5

8

2

8

Colorado

102.7

97.1

5.7

5

5

15

American

96.8

91.9

4.9

6

4

16

Albany

105.8

102.1

3.7

7

3

15

Eastern Kentucky

113.4

110.3

3.1

8

2

13

Delaware

108.5

105.9

2.7

8

2

16

Mount St. Mary's

109.9

107.4

2.5

6

4

16

Texas Southern

107.3

104.9

2.4

9

1

15

Wofford

104.7

102.9

1.8

7

2

15

Milwaukee

107.6

106.3

1.3

6

4

16

Weber St.

109.0

109.3

-0.3

6

4

16

Cal Poly

103.4

104.6

-1.2

5

5

16

Coastal Carolina

96.8

98.2

-1.4

8

2

Before you get too excited about that last table, let me remind you that last year, late season performance was NOT a good predictor of NCAA tournament performance. Syracuse and Michigan both struggled in their last 10 games last season and then turned things around and made the Final Four. Still, when it comes to picking the coin flips, this is basically why I can’t pick Iowa and Connecticut with good conscience.

Finally, Tennessee is one of the biggest mysteries in this year’s field. At times they’ve looked great. They’ve blown out Virginia early in the year. And late in the year they blew out Missouri, Auburn, and Vanderbilt by such a large margin, that it seems like Tennessee has broken the computers. And yet this same team has a number of dubious losses. The real problem is the lack of a PG. Jordan McCrae has been the token ball-handler for most of the year. Darius Thompson is probably the most natural PG, but he is a freshman. And transfer Antonio Barton, expected to be the PG at the beginning of the year has struggled in that role. With the right match-up, Tennessee rolls teams. But in close games, the lack of a solid distributor makes it very difficult to win.

Final Thoughts On Ranking 351 D1 Teams

Over the past few days, Dan Hanner has presented his updated projection model, his season projections on ESPN Insider, Q&A's with Eamonn Brennon and John Templon, along with replying to questions on Twitter. Here are a few additional thoughts that didn't make the cut.

Early Season Tournaments: Brackets, Observations, And Odds: Part 2

The Legends Classic might be the most highly anticipated early season tournament because of the potential finals matchup between Indiana and UCLA. We also look at the CBE Classic, Maui Invitational, Cancun Challenge, Great Alaska Shootout, Battle 4 Atlantis and the Old Spice Classic.

Predictions For A10/CUSA

In a surprise announcement, VCU is headed to the A10 for the upcoming season. Where do I project the Rams to finish?

NCAA Tournament Day 1

Which players have contributed to Purdue's offensive resurgence, the storylines from Day 1 of the NCAA tournament, and an explanation why various teams tournament expecations are changing.

Initial Bracket Thoughts

A few preliminary thoughts on matchups and which teams will advance deep in the tournament.

The Many Facets & Unpredictability Of March Madness

While personnel determine scheme in the NBA, college basketball coaches recruit players that fit their schemes.

YABC Column For Feb. 27th (POY Races, Improbabilities & More)

As Draymond Green locked up the Big Ten POY award and Kansas battled Missouri for a likely No. 1 seed, Saturday afternoon encapsulated everything that is great about the NCAA regular season.

Colleges On NBA Rosters

Duke, Kentucky, UCLA, Texas, Kansas, North Carolina, UConn, Florida and Arizona each begin the 11-12 NBA season with 10 or more players on NBA rosters.

SEC And CAA Notes

While Vanderbilt returns so many of the 'right' players, Kentucky's incoming class is loaded with talent and there are several reasons to be bullish on Alabama.

Relative Value Losers, Pac-12 And Horizon League Notes

Using Relative Value to identify teams that will struggle to repeat their 2011 success, along with looks at the Pac-12 and Horizon.

Are Elite High School Recruits Necessary To Reach The Final Four?

Butler and George Mason have proven it is possible to reach the Final Four without Top-100 recruits, but Florida's success without Top-10 players in 2006 and 2007 may give us the most realistic scenario of success.

Yet Another College Basketball Column (Final Four Weekend)

Why Kentucky's loss to UConn was a surprise, a way to improve the college all-star senior game and what Butler-VCU made us remember.

Yet Another College Basketball Column (The Final Four Is Set)

The Final Four is set with Kentucky, UConn, VCU and Butler earning trips to Houston. Here is how they got there.

Yet Another College Basketball Column (Sweet 16 - Day 2)

Brandon Knight hits another game-winner, but Kentucky's defensive schemes were equally critical.

Looking Back And Ahead

Why Kentucky matches up well with Ohio State, Arizona's biggest strength and who will win SDSU/UConn.

Yet Another College Basketball Column (Post-Selection Edition)

The field of 68 has been set and the four No. 1 seeds boringly look like good bets to reach the Final Four, but here are a few teams capable of overachieving.

Yet Another College Basketball Column (Feb. 21st)

Dissecting how Nebraska upset Rick Barnes' Longhorns, losing faith in Villanova's Antonio Pena, random bullets and a Bracket Buster rant.

Older Articles »

 

Basketball Wiretap Headlines

    NBA Wiretap Headlines

      NCAA Wiretap Headlines

        MLB Wiretap Headlines

          NFL Wiretap Headlines

            NHL Wiretap Headlines

              Soccer Wiretap Headlines