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Old 05-07-2020, 06:23 PM   #1
Comey
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The Quadaily 25 Archive (CJBL)

This thread will house any Quadaily piece written for the CJBL. The Quadaily, and Quad 25, was a daily column written for the CJBL in the 2028 season. The name Quadaily simply means "four days daily", which is how the CJBL operates.

I attempted to keep up with it last season, and largely succeeded (granted, having to stay at home seemed to help). So, I plan to continue doing it next season.
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Old 05-07-2020, 06:24 PM   #2
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The Quadaily 25, 2028 Season (Day 1): The Preseason Quad 25

http://jblfl.com/cjbl/article?id=2398

The Quadaily 25: 2028 Preseason

1. Duke (25-7 LY): Grit teeth and put them here. They have veteran talent in key places.
2. USC (26-6): They may be the most talented team in the nation.
3. Indiana (19-13): Definitely ranked high, but you gotta believe in the Hoosiers this year.
4. Kansas (30-4): Kansas' wing depth vs Duke's bully ball would match an interesting matchup.
5. Arizona (30-4): There are some potential issues with shooting and guarding shooters here.
6. North Carolina (30-4): They have as much talent as anyone.
7. Michigan State (28-5): Loads of talent, loads of questions at the PG spot.
8. Memphis (29-4): If Grant Bassett can step into starter's minutes and perform, sky's the limit.
9. Arkansas (28-5): Plenty of talent, though another team with PG decisions to make.
10. Connecticut (30-2): Could easily be better than last year's team. Or way worse.
11. Texas (27-7): Raijon Ward needs to shoot better than 41.2% if they are to succeed.
12. Washington (22-11): Top heavy and post heavy. Reservations about this squad in March.
13. Georgetown (24-10): Deep, veteran team led by wings Groshek and Cunningham.
14. Michigan (25-10): This looks low for the Wolverines; deep and experienced.
15. Florida (25-9): Are the Moore Twins (Octavius and Pabo, not twins) able to lead?
16. UCLA (23-10): David Sharpe, Forgotten Star, time is thou for thee.
17. NC State (18-14): Deeper than one thinks, but does not have the horses of Duke, UNC.
18. Colorado (14-17): They have talent; it's whether it can gel is the question.
19. Kentucky (25-7): Is Sam Meeking the missing piece for Payton Franklin & Co?
20: Purdue (25-7): A lot returns from last year's Elite Eight team; maybe this is too low.
21: Cincinnati (30-4): You know, despite the rank now, they're neck and neck with Memphis.
22. Minnesota (21-12): They suffered heavy losses from last year's CJBL team
23. Gonzaga (30-3): Not so sure this is proper, but the Zags have good talent.
24. Villanova (32-2): Ranking them this low is atrocious; they will be a major player in the Big East.
25. Wisconsin (23-10): Not a prospect-rich team, but they have a diverse skilled team.
Next: Missouri, Ohio State, Syracuse, Stanford, Virginia
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Old 05-07-2020, 06:26 PM   #3
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The Quadaily 25, 2028 Season (Day 5): The This Will Not Be The Format Edition

http://jblfl.com/cjbl/article?id=2404

This took too long.

The Quad got home from a Boston Crusaders game last night, couldn't sleep, and compiled the list. Today, still exhausted, the notes were compiled. That part was simply too long. So this will change...to what, who knows. But for today, enjoy an elongated weekend edition of The Quad.

Top 25

1. Duke (2-0, #1 Last Poll)
Day 1: Win vs Butler (88-57)
Day 3: Win vs Gonzaga (83-69)

Duke handled their business in two easy wins; five players are currently averaging between 10 and 12.5 points per game. The freshmen Travon Easley and Nate Dorsey look the part so far.

2. Indiana (2-0, 3)
Day 2: Win vs Seton Hall (60-45)
Day 4: Win vs Notre Dame (88-66)

The Notre Dame win is notable not because it's Notre Dame, but how Indiana responded when Notre Dame closed to within 4 (50-46) with 16:18 left. The Hoosiers won the rest of the game, 38-20, and did it with eleven players playing at least 12 minutes.

3. Kansas (2-0, 4)
Day 1: Win vs Virginia Tech (68-55)
Day 3: Win vs Texas A&M (76-52)

Easy wins, but we get treated to the fruits of their labor on Day 5,when the Jayhawks face Arizona. Ashton Carr is shooting 64% on 11 FGA in his first two games this year.

4. Arizona (2-0, 5)
Day 1: Win vs Xavier (62-52)
Day 3: Win vs Iowa (84-76)

The Iowa win was tough, but Jeremy Jawvell saw them through. He was 13-14 from the field, finishing wth 32 points and nine boards.

5. North Carolina (2-0, 6)
Day 1: Win vs Pacific (88-56)
Day 3: Win vs USC (83-73)

The Tar Heels were all over USC on Day 3, getting out to a 50-35 halftime lead; they led by 21 with 15:34 left, before holding off a furious Trojan rally. Dan Hargrove had 17-4-3 with two stelas in the win. The Tar Heels were 35-for-41 from the line (USC was 29-33); there were 51 calls between the two teams.

6. Michigan State (2-0, 7)
Day 2: Win vs West Virignia (70-54)
Day 4: Win vs UCLA (89-87)

They almost blew it against UCLA; they held a 61-51 lead with 1:22 left, only to see UCLA storm back to tie it. Cal Jones missed two free throws in the final 27 seconds, that helped the Bruins make up seven points in that span. Still, they got the win in overtime.

7. USC (1-1, 2)
Day 1: Win vs Wisconsin (76-62)
Day 3: Loss vs North Carolina (83-73)

The growing pains of Jordan Loose: 5-8, 15 points in win vs Wisconsin, but 3-13 (0-6 from 3), 18 points against UNC. The big bright spot: 12-12 from the line against UNC, 16-16 for the season.

8. Arkansas (2-0, 9)
Day 1: Win vs Maryland (77-75)
Day 3: Win vs Georgetown (74-73)

Lightning struck twice, as the Razorbacks have walked it off in both their games this year. These things come in threes...is UConn next? Arkansas has had some growing pains...their most-used lineup is -9, with a -12.5 Net, over their first two games. (Small Sample Size Theater)

9. Connecticut (2-0, 10)
Day 1: Win vs Utah (59-49)
Day 3: Win vs Iowa State (79-63)

Neither win has been particularly impressive, as the team has seemingly shifted to a more defensive approach this season. Sure, it's two games, and one was against Utah. They are averaging 46 ppg in the paint, eighth in the nation, which is a major surprise, given their slant towards offensive players on the perimeter.

10. Texas (2-0, 11)
Day 2: Win vs Georgia Tech (68-59)
Day 4: Win vs Purdue (69-68)

Texas iced their win against Purdue with five points in the final 1:03, the final bucket coming with :18 left. Purdue simply could not get a bucket to fall. Raijon Ward had 18 points and seven reboards to pace the Longhorns, while Wade Reeves posted 16 off the bench.

11. Washington (2-0, 12)
Day 2: Win vs Florida (84-71)
Day 4: Win vs George Washington (78-74)

The easy Florida win was a surprise, given what some are saying about the Gators. Freshman Daryl Mills has posted 24.5 ppg to start his season, including a ridiculous 5.5/6.0 (91.7%) rate from deep. Washington trailed GW by 17 late in the first half before zipping back into the game early in the second half.

12. Georgetown (1-1, 13)
Day 1: Win vs Wake Forest (88-69)
Day 3: Loss vs Arkansas (74-73)

The Hoyas aren't punished much for a close loss to a top-ten team. Demajeo Baker was solid against Wake, but they need more from him in the big moments. He had just nine against the Razorbacks.

13. Michigan (2-0, 14)
Day 2: Win vs Texas Tech (89-68)
Day 4: Win vs Clemson (76-68)

The good: Michigan rolled over a good team in Clemson, shooting 50% from the field. They have five players averaging double figures.
The bad: They were 2-11 from deep.

14. UCLA (1-1, 16)
Day 2: Win vs Marquette (68-57)
Day 4: Loss vs Michigan State (89-87)

The Bruins won't be punished for nearly pulling off an amazing comeback against Sparty. They also took care of a solid Marquette team. Bryson Sloan (maybe the most UCLA-named player ever) and Brachen Morrissey (or this is) are both averaging 16 ppg, though Sloan's is more sustainable.

15. Memphis (1-1, 8)
Day 2: Win vs Minnesota (62-52)
Day 4: Loss vs Virginia (72-61)

The Quad doesn't know whether to hammer Memphis for losing handedly to Virginia. In the end, it is the worst loss from a big team, and the teams above them lost to teams higher on this list. The culprit against the Cavaliers: 14-41 as a team from the field. Virginia shot 59% on 39 attempts. They simply ran cold in the second half, scoring 13 points in the final 12 minutes.

16. NC State (2-0, 17)
Day 2: Win vs Tulane (71-61)
Day 4: Win vs Pepperdine (75-68)

Just taking care of business...freshman PG Justin Noel is off to a nice start, averaging 21.5 ppg and 5.5 apg. Oddly enough, the 6'2 PG has had 24% of his places as the pick-and-roll man. That one is really curious.

17. Colorado (2-0, 18)
Day 2: Win vs Canisius (71-62)
Day 4: Win vs Louisville (79-68)

Another major SSST (Small Size Sample Theater) nugget: Colorado's main lineup is +4 in 22:11, but has a -5.9 Net. The offense was the issue (97.3 ORtg), though it's unsure where the breakdown is right now. PG Tevin Carr may be the one to investigate at the moment; he's shooting 29%, though with a 10-1 A/T ratio.

19. Kentucky (2-0, 19)
Day 2: Win vs Santa Clara (63-52)
Day 4: Win vs Stanford (66-53)

The Stanford faithful were crowing about a lack of respect after beating...ahem, Temple...97-70. Then came Kentucky. After spotting the Fightin Trees a 35-27 halftime lead, Kentucky dominated the second twenty, and won 66-63. Sam Meeking (17 pts) and senior stalwart guard Cedrick Cyrus (16) paced the Wildcats.

20. Virginia (2-0, NR)
Day 2: Win vs DePaul (58-45)
Day 4: Win vs Memphis (72-61)

The Memphis win is the most impressive one this week, and earned Virginia their place here. The Hoos won despite 25 fouls. Tony Eyles put up 26 off the bench in the win.

21. Florida (0-1, 15)
Day 2: Loss vs Washington (84-71)

The silver lining in Florida's loss to Washington: Freshman guard David Francois posted 19 points, including 7-7 from the line.

22. Purdue (1-1, 20)
Day 2: Win vs Houston (76-65)
Day 4: Loss vs Texas (69-68)

Purdue losing to Texas is nothing to feel bad about. Mo Carter at the point, though, has. The three lineups with him in there: -24.0, -19.1, -71.4 Net.

23. Missouri (2-0, NR)
Day 2: Win vs Loyola-Chicago (65-46)
Day 4: Win vs San Diego (75-66)

One has to wonder if there is any merit to 6'7 PG Derek Gibson's offensive explosion to start the year. But explosion, we mean more of a quasar, supernova situation. Yeah, he's posting 21 ppg...but supernovas turn into black holes. Will his 40.6% shooting (31% from inide the arc) be something to worry about?

24. Ohio State (2-0, NR)
Day 1: Win vs South Florida (71-68)
Day 3: Win vs Oklahoma (75-63)

Oklahoma wasn't what they were last year. And while Gilbert Hart won't be what Kyron Not Kerry Kittles was last year, he has acquitted himself okay so far: 50% shooting on seven attempts per game, 13.5 ppg. Ohio State has started this year at a 78.8 Pace, which is far slower than last year's team.

25. Cincinnati (1-1, 21)
Day 1: Win vs Auburn (66-53)
Day 3: Loss vs Kansas State (81-80)

After Glenn Harris hit two free throws with :20 left to put Cincinnati up one, he fouled BJ Stanley at the rim, with a second left. Stanley completed the bucket, then sank the bucket, to sink the Bearcats, 81-80. Harris was the main reason Cincinnati was in the game, with 23-11-4-2-1, including 10-11 from the line. So Cincy fans, be gentle on him, please.

Next: Kansas State (2-0), Stanford (1-1), Gonzaga (1-1), Minnesota (1-1), Villanova (0-1)
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Old 05-07-2020, 06:57 PM   #4
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The Quadaily 25, 2028 Season (Day 9): Now With Sustainable Format Maybe

JBL | The Quadaily 25, 2028 Season (Day 9): Now With Sustainable Format Maybe

Please Welcome...

Oklahoma State (22rd): The Cowboys entered the poll after defeating Syracuse and Creighton, both on the road. They probably should have entered the poll yesterday, but that's what one gets for doing a poll at 1am. (Note: #18 was neglected in yesterday's poll, so each team slid up a spot. It's likely the Cowboys would have moved in, had that transgression not been overlooked.) The Cowboys currently rank 13th in threes made per game, and are 32nd in 3pt%. They are also tenth in the nation in free throw percentage, and are 12th in bench scoring. They currently rank best in the Big XII in scoring, at 77.7 points per game. They're also 1st in the conference in FG%, at 47.6% (43rd nationally). This is even with leading scorer, Frank Tucker-Smith, shooting just 42.4% from the field. So far, with OK State, this is a collaborative effort.

Illinois (23rd): The Quad isn't a big fan of this placement, but the Fightin Illini will get a great chance to prove their standing today, when Gonzaga comes to town. They also have Missouri coming in a week. They haven't played anyone yet, which isn't their fault. With so much movement at the bottom of the poll, and The Quad, while being appreciative of Pitt and St. John's, not believing of their standing in The 25 just yet, Illinois is the choice. Neils Martin has been solid, averaging 16.7 ppg and 6.0 rpg, taking his place as the focal point in the offense. It remains to be seen if their efficiency from deep--they rank 12th nationally with a 53.3% clip from beyond the arc--can be sustained. They have been adept at being able to run (9th in transition points per game), thanks to their strong rebounding (17th in defensive rebounds per game). However, one has to wonder what happens when a team slows them down and runs them off the line. They rank just 62nd in the nation in points per game. Overall, it feels like this whole thing is not a sustainable product, and some lean offensive days are ahead. For today, though, the Fightin Illini are flying high.

Notes: Duke has proved their standing so far, handling three teams that have been ranked in this poll. They have beaten Gonzaga, Ohio State, and Purdue. For the Boilermakers, that marked their second straight loss to a top team. They fell to Texas by one on Day 4...North Carolina, meanwhile, has slowed themselves down a bit. They're ninth in pace, and 19th in scoring. They were sixth and fifth in those categories last year, respectively...this might be bad news for Baylor fans: Ilinois State, a ten-win team last year, went into Baylor and handled the Bears, 77-68. Signs point to a rather lean year in Waco...Pitt got their way to 4-0 by upending Penn State, 60-58. Penn State had a chance to win the game, but Alexander Krysko's three at the buzzer fell off the rim. Pitt held a 54-39 lead with 7:11 left, only to see the Nittany Lions storm back...there are several teams in the AP Poll you won't find here, including LSU (18th), Minnesota (21st), San Diego State (24th) and St. John's (25th). Overall, The Quad feels like teams ranked here have done more with their schedules early on. Also, the AP voters are quite overreactive on chucking teams. Since this is a daily poll, you may question some choices. We're playing the long game here, friends.

Oh, and since there's an interesting bet placed at the 40ish Minutes of Hell podcast (give it a listen, those guys are superb), through four games, Jack Dawkins is averaging exactly 22.0 points per game. (The bet is an over/under on whether Jack would average 22.0). With UConn's bent towards a more defensive approach, it seems more feasible that Jack will do it. Then again, he posted 31 against Syracuse to bring that average up.

While it will be difficult to honor individual efforts in this piece, we did want to highlight Kenny Easley, a freshman at Coppin State. He posted 17 points and six boards, going 7-7 from the field, and 3-3 from the line. His PER on the day was 57.0. His ORtg/DRtg was an astonishing 185.8/82.2. (The Quad looked at efforts over 25 minutes per game, and this stood out). That's an incredible game.

Day 9

1. Duke (4-0, 1)
2. Indiana (3-0, 2)
3. Kansas (4-0, 3)
4. North Carolina (4-0, 5)
5. Michigan State (2-0, 6)
6. Arizona (2-1, 4)
7. Southern Cal (2-1, 7)
8. Connecticut (4-0, 9)
9. Texas (3-0, 10)
10. Washington (3-0, 11)
11. Georgetown (1-1, 12)
12. Arkansas (2-2, 8)
13. Michigan (3-0, 13)
14. UCLA (2-1, 14)
15. Memphis (1-1, 15)
16. NC State (3-0, 16)
17. Colorado (3-0, 17)
18. Kentucky (3-0, 18)
19. Virginia (3-0, 19)
20. Florida (1-1, 20)
21. Missouri (3-0, 22)
22. Oklahoma State (3-0, NR)
23. Illinois (3-0, NR)
24. Purdue (1-2, 21)
25. Kansas State (3-1, 25)
Next: Pitt, Gonzaga, Ohio State, Villanova, St. John's
Dropped Out: Ohio State (23), Cincinnati (24)
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Old 05-07-2020, 06:58 PM   #5
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The Quadaily 25, 2028 Season (Day 13): Where The Buffalo (and Tigers) Roam

JBL | The Quadaily 25, 2028 Season (Day 13): Where The Buffalo (and Tigers) Roam

Day 13

The Tip: Colorado, Missouri Make Statements

When people saw Colorado and Missouri ranked (Colorado was ranked 18th, Missouri the first Next), they had doubts about that standing.

That reasoning would be justifiable. Colorado went 14-17 last year, and didn't have a necessarily sparkling recruiting class (ranked 52nd, just behind UAB). Missouri went 20-12, but there was nothing there that said they should be taken seriously in the SEC this year.

Think again.

Both find themselves moving up the polls after the most recent games. Colorado took down now #17 Arkansas, 72-56, while Missouri handled Kansas, then #3 (now #8, still #1 in the AP), 82-73.

Sure, both games were at home, and there can be some tempered expectations to home wins against ranked opponents. But they were statement games for each.

Colorado got 17 the hard way from reserve C LG Corchiani. He went just 1-3 from the field, but 15-16 from the line. Only one other player, LHassane Wilkerson, had ten points, and he had exactly that.

That has been the team's track to success this year, a varied bit of scoring. Corchiani and Wilkerson are the only players who average over double figures. Corchiani leads the team with 12.0 ppg, and he doesn't start (in fact, he averages just 16.7 mpg).

This game could have gone a bit differently for Arkansas if Corchiani hadn't happened to Arkansas star Jamaal Bolden. Bolden, the leading scorer for the Razorbacks, had just two points, but four fouls, against Colorado. The Buffalos also coaxed a 3-for-14 day out of Lorenzen Dyer, who is shooting just 24% from the field (and 25% from 3). His inefficiency is understandable and expected as a freshman, but the volume is something Arkansas may need to address until he finds his rhythm.

You have to feel for the Razorbacks some...UConn, UNC, and now Colorado. It certainly won't get easier, with Georgia Tech, Oklahoma State, and Clemson on the horizon. Games against Texas, UNLV and Purdue await them as well.

Back to Colorado. This game was a two-point game with 2:51 left. The Buffs managed to pull it out a bit to lead by six at the half, 36-30. Then...they didn't run away from Arkansas, but Colorado kept distancing themselves, bit by bit.

"We felt like we were ready to make a run, but it never came," said Bolden after the game. "We thought, okay, a stop here, a bucket there...it felt close. Then you looked up (at the scoreboard), and they were up sixteen."

With 4:34, Colorado led 66-50. The slow churn is a special kind of torture. They forced Arkansas into a quicksand offense...the more you try to move, the worse it gets. The pace of this game (66.0) definitely reflects the will Colorado imposed on Arkansas.

Missouri, too, is a plodder. They rank 233rd in pace, and, this is the amazing thing, 332nd in field goal attempts per game (48.3). It isn't as though they are jacking up a bunch of threes, either: they are 220th in the nation there. (To be honest, when you review the team stats, they really aren't not all that impressive.)

Yet, they posted 82 on Kansas. Part of it was they shot well (57%). Both teams got the same number of rebounds (21). The Jayhawks outscored the Tigers in second-chance points, for crying out louid (9-6).

So what was it?

Missouri's eFG% was a crazy 62.2%.

Kansas was an even 50%.

Missouri got 45 points in the paint, something that was noted against Kansas this year...they can be had inside. And Missouri had their way with the Jayhakws. Additionally, Missouri got more from their bench (29-18).

The Tigers also contested more shots (48-41).

The result was a near wire-to-wire win, one of the most surprising of the early season. Brandon Dampier posted 19 points and 11 rebounds. (He also had half of the team's ten turnovers). Joe Morton had 14, while Johnnie Brickman added 12 off the bench. Those three combined to go 16-26 from the floor.

If you take out Trey Blakeney's 0-6, the team is 28-43 from the field. That's pretty amazing.

For the Jayhawks, any loss is a bad one, but this one may prove to be okay. Missouri is still a bit of an unknown quantity at this stage, but this is the biggest, and maybe most impressive, win from a mid-tier team (on the rankings thus far) so far this year.

Other news and notes: UConn handled Arizona, 71-65, behind 29 from Jack Dawkins. The story here, though, was Jeremy Sawvell, who scored 30 on 11-14 shooting. UConn has arguably the best interior defense in the nation. Sawvell is acquitting himself really, really well so far this season; he is definitely in the conversation for the top pick in next year's JBL draft...this year's mid-major darling, Long Beach State, gave the defending champs all they could handle before falling, 82-80. The 49ers led by five with 5:46 left, but they could not hang on. What doomed LBSU was their inefficient shooting (48.1 eFG%). What almost doomed Stanford was their turnovers (17 of them, 22% of their possessions ended in one). Stanford had just a little more secondary scoring: Jason Thorne's 17-14-4, Treshaad Hanel's 15 and 8 assists (six turnovers), and David Davidson's 12 off the bench, gave Stanford just enough. LBSU got 22 and 10 rebounds from Samir Barnard, and 16 from Matt Whitfield...NC State had a rather impressive win of its own, going to Washington and gaining a 72-63 win. Johnathan Battier had 16, and Justin Noel 13 and seven assists, to pace the Wolfpack through a rather ugly game. NC State shot 48%, but was 3-13 from three, and commited 14 turnovers. Washington was stymied into 36% from the field, and 31# from three, though. It was a particularly rough day for Daryl Mills, who went 3-11 from the field, finishing with just 9-6-3. Garrison Patten led Washington with 21. NC State had a unique strategy for this one: let backup center Darren Bar shoot whenever he had the chance. That proved to be a solid strategy, as he went 4-16 from the field in place of Matteo DeVecchi, who managed to foul out in just eleven minutes.

The Quad

1. Duke (4-0, 1)
2. Indiana (4-0, 2)
3. UNC (4-0, 4)
4. Michigan State (4-0, 5)
5. Southern Cal (2-1, 6)
6. UConn (5-0, 7)
7. Kansas (4-1, 3)
8. Texas (3-0, 8)
9. Arizona (3-2, 8)
10. Georgetown (2-1, 10)
11. NC State (4-0, 16)
12. Washington (3-1, 10)
13. Michigan (3-0, 13)
14. UCLA (3-1, 14)
15. Colorado (4-0, 17)
16. Missouri (4-0, 21)
17. Arkansas (2-3, 12)
18. Kentucky (3-0, 18)
19. Virginia (3-0, 19)
20. Florida (1-1, 20)
21. Oklahoma State (4-0, 22)
22. Illinois (4-0, 23)
23. Memphis (1-2, 15)
24. Purdue (1-2, 24)
25. Kansas State (3-1, 25)
Next: Pitt, Ohio State, Villanova, St. John's, Gonzaga
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Old 05-07-2020, 07:00 PM   #6
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The Quadaily 25, 2028 Season (Day 17): Whack-a-Mole Stats

JBL | The Quadaily 25, 2028 Season (Day 17): Whack-a-Mole Stats

Here is a quick look at some lineups worth talking about:

The most-used lineup in the nation is an ineffective one. Prarie View's main lineup of Hayden Willis-KaVaughn Tot-DreKalo Glenn-Jonas Leone- Warren Williams has logged 117:13 together. Unfortunately, it's netting a -13.8 Rating. Offensively, that unit struggles incredibly, posting an 87.2 ORtg.

The best offense that has logged at least forty minutes can be found at Drexel, where their Chase Ervin-Jaylan Joseph-Joao Riberio-Cody Cook-Marquis Hinson lineup has posted a 155.7 ORtg in 40:36. They have outscored opponents by 36 (95-59) in that time, and have a DRtg of 100.0.

One also has to shout out the VCU lineup, which includes Unique Person at the 4. (In case you were unaware, Unique Person is a PF at VCU.) In the lineup that includes Ahmad Hachimura, Nadi Hampton, Reggie Graves, and Ausar Hamilton has outsocred opponents 99-59 in 45:15. They have a 137.5 ORtg, and a 83.1 DRtg.

Defensively, Kansas' lineup of Brandon Tatum-Michael Coupet-Ashton Carr-Jared Hodge-Adam Fingleton has allowed just a DRtg of 63.5 in 56:29. They have outscored opponents 107-61 in that time, and have allowed teams to shoot 28.8% from the field. While it's further down the list, UConn's main lineup of Zach Daniels-Darrion Fountain-Jack Dawkins-Alex Attia-Corban Vance have a 82.5 DRtg in 104:15, which is the lowest for any lineup that has logged at least one hundred minutes.

Here are some quick hitters:

Duke's upcoming schedule: @Kansas, vs UConn, vs Michigan State. They also have Michigan and a second game against Michigan State on the schedule (one game is part of a Big Ten/ACC Challenge). Talk about grueling; and North Carolina thought they scheduled tough...Tyler Duff of Pacific (okay, this is on two games) is averaging 6.5 threes, on 12.5 attempts, per game. The next best at makes is Antwon Vincent of WKU (4.7), while next-best in attempts is Jeantal Rose of Georgia, at 10.7 threes per game...Desmond Patterson, a PF at Xaviers, is tied with PF Jordan Silins of Dixie State, with 12.0 free throws made per game. Patterson is doing it on 15.7 attempts per game, while Silins is doing it at 16.0 per game...based on an preseason bet from the 40ish pod, there are eight players averaging over ten rebounds per game (yes, a few of them have only played one game)...

Day 17

1. Duke (5-0, 1)
2. Indiana (3-1, 2)
3. North Carolina (5-0, 3)
4. Kansas (5-1, 7)
5. Southern Cal (4-1, 5)
6. Connecticut (6-0, 6)
7. Michigan State (3-1, 4)
8. Arizona (3-2, 9)
9. NC State (4-0, 11)
10. Washington (4-1, 10)
11. Michigan (4-0, 13)
12. Colorado (4-0, 15)
13. Texas (3-1, 8)
14. Missouri (4-0, 16)
15. Kentucky (4-0, 18)
16. Georgetown (2-2, 10)
17. Virginia (4-0, 19)
18. Arkansas (2-3, 18)
19. UCLA (3-2, 14)
20. Florida (1-1, 20)
21. Oklahoma State (5-0, 21)
22. Illinois (4-0, 22)
23. Memphis (2-2, 23)
24. Purdue (2-2, 24)
25. Pittsburgh (5-0, NR)
Next: Ohio State, St. John's, Villanova, Kansas State, San Diego State
Dropped Out: Kansas State (25)
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Old 05-07-2020, 07:20 PM   #7
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The Quadaily 25, 2028 Season (Day 21): A Quick Trip Around The Mids

JBL | The Quadaily 25, 2028 Season (Day 21): A Quick Trip Around The Mids

It's time to give some love to some mid-majors. If you're a rooter of a power conference, move along, son. This one's for the littles.

Rhode Island is off to a 4-0 start, having defeated Vermont 74-58 on Day 19. Their measurables are solid, given their SOS is 97th, which isn't bad. They rank 16th in ORtg (114.0), 22nd in DRtg (91.2); their Net is third in the country, at 22.8. They are 45th in Effective FG%, and 54th in Turnover%. Led by Kosta Graham's 18.0/5.8/2.3 and Tre Hayes' 14.3/3.8/2.5, the Rams aren't the most efficient offense out there. However, they are giving the Rams' faithful the thought that they could be a force in the A-10 this year. Chris Broudeur's 9.0 ppg and 9.5 rpg are outstanding for a freshman; he was a jewel for mid-majors, and Rhode Island is the school to show him off.

A-10 rival Richmond lost to Oregon State, then ripped off three straight wins. The Spiders are more of an offense-by-committee, netting five scorers with at least 11.0 ppg. Caleb Johnson's 15.5/3.5/6.5 leads the way. They are shooting at a fantastic 47.9% clip as a team, good for 21st in the nation (amazingly, third in the conference). Their schedule gets much tougher soon, with Maryland, Texas Tech, and trips to Gonzaga, Tennessee, and UMBC on the horizon.

That wasn't a typo. The Quad listed UMBC. The Retrievers are 3-2, with one of their losses being a 76-75 heartbreaker at South Carolina. Their starting lineup may have the most diverse nameset in the country. Donald Cabarkapa runs the point (his backup is Geno Tackett), while Giddy Gosley (real name, not a nickname) is at the 2. Javaka Varner, Jr and Frankie Richards sit at the wings, while Sean Cokley is the 5. This feels like Happy Days for a new generation. Varner is leading the team in scoring, at 16, while Richards is posting 12.2/8.0/2.8/1.20/1.40, pretty good all-around numbers for the sophomore. They start two freshmen and three sophomores. So things are looking up for Maryland-Baltimore County.

The Quad 25

1. Duke (6-0, 1)
2. Indiana (4-1, 2)
3. North Carolina (6-0, 3)
4. Southern Cal (4-1, 5)
5. Connecticut (6-0, 6)
6. Kansas (5-2, 4)
7. Michigan State (3-1, 7)
8. Arizona (4-2, 8)
9. NC State (5-0, 9)
10. Washington (5-1, 10)
11. Colorado (5-0, 12)
12. Texas (5-1, 13)
13. Kentucky (5-0, 15)
14. Georgetown (2-2, 16)
15. Michigan (4-1, 11)
16. Virginia (5-0, 17)
17. UCLA (4-2, 19)
18. Missouri (4-1, 14)
19. Florida (2-1, 20)
20. Oklahoma State (6-0, 21)
21. Illinois (5-0, 22)
22. Memphis (4-2, 23)
23. Purdue (3-2, 24)
24. Pittsburgh (6-0, 25)
25. Ohio State (5-1, NR)
Next: St. John's, Villanova, Kansas State, San Diego State, Stanford
Dropped Out: Arkansas (18)
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Old 05-07-2020, 07:23 PM   #8
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The Quadaily 25, 2028 Season (Day 25): Two Big Games, One Painful Finish

JBL | The Quadaily 25, 2028 Season (Day 25): Two Big Games, One Painful Finish

here were a couple rather big contests in the past few days. Let's take a look at them.

Duke 63, UConn 60: You have to tip your hand to the Huskies (6-1), as they came back from large deficits twice against the Blue Devils. Still, Duke's guantlet of hell has continued with them remaining unscathed. This was the closest one, mainly because UConn made Travon Easley look like a freshman. He still led Duke (6-0) with 17 points, but he did it on 4-17 shooting, a far cry from his 44.7% shooting (which was higher going into the game).

Duke ended up winning this game due to Tonny Sanders, who had 12 points, nine rebounds, and four steals (and was +15 in his 28:33). He also played well against Jack Dawkins, who was held to 18 points (with seven boards, six steals, and three blocks) on 8-17 shooting.

For the Huskies, Alex Attia was just 4-13 from the field, but went 8-10 from the line. He finished with 16 points.

In the end, it was a pair of Zach Daniels turnovers, an Easley free throw (after a missed one), and a missed Jack three, that sealed it for Duke. For Daniels, that is especially rough; his 8-20 free throws in last year's Regional Semifinal, including missing two with no time left in regulation, led to UConn's 89-88 overtime loss to Purdue.

Next up for Duke: A home date with Michigan State (3-2), who fell to Kentucky (5-0), 66-59. The Wildcats did it behind 19 points from freshman phenom Sam Meeking. Meeking shot 7-9 from the field (though 5-10 from the line). Meeking scored 11 of those in the second half, as the Wildcats turned a nine-point first half deficit into a back-and-forth affair in the second half, one that had the feeling of a Final Four.

Down the stretch, though, it was the Jerry Sneed show.

Sneed hit a layup with 1:56 left, making it 60-56. After Cal Jones turned it over on two straight possessions, Sneed dunked it home off a feed from Cedrick Cyrus. Mike Atwell missed a bunny, leading to a Sneed free throw, making it 63-56.

After Jordan Jennings made it a five-point game, 63-58, with :17 left, Sneed again went 1-2 from the line, making it 64-58. Cal Jones had his third turnover in 90 seconds, which led to Jaleel Hopkins' 1-2 from the line, making it 65-58. The teams traded one more free throw apiece, and that was that.

That does lead The Quad to discuss Kentucky's free throw shooting. They're shooting 69.1% from the field, which ranks 282nd in the nation. They are 30th in FT made (20.6), and 12th in FT attempted (29.8). They went 29-43 in this game. Surely, this could have been an absolute blowout.

But Michigan State went 22-34 from the line. They had their chances, too.

Tyson Finley led Michigan State with 15 points, though that came in only 15:33, due to fouling out in that time. That hurt the offensive-starved Spartans profoundly; take out Finley's five buckets, and Sparty went 12-34. Only Atwell and Rodrick Munnings had even nine points.

Cal Jones' three turnovers at the end were compounded by four others. He went 1-6 from the field, finishing with four points, foul fouls, seven turnovers, and a -5.8 GameScore. His ORtg was 32.2. Obviously, this was not the result he wanted.

By the way, our condolences to UMBC; after writing about them, they got blown out by San Francisco, 91-66.

There will be few finishes more intense and drama-filled than the one between Georgia and Fordham. With 1:32 left, Georgia pulled to within one, 53-52, on Hassan Galatio's and-one. Daniel Burnett fouled Stevie Paul Mejia with 1:10 left; he made one of two, giving Fordham a two-point cushion.

On Georgia's next possession, Jacolby White was fouled. He went 1-2 from the line. Back to one.

Mejia missed a long jumper on Fordham's next possession. Burnett was fouled with :31 left; he made both, giving Georgia a 55-54 lead. Aaric Boston missed a jumper with eight seconds left, but he got his own rebound, and Fordham called timeout.

On the inbound, Mejia broke free on a backdoor for what would have been an easy layup. Burnett had no choice but to foul him.

Mejia made the first.

And the second.

Fordham 56, Georgia 55.

Georgia called timeout after the second one went down. Three seconds remained.

On Georgia's inbound, Galatio ran around a double screen for a shallow cut along the baseline. He received it, took one dribble, and went up. His shot fell off the rim as time expired. Game over, Fordham wins by one. Huge win.

Except...

The ref on the other side of the court blew his whistle.

Saeed Tatum was called for a foul. When discovering the call, he fell to the ground in disbelief.

Galatio went to the line, alone in a sea of noise.

First shot up.

Swish.

Second shot up.

Back up the rim.

Straight up.

And right down.

Silence.

Georgia stunned Fordham on the road, 57-56, on the last of Galatio's 15 points. White added 12, Burnett an inefficient ten off the bench. Mejia's ten came on 2-10 shooting. It was perhaps the most exciting finish for a game in which the combatants shot a combined 35.8% (33-92) from the field, and 20.8% from three (5-24).

The Quadaily 25
Day 25, 2028

1. Duke (6-0, 1)
2. Indiana (4-1, 2)
3. North Carolina (7-0, 3)
4. Southern Cal (5-1, 4)
5. Connecticut (6-1, 5)
6. Kansas (7-2, 6)
7. Arizona (4-2, 8)
8. Kentucky (5-0, 13)
9. Michigan State (3-2, 7)
10. NC State (5-0, 9)
11. Washington (5-1, 10)
12. Colorado (5-0, 11)
13. Texas (4-1, 12)
14. Georgetown (3-2, 14)
15. Virginia (5-0, 15)
16. UCLA (4-2, 17)
17. Florida (3-1, 19)
18. Michigan (4-2, 15)
19. Oklahoma State (6-0, 20)
20. Illinois (5-0, 21)
21. Missouri (4-1, 18)
22. Memphis (4-2, 22)
23. Purdue (3-2, 23)
24. Pittsburgh (6-0, 24)
25. Ohio State (7-1, 25)
Next: St. John's, San Diego State, Stanford, UNLV, Vanderbilt
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Old 05-07-2020, 07:25 PM   #9
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The Quadaily 25, 2028 Season (Day 29): Whole Little Shakin Goin On

JBL | The Quadaily 25, 2028 Season (Day 29): Whole Little Shakin Goin On

Today, we get a shakeup in the poll. Though the teams remain mostly the same (only one new team), there was a lot of movement in the middle of the poll.

First, we need to give a nod to St. John's, who enters the poll at #25. A couple of weeks ago, we added them as a nod to just starting well, after such a terrible season last year. A big reason, perhaps the biggest, is Lewis Rabey. He's averaging 16.3 ppg on 51.6% shooting. What's interesting is that his threes are down, from 43.8 to 36.8% this year.

The other major reason is something The Quad loves: A senior point guard. In this case, it is Rickey Falls. He lost his starting spot a year ago, but regained it heading into this season. He is averaging 7.0 assists per game, more than double his previous high.

They do have a rather pedestrian defense, but their offense (10th nationally in ORtg) has more than made up for it. And they have beaten some reasonably quality teams, such as Arizona State, Alabama, Oregon State, and VCU. We believe their unbeaten run will come to a resounding halt on 29, as they travel to Colorado. They'll follow that up with games at Kentucky and Iowa, before hosting Missouri. So, there is likely an adjustment coming. But, for today, St. John's is ranked and unbeaten. Great job, Red Storm.

Now, there is a new #1. There almost wasn't, but realistically, there probably should not. But Duke falling at home to Michigan State, in a game that was not competitive for large stretches of the second half, has reluctantly forced our hand. (One has to wonder if Sparty won because Cal Jones fouled out in 13 minutes; he scored six points and had no other stats. He has quickly become the favorite whipping boy of The Quad.) Of course, what was learned in how to beat Duke? The obvious lesson is limiting the freshmen; Travon Easley and Nate Dorsey were held to 14 points, on 4-13 shooting. And maybe giving Travis Pickford a wide berth to shoot the ball may help. He was 1-9 from the field.

Or...just be really good, like Michigan State. And even then, Duke almost came all the way back.

(By the way, the two lineups with Jones in it were +15 for Sparty. Snack on that, Us.)

So Indiana moves up to #1, Duke to #2. We have commended Duke for their ridiculous schedule, and cannot fathom them falling farther than this, given the gauntlet they have run thus far.

North Carolina losing to Utah, meanwhile, is not quite as excusable. Utah lost to UConn by ten to start the season and has since won four straight. They did beat Louisville, but that was the meat between a Utah Regional School sandwich. Utah Valley? Sounds like they played Little House on the Prarie. They dunked on Michael Landon. Great job, Utes.

That said, they are 12th in OPPG; this is due much more to pace (331st in the nation) than to DRtg (68th). But their slow-it-down approach and surprising offensive efficiency (and 29-34 from the line on the road, which is a surprise) saw them through a Tar Heel team that seemed deflated Utah grabbing a three-point lead in the final two minutes. UNC had chances to retake the lead but failed to do so, and Utah closed them off at the line.

Josh Doorson posted 23-4-3-3-1, going 5-9 from the field, and 11-12 from the line. Stephon Thorpe finished with 17 and six rebounds. The two were quite efficient, leading a Utah team that shot 54.5% from the field.

The Tar Heels, meanwhile, were not as efficient. They shot 42.9% from the field, committed fifteen turnovers, and 22 fouls (many coming down the stretch). Jackson Swann and Miles Busch played well (13 apiece), as did Trey Moore (16 off the bench). Tyler Booth (3-12 FG, -20 +/-) did not, while Dan Hargrove did dish out 12 assists, but had four turnovers and finished at -19 on the night.

When your top GameScore is by a player who is -19 on the night, you're fighting a losing battle.

For this, we moved Carolina to fifth, below USC and UConn. Really, it's all conjecture anyway; USC travels to Chapel Hill in a few weeks, and UConn's still going through a rough stretch of games (while not scheduling as torturous as Duke, the Huskies did themselves no favors here).

So at the top five, there is change, but it's just a slight shifting of the chairs at the main table. Further down the ladder...well:

Washington fell from 11th to 15th, after losing to St. Mary's
Georgetown fell from 14th to 20th, after losing to Pitt
Illinois shot up from 20th to 16th
Missouri shot up from 21st to 17th
Purdue, after beating Stanford in an overtime thriller, went from 23rd to 18th
Oklahoma State fell from 19th to 24th after losing to hard-luck Arkansas
UCLA fell from 16th to 22nd after losing to Louisville
Memphis fell from 22nd to Next after losing to San Diego
Rhode Island moved into Next territory on the basis of their 6-0 start, and that nobody else really stood out (thanks a lot, Vanderbilt).

The Quad expects there to be more separation among the mid-tier teams in the 25 over the next couple of weeks. There are a lot of games involving teams sitting there. Right now, not many teams have seized the opportunity to move in, which is why there has been little movement of teams in and out. We expect that to change, and sooner, rather than later.

The Quadaily 25
Day 29, 2028

1. Indiana (4-1, 2)
2. Duke (7-1, 1)
3. Southern Cal (5-1, 4)
4. Connecticut (6-1, 5)
5. North Carolina (7-1, 3)
6. Kansas (7-2, 6)
7. Michigan State (5-2, 9)
8. Arizona (5-2, 7)
9. Kentucky (5-0, 8)
10. NC State (6-0, 10)
11. Colorado (6-0, 12)
12. Texas (4-1, 13)
13. Virginia (6-0, 13)
14. Florida (4-1, 17)
15. Washington (5-2, 11)
16. Illinois (6-0, 20)
17. Missouri (5-1, 21)
18. Michigan (5-2, 18)
19. Purdue (4-2, 23)
20. Pittsburgh (7-0, 19)
21. Georgetown (3-3, 14)
22. Ohio State (7-1, 25)
23. UCLA (4-3, 16)
24. Oklahoma State (6-1, 19)
25. St. John's (6-0, NR)
Next: San Diego State, Stanford, Rhode Island, UNLV, Memphis
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Old 05-07-2020, 07:28 PM   #10
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The Quadaily 25, 2028 Season (Day 37): Whatever This One Is

JBL | The Quadaily 25, 2028 Season (Day 37): Whatever This One Is

It's time to take a look at how some of the nation's top JBL prospects are performing. As this is before JBL's Top Prospects list arrives, this will be done at random.

C/PF Raijon Ward, Texas: The 6'10 combo post (though, if you listen to certain colluders, he is only a center) is fifth in the nation in scoring in scoring, at 21.0 ppg. He's doing at while shooting considerably better than last year (51.5% vs 41.2%, on 2.5 more attempts per game). His threes are also more accurate, at 42.9% versus 29.9% last year. He is a dependable free throw shooter (71.7 career mark), able but not spectacular rebounder (5.7 rpg)...he is a turnover machine (3.57 TOPG so far this year), but he won't be asked to do as much as he does for Texas in the JBL. He is excellent at finishing, and is known to have an excellent work ethic. He is a more defensively-minded player, but his scoring gives one hope that his offense can translate to the pros. He projects, currently, as a lottery pick.

C Jeremy Sawvell, Arizona: The nation's top recruit is shooting an absurd 75.9% from the field. He's doing most of his damage as a pick-and-roll runner (23.6% of his plays) or cutting to the basket (30.2%), which is understandable for someone of his raw athleticism. The encouraging thing, though, is that while 6.9 of his attempts per game are at the rim, he is shooting a very high clip on the few takes he has elsewhere. For instance, he's shooting 57.1% on long jumpers, albeit at under one a game. His mid-range game, limited to 1.1 shots per game, is at an astounding 86.7% makerate. This is one aspect of his game we hope grows as the season goes on. To be posting 18.3 ppg and 6.3 rpg, and an absurd 36.4 PER, it's impressive to say he has exceeded expectations thus far. He rates as a solid candidate for the top overall pick (though, with some post saturation in the past couple of drafts, this could his standing in the draft somewhat.)

PG Justin Noel, NC State: Noel has put NC State on his back in his freshman season, averaging 16.5 ppg and 6.8 apg. He is shooting an absurd 61.3% from the field, and 52.4% from deep, on 2.6 attempts. His ability to finish around the rim, where his superior athleticism and freakish first step outpace and outclass opponents, have been the major reason why. He is shooting 80% at the rim on 3.8 attempts per game. Noel's issue, and what will hamper his pro prospects significantly, is his transparently bad defense. It isn't just his technique, but his seeming unwillingness to put forth effort on that end. Of course, he is just a freshman, and this part of his game could come along (see Dawkins, Jack). We could consider him at the back-end of the first round, though it would be a surprise if he came out this season.

PF Brandom Dampier, Missouri: The lean freshman has been better than advertised at Mizzou, going for 18.9 ppg, 8.7 rpg, and over an assist, steal, and block per game. His PER is 36.3 at the moment, thanks mainly to his 63.6% shooting on 9.4 attempts per game. He is efficient at every area of the floor that he is allowed to shoot from; he has yet to take anything past a mid-range jumper, which is smart for Missouri, but perhaps not for his long-range prospects. Dampier is still learning his inside game, which makes his production even more impressive. And his rebounding is at the very top of this class. With his elite athleticism and first step, as well as top-flight quickness for someone his size, he projects very well as a pro. His basketball acumen is considered elite, too. He could workout his way into the top twenty, though the lottery would be a stretch, due to his size and purported lack of offensive awareness.

Again, this is all conjecture based on nothing but hunches from past drafts and how these players compare to young JBL players now.

A quick look at some team stuff:

- UConn showed they are for real by taking down Michigan State handedly, leading wire-to-wire in a 63-52 victory. Then they went to Purdue and, with the help of Jack Dawkins' 40 points, got a revenge win over the Boilermakers, 81-70. Dawkins leads the nation in scoring, at 25.6 ppg. But UConn has the nation's top RPI, and a top-20 DRtg nationally. They are not an offensive juggernaut, leaning heavily on Jack (1/3 of their scoring comes from him), but they are solid at the line, and in the paint (11th nationally). This is the same kind of profile Stanford had last year. And their only two losses are on the road at Duke and Kentucky; both were one-possession games. The Huskies have a great look to them for now, though it is early.

- Washington took down Texas on the road in a fantastic resume-building win for the Huskies. Washington led by 14 (60-46) with 4:07 left, only to see Texas go on an 13-2 run over the next three minutes, before holding on for the win. Washington was led by Garrison Palmer's 18, and Gligorije Mbargorba's 11 off the bench. The win came despite leading scorer Daryl Mills' going 2-8 from the field, finishing with just four points (though four assists and five steals). Darren Bar, as big a glue guy as any in the nation (10.9/5.0/1.8 off the bench), added eight big points to help seal the win.

- It's been a rough season for Cincinnati. This was on full display in their 70-68 loss to North Carolina. The Bearcats (2-6) led by as much as 18 (54-36) in the second half. Heck, they lead for all but 1:39 in the game, which was the last 1:39 in the game. Jackson Swann made a jumper to give UNC their first, and only, lead. Cincinnati even had an incredible shot at regaining the lead, but Connor Seymour's bunny right at the rim somehow did not go in. (He would say it slipped out of his hands as he began to put it down after the game.) North Carolina gave Cincy extra chances by going 2-4 at the line in the final:31...but Isiah Gentry missed a three that would have given them the lead, and Carolina smartly (maybe?) fouled Seymour before he could get up a last-chance three for the tie. He made one of two, but the intentional miss could not be corralled to get a shot off before the final whistle. This was actually Cincinnati's second loss to North Carolina this season; they fell back on 24 in Chapel Hill. They also own an 81-80 loss at K-State, a 57-54 loss to a young Villanova team, and a ten-point loss at Stanford. Games against Ohio State, Notre Dame, and Georgetown await, too. Right now, their PPG/OPPG is 66.9/67.3. That's how close their season is from being stellar. Right now, it's not that.

The Quadaily 25
Day 37, 2028

1. Indiana (7-1, 1)
2. Duke (7-1, 2)
3. Southern Cal (6-1, 3)
4. North Carolina (9-1, 4)
5. Connecticut (8-2, 5)
6. Kentucky (7-0, 8)
7. NC State (8-0, 10)
8. Kansas (7-3, 6)
9. Arizona (6-2, 9)
10. Michigan State (5-3, 7)
11. Colorado (7-0, 11)
12. Virginia (8-0, 12)
13. Washington (6-2, 15)
14. Illinois (8-0, 16)
15. Missouri (6-1, 17)
16. Pittsburgh (7-0, 19)
17. Florida (5-2, 13)
18. Texas (4-3, 14)
19. Ohio State (9-1, 21)
20. Purdue (5-3, 18)
21. San Diego State (8-0, 22)
22. Michigan (5-3, 20)
23. Georgetown (4-4, 23)
24. Georgia Tech (6-1, NR)
25. Oklahoma State (6-2, NR)
Next: Stanford, New Mexico, Arkansas, Rhode Island, Iowa State
Dropped Out: UCLA (24), Rhode Island (25)
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Old 05-07-2020, 07:56 PM   #11
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The Quadaily 25, 2028 Season, Day 41: This Day WILL Have Brackets!

JBL | The Quadaily 25, 2028 Season, Day 41: This Day WILL Have Brackets!

At various points throughout the year, The Quad will be attempting to do some Bracketology. This is a rather crude process, given the information that needs to be processed, and the deadlines that need to be reached in order to publish on time.

That all said, we produced an initial bracket that seems solid and indicative of where the teams sit at this stage of the season, as the non-conference portion of the season winds down. So, here it is.

East

Duke sits atop the East region, which makes sense, given how well they have done with the ridiculously tough schedule they have faced. We do not have a top seed overall here, to be honest. Connecticut, a 63-60 loser at Duke this season, is the #2 seed. The Huskies have played a grueling slate themselves, and have earned the chance to be in the East to this point. An argument can be made that they should be a top seed, given their RPI (#2 in the nation).

ACC rival Virginia is the three seed, which speaks to the kind of excellence there has been at the top of the ACC. Four teams are top-three seeds from the ACC.

Illinois being on the four line says two things: It's a nod to the start the Fighting Illini have had so far, and also, that there is a sizable logjam between the 4 and 6 seeds, which is all up for conjecture. This is best represented in the daily Quad 25, where teams from 15-25 are shifting all over the place. The only consistent thing is in its occupants.

Memphis sits at the 7 seed, which is an interesting fit. We still believe in Memphis being a solid unit throughout the year, and utlimately cementing their seeding at perhaps a higher spot than here. Right now, this is perhaps too high for them. It's possible that you could interchange them with Arkansas. For now, we'll keep them at this spot.

East Region
1) Duke (ACC) vs 16) Hartford (AEC)/Florida A&M (MEAC)
8) Arkansas (At-Large) vs 9) Utah (At-Large)

4) Illinois (At-Large) vs 13) Drexel (CAA)
5) Florida (At-Large) vs 12) Penn (Ivy)

3) Virginia (At-Large) vs 14) Bryant (NEC)
6) Purdue (At-Large) vs 11) George Washington (A-10)

7) Memphis (AAC) vs 10) Wisconsin (At-Large)
2) Connecticut (Big East) vs 15) Fairfield (MAAC)

South

Indiana sits as the top seed, and, we suppose, the top seed overall, is there is one. Duke can lay claim to this spot, but for now, we think our top team in the poll is worthy of the top overall seed. We have believed in the Hoosiers all season long; why stop now?

Kentucky, meanwhile, has continually moved up in the polls. For now, given their undefeated record, and their top-in-the-country RPI, they have earned their way here. NC State, another team who has risen steadily through the season, gain the three-seed here.

We put Missouri at the 4; we originally had Georgetown there, before moving them down and shifting a couple of things. The Tigers are deserving of this rank at this stage, and so, we stash them here. We do think that Pitt is a bit of a smoke-and-mirrors production so far, but they are still undefeated. So, reward the start.

This also has one of the at-large play-in games, St. John's vs Penn State. We believed St. John's start to not be sustainable, and they are proving that to be the case; however, they are still among the top teams in both RPI and SOS. Penn State, meanwhile, have been quite competitive, though they have had difficulty closing the door. They could be worthy of a simple at-large spot. As we said, this was done somewhat...not crudely, but it was not done with the amount of research that, say, a CJBL Tournament Committee member would do. (Ahem.)

South Region
1) Indiana (Big Ten) vs 16) Northwestern State (Southland)
8) Stanford (At-Large) vs 9) Oklahoma State (At-Large)

4) Missouri (At-Large) vs 13) Navy (Patriot)
5) Pittsburgh (At-Large) vs 12) Murray State (OVC)

3) NC State (At-Large) vs 14) UNC Greensboro (Southern)
6) Michigan (At-Large) vs 11) St. John's/Penn State

7) UCLA (At-Large) vs 10) Marquette (At-Large)
2) Kentucky (SEC) vs 15) South Carolina Upstate (Big South)

Midwest

Kansas gets the top billing in this region, while Arizona gets the 2. We had wanted to stay away from rematches. We ended up with four potential Elite Eight 1/2 rematches, something we did not notice until after the fact. Such is life. Also, whoops.

(Also, the elite have scheduled the elite, for the most part. When that happens, this feels unavoidable.)

Michigan State and Washington round out the top four. Michigan State has gotten off to a rough start, and are now 5-4. Their losses, though, are to Kansas, Kentucky, UConn, and USC. Three of those were on the road. And they own a road win at Duke. We feel fine about this placement right now. (Talk to us again early in Big Ten play.)

Washington at the 4 is more interesting. They have a NetRtg of just 3.7, due primarily to their rough offense. The St. Mary's loss was not a good one (but they get them again on 53). They do own wins over Florida and Texas, but they have a weaker resume overall than any other top-four seed. This is where a team like Ohio State, who has the five seed here, could slide in.

Georgetown is the seven seed, which is an interesting placement. We believe they could be higher once BIg East play. But we originally had them as a four, then as a six. They are now a seven. So...obviously, they are not trending in the right direction. Syracuse being at the 8 is also one we feel might be too low, but right now, this is the makeup of this bracket. All of these teams have imperfect resumes. So there is a lot more regional placement and jumbling to keep teams situated in a feasible bracket, while respecting the current resume. That whole group from 7-10 is indicative of this.

Midwest Region
1) Kansas (Big 12) vs 16 Little Rock (Sun Belt)/Liberty (Atlantic Sun)
8) Syracuse (At-Large) vs 9) Minnesota (At-Large)

4) Washington (At-Large) vs 13) Kent State (MAC)
5) Ohio State (At-Large) vs 12) Marshall (CUSA)

6) Iowa State (At-Large) vs 11) UNLV (At-Large)
3) Michigan State (At-Large) vs 14) Illinois-Chicago (Horizon)

7) Georgetown (At-Large) vs 10) Louisville (At-Large)
2) Arizona (Pac-12) vs 15) Texas Southern (SWAC)

West

We have Southern Cal, a team we like and have liked more all season long than the AP, atop the region. This is in spite of North Carolina, our 2 seed, having beaten USC back on Day 3. This is simply our view. We would say that UNC is probably the top two-seed (though Kentucky and UConn have solid arguments here). USC gets to travel to UNC again on 46, which was a scheduled non-conference game (the first one was a tournament game). If UNC turns them away again, they would justifiably be on the top line. Or UConn would. Or Kentucky. (It would probably be UConn, given their RPI+SOS ranks them atop the nation.)

Colorado lost their first game to Penn State, but they are still our three-seed. We have been impressed with them so far this season, and their rank is deserved.

San Diego State, a team that has steadily risen all year, takes the four due to Texas' landslide down the polls. The Mountain West looks to be excellent shape this year, with three teams currently involved in the bracket (UNLV is, at the moment, the last "safe" at-large, while New Mexico is in the play-in game in the West, against Kansas State).

We do have Texas at the 5 spot, but that is perilous. They have lost four of five, and three straight. We do think it is due to the competition and strain of that competition, but what happens in conference play? Is Texas up for this challenge?

This bracket might be the strangest and has the most variance, with Michigan, Villanova, Georgia Tech, Maryland, and Gonzaga taking up the middle rungs of the ladder. Any of those teams could rise up and become a top-four. Any of them could fall down, too. If you needed to know anything about these teams, know that the above was their original order, before we moved Michigan down to the 9-seed because of their recent slide. Villanova might not be a six-seed (Maryland might be a better fit there), but we feel like all of these teams are incomplete. We did look at moving Utah up, but that would create a whole chain reaction of events. So we decided, nah, we're good.

We do imagine we could hear from WCC teams San Diego and St. Mary's about their lack of inclusion here. Yes, we know San Diego beat Memphis. Yes, we know St. Mary's beat Washington. The Quad just isn't there yet. Both teams are off to good starts, and there could be an argument to be made that either could replace Kansas State or St. John's in a play-in game. It's not like the Wildcats are lighting it up these days.

West Region
1) Southern Cal (Pac-12) vs 16) Northern Arizona (Big Sky)
8) Georgia Tech (At-Large) vs 9) Michigan (At-Large)

4) Texas (At-Large) vs 13) Long Beach State (Big West)
5) San Diego State (MWC) vs 12) Illinois State (MVC)

3) Colorado (At-Large) vs 14) New Mexico State (WAC)
6) Villanova (At-Large) vs 11) New Mexico/Kansas State

7) Maryland (At-Large) vs 10) Gonzaga (WCC)
2) North Carolina (At-Large) vs 15) South Dakota State (Summit)

The Quad 25
Day 41, 2028

1. Indiana (7-1, 1)
2. USC (7-1, 3)
3. North Carolina (9-1, 4)
4. Duke (8-2, 2)
5. Connecticut (8-2, 5)
6. Kentucky (8-0, 6)
7. NC State (9-0, 7)
8. Arizona (7-2, 9)
9. Kansas (7-3, 8)
10. Virginia (9-0, 12)
11. Washington (6-2, 11)
12. Colorado (7-1, 11)
13. Michigan State (5-4, 10)
14. Missouri (7-1, 15)
15. Illinois (8-1, 14)
16. Pittsburgh (8-0, 16)
17. Florida (6-2, 17)
18. Ohio State (9-1, 19)
19. Purdue (5-3, 20)
20. San Diego State (8-0, 21)
21. Georgia Tech (6-1, 24)
22. Utah (6-1, NR)
23. Arkansas (6-4, NR)
24. Texas (4-4, 18)
25. Michigan (5-4, 22)
Next: Oklahoma State, Stanford, New Mexico, Rhode Island, Georgetown
Dropped Out: Georgetown (23), Oklahoma State (25)
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Old 05-07-2020, 07:58 PM   #12
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The Quadaily 25, 2028 Season (Day 45): We Are!

JBL | The Quadaily 25, 2028 Season (Day 45): We Are!

So, the past few days have been quite uneventful.

In the terms of The Quad, they have been the most uneventful of the season.

There was not any movement among the top seventeen teams in the nation. Ohio State, ranked 18th, fell to 21st after squandering a win against Cincinnati in overtime. After Patrick Cuadra made two free throws, with two seconds left, to put the Buckeyes up, 77-76, Tanveer Ekekazee inexplicably fouled Connor Seymour trying to beat him to a loose ball (Seymour dove into the moving Ekekazee to draw the foul). Seymour hit both free throws with no time left, giving the Bearcats the ridiculous 78-77 win.

After that, there was little movement. San Diego State moved up. Utah fell after losing to Pitt, 67-57, on the road. But outside of that, there's a whole bunch of nothing going on.

So, let's dab around, shall we?

- There have been a lot of WCC fans crowing lately about our failure to include San Diego and St. Mary's into our rankings. And, truth be told, there can be some explanation that needs to be told. Both teams have some signature wins (San Diego beat Memphis, St. Mary's beat Washington), and while St. Mary's was expected to be a decent contender for Gonzaga this season in the conference, San Diego is a surprise.

(By the way, how good is it to be a fan of college basketball in San Diego right now? The combined record of San Diego State (9-0), San Diego (7-2) and newly-constituted UC-San Diego (3-2) is 19-4. That's a hell of a basketball haven right now.)

However, let's not get ahead of ourselves. St. Mary's still ranks below schools like Alabama, LSU, Cal, Oregon, and Arizona State, just to name a few. They also sit behind Illinois State, who is 6-1 and has a RPI-SOS that rivals the Gaels. Illinois State is not getting a sniff of our poll right now.

San Diego still has an overall rank (if this is a thing to be believed) that sits behind Missouri State (80), Loyola-Chicago (103), and Kent State (123rd). The Golden Flashes are 7-1, and while their SOS is low (.450), they have a better Net than San Diego.

In short, there are only thirty schools to get mention in our poll. While we are adding a new team for this poll, because Rhode Island was not able to hold off Montana at home, there are a lot of schools to consider. We fully understand (and encourage) the attitude of Down With Power Five for the middies, and both of these schools are worthy of mention in this piece.

But in the poll? Not yet.

Today, we are adding Penn State.

- The Nittany Lions are 6-2, with both losses one-possession setbacks to Pitt (60-58) and Louisville (84-82). They own Colorado's only loss, and own a win over a solid Boston College team.

Now, let us not make any mistake about Penn State; they are not a national title contender. They are not a contender within the Big Ten. They are, however, a team that could make a sneaky Sweet Sixteen appearance (along with about thirty other schools, of which the aforementioned San Diego and St. Mary's reside in right now). Sure, it would be all about their seeding in the CJBL Tournament (in our bracket, they would get the play-in game, then Oklahoma, then NC State, presumably...so, tall order there, but beating Oklahoma is certainly possible).

Led by UConn transfer Tyrell Riley (13.9 PPG, 5.3 RPG), the Nits are a conquer-by-numbers team. Riley is the only one averaging double figures; nobody on this team takes more than Riley's 9.8 shots a game. There are nine players averaging double-digit minutes. Six players are posting at least seven points per game. Outside of Matt Stackhouse's 6.5 assists per game (with just a half-turnover per game, which is outstanding), nobody does anything on this team that really stands out.

That is what makes PSU's offensive rating, 118.4, all the more remarkable. That is second in the nation. They also rank third in the nation in free throws made, seventh in FT% (82.8%), and 11th in attempts. This is a team that knows it's strengths. They are not a defensive team by any stretch (301st in DRtg); that will be what prevents them from going further than they could.

But, given that their SOS is 18th, and their RPI is 14th, you could say their methods have held up pretty well so far this year. It is also possible...a tall order, but possible, that Penn State could finish top-four in the conference. Certainly, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Michigan are not head and shoulders above them.

For a school not typically known as a basketball school, things are looking good in Happy Valley.

The Quad 25
Day 45, 2028

1. Indiana (8-1, 1)
2. Southern Cal (8-1, 2)
3. North Carolina (9-1, 3)
4. Duke (8-2, 4)
5. Connecticut (8-2, 5)
6. Kentucky (9-0, 6)
7. NC State (9-0, 7)
8. Arizona (8-2, 8)
9. Kansas (8-3, 9)
10. Virginia (9-0, 10)
11. Washington (7-2, 11)
12. Colorado (8-1, 12)
13. Michigan State (5-4, 13)
14. Missouri (8-1, 14)
15. Illinois (8-1, 15)
16. Pittsburgh (9-0, 16)
17. Florida (6-2, 17)
18. San Diego State (9-0, 20)
19. Purdue (6-3, 19)
20. Georgia Tech (7-1, 21)
21. Ohio State (9-2, 18)
22. Arkansas (6-4, 23)
23. Texas (5-4, 24)
25. Michigan (5-4, 25)
Next: Oklahoma State, Stanford, UNLV, Georgetown, Penn State
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Old 05-07-2020, 07:59 PM   #13
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The Quadaily 25, 2028 Season (Day 49): Non-Conference Lessons

JBL | The Quadaily 25, 2028 Season (Day 49): Non-Conference Lessons

The non-conference slate is nearly over, and conference play will be starting soon. Let's take a look at some lessons we think we've learned over the course of the first leg of the 2028 CJBL season.

1) While there is an inner circle of contenders, nobody stands out. Right now, we would consider Indiana, USC, Duke, UConn, North Carolina, Kentucky, Arizona and Kansas to be that inner circle. They have lived at the top of the polls all season long, and have spent time beating up each other. None of them stand out among the pack...just from the rest.

2) However, the tip of the iceberg lies just underneath. Those circling the crown now might want to take a look outside the castle. Notice we did not list NC State above; nor did we list Colorado, Washington, not even Michigan State or Illinois. San Diego State will be an impact player come tourney time. They could be a 3 or 4 seed; what top seed would want to face them? What about Purdue, or Missouri, or Florida, or Ohio State?

Heck, we skipped Pitt; they're 10-0.

The defending champs are crowing about a lack of respect (spoiler: they re-enter our poll today).

Penn State owns the nation's top offense. Michigan dropped out of the top 25. Georgetown, a team with top-ten talent, sits in the Next category.

Memphis, a team who opened the year #8, hasn't even sniffed the poll the past couple of weeks.

In short, while there is definitely a top-tier, the ruling class definitely reside on the decks below.

3) More middies will have their say this year. We've discussed San Diego State. We saw Rhode Island in the poll a week ago. The WCC has clamored for their reasonably deserving say among our poll (and we were ready to post St. Mary's on the line, had they beaten Stanford). It's interesting that we haven't even really mentioned Gonzaga.

Long Beach State (4-5) is off to a slow start, but they have a talented team and should run roughshod over the Big West. Illinois tate has looked to be solid so far this year. BYU, Drexel, Kent State...these are all schools that look to be the goods this season.

The mid-majors are improving across the nation. It's already likely that the Mountain West will get three bids. It's entirely possible the WCC will get two, at least. If Cincinnati turns their season around, pencil in the AAC for two. The A-10 is probably a one-bid league, but you never know. The same goes for the Missouri Valley.

In short, at-large bids might be tougher to come by for the Power 5 this year.

4) The Big Ten is the nation's best conference. With all due respect to the ACC, which has four teams in our top ten, the BIg Ten has six teams in our most recent poll, and Michigan sitting just outside it. That doesn't include Wisconsin, Minnesota, or Iowa, all teams that are probably tourney teams. The same goes for Maryland...realistically, everyone but Nebraska, Rutgers and Northwestern could be a tourney team this year. That's incredible depth for any league.

(Of course, that probably won't be the case, but we're having a hard time separating anyone.)

It says something when every team in the league is .500 going into today's game. In the ACC, you have Wake (3-5) and Clemson (3-7). You have that in the Pac-12 as well, but Cal is 8-1, and Washington State is 8-2. Arizona State is 7-2. Neither of those schools have played the schedules that any Big Ten team has. UCLA, at 5-5, is better than any one of those teams.

The Big Ten will likely canabalize itself in conference play, but they have done everything they can to earn this title right now.

5) It's too early to pin anyone down. This is a snapshot of where things are now, of course...not where they will end up. We like to think we're great prognosticators. (We are 8-0 in hunch games, none of which we've said when we had the hunch. So they don't count.) But the truth is, the landscape could easily look a lot different after another ten games. So, here are a few predictions:

- Pitt won't be undefeated after twenty games
- In fact, nobody will
- San Diego State will find itself in the top ten
- Virginia will not be there (though they will be top 20)
- Villanova will rise up through Big East play
- But Connecticut will likely be the top team in the nation in ten more games
- Pitt and Georgia Tech to fall out of the poll
- Memphis and Gonzaga to climb back in

Since we're on deadline, we'll end it here. We wanted to get into some game talk, because there were some excellent games over the past few days. Check them out of you can.

The Quadaily 25
2028 Season, Day 49

1. Indiana (9-1, 1)
2. Southern Cal (9-1, 2)
3. Duke (9-2, 3)
4. Connecticut (9-2, 5)
5. North Carolina (9-2, 4)
6. Kentucky (10-0, 6)
7. NC State (10-0, 7)
8. Kansas (8-3, 8)
9. Arizona (8-2, 9)
10. Virginia (10-0, 10)
11. Washington (8-2, 11)
12. Colorado (8-1, 12)
13. Michigan State (6-4, 13)
14. Illinois (9-1, 15)
15. Pittsburgh (10-0, 16)
16. Florida (6-2, 17)
17. San Diego State (10-0, 18)
18. Missouri (8-2, 14)
19. Purdue (7-3, 19)
20. Ohio State (9-2, 21)
21. Utah (7-2, 24)
22. Georgia Tech (7-2, 20)
23. Stanford (7-2, NR)
24. Penn State (7-2, NR)
25. Oklahoma State (8-2, NR)
Next: Michigan, Georgetown, Texas, Villanova, Syracuse
Dropped Out: Arkansas (22), Texas (23), Michigan (25)
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Old 05-07-2020, 08:00 PM   #14
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The Quadaily 25, 2028 Season (Day 53): The One Where We're Tired

JBL | The Quadaily 25, 2028 Season (Day 53): The One Where We're Tired

The Quad is tired.

The Cabin Fever is starting to make its mark more apparent. That said, the Nintendo Switch purchased to help with said Cabin Fever has yet to be opened.

Instead, we march forward with another column! Today, we're going to take a bit of a cop-out piece, because, well, we're tired.

We need to give a shoutout, before things start, to DeAnthony Mikesell, a senior guard at St. Joseph's. Mikesell, back on Day 15, had the third-ever ten-steal game in CJBL history. This happened in St. Joe's 92-89 2OT loss to Penn.

Mikesell's line for the game: 6 pts (3-6 FG), 4 reb, 7 ast, 10 stl, 4 to

It was the first ten-steal game since Cavit Cameron of St. John's in 2025. (Oddly enough, Cameron was a -13 in his time in that game, despite all the steals (and eight assists, with no turnovers...how bad was St. John's that year?) Interestingly enough, Mikesell was -1 in his 38 minutes in this one.

In something indicative of how lackluster last season was, from a standout standpoint, there hasn't been a 50-point game since 2026. In fact, other than the Mikesell's effort, there haven't been any standpoint performances of note since 2026. Last year was barren of standpoint performances, at least how the CJBL views them.

If you want to talk Game Scores, the best performance over the last two years is a Tyson Rucker night against Iowa, in which he had 45 points, on 13-21 from the field (0-3 from deep), and 19-20 from the line. He also had seven rebounds, six assists, and two steals. His gamescore, 40.3, is 20th-best since the CJBL started carrying the stat.

No 2028 performance gets on the list.

The best-ever performance, at least by Game Score, is Jamar Walcutt's performance against Tennessee in 2024, when he was a Kentucky star. Walcutt had 53 points (22-26 FG), 16 rebounds, and a 47.9 GmSc. Walcutt, of course, was drafted #2 overall in the 2025 draft, and now is an emerging star with Seattle.

To view the CJBL's historical performances, go to http://jblfl.com/cjbl/historicalgames?feat=50pts.

Now, before conference play starts, we have the Conference Challenge. Here are the conference matchups, in no particular order.

Big East-AAC
NEC-AEC
Big 12-SEC
Pac-12-WCC
MAC-A10
Big West-Big Sky
MEAC-MAAC
Big Ten-ACC
SWAC-Summit
Southern-Big South
A-Sun-Southland
Horizon-CAA
Sun Belt-CUSA
Big West-MWC

Some schools, like UConn, left their conference, and thus, are not eligible for the Conference Challenge this season. Also, teams have to qualify, thorugh conference standing the previous season, to earn a place in the challenge. (The Huskies face Belmont.)

So, what are some of the best matchups? And what are our picks for said matchups? We're glad we asked.

Again, in no particular order:

North Carolina vs Purdue: Both teams score a lot, though Purdue is a lot more efficient on the offensive end.. UNC will want to push the tempo, though that's not always recommended. Regardless, this should be a fun, high-scoring affair.
Pick: Purdue 88, North Carolina 85

Indiana at Pitt: Pitt has been one of the best, and most confounding, stories of the early season. They sit 10-0 as #1 Indiana comes to town. The Hoosiers have dispatched Whereas the UNC-Purdue game will feature lots of points, IU-Pitt will not be that. Indiana ranks 7th nationally in oPPG, and 4th in DRtg, while Pitt is 11th in oPPG. This one to 50 wins here.
Pick: Indiana 57, Pitt 49

Arkansas at Oklahoma: Both teams need this win for at-large resume consideration. Arkansas has gotten back on track after a rough start against a very difficult schedule, while Oklahoma has flown more under-the-radar, but come into the game sitting 7-3. This is Despite Oklahoma's rather rough team stats, their only losses are to Ohio State, UCLA, and Colorado, all on the road. The Sooners are somewhat tougher than advertised.
Pick: Arkansas 74, Oklahoma 73

Gonzaga at UCLA: The Zags have not lost since dropping back-to-back games to Duke and Illinois back at Days 3 and 8. UCLA came out of a three-game loss fog by beating Nebraska on 47. Both games could use this as a statement, especially as UCLA faces Colorado to open Pac-12 play.
Pick: UCLA 71, Gonzaga 70

Virginia at Maryland: We don't really know that much about either team, really. Virginia is undefeated but not respected by the AP. They're also a counfounding team: They are 168th in PPG, but 5th in ORtg (okay, so their 347th-ranked Pace has something...everything...to do with that). They're 12th in oPPG, but 128th in DRtg. (Again, see Pace). Maryland is 6-3, but other than that, they stand out in exactly zero ways. Can Virginia win on the road against a solid big-conference opponent? And can they force Maryland to play at their pace?
Pick: Virginia 61, Maryland 58

Cincinnati at Georgetown: Both teams are getting their seasons back on track after feeling a little lost a couple of weeks ago. Both teams have a ton of talent. This is simply a quality game involving teams who aboslutely need this win.
Pick: Georgeotnw 77, Cincinnati 75

Saint Mary's at Washington: Welp, this is a return game. The Gaels beat Washington once again. The Huskies have been dynamite since that game. Will the return matchup be a revenge game?
Pick: Washington 86, St. Mary's 80

To be honest, there are a ton of great games up and down the slate for this period. There are too many for us to list, and, again, we're tired.

So we are bidding this piece adieu.

The Quadaily, 2028 Season
Day 53

1. Indiana (9-1, 1)
2. Southern Cal (9-1, 2)
3. Duke (9-2, 3)
4. Connecticut (9-2, 4)
5. North Carolina (9-2, 5)
6. Kentucky (10-0, 6)
7. NC State (10-0, 7)
8. Arizona (9-2, 8)
9. Kansas (8-3, 9)
10. Virginia (10-0, 10)
11. Washington (8-2, 11)
12. Colorado (9-1, 12)
13. MIchigan State (6-4, 13)
14. Illinois (9-1, 14)
15. Pittsburgh (10-0, 15)
16. Florida (7-2, 16)
17. San Diego State (10-0, 17)
18. Missouri (8-2, 18)
19. Purdue (7-3, 19)
20. Ohio State (9-2, 20)
21. Stanford (8-2, 23)
22. Utah (7-2, 21)
23. Georgia Tech (7-2, 22)
24. Oklahoma State (8-2, 24)
25. Georgetown (6-4, NR)
Next: Penn State, Michigan, Texas, Villanova, Syracuse
Dropped Out: Penn State (25)
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Old 05-07-2020, 08:01 PM   #15
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The Quadaily 25, 2028 Season (Day 57): Pitt Is The Shi...

JBL | The Quadaily 25, 2028 Season (Day 57): Pitt Is The Shi...

The Pitt Panthers suffered their first loss of the season on 53, falling to #1 Indiana.

They then turned around and lost at Syracuse.

If you have not yet looked at our poll for today, we did not move them. They still sit at #15.

What gives? Two losses in four days should move a team considerably down, right? Are we Pitt homers? (Definitely not.) But we learned some things about Pitt in the last two years, and this much, to us, is clear:

Pitt is for real.

The Panthers were down 45-30 at the half to Indiana. They were down 22 with 13:34 left. From that point, the team went on a 25-7 run over ten minutes to climb within four with 3:44 left.

Indiana then kept them at bay. But Jagan Hagedorn's three with 1:55 left cut it back to four. The Daniel Matic's layup with 1:22 left made it a six-point game, 71-65.

From there, it was all Pitt.

Drew Shapard hit a three throw. He missed the second, but Jonathan Garnett fought around a box out to get the board, and put back. The lead was cut down to three.

Pitt then forced a shot-clock violation on Indiana. Pitt wasted no time, as Jonathan Severado's three four seconds later tied the game at 71. Indiana had a chance at a win, but Demonte Lindsey's jumper missed at the buzzer.

In overtime, Indiana would get a little breathing room again, twice. They led 77-73 with 1:49 left. Pitt, though, managed to come back to tie it again with :39 left, before Rodney Collins' three with :27 left, and Indiana's ability to play keep away earned them the win.

This ended up as a statement game for both teams. Pitt could have rolled over. But that is not this time. Yes, their starting lineup was -11 in their 17:33 on the court. But it was worse with 13:34 left. They were able to pull themselves together and make a run at the crown. And they very nearly pulled it off. The surrounding lineups, while a couple were not great, did manage to further Pitt's getting back into the game. Bo Dorn and Kale Sanders, in particular, were instrumental in getting them back into the game (combined +25 in their time on the floor). Dorn, in particular, with 13 points on 5-6 shooting, was huge off the bench. And Drew Shepard (18 points, 9 rebounds) and Jonathan Severado (15-5-4), the two leaders of this team, did as they do.

Indiana, meanwhile, did let Pitt back in the game after being up so much and dominating the game for the first 27 minutes...but they managed to close out an undefeated team on the road. That was as pressure-packed a game as they have had this year; a hostile environment against a hungry team with renewed energy. And they came out with the win. As impressive as their resume has been so far, this win is as good as any of them.

On 56, Pitt went to the Carrier Dome to face a Syracuse team better than their record. The two went to overtime, where Amadi Adekoya's two free throws put Pitt up, 78-77, with eleven seconds left.

Unfortunately for Adekoya, the hero became the goat; his fifth foul came when he overcommitted on Jaylen Mathews' shot fake with 1.2 seconds left on the clock. Mathews went to the line and hit both free throws, giving Syracuse the lead. Hagedorn missed a shot at the horn, and Syracuse held on, 79-78.

So, two big games, the second on the road. Two losses, but both in overtime. All things considered, they were bound to lose. That they were undefeated was amazing as it was already. But taking these losses in this manner is quite impressive, and makes them worthy of staying where they are, at 16th. Only two teams in the nation are undefeated at this point, Kentucky and San Diego State. Only the latter might stay undefeated for quite some time. But we couldn't conceive of docking Pitt for these two losses when you compare that resume to the teams around them.

Pitt's resume is still an interesting one in flux. Their point stats are in direct contradiction to their efficiency stats. Their saving grace is that they simply do not turn the ball over. They are fourth in the nation in turnovers, and third in turnover percentage. They also get to the line (though they are merely okay in converting them). We are hard-pressed to consider them championship material, but also hard-pressed to say they aren't a top-15 team right now. That could obviously change, but they have proven to be an incredibly tough out.

- We talked about Missouri a couple of weeks ago, but we wanted to highlight something. Heading into today, Missouri is third in RPI and second in SOS. They trail only Duke in RPI+SOS, at 1.403.

The top ten, for the record, coming into today:

1) Duke (1.465)
2. Missouri (1.403)
3. UConn (1.369)
4. Illinois (1.361)
5. Maryland (1.355)
6. North Carolina (1.346)
7. Kentucky (1.345)
8. Southern Cal (1.333)
9. Florida (1.322)
10. St. John's (1.331)

- Here's a quick and somewhat crude look at the early candidates for National Player of the Year.

1. PF Brandon Dampier, Missouri. Dampier, a bit of a polarizing prospect coming out of high school, is averaging 21.9 points, 10.0 rebounds, 1.55 steals, and 1.27 blocks per game for a Mizzou team that has taken the nation by storm. His 40.6 PER leads the nation.

2. C Jeremy Sawvell, Arizona. Sawvell is averaging 17.5 points and 6.5 rebounds. Not only that, but he's shooting an absurd 72.3% from the field. He has lived up to the top prospect overall ranking he had coming into this season.

3. SF Jack Dawkins, UConn. Jack made the transition to the Big East, and the big time, seamlessly. He leads the nation in scoring, at 22.5 points per game. He also is averaging 5.6 rebounds, three assists, and a nation-leading 3.15 steals per game.

4. PG Justin Noel, NC State. Noel is averaging 15.8 points and 7.4 assists (third in the nation) in leading the Wolfpack to a top-ten ranking. He is shooting 58% from the field, and 48.5% from three. He has put this team on his back, and has been able to carry them pretty well so far.

5. SG Joey Bullock, Gonzaga. Joey Bulls is averaging 19.0 points and 7.1 assists (fifth nationally) for the Zags. He has not been as efficient as Noel, but he has had the same effect for Gonzaga that Noel has had for NC State.

Honorable Mention - SF Kamil Scheer, Miami (Fla). Scheer is posting 17.9/5.5/4.0/1.6/1.4. Nobody is posting those kind of numbers anywhere in the nation. Nobody has at least 17/5/4/1/1. That's a a crazy line.

Honorable Mention - SG/SF Trayvon Easley, Duke. Easley is averaging 15.2/5.0/4.7, along with 2.08 steals per game. His percentages aren't terribly efficient, but he's also been the leader of a Duke team that went through the Death March in non-conference play. Missouri was closer to #3 UConn in SOS than #1 Duke. That's how tough that schedule was.

Before we start, a note about this poll. North Carolina flip-flopped with UConn this week, due to the strength of their win against Purdue on the road. That was good enough to jump ahead of a UConn team that almost lost to Seton Hall.

The Quaddaily, 2028 Season
Day 57

1. Indiana (10-1, 1)
2. Southern Cal (11-1, 2)
3. Duke (11-2, 3)
4. North Carolina (11-2, 5)
5. Connecticut (11-2, 4)
6. Kentucky (11-0, 6)
7. Arizona (11-2, 8)
8. Kansas (9-3, 9)
9. NC State (11-1, 7)
10. Washington (10-2, 11)
11. Colorado (11-1, 12)
12. Virginia (10-1, 10)
13. Illinois (10-1, 15)
14. San Diego State (11-0, 17)
15. Pittsburgh (10-2, 15)
16. Michigan State (6-5, 13)
17. Missouri (9-2, 17)
18. Ohio State (10-2, 20)
19. Florida (8-3, 16)
20. Stanford (10-2, 21)
21. Oklahoma State (9-2, 24)
22. Purdue (7-4, 19)
23. Utah (8-3, 22)
24. Georgetown (8-4, 25)
25. Villanova (8-3, NR)
Next: MIchigan, Penn State, Memphi, Maryland, Gonzaga
Dropped Out: Georgia Tech (23)
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Old 05-07-2020, 08:02 PM   #16
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The Quadaily 25, 2028 Season (Day 61): Maybe Someday You'll Estimate Me, Jan

JBL | The Quadaily 25, 2028 Season (Day 61): Maybe Someday You'll Estimate Me, Jan

A question was posed to us last night, because our opinion is valued, and therefore, it is sought. It's not like we asked for questions. We have a lot of ideas on a daily basis for this column.

We do.

Anyway, we were asked who we thought are the most overrated and underrated teams in the nation. And, so, today, we will explore that very thing.

Most Underrated

1. Utah (9-3):: The Utes are Virginia West. They do not score a lot, but are efficient on offense. It's their pace (322nd) that bothers teams, much like Virginia. It certainly bothered North Carolina. It bothered Southern Cal. It is what can make them dangerous in the Pac-12 (again, as Southern Cal can attest). The Utes are 34th in oPPG, but 180th in DRtg. The Utes are 2-3 in Quad 1 games, but 5-0 in Quad 2 games. They are 8th in RPI and 7th in SOS. They have a legit offensive star in Josh Doorson (17.6 PPG, 44% 3pt), but balance from Stephon Thorpe and Zach King. It is that kind of inside-out balance, and efficiency that teams can have difficulty dealing with.

2. Missouri (9-2): Well, we guess we were the earliest on them, and we've underrated them. Missou is second in the nation in offensive efficiency. They are 313th in pace; we guess they're Virginia Central. Their DRtg is 260th in the nation, but 61st in oPPG. They are 1st in free throw rate (though 147th in FT%, something that could come back to haunt them). They are eighth in the nation in turnovers per game. We kind of see a theme here. Missouri is 14th in points in the paint per game, at 40.8. They are 4th in RPI and 2nd in SOS. They have the composite of a team that can make a deep run. Yet, when we look at title contenders, Mizzou is not considered. Heck, if we were to make another bracket this second, they would have a strong claim to a top seed; we see them more as a 2/3. So, some of this underratedness is from a media standpoint. We understand that. The point is, while even we did not think they would be this good, this quickly (Brandon Dampier, thank you), we want to see what happens when things are not going as easily for them. (For the record, Dampier and Derek Gibson may be the best 1-2 combo in the nation.)

3. Maryland (8-3): There really isn't much Maryland shines at, outside of shooting free throws (14th in the nation in FT%, at 81.1). They do get points in the paint (19th in the nation). But their ORtg/DRtg are not spectacular (58th/72nd). They're pretty average in everything. But we think a lot of that had to do with a difficult early slate, in which they dropped three of their first four. Those losses are to Arkansas by a bucket, Iowa State by three, and Duke on a night when everyone but Mason Hargrove shot terribly. Since then, Maryland has beaten Georgetown, Kansas State, Oklahoma State, and Virginia. They have a bonafide star in Hargrove, and balance on offense. Right now, they are playing as good as anyone in the nation. Yet, they are not getting the love, nationally. Yet, they are 4-3 in Q1, 3-0 in Q2, and have no Q4 games. Hence, they are underrated.

Most Overrated

1. Ohio State (11-2): Welp, here we are. The Buckeyes only have three true away games to this point; they are 2-1 in those games. They are also 8-0 in games involving Q3-4 teams. They lost to a Cincinnati team that was all up in their feelings. Yes, they did beat Syracuse on the road, and just handled an equally-overrated Minnesota team. But the bulk of meat of their OOC schedule: Detroit Mercy, Illinois-Chicago, Western Michigan, Miami (OH), Ohio, Milwaukee, and VCU. That is as weak an OOC schedule as you'll find from a team with such a lofty ranking. The media--us included--are still living on last year's squad. This year's has not proven much yet, outside of the Syracuse win (which was a very good win, but it's the only one they have). Their leading scorer, GIlbert Hart, is averaging just 11.4 ppg, and that's on 44% shooting. They are a pretty inefficient, inconsistent offense. That does not hold well come conference play, let alone tournament time. They are ninth in defensive rating, but does that tell us anything? At least with a team like UConn, who has played a variety of tough teams, we know their defense is for real. We don't know anything about Ohio State yet, truly.

2. Oklahoma State (9-3). Why are the Cowboys here? We can start with their 4-0 against Q4 teams. Yes, they're another team who beat Syracuse, as well as Creighton. They own no other win of note, and just got destroyed by Baylor. They are an offensive team who doesn't play an alarming pace, doesn't shoot free throws, and does not rebound. Nor do they score in the paint, which is usually a barometer for a team with good offensive balance. They rank 232nd in the nation there. They do get a lot from their bench. One bit of worry is their most-used lineup, against the level of competition they have played up to this point, is only a +11.9 Net. You would think that, for a great team, against mediocre competition, that Net would be somewhere in the mid-20s, at least. That's a worrying sign, though they are in a conference where they can get away with it, for the most part. (On second thought, remember the Baylor loss? Yeah, us too.).

3. Connecticut (12-2). Yup, the Huskies are here. How, you ask? They are a good, but not great, offensive team. Last year's team was constructed in much the same way. They are a supreme defensive team. The issue with UConn is that they do like to play fast. If they get into a shootout with a team, the scales do not tip in their favor. And their roster construct is, well, Jack, defensive bigs, and inconsistency in the backcourt. This sounds familiar. We saw this nearly cost them against Seton Hall, who sits 4-7 on the year. Yes, UConn has played a tough schedule, and have only lost to Kentucky and Duke, both by a single possession. There are things to like, but we don't think they're as good as their resume has them now, and that the end result will end up in agony and a lost season in Storrs.

A quick note about our poll: You may have noticed that the recent AP poll is quite reactionary, and that there are some movements that are not in line with the poll you have seen from us. We are not the AP. We are better than them, even if they do feel like they got their act together a little bit more. No, we do not believe San Diego State is sixth in the nation. No, we do not believe Drexel is 24th (though shoutout to the Dragons, we are watching).

In short, this poll is not emulative of what they are doing. We are our own poll; you could consider us to be the poll through the eyes of one pollster. You can agree with us. Or you don't have to. To that end, I say, make your own then. (But keep enjoying ours.) This is a fun exercise that spawed this column, and will continue to do so. And we're serious about making your own. This is not an easy exercise to do. It has gotten easier because we do it each day, and, thus, we do not have to be quite as reactive (though Michigan State needs to get their damn act together...we get six losses against the nation's absolute best, but it's still six losses. Come on, Sparty.)

Anyway, we thought we would clear the air regarding this minor and all-too-important issue. Carry on.

The Quadaily 25, 2028 Season
Day 61

1. Indiana (11-1, 1)
2. Duke (11-2, 3)
3. North Carolina (12-2, 4)
4. Conneticut (12-2, 5)
5. Kentucky (12-0, 6)
6. Southern Cal (11-2, 2)
7. Arizona (12-2, 7)
8. Kansas (10-3, 8)
9. NC State (11-1, 9)
10. Colorado (12-1, 11)
11. Virginia (11-1, 12)
12. Washington (10-3, 10)
13. San Diego State (12-0, 14)
14. Illinois (10-2, 13)
15. Missouri (9-2, 17)
16. Ohio State (11-2, 18)
17. Florida (8-3, 19)
18. Pittsburgh (10-3, 15)
19. Purdue (8-4, 22)
20. Utah (9-3, 23)
21. Villanova (9-3, 25)
22. Michigan State (6-6, 16)
23. Stanford (10-3, 20)
24. Michigan (8-4, NR)
25. Memphis (9-4, NR)
Next: Maryland, Gonzaga, Georgetown, Arkansas, Iowa State
Dropped Out: Oklahoma State (21), Georgetown (24)
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Old 05-07-2020, 08:03 PM   #17
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The Quadaily 25, 2028 Season (Day 65): Small School + Seismic Shift Saturday!

JBL | The Quadaily 25, 2028 Season (Day 65): Small School + Seismic Shift Saturday!

Today, we are going to look at what the small schools in the country are doing. This column is (mostly) dedicated to them.

However, we do have to comment on something.

In today's poll, just one team stayed where they were in yesterday's ranking.

One.

And that's #1 Indiana.

Every team from #2 on down shifted. Now, only a couple of schools were jettisoned. We took out Michigan State; they have the talent to compete for a national title, but they are the most frustratingly inconsistent team in the country. At 7-8, and 1-3 in the Big Ten (with their only win against an Ohio State team that we just called the most overrated team in the country), we couldn't justify them being in any longer. Also out is Arkansas, though that is more about UNLV's win over San Diego State than it says about the Razorbacks.

The big reasons for all the movement are...

- UNC beat Duke
- Stanford handed USC their second straight loss
- Arizona lost to UCLA, who finally beat a Q1 team
- Colorado lost to Washington State
- San Diego State lost to UNLV
- Illinois blew a win against Indiana
- Villanova continued to roll
- Ohio State lost to Michigan State, and their resume was building towards a correction
- Memphis continued to get themselves back on track
- Gonzaga earned their way back into the poll

All of those things led to more shifting in this poll than any other this season. We can thank conference play for this, specifically Big Ten and Pac-12 play.

Now...onto Small School Saturday.

- The Ivy looks like it will be an absolute dogfight. (Perhaps this is due to its general ineptitude so far this season; no team has a positive point differential entering games today.) At the top of the ladder sit Harvard (7-6, 2-0) and Penn (7-6, 2-0).

The Crimson either lead or sit near the top of the conference in almost every offensive category. In a conference nearly devoid of defense (and, for most teams, offense), this is a pretty solid strategy. The Crimson, led by George Foye's surprising 26, defeated Cornell (5-6, 1-1) 85-75. Christian Collins (second in the Ivy in scoring, at 16.5 PPG) had 22, but the night belonged to Foye, who was 6-13 from the field, 4-7 from three, and 10-10 from the line, as Harvard held off every charge from the Big Red.

Cornell got it down to two, at 74-72, but could get no further.

Harvard, who went undefeated in league play last year, is looking to win back-to-back conference championships.

It was thought that Cornell would be the team to best stand in their way. The Big Red are 20th in the nation in DRtg (95.0), and the only team in the Ivy with a DRtg in double-digits. However, their ORtg is 94.6, good for 323rd in the nation. When you play at a good pace (56h in the nation, tops in the Ivy), making you 14th in FGA per game but 325th in FG%, you're going to struggle.in games like this. And that's what Cornell experienced in this game. They did get three players in double figures, led by Charlendez Blake's 13, but overally, they shot 42% from the field, and just 64% (16-25) at the line.

Cornell is definitely the outlier in the conference, and should be there at the end. But their lack of consistent offense outweighs their excellent defense at this stage.

So, what about Penn, then? The Quakers are second in the conference in PPG, and third in ORtg (216th overall). But they are sixth in DRtg and 8th in oPPG. What they do well is shoot the three (2nd in the conference in both threes made per game and 3pt%). They're generally top half of the league in most things, and first in the conference in offensive boards per game, as well as eFG%.

But, that defense.

Realistically, Harvard and Penn are the same team. Good offensively, good at hitting threes, terrible defensively. Neither particularly likes to force the issue.

The key here, at least for a head-to-head (Day 71 at Harvard is the first matchup) may come from the lineups.

Harvard (Ronnie Word-Reggie Howard-Christian Collins-Dazon Lewis-George Foye): +6.0 in 79:13
Penn (Justin Prescott-Colby Kamara-Bennie Glass-Matt Cohchiani-Jordy Clayton ): -2.2 Net in 204:19

Of course, Harvard's lineup has less time, but the key here seems to be the move to Foye over Josh Garner at the point. Foye's main two lineups are positive Nets, while Garner's sit at -13.5 and -1.4.

Penn, meanwhile, has stayed with their starting lineup for the season, and it has played to a net zero, in terms of point differential. But it's still a negative rating overall. The second lineup rates a +4.5 in 42:14. The conclusion on Penn doesn't really conclude anything at all, because subsequent lineups all have various parts of that lineup. It does appear that Travaun Moses has been a general positive over Colby Kamara at the 4, but that's really about all that can be gleamed. (And maybe Eric Sterley should be playing more minutes in place of Matt Corchiani at the 2.)

In the end, what we have here is that meme of the two Spidermans pointing at one another.

- For no other reason than randomness, let's take a look at New Mexico:

The Lobos have an absurd amount of talent, though it is centered around the post. DeMarcus Higgins appears to be a legit JBL candidate as an athletic combo-wing who could guard both wings and post passably in the pros. Spencer Edwards, another senior, has a lot of talent and might be a fringe pro prospect. Right now, he's a bit player on the team, and could stand to get some more run.

All of this interior strength has led New Mexico to a really solid defense, one that ranks 32nd in the nation (2nd in the Mountain West); their DRtg sits 38th in the nation (just fifth in the conference). They play a rather slow pace, but their ORtg remains efficient.

In short, this team is a defense-first team akin to Missouri and Virginia. They just aren't as quite as talented as those teams.

Avery Barnes leads the team in scoring, at 12.4 ppg. But he's inefficent. Since New Mexico is tenth in the conference in FG attempts per game, and Barnes takes 20% of the team's shots, this can lead to some fruistrating nights.

(Personally, we would like to see PG Makinde Neziek take a bigger role on offense; he's shooting 48.9% from the field, and 46.2% from three. Also, Troy Bell is shooting 50% from three, on 4.3 attempts. For a center, that is highly efficient.)

The team's core, tot his point, seems to be Neziek, Bell, and SF Christian Allende. Neziek is a +20 in personal NetRtg, while Bell is +30.0. Allende is just a 4.6, but he's got a Box +/- of 5.0, best on the team by far. His 1.2 win shares is also second on the team. If the team can figure out a way to maybe pair Bell and Edwards (who has 1.1 WS and a 4.6 BPM), this team may take off.

One idea that could be interesting: Going with a lineup of:

PG: Neziek (6'4)
SG: Allende (6'10)
SF: Higgins (6/10)
PF: Bell (7')
C: Edwards (6'10)

Not only would that be a lineup with ridiculous length and defense, you're maximizing your offensive efficiency. Barnes might be better as a microwave off the bench. We're unsure. But we do know that, at this stage, Barnes' play is a losing proposition for the Lobos as they are. They have gotten better production from the spot when they play Steve Urquahart at the 2. If they're willing to try him, why not Allende, who is more athletic than Barnes and even a better perimeter defender?

Anyway, that's our unrequested two cents.

The Quadaily 25, 2028 Season
Day 65

1. Indiana (13-1, 1)
2. North Carolina (13-2, 3)
3. Kentucky (13-0, 5)
4. Connecticut (13-2, 4)
5. Duke (11-3, 2)
6. Kanass (11-3, 8)
7. NC State (12-1, 9)
8. Southern Cal (11-3, 6)
9. Virginia (12-1, 9)
10. Arizona (12-3, 7)
11. Missouri (10-2, 15)
12. Colorado (12-2, 10)
13. Washington (10-3, 12)
14. Florida (9-3, 17)
15. Illinois (11-3, 14)
16. San Diego State (13-1, 13)
17. Pittsburgh (11-3, 18)
18. Purdue (9-4, 19)
19. Utah (9-3, 20)
20. Villanova (10-3, 21)
21. Stanford (11-3, 23)
22. Ohio State (12-3, 16)
23. Maryland (10-3, NR)
24. Memphis (10-4, 25)
25. Gonzaga (11-2, NR)
Next: Michigan, Georgetown, Iowa State, Syracuse, UNLV
Dropped Out: Michigan State (22), Michigan (24)
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Old 05-07-2020, 08:04 PM   #18
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The Quadaily 25, 2028 Season (Day 69): Bracketology: The Second Bracketing, Electric

JBL | The Quadaily 25, 2028 Season (Day 69): Bracketology: The Second Bracketing, Electric Bugaloo

About three weeks ago, we made a bracket.

Forgetting what we learned and being gluttons for punishment, we made another.

We decided to tag this along wth some Buy or Sell, because right now, there are many, many incomplete resumes out there. This should be the case; it's only halfway through the season. We found, though, that further down the bracket, it got harder and harder to get to the final teams. So, we'll try and reason some of that out (to be honest, it may help us, because a few of our choices, we can't really reaosn out).

For this, we are taking the CJBL Tournament Committee's new spreadsheet out for a test spin. The spreadhseet conveniently sorts and ranks the teams by several things, the main one being RPI/SOS. It also presents all of the Quad wins, along with all of the advanced stats the committee will be looking for, all in a handy spreadhseet. (There are also a ton of other sheets to puruse; it's a lot of information at your fingertips. Thanks to the committee for letting us use it.

We do not envy your job this year. Oof.

First, here's a listing of teams who were in the last bracket, but not in this one:

5 Line: Texas
6 Line: Oklahoma
7 Line: UCLA
8 Line: Georgia Tech
9: Oklahoma State, Minnesota
10: Wisconsin, Marquette
11: Kansas State

We did not list the autobid changes, as that will remain fluid throughout the season.

State of #1: Right now, we have Indiana as the #1 overall seed, followed by Kentucky, Connecticut, and North Carolina. There are arguments to be made for Virginia (an argument is sealed if the Hoos beat the Heels in their next game) and Missouri as being #1s. Right now, we are content with where it is, though that contentment could turn cold by next week, easily.

The Bubble Picture: In a noise, oof.

Last Four Byes: Tennessee, New Mexico, San Diego, Iowa. We're writing this after we started the Buy/Sell, so one spoiler: we refer to seeds 7 on as a "cesspool of mediocrity". Really, it should be that at this stage; nobody who is on those lines should feel good about their spot. And since resumes are incomplete, well...theirs need improvement.

We do find San Diego's inclusion to be interesting. Really, we could find nobody to take them out. We imagine that, by the next time we do this, unless they beat the Zags, someone will have overtaken them. As it stands now, their resume is better than Oklahoma, Wisconsin, A&M, etc.

Last Four Byes: Louisville, Cincinnati, Michigan State, BYU

We should catch flak for putting Michigan State and Cincinnati here. Really, we do think a team like UCLA will rise back up. But we have faith that Michigan State is primed for a run. Maybe. We mean, they probably will, really. Definitely. Yup. It's comig.

We do have to note: No at-large team with a current losing record, even if we think they should be in, is included. That's UCLA, Texas, and the like. We think they could get in if they get things turned around (especially in the case of UCLA, but they need a serious run in the Pac-12).

First Four Out: Notre Dame, Texas, UCLA, Minnesota
Next Four Out: Michigan, Okahoma State, Washington State, Wisconsin

East

State of the #1 Seed: Connecticut is the current #1 in the AP Poll, something we obviously do not agree with (as evidenced by our own poll, where UConn has not been at the top spot, or even second, once this season). That said, their schedule rivals anyone's in the country, and they have only two losses, to Duke and Kentucky, each by a single possession. They own maybe the nation's stingiest defense, and they have the nation's leading scorer. This is a secure spot for the Huskies, for now.

Buy: Virginia (2). The Cavaliers are a 2-seed here, up from a 3 in our last bracket. We actually had them on the 1-line originally, but flipped them with North Carolina. It's too early in the conference season to get too wrapped up in conference record, so that Virginia is leading the ACC at the moment is pretty meaningless. That said, they get North Carolina at home in their next game; a win over UNC would likely cause us to flip it back. Regardless, we believe in Virginia. They are deserving of this spot, and could easily have an argument for more.

Sell: Ohio State (7). We highlighted a week ago that Ohio State is the most overrated team in the country. Their resume has them around this range for now, though this is easily a team trending downward. That Ohio State isn't lower, and probably won't get much lower, is more an indictment on the rest of the at-large, which is a cesspoll of mediocrity, than it is about Ohio State's overall resume, which is also a cesspoll of mediocrity. It's just in the shallow end.

Buy: Villanova (6): They are young, yes. But they are growing and improving. Their resume is solid (3-4 Q1, 3-0 Q2), and they have chances to improve in a good Big East. One tip of stability: their top three lineups all have NetRtg's above 20. That's impressive for such a young team, especially one who has played a schedule as solid's as Nova.

Sell: Drexel (10). Look, we have Drexel in our Next category today. They're a wonderful story right now. We simply do not buy a team that is 9-0 against Q3-4. Yes, they are 4-2 against Q1-2. They have wins over Fairfield and Bryant, who should make the tournament through their conference. They also have losses to Penn State and Murray State, though both on the road. They are a Virginia-esque team, in that they slow it down and they are efficient on offense (18th nationally). But they have played exactly one elite offense, that being Penn State. They lost by 20, 86-66. They have not cracked 80 once this year, and have only cracked 75 three times. This does not bode well when you have to face a team capable of scoring 70 on anyone.

East Region

1) Connecticut (Big East) vs 16) Hartford (AEC)
8) Syracuse (At-Large) vs Kansas State (At-Large)

5) Maryland (At-Large) vs 12) Bryant (NEC)
4) Florida (At-Large) vs 13) Fairfield (MAAC)

3) Colorado (Pac-12) vs 14) Buffalo (MAC)
6) Villanova (At-Large) vs 11) Louisville/Cincinnati

7) Ohio State (At-Large) vs 10) Drexel (CAA)
2) Virginia (ACC) vs 15) Samford (Southern)

South

State of the Top Seed: Kentucky is still undefeated, and entirely worthy of the top spot here. If they falter (a couple of times), we would be more apt to send them west, and replace them with the ACC frontrunner. And while Missouri has a solid argument for a #1, the fact is that Kentucky is the last remaining undefeated team in the nation. They own a win over UConn and handed Indiana their only loss so far. You could make a better argument for Kentucky as the #1 overall seed than moving to the 2-line.

Buy: Memphis (6). Everyone wanted to sell Memphis earlier in the season, when they were just 4-4. They have not lost since then. Memphis has national title talent; for the Tigers, it's a matter of coming together and figuring out their optimal style of play. They appear to have done that by slowing it down and grinding things out, as well as not turning the ball over. You know, there is a running theme with teams we find are beginning to peak, or teams we think have a solid chance of going far in the tournament.

Sell: Arizona (4). THere just isn't any confidence in the Wildcats. They have had three chances to make a statement so far this seaosn, against Kansas, UConn, and recently at home against Washington. All four were losses, none of which were particularly competitive. Yes, they beat Stanford handedly, but they turned around and lost to a UCLA team that was 0-8 against Q1 teams up to that point. The schedule is built on losses against weak teams (with a win against New Mexico and BYU sprinkled in). As good as Jeremy Sawvell has been, the rest of the team has been okay, at best. It's just not a team we have confidence in at the moment.

Buy: St. John's (8). The Johnnies, we thought, had one of those stories that was nice early, but would certainly fizzle. We were wrong. While, again, cesspoll of mediocirty, this is more about the Red Storm's narrative than it is about the field. St. John's slid up from a play-in 11 spot to a 9 here. They are 14th in RPI+SOS, and 4-4 in Q1 games, 8-4 in Q1+2 games. Beating a red hot Villanova team, right after a big win against Georgetown, made us realize this team will only miss the CJBL Tournament if there's a major collapse. They would be prohibitive underdogs in the first round matchup here, but given that they won five games last year, this might be the best coaching job done in the nation.

Sell: Florida State (9). Nobody was more surprised than us to see the Seminoles ranked in the top 20 by the overreactionary AP this week. They aren't worthy of the spot. Florida State is 58th in RPI+SOS. They are 3-2 against Q1 teams, yes. But they are 7-0 against Q3-4. Their best win is either Georgia Tech or Louisville. They don't have a single non-conference win to put up as a signature win for the committee. Sure, they'll have opportunities to gain quality wins. We think it's more likely that they get exposed. That elite defense (11th in oPPG, 7th in DRtg) is about to get put to the test.

South Region

1) Kentucky (SEC) vs Gardner-Webb (Big South)/North Alabama (A-Sun)
8) St. John's (At-Large) vs Florida State (At-Large)

5) Purdue (At-Large) vs 12) Murray State (OVC)
4) Arizona (At-Large) vs 13) Navy (Patriot)

3) Illinois (At-Large) vs 14) South Carolina State (MEAC)
6) Memphis (AAC) vs 11) San Diego (At-Large)

7) Georgetown (At-Large) vs Tennessee (At-Large)
2) Duke (At-Large) vs Arkansas Pine-Bluff (SWAC)

Midwest

State of the #1 Seed: Indiana is the top seed overall. Easy as that.

Buy: Stanford (6). We really like the six seeds in this tournament. Stanford is capable of beating anybody. They are 17th in RPI, and yet we have them as a six. Yeah, it's probably too low right now. It wll probably be too low come tournament time. The Cardinal are 4-4 in Q1 games, 5-0 in Q2. They have opportunities to improve, and there are teams in the Pac-12 that can slide as they move up. The defending champs still get to the line a lot, and still hit their free throws. They still score a lot in the paint, and still get points off turnovers and in transition. Their defense is a concern, but they put teams on their heels quickly. There is a lot to like here.

Sell: Pittsburgh (5). They have been a tough out all season long. They took Indiana to overtime (they should have won that game). Sure, they are 2-4 in Q1 games, and 6-0 in Q3-4 games. Their Q1 wins are Penn State and Georgetown. They'll have chances to improve, but we worry that they'll be the tough out that continually comes up short in the conference. They could (and should) get over .500 soon; they do have NC State on the road, but then BC, Virginia Tech, Florida State, Notre Dame, and Clemson (then FSU again). So this record will likely inflate. We like this PItt team, but we have our reservations that they can beat elite teams on a neutral court.

Buy: Arkansas (8): The Razorbacks are 10-7, but 5-6 in Q1 games. They are 3-1 in Q2. Yes, they have a negative NetEff right now, which is why they are ranked lower than they are. And yes, their team is imbalanced and very average, if you go by team stats. (Okay, average is generous.) And sure, two of their wins, over Maryland and Georgetown, were buzzer-beaters. To us, that tells us Arkansas does not wilt down the stretch. Their losses are to UConn, UNC, Colorado, Georgia Tech (when Georgia Tech couldn't be beat), Florida twice, and Mizzou. Where is the bad loss there? Kentucky comes calling on Day 80, and they should be undefeated going into it; let's see how that goes. (Prediction: Kentucky will no longer be undefeated after Day 80.)

Sell: Penn State (10). It's the defense. The Nits have been a great story so far this year. But this is all about their defense, which is terrible and, while it may be capable of beating UNLV, who we have them matched up with in the first round, it certainly would not get them past Kansas on a neutral court. We guess that, if you're a lower seed, even winning a single game would mean we should buy your stock. Unfortunately, we feel like the lack of defense could really hurt Penn State in Big Ten play. If a team like Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan or Michigan State can turn their season around, it could be an the expense of Penn State's good run so far.

South Region

1) Indiana (Big Ten) vs Utah Valley (WAC)/Texas State (Sun Belt)
8) Arkansas (At-Large) vs Creighton (At-Large)

5) Pittsburgh (At Large) vs 12) Marshall (CUSA)
4) Washington (At-Large) vs 13) Illinois State (MVC)

3) NC State (At-Large) vs 14) Oakland (Horizon)
6) Stanford (At-Large) vs 11) Iowa (At-Large)

7) UNLV (At-Large) vs 10) Penn State (At-Large)
2) Kansas (Big 12) vs Northwestern State (Southland)

West

State of the #1 Seed: North Carolina sits atop the West, though one should note the shift in region. UNC is our bottom top seed right now; if Virginia beats them when they play, those two teams will flip. Carolina is here on the strength of their win over Duke. We did originally have Virginia on the top line, but switched it while we await the results of their game. Missouri, who is second in this region, has a legit claim to the top seed here too. We could easily be criticized for them not being there, given that they are #1 in RPI and RPI+SOS, while North Carolina is fifth. We might be convincing ourselves to change it as we write this. But we'll stay true to our own poll as well, where MIzzou has been a steady, but slow, riser on our list. We just want to see more. (Truth: if Vrginia beats UNC, but it isn't an impressive win or the game is clunky, MIzzou could easily take the top spot, and three ACC teams could be on the 2 line).

Buy: Missouri (2). You saw our argument above. They are the nation's top team in RPI+SOS. They have 7-2 in Q1 wins. (UNC is 9-3.) The Tigers are 3-0 in Q2, while UNC is 2-0. The Tigers are the nation's most efficient offense; while their defense is not particularly great, they are so efficient on offense, and slow the pace down, to where teams simply don't have enough opportunities to keep up with them. They have what we think is the frontrunner for National POTY in Brandon Dampier. Their top six lineups all net positive gains. There is so much to like about this Tigers team.

Sell: San Diego State (4). The Aztecs are simply 1-1 in Q1 games. Sure, they're 14-1 overall, but they have't really played anyone. They have the win over UCLA, and a blowout over Creighton. Okay. SDSU has been elite in both ORtg and DRtg, but the schedule has not been daunting. And that defense was picked apart by UNLV. They are wonderful at shooting the ball (1st in FG made per game, 5th in FG%). We feel they have done this against a bad non-conference schedule. Unfortunately, outside of UNLV and New Mexico, there are not many other chances to see what this team can do, really. So, in the eyes of the public, SDSU could be a top-two seed. They are not that, nor should they be considered as such. Remember UNLV and Memphis last year. This is that.

Buy: Iowa State (7). We called Iowa State one of the most underrated teams in the nation. They are 27th in RPI, 2-3 in Q1 games, 3-0 in Q2. They do have a terrible loss, that to Nebraska. Their other losses are to UConn, Missouri and Kansas. They beat Maryland, Iowa, and Creighton. They rebound reasonbly well, get to the line and make their shots...they don't do a lot of defensive things well, which will be why their season ends before they want...but this team is capable of giving an elite team a run for its money. They've done it already.

Sell: Oklahoma (9). This is where we had severe problems. We originally had Michigan here, and got rid of them. Do you realize the Wolverines are 0-5 in Q1 games? The Sooners are 0-4. These teams are essnetially two Spidermans pointing at one another, but Oklahoma is slightly taller on their resume (their RPI+SOS is slightly better). This is a spot where, if UCLA or Notre Dame had winning records, we wouldn't be talking about Oklahoma.

We can tell you, Alabama vs Oklahoma would be the first-round matchup they'd air on Court TV, or PBS, if games got shifted there.

West Region

1) North Carolina (At-Large) vs South Dakota State (Summit)
8) Alabama (At-Large) vs Oklahoma (At-Large)

5) Utah (At-Large) vs 12) St. Joseph's (A-10)
4) San Diego State (MWC) vs 13) Long Beach State (Big West)

3) Southern Cal (At-Large) vs 14) Harvard (Ivy)
6) Gonzaga (WCC) vs 11) Michigan State/BYU

7) Iowa State (At-Large) vs 10) New Mexico (At-Large)
2) Missouri (At-Large) vs Northern Arizona (Big Sky)

The Quadaily, 2028 Seaosn
Day 69 (Nice.)

1. Indiana (14-1, 1)
2. Kentucky (15-0, 3)
3. Connecticut (15-2, 4)
4. North Carolina (15-3, 2)
5. Duke (15-3, 5)
6. Kansas (12-3, 6)
7. VIrginia (14-1, 9)
8. Southern Cal (13-3, 8)
9. NC State (12-2, 7)
10. Missouri (12-2, 11)
11. Colorado (14-2, 12)
12. Illinois (12-3, 15)
13. Washington (12-3, 13)
14. Arizona (12-4, 10)
15. San Diego State (14-1, 16)
16. Florida (10-4, 14)
17. Purdue (10-4, 18)
18. Utah (10-4, 19)
19. Pittsburgh (12-4, 17)
20. Maryland (11-3, 23)
21. Stanford (12-4, 21)
22. Villanova (11-4, 20)
23. Memphis (12-4, 24)
24. Gonzaga (12-2, 25)
25. Ohio State (12-4, 22)
Next: Georgetown, Iowa State, Syracuse, UNLV, Drexel
Dropped Out: None
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Old 05-07-2020, 08:05 PM   #19
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The Quadaily 25, 2028 Season (Day 73): ACC-elcior!

JBL | The Quadaily 25, 2028 Season (Day 73): ACC-elcior!

Today is an extremely tired edition of The Quad. We were up late last night engaged in some Draft Day Sports: College Basketball 2020 (hey, cross-promotion isn't a bad thing). We were also gripped by the JBL trade involving Alonzo Weaver, and the ripple effect for all teams involved with that trade.

And, of course, we were thinking about what to write for today's column.

The big stories are unfortunate ones, for they involve injuries.

Duke's Tonny Sanders saw his collegiate career end prematurely, due to an ACL tear. Sanders is not a star, by any stretch. He started 21 games his freshman year after starting the year off the bench. He was a serviceable player for Duke after an intiail wave of productivity. and ended up averaging 7.7/4.3/2.3, along with 1.44 steals, and 1.56 blocks, in 24.8 minutes.

Then, he went to the bench for the next two seasons.

As a senior, he regained the starting job, though he hadn't played particularly too well. He averaged 6.5/4.6/1.6/1.56/.88, but was mired in a terrible season-long slump. His shooting sat at 40.7%, and 29.4% from 3, way down from his career marks. His 12.4 PER reflected this, even though he had a 3.5 BPM, which is reasonable, and 1.4 WS (most of which came on the defensive end).

That said, Sanders is a glue guy for Duke. He logged the second-most minutes on the team, behind Travis Pickford. Those minutes, even for a team as talented as Duke, are hard to replace. And, quite frankly, the options to replace Sanders are not favorable. Malik Gaines has posted a 10.5 PER in his 206 minutes, while Quinton Wiley has been worse, posting a 8.7 mark in his 209 minutes. Giovanni Diarra has yet to see time on the court; the same can be said about David Andrews, a deep reserve at the 2.

So, how does Duke go about this? This undoubtedly hurts their team going forward. The only other player to see time at the 3 this year was Wiley, and as we said before, he has been dreadful. Perhaps they see what they have in Andrews, another senior who has only logged four games in his Duke career, all of which came last year.

This is a game-changer for the Blue Devils, the ACC, and the nation.

The injury to PItt's Drew Shepard is more manageable, though more seismic in the interim. Shepard, Pitt's leading scorer (and peripheral candidate for National POTY), suffered an arm injury six minutes into Pitt's game at NC State. He is expected to be out for two weeks, though it could have been a lot worse (the replays are a little ghastly; thankfully no severe damage was done).

Now, if you lose a National POTY candidate, and you're a team that, by convention, should be in contention anyway, you would roll over for two weeks, right? Not Pitt. The Panthers got 14 from BO Dorn, and 13 from Josh Jovanovic, both off the bench. The Wolfpack escaped on Jonathan Battle's jumper at the buzzer, imediately afte rAmadi Adekoya tied it on a jumper of his own. NC State got the win, 78-76, making it another tough-luck loss for Pitt.

Pitt can withstand the loss of Shepard, most likely, because they do have depth in the post, and a team defense that can drag a team into a dogfight. But losing your most consistent offense at a critical time of the season is still reason for alarm. However, Pittsburgh only has two games over the next two weeks--home games against Boston College and a dreadful Virginia Tech squad--so this isn't as bad as it could have been.

However, it is still a scary thing to experience, and Pitt should feel fortunate they are not going through what Duke is at this time.

- We had ended the column early (disclaimer below), but we wanted to write about the Virginia/UNC game for a brief spell.

We thought Virginia would win.

We did not see this result, though.

We are not sure what happened to North Carolina in the final 14+ minutes of their 76-56 loss to Virginia. We are pretty sure that Virginia happened to them. But up until that point, Carolina, while being down for ten minutes straight, had gotten it close again, twice to within two.

And it was that way with 14:53 left. Virginia 48, North Carolina 46.

Virginia then slowly strangled UNC to death.

With 8:03 left, it was 56-47.

With 6:20 left, it was 62-48.

So over nearly nine minutes, Virginia held UNC to a pair of free throws.

With 5:04 left, it was 66-50. Ten minutes, 18-4 run for the Hoos. But the key here is that ten minutes of offensive mediocrity enforced on the Tar Heels by the Cavaliers.

Still, there was potential with 3:19 left, as UNC had cut the deficit to 12, at 68-56. And, well...you see the final score.

Virginia is capable of forcing teams into long stretches of searching for answers on offense. That was best put on display in this game. For UNC to go the final fifteen minutes and score ten points, that is incredibly impressive. UNC had seven turnovers from Miles Busch, an uncommon number in his line. Jackson Swann was held to 7-7-4

As Virginia has done all year, they had four players score in double figures, but nobody had more than 14 (Grant Merek). Their starting lineup took six threes. As a team, they took 11. Granted, they also got to the line a lot (21-30, compared to 14-15 from UNC). But they also forced Carolina into a 17-48 night from the field.

For the boys in Charlottesville, this was a night to go to Miller's and have a celebratory beer. Virginia is the best they have ever been, and they have this no-name, no-nonsense team to thank for it. This might have been the biggest win in team history, and has been a long time coming. Virginia is coming off two straight 23+ win seasons, but this is, far and away, their best season.

Now that expectations are place and pressure is set, it's up to them to continue it.s

(Due to time considerations, we are cutting this one short for the day. We'll have a better, longer piece tomorrow, we think. Due to other life responsibilities picking up--ie teaching--this piece will still be published, but may shift a bit.)

The Quadaily 25, 2028 Seaosn
Day 73

1. Indiana (15-1, 1)
2. Kentucky (16-0, 2)
3. Connecticut (16-2, 3)
4. Virginia (15-1, 7)
5. Duke (13-3, 5)
6. Kansas (13-3, 6)
7. North Carolina (15-4, 4)
8. Southern Cal (13-3, 8)
9. NC State (13-2, 9)
10. Missouri (13-2, 10)
11. Colorado (14-2, 11)
12. Illinois (13-3, 12)
13. Washington (13-3, 13)
14. Arizona (13-4, 14)
15. San Diego State (15-1, 15)
16. Florida (10-4, 16)
17. Purdue (11-4, 17)
18. Maryland (12-3, 20)
19. Utah (11-4, 18)
20. Pittsburgh (12-5, 19)
21. Villanova (12-4, 22)
22. Memphis (12-4, 23)
23. Stanford (12-5, 21)
24. Gonzaga (13-2, 24)
25. Georgetown (11-5, NR)
Next: Iowa State, Syracuse, Ohio State, UNLV, Kansas State
Dropped Out: Ohio State (25)
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Old 05-07-2020, 08:06 PM   #20
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The Quadaily 25, 2028 Season (Day 81): A Mailbag Three

JBL | The Quadaily 25, 2028 Season (Day 81): A Mailbag Three

1) What conference do you anticipate having the most tournament bids and why?

This is interesting, given a related question we were given recently: What is the best conference and why?

If we look at the most recent bracketology, this is the breakdown:

ACC: 8 (UNC, Virginia, Duke, NC State, Pitt, Syracuse, Florida State, Louisville)
Big 12: 4 (Kansas, Iowa State, Oklahoma, Kansas State)
Big East: 5 (Connecticut, Villanova, Georgetown, Creighton, St. John's)
Big Ten: 8 (Indiana, Illinois, Purdue, Maryland, Ohio State, Penn State, Iowa, Michigan State)
Pac-12: 5 (Colorado, USC, Arizona, Washington, Utah, Stanford)
SEC: 6 (Missouri, Kentucky, Florida, Arkansas, Alabama, Tennessee)

So, in terms of quantity, the ACC and Big Ten have it. From there, the two conferences diverge. The ACC is more top-heavy, where Virginia, Duke, UNC, and NC State are all candidates for a spot on the top two lines. Indiana and Illinois really only qualify for that in the Big Ten; however, the quality of their league roster is superior to that of the ACC, in our opinion. When Michigan State is treading water, and Michigan sits outside the bracket looking in, not to mention Wisconsin and Minnesota, the Big Ten's depth shines over the ACC.

This is not to write off teams like Pitt or Syracuse, or a team like Boston College, who sits outside the bracket as well. But we don't buy Florida State or Louisville as legitimate threats, especially when compared to Iowa or Michigan State.

The Pac-12 would have an argument if Arizona were able to get itself together, and UCLA could string along some wins. USC, Washington and Colorado rival any conference's Big 3. Utah and Stanford are an excellent second tier. But after that, things fall apart. Oregon, Arizona State, and Cal are all bloated in their record. The same goes for Washington State. We understand the AP has them as the nation's top conference, but they are either second or third for us right now. We would have a hard time choosing between them and the ACC.

The SEC, after Kentucky and Missouri, are weak. They would be bolstered by Arkansas and Florida showing some strength. The Big East has UConn, who could contend with anyone, and an emerging Villanoa team. But Georgetown, despite their roster quality, seems to come up short in big games. St. John's, as fun as they have been, are not up to the quality of the other conferences at the same level.

So, our answer is the Big Ten. We have not been convinced to not have them at the top of the conference ladder.

3) Who do you think has the highest bust potential out of any lottery ranked JBL prospect?

Well, this is a very rose-colored glasses question, isn't it? The Draft Prospects list, which was released a couple of weeks ago, was updated yesterday. The class feels quite promising, especially compared to the last couple of classes (last year's class was a weird hodgepodge of role guys, starting at the #12 pick). This year's class has what appears to be star potential up and down the list.

Now, it does need to be noted, many of these kids won't come out, because if they have star potential, but would be better served by waiting a year to bolster their draft stock, they are more apt to stay in school. Also, players from smaller conferences (a la Jack Dawkins when he was at GW) are less likely to declare. Some names that, as of right now, we would have a hard time seeing come out include Jackson Swann, Joey Bullock, Corban Vance, Daniel Lukicani, Sam Meeking, Kendall Houston Jr. and Jordan Loose.

So, who do we think has bust potential? To be fair, anyone does. But we'll highlight three in particular:

1) Jack Dawkins, Connecticut. This guy has been perhaps the most polarizing prospect in JBL history. When he was at GW, it was thought that he wouldn't be able to hack it on the big stage. Now that he has at UConn, the thought is that he's either too one-dimensional or too old (he is a senior, and will be 22 as a rookie next year) to have much of a ceiling. That much is true; a team high in the draft probably will not want to draft Jack, because his ceiling is lower than teams would like. He is also a bit suspect defensively, and would probably need defensively-minded players around him for him to succeed. Jack is someone who probably fits better on a contender, or one ready to. There are a couple seemingly natural fits for him, but teams who draft need should be wary of doing so.

2) Derrick Bynum, Indiana. The consensus #1 prospect is a bust potential? Oh, most definitely, and for two reasons. What we hear from multiple scouts who have seem him play is that, while he has a great all-around shooting touch, his finishing inside is a bit dodgy for someone 6'11. He also has no ball-handling skills (something you would understand from someone who is more of a 4 than a 3).

His defense also leaves something to be desired. He is definitely not a SF, and might not be strong enough to be a PF. He does rate as a stretch 4, but he does not appear to be offensively aware enough to grow on that side.

When you compare him to recent #1 picks, he does not seem to stack up to such a lofty ranking.

Which team, or teams, do you think will improve the most from here in regards to their poll or quad daily rankings. We do think Bynum is a likely top-ten pick, but #1? We aren't there, and it isn't likely that we ever will be.

3) Raijon Ward, Texas. Ward is still growing as a post presence, which is why him being ranked around #5 overall is such a poison for him. He is raw and needs seasoning. His mid-range game is terrible, and while he could go outside, it's too inconsistent to be successful at the pro level. His execution in the post is another thing that needs work.

However, where things really get dicey is on the defensive end. It is the general perrogative of JBL teams to find bigs who can do the three big things: score (even if it's 14-16 a night), defend, and rebound. Ward may be capable of the former, but he is not capable of the latter two. His defense is atrocious at this stage. He's a freshman who only had to block shots in high school. It's understandable. He does appear to have great defensive awareness (this is evidenced in his steal per game), but it hasn't taken hold across the board yet.

His rebounding, though, is another problem. He is not engaged on the glass, nor does he ever appear to be. Ward is averaging just 5.9 boards per game, which is low for someone of his stature at this level. How would that translate to the pro game?

(Not well.)

These aren't to say that any of these players won't succeed at the pro level. They are all capable. We were asked a question; we answered it.

3) Which team, or teams, do you think will improve the most from here in regards to their poll or quad daily rankings?

This one is difficult. For all the movement going up and down the rankings, to be honest, there has been very little movement of teams in and out of the rankings. Going back to the preseaosn, the ones jettisoned out would be Arizona, Michigan State, Arkansas, Texas, UCLA, Cincinnati, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. While Arizona took a major tumble (falling from 14 to out, which is the biggest fall anyone has made), they're still on the Next line. Arkansas is sitting right there, too.

So, who could climb up. Let's take a look.

1) Memphis. This is, in part, because of their weak conference. They have Cincinnati and Witchita State to combat in the AAC. They should be able to beat both of those, and continue a long winning streak heading into conference tournament play. They have the talent to get to the Final Four. They seem to have put it together, and could be in for a major rise up our poll. They sort of have already started it.

Gonzaga. The same holds true for the Zags, who can dominate a conference that is lean on teams capable of stopping them. We don't think they'll move too far up in our poll, because of what's ahead of them (we did have Memphis ranked 8th in our preseason poll, for the sake of argument). But they could move up if teams cannibalize one another in conference play, as they have done so far.

Stanford. They seem to be a two-steps forward, one-step back team. The Pac-12 has a lot of quality wins to be gained, and the Cardinal have the right recipe of a team capable of making a run. We believe they are capable of making a run to, say, the top 12. Given they are 25th, and the hierarchy (or the teams at the table) has been established for some time, we would consider that to be a pretty good run.

UNLV. They beat San Diego State, and don't have many losses left on their schedule (probably SDSU on the road, and New Mexico, are the only ones).

The Quadaily 25, 2028 Season
Day 81

1. Indiana (17-1, 1)
2. Kentucky (18-0, 2)
3. Duke (15-3, 5)
4. Kansas (15-3, 6)
5. Connecticut (18-3, 3)
6. Virginia (16-2, 4)
7. North Carolina (16-4, 7)
8. Southern Cal (16-3, 8)
9. NC State (16-2, 9)
10. Missouri (16-2, 10)
11. Washington (15-3, 13)
12. Colorado (16-3, 11)
13. Illinois (14-4, 12)
14. Florida (12-4, 16)
15. Utah (13-4, 19)
16. Maryland (14-4, 18)
17. San Diego State (17-2, 15)
18. Villanova (14-4, 21)
19. Memphis (15-4, 22)
20. Purdue (13-6, 17)
21. Gonzaga (15-2, 24)
22. Pittsburgh (12-6, 20)
23. Iowa State (13-4, NR)
24. Ohio State (14-4, NR)
25. Stanford (14-6, 24)
Next: UNLV, Arizona, Georgetown, Syracuse, St. John's
Dropped Out: Arizona (14), Georgetown (25)
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Old 05-07-2020, 08:08 PM   #21
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The Quadaily 25, 2028 Season (Day 85): Big Races In Little Conferences

JBL | The Quadaily 25, 2028 Season (Day 85): Big Races In Little Conferences

So, we admit, we lean towards the bigger schools and conferences in this column. We're fairly positive this is evident and obvious. There's only so much time in the Quad's day, and with so much...activity?...news?...going on in the bigger conferences, we tend to venture there.

But, in purusing the standings today, we have to talk about the smaller conferences. Holy cow, there are some absolute fights going on.

Let's try to go around the nation in 80 paragraphs (let's hope it's not eighty paragraphs):

- In the A-10, St. Joseph's found themselves entering the Next line of our poll. They have dominated the A-10 so far this year, running their record to 15-2. We have a soft spot for the Fightin Jesuits, admittedly. The Hawks took out Duquesne on the road, 59-49, then found out that Dayton went on the road and got a win at second-place Richmond, 69-63. Not only does that put Dayton into a second-place tie with the Spiders at 6-2 in the conference, but it gives St. Joe's a two-game lead in the conference.

We did mention, off the record, that we did not believe St. Joe's to be of quality for the Quad 25. Their losses are to Penn and at Villanova. They don't have any quality non-conference wins, but the way the Power 5 have been taking each other out, we found room for a team that continues to beat the teams put in front of them.

- Florida Gulf Coast drew first blood in their Atlantic Sun Conference rivalry with North Alabama. In what is really a two-horse race between the Eagles (8-9) and the Lions (9-7), it was the Eagles who gained the upper hand in a 60-53 win on Day 80. Danger Will Robinson's 16 points and six assists led the way for FGCU, who led wire-to-wire. There were no lead changes, and FGCU, using their home court to bolster them, raced out to a 20-7 lead midway through the first half. They held the Lions to 35% shooting and 9-28 from three, while forcing 18 turnovers.

The two teams face each other again on 116, at North Alabama.

- The Colonial Athletic Association is quite intense. There is a five-team fight atop the conference between Drexel, Towson, Northeastern, Hofstra, and William & Mary. Towson currently sits atop the conference, thanks to a win over Drexel (giving them a tiebreaker). That rematch is on 108, at Drexel. Hostra owns the win over Towson in-conference, but they and Northeastern are 6-2. The Royalty sit at 5-3 in conference.

The interesting thing here is, four freshmen, one from each of the teams but Hofstra, lead the conference in scoring. Chase Ervin from Drexel, a postman, sits atop the conference at 18.5 ppg. He has not been the most efficient (44.3%), but he's a freshman big in a tough conference. Give him a break.

Shane McMahon is second in the conference, posting 16.8 ppg for The Royalty. The high-flying risk-taking point guard is shooting 43.4% from the field, and 35.2% from deep.

Chuck Patrick, the freshman SG at Northeastern, is third in the conference, and probably the National Sixth Man of the Year. Patrick, who is posting 15.5/4.5/2.5 and over a steal per game (23.8 PER), has not started a single game this year. Patrick is shooting 46.3% on the season, 42.5% from deep on 4.3 attempts per game.

Then, we come to Matt Furmanavicius (pronounced Fur-MAN-uh-VICIOUS), who is putting up 15.3 ppg and a conferece-leading 5.9 assists for Towson.

Hofstra's leading scorer, Jaron McLane, is also a freshman. He is averaging 11.3 ppg, though he has only started ten of his team's 18 games so far. He's shooting 54.6% from the field.

Illinois State (12-4) and Loyola-Chicago (11-6) went into their Day 81 game tied atop the Missouri Valley Conference. They left with a result, but still plenty left to settle.

Illinois State also left with a sour taste in their mouths.

"We were screwed," said DeSean Watson.

The Ramblers made four free throws in the last 39 seconds to force overtime (they could have had a win, but Trent Paige (team leading 18 points, 10-12 FT) missed the go-ahead freebie with eight seconds left). In overtime, John Beck's fallaway jumper at the buzzer gave Loyola-Chicago the shocking 82-81 win, causing fans to storm the court, and Illinois State coaches to storm the refs.

The shot appeared to be late. However, due to there being no replay (the game was not televised), the refs had no footage to use. They huddled up and decided the bucket counted.

"That shot was late," said Bobby Pratt, who led the Redbirds with 15 points.

The coaches also took issue with the disparity in foul calls. The Redbirds were called for 27 fouls which led to 40 opportunities at the line for the Ramblers.

The Redbirds shot just 9-16 at the line themselves.

"We emphasize to our kids that, if you put in the work, the result will come," said Illinois State head coach Vilgot Bowers. "We put in the work tonight. The result left us wanting. I don't ever want to put anything on anything not in our control, because the young men over there earned it...but tonight was a tough result to take."

- The biggest game in the Northeast Conference season came on Day 84, when Bryant traveled to St. Francis (NY), for a matchup of the two undefeated behemoths.

Afterward, there was no doubt as to who the current kingpin in the conference is.

St. Francis shot a blistering 59% fro the field, including 13-29 from three, cruising to a 102-86 win over Bryant. The win gave the Terriers (14-4, 9-0) the tiebreaker in the conference over Bryant (14-6, 8-1).

No other team is within three games of the two.

Mike Emery led six players in double figures for the Terries with 24 points and five assists. He had no turnovers. As a team, St. Francis committed just nine of them.

The key for St. Francis was getting three players off the bench score at least twelve points. Deshon Reed (14), Connor Evans (13) and Idy Ash (12) gave St. Francis a needed lift when their starters came to rest. In fact, each of them were at least +16 during their time in the game.

"They were the difference," said Emery after the game.

Bryant played well, shooting 51% from the field, and going 11-23 from three themselves. Taurean Allen posted 24-5-6, while Roydell Self had 18 on 7-10 shooting. But they only got 17 points from their bench.

Overall, the Terriers outscored the Bulldogs from the bench 41-17.

St. Francis was efficient in the paint, getting 47 points in the paint. Their approach, to stay consistent inside, led them to overcome an early ten-point deficit, and lead over the last 25:17 of the game.

There was only one lead change.

"They kept getting us inside," said Emery. "It was either a deep three or inside. We would run them off the line, and they'd get a layup. Or we'd send a double-team inside, and they had a guy waiting. Every time we adjusted on defense, they were one step ahead. It was frustrating."

The return game is on 120, at Bryant.

- Navy seemed like they would run away with the Patriot. They had dispatched Lafayette and Bucknell, the two contenders for the conference title. They were undefeated and had everyone in the rearview.

Then, Lehigh happened.

As with all things in the Patriot, no team should be overlooked...even a team that was 4-11 heading into that game, and losers of eight of their last ten.

Lehigh shot 51% from the field, a fact even more amazing when you factor in that they were 2-18 from beyond the arc, in destroying Navy, 84-70.

Dominique Bearden was Lehigh in this game. He was 1-10 from three, but 8-11 from inside the arc. He finished with a game-high 25, leading four Mountain Hawks in double figures.

Jalan Miller added 16, on 5-5 shooting, and five rebounds.

This was a shock, as Lehigh led for 39:19 of this game. It wasn't as if Navy shot poorly; they shot 45% from the field, and 10-26 from three. But they were just 6-8 from the line.

Lehigh, by contrast, was 24-27.

"That wasn't the refs," said Navy guard David Jackson after the game. "We were sloppy and constantly out of position on defense. They executed a good gameplan, but we put them on the line a lot. They hit their free throws, but this one is on us."

Jackson led Navy with 13, but was 3-10 from three. AJ Farrell also had 13, but he was kept off the boards. In fact, Lehigh dominated everything inside. They outscored Navy, 52-28, in the paint, and had 12 second chance points, compared to just five for Navy.

All in all, it was Lehigh's night.

It was not Navy's.

And now, all of a sudden, the Patriot looks a lot more interesting.

Navy travels to Lafayette on Day 100.

- Here's an interesting one: Due to the imbalanced schedule in the Southland, Stephen F Austin (14-4, 9-1) and Northwestern State (15-5, 9-0), the two kingpins in the conference, meet only one time.

That would be on the final day of the regular season.

Right now, the only blemish between the two is SFA's loss to Nicholls State (13-4, 6-2), back on Day 77. They fell 81-69 that day.

So, if neither team falters for the rest of the season, we're looking at a winner-takes-well-not-all-but-the-top-seed-in-the-conference-tournament final day of the regular season.

The Quad 25, 2028 Season
Day 85

1. Indiana (18-1, 1)
2. Kansas (16-3, 4)
3. Connecticut (18-3, 5)
4. Virginia (17-2, 6)
5. Kentucky (18-1, 2)
6. North Carolina (17-4, 7)
7. Missouri (17-2, 10)
8. Duke (15-4, 3)
9. Washington (16-3, 11)
10. NC State (16-3, 10)
11. Southern Cal (16-4, 8)
12. Colorado (17-3, 12)
13. Illinois (15-4, 13)
14. Florida (13-4, 14)
15. Maryland (14-5, 16)
16. Villanova (15-4, 18)
17. San Diego State (17-2, 17)
18. Memphis (16-4, 19)
19. Utah (13-5, 15)
20. Purdue (13-6, 20)
21. Gonzaga (16-2, 21)
22. Pittsburgh (13-6, 22)
23. Iowa State (14-4, 13)
24. Ohio State (15-4, 24)
25. Stanford (15-6, 25)
Next: Georgetown, Boston College, New Mexico, St. John's, St. Joseph's
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Old 05-07-2020, 08:09 PM   #22
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The Quadaily 25, 2028 Season (Day 89): And We're Free...Freewritin...

JBL | The Quadaily 25, 2028 Season (Day 89): And We're Free...Freewritin...

Since we're on a very tight deadline today, we won't bother with a snazzy intro.

- Kentucky sits atop the current AP poll. We were asked, how long will it be before Kentucky supplants Indiana? (This was before Florida annexed Kentucky the other day, winning by over 30.)

We took issue with this question. Just because the AP has Kentucky at the top doesn't mean that they were in on them before we were. We've held Kentucky in higher regard this season. The AP had the Wildcats lower than us for 3/4 of the season. Only when they were the nation's final undefeated did voters finally take notice.

Now, we did drop Kentucky to 5 after losing to Florida by so much. Was that fair? Well, look at the rest of the teams above them. All of those teams are deserving of their ranks. None of them have the loss Kentucky has (by 30+). The Wildcats have been great all season long, and are deserving of the top five. We felt, at that particular time, with the teams around them, that falling three spots was just.

We also take issue with this question because of the disrespect to Indiana, our top team for sixty days now (they ascended to the top spot on Day 29). Just because Kentucky kept winning didn't mean we thought they were suddenly better than Indiana. If you haven't noticed, we aren't one to move a team because another team keeps winning. Now, impressive wins do cause teams to move up. We did that with Virginia, Missouri, etc. But our ranking is much more day-to-day and, therefore, more incremental in its movement.

But, make no mistake: Indiana, our preseason pick for natoinal champion, has been the top team in the country for eight and a half weeks now. We have no reason to move them out, just because a team below them gets a great win.

So, for Kansas fans who want to see them moved up past Indiana, save your keystrokes (it's not your fault the Big XII is lukewarm mediocre garbage this season). We don't think there's a single win you could have that would place you above Indiana. And an Indiana loss would have to be a tough one for us to move them down (yes, an Indiana loss doesn't mean they're off the top line; the Big Ten is the toughest conference in the nation, in our opinion).

- Jack Dawkins is out for a week. So we're just going to call it now: UConn loses at Seton Hall on Day 89.

- Arizona and Michigan State are trying to reclaim their seasons after such difficult starts. Arizona (15-7) drubbed Colorado, 77-60, for only their third win in their last eight games. They are still firmly in the field of 68, though we aren't entirely sure how to rate them currently. If we did a bracket today (something that is possible), we wouldn't really know where to put them. We know what they are capable of, which is the optimistic lean on things.

But, we have also seen their conference play, which, while the Pac-12 is very tough (we could make an argument where they are second in the nation, over the ACC), should be as challenging for the Wildcats. We did get one idea as to how teams view them, though, which should be troubling to Arizona coaches.

A rival team, when discussing an upcoming stretch of games, said, "Huge games for (redacted) tomorrow...at Utah, and then home against Sawvell."

Notice it does not say "home against Arizona." No, it just lists Jeremy Sawvell visiting this unknown team.

If we're Arizona coaches, we're worried.

If we're Arizona players not Jeremy Sawvell, we're livid.

Michigan State, meanwhile, has won six straight since falling to 7-8 a couple of weeks ago. They have wins against Iowa, Michigan, and most recently Maryland, which is the most impressive of the bunch. A more difficult stretch lies up ahead, with games against Ilinois, at Ohio State, and home against Purdue coming up.

That makes a road game at Nebraska quite the trap game. The Huskers are just 6-15 this season, and 1-9 in BIg Ten play this season. They have been competitive, losing by 10 to Michigan, by 11 at Maryland, 8 at Ohio State, and by seven to Illinois. (Of course, they were crunched, 83-47, in Bloomington.)

This is a game Michigan State would have lost last month. We'll see just how much progress Sparty has made with the result.

Our pro publication, From Way Downtown BANG!, produced their first Useless Mock Draft of the season yesterday. Using the lottery simulator found at JBLFL.com, the mock saw Atlanta get the #1 pick in the draft, then Kansas City, followed by Las Vegas.

There were some interesting choices made here. Sawvell went at the top to Atlanta (who needs a center), followed by Brandon Dampier to Kansas City. Dampier, the nation's leading scorer and rebounder, would benefit many teams. Kansas City, who made some serious moves in trading for God Mode Alonzo Weaver, could use an imapct player next to him (if he stays...oooo, JBL Intrigue!).

A really interesting pick was Justin Noel going third to Las Vegas. There was a lot of conversation about who the top point guard in the 2028 recruiting class was. Corban Vance was considered to be the top point by the consensus recruiting gurus, but Noel is the one who seems to have stepped up with NC State's climb towards the top of the polls.

Vance, meanwhile, has been good, but overshadowed by Jack Dawkins (who goes 13th in this mock, to Nashville). We have Vance currently going 22nd to Atlanta, which would be a curious choice (and one we don't agree with, to be honest).

You can view the whole first useless mock here: JBL | Login


The Quadaily 25, 2028 Season
Day 89

1. Indiana (19-1, 1)
2. Kansas (17-3, 2)
3. Connecticut (19-3, 3)
4. Virginia (17-2, 4)
5. Kentucky (19-1, 5)
6. North Carolina (18-4, 6)
7. Duke (16-4, 8)
8. Missouri (17-3, 7)
9. Washington (17-3, 9)
10. NC State (17-3, 10)
11. Southern Cal (17-4, 11)
12. Illinois (16-4, 13)
13. Florida (14-4, 14)
14. Colorado (17-4, 12)
15. Memphis (17-4, 18)
16. Villanova (15-5, 16)
17. San Diego State (19-2, 17)
18. Maryland (15-6, 15)
19. Utah (14-5, 19)
20. Purdue (15-6, 20)
21. Gonzaga (17-2, 21)
22. Pittsburgh (13-6, 22)
23. Ohio State (15-4, 24)
24. Stanford (16-6, 25)
25. New Mexico (15-5, NR)
Next: Iowa State, St. John's, St. Joe's, Michigan State, UNLV
Dropped Out: Iowa State (23)
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Old 05-07-2020, 08:12 PM   #23
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The Quadaily 25, 2028 Season (Day 97): Bracketology III: A Deeper Mediocrity

JBL | The Quadaily 25, 2028 Season (Day 97): Bracketology III: A Deeper Mediocirty

It's been 28 days.

Thus, it's time for a new Bracketology.

Our third Bracketology--the first one was on Day 41, the second on Day 69--comes with some more questions than answers. When we originally picked the potential field, we thought, oh, this is the most definitive so far. There has been separation between the haves and have nots.

That is true. The problem, though, is that there don't seem to be enough haves. Don't believe us? Take a look:

Last Four Byes: UMsss, Bucknell, Pitt, Tennessee

UMass (15-6) is 9-0 against Q3/4. They are 0-2 against Q1, which is not obviously not ideal. Their RPI/SOS is 45th due to a better-than-advertised A-10 conference. That's about the only thing they have going for them.

PItt is (14-7) 44th in RPI/SOS, and 3-6 in Q1 games. They have faltered some in the rugged ACC, and are trending considerably down.

Tennessee (16-7), meanwhile, is 51st in RPI/SOS. They are 0-6 in Q1 games, and 5-7 in Q/2 games. We aren't delighted about this pick whatsoever...but once you see the play-in games, you'll understand why they're here.

Bucknell, meanwhile, is interesting. The Bison(16-6) 55th in RPI/SOS, sitting in a three-way tie with Navy. The Patriot's only chance at getting multiple teams in the CJBL Tournament, something nobody would have thought before the season, is if Bucknell does not win the conference. Neither Lafayette nor Navy have the resume to gain an at-large bid. Navy is a 14-seed in this bracket, while Bucknell, the at-large, is three rungs above them.

As we said, this is a strange, strange bracket.

Play-in Games: Boston College vs St. Mary's, Iowa vs Texas

What in the world do you do with Boston College (15-5), a team that is somehow 8-3 in the ACC, but is 91st in RPI/SOS? The 8-3 in-conference has us mystified, and really, is what is putting them on this line. This is as speculative a pick as we could make, and wouldn't push back to most arguments against their inclusion. Their play in the ACC is really what has given us pause here.

Iowa (11-10) is in the same boat, though worse. They're 1-10 in Q1 games, but have the 24th RPI/SOS. We do need to say that RPI/SOS isn't the end-all-be-all here, but it does hold considerable weight.

They get the Spiderman meme in the other play-in game in Texas, because they're 22nd in RPI/SOS, and 1-9 in Q1 team.

St. Mary's has had a nice season. They beat Gonzaga recently, and got Washington earlier in the year.

That's really all we can say about those teams.

First Four Out: Texas A&M, Georgia Tech, Washington State, Penn State
Next Four Out: Wisconsin, Sai Diego, Dayton, Cincinnati

East

State of the Top Seed: We have Duke here, which is a full circle situation. The top seeds, across the board, are up for discussion. You can make an argument for seven teams, and to us, only Indiana and maybe Kentucky stick out as surefire #1s (but even then, that is only us). The ACC logjam will continue to be exactly that for the rest of the season. Duke, being the most talented, currently gets the nod, as their win at Virginia is the best ACC win so far this season. They aren't firmly a top seed, but right now, we have them getting one of the 16-seed play-ins. So, there's that.

Buy: Florida, maybe? We don't really like anyone in the bracket at the moment. UConn already lost to Duke, and showed how reliant they are on Jack Dawkins (or their coaching staff got too cute against Seton Hall). This bracket is chock full of what-ifs and uncertaintites at the moment.

Sell: UConn. They're the 2 seed here, but they have not looked right for a few weeks now. If a team were primed for a drop, this is the one.

Other notes: Ohio State is starting to round into form, and could be rising. We still aren't really sure what they are, and their RPI/SOS is 39th...St. John's has probably locked up a spot at this point. Their RPI/SOS is 29th, they could still accumulate some bad losses, but their conference strength, and the fact that there are just so many teams with question marks below them, makes us think that St. John's is as locky as one can get.

East Region

1) Duke (ACC) vs 16 Charlotte (CUSA)/Florida Gulf Coast (A-Sun)
8) St. Joseph's (A-10) vs 9) St. John's (At-Large)

5) Purdue (At-Large) vs 12) Fairfield (MAAC)
4) Florida (At-Large) vs 13) Hartford (AEC)

3) Virginia (At-Large) vs 14) Bryant (NEC)
6) Ohio State (At-Large) vs 11) Bucknell (At-Large)

7) Iowa State (At-Large) vs 10) Drexel (CAA)
2) Connecticut (Big East) vs 15) Penn (Ivy)

South

State of the Top Seed: Kentucky is in the debate with Missouri, North Carolina, Kansas and UConn for the back half of the #1 seeds. What really hurts Kentucky is that they are 12th in RPI/SOS. (Also losing by 31 to a conference rival, no matter how good Florida is.) The Wildcats only have the one loss, and have beaten quality teams, including UConn and Missouri, that is true. But that RPI/SOS leaves us wanting. We are high on the Wildcats, but we know some others are not.

Buy: Creighton. THey're rising--the six on the 6-line as of today--and might just be the third-best team in the Big East. Their RPI/SOS isn't great (46th), but they continue to win (17-7 as of this writing). They should be firmly in the field at this point, but can accumulate some more quality wins--they own one over UConn recently--they're a hard team to place, but this is where we have them right now.

Sell: Memphis. The SMU loss reminded us that Memphis (19-5), while being the hottest team in the country up until that loss, is also the team that started out 4-4, losing to teams that appear to be better. The Tigers are 53rd in RPI/SOS, behind teams like Georgia Tech, Washington State, and Lousville. There's really only Cincinnati and Wichita State in the conference that can add to Memphis' quality wins total, and either one of them would give them any real kind of a bump.

Other Notes: This top four--Kentucky, UNC, Maryland, NC State--might be the toughest of any region. Add in Stanford, and holy cow...Richmond is one of two at-large teams from the A-10 to make it into this field. We'll get to the other later; Richmond sits as a 9 seed...Murray State, one of the most dangerous lower-seed teams, found their way in at 13 here.

South Region

1) Kentucky (SEC) vs 16) East TN State (Southern)
8) Arizona (At-Large) vs 9) Richmond (At-Large)

5) Stanford (At-Large) vs 12) Northwestern State (Southland)
4) NC State (At-Large) vs 13) Murray State (OVC)

3) Maryland (At-Large) vs 14) Navy (Patriot)
6) Creighton (At-Large) vs 11) Boston College/St. Mary's

7) Memphis (AAC) vs 10) Pittsburgh (At-Large)
2) North Carolina (At-Large) vs 15) Morgan State (MEAC)

Midwest

State of the Top Seed: Indiana has a rather polarizing resume. They have sat #1 in our ranking for the last two months. They are atop the best conference in the nation. And yet, their RPI/SOS is only 21st, just ahead of...ahem, Texas, and behind Utah and Kansas State. The culprit is the amount of Q4 games Indiana has (they hae four). Contrast that to a team like USC, who has none. They still sit as our top seed, but in the future, don't schedule Evansville or North Carolina A&T. Those games could very well cost them a top seed.

Buy: USC. The Men of Troy want you to believe their sky is falling. They're 19-4, and 14th in RPI/SOS (ahead of UConn and Kansas). They keep winning, and them at the 3 line may be too low. They could win any region they play in, and while beating Kansas and USC is a tall order for anyone, we thought the Trojans to be one of only a few legit national title contenders before the season. We haven't gone away from that thinking.

Sell: Colorado. The Buffaloes (19-4) have been fantastic all season (something we predicted, for the record). Why sell now? It could be the drain of a Pac-12 that has continually high-intensity games. So why buy on USC and sell Colorado? We simply think USC is better situated to handle the strain, while Colorado may not be. We could easily sell Michigan State or New Mexico here, but we just have a strange hunch about Colorado faltering down the stretch.

Other Notes: Michigan State has turned themselves around, and find themselves as a 7-seed as of this writing...Arkansas has flown under the radar for much of the past two months. Right now, we have them a five-seed. They have played an incredibly tough schedule, as is evidenced by their 3-8 mark against Q1 teams, and their fifth-best RPI/SOS mark...New Mexico, the current leaders of the MWC, sits as a six-seed. They are one of three MWC teams in the field...UMass, the third team of the A-10, find themselves in at the 10-seed. The Minutemen are 45rh in RPI/SOS, and while we feel...unsure?...about their inclusion, they have earned their spot here. We did feel like they were the preseason favorites in the conference.

Midwest Region

1) Indiana (BIg Ten) vs 16) Idaho (Big Sky)/Southern (SWAC)
8) Kansas State (At-Large) vs 9) Marquette (At-Large)

5) Arkansas (At-Large) vs 12) Loyola-Chicago (MVC)
4) Colorado (At-Large) vs 13) Illinois-Chicago (Horizon)

3) Southern Cal (At-Large) vs 14) Gardner-Webb (Big South)
6) New Mexico (MWC) vs 11) Tennessee (At-Large)

7) Michigan State (At-Large) vs 10) UMass (At-Large)
2) Kansas (Big XII) vs 15) Akron (MAC)

West

State of the Top Seed: Missouri is third in RPI/SOS. We know we've rated them lower than they deserve, especially lately. Part of that is the nature of our poll and the wish for gradual, not overreactive, change. The one team we feel like we've short-changed there is with the Tigers (20-3). They're 9-3 in Q1 games, 15-3 in Q1/2. They are quite deserving of being on the top line...maybe as the 2-seed. Right now, we have them as the #3 overall.

Buy: Illinois. They just handed Indiana their first loss in Big Ten play. The Fightin Illini (18-4) are fourth in RPI/SOS, and an argument could easily be made that they are worthy of replacing Indiana on that top line. We have them as a 3-seed, mainly due to Washington being a (currently hypothetical) conference champ. The argument could be made that Illinois and Washington should switch. The Fightin Illini are 6-4 in Q1 games, 12-4 in Q1/2, and 0-0 in Q4. That's an important stat, as Illinois sits eighth overall in SOS.

Sell: San Diego State. We haven't bought their stock all year. They are third in the MWC at the moment. Their RPI/SOS is 74th, and their 21-2 record is based on going 16-0 against Q3/4. They are 0-2 against Q1 teams. Truth be told, perhaps we should correct ourselves on SDSU in our poll.

Other Notes: Syracuse has flowed under the radar all year, and sits as a 6-seed. The Orange are perhaps the scariest mid-seed a team could see. They are 18th in RPI/SOS, and 5-7 in Q1 games. We just like the cut of their jib...Utah as a four-seed is an incredible achievement to the Utes, though we wonder if there's a late-season swoon coming. They get Utah at home, but also have to travel to Oregon State, Arizona, Washington, and a sneaky tough Arizona State club. The Utes have it tough down the stretch.

West Region

1) Missouri (At-Large) vs 16) Morgan State (MEAC)
8) UNLV (At-Large) vs 9) Georgetown (At-Large)

5) Villanova (At-Large) vs 12) Long Beach State (Big West)
4) Utah (At-Large) vs 13) Utah Valley (WAC)

3) Illinois (At-Large) vs 14) Texas State (Sun Belt)
6) Syracuse (At-Large) vs 11) Iowa/Texas

7) Gonzaga (WCC) vs San Diego State (MWC)
2) Washington (Pac-12) vs 15) South Dakota State (Summit)

The Quadaily 25, 2028 Season
Day 97

1. Indiana (19-2, 1)
2. Kansas (19-3, 2)
3. Kentucky (21-1, 3)
4. Duke (20-4, 4)
5. North Carolina (19-4, 5)
6. Virginia (18-3, 6)
7. Connecticut (21-4, 7)
8. Missouri (20-3, 8)
9. NC State (17-4, 9)
10. Illinois (18-4, 10)
11. Southern Cal (19-4, 11)
12. Colorado (19-4, 12)
13. Washington (19-4, 13)
14. Florida (16-4, 14)
15. Maryland (17-6, 17)
16. Villanova (17-6, 18)
17. Ohio State (17-4, 20)
18. New Mexico (17-5, 24)
19. Memphis (19-5, 15)
20. San Diego State (21-2, 16)
21. Utah (16-6, 22)
22. Gonzaga (18-3, 19)
23. Stanford (17-8, 21)
24. Purdue (15-7, 23)
25. UNLV (18-4, NR)
Next: Creighton, Iowa State, Pitt, Georgetown, Arkansas
Dropped Out: Iowa State (25)
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Old 05-07-2020, 08:13 PM   #24
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The Quadaily 25, 2028 Season (Day 105): Award Tour

JBL | The Quadaily 25, 2028 Season (Day 105): Award Tour

We're heading down the stretch for the regular season. So, today, we thought we would look at the frontrunners for awards.

National Player of the Year


5. SG Joey Bullock, Gonzaga. Joey Bulls is posting 19.1 points and 7.5 assists on the same. The points rank him in the top ten, but the assists are good for second in the nation. He has carried Gonzaga to a stupendous season, and while you can debate his placement here, compared to others, it's hard to argue against his impact.

4. PG Justin Noel, NC State. Noel is posting 16.8 points and 6.5 assists per game, and has put NC State on his back, as they have become a national contender. Noel, who may be the top point guard selected in the draft, has shot a remarabkle 53.3% from the field, and 46.9% from 3. At the rim, he's 74.7%, something unheard of for a 6'2 guard.

3. PF/C Demonte Lindsey, Indiana. Lindsey is averaging 16.0/5.5/2.1 for top-ranked Indiana. He is also tied for second in the nation in blocks, at 1.61 per game. He might not be the most efficient (48.6% from the field), but he has been the leader of Indiana all season long. He deserves his spot here.

2. SF Jack Dawkins, Connecticut. It's hard to argue against Jack being here, given UConn's performance with him out of the lineup against Seton Hall. The Huskies lost that game pitifully, and the absence of Jack is why. He is second in the nation in scoring, right behind Dampier at 22.3. He also leads the nation in steals, something quite amazing for someone whose major knock going to the pros is his defensive ability. Jack has ascended to the big time well, and has probably solidified his professional resume. As far as UConn's season goes, they would be lost without him.

1. PF Brandon Dampier, Missouri. The nation's scoring and rebounding leader has led Missouri to unprecedented heights. Dampier is shooting 60.2% from the field, and 81% at the line (on nine attempts). He has been the defining factor in Missouri's rise from average team to juggernaut. The Tigers already have more wins this year (22) than in any of the previous nine seasons. Dampier is the major reason why.

Defensive Player of the Year

5. PF Brandon Dampier, Missouri. Dampier is the nation's leading rebounder (10.4/g), and ranks second in the nation in defensive boards (8.3). He is also averaging 1.36 steals, and 1.48 blocks, per contest. His DRtg is 94.0, which is considerably impressive when you factor in the energy that has to be spent on the offensive end.

4. SG/SF Travon Easley, Duke. Easley's 91.9 DRtg ranks him third in the nation. He is averaging 1.96 steals, which ranks him 11th in the nation. He has been helped by a scout Duke defense, but perhaps more apt, Duke's defense has been helped most by Easley's presence.

3. C Spencer Irving, Georgetown. Irving is second in the nation (tied with Demonte Lindsey) with 1.61 blocks per game. He is also averaging 1.22 steals per game, which ranks among the leaders for centers. His 95.2 DRtg is among the best in the country, and is a major reason why Georgetown has been a top-flight defensse (and why they have faltered with him out of the lineup).

2. SF Jack Dawkins, Connecticut. Not many would have thought this would ever be written, but Jack's impact on UConn's defense has been as amazing as it has been suprrising. Jack leads the nation in steals, at 2.64 per game. He is getting nearly a block per game (0.88). He is posting 5.3 rebounds per game, and his DRtg is 92.1, which would make him fourth in the country. His rank here is deserved.

1. SG Kevon Capel, Indiana. Capel's individual DRtg is tops in the nation by FAR. He sits at 84.6, with is nearly seven full points ahead of teammate Derrick Bynum's 91.5. Capel has 1.87 steals per game and 0.87 blocks. He is averaging nearly six rebounds per game. He has been the anchor of Indiana's nation-best defensive team (by rating).

Coach of the Year

5. Olin Manzie, Maryland. Nobody considered Maryland a legit threat this year. We admit, they were not a consideration in our preseason poll. They didn't even get into our poll until Day 57, and didn't make The 25 until Day 65, when they got to 24th. THey haven't left since, and haven't been outside the TOp 20 since Day 69. Right now, they're 14th, and even higher in the AP poll. That Manzie, who piloted Georgia to just a 16-16 record a year ago, has been able to achieve this kind of success in College Park, that may be the second-most surprising storyline this season.

4. Leon Wallace, New Mexico. Who saw the Lobos coming? New Mexico has gone undefeated in a difficult Mountain West Conference, beating San Diego State and UNLV. They have found themselves as a top-15 team in our ranking, which has an argument as the most impressive feat so far this year. They have won with elite defense (2nd in DRtg), and have forced teams to bend to their will. It has been flat-out impressive to witnsess.

3. Jamaal Richmond, Illinois. Richmond was an assistant at Memphis last year, so he knows about winning programs. Still, not many thought he could do what he's done in Champaign so far this season. Illinois has been near the top of the Big Ten standings all year, and they dealt Indiana their only conference defeat. The FIghtin Illini were not ranked going into this season, so for them to be a top-ten team...Richmond deserves a lot of credit.

2. Dalin Batiste, Missouri. Batiste, an assistant at New Mexico last year, has led Missouri to new heights. While they might have been ascendent as it is (a school-best 20 wins last year), Batiste has utilized Brandon Dampier and his teammates to the tune of a 22-3 record, and a #1 seed in our Bracketology III: The One WHere Brackets Gets Fat and Happy. Missouri did start on our radars (they were a Next team), but nobody thought they could get to these heights.

1. Tyron Yates, St. John's. After a 28-7 record at Clemson a year ago, the 35-year-old Yates took his talents to NYC. His challenge? Rebuild the Johnnies, who won five games a year ago. Yates has piloted this transitioning team to a 16-9 record. Eight of those losses have come against Q1 wins (4-8 record). Simply put, nobody expected anything from St. John's this year. Getting to the CJBL Tournament was considered a pipedream before the same. Now, it seems to be a certainty. That's because of Yates.

1. Indiana (21-2, 1)
2. Kentucky (24-1, 3)
3. Duke (22-4, 4)
4. North Carolina (21-4, 5)
5. Missouri (22-3, 6)
6. Kansas (20-4, 2)
7. Connecticut (23-4, 7)
8. Illinois (21-4, 8)
9. Virginia (20-4, 9)
10. Southern Cal (21-4, 10)
11. Washington (21-4, 12)
12. Colorado (20-5, 11)
13. NC State (19-5, 14)
14. Maryland (19-6, 15)
15. Villanova (19-6, 16)
16. New Mexico (19-5, 18)
17. Florida (17-6, 13)
18. Utah (18-6, 20)
19. Memphis (21-5, 19)
20. Ohio State (19-5, 17)
21. Gonzaga (20-3, 21)
22. Stanford (19-8, 22)
23. Iowa State (17-6, NR)
24. San Diego State (23-3, NR)
25. UNLV (20-5, 23)
Next: Boston College, Pitt, Georgetown, Purdue, Dayton
Dropped Out: Boston College (24), Purdue (25)
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The Quadaily 25, 2028 Season (Day 109): Your Down The Stretch Handicapping Guide

JBL | The Quadaily 25, 2028 Season (Day 109): Your Down The Stretch Handicapping Guide

We're down to the final two weeks of the regular season.

Each team has a few games remaining, at most. And races are tight everywhere. We figured we would give you a rundown of where every race sits, and who sits where in them.

A-10: St. Joe's (20-4, 13-2) sits a game ahead of Dayton (18-7, 12-3), 1.5 up on Davidson (15-9, 11-3), and two up on Richmond (17-8, 11-4). Rhode Island (18-6, 10-5) and UMass (17-7, 10-5) also figure to factor into the race. St. Joe's has a favorite schedule, facing none of the teams involved. Their toughest opponent left is at Fordham, on Day 113. Dayton hosts Davidson on 120 and RIchmond on Day 123. Davidson has a home game against Rhode Island (114), then goes to Umass (117).

Pick: St. Joe's. They have a game in hand and the easiest schedule by far. Dayton is our pick to finish second, and Richmond is likely to leapfrog Davidson into third.

A-Sun: Florida Gulf Coast (14-10, 12-2) leads NJIT (13-11) by a game. The two teams split over the regular season. FGCU's toughest game left is at North Alabama, who was tied for first, but has faltered dramatically during the season. NJIT has Jacksonville left, but they beat them 70-51 on the road.

Pick: FGCU. Both teams hold serve and FGCU holds their game lead.

AAC: Cincinnati (20-8, 16-1) is a half-game up on Memphis (22-5, 15-1); both teams have one loss in the conference. The big game remaining, of course, is on 115, when Cincinnati visits Memphis. Memphis has an extra game after, going to Houston and South Florida. The Houston game is one that should concern Memphis. However, if they beat CIncinnati, it won't matter; Memphis won at Cincinnati earlier this year. Cincinnati does have third-place East Carolina on the schedule, a game that shouldn't be overlooked as a trap game before the Memphis one.

Pick: Memphis to beat Cincinnati, essentially giving them a two-game lead (the one game lead + the tiebreaker). Even if they lose at Houston, or at South Florida, it wouldn't matter. Now, if they do beat Memphis and lose at Houston, that South Florida game will come with a lot of fanfare and pressure.

ACC: Duke (23-4, 13-2) holds a game lead over Virginia (22-4), and a two-game lead on North Carolina (21-6, 11-4). They have swept Virginia and just beat the Tar Heels, and only have a trip to Pittsburgh as anyone really challenging left on the schedule. Virginia still has trips to Syracuse and UNC; the Tar Heels host Syracuse and Virginia, and have road games at Wake and Va Tech.

Pick: Duke, UNC, Virginia. We don't think NC State (20-5, 9-5) or Boston College (17-7, 8-5) can catch Virginia for third, but it isn't out of the realm of possibility. BC goes to NC State, but NC State still has games at Pitt and Syracuse left.

AEC: Hartford (14-7, 10-2) holds a 2.5 game lead over UMBC (11-11, 7-4) and Binghamton (9-12, 7-7). They just lost to UMBC, though that may be too little, too late. They host Binghamton on 117. UMBC goes to Binghamton on 121.

Pick: Hartford, UMBC, Binghamton. Expect the Hawks to get it done rather easily.

Big 12: Kansas (21-4, 12-1) leads Iowa State (18-6, 10-3) by two full games. The two split earlier this year. Kansas State (16-9, 9-4) and Oklahoma (16-8, 9-4) are tied for third, Kansas has trips to Kansas State and Oklahoma left, while Iowa State has games at OK State and Kansas State, and a visit from Oklahoma left.

Pick: Iowa State will lose at Kansas State, we think, cementing the race for Kansas to win. We also think Kansas State can take the second seed from Iowa State. So, Kansas, Kansas State, Iowa State is our pick.

Big East: It's a three-team race between UConn (25-4, 15-2), Villanova (20-7, 13-4) and Georgetown (19-8, 12-4). We say a three-team race because UConn has visits to Georgetown and Villanova to end the season. The Huskies should beat Providence, but a visit from fourth-place Creighton (18-9, 11-5), who already has a win over UConn, should prove to be the loveliest of trap games. Georgetown has games at Seton Hall, DePaul, and Marquette left; that last one is real problematic for the Hoyas. Villanova has a tricky visit to Seton Hall left, but if they get past that, they'll likely play UConn for the conference title.

Pick: Connecticut, Villanova, Georgetown. We think UConn will win one of those two last games. We also think Georgetown will lose at Marquette. So, this is how we think the order shall look. Creighton could get the 3-seed, so that's still in play.

Big Sky: Idaho (16-11, 14-3) holds a 2.5 game lead on Montana State (16-8, 11-5). The Vandals do have a visit to the Bobcats left (115). The Bobcats have a game at Northern Arizona (16-11, 9-7) to end the season, which makes this road too difficult to travel.

Pick: Idaho, Montana State, Northern Arizona. Weber State could factor in, but we think it will end like this.

Big South: Gardner-Webb (17-9, 13-2) holds a lead over UNC-Ashville (16-11, 12-4). Winthrop (15-12, 11-5) is right behind UNC-Ashville. The fun here is that the Runnin' Bulldogs still have to go to Winhrop and UNC-Ashville, so nothing is quite decided here. Gardner-Webb still has five games left. Neither the non-running Bulldogs nor the Eagles have a particularly tough schedule.

Pick: You know, we're going to stick with Gardner-Webb here, due to the two-game lead in the loss column. We'll keep it in the order it is right now. It's not interestig, sure, but we're going for accuracy.

Big Ten: Indiana (23-2, 13-1) has a 1.5 game lead on Illinois (22-4, 12-3) and Maryland (19-6, 12-3). Ohio State (20-6, 10-4 isn't mathematically eliminated, but they might as well be. The Hoosiers stil have six games left, though they get the toughest of that schedule (Iowa, Maryland) at home. They could lose to Penn State, Minnesota, and Michigan, but none of them are consistent enough to make that anything but a fluke.

The key for the Hoosiers is that Illinois travels to Indiana on 121. That could eliminate the Fightin Illini. Maryland has the toughest schedule, going to Iowa, then getting Michigan, Ohio State, and Illinois at home, before traveling to Indiana. That won't be enough for a team like Purdue or Michigan State (tied for fifth, amazingly) to move up; both teams (and Michigan) have six losses in-conference.

Pick: Indiana, Illinois, Maryland. The Terrapins should clinch at least the third seed by beating Ohio State. But we think this will stay the way it has been for some time now.

BIg West: Long Beach State (19-7, 13-2) leads UC Santa Barbara (17-10, 12-4) and UC Irvine (15-10, 12-4) by a game and a half. The 49ers, who just suffered an unfathomable loss at Cal Poly, steer clear of all of those teams. UCSB goes to UCI though, on 120. And UCSB has to go to Hawaii. UCI gets three home games to end the year.

Pick: Long Beach State, UC-Irvine, UCSB. The UCSB trip to UCI should hand things over to Irvine.

Colonial: Drexel (21-4, 12-2) leads Hofstra (16-8, 11-3) by a game, and Northeastern (15-8, 10-4) by two. Drexel has to visit The Royalty (William & Mary) on 124, but that's really it for them. Hofstra has to visit Towson on 112. A loss there is likely, and could doom the Pride. The Huskies also visit The Royalty, but have an easy schedule otherwise.

Pick: Drexel, Hofstra, Northeastern. It's possible all three teams lose a game down the stretch. We think Drexel will run the table, but the other two could easily drop a game. Hofstra's game lead over Northeastern is huge in this regard.

CUSA: Charlotte (19-5, 14-1) has dominated conference play all season long. They sit two games up on Southern Miss (16-8, 12-3). North Texas (13-11, 10-5) and Louisiana Tech (12-13, 10-5) are tied for third. Southern Miss travels to Charlotte on 119, which should finish things off for the top seed in Charlotte's favor. (Their only loss in conference is to Rice.) They do travel to La Tech and North Texas, but we don't think either result in a loss.

Pick: Charlotte, Southern Miss, North Texas. There isn't anything here to change the status quo.

Horizon: Illinois-Chicago (17-7, 12-1) holds a two-game lead on Milwaukee (13-11, 10-3), and a sizeable advantage over Oakland (13-9, 8-5). The kicker here is that the Flames (a poor choice for a name...really, too soon, Illinois-Chicago) hosts Milwaukee on 117. They do travel to Oakland on 113, but we don't buy that one. The...sigh, Flames...also have a score to settle with the Panthers, who handed them their only conference loss, a 77-46 dismantling back on 81.

Pick: Illinois-Chicago, Milwaukee, Oakland. Status quo is as status quo does.

Ivy: Oh man. There is a three-way tie for first between Cornell (13-7, 9-2), Harvard (14-8, 9-2) and Penn (14-8, 9-2). Let's hash this one out:

Cornell: 1-1 vs Harvard, 0-1 vs Penn (host on 111)
Harvard: 1-1 vs Cornell, 1-1 vs Penn (Harvard's 84-83 W on 106 is huge right now)
Penn: 1-1 vs Cornell, 1-0 vs Penn (visit on 111)

Yeah, that got us nowhere.

The obvious fix here is that Penn beat Cornell. But let's say that doesn't happen. Then what?

Well, here's a view:

Harvard travels to fourth-place Princeton. That's not a guaranteed win. Harvard won 68-65 at home back on 86. Penn faces Yale and Brown, which are two wins. Cornell has road games at Columbia and Dartmouth, which should be wins.

If Cornell beats Penn, that elimates the Quakers. If Penn beats Cornell, that elimates Big Red. Harvard, in the meantime, has their own issues in traveling to Princeton. So, in full Ivy League form, let's play the logic card.

Pick: Cornell, Harvard, Penn. Cornell beats Penn, Harvard loses to Princeton. As far as the tiebreak between Harvard and Penn, we don't know. But we'll go with it this way.

MAAC: Fairfield (20-6, 14-2) continues to enjoy their greatest run of success in program history, and hold a half-game lead on Niagara (17-9, 13-2), who visits the Stags on 111. Fairfield gets third place Iona (14-10, 9-6) before traveling to Marist and Saint Peters. Fairfield already has a win over Niagara, which makes another loss for the Purple Eagles the death knell for the conference title. Niagara has Manhattan and Siena at home, and visits to Monmouth and Rider. None are considered even remote loss possibilities.

Pick: Fairfield, Niagara, Iona. Fairfield beats Niagara on Senior Night, and takes their second straight regular season title.

MAC: Kent State (19-5, 11-4) holds a half-game lead on Akron (15-10, 11-5) The Golden Flashes have five games left, but their toughest, against disappointing Buffalo (9-7 in conference) is at home. Due to an unbalanced schedule, Akron and Kent State have only played once, a 68-62 Kent State win. The Zips have to travel to Buffalo, which should be a loss if Buffalo plays to its ability.

Pick: Kent State, Akron, Eastern Michigan. The evidence presented is enough.

MEAC: Morgan State (16-8, 12-3) holds a two-game lead on Maryland-Eastern Shore (14-11, 105) and South Carolina tate (13-12, 10-5). The Bears play both, the former on the road, the latter at home. They close with a road game at North Carolina Central, which is a tricky trap game.. The Hawks also have to travel to NC Central, and they host SC State. The Bulldogs are on the road against MES and Morgan State, which should prove too much for them.

Pick: Morgan State, MES, SC State. The conference with the long school names holds the status quo. Seems like there's a theme here.

Missouri Valley. This is a two-horse race between Loyola-Chicago (17-6, 12-1) and Illinois State (18-4, 11-2). Valpo (16-8, 7-6) has been incredibly disappointing. The Ramblers travel to Illinois State on 117. They already own an 82-81 win over the Redbirds, back on 81. They also get Valpo at home. The Redbirds have Valpo at home, too. There is the one issue of a trip to Northern Iowa on 113, in between the two key games. The Redbirds lost to Missouri State on the road earlier this year, a loss that should never have happened.

Pick: If the two teams tie, the tiebreaker is RPI+SOS. Loyola Chicago holds a sizeable advantage here (59th vs 90th). So, we go with the Ramblers.

Mountain West: New Mexico (19-6, 14-1) holds an improbable lead over UNLV (21-5, 13-2) and San Diego State (13-3). Wyoming (19-5, 12-3) makes for a bunched quartet. The Lobos lost their first conference loss on 107. The Lobos still have a trip to UNLV, and a home date with Wyoming. The Runnin Rebels host Wyoming. SDSU has three games at home, and a cupcake rest of the schedule. Wyoming has the most difficult slate left. New Mexico does have the win over UNLV already, so another win would give them the regular season title. A loss would swing it UNLV's way, due to RPI+SOS.

Pick: UNLV will beat New Mexico and take the conference. New Mexico will finish second, SDSU third, and Wyoming fourth.

NEC: Bryant (19-8, 13-3) holds a comfortable two-game lead on Mount St. Marys (15-9, 10-5) and St. Francis-NY (15-9, 10-5). The Bulldogs host St. Francis on 120, which should give The Mount second place.

Pick: Bryant, Mount St. Mary's, St. Francis-NY. St. Francis losing five of their last six really torpedoed their season.

OVC: Murray State (21-6, 16-1) has already clinched the regular season title. Morehead State (15-12, 11-6) and Tennessee-Martin (13-13, 11-6) are battling for second.

Pac-12: Washington (22-5, 13-3) leads USC (22-5, 12-4) and Colorado (22-5, 12-4) by a game. Utah (19-7, 11-5) is two back, and Stanford (20-8, 11-6) is a half-game behind them. This has been maybe the most fun conference in the nation. And yet, through it all, Washington has led the whole way.

The Huskies have two big games, Utah at home, and on the road at USC. The Huskies won the first meeting between the two, 86-82. They also hold a somewhat slim RPI+SOS tiebreaker. But a USC win could change that.

The Trojans, meanwhile, have Arizona and UCLA on the road, and finish with Washington State. That's not an easy slate, and USC won't go undefeated in that stretch. It needs to beat Washington to have a shot.

Colorado, meanwhile, has Stanford and Arizona, but at home. They face Arizona State on the road. Should USC beat Washington, Colorado has swept the Huskies. So, Colorado will be huge Trojan fans when those two teams meet.

Pick: Colorado, Washington, USC. We think the Buffaloes win out, while Washington loses to USC. Utah has to go to Washington on 115, which will hurt their chances. Even if USC drops two, they have the RPI+SOS tiebreaker, easily.

Patriot: Bucknell, wow...what a story. The Bison (19-6, 12-2) have dealt with injuries all year, and yet, they are tied with Lafayette (18-7, 12-2). The Bison have been so good, they got an at-large bid in Bracketology III, Brackets in New York. The two teams split during the regular season, and neither has a difficult game left. Of course, in the Patriot, any game can be difficult.

Pick: Bucknell, Lafayette, Navy. RPI+SOS is with the Bison. Expect them to get maybe the unlikeliest conference title of the year.

SEC: Kentucky (25-1, 14-1) leads Missouri (22-4, 13-2) and Florida (18-6, 11-3). The Gators, by the way, can say they've beaten both teams. Kentucky has a difficult schedule down the stretch, as they go to LSU (more on them in a minute), then host Arkansas and Florida, and close at Missouri. That's as tough a closing schedule as anyone has in the nation.

The Tigers have trips to A&M and Vandy, a home game against Georgia, and a visit to Knoxville, before that UK game. It's an easier slate, but that Tennessee game sticks out as trouble. If Missouri is denied the title, we think it'll be because they lose that game.

Florida needs help after dropping two of their last three (before beating Mizzou). They have six games, including the trip to Kentucky. That, alone, should be enough to see them to second or third. But all of their other games are very winnable.

LSU (18-6, 10-3), as under-the-radar as anyone this season, have seven games left in a backloaded slate. They go to Georgia and Tennessee, and host Kentucky...but the rest are winnable. There is a path for them to win the conference regular season title. That said, due to an unbalanced schedule, they faced Missouri only once, and that was a loss. They have not faced Kentucky yet this season, either. So, they might consider themselves quite fortunate.

Pick: Missouri, Kentucky, Florida. We think the TIgers will clip Kentucky right at the end. Due to their RPI+SOS bump (Mizzou is 3rd in RPI+SOS, Kentucky is 12th), we think the TIgers can still, and will, take the conference.

Southern: East TN State (15-9, 10-3) leads three teams by two games. We think that will hold. Moving on.

Southland: Northwestern State (21-6, 15-1) leads Stephen F Austin (18-5, 13-2) in a two-horse race. The two teams face each other on the final day of the regular season. Northwestern State was running the table, but a strange loss at Incarnate Word messed that all up. This is another unbalanced schedule situation, as the two teams have yet to face each other. If the Demons lose to the Lumberjacks, that will given SFA the conference. Funny how that plays out.

PIck: Stephen F. Austin, Northwestern State, Houston Baptist. SFA performs an exorcism, and eradicates the Demons from the top of the conference.

Summit: Texas State (19-7, 12-4) holds a 2.5 game lead on Arkansas State (14-10, 9-6). The two teams face off at Texas State on 113. That should finish things off.

Pick: Texas State, Arkansas State, Appalachian State. Obviously, we think Texas State is winning that game.

SWAC: Arkansas Pine-Bluff (17-6, 11-3) holds a two-game lead on Jackson State (13-10, 9-5) and Southern (12-12, 9-5). The Golden lions host Jackson State on 116. They own a 67-60 win already.

Pick: Arkansas Pine-Bluff, Southern, Jackson State. We'll take the Golden Lions to win that game, and win the conference.

WAC: Utah Valley (16-7, 12-2) leads three teams by two games. One of which is a Kansas City team that is 10-14, 10-4 in the conference. We don't know what to think of that. Now, the Wolverines travel to Seattle, the biggest threat to the conference title, on 116. They own a win over Seattle already. Kansas City comes to town on 112. The Roos beat them 64-59 earlier in the season. Grand Canyon, the other team in this equation, gets KC and Seattle too, the latter on the road.

Pick: Utah Valley, Grand Caynon, Seattle. We think the Antelopes will beat Seattle, so we're giving them the nod for the 2-seed.

WCC: Gonzaga (21-3, 12-1) holds a two-game edge on St. Mary's (16-7, 10-3) and Pepperdine (15-9, 10-3). San Diego (16-8, 8-5) is fourth. The Toreros visit the Zags on 109. The Zags also get a visit from Pepperdine on 121. Saint Marys, who split with the Zags this season, go to Pepperdine on 117.

Pick: Gonzaga, Saint Marys, Pepperdine. We think there's too much separation between the teams for there to be much movement.

The Quad 25, 2028 Seaosn
Day 109

1. Indiana (23-2, 1)
2. Kentucky (25-1, 2)
3. Duke (23-4, 3)
4. Kansas (21-4, 6)
5. Connecticut (25-4, 7)
6. Missouri (22-4, 5)
7. Illinois (22-4, 8)
8. Virginia (22-4, 9)
9. North Carolina (21-6, 4)
10. Colorado (22-5, 12)
11. Southern Cal (22-5, 10)
12. Washington (22-5, 11)
13. NC State (20-5, 13)
14. Marland (19-6, 14)
15. Florida (18-6, 17)
16. Villanova (20-7, 15)
17. New Mexico (19-6, 16)
18. Memphis (22-5, 19)
19. Utah (19-7, 18)
20. Stanford (20-8, 22)
21. Gonzaga (21-3, 21)
22. Iowa State (18-6, 23)
23. San Diego State (24-3, 24)
24. Ohio State (20-6, 20)
25. UNLV (21-5, 25)
Next: Pitt, Georgetown, Dayton, Bucknell, Drexel
Dropped Out: None
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Old 05-07-2020, 08:15 PM   #26
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The Quadaily 25, 2028 Season (Day 113): Going on a Bubble Watch Cruise

JBL | The Quadaily 25, 2028 Season (Day 113): Going on a Bubble Watch Cruise

This is a Bubble Watch. We didn't have our spreadsheet for most of this column. So we're doing the best we can with what we have. If you have issues, write them down, ball them up, and eat them. Taste them and digest them.

(Or tell us about them. That probably seems like a better option. We don't want you eating paper, cardboard, whatever you're using to write on. And besides, we're spitballing here. Don't take this seriously.)

ACC

Locks: Duke, Virginia, North Carolina, NC State
Likely In: Pitt
Work To Do: Boston College, Syracuse

You'd think BC would be in the likely in column, especially after beating UNC, but we're still skeptical about how they hold up against other at-large teams. (Okay, so this is a weak field for at-larges, so we're likely splitting hairs here. Winning at NC State would likely cinch it, but we'd settle for winning at FSU and sweeping both games against Louisville and Pitt at home.

Syracuse, meanwhile, was firmly in, before imploding. Losing six of their last eight, including games against Wake Forest and Clemson, have likely squashed all hopes of getting in. They'd have to go on a series run at this point, starting with beating Virginia at home on 113. A run to the ACC semifinals is also a likely requirement.

Big 12

Locks: Kansas, Iowa State, Kansas State
Likely In: None
Work To Do: Oklahoma, Oklahoma State

The Sooners' loss to UCLA, once thought to be good, is definitely not now. The same goes for the Texas loss, as the Longhorns never found any real footing. Their best road win is looking like it's at Baylor, which definitely doesn't bode well for their chances. Their only real chance is to sweep the rest of the regular season That includes winning in Ames, and beating Kansas to close the season.

Oklahoma State lost by 32 at Texas on Day 73. They also lost at Baylor by 19. It probably doesn't matter what they do the rest of the regular season. They don't own a single good win in the conference.

Big East

Locks: Connecticut, Villanova, Georgetown
Likely In: Creighton, St. John's
Work To Do: Marquette

The loss at St. John's was a killer for for the Golden Eagles, who could have really used that win. They have two more chances at good wins, on the road against Creighton, and at home against Georgetown. They did beat Georgetown on the road earlier this season. But it's likely that there are too many bad losses (Xavier, Seton Hall, UCLA, Minnesota) to doom them at this point.

Big Ten

Locks: Indiana, Illinois, Maryland, Ohio State, Purdue, Michigan State
Likely In: None
Work To Do: ...

Michigan and Iowa are likely on life support. In the case of Michigan, it's likely their lsat rites have been read.

Pac-12

Locks: Washington, Colorado, USC, Utah, Stanford
Likely In: Arizona
Work To Do: Washington State?

Arizona has picked itself up off the canvas and managed to string together four straight wins, including ones over Utah and USC. We don't think they'll beat Colorado on the road, but at this point, it does not really matter. A loss at Cal would not be helfpul, as they already have bad losses to UCLA and Oregon State on their resume. That said, we welcome Arizona back into our good graces.

Washington State...?: Nah, they aren't in. They have less of a chance as Iowa and Michigan. We needed something to fill in this space.

SEC

Locks: Kentucky, Missouri, Florida, Arkansas
Likely In: LSU?
Work To Do: Tennessee

LSU losing at Georgia on 110 was a major hit to what had been a solid resurgence in a top-loaded conference. They did have a bad loss to a Notre Dame team that has been worse than advertised, but that had been largely forgotten until the Georgia game. The Tigers still have Kentucky on their schedule, though that's at home. A home game against Alabama is now pivotal, as that's really their only other chance at a guaranteed okay win. Only potential bad losses remain, including games at Auburn and Mississippi. Their likely in is due to the dearth of at-large teams (as you can see from our list).

Tennessee, meanwhile, could rip LSU's hearts out with a win at home on 113. It's a game the Volunteers need; they share the Georgia loss (Day 76), and have already lost once to LSU. A loss at A&M and a Georgia Tech team that peaked two months ago has taken the air of of their at-large sails. The Volunteers can still right the shp, though their schedule is absolutely daunting, albeit full of opportunity. They close with LSU, Arkansas, at Florida, and home against Missouri, before going to South Carolina. Four potential good wins, one potential bad loss.

A-10

Locks: None
Likely In: St. Joseph's, Dayton
Work To Do: Richmond, Rhode Island, UMass

St. Joseph's has been considered a top-tier team all season is, what, at UMass? Home against Dayton? The Hawks don't even go to Dayton for a return trip. The Fightin Jesuits are going to be one of the most scrutinized teams come selection time. For their sake, they should win the conference.

For as good as we've found Dayton to be over the past month, their resume is also lacking. Losing at home to Northern Illinois is a terrible loss. Losing at George Mason, and losing by 28 to your main competition for the conference regular season title is also tough to sell. We know that was a month and a half ago, but the point still remains. Winning out will do nothing but stay the course for them as a team on the come. Losing any, especially at Fordham or St. Bonaventure, could sink them.

You could say the same for the three teams with work left to do. Richmond has games against UMass and Dayton, but nothing that really sticks out to the committee. Rhode Island has a loss at George Mason and at home against Montana. The Minutemen lost to Butler, at George Washington, and lost at home to St. Joe's. We get how good they have been, but good teams hold serve at home in-conference. Their best win is at Rhode Island. That's not going to get it done.

AAC

Locks: Memphis
Likely In: Cincinnati?
Work To Do: Cincinnati?

There is an interesting dilemma regarding the Bearcats. They scheduled virgorously OOC, which is to be commended. They also had a lot of turnover and took awhile to come together, resulting in a 2-7 start. They have just two losses since them, including beating Ohio State. Those two losses are ones they absolutely needed to have, though: at Georgetown (by 13), and at home to Memphis. Their next best win is against Dayton. Their resume just doesn't speak as a team worthy of inclusion.

But how much should be they docked for their conference? It absolutely is not their fault that they play in a garbage conference. But it is their fault that they won games they did schedule. There is another bad loss to Xavier on there.

So...in our view, they are best served winning the conference tournament. Anything less than the championship game would probably guarantee their denial of a bid this year. It's the bed they've made with their performance, not their scheduling. Now climb out or lie in it.

MWC

Locks: None
Likely In: SDSU, UNLV
Work To Do: New Mexico?, Wyoming

SDSU crushed Creighton and handed New Mexico their only conference loss. They have also lost to the other three teams vying for the regular season championship in the MWC. Their last three are at home to henchmen teams, so they should easily win those.

UNLV's best win has proven to be against SDSU, one they gave back by splitting. They'll get a chance to avenge a loss to New Mexico on 118. Other than that, they don't have anything worth writing about.

It's strange that a team 15-1 in a competitive league has work to do. Yet, that's where we are with the Lobos, a team who caught lightning in a bottle and beat two good teams at home. We'll see what they are made of wth the trip to UNLV. Right now, their third-best win is at Wyoming (a deserved 67-46 win), but they have absolutely zero good OOC wins to post. Their only games against tough competition were at Arizona (a 70-65 loss that does look better and better), at home against Georgetown, and a 20-point UCLA loss that has not aged well.

Wyoming really could have done themselves a solid by winning at UNLV on 111. They lost, 77-76, when Nick Cleaver missed what would have been a game-tying free throw with :03 left. Their best win appears to be beating SDSU, followed by beating The Royalty at home to open the season.

We do need to say this now: Whoever does not make the MWC Championship game could be on the outside looking in.

WCC

Locks: Gonzaga
Likely In: Saint Mary's
Work To Do: Pepperdine, San Diego

Saint Mary's is 38th in RPI/SOS (we didn't have a working spreadsheet for most of this column, we aren't going back now, sorry...deadlines). They have the win over Washington, a tough loss at Stanford, and a split with Gonzaga. They have also lost at BYU and San Francisco, and suffered a 26-point loss to a Memphis team that was struggling at the time. The Gaels likely have a resume to get them in, but it would help to see them win at Pepperdine on 117, then finish off BYU to close the season.

Pepperdine is 66th in RPI/SOS, and is 10-0 in Q3-4 games. They are 0-7 in Q1 games. Tough resume to sell. Beat the Gaels. That's a start.

(Our deadline kept us from discussing the Patriot League. Our apologies.)

The Quad 25, 2028 Season
Day 113

1. Indiana (25-2, 1)
2. Kentucky (25-1, 2)
3. Duke (24-4, 3)
4. Kansas (22-4, 4)
5. Connecticut (26-4, 5)
6. Missouri (23-4, 6)
7. Illinois (23-4, 7)
8. Virginia (23-4, 8)
9. North Carolina (22-6, 9)
10. Colorado (23-5, 10)
11. Washington (23-5, 12)
12. NC State (21-5, 13)
13. Maryland (20-7, 14)
14. Southern Cal (22-6, 11)
15. Florida (19-6, 15)
16. Villanova (20-7, 16)
17. New Mexico (20-6, 17)
18. Memphis (23-5, 18)
19. Utah (20-7, 19)
20. Stanford (20-8, 20)
21. Gonzaga (22-3, 21)
22. Iowa State (19-6, 22)
23. San Diego State (25-3, 23)
24. UNLV (22-5, 25)
25. Pittsburgh (18-7, NR)
Next: Georgetown, Ohio State, Dayton, Bucknell, Drexel
Dropped Out: Ohio State (24)
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Old 05-07-2020, 08:16 PM   #27
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The Quadaily 25, 2028 Season (Day 121): Certainties and The Best Win By The Worst Tea

JBL | The Quadaily 25, 2028 Season (Day 121): Certainties and The Best Win By The Worst Team

What certainties are guaranteed at this stage, with just a few days to go in the regular season? Let's take a look at what we know for certain.

A-10: St. Joe's, Dayton and Richmond are the top three seeds for the conference tournament. After that is anyone's guess. It is *likely* that the order will be the same, with St. Joe's holding the tiebreaker over Dayton, and Dayton currently holding the tiebreaker over Richmond. But it isn't certain yet.

A-Sun: Florida Gulf Coast and NJIT are the top two seeds. If FGCU wins against North Florida, they win the regular season title. Only one of them will go to the CJBL Tournament.

AAC: Memphis is the top seed in the tournament, and the regular season champion. The Tigers are also certain to make the CJBL Tournament. After that?

ACC: Duke, Virginia, UNC, and NC State are the top four seeds in the ACC Tournament. Duke is the ACC champion with a win or a UNC loss. We would also say it is certain that those four, along with Pitt, will make the CJBL Tournament.

AAEC: Hartford is the regular season champion and top seed in the conference tournament. Only one team will make the CJBL.

Big 12: Kansas is the Big 12 regular season champion. We won't say that anything else is certain. We'd say it's likely that Kansas State is in the CJBL Tournament, and likely that Iowa State is, too. Oklahoma is probably there, too. But we won't get ahead of ourselves...yet.

Big East: Connecticut, Villanova and Georgetown are the top three seeds in the tournament. We *think* UConn is the regular season champion, but a loss to Villanova could force some weird tiebreakers to come into play. All three are certainties for the CJBL Tournament. We believe Creighton and St. John's are in too, and that's it.

Big Sky: Idaho is the regular season champi. Montana Sate and Weber State are disappointments as the 2 and 3 seeds, however order that ends up. Only one of them is going to the CJBL Tournament.

BIg South: Gardner-Webb is the top seed. Only one team will make the CJBL.

Big Ten: Indiana has won the Big Ten regular season title. Illinois is, from what we determine, the two seed. Maryland, Ohio State, Michigan State, and Purdue will join them in the CJBL Tournament. Iowa isn't a certainty, but is on the doorstep, we think.

Big West: One team will make the CJBL Tournament. That's the only thing ertain right now. That and the Cal State schools didn't have great seasons.

CAA: Drexel is certain for a CJBL nod, regardless of whether it wins the conference tournament. Nobody else is making it unless they get through Drexel.

CUSA: Charlotte is the conference's top seed. They are not a certainty for an at-large, but they are the overwhelming favorite to win the thing.

Horizon: Illinois-Chicago is the regular season champion, Milwaukee is the two, and Oakland the three-seed. Only one team is making the CJBL, and Illinois-Chicago is not getting in as an at-large.

Ivy: Cornell, Harvard, Penn and Princeton are your entrants for the conference tournament. Only one of those four teams will get the auto-bid. There will be no at-larges.

MAAC: Fairfield won their second straight MAAC championship, and is two wins away from a school record for wins. That said, only one team from the conference is getting into the CJBL Tournament. Niagara is certain to be the #2 seed, while Iona is the three.

MAC: Kent State is the regular season champion with a win in their final two games. Only one MAC team is getting a spot in the CJBL.

MEAC: Morgan State is the conference regular season champion. Only bid is coming out of the MEAC.

MVC: Illinois State and Loyola-Chicago are tied atop the conference. But Loyola has the higher RPI-SOS. So, if they stay tied, LC would get the top seed and the regular season title. Only one team from the conference is getting into the CJBL.

MWC: UNLV now holds the regular season championship in its grasp, due to RPI-SOS. There is no certainty with anything else, but it is likely that two teams get into the CJBL. This is especially true if UNLV and San Diego State make the conference final. New Mexico and Wyoming have to auto-bid their way into the tournament.

NEC: Bryant is the runaway winner for the regular season title. That said, the only way they, or anyone else in the conference, is getting into the CJBL is by winning the conference tournament.

OVC: Murray State cruised to the conference title. This is a one-bid conference.

Pac-12: Colorado wins the regular season title if they win out. USC, Washington, and Utah will round out the top four, though their order is uncertain. Those four, along with Arizona and Stanford, will get into the CJBL. No other team from the conference will, unless one of them wins the conference title.

Patriot: Bucknell holds the RPI-SOS tiebreak over Layfayette. The Bison will get consideration for an at-large bid if they won't win the conference...but it may end at just consideration.

SEC: Kentucky and Mizzou are tied atop the conference. They face each other at Mizzou to close out the regular season, so that is a de facto title game, assuming both teams remain tied going into that game (UK hosts Florida, Mizzou goes to Tennessee). Florida and LSU will make up the top four, while Arkansas will be the five-seed. Those five are certain for the CJBL. Tennessee is fighting for its tournament life. Anyone else, Alabama included, needs to win the conference title.

Southern: East Tennessee State is the regular season champion in what will be a one-bid conference.

Southland: This is interesting. Northwestern State leads Stephen F Austin by a game; however, the two teams haven't faced each other yet. They will on 125, at SFA. So, if SFA wins that game, they are the regular season champions. Regardless, this is a one-bid conference.

Summit: South Dakota State is the regular season champion, up by three games over Denver. There is a three-way tie for third between North Dakota State, Oral Roberts, and South Dakota. One-bid conference.

Sun Belt: Texas State is the regular season champ in a one-bid conference. Arkansas State is the 2-seed.

SWAC: Arkansas Pine-Bluff is the regular season champion in a one-bid conference.

WAC: Utah Valley is the regular season champ in a one-bid conference.

WCC: Gonzaga is the regular season champion, and will be in the CJBL regardless of whether they win the conference tournament. Saint Marys, the 2-seed, is likely in, but not certain. Anyone else has to win their way in.

The Best Win of the Under Fives

What is the best win among the worst teams in the nation? We took a look at the worst teams in the nation, and tried to find the best win.

(By the way, this is simply by record; Texas-San Antonio is the worst in the nation, by RPI+SOS. They're 7-19. The worst of the worst records, Chattanooga, is ahead of four teams: UTSA, Maine, New Hampshire, and Saint Peters. Way to go, AEC.)

Lipscomb (4-22 in the A-Sun): The Bisons (isn't the plural form of bison "bison"?) got their first win against Bellarmine (8-17), 78-67, after nine losses. After, it would be eight losses before they beat, once again, Bellarmine, 78-67. So two teams against the same team, by the same score. Interesting. The Bison...s...beat Kennesaw State (15-12), 73-59, and just beat Jacksonville (13-13) on the road, 72-69.

Best win so far: Lipscomb (4-22) d. Kennesaw State (15-12) 73-59

South Florida (4-25 in AAC): The Bulls lost seven straight to start the season, before beating Niagara (18-11, 2nd in the MAAC). The Bulls also beat Tulsa, Temple, and Central Florida, none of which are going to move the needle. But that win over Niagara takes over as the best win by a worst team.

Best win now: South Florida (4-25) d. Niagara (18-11), 84-76, Day 45

Providence (4-25 in BIg East): The Friars are a reclamation project waiting to happen. What a challenge that team would be. It should be known that their RPI+SOS is 160th, which is directly ahead of 18-9 Montana State. (The perks of being in the Big East.) All of the Friars wins came in OOC play. They lost two before beating UC-Davis, 67-53. They won their next game against UNC Asheville (17-12), 73-70. They also own wins over Western Kentucky (13-15) and South Alabama (14-14).

UNC-Asheville is 2nd in the Big South, and 198th in RPI+SOS. Niagara is 204th. So, we have a new leader in the clubhouse.

New best win, worst team: Providence (4-25) d. UNC-Asheville (17-12), 73-70


Delaware (5-21 in Colonial): Delaware lost two before beating Tennessee-Martin (15-13), 64-56. After losing another game, they beat...on, Bellarmine (71-58), followed by a win against Georgia Southern). Oddly enough, the Fightin Blue Hens started play in the CAA 2-0, beating UNC-Wilmington and College of Charleston. None of these wins qualify as a good win...though you have to wonder about Bellarmine, who has three losses (so far) to teams five wins and under.

Still your bad-team champ: Providence (4-25) d. UNC-Asheville (17-12), 73-70

Columbia (4-18 in the Ivy Group): The Lions lost three to open the year, before beating heated rival Southeastern Louisiana (13-13), 77-58. We made the joke about these teams being heated rivals, but hell, two games later, they faced each other again. (We didn't see that coming, actually, when we made the joke.) Columbia got the season sweep, 83-64. They followed that up with a win over Vermont (9-15), before losing eleven in a row before taking down Dartmouth, 70-56. Half of their wins came against the same team. Oof.

Your defending champ: Providence (4-25) d. UNC-Asheville (17-12), 73-70

Miami (OH) (3-24 n MAC): The Redhawks went 18-15 last season, and had never won fewer than ten in a year. Now, they have the worst record in the nation. Ouch. And they started 2-1...even more ouch. They beat Longwood (13-15) 52-44, before edging out Incarnate Word (49-48). They own a conference win at Northern Illinois, 68-60. They haven't won since that Day 58 game. (NIU got the return game, 56-44.)

Holding Serve: Providence (4-25) d. UNC-Asheville (17-12), 73-70

Colgate (4-21 in Patriot): Colgate lost ten to start the year before beating Holy Cross (10-16), 70-64. Two games later, the Raiders took down American on the road, 86-79. They also own wins over Boston University (75-65) and Army (84-78).

In case you're wondering why we aren't giving records for each team, it takes time for us to research the records, so we're using the team rankings to decide if we should look one up. BU was 249th and Army 348th. So yeah...no need.

The Champ Is STILL Here: Providence (4-25) d. UNC-Asheville (17-12), 73-70

Chattanooga (4-21 in Southern): The Mocs lost a game before beating Marist 74-63. Six games later, they absolutely destroyed Maryland-Eastern Shore (15-13), 91-59. That's insane. The Hawks were 3-6 after that game, so it's not like they were lighting it up then. The Mocs made 13 threes and went 24-28 from the line. Their other wins are against Mercer (70-51) and Wofford (76-69).

Now, from sheer WTFMR~! perspective, the Mocs win is the "best" win. But in terms of beating a quality team, Providence takes the title.

Of course, we're doing this with a week left in the regular season, so anything can happen. Of course, it's a stretch that any of these teams will get another win.

2028 Bad Team, Good Win Champion: Providence (4-25) d. UNC-Asheville (17-12), 73-70

The Quadaily 25, 2028 Season
Day 121

1. Indiana (27-2, 1)
2. Duke (26-4, 3)
3. Kansas (24-4, 4)
4. Missouri (25-4, 6)
5. Kentucky (27-2, 2)
6. Illinois (25-4, 7)
7. North Carolina (25-6, 9)
8. Connecticut (26-5, 5)
9. Colorado (25-5, 10)
10. Virginia (25-5, 8)
11. NC State (24-5, 12)
12. Southern Cal (24-6, 14)
13. Florida (22-6, 15)
14. Villanova (22-7, 16)
15. Washington (23-7, 11)
16. Maryland (20-8, 13)
17. Memphis (25-5, 18)
18. Utah (22-7, 19)
19. Gonzaga (24-3, 21)
20. San Diego State (26-3, 23)
21. UNLV (24-5, 24)
22. Stanford (21-9, 20)
23. Georgetown (22-8, NR)
24. Ohio State (23-8, NR)
25. Pittsburgh (21-8, 25)
Next: Arizona, St. Joe's, New Mexico, Drexel, Kansas State
Dropped Out: New Mexico (17), Iowa State (22)
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Old 05-07-2020, 08:16 PM   #28
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The Quadaily 25, 2028 Season (Day 124): The Penultimate Regular Season Issue

JBL | The Quadaily 25, 2028 Season (Day 124): The Penultimate Regular Season Issue

Due to time, we won't be doing a full Quad today. We will do one bigger one tomorrow. Here is a quick bit before we give you the 25.

Duke replaces Indiana, who had been atop the polls since Day 29. They are the only two teams to be atop the polls all season. That happened when Indiana fell at Michigan, while Duke has won 12 in a row, their most recent victory being a convincing 67-55 takedown of Pitt on the road.

There is an incredible showdown on Day 126, as Kentucky (who holds a one-game lead in the SEC) goes to Missouri, with the SEC title on the line (both teams are 17-2 in conference). Our early pick rides with the home team. Brandon Dampier (who should be the unanimous pick for National Player of the Year) should lead the Tigers to their first SEC regular season title, and one very few would have seen coming at that, by seeing off Kentucky. We'll say, Missouri by 3, perhaps 72-69.

Connecticut, meanwhile, rose up to the challenge of winning the Big East regular season championship outright, defeating Villanova on the road, 79-71. This was a rather fantastic win for the Huskies, considering that star Jack Dawkins fouled out with 7:37 left, and UConn up 65-53. It was the other much-heralded additions to the team that got UConn to the finish line. Corban Vance made several big plays, including a pair of key free throws that iced it. Alex Attia hit a big three when it appared Villanova was primed to go on a big run.

And, when they did cut the game to three, 70-67 with 1:54 left, it was Darrion Fountain who hit a big bucket, and got a massive offensive rebound that led to Vance's free throws with :22 left.

Villanova's Tre Faulkner had 24, and made several huge plays to get the Wildcats on the cusp of overtaking UConn. Their time is coming, as they will be a justifably fashionable pick to win the national title next season. But this was UConn's day, and this their (regular) season in the Big East.

UNLV took down New Mexico, putting themselves in possible position to win the Mountain West regular season title. The Runnin Rebels have felt severely disrespected all year by bracketologists who had them on the outside looking in for a couple of brackets at various times this season. They can now point to this 60-57 win, along with their win over San Diego State earlier in the year, and ranking in the AP as reasons why they cannot be denied.

They shouldn't feel too comfortable yet. The notion that they could still be left out is still possible...it is said that the conference may only get the two teams who get to the conference title game into the tournament. Nobody in the conference has a distinctive OOC victory this season (the best win could be SDSU's win over Creighton).

So, UNLV should feel good about their win. They could feel confident going into the conference tournament. They should not feel comfortable about their chances. Not yet.

The Quadaily 25, 2028 Season
Day 124

1. Duke (27-4, 2)
2. Kansas (25-4, 3)
3. Missouri (28-4, 4)
4. Indiana (27-3, 1)
5. Kentucky (28-2, 5)
6. North Carolina (28-6, 7)
7. Connecticut (27-5, 8)
8. Colorado (26-5, 9)
9. Illinois (25-5, 6)
10. Virginia (26-5, 10)
11. NC State (25-5, 11)
12. Southern Cal (25-6, 12)
13. Maryland (21-8, 16)
14. Florida (22-7, 13)
15. Villanova (22-8, 14)
16. Washington (24-7, 15)
17. Memphis (26-5, 17)
18. Utah (23-7, 18)
19. Gonzaga (25-3, 19)
20. San Diego State (27-3, 20)
21. UNLV (25-5, 21)
22. Stanford (22-9, 22)
23. Ohio State (23-8, 24)
24. St. Joe's (24-4, NR)
25. Georgetown (22-9, 23)
Next: Pitt, Arizona, Drexel, Dayton, Illinois State
Dropped Out: Pitt (25)
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Old 05-07-2020, 08:17 PM   #29
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The Quadaily 25, 2028 Season (Day 127): This Award Goes To...

JBL | The Quadaily 25, 2028 Season (Day 127): This Award Goes To...

The regular season has passed. So, it's time to give out some awards, we think.

National Coach of the Year

Jerekius Bankston, Colorado: The 31-year-old won 14 games in his first season a year ago, when he got the job after fudging his resume some (he will tell you he's been coaching since he was 16, but in terms of collegiate experience, he's really only been doing it ten). Whereas other coaches either brought in a lot of talent, or inherited a lot of talent, neither was the case at Colorado. Bankston had a team that was below average last year, and to that, added three freshmen. Only one of them, Tarkus Giles, started (averaging 6.8 ppg as the team's SG). Jordan Wright was the reserve at the spot.

Bankston took what he had last year, and improved upon that tremendously, winning a program-record 26 games so far, as well as the program's first conference championship. The Buffaloes haven't been to the CJBL Tournament since 2023. They will certainly get there this season.

Also for consideration:

Miks Yang, Bucknell
Dontel Bennett, Drexel
Jamaal Richmond, Illinois
Atiba Bigby-Williams, Indiana
Olin Manzie, Maryland
Dalin Batiste, Missouri
Bul Boyd, Pittsburgh
James Foster, Saint Joseph's
Tyron Yates, St. John's
Malachi O'Leary, Virginia

National Defensive Player of the Year: SG Kevon Capel, Indiana. With regards to Jack Dawkins (could anyone imagine giving him this award when the season began?), Capel was the best defender in the naiton this year. He finished tenth in the nation in steals (1.94), and his 88.2 DRtg was the best in the nation. No other player had a DRtg lower than 90.3 (Travon Easley of Duke). Only a handful of players had one below 95.0. Capel's defense has been magic all season long, and he is the biggest reason why Indiana's defense has been tops in the naiton this year.

Also for consideration:

SG/SF Travon Easley, Duke
SF Jack Dawkins, Connecticut
SF Gleen Harris, Cincinnati
SF Tre Wallace, Texas State
SF Cayne Springer, UNLV
PF Tre Faulkner, Villanova
C Spencer Irving, Georgetown
PF Brandon Dampier, Missouri
PF Jevon Sawvell, Houston
SG Jared Hodge, Kansas

National Reserve of the Year: SG Chuck Patrick, Northeastern. Patrick averaged 15.5 ppg despite getting only one start in 21 games. He shot 46.8% from the field (44.1% from three), and added 4.1 rebounds, 2.4 assists, and over a steal per game. His 24.9 PER led the Colonial Conference.

National Player and Freshman of the Year: Brandon Dampier, Missouri. The kid led Missouri to the SEC regular season championship. He tied for the national lead in scoring (22.6 ppg), despite taking 4.3 less shots a game than Jack Dawkins, the co-leader. He led the nation in rebounding, at 10.5 rebounds per game. He posted over a steal and a block per game (not a lot of players can say that). He led the nation in PER by a considerable margin. The second place finisher, Justin Nelson of Siena, is closer to seventh than Dampier's 39.3 mark. There is no debate on this. Dampier has been the nation's best player for arguably the nation's best team, one he has put on his back since Day 1.

The Quad First 5

PG: Justin Noel, Fr, NC State
SG: Joey Bullock, Fr, Gonzaga
SF: Jack Dawkins, Sr, Connecticut
PF: Brandon Dampier, Fr. Missouri
C: Spencer Erving, So, Georgetown

The Quad Second 5

PG: Corban Vance, Fr, Connecticut
SG: Chris Knight, Fr, Michigan
SF: Glenn Harris, So, Cincinnati
PF:Mason Hargrove, Jr, Maryland
C: Samir Barnard, Sr, Long Beach State

The Quad Third 5

PG: Andres Manzie, Jr, Utah
SG: Trayvon Easley, Fr, Duke
SF: Kadeem Springer, Jr, Lafayette
PF: Derrick Bynum, So, Indiana
C: Jeremy Sawvell, Fr, Arizona

The Quad, 2028 Season
Final Regular Season Poll

1. Duke (28-4, 1)
2. Missouri (27-4, 3)
3. Kansas (26-4, 2)
4. Indiana (28-3, 4)
5. Kentucky (28-3, 5)
6. North Carolina (26-6, 6)
7. Connecticut (27-5, 7)
8. Colorado (26-5, 8)
9. Illinois (26-5, 9)
10. Virginia (26-5, 10)
11. NC State (26-5, 11)
12. Southern Cal (25-6, 12)
13. Maryland (21-9, 13)
14. Florida (23-7, 14)
15. Villanova (22-8, 15)
16. Washington (24-7, 16)
17. Memphis (26-5, 17)
18. Utah (23-7, 18)
19. San Diego State (28-3, 20)
20. UNLV (26-5, 21)
21. Stanford (22-9, 22)
22. Ohio State (24-8, 23)
23. St. Joe's (25-4, 25)
24. Gonzaga (25-4, 19)
25. Georgetown (22-9, 25)
Next: Pittsburgh, Arizona, Drexel, Dayton, Illinois State
Dropped Out: None
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Old 05-07-2020, 08:18 PM   #30
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The Quadaily 25, 2028 Season (Day 127 2 of 2): Bracketology IV: The Final Bracketing

JBL | The Quadaily 25, 2028 Season (Day 127 2 of 2): Bracketology IV: The Final Bracketing

The Final Bracketing is upon us.

The final day of the regular season is a perfect time to do a fourth and final bracket. There were some shifts, of course. Amazingly, not many teams that were with us before aren't with us now.

Teams In on 97, Out Now (seed in parenthesis): Mex Mexico (6), Marquette (7), Texas (11)

That's it. That's what happens when you do brackets on Day 97 and 127. They stay pretty consistent. In fact, our top 16 teams all remained the same (in name only; there was shifting, of course). There wasn't any tremendous shift up by anyone, nor any real drop down (Iowa State is probably the biggest faller, from 7 to 10, while Georgetown, who went from the 9-line to a 6, is our biggest riser).

That said, there are still some interesting notes to take away.

1) The 8-10 seeds are a major crapshoot, and tremendously more different to group than last year. Last year, there was a seemingly clear-cut pecking order among the lines. Even at the 7-line, this was expontentially more different to project. The group of teams on these lines are all severely flawed.

That said, the group of teams who didn't make the field are not really pushing them. So, as of now, we don't want to use the term "stuck", but...well, this is what we have, for better or worse.

2) That said, there are some really compelling matchups. Perhaps that's because we're controlling the narrative. This is a realistic bracket, and could bring about some really intriguing matchups. We'll touch on those in a bit.

Last Four Byes: UMass, Michigan, Alabama, Washington State

We aren't fond of this group, to say the least.

UMass (21-8, 43 RPI+SOS) is 1-3 in Q1 games, 3-4 in Q2 games. They went 13-0 in Q3/4 games. Their best non-conference wins are Utah Valley and Loyola-Chicago. They lost by 19 to Butler, and lost to Creighton. The Butler loss is a bad one. There are no bad losses in conference play, though it hurts that they only got St. Joe's a second time (even if it would be a road loss).

Michigan (19-12, 42 RPI+SOS) went 1-8 in Q1 games, and they own a Q3 loss (oof). They're here based, quite possibly, because of their recent wins over Indiana and Michigan State, the latter being on the road. They also have close losses on the road to Maryland and Illinois. The Penn State loss (back on 61) was a good loss at the time, as the Nittany Lions were in peak season (we had them ranked, for instance). The Wisconsin loss turned out to be a bad one, and losing by 27 to Indiana on the road doesn't sit well. A home loss to BYU isn't great. The resume is bad, but not overly terrible.

Then the Washington State (17-13, 47 RPI+SOS) and Alabama (18-13, 32). Washington State sit below San Francisco, Penn State, Minnesota...those teams aren't in. An argument for San Fran ends in no Q1 wins and only three Q2 wins. Penn State and Minnesota are either at .500 or under. It also doesn't look great taht the Cougars' best non-conference win...Georgia State? A sweep of Wofford (they played them twice)? They fell at San Diego, which isn't a bad loss, but also isn't a good one. They lost by 27 at home to Stanford. Lost at Oregon State. We'd say they got better as the team went on, but they come into tournament play having lost three of four.

The more we look at them, the more we think they're probably going to lose to UCLA in the first-round of the Pac-12 Tournament. If they do, they're out, in our eyes.

Alabama faced a tough schedule, going 2-12 in Q1 games. They own non-conference wins over Loyola-Chicago, Long Beach State, Gardner-Webb...especially the OOC's version of defeating a villain's henchmen. They suffered a rough stretch in conference play twice, losing at Tennessee, Kentucky and Mizzou in succession (the latter two on the road), then falling to Arkansas, Florida, Mizzou and, this is the bad one, at South Carolina. Their best conference win was their most necessary one, taking out Arkansas on the seaosn's last day. Otherwise, they could be switched out.

Last Four In: Cincinnati (22-9, 73) vs Boston College (21-10, 61), Tennessee vs Texas A&M

The Eagles showed the drop off between the top and bottom of the contenders in the conference. Syracuse, who finished seventh in the conference, is a 10-seed. The top five are top-seven seeds in this bracket. BC's best OOC win is Harvard; their next best is, we'd guess, Arkansas State. In otherwords, this is a very unenticing OOC schedule. BC went just 2-4 in Q1 games, which is amazingly low when playing in a top-shelf conference like the ACC.

Finishing a surprising sixth in the ACC (and it is a surprise) is an accomplishment, and there are good wins there. Beating NC State by 24 at home is rather fantastic. Beating Pitt on the road is another one. Unfortunately, that's where things end for BC. They lost the return games against both, and lost to Georgia Tech, which isn't a great loss now. Falling at home to Louisville also isn't great.

Cincinnati, meanwhile, went 16-0 against Q3/4 teams and lost their two shots to rectify that criticism, getting swept by Memphis in the regular season. They did beat Ohio State, but that feels more like an outlier against a team that had their own struggles around that time. They have a good record, but in a rather inferior conference. The AAC ranks behind the MAC and MIssouri Valley Conference, as well as the Sun Belt.

Tennessee (17-13, 49) and Texas A&M (17-14, 29) are SEC also-rans who are getting the conference rub in our eyes. That's really all we can say about either one. The only difference between them and Alabama is maybe a win or two.

First Four Out: LSU, Oklahoma State, San Diego, Oklahoma
Next Four Out: New Mexico, San Francisco, Wyoming, Marquette

East Region

State of the Top Seed: Connecticut would be on solid ground, had it not been for a late season swoon, losing to Creighton, Seton Hall, and Georgetown. They managed to go on the road to Villanova and win with the regular season championship in the balance (nobody wants to be co-champion) and Jack Dawkins having fouled out for the final 7+ minutes of the game. Still, they are our fourth #1 here, and the one who could get shoved off, even if they win the conference tournament.

Notes

Drexel and St. Joe's, darlings of the regular season, are seeded 7th and 8th in this region, respectively. In St. Joe's case, that is tenuous. Their RPI+SOS is below some rivals in-conference. We could easily see them being an 11 or -12 seed.

This is a rather loaded bracket, with six five of our top-fifteen, and six of our top twenty. We do find it strange that we have Stanford on the 5 line, and Villanova at 6, given our rankings of them, but this is also partially due to regional seeding arrangements. We wouldn't have UConn/Villanova at the Sweet 16, and while we could move a couple of things around, we decided to stay with this for this bracket. As always, we could move some things around...but this felt the most right.

Michigan is the lowest at-large seed, as a 12. There is precedent for this, having an at-large as a 12, while there are play-ins at the 11. Michigan does rate higher than any of the play-in teams, though that is really close.

The region gets a lot of local flair, with Fairfield, Bryant, Harvard and Hartford. This feels like the most "regional" bracket possible. Only Stanford and Iowa (at the 9-line) feel remotely out of place, and that was due to fitting teams in around regional issues.

Best first-round matchup: Drexel vs UMass. Nothing like an old school game between two regional behemoths. We also really like the Stanford/Mitchigan matchup; both had high aspirations preseason, and both have great rosters.

1) Connecticut (Big East) vs 16) Hartford (AEC)
8) St. Joe's (A-10) vs 9) Iowa (At Large)

5) Stanford (At Large) vs 12) Michigan (At Large)
4) NC State (At Large) vs 13) Fairfield (MAAC)

3) Maryland (At Large) vs 14) Bryant (NEC)
6) Villanova (At Large) vs 11) Cincinnati/Boston College

7) Drexel (CAA) vs 10) UMass (At Large)
2) North Carolina (At Large) vs 15) Harvard (Ivy)

South Region

State of the Top Seed: Duke sits as our top seed coming into the tournament. They and Indiana are the only two teams to hold the top spot in the Quad this year. Indana's late falter handed the top billing to the Blue Devils. The ACC regular season champs are on as solid ground as you can get. We would like to see them get to the ACC championship game, as they are not infalliable in a conference as top-heavy as the ACC...but assuming they get there, they should stay on the 1-line. If they lose before that, then it really depends on who else steps up.

Notes:

Kentucky would have been on the 1-line, had they beaten Missouri last week. The thought of Duke and Kentucky in the same bracket feels unfair to either team; however, due to regional preferences, and that UNC is in the East, this is what we get.

Virginia, the 3-seed, must hate being here, having lost to Duke twice already.

We do feel like Ohio State (5) is a bit high, as they finished 28th in RPI+SOS, and had such an up-and-down season. But they finished strong, and are riding that momentum. This is a strange middle seeding, with Georgetown at the 6, Michigan State at the 7, Memphis 8 and Creighton 9. We feel like this might be the most volatile mid-region of any of them. Georgetown looks strong now that All-Quad 1st Teamer Spencer Irving has returned, while Michigan State could beat anyone. A run to the Elite Eight, and a rubber match against Duke, would be almost seripididious. Michigan State handed Duke their first loss. It would also means that Sparty avenged an earlier loss to Kentucky (66-59 on Day 21). Ordinarlly, this wouldn't be allowed, per rematch rules...but the top teams all played each other, and due to other complications, this game could happen in the second round.

Best first-round matchup: Ohio State vs Bucknell. We rather like this one. Bucknell has overcome many injuries and kept right on churning. Ohio State has seemingly fixed themselves after breaking in midseason. We also like Michigan State vs Iowa State, a matchup of two teams capable of beating anyone (the Cyclones beat Kanass, for instance).

1) Duke (ACC) vs 16) Florida Gulf Coast (A-Sun)/East TN State (Southern)
8) Memphis (AAC) vs 9) Creighton (At Large)

5) Ohio State (At Large) vs 12) Bucknell (Patriot)
4) Florida (At Large) vs 13) Murray State (OVC)

3) Virginia (At Large) vs 14) Charlotte (CUSA)
6) Georgetown (At Large) vs 11) Washington State (At Large)

7) Michigan State (At Large) vs 10) Iowa State (At Large)
2) Kentucky (At Large) vs 15) Gardner-Webb (Big South)

Midwest Region

State of the Top Seed: Indiana is on solid ground, despite a late loss to Michigan. They won the Big Ten title, which is the most prestigious conference championship in the nation this season (outta here with this #3 conference nonsense). We do believe that falling to Illinois, and only Illinois, could cause them to swap with them. So we'll be on the look out for that. We don't think Maryland could, but if they go through both teams to do it, then...why not?

Notes

Kansas is the two-seed, and one who we feel hasn't gotten their due from the AP all year. But they're also tenth according to RPI+SOS, so perhaps that's possible. As it is, they are here by way of being Big XII champs.

USC (3) and Utah (4) are teams that could also easily move up. The Pac-12 is a close second to the Big Ten for us this year, and there are four teams who all sit so close to one another, before the small divide at Stanford (and a larger one at Arizona).

Arkansas at the 5 may surprise, but the Razorbacks had the nation's toughest SOS (.606). They rank 14th in RPI+SOS, just ahead of Purdue...as well as Colorado and Kansas. So, a 5-spot is a perfect spot to us for the Razorbacks right now. We should see them make it to the conference semifinals.

UNLV is our 8-seed, which may infuriate those in Las Vegas. Again, this comes down to who did they play? The Runnin' Rebeles are the MWC regular season champs, but they're 53rd in RPI+SOS. That's also best in-conference. We have them with St. Joe's in terms of "great season, but who did you play?" We don't buy SDSU (we were fooled early, and yes, we kept them in the polls, but again, they didn't play anyone, either), and New Mexico isn't even a first-rour out. Remember, we said that we think just two teams from the MWC, whoever makes the conference championship game, are getting into the tournament. That likely semifinal game against Wyoming looms large right now.

We aren't fond of Richmond (9) or Syracuse (10), but, again, this bracket isn't really a paint-by-number.

Best first-round matchup: Utah vs Loyola-Chicago. Utah probably feels severely disrespected; they finished fourth in the country in RPI+SOS. And now they get the Ramblers in the first round (hypothetically). This feels like an amazing matchup, pitting two top-eight offenses nationally against one another. Neither are quick offenses, and neither is particularly good at defense (don't get fooled by Utah's 30th-ranked oPPG). They are incredibly efficient on offense though. This could be the highest-scoring game of the tournament.

1) Indiana (Big Ten) vs 16) Morgan State (MEAC)
8) UNLV (MWC) vs 9) Richmond (At Large)

5) Arkansas (At Large) vs 12) Northwestern State (Southland)
4) Utah (At Large) vs 13) Loyola-Chicago (

3) Southern Cal (At Large) vs 14) Illinois-Chicago (Horizon)
6) Purdue (At Large) vs 11) Tennessee/Texas A&M

7) St. John's (At Large) vs 10) Syracuse (At Large)
2) Kansas (Big XII) vs 15) Arkansas Pine-Bluff (SWAC)

West Region

State of the Top Seed: MIssouri ascended to the 2-seed overall with their win over Kentucky. We couldn't keep them over Indiana (even though we think Indiana is still the better team, Missouri has earned this spot, and is deserving). The Tigers have the National Player of the Year in Brandon Dampier (who could, actually, also be Defensive Player of the Year). They have a great supporting cast, and they have risen to every challenge handed them. Chances are they're running to the SEC title game (though a potential semifinal matchup against Arkansas is really tantalizing and dangerous). Chances are, their top seed is safe, no matter what happens in the SEC Tournament.

Notes

Illinois feels dangerously underseeded as a 3. We have them behind Colorado, on the basis that the Buffaloes won the Pac-12 regular season title. That's kind of hard to bypass. Illinois would have a solid argument of being over Kansas, but for now, we have them here. They finished 6th in RPI+SOS (Indiana, by comparison, is 21st). They won't be the team that jumps up first should a team flater, but finding them on the 2-line when the committee makes their bracket (or even a 1-line) wouldn't shock.

By contrast, we feel like Kansas State (5) is seeded too high. Then we see that they are 19th in RPI+SOS, ahead of Michigan State, Indiana, Arizona, etc, and shrug. Sure enough, this team has beaten Villanova, Cincinnati, Iowa State, and have close two losses to Missouri, Maryland, Kansas, and Gonzaga. We could easily see this team falling down to, say, a 7 seed...but for now, we fit them here.

Gonzaga is a 6. We could switch them and Kansas State, but we point to the RPI+SOS (31st) and, again, shrug. The big problem for the Zags would be a second-round matchup with Illinois in this scenario, which isn't ideal for whoever faces them. (Not that 4-seed Washington is a cupcake.)

The mid-tier in this region (Pitt, Arizona, St. Mary's, San Diego State) is a microcosm of this season. You have the overachiever, the underachiever, and two what-are-thes-reallys.

Best first-round matchup: Washington vs Long Beach State. LBSU transferee Samir Barnard made All-Quad National Second 5, which is quite impressive. Can LBSU take out the Huskies? The 49ers did lose to Stanford by two on the road. Their best win is over Loyola-Chicago, but this feels like it will be closer than anticipated. You know...if it happens.

1) Missouri (SEC) vs 16) Utah Valley (WAC)/Idaho (Big Sky)
8) Arizona (At Large) vs 9) Saint Mary's (At Large)

5) Kansas State (At Large) vs 12) Kent State (MAC)
4) Washington (At Large) vs 13) Long Beach State (Big West)

3) Illinois (At Large) vs 14) South Dakota State (Summit)
6) Gonzaga (WCC) vs 11) Alabama (At Large)

7) Pittsburgh (At Large) vs 10) San Diego State (At Large)
2) Colorado (Pac-12) vs 15) Texas State (Sun Belt)
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Old 05-07-2020, 08:19 PM   #31
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The Quadaily 25, 2028 (Day 130): Long Beach is the Story, and the Sad, Sordid Tale of

JBL | The Quadaily 25, 2028 (Day 130): Long Beach is the Story, and the Sad, Sordid Tale of UCLA

If you were to ask someone about what happened over the last two days, they would have told you, oh, UCLA lost. So did BYU. And Louisville.

We respond with, who gives a damn about those teams this year? Sure, they're fine programs...but they had terrible years, each of which are now over, and therefore, they are out of the conversation.

(Sorry, fans of UCLA, BYU and Louisville. We'll see you next year.)

(Actually, UCLA fans...you might want to stick around. Or get out now and don't come back to this piece.)

We begin with Long Becah State.

The 49ers, the top seed in the Big West Tournament, fell to 8th-seeded Cal State Northridge, 81-75, in the first round. Izzy Ismail's 18 (on 6-17 shooting, and he was a -2), and Christian English's 10 (he was a +22) led the Matadors to slay the bulls of the conference.

(By the way, we find it really interesting that Ismail and Issac Russo, who combed for 28 points, finished as a -18 combined. Russo was -16 in his 17:40, which makes no sense because he was a 145.5/116.8 on the evening. Then again, the 49ers had an ORtg of 110.3, so...take that for what you will.

The 49ers were the overwhelming favorite to push through the Cal States and win the conference. Instead, they'll be off to the JIT, and the crown falls to UC Irvine and UC Stata-Barbara.

They were the only top seed to see their quest for the chip end so suddenly yesterday. Bryant tried hard to give away the NEC crown, but they survived San Francis (PA), 71-68.

For the 49ers, their gamble to sign transfer Samir Barnard paid huge dividends. He was the conference Player of the Year, as well as an All-Quad Second 5 selection. The 7-foot former Badger posted 17.7 points and 8.6 rebounds per game, shooting 63.3% from the field and 81.0% from the line. His soft hands around the rim, and ability to finish through contact, made him the hero the 49ers needed and got.

Unfortunately, his career, filled with unrealized potential and wasted minutes at Wisconsin, is over, falling short of 874 points (well, he had 873). He projects as a Euro player, though traditional bigs are passe there. Still, someone will sign his size and ability around the rim, as well as ability to rebound. (Just don't ask him to D up too much.)

That was yesterday's big shock. What will we see today?

No, U Don't CLA: The UCLA Bruins and their fans should skip this next piece. This piece won't be kind to them. It will be painful, bring up bad memories, and perhaps force some to print this out and burn it.

Please, think of the recycling.



The Bruins were ranked 16th in the preseason. In the Pac-12 that put them behind USC, Washington, and that's it. Third in the conference. That's where we had them pegged. Other publications felt they were a darkhorse for the Final Four. Of course, teams in this range are darkhorses. Any spots above are frontrunners. Any below are sleepers. But in this range, this 12-20 range...they are the darkhorses.

The Bruins moved up to 14th on Day 5, and stayed there for a week. An 89-87 loss to Michigan State did nothing to dissuade people that the darkness was coming to Westwood.

They fell sharply on Day 19, after losing by 14 at home to San Diego State. That would result in SDSU's first appearance in the Next. This is an interesting correlation, that SDSU's fragile, some would say fraudian, resume began being built by the season's ultimate fraud.

Things seemed to stablize for a day, as UCLA pummeled New Mexico (a team that would not see their ascension for another month, when they beat SDSU and UNLV at home, and suddenly found themselves atop the MWC). But the fall was coming, it was coming quick, and it came from a rather interesting bedfellow.

Louisville.

The Cardinals, spoken in revered tones when, in reality, no version of them this season qualified them as relevant, beat them, 86-80. Then they went to Notre Dame and lost, 95-88. THen came a pummeling at Kansas, 86-68.

That dropped the Bruines to 4-5 overall.

After the Louisville loss, we pulled them out of our rankings altogether. We figured it wouldn't be too long until we would see them again. They had too much talent. Then we saw the loss to Notre Dame. Still, teams go through rough stretches early on. Look at Memphis and Cincinnati. They would right their ship in no time.

They won at Nebraska, then fell to Gonzaga at home, 89-81. They limped into conference play at 5-6. But they opened with Colorado at home. We really liked the Buffaloes (they were 12th in our ranking on Day 56)...but this was a quality opponent at home. UCLA should prevail in this one, and that may propel them to get back on track.

Colorado won by 13.

Then came an absolutely inexplicable 85-55 loss at Arizona State, a team that finished 12-19, and 4-16 in conference play. Obviously, this was a meltdown worthy of the HIndenburg. The Titanic had this kind of staggering descent, but nobody was around to point at it.

Suddenly, UCLA won two huge games, at home against Arizona and Stanford. There is life in this team yet, people thought. Little did we realize, Arizona was utterly terrible then (we guess they saw what Memphis did and said, hold our beer), and Stanford would be prone to losing random games on the road.

The Bruins lost at Washington, which was excusable. The Huskies are tough. They would battle for the conference title all year. It was expected that the Bruins would have joined that fight, but perhaps they would be a late entrant.

They won two more games, against Washington State and at an Oregon team that decided it had enough of the 2028 ride, it needed to get off (this was the first of sixteen straight losses to end the season...ironically enough, their last win came against Arizona State). Perhaps UCLA caught whatever cotagion Oregon was carrying that day, though.

You see, UCLA would win just one game the rest of the season.

It started at home against Utah, which was forgivable. The Utes beat North Carolina and USC, and forced UConn to play one of their hardest games all season. It continued at USC, which was okay. The Trojans battled for the conference title in the way most thought UCLA would.

But then they lost at Cal on an inbounds play in which UCLA left Sam Holmes wide open for a lob dunk with less than a second on the clock. This came right after Jordyn Cannon had tied it up on his own lob dunk, off a beautiful pass from Jimmy Charnov.

That loss, that one right there...seemed to deflate them. They fell at home to Oregon State, then got swept by Arizona State. They weren't convincing as an opponent to Arizona or Stanford, and got blown out by Washington at home.

It wasn't until 119, when they beat Cal (on Senior Day), 87-71, that they got some sense of relief. The losses mounted up. The team seemed to mutiny, at first against the coaching staff, then against one another.They ranked dead last in the nation in oPPG, 355th in DRtg. They were simply a sieve, an open door to a bedroom in a Wild West saloon.

Now, UCLA was third nationally in SOS. The Pac-12 was legit this season. But nobody, certainly not UCLA, expected their soul to be crushed by midseason. They weren't a good defensive team last year (211th in oPPG), but they at least tried (67th in DRtg). Nobody had this combination of lack of defensive ability and effort. It was stunning, really.

Nobody is quite sure what to expect from the Bruins going forward. Certainly people have what they believe to be the blueprint on how to recover. But nobody has a timeline. This is a program that had won at least 19 games every season dating back to 2019. They've reached a national championship game. They've had three lottery picks, one top five pick.

This is...was...a relevant program.

Not now, though.

Time will tell if they get it back.
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Old 05-07-2020, 08:20 PM   #32
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The Quadaily 25, 2028 Season (Day 131): A Trip Around the Country in 80,000 Words

JBL | The Quadaily 25, 2028 Season (Day 131): A Trip Around the Country in 80,000 Words

Today's top story will assuredly not be Long Beach State.

Not when there's Cornell to discuss.

The Big Red, 11-17 a year ago, are dancing for the first time in school history after defeating Harvard, 81-78 epic to remember. Harvard led for 80% of the game, but by never more than eight (which came early in the first half). Cornell never led by more tha six. There were five lead changes.

The game was tied nine times.

Oh, and overtime, which Harvard forced on Christian Collins' three with :16 left.

Harvard came out of the overtime gate fast, getting a pair of Reggie Howard jumpers around a Cornell Stephen Ward layup, giving the Crimson a 75-73. Then came a combined seven consecutive missed shots and two turnovers, before Ward's shot at the rim tied things up with 1:40 left.

The tension at Lavietes Pavilion for the standing-room only crowd was palpable. You could see it as much as sense it from the crowd. Collins hit a layup falling away as he was fouled by Charlendez Blake, putting Harvard up by two. He missed the free throw, but after Broderick Dixon's turnover, Harvard had the ball, and twenty-seven seconds until they could a ladder and cut themselves down a net.

George Foye was fouled, making 1-2 from the line. Cornell brought the ball up, surpsigingly slowly. It would be seventeen seconds before they would get a shot, and honestly, they didn't really look to set one up right away. Perhaps they figured Harvard would be waiting for that. Perhaps they wanted the best shot possible, and one just didn't present itself.

With eight ticks left on the clock, one did.

Fixon got free on the wing. Eric Haid arranged his seventh assist.

The goat redeemed himself.

Tie game.

Harvard called timeout, and set up a perfect play. They got Ronnie Word free coming off two screens. He turned the corner, and

.......Tarkus Frayer was there. Somehow.

Frayer stole the ball with two seconds left. Time was called with 1.6.

Coaches will tell you they have all sorts of plays for this situation, where the ball sits in your backcourt, and you need to draw up a free shot with less than two seconds to go. The truth is, you can draw up anything you want. If the play is going to happen, it's still a bit of a miracle.

On this play, the goat became the legend.

Dixon came off a baseline screen. THe ball was thrown on a timing route of sorts, assuming that Dixon would be able to get free. If he didn't, the ball would come back to Harvard, no time taken off, with the ball deep in their own end.

Charlendez Blake, who played quarterback in high school, knows a thing or two about timing routes.

"As soon as I saw him start to get around the second screen, I was throwing to the spot," Blake would say after the game. It's a play they have worked on countless times, but had never used in a game.

At this stage of the game...on this particular stage...they broke it out.

Dixon was absolutely free, as Dazon Lewis tried to slip under the screen, but got stuck by Frayer. Dixon curled into the shot on the left wing. He shot it over Collins, a high-arcing shot with tight backspin.

The last shot that net will ever feel is the one that ended its days as simply a basketball net.

It is the one that began its new life as the immortal collection of twine that hangs in a trophy case around Cornell's first Ivy Group championship.

Dixon's six points in the final eight seconds--what turnover?--made him one of three Big Red players with 16 points. Ward and Haid followed along, the latter adding 10 rebounds. Frayer posted 15 points, 11 boards, four assists, four blocks, and two steals. He was named the Ivy Group Player of the Game.

The Crimson were led by Christian Collins' shaky 21 (on 23 shots), to go along with 11 rebounds. Foye added 13 points, seven boards, and ten assists. If Harvard had won this game, it would be Foye who would be today's star.

Today, that star is overshadowed by another shade of Red.

Cornell spent last night dancing.

They'll spend next week doing it, too.

---

Before we get to losses, let's talk about things we can learn today. By the end of today, we will learn...

-...who is taking the Atlantic Sun title, as Florida Gulf Coast and NJIT, both of whom started their seasons 2-8, will fight it out for the conference title. Their arrival to this point is not a surprise, despite the symmetry of their terrible OOC records. They were both considered the best teams in the conference before the season, and they did nothing to dissuade anyone from that thought. Nor, we should point out, did anyone in the conference do anything to dissaude that notion.

In this one, NJIT is more balanced (2nd in offense and defense), but Florida Gulf Coast's defense is one of the most efficient in the nation (15th nationally). They also hit enough threes, and go to the line enough (they led the conference in attempts, but were ninth in the conference in percentage), that they should be able to find enough ways to score.

This is a game of dynamics, as FGCU is led by SF Diamante Pierce and PG Danger Will Robinson, while the HIghlanders go through sophomore center Dameron DeWitt. Whoever gains the offensive strength high ground in this game--whoever is allowed to play at their highest level of comfort--will see their way to the title.

(That's not a fancy way of saying defense wins. It's simply a matter of who is able to dictate the offensive flow of the other team. Still not a way of saying defensive wins. Nope.)

...who from the Mountain West is likeliest to get a CJBL bid. We've said that we think two teams are getting bids from the MWC, that being the conference champ, and whoever else makes the final.

So, in our view, we get two play-in games today, when top-seeded UNLV plays Wyoming, and second-seed New Mexico gets SDSU. The seeding favors UNLV and New Mexico, but we also have to wonder if New Mexico has to win the whole thing to get in. It's strange to write, but we have a nagging feeling that even beating SDSU won't be enough for the lobos.

Nor could it be enough for Wyoming, who is 1-5 against the teams ahead of them. So, this might be an Us vs Them situation. UNLV and SDSU may have a clear advantage here. We sill don't believe any team is simply in yet. But for UNLV and SDSU, they may be punching their dance tickets with wins tonight.

For New Mexico and Wyoming, it really may be title or bust.

...who will take down the Big West. It's down to third-seed UC Santa Barbara (22-11), who took down UC Irvine 83-81, on Christian Muckle's three with :02 left, and UC Riverside (20-11), who took out the giant-slayers, Cal State Northridge, 67-61. If the Gauchos get in, it'll be their third trip to the CJBL, and first since 2024. For the Highlanders, it would be their first.

For the record, UCSB swept UCR this season, a pair of games that were not close.

Can they do it a third time? In the first two games, UC Riverside shot a combined 11-48 from three, which is actually right around where they shot all year. They did shot well below their season average of 41.1% from the field, though. So that could be a start.

....if Bryant is really the King of the Northeast (Conference). The top-seed Bulldogs (25-8) have had a rather interesting dichotomy of games with second-seeded St. Francis (NY) this year. The first game, at St. Francis, was won by the Terriers (20-11), 102-86. We believe that was the highest-scored game this season, whether by a single team or by two teams in a single game. Both halves were played at the same clip: 50-41 and 52-45 (both in favor of St. Francis).

In the return game, St. Francis only scored 55 for the game, as Bryant demolished them, 87-55. The key in that second game was Josh Heidegger, who posted 25 off the bench.

In this one, the scales will tip in Bryant's way, and we expect them to take the title. St. Francis averaged 69.4 ppg (168th, 4th in the conference), which is much, much closer to the 55 they posted than the 102. St. Francis does have the 14th-best defensive efficiency in the nation, but gave up a combined 173 points to Bryant, split nearly evenly across the two games.

The question for the Terriers is, can they catch lightning in a bottle again? Will lightning strike twice in the same bottle? Can they get lightning in the bottle, then strike it again? Can the lightning g...

...we think Bryant's going to win.

...can Murray State survive Cinderella? Austin Peay's magical run through the tournament has reached its final game. The Governors (14-17) have taken out three-seed Morehead State and, last night, beat second-seeded Tennessee-Martin, 71-62.

Tonight, they get the top-seed Racers, who swept them, but also only won their home game 75-72 against the Governors, in a game that was that close.

If the Governors are to pass their own CJBL advancement bill, the number 73 is important. Murray State won the two games, 75-72 and 80-70. If Austin Peay can hold Murray State under 73, we think they win. (For the record, AP's 73.3 ppg put them second in the conference.)

How likely is that? Well, Austin Peay was 349th in oPPG this season. So, not likely.

But it's still possible. So, you gotta like those odds.

...if that loss to Incarnate Word really did set Northwestern State straight. The Demons went 21-1 in the Southland this season, en route to a 27-6 season. They have a close loss to Illinois (which looks GREAT right now. They lost in a close one to North Carolina. They look like a supremely strong small conference team.

Yet, that loss to Incarnate Word, a team who didn't even qualify for the conference tournament (because they went 7-13 in conference, and 10-20 overall) might have saved their season.

Since that 74-68 loss, back on 101, the closest game the Demons have had has been seven points...those being in wins against Texas A&M-CC, and on the road in their only matchup with their opponent tonight, Stephen F. Austin (24-6).

Reports are that Northwestern State started to get a bit big for its britches after starting the conference season 14-0, and that loss to Incarnate Word (of all teams) helped set the Demons straight. A coach's perfect coachspeak is that they secretly wouldn't mind a loss late in the season, to get the team refocused if they are on a good run.

Well, Demon coach Demeane Nelson, you got your wish. By the way, he really got his wish when he got a 750k salary. How is Northwestern State able to afford a $750k coach???

No matter...NW State, with their 32nd-ranked offense (75.0 ppg), should be able to see off the second-seed Lumberjacks, who have a good defense (66.7 oPPG), and great efficency at getting in field goals and threes (tops in conference in FG and 3pt %). There are a lot to like about the Lumberjacks...especially if the Demons come out shooting badly. SFA is 13th in the nation in defensive rebounds. They just don't get their own misses terribly well, and don't go to the line. So if SFA can't shoot themselves, this is probably a wild west shootout with pop guns.

And it's one that still tilts the Demons' way.

...who rules South Dakota? Will it be South Dakota State, the top seed and favorite this evening in the Summit championship, or third-seeded South Dakota? The Jackrabbits (24-5) won the game at South Dakota 93-62, back on 68. The return match was another SDSU win, but it was only 79-78, after a tremendous late run by the Coyotes (12-15).

You read that right. South Dakota was 12-15, 9-7 in the conference. Only one other team has a record over .500, that being 15-11 North Dakota State.

Give us SDSU by 15.

...if Arkansas-Pine Bluff rules the SWAC. The Golden Lions (22-7) face Southern in the SWAC championship. This one is not as clear-cut. Southern (16-14) swept APB this season, including an 89-59 laugher at Southern on 92.

Since then, the Golden Lions have lost just once, an 80-76 game at Grambling (oof). They turend right around and beat the Tigers, 77-71, in the first round ot eh tournament, before taking out Mississippi Valley State in the semifinals.

Now, it's time for the Lions to slay the...Jaguars. There's no real easy way to write that. We don't really know what happened in those two games, neither of which were close, other than Southern shot the ball at a much higher clip than their 44.3% season average (which was still 2nd in the conference). They are quite capable of going off, as their 31st-best offense in the nation dictates. That was only bested by the Golden Lions, who averaged 76.0 ppg, good for 22nd in the nation.

Still, that's only a point apart. If the Golden Lions' 2nd-best-in-conference defense doesn't show up, it'll be three strikes. They're already at fool me twice.

...can Utah Valley cap off their greatest season? The Wolverines (21-8) had only one winning season in their last ten (16-12 two years ago). They were 12-16 a year ago. They now sit a win away from their first-ever trip to the CJBL.

Standing in their way is New Mexico State, a team they swept this year, including a 20-point win at NMSU.

The Wolverins are led by Jvonte Washburn, who posted 15.3/4.6/4.6 this season. The three-year starter has posted at least 15.0 every seaosn, and has nearly 1300 points for his career. His best game of the seaosn came in a 39-point effort on Day 96, 89-69 win over New Mexico State. He had 19-8-8 in the other game.

We feel like this is a runaway Utah Valley win, even if it's tough to beat a team three times. Washburn is the best player in the conference, and the steady influence that will see the Wolverines through. Call it Utah Valley by 12. May you dance all week lo...oh wait, it's Utah. May you nod and move along.

Okay, so Indiana and Kentucky lost. Now what?

The Hoosiers and Wildcats fell in their conference tournaments. The Hoosiers fell to Michigan, 85-81, while Kentucky lost to Texas A&M, 71-58. Does that bump them off the 1-lines?

Yes. Yes it does.

Look, there are too many contenders for the top spot for a team that doesn't win their conference to get top billing. In Kentucky's case, they had a chance at a 1-line even being an at-large, because Missouri. But now, that's not even possible.

Indiana losing is extremely painful for the Hoosiers, because their RPI+SOS is not elite. It's good, but it's 21st in the nation. So, despite our unwavering confidence in them all year (and we need remind you, we were the first ones on their bandwagon, and we will be the last ones off), they really needed that conference title to bolster that already sterling resume, because RPI+SOS does matter to the committee. They go by data, and the truth is, Illinois has a stronger resume than Indiana. That conference title mattered.

And now, it's gone.

They could be relegated to a three-seed. They may be the three in the Midwest, where Illinois may get top billing, which would be really interesting. It is more likely that MIssouri slides to the Midwest and owns that region, with Illinois being shipped out West (or East, if Colorado wins the Pac-12).

This really opens the door up for the Buffaloes to seize a top seed. If they can win the Pac-12 (or USC, perhaps), they could take a top line away from a North Carolina or Kansas. We aren't quite as sold on the Jayhawks as a top seed, even if they are the Big 12 champ (and that is likely). The conference is nowhere near as strong as the Pac-12, and Colorado, USC or Washington make more compelling cases as a top seed than the Jayhawks do.

North Carolina could make a case, but remember, the commitee will probably take conference champions on the top line with a field as muddled as this.

Kentucky is probably solidifed as a two-seed, though this is a befuddling loss, especially at this point of the year. A spot in the semifinals might have been enough to solidify a top seed, even as an at-large. That's how strong that resume was. Now, they are firmly a two, but no higher, in our eyes.

What about for Michigan and A&M? We had Michigan as one of the last teams in, and A&M as a play-in team. For Michigan, that solidifies their titcket. They probably are no higher than a 10-seed, unless they reach the conference final (they'll get the winner of Maryland-Purdue)...but they are in. We think that case is closed now.

For A&M...it might mean they get a bye at the expense of, say, Syracuse, who had a rather befuddling loss of their own, falling to Florida State. The Orange needed to win a game to really solidify their candidacy. Now, they have to hope against hope that nobody unsung comes up in the A-10, or Gonzaga wins the WCC, or Drexel wins the CAA. Because someone winning a conference unexpectedly at this point, especially at the expense of a likely champ who would be a likely at-large team, would doom Syracuse's chances of getting in.

Right now, we think they could be the last at-large aavaiable, epsically now thta the Big Ten is going to get seven teams firmly into the field.

An interesting question is what happens to Oregon State if they win tonight...but we'll wait to see if their magical run continues. For now, the Beavers (18-14, 9-11 regular season) are a great story and nothing more.

Tonight and tomorrow present, most likely, the most interestnig nights of the season, as far as bracketology is concerned. Here's hoping it lives up to that promise.
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Old 05-07-2020, 08:21 PM   #33
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The Quadaily 25, 2028 Season (Day 134): There Can Only Be One

JBL | The Quadaily 25, 2028 Season (Day 134): There Can Only Be One

There is simply too much to discuss today.

After yesterday's onvella, to be honest, we are a little gassed. We're a small mom-and-pop operation, after all.

But, we trudge on.

Our leading story comes in the Atlantic Sun, where NJIT and Florida Gulf Coast went down to the wire in the A-Sun championship.

Like the Ivy Group yesterday, one person was responsible for the play that almost lost his team a championship, and the play that, in fact, won them the title.

Please say hello to NJIT freshman point guard, Jordan Snyder.

Snyder, a generously 5'10 kid from Maspeth, New York, had a decent, but largely unassuming freshman year for the Highlanders. He finished third on the team in scoring, at 9.7 ppg. He did that on 40.7% shooting. His 3.2 assists led the team, and ranked at about 25% of his team's 16.4 assists per game. When you're 288th in assists in the nation, 3.2 is about the number you would expect to lead your team.

Jordan Snyder made his biggest assist ever last night.

But first, he nearly assisted Florida Gulf Coast to overtime.

First, let's step back to the final minute of this game. With 1:01 left, this game, a sloppy but impassioned final between two sloppy but imapssioned teams, was tied, 58-58. That means that 18 of the game's 134 points were scored in the final sixty seconds.

That is impressive in itself.

Florida Gulf Coast twice saw itself down four. The first time, they got halfway there, as Diamante Pierce's jumper, the final of his twenty points, cut a four-point advantage in half. But the Highlanders did something they failed to do all night.

They hit their free throws.

The Highlanders, going into this fateful final feature, were 10-21 from the line. Publications that cover the A-Sun were already lining up to point at that as the reason they would lose the title, rather than Florida Gulf Coast winning it.

NJIT went 6-for-6 in from the stripe in the final sixty seconds.

Clearly, they rose above the pressure.

Except for Jordan Snyder's nearly fatal mistake.

With :23 left, Florida Gulf Coast called time, down 66-62. They drew up a play for Pierce, with Danger Will Robinson as the safety. The plan was for Pierce to attack the basket quickly, and for the team to trap immediatey.

Only, NJIT was ready for that, throwing a third man into the lane as Pierce began to go down the lane. He found Robinson on the opposite wing, and passed it. Robinson bobbled for a second, but he was never in doubt.

He was chucking it.

Snyder, however, wasn't sure. Robinson was 0-2 on his threes thus far, and hadn't looked for his outside shot. So, he raced over to cut him off, preparing to cut in front of a drive.

Except he forgot to put the brakes on.

And Robinon went up, not in.

And Snyder clipped his hip as Robinson had just let go, the shot pure toward its destination. Robinson sprawled to the floor, Snyder following.

Twenty-three feet away, the ball followed suit, having gone down.

Snyder hit the floor in frustration. Robinson, slow to get up, went to the line and did what champions do.

Net. Nothing but. Tie game.

Now it was NJIT's turn to call time out. Their plan, as everyone in the building knew, was to get Malik Leech the ball. He didn't have an especially good shooting night, having gone 7-16 (5-11 3), but everyone knew where the ball was heading.

"Keep your hands up," Snyder told Kameron DeWitt as the team took back to the court. Brady Starkey heard them; the Highlander forward had an idea of his own.

The play, as it was set up, was for Snyder to hold until there was six left, then come to the right wing, where he would hand it off to Leech, who could curl around to the elbow (or nearest available space) for a shot. It would use up the clock, and not give FGCU a shot. It is a fairly cliche play, but cliches are that for a reason.

They typically ring true.

So Snyder waited until there was six on the clock. Leech had a brief issue getting free from his man. No hold as called, but the clock ticked down.

It was then that Starkey made his own play.

He set a back-screen for DeWitt, who was stationed at the opposite elbow. Snyder saw Starkey move, and knows Starkey never moves without a purpose. So, he let his eyes follow his path. He looked ahead, and saw DeWitt, about to be sprung free.

At this time, Leech was nearing himself ready to receive the handoff. He was positioning his hands, ready to round into form. But Snyder wasn't looking at him. Leech looked inside, noticing the same thing Snyder noticed. But he still had a job to do.

He sold it well.

So did Starkey, whose screen did exactly as he intended. Snyder waied as DeWitt cut across the lane. Snyder anticipated the cut, and delivered a perfect, gentle feed.

DeWitt dunked it.

NJIT had the lead once more.

Robinson had a chance for a tie, but he lost the ball, the final of his six turnovers.

The Hightanders, once ruler of the Atlantic Sun (three straight trips before last season's getting crushed by FGCU in last year's final, which was also NJIT legend Daniel Brunson's final game ) are rulers of the Atlantic Sun once more.

Of course, in these small conferences, there can only be one.

This year, once again, it is the Highlander.

The At Large World Roots for Gonzaga , Memphis: Interestingly enough, there are but just two...maybe three, if you're really into Drexel...at-large bids that oculd get snatched up by teams who otherwise wouldn't make the tournament (or just one, if you're a true Cincinnati truther).

Fans of any bubble team are feverent Gonzaga and Memphis rooters right now.

Pepperdine (19-12), a team never spoken of as a true tournament contender, could find themselves in the thing if they take down the Zags (27-4) tonight. Of course, Gonzaga's entry into the CJBL Tournament is already factored. They're in no matter what.

For Pepperdine, though, it's win or JIT. That's the consensus. Even Saint Mary's, who fell to the Waves in the WCC semifinals, are safely in the tournament (we think so, at least).

Pepperdine fits neatly into that Virginia mold of teams who are offensively efficient but don't score, and defensively inefficient but aren't scored upon. There are only so many possessions a game against Pepperdine, whose pace rates them 318th in the nation. It's a neighborhood they reside in proudly--they were 317th in pace last year.

And, truth be told, Pepperdine has forced Gonzaga to play out of its comfort zome this year. While the Zags swept the Waves this season, the two games were decided by five points. The game at Pepperdine was 61-60.

This is no sure bet.

For star forward Tanner Thorpe (17.8 ppg, 6.1 rpg) and the rest of the Waves, this isn't some Cinderella run. They feel they belong.

They are likely the only ones. The rest of the world watches on like the angry stepsisters, ready for the ball to go on without them.

The same can be said about Cincinnati, which is interesting. The Memphis Tigers and Cincinnati Bearcats are essnetially the same narrative as the Atlantic Sun, where two teams who started off the season poorly ran roughshod over a terrible conference--and the AAC was emphatically terrible this year--to get back on their feet.

Memphis, a team with national championship talent that got off to a slow start, is seemingly clear for the tournament either way. Why that is, we are not quite sure. Their best OOC win is either Saint Mary's or Creighton. (They crushed Pepperdine, 74-56.) They also swept these Bearcats., only suffering a single conference loss at SMU (how?).

Yet, they seem to be safe.

That cannot be said about Cincinnati, and it's because of their conference. The only win worth talking about with Cincinnati this year is the one over an Ohio State team that seemed to go on holiday for a couple of weeks around that game. They have no other wins they'd even try to sell the committee about (well, they'd try, but...you know the kid in class who has to show you everything they've done, so that the teacher doesn't ask them what they didn't do? Those kids annoy teachers.)

So the bubble world waits with baited breath, to see if two (or one, or three) bids get snatched out of their cold, mediocre hands. For Pepperdine, it's a trip of a lifetime. For Cincinnati, it's a slow realization of one last gasp at the crown in a season that didn't go as expected, despite the record.

That's March, baby.

Does Nobody Want a Top Seed?: Colorado lost to USC yesterday, meaning a third team in line for a top seed (Indiana, Kentucky) lost en route to claiming one. Does nobody want these things? There's only four of them, after all.

If this were the case, expect Georgetown to beat UConn, Ohio State to take down Illinois, NC State to throttle Duke, Virginia and North Carolina to play to a double countout, and Missouri get taken out by LSU, with help from Kentucky, who came in with a chair when the refs weren't looking.

If we had to guess, we'd probably have Duke, Missouri, Illinois, and Connecticut on the one line for now, with Kansas, North Carolina, and the winner of the Pac-12 waiting in the wings.

That's all we're going to say about that now, though we will add... USC looked the part in taking down Colorado. We said in the preseason that we thought USC could win the title, and found them to be one of the favorites. (We ranked them #2 in our preseason poll, for the record. Snack on that.) We'd have no qualms with them on the top line if they win the Pac-12. We would put them over UConn at this point. We wouldn't put them over any of the other teams, but if one of them loses, and USC were to win, we'd have no issues with them as a top seed.

We predict titles!: Since it's kind of warm and we want to get outside for a walk, we'll close with some predictions. We're really good at those.

A-10 Semifinals; UMass over St. Joe's, Dayton over Richmond. We thought UMass would win the conference before the season began. We figure at least three of these teams are in...so perhaps the bubble world should be rooting for St. Joe's tonight.

AAC: Memphis 73, Cincinnati 72. Cincinnati has gotten so frustrated when Memphis escaped Tulane and Houston (which they did. Wait for this one, when Memphis hits a fall-away jumper from 18 feet at the buzzer to win it, completing a comeback from ten down in the final 90 seconds.

ACC: Duke over NC State, UNC over Virginia. Chalk is fun, because chalk gives us Duke/UNC. We'd rather have Duke-Virginia, as we feel like that's the money machup this year. But we wouldn't complain about this one, either.

Big XII: Kansas crushes Iowa State, paying them back for the loss to the Cyclones down the stretch. We'll say 86-70.

Big East: Georgetown over Connecticut. The Hoyas solved the Huskies a couple of weeks ago. As good as the UConn post is, Spencer Irving is better than any of them. Georgetown is a true darkhorse for the national title. They'll make believers by winning the Big East, denying UConn a top seed.

Big Sky: Idaho over Weber State. We believe in the Spuds.

Big South: Gardner-Webb over UNC-Asheville. This has the possiblity of being an epic as well. Call it Webb 76, Asheville 75.

Big Ten: Michigan over Maryland, Illinois over Ohio State. Michigan's finding their groove and continues their march. They're safely in now (quite possibly at the expense of Iowa). The Fighting Illini are now playing for a top seed. They'll play like it against the Buckeyes, who have been hot.

Colonial Athletic Association: Drexel over Northeastern. Drexel has been stellar all year. They'll complete the process here. We do wonder if they're at-large worthy if they lose. That will be an interesting conversation.

Conference USA: Charlotte over Southern Miss. A team that goes 21-1 in the conference...we have a hard time picking against them here.

Horizon: Illinois-Chicago over Milwaukee. A team that goes 19-1 in the conference...we have a hard time picking against them here.

Metro: Iona over Fairfield. The Stags went 20-2 in the conference. That simply leaves their ripe for upset. Iona dethrones the champs.

MAC: Kent State over Buffalo. Could and should be a really good game, but we like the top seed.

MEAC: Savannah State over Norfolk State. Both semifinals were one-point games. Think tonight might be close?

MVC: Loyola-Chicago over Illinois State. If we were able to get to one title game, this one would be it. Both teams are wildly entertaining. We could see this going to triple overtime. Easily the most underrated title game here. Call it Loyola-Chicago 92, Illinois State 90.

Mountain West: UNLV over SDSU. Then the UNLV fan base can start clamoring that they deserve a four-seed.

Pac-12: USC over Washington. We took USC to start the season, we won't back down now.

Patriot: Bucknell over Lafayette. The Bison have battled so much this year...why not tame some lions?

SEC: MIssouri over LSU, Florida over Texas A&M. A&M presents an interesting case (we had them as an at-large). We didn't even have LSU in the thing...after beating Arkansas, are they deserving? If they win tonight, they have to be in for sure...right? (Perhaps bubble world should be massive Mizzou and Florida fans.)

Southern: VMI over Western Carolina. We don't know anything about either team. So, we like our pick.

Southland: Northwestern State avenges their loss to Incarnate Word by thrashing Stephen F. Austin by 20. Coaches love good losses.

Sun Belt; Texas State over South Alabama. This is one nobody expects to be a close game, so expect a close game. Texas State by 3.

WCC: Gonzaga over Pepperdine. Expect it to be hard-fought and for the Zags to overcome a potentially big deficit with about five minutes to go, before controlling it the rest of the way for the win. Zags by 7.
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Old 05-07-2020, 08:22 PM   #34
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The Quadaily 25, 2028 Season: YOUR CJBL Tournament Spectacular

JBL | The Quadaily 25, 2028 Season: YOUR CJBL Tournament Spectacular

Friends, readers, CJBL fans...

...the time has come.

It's touranment time.

We here at The Quad have been accumulating information all year just to get to this point. See, we plan to provide the perfect bracket for all of you.* We plan to be flawless in our selection and analysis.* And above all, we plan to be 100% correct.*

*These are all plans, and do not, in any way, shape or form, are not a binding agreement of perfection.

This might be our favorite column to write, for you see, this is our complete prediction piece. We will go through the entire tournament, and give you our take on what will happen. (As the tournament gets started, we'll give our record, and predict the tournament in real-time. So, really, you're getting double the predctions.)

We have 67 games to predict (with scores), so we won't beat waste anymore time.

First Four

Northwestern State 91, Illinois State 88: This is the best First Four game, and could go to overtime.

Syracuse 76, Bucknell 74. Bucknell has relied on its depth to get here. Syracuse simply has too much talent.

Cornell 72, NJIT 64. The Nerd Bowl sees the Dorks move on. Tarkus Frayer and Kam DeWitt make for a good battle.

Savannah State 71, VMI 69. Expect Zach Koch to go off for a big number...at least 25. But it'll be Chuck McKie who plays the hero late.

First Round

East Region

1) UConn 73, 16) Arkansas Pine-Bluff 53. UConn's defense is legit, and, of course, they have the combination of Jack Dawkins and Corban Vance.

9) Michigan 77, 8) Memphis 74. We like Chris Knight's surrounding cast more than DeShaun Irwin. The Wolverines are also peaking right now. We love how well they're playing.

12) UMass 66, 5) Drexel 64. The legend of Eddie Maye continues here...his fadeaway with less than two seconds left sends the Minutemen to the next round.

4) NC State 71, 13) Illinois-Chicago 60. We aren't the biggest NC State fans here. We feel like they could take the upset here. But they have the offense, and the best player on the floor in Justin Noel. They'll get through here.

3) Kentucky 74, 14) Bryant 69. As much as we want to believe in Roydell Self and the Bulldogs, they don't have an answer for Sam Meeking. Expect a big game out of the big name prospect, and the Wildcats get by.

6) Iowa State 69, 11) Syracuse 61. The Cylones are one of the best free-throw shooting teams in the nation, which is how they are able to pull through so many close games. Syracuse's inconsistency on offense should be the main culprit here, though.

7) Arizona 84, 10) Cincinnati 80. We really considered taking Isiah Gentry and the Bearcats here. In the end, we feel like the Bearcats' metrics are too inflated by a lack of competition in the AAC. The Wildcats are battle-tested, and, oh, right, Jeremy Sawvell.

2) Illinois 83, 15) Hartford 61. The Fighting Illini have way too much for the Hawks. Denzell Sparks and company should get out to a big lead, and roll to the easy win.

8) Michigan 69, 1) Connecticut 67. The Huskies' issue has been what happens if Jack Dawkins gets in foul trouble. If the Huskies have to rely on Alex Attia and Mikyle Simms to get the win, the Huskies are in trouble. The first top seed goes down here.

4) NC State 73, 12) UMass 66. The Wolfpack have enough offense to see themselves past UMass, though we are tempted to take the Minutemen into the Sweet SIxteen.

6) Iowa State 73, 3) Kentucky 62. This is a suprisingly easy win for the Cyclones, but truth be told, Kentucky hasn't looked that great down the stretch. We think they can and will be exposed by the Cyclones, who are peaking at the right time.

2) Illinois 89, 7) Arizona 87. This might be the best game of the second round. We like the Illini to get the win on the strength of the other Denzell, that being Medlock. The shooting guard, who has been up and down all year (38.7% from the field, 32.7% from 3) has a hot second half, leading Illinois to come back after a hot Arizona first half.

8) Michigan 78, 4) NC State 70. We just have a hunch. Call it that.

2) Illinois 79, 6) Iowa State 73. Niels Martin, an overlooked cog in the shadow of Denzell Sparks, is quite capable of standing out on his own. He'll do that here, going for 24 and leading Illinois past Jaylin Delzell, Eric Canty and a spirited Cyclones' squad.

2) Illinois 67, 8) Michigan 64. The dream ride for Michigan ends here. The FIghtin' Illini is able to suffocate Chris Knight and Porter Sealy. Needing a big game out of Devon Edmead, they get only 11 on 4-13 shooting.

West Region

1) Missouri 83, 16) Cornell 64. The Tigers have Brandon Dampier. Come on.

8) Purdue 82, 9) St. John's 79. The Boilermakers are 2nd in the nation in scoring, and sixth in efficiency. They are seventh in eFG%. They're also 352nd in the nation in oPPG and 348th in DRtg. St. John's is not an offensive team, though Lewis Rabey, Brody Alexander and company will very likely look like it in this one. The problem for the Johnnies is...well, they aren't really a defensive team, either. The inability to stop Purdue here, at least consistently, should be what sees Purdue on to the next round.

12) Lafayette 83, 5) Gonzaga 82. The Leopards are another solidly offensive team, one that did so in a tougher conference than you think. Kadeem Springer is a legit player on the wing, and he should give Gonzaga a major headache. Add in PG Craig Hamilton's abilities, and we have a real fun upset here.

3) Kansas 93, 14) Utah Valley 64. Sorry, Wolverines...Kansas has a death lineup, and we expect to see them employ it to their fullest death here. The best season in school history should not be sullied here, though. Jvonte Washburn and his teammates have a lot to be proud of.

6) Ohio State 65, 11) Creighton 63. The closeness in these two teams was pointed out and discussed on the 40ish Minutes of Hell tornament spectacular. Brett Yan is the only Bluejay who averages double figures a game, but the Bluejays get contributions from many players. Ohio State has a decided Big Three; if Creighton is able to neutralize Pat Cuadra, Dwayne Harrington and Gilbert Hart, they'll win. We think they can get one of them, but not the other two.

7) San Diego State 71, 10) PIttsburgh 69. Pitt's unexpected campaign leads to this unexpected game. The Aztecs' Isaac Capps will be tough competition for Drew Shepard, who was at one point a candidate for National POTY. Bo Dorn and Jonathan Garnett are fantastic supporting players for Pitt, but Jonathan Severado and Amadi Adekoya are too inconsistent. Armani Boozer, Darraja Mallers, Marquis Van Leer and the Aztecs move on.

2) Washington 73, 15) UC Santa Barbara 61. While the Huskies lost Daryl Mills, they still have JOsh Hardy, Matteo Devacchi, and Garrison Patten to soften the blow. Against UCSB, that will be plenty.

1) Missouri 94, 8) Purdue 91. This may be the most offensive game of the tournament. Dampier could go for 50. We feel like Purdue can hang with Mizzou, but their inability to get a stop when it matters, or a rebound against the nation's top rebounder, will doom the Boilermakers.

12) Lafayette 73, 4) Utah 71. We originally had this as 71-69 Utah. But we think Lafayette can play at a pace faster than Utah would like. With their offensive efficiency and shooting ability, they pose some real problems for Utah. Too much, obviously, by the looks of this prediction.

3) Kansas 89, 6) Ohio State 88. Another classic, in which Adam Fingelton's layup with under a second to go erases an expected upset just two seconds prior, after Patric Cuadra's three gives OSU a one-point advantage. In their celebration, that split second they take to realize that a timeout isn't called is all Kansas needs for Ashton Carr to throw a deep pass to Fingelton, who kisses it off the glass as time expires.

7) San Diego State 88, 2) Washington 81. Washington does have players to cover for Daryl Mills, but nobody to adequately replace him. With him out against a more capable opponent, Washington will be stretched thin throughout the game. SDSU gets 20 from Van Leer and moves on.

1) MIssouri 88, 12) Lafayette 77. Lafayette has a great run, but Missouri is a different beast altogether.

3) Kansas 89, 7) San Diego State 80. Kansas fires on all cylinders in this one. They do have the best single lineup in the country. Expect it to get maximum run here.

1) Missouri 80, 3) Kansas 79. These two teams faced each other on Day 11, with Missouri getting a statement-making 82-73 win. Dampier had 19 on 7-9 shooting, helping Missouri overcome a poor shooting day by Trey Blakeney (0-6), Derek Gibson (2-6) and Joe Morton (3-8). Expect the Jayhawks to try to shut down Dampier, but expect the others to have better games. This is a game that could be for the ages, and one we like Missouri taking by the slightest of margins.

Midwest Region

1) Virginia 73, 16) Idaho 58. Idaho is a team that plays like Virginia...slows you way down (348th in pace), and tries to choke the game out of you. The issue here is, they don't have the offensive efficiency to do that with Virginia.

8) Arkansas 77, 9) Saint Mary's 73. The rising star of Lorenzen Dyer will be on full display here. This could be his coming out party. But we'll wait one more round for that.

5) Stanford 79, 12) Loyola-Chicago 75. This may be closer than expected for the defending champs, as the Ramblers just can't be put away. The Cardinal get just enough from Dakota Leonard and Leon Taylor has 15 off the bench, as Stanford gets the late win.

4) Maryland 81, 13) South Dakota State 62. This is a mismach for Mason Hargrove and company.

3) Colorado 76, 14) Stephen F Austin 55. The defensive ability of the Buffaloes is better than anyone SFA has faced this year. It will show here.

10) Michigan State 66, 7) Dayton 65. We feel like it's going to be one of those games where Michigan State has no business being in the game, but they do just enough to get the win. Dayton is an efficient plodder on offense, but if Michigan State neutralizes Eric Stephens, they have a problem on offense. Kouat Jackson and Jontray Polanco are not consistent enough to be counted on, even if Jackson hit the three that won the A-10 title. Lightning does not strike twice for the Flyers.

2) North Carolina 91, 15) Buffalo 71. The Tar Heels have too much offensive firepower for the Bulls. Despite the offensive efficiency of Buffalo (33rd nationally), UNC simply has too much talent.

8) Arkansas 75, 1) Virginia 73. Lorenzen Dyer's coming out party is right here. Dyer, and Jamaal Bolden, take out the Cavaliers, who get a spirited effort from Tony Eyles (23 points) in falling just short.

4) Maryland 77, 5) Stanford 72. The champs get dethroned by a Maryland team that was seeded too low.

3) Colorado 71, 6) UNLV 60. The Runnin' Rebels run into a buzzsaw that is Colorado's defense, and after a hot start, muster just 19 second half points.

2) North Carolina 91, 10) Michigan State 88. Sparty has a way of rising to the occasion in these games, but we're going to side with the Tar Heels here. Expect this to be Dan Hargrove's best game as a Tar Heel.

4) Maryland 78, 8) Arkansas 70. Maryland gets a bigger effort from their 1-2 of Hargrove and Sam McArdle, who score 48 between them in distancing themselves away from the Razorbacks over the back end of the seocnd half.

3) Colorado 68, 2) North Carolina 64. We feel like Colorado, quite comfortable in these slow-it-down slugfests, will be able to dictate the pace against North Carolina, who struggles in such games. As a result, give us the Buffaloes.

4) Maryland 71, 3) Colorado 69. The Big Ten champs roll on to the Final Four between Hargrove, whose draft stock may never be higher after this game. His shot in traffic with 1.5 seconds left breaks a tie and Colorado's hearts. This could be the most pressure-packed game of the Elite Eight.

South Region

1) Duke 88, 16) Savannah State 61. Too much Blue Devils in this one.

9) Iowa 71, 8) St. Joseph's 68. Free throws. Iowa takes more than anyone in the country, and makes more than all but one team. They also rebound well on the defensive end. Those two things matter huge in a tight game late. Iowa will be able to close out the Fightin Jesuits.

5) Georgetown 64, 12) Fairfield 56. This feels like a proper result. Fairfield hasn't played a team as good as Georgetown this year; their team stats are a bit off because of the time Spencer Irving missed.

4) Florida 79, 13) Murray State 69. The Racers keep it close until about eight minutes left, when Florida does the thing that Florida has inexplicably done all year...win games late.

3) Indiana 79, 14) Charlotte 66. The nation's best defensive team gives it to Charlotte.

6) Kansas State 73, 11) Richmond 61. The Wildcats are underrated on defense (40th nationally in DRtg). They are able to dictate pace, forcing Richmond to play back on their heels. Their team-win mentality gets the job done here; seven players score at least eight points.

7) Villanova 67, 10) LSU 60. The kids play well for Villanova, getting valuable experience in the tournament.

2) USC 91, 15) Gardner-Webb 65. The Trojans are focused and ready for a long run in this thing.

1) Duke 72, 9) Iowa 63. Duke is second in the nation in defensive efficiency. It's their discipline in contending shots (9th nationally) that will see them through this one. Iowa cannot go long stretches of not scoring and compete.

5) Georgetown 63, 4) Florida 60. Spencer Irving's national breakout (22 points, 14 rebounds, 6 blocks) leads the Hoyas to the mildest of upsets (in our eyes, no upset whatsoever) of the Gators.

3) Indiana 74, 6) Kansas State 67. This game will be closer than it looks. The Wildcats are much better than anyone gives them credit for. But Indiana, behind Derrick Bynum and Kevon Capel, get by them by hitting free 9-9 throws in the final two minutes.

2) USC 81, 7) Villanova 75. The kids get a really valuable lesson in how to close out opponents in the tournament, as they blow a nine-point lead with six minutes to go against the Trojans. Villanova is going to be really, really good next year. This is USC's day.

1) Duke 58, 5) Georgetown 56. This is slow, methodical, drag it out. Duke gets two big buckets by Nate Dorsey in the final minute, and a pair of free throws by Travis Pickford with six seconds left, to hold off a late Hoya charge.

3) Indiana 77, 2) Southern Cal 75. This would be our favorite, and most second-most frustrating, game of the tournament. The Trojans were ranked second in our preseason ranking, the Hoosiers third. (We didn't the stones to rank Indiana #1.) This might be Kevon Capel's time in the spotlight. The freshman defensive wizard shuts down Jordan Loose, holding him to 11 points on 3-16 shooting. It's Capel's hounding of Loose on the final possession that causes a turnover, giving Indiana the game.

3) Indiana 61, 1) Duke 59. This is the most frustrating game of the tournament to us, as this would have been our preseason national championship game. These two teams were the only ones to spend any time atop our Quad 25. As it is, it comes here. The two best defensive teams in the nation have an instant classic. With five seconds left, THE Daniel Matic hits a twisting, falling away floater in the paint, then proceeds to steal the inbounds pass, as Duke tried to push it up the floor quickly. Indiana wins the game and the region.

National Semifinals

Missouri 86, Illinois 84: In a battle of tremendous freshman power forwards, Brandon Dampier will get the better of it against Denzel Sparks. But it will be Joseph Morton, he of never-mentioning, who has the banner day. With 19 points and a 6-6 mark from the line in the final minute, Morton preserves the Tigers' lead, and eventual victory.

Indiana 74, Maryland 73. These two teams faced off at Indiana on Day 124; the result, the only result these two teams have had this year, was a 90-88 classic. It may have been the Game of the Year. The eFG% for the two teams:

Indiana: 63.6%
Maryland: 63.5%

Bynum's 26, and Demonte Lindsey's 20 (9-14 FG) held off Maryland, who was led by Taurean Fischer's 20, Hargrove's 19, and McArdle's 17. Who will be the star here? We look a Bynum and Capel again to take center stage and lead Indiana to the win.

The Quad 2028 National Championship Game

Indiana 87, Missouri 85

Indiana will be tested in this game, no doubt. But they've proven they can win high-scoring games all year. We won't stray from our preseason pick, especially when the preseason pick spent 2/3 of the season atop our poll, and only fell off because of two late losses. This is the best team in the nation in our view. Brandon Dampier is, far and away, the best player in the nation. We expect him to show it in this one, perhaps to the tune of 44-17-5. But, basketball being a team sport, we think the perimeter defense of Indiana will force the rest of the Tigers to falter when the game is on the line.
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Old 05-07-2020, 08:23 PM   #35
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The Quadaily 25, 2028 Season (Day 141): Pitt, UCSB and UMass...The (Only) Three Doubl

JBL | The Quadaily 25, 2028 Season (Day 141): Pitt, UCSB and UMass...The (Only) Three Double-Digiteers!

This was, quite possibly, the chalkiest day in CJBL Tournament history.

After the first round, only three double-digit seeds remain in the whole thing: Not a single one is surprising (we picked one of the three, though we went against our gut for the second). But the way one of them happened was quite shocking.

Pittsburgh (10th seed, West) beat San Diego State, 71-69, coming back from a 65-58 deficit with fifty seconds left. This was crazy for a couple of reasons. First, the deficit and time, of course.

The bigger reason it was a crazy comeback is that SDSU didn't roll over.

Darraaja Mallers made one of two free throws with fifty seconds left, pushing the Aztech lead to seven. Jonathan Severado followed with a three, cutting the deficit to four. Pitt fouled immediately, sending Armani Boozer to the line. Boozer made both, stretching the lead back out to six.

Drew Shepartd hit a jumper four seconds later; he then fouled Nazeer Jones, who missed the front end of a one-and-one. Shepard got the rebound, came down the court, pulled up on Isaac Capps, and drilled a three from the right wing.

For Shepard, who finished with a game-high 24 points, it was the first three he made ALL SEASON. He took just four attempts the entire year. This was his first attempt from beyond the arc since Day 68, when he took one against Louisville.

His fourth attempt all year. First make. That's crazy.

Just wait. It somehow gets even crazier.

After that stunning shot, which sent the crowd into a tizzy, Mallers was fouled. He managed to make both free throws. Once again, SDSU had breathing room, though now it was only three points. Pitt called time, and set up their play, a curl to the left wing. Severado caught it and fired, draining it to tie the game.

Well, that is...presumably tie the game.

San Diego State called time, and the refs reviewed the shot. SDSU coaches were adamant Severado was on the line when he went up. Replays appeared to confirm that Severado did, in fact, have a smidgen of his right show on the line when he went up.

But the refs said that angle was not 100% conclusive.

The shot stood. (Seriously, look at the shot chart from this game. Look at Severado's shot with :15 left.)

No matter, though. San Diego State had the ball. And they hadn't wilted under pressure during this comeback. They hit their free throws. They were still in control of things. They also had the hot hand of Mallers and backup point guard Nazeer Jones. The two came off the bench to combine for 10-13 shooting. Mallers finished with a game-high 17. Jones finished with 16.

The entire SDSU starting lineup, meanwhile, had 24 points.

On the final play, the ball was in Jones' hands. The junior point guard was already having the best day of his career, having scored a career-high 16 going into this final possession. And now, the game was called for him to win.

With five seconds left, he began to drive left, crossed to his right. He made contact with Pitt point guard Amadi Akekoya as he stepped back to gain space.

The whisle blew.

Jones pushed off. Offensive foul.

Two seconds left.

In the defense of the ref, it was a clear push-off. Most refs swallow the whistle there. But Jones extended the arm, which is an automatic call by even middle school refs.

Now it was PIt's turn to call time and set up their play; admist all the chaos of the controversial three and now a controversially correct foul, Pitt had to feel like the basketball gods were with them.

So, they drew this play up.

Shepard stationed himself on the opposite low block. As Severado started the play, Shepard spun to the ball-side block, demanding the ball. He didn't get it, so he moved to the corner.

Meanwhile, Adekoya set a backscreen for Jonathan Garnett. That meant Nazeer Jones had to switch to a power forward moving downhill. And leaping, because Severado faked to the corner, making Issac Capps, guarding the inbounder, to drive that way...freeing up a passing lane for an easy lob to Garnett.

There was no biking the bunny. Garnett dunked it home with a 1.4 on the clock. It was a beautiful, brilliant play call.

San Diego State called time. They had an opportunity. Inbounding the ball at mid-court, they called for Issac Capps to flash off a screen to the elbow. That was successful.

What wasn't successful is Capps tripping as he caught the ball. He was called for an inconsequential travel.

Ballgame. The most inexplicable ballgame.

Pitt won in arguably the wildest final minute finish of the season. It took the only three of Drew Shepard's season, a very controversial three by Jonathan Severado, an offensive foul by a reserve guard having the greatest game of his career, and a brilliant decoy...and a travel upon a catch-and-release, tow in the game.

The Aztecs finish the season 30-5; while critics of their OOC schedule say this validates a lower seeding, the season should be considered a success for the Aztecs, and the MWC in general.

Pitt (24-10) will now face 15th-seeded UC Santa Barbara in the second round. The Gauchos took down second-seeded Wahington, 86-75, behind a balanced effort from their starting five. All five players scored in double figures, led by Eddie Knowles' 16. The top player for UC Santa Barbara (24-11) was postman Leighton Legans, who posted 13 points, five boards, and four assists, along with a block. He did this on 5-7 shooting.

It seemed like UCSB shot their shot in the first half, leading by 11 throughout the half. But Washington came back to lead by four at the break, and it seemed like normalcy had returned.

But Washington went cold in the second half, and UCSB took advantage, going on a 16-5 run to lead, 72-61, with 6:14 to go. Washington then went on their own run, getting as close as 3 (78-75) with 1:46 to play.

They would not score again.

The Huskies got hit by the severe injury bug at the wrong time, as they lost leading scorer Daryl Mills (16.4 ppg) in the Pac-12 championship. Mills tried to replace him with Mike Theme-Love, who played admirably, going 7-15 from the field (4-9 from 3), and finishing with 20 points..well above his season average of 4.1.

Truth be told...in this game, UCSB was simply better.

You could point to Washington's defense, which allowed 15 points more than their season average (while scoring just two less than their yearly mark) for the loss. And you could say, well, Theme-Love isn't the defender that Mills is. That is true; Theme-Love is much, much better on defense than Mills, at least by DRtg. Theme-Love rated as the team's second-best defender out of the starters on this day, and their second-best offensive player.

UCSB's ORtg as a team was 126.5. None of the Washington starters reached that mark.

In short, it simply wasn't a good deay for the Huskies, who end their season at 27-8.

The other double-digit seed to reach the second round is UMass, who took down Drexel, 69-66. The Minutemen (23-9) were our pick, something we remained steadfast in throughout all bracket analysis. We felt UMass was seeded too low (the last at-large bye team), while we felt Drexel was ranked a few slots too high.

Make no mistake, the Dragons (28-5) had a fabulous season. But the ninth-best conference in the nation with a team who ravaged it...deserving of a five? We felt they were more on the seven line (which isn't an excuse for not being a 12...UMass not being a 12 is).

The Minutemen shredded the Dragon defense, which ranked 7th in oPPG and 15th in DRtg. They shot 45% from the field, and 45% from three (9-20). They also got to the line 32 times, which is how you absolutely destroy a defense's morale. In reality, this game stopped being a game with 5:48 left, with UMass up 32-26.

Drexel would get no closer than that.

Brandon Saglam led the way with 16 points, on 4-7 shooting (all from 3), while Twice-A-Day Eddie Maye had 15, on 6-10 shooting (3-5 three).

Drexel was led by Chase Ervin, the underoversized center (6'6, 244), who went just 4-7 from the field, but 7-9 from the line, to finish with 15. The rest of the starters had 22.

If Drexel can point to a reason for their loss, it would be their 3-point shooting. They were just 2-20 from deep in this one, and their continued reliance on it, especially as the game widened in differences of score, meant they went long stretches without consistent scoring. They shot just 25 shots inside the arc.

Overall, our bracket was fine (we rank 27th in the tournament challenge thus far). We went 25-7 in the first round, four off the leader (three teams). Ironically, we missed both Pitt and UCSB. We also lost out big on Lafayette, who we had going to the Sweet Sixteen. We also lost Arkansas, who we had busting Virginia and getting to the Sweet 16.

Our other losses were Purdue, Arkansas, Michigan State, and Iowa.

Sweet Sixteen Teams still available: 13/16
Elite Eight Teams Left: 8/8
Final Four Left: 4/4

Second Round Picks

As we detailed in yesterday's column, we'll pick any game where our predictions pre-tournament didn't line up with what's happening. So, we have some games to select.

1) MIssouri vs 9) St. John's (West). This feels like a Missouri blowout, except that Trey Blankeney is out with an injury, and St. John's does St. John's things. These two teams faced each other in New York on Day 48; St. John's emerged as a 60-57 winner. In that one, Brandon Dampier led the way with 16, while Blakekeny had 14. They got a combined 11 points from Joe Morton and Daniel Gibson.

Now, Missouri has the advantage of better placement for the game...but without Blakeney, Mizzou is in a precarious position. It will require a solid game from both Morton and Gibson if they are to see the Johnnies off. Gibson had 23 against Cornell, on 9-15 shooting, 5-10 from three. He has shown he can do the job...the question is, can he do it consistently?

In this one, they get it done...but some might say barely.

Pick: Missouri 71, St. John's 66

4) Utah vs 5) Gonzaga (West: This is a style clash, as Gonzaga's offense and pace will match up with Utah's slow-down efficient grind. Gonzaga does have something going for itself in this game, in that they are the best defensive rebounding team in the nation.

You might think that going up against a team that's third in ORtg in the nation, and fourth in field goal percentage, this isn't that great of an advantage. But Utah is the worst team in the nation in offensive rebounds. Also, the Zags are no slouch on the offensive end...they're 5th in field goals made per game, and 17th in field goal percentage. They're sixth in effetive field goal percentage.

Utah, a terrible rebounding team, will have its efficiency severely tested. In fact, it's that reason that we are going the other way here. (Then again, we had Lafayette going to the Sweet Sixteen, so we guess we didn't really buy the Utes.)

Pick: Gonzaga 83, Utah 81

10) PIttsburgh vs 15) UC Santa Barbara (West). We discussed both teams at length earlier, so we'll keep this quick. Pitt has Shepard, Severado, Adekoya, and a ton of tough games played in the ACC. They lost a bunch of close games...if those go the other way, you're looking at a top-four seed here. The Gauchos played a great game against a wounded team. Pitt will be at full stretch.

Pick: Pitt 72, UC Santa Barbara 60

1) Virginia vs 9) Saint Mary's (Midwest). We really thought Arkansas, with their tested roster and tough schedule, would get to the Sweet Sixteen. Instead, we have the Gaels, after the WCC entrant handled the Razorbacks, 68-59. The Gaels (23-8) are a solid offensive team and reasonably efficient team who attack the offensive boards with a purpose (9th nationally). They also are seventh in three-point percentage. Against the Razorbacks, the Gaels shot 9-19 from deep (compared to 9-32 for Arkansas).

One note about Saint Mary's: They have the Er cousins. Corey Er is a senior guard from Colorado who has yet to see a minute in his two years on the Gaels. Jonas Er is a 6'10 postman from Los Angeles; he's gotten into 10 games this season. We just found this Er situation interesting, and wanted to share that with you.

We think Virginia will do Virginia things, because that's what they do. Saint Mary's is better equipped to handle that than most, and could make life very difficult on the Cavaliers. They don't have to shoot well to win...in a 79-65 win over Washington on Day 26, they shot just 30% from three. But Washington shot 34% from the field.

We don't expect Virginia (29th nationally in FG%) will have that kind of difficulty.

Pick: Virginia 74, Saint Mary's 70

2) North Carolina vs 7) Dayton (Midwest): Dayton is built in the Virginia frame, which North Carolina struggled with throughout the year. They are 14th in points allowed per game, but 11th in ORtg. They are 14th in free throw rate, and 14th in field goal percentage. They have three players averaging in double figures.

But, Dayton isn't as good as Virginia. Those three players, Eric Stephens, Jontray Polanco, and Kouat Jackson, only post 10.5 or fewer points per game. Stephens is efficient, but the other two are far from it. They don't have anyone who can consistently step up in the clutch.

North Carolina, meanwhile, is a star-studded team with maybe the best point guard in the nation (sorry Corban Vance and Justin Noel) in Dan Hargrove. The Tar Heels go the other way than the efficiently grind teams. They get up and down the floor (9th in the nation in pace), and they shot very well from deep (9th) and at the line (2nd nationally). They are the best all-around shooting team in the nation, let alone the tournament.

We think that's going to be a problem for the Flyers. A big one.

Pick: North Carolina 94, Dayton 75

1) Duke vs 8) St. Joseph's (South). The FIghtin' Jesuits beat Iowa on Matt Gnahore's three with five seconds left. This was his second chance; he had one in the A-10 title game, but missed. He didn't miss this time. It was the last of his 24 points.

The Hawks without a monster night from PF Joel Harrington (14-19 FG, 32-7-3) to secure the win. Now they get the Blue Devils, who did Duke things (not score too much, suffocate an opponent with efficiency). What can Saint Joseph's do to escape this fate?

Honestly, very little.

The Hawks are third in the nation in field goal percentage and 17th in eFG%, as well as Net Rating. In terms of any other metrics, though, they don't do anything all that well. They shoot well, and they rebound on the defensive end reasonably well. But that's it.

Against Duke, that's not enough.

Expect a big game from Nate Dorsey (who is truly forgotten on this Duke team).

Pick: Duke 67, Saint Joe's 58

Other Picks

East
9) MIchigan over 1) UConn
4) NC State over 12) UMass
6) Iowa State over 3) Kentucky
2) Illinois over 7) Arizona

West
3) Kansas over 6) Ohio State (we were really bad in the West region)

Midwest
4) Maryland over 5) Stanford
3) Colorado over 6) UNLV

South
5) Georgetown over 4) Florida
3) Indiana over 6) Kansas State
2) USC over 7) Villanova
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The Quadaily 25, 2028 Season (Day 145): The Ballad of Jack Dawkins (UConn't Do It)

JBL | The Quadaily 25, 2028 Season (Day 145): The Ballad of Jack Dawkins (UConn't Do It)

This was not how Jack Dawkins' college career was supposed to end.

The George Washington-turned-UConn star, the nation's second-leading scorer, the most polarizing draft prospect to enter the draft in years, sat at his locker after the Huskies' 82-76 loss to Michigan, one they gave away in the final 1:23.

Maybe it's fitting that the Jack Dawkins era of CJBL basketball ends with him achieving just one CJBL Tournament win. For all of the individual achievement and accolades, for the 2000+ points posted in his career, and, yes, for the achievement of leading a team to a #1 ranking (AP Poll, not ours) and a top seed in the tournament, it was, one last time, unfulfilled expectations that everyone has for Jack.

We'll get to this UConn team in a second.

In the end, Jack Dawkins is, quite possibly, what we think him to be...a dynamic scorer that could not will his teams to be better than they were. As far as the draft goes, that puts him in a weird position. He is not for a rebuilding team. His offensive game is polished enough that he should be able to contribute to a contender...but he is also not a likely starter. He averaged 4.2 turnovers a game with UConn (partly due to having to run the point guard spot when Corban Vance was off the floor), so making him a playmaker seems like a difficult decision to make.

As always, it depends on where the lottery falls. Come this Friday night, when the lottery is announced, we should have a better idea as to where he (and everyone else) will fall. But he is a niche player...which is what he always was, an interesting oddity.

It doesn't make him any less brilliant a basketball player. But every basketball player is as good as the players around him. And that's where the rest of the Huskies come on.

The Huskies should have been a #1 seed, because their resume dictated that. But one could also see their loss to Michigan coming. Jack led UConn with 29 points. Corban Vance, easily the next best player on this team (and in the discussion for best point guard in the country; UConn better hope he returns next season) had 14 points and 10 assists, against just one turnover.

The rest of the team? Alex Attia, who is supposed to be a top-shelf recruit, had just nine points. Zach Daniels, who has shown glimpses of being an absolute beast in the post, put up four points against seven turnovers.

UConn knew turnovers in this one well. They had 22 of them. In the final 1:23, they had three pivotal ones, by Attia, Daniels, and freshman power forward Darrion Fountain. Daniels also missed a dunk, Attia missed a three, and well...when you rely on kids who are consistently bailed out over the course of the season, expect their star to fade when called upon to shine.

The ultimate irony is this sordid tale: Jack Dawkins left George Washington to be part of a team where he didn't have to do it all. His collegiate career ended because his teammates, sans one, couldn't pull their own weight.

Of course, all of this is really burying the lede. Michigan played beautifully, and did not yield when UConn briefly came all the way back in the second half. Michigan led throughout the game (34:49 in Michigan control); they held the Huskies to just five second-chance points, while gaining 23 of them themselves. Michigan had 28 points off of turnovers, compared to just ten for the Huskies.

The script here, the one where UConn dominates the paint and deflections and steals, Michigan aptly stole; they pilfered the rock 13 times, compared to just nine for the Huskies. The Wolverines outrebounded UConn 34-28, and 15-7 on the offensive end.

That's how a team who shoots 39% from the field, and 32% from three, overcomes a team who shot 51% from the field, and 52% from three. The Huskies were 12-23 from beyond the arc.

Now, what can you say about Chris Knight, who posted 30-5-3 in this game? Sure, he had six turnovers. Okay, he was 8-20 from the field. Yes, he was 6-16. And we get it, nobody had more than 12 shots, that being Marquez Fleming off the bench. The rest of the starters had 18 shots combined.

Michigan has discovered their formula: Give the ball to Knight, and get the hell out of the way. His usage in this one (43.2%) serves three purposes: it puts the ball in the hands of the one person on the team who can score at any time, it masks the weaknesses of the other starters, and it makes others more efficient.

You know, what Jack does.

The Huskies, who have a spot among basketball's royalty, but to the extreme left of the throne, end their season at 31-6, and began an offseason full of questions.

Michigan, meanwhile, heads to a Sweet Sixteen matchup with, of course, the University of Massachusetts. The Minutemen handled NC State, 81-74, behind Twice-a-Day Eddie Maye's 26, which was gained on just nine shots.

That's what happens when you're 5-9 from the field, 4-6 from three, and 12-13 from the line.

UMass shot 26-30 from the line, which masked a 37.9% effort from the field, 36.7% from 30.

The Wolfpack shot 46% from the field, 31% from three (8-23), but 8-17 from the line.

Ouch.

With Justin Noel (11 pts, 9 ast), who will assuredly be the first point guard taken, leaving, the quesiton now turns to Peyten Blount, the brusier in the middle. He finished with 17 points and 13 rebounds. In a draft that severely lacks in centers, he could be in high demand. Despite a lower overall ranking, he could be the second center drafted, after Jeremy Sawvell. That could see him go as high as tenth in some scenarios.

How would you say no to that?

NC State is surely hoping he does.

In case yu're counting, we are fifth in the current CJBL pick'em rankings, behind All-ACC FTW, Michigan, St. Joe's Tournament Entry, and something called Comey's Bracket. We have the highest potential score remaining out of the top five.

So, naturally, this is where it'll all come crashing down.

Sweet Sixteen we got right: 12/16
Elite Eight remaining: 8/8

Our predictions for the rest:

Michigan 89, UMass 77. The Minutemen...um, time...is up. We have Michigan on to the Elite Eight. No stopping them now.

Illinois over Iowa State

Missouri 85, Utah 79. We don't feel like Utah matches up with Missouri very well. Could be that Utah starts two centers, and Stephon Thorpe is unathletic and an average defender and rebounder going up against Brandon Dampier. That could be the start of problems for the Utes in this one.

Kansas 78, Pitt 71. The Panthers are the feel-good story of the tournament not named UMass. But the Jayhakws are a terrible matchup for them. They'll keep it close until the game's final three minutes, but look for Kansas to slam the door shut around that time.

Maryland 71, Virginia 69. We had Arkansas upsetting Virginia. We have Maryland in the FInal Four. We aren't picking against the Terps now.

Colorado over North Carolina
Duke over Georgetown (this breaks our heart; we love G'Town)
Indiana over USC (in The This Hurts Classic)
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Old 05-07-2020, 08:24 PM   #37
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The Quadaily 25, 2028 Season (Day 147): One Step Before THE Step...This is The Bigges

JBL | The Quadaily 25, 2028 Season (Day 147): One Step Before THE Step...This is The Biggest Step

Forget the stars for a moment.

When it comes down to these games, the regional championships, analysts tend ot focus on the stars. After all, in basketball, more than any other sport, the star is the meal ticket. This is more true in college basketball than anywhere else. Have a true star? Your team goes far.

So, forget about them.

This piece is about the X-factors for each team...the guys who can shine and propel their team to glory. Or...well, if they go out and chuck and dumpster fire all over the place, could end their team's season.

No pressure, boys.

Let's take a look at who we think is the guy for each team who has a chance to stand out, without typically doing so.

Duke vs Indiana

Duke: Quinton Wiley, SF. THe transition from starter Tonny Sanders, who went down with an injury, to Wiley has not been a steady one for the Blue Devils. Since Wiley was inserted into the starting lineup, Duke's main lineup is -8 in 203:29. The main issue here is Sanders' shooting versus Wiley's (40.7% to 34.3%), and that Wiley takes about a half-shot more a game than Sanders did, despite shooting much worse. Truth be told, Wiley has been terrible this year, with a 9.2 PER, a -1.9 BPM, and a negative .5 WS on offense. That said, he was 5-7 for 11 points in the win over Georgetown. Dealing with Indiana's vaunted defense will be difficult, but if Wiley can be efficient, Duke has a better chance of winning. (Then again, perhaps we should have picked Travis Pickford for this spot).

Indiana: The Daniel Maic, PG. Since becoming the starting point nine games into the season, TDM has a force at the point. He is averaging 6.4/2.2/5.5, with just .41 turnovers per game, doing so on 40.8% shooting, 38.5% from three. He's also a ridiculous 95.5% from the line. He posted what may be his best game of the year in Indiana's regional semifinal win over USC, going for 15 points and six assists, and posting an absurd 198.7/91.8 rating split. Duke's Travis PIckford is a seasoned veteran, but the junior is tremendously erratic. TDM could be the X-factor for Indiana getting past Duke. If he can ground PIckford into a rather inefficient game, and Duke isn't firing on all cylinders with the other four players on the floor, Indiana gains a clear advantage.

Pick: Indiana 61, Duke 59. We're not wavering from this pick. This was the score we picked when we first picked this game. (We looked it up.) It simply feels right to us.

Maryland vs Colorado

Maryland: Taurean Fischer, PG. As we've said time and time again...we love senior point guards. We especially love them when they've undergone adversity, like Fischer did earlier in his career. He was benched in his sophomore season, averaging just 9.3 minutes per game, despite scoring 14.0 ppg as a freshman. He regained his starting spot back as a junior, and has become a better all-around player. Fischer has posted 12.1 points and 6.5 assists per game, along with 1.3 steals. He's shooting 40.7% (he used to be much better iwth his shot, but he doesn't look for it as often as he used to), and 42.2% from three. For all the love Mason Hargrove and Sam McArdle jusifiably get, Fischer is the one who steers this ship for the Terps.

Colorado: Kenny Brown, SF. For the somewhat anonymous Buffaloes, there is a name to pay atention to. Kenny Brown has had moments of combustion this year. He scored 26 points in consecutive games against the Washingtons, only to score 13 points combined in games against Utah and USC immediatley after. This was a knock on Brown, who had seen this throughout his career. His scoring had dropped in each of his three seasons at Colorado, his shooting percentage going with it (not much, but enough). Since that USC/Utah debacle, Brown has been a steady rock. Only once has he failed to score in double figures since those two games, that being an 8-point effort against Stephen F. Austin, in which he played just 24 minutes. He scored 22 in the win over UNC. He isn't the most efficient scorer, but he's their most consistent. This is a team that had just one player average double figures this year; that would be Brown.

Pick: Maryland 71, Colorado 69. This was our choice pre-tournament, and we'll go with this. We feel like Mason Hargrove will win this game with a shot in traffic with two seconds left to take it down.

UMass vs Illinois

UMass: Brandon Saglam, SF. Yes, everyone knows about Twice-A-Day Eddie Maye. Not as many know about Saglam, who tied as the team's second-leading scorer with Ryan Goss. The versatile forward--he played 70% of his time at shooting guard last year, and 68% of his time at power forward this year--and efficiency (43.7% FG, 37.1 3% on 6.4 attempts), and his rebounding (6.7 rpg) have unlocked the key to this UMass offense. Sure, Maye's 20.7 ppg average has been a huge reason why...but it's Saglam's ability to adapt and stay efficient that has made it go. Saglam had a bad day against Michigan (2-10 FG), and that cannot happen if UMass has any hope of getting past Illinois.

Illinois: Niels Martin, SF. Martin, a senior transfer in from Vanderbilt, has been the qualifying ingridient for this team's consistency. Denzell Sparks' play has made them great, yes...but Martin has kept them winning games. He posted 13.0 ppg, on 42.6% shooting, 43.6% from 3. He's the team's third-leading scorer, but perhaps the most important cog in their offense to get going. The Denzels--Sparks and second-leading scorer Medlock--are volume shooters. Martin is more savvy with his selections, mainly because he has to be. If he doesn't have a solid game, While Saglam has the tougher job because he has to defend Sparks, there is more pressure on Martin. He came here for this exact reason. Now Illinois is here, in a sizeable part to him.

Pick: Illinois 77, UMass 70. Illinois has a better inside-out duo with the Denzels. Eddie Maye and company have had a great ride...now here's hoping Maye keeps his head and stays.

Missouri vs Kansas

Missouri: Derek Gibson, PG. Gibson has been erratic and inefficient at times. Yet he's shot 42.2% from the field, 39.6% from three. As was pointed out on the 40ish Minutes of Hell tournament preview, when Missouri lost games, it was primarily due to Gibson's inefficiencies. Now comes a rematch with Kansas and Adam Fingelton. Neither one had a good game in the first one, an 82-73 Mizzou triumph. Gibson had six points and two assists, and fouled out in 23 minutes. Fingelton had 11 and five assists. We feel like Gibson's profile is going to be higher in this one, and while Brandon Dampier is the obvious focus, it's Gibson who can make the Tigers soar or sink.

Kansas: Jared Hodge, SG. In the first matchup, Hodge scored his season average of 10 points. As Kansas' second-leading scorer behind Ashton Carr, he'll be called upon for more than that in this one. Between Hodge and C Brandon Tatum, the Jayhawks would love to get 30 combined. In the first game, they got 22, on 7-16 shooting. Kansas lost by nine. You can't count on Fingelton, who is as erratic as it gets with his scoring. So it has to come from those two, but mostly Hodge. He has to be aggressive and get his buckets, if Kansas is going to take down Missouri.

Pick: Missouri 80, Kansas 79. Another pre-tournament pick. We feel like this is the game for the Tigers' supporting cast, as Kansas will put all of their efforts on Dampier. Then again, teams have done that recently...hasn't exactly worked out for them, has it?

Elite Eight Selections: 7 of 8 (we were a Michigan away from a perfect 8/8)
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Old 05-07-2020, 08:25 PM   #38
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Recruiting Phase 5 has commenced. The Quadaily 25, 2028 Season (Day 151): How We Pi

JBL | The Quadaily 25, 2028 Season (Day 151): How We Picked The Final Four

We got the FInal Four right.

Nothing says credibility like that.

(Of course, that's not true. We aren't an authority because we got lucky in our picks. Sure, we feel informed and researched, but there's still a lot of luck that goes into what amounts to 67 coin-flips.)

The question to ask when lightning likes this strikes is...why did we get them right?

Why these four teams? Why were these four choices THE choices for us?

Well, let's break that down.

Maryland & IMissouri - The Hot Teams. Missouri has won 12 in a row heading into their national semifinal rematch against Illinois (a 70-62 Illinois win, which, ironically, came right after Mizzou beat Kansas. Hmmm....), while Maryland has won seven in a row. For the Terps, that doesn't sound like a major win streak...except that they've beaten Michigan as they got red hot, Illinois, Stanford, Virginia and Colorado. That's a heck of a run.

We felt like Maryland was the team gaining momentum coming out of winning the Big Ten tournament, which...had we looked more closely at their end-of-season results, maybe we would have shied away. They had lost three of five, including a home loss to Ohio State. Good teams don't lose at home in-conference. They just don't. Yet, Maryland did. But we felt like the way they responded to a heartbreaking loss to Indiana at the end of the regular season, and then how they handed Michigan and Illinois.

Quick fun fact about Illinois: They are 19-2 in their last 21 games. Their two losses are both to Maryland..

Missouri: The best player. Brandon Dampier has had a historic freshman season. There's no mistaking that. He led the nation in scoring AND rebounding. He averaged 1.5 blocks and 1.26 steals a game. His 39.9 PER wanks nine points higher than the next-best qualifying candidate (sorry Yuta Barrett, but someone who started all year and played a majority of minutes qualifies). The gap between Dampier's and Long Beach State's Samir Barnard, first to second, is as wide as the gap between Barnard and Stefan Frierson (IPFW), Marius Snyder (Wash State) and Cullen Graves (Illinois-Chicago), each of whom posted 20.9 PER, each of whom tied for 158th.

That's absolutely insane.

Dampier put up 24 points and 11 rebounds in the 72-67 win against Kansas. He did most of his work in the first 36 minutes, where Missouri built up a 64-53 lead. Yes, he committed a bad foulw ith 1:07 left, but the Tigers were up eleven. He's a smart player who maximizes his talent to the fullest extent.

He also maximizes the Tigers' talent.

Interestingly enough, and you can read into this two different ways...Dampier was -1 aginst Kansas. Brandon Ball was a +15, and the bench were net positives. On one end, he did have to face the most potent lineup in the nation (and played them to a basic stalemate while seeing double and triple-teams consistently). And this was about MIssouri beting a better overall team, as they have been all year.

On the other end...you expect the best player in the nation to have a net positive in the biggest game in school history. That's probably just nipicking though...right?

Right?

The Big Ten: The Conference. Is it a coincidence that the Big Ten got three teams into the Final Four this year?

Come on. Absolutely not.

Granted, this may just be us puffing out our chests...but for as good as the Pac-12 was this year, for as balanced as the ACC was this season, as talented (at the top) that the BIg East, Pac-12 and SEC were this year...

...no conference was as varied or as dynamic as the Big Ten.

The conference has four offenses in the top 23 (PPG), five in the top 49 in offensive efficiency), three elite defenses. It has more than its share of stars, including the #1 overall JBL prospect in the naiton in Indiana's Derrick Bynum (no matter how much you want to believe that, he's been the consensus #1 by draft services all year. We do know that, had he come out last year, he would have gone in the top ten.)

The Big Ten proved, over and over, that it was the deepest, most balaned, most talented conferences all season. So its top three teams being in the Final Four is of no surprise to us. Its should not be to anyone else, either.

And, finally...

Indiana; The Best Team. We've been on Indiana all season. Sure, we felt like we were sticking our necks out when we said we felt like Indiana was a national title contender. We remember hearing it on the (much longer than) 40ish Minutes of Hell podcast, and agreeing with the assessment. We didn't figure on The Daniel Matic show taking full flight and giving this team another gear they didn't have, but that just added to their aswesomeness.

It's rather amazing what this group of talent has accomplished, given that this group of seniors had just one CJBL Tournament game to their credit, that as a surprise 11-seed in 2026 (when they finished 17-16). Last year, they were 19-13 and were firmly out of the field. There were 8-10 in the conference last year, and hadn't finished any better than 11-9 in the conference in ten years.

Yet, the seeds were sewn. It was built with a defensive foundation, and a lot of failure.

This is, truly, a team for the ages. We feel fortunate to have recognized it as it was coming. (And lucky.)

We hope to be as lucky next season as we were this one.

And there you have it. That's how we arrived at this spot.

That's how they arrived here, too.

We are fortunate that the games tonight are simply a rematch against both teams, and that of the possible outcomes, we'll either get a first meeting of each team (Indiana-Missouri, Maryland-Missouri), or a rubber match of two teams who split against one another (IU/Illinois, Illinois-Maryland).

Enjoy it, basketball fans. The matchups are as good as it gets. We're going to stay with the picks we've had since the start:

Missouri 86, Illinois 84
Indiana 74, Maryland 73

No matter what happens, college basketball, and anyone who enjoys it, has won.
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Old 05-07-2020, 08:26 PM   #39
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The Quadaily 25, 2028 Season (Day 153): Hoosier Champion? Or Tiger King?

JBL | The Quadaily 25, 2028 Season (Day 153): Hoosier Champion? Or Tiger King?

All season long, we have tried to deliver the narrative of the 2028 CJBL season to you. For those who have read each isssue of the Quadaily, you have read 117 pages, and over 32,000 words (minus whatever this comes to be). We don't profess to be the best analysis of college basketball (though the bracket challenge would back up anyone's claim of that). There are plenty of excellent resources available to fans out there. We are just one of many.

But we are nothing if not consistent. And so, we say this:

Above anything and everything, thank you for choosing to read this column as often as you have.

And now, it's time to get on with basketball.

The nation's two best teams all season long are facing off tonight, as Indiana and Missouri take the court for the national championship game. Two teams are considerably different in several ways, but their placement in this game could not be denied.

Here's a quick tale of the Quad tape:

Indiana (33-4) vs Missouri (35-5)

Preseason rank (Quad)
Indiana: 3rd (because we were too chicken to put them #1)
Missouri: Next (26th); moved up to 22nd on Day 5

Peak Position:
Indiana: #1 (Days 29-124)
Missouri: #2 (Day 127)

Final Position:
Missouri: #2
Indiana: #4

When we first believed in Indiana: When we saw their roster construction. We said this about them in our preseason piece:

"Indiana (19-13): Definitely ranked high, but you gotta believe in the Hoosiers this year."

We felt like the defense of Indiana was going to be especially tough, and the fact that they had a solid senior point guard--who got replaced by a dynamic freshman in The Daniel Matic--and a top star in Derrick Bynum, gave the Hoosiers pieces to make a good run, despite a spotty resume over the past three seasons (if we're including the seniors into this). We cannot profess to have seen Kevon Capel coming, exactly (he is the nation's best defender, by the metrics). But we were firm on Indiana from the start.

When we first believed in Missouri: Day 13, where they co-headlined our column after beating Kansas. We said they "were still something of an unknown quantity" at that point, but that their win over the Jayhawks "was the best by any mid-tier team (according to the rankings)" of the early season.

This was also our first utterance of Brandon Dampier, who was not, at that point, Brandon F'N Dampier. In fact, we had mentioned Derek Gibson well before that (calling his early season offensive explosion a quasar that can turn into a black hole).

When Indiana is on offense: The Hoosiers ranked 14th in the nation in scoring (76.8 ppg) with the 31st ORtg (111.7). They're 71st in pace. The Hoosiers rely on shooting well (15th in FGM and FG%); they are fifth in 3pt%, but don't shoot too many of those (221th). They are 26th in free throw %, and 12th overall in effective FG%.

Their offense typically goes through SF Derrick Bynum, who led the team with 17.7 ppg, 47.5% FG). Demonte Lindsey (9.8 ppg, 52.7%) has been a steady presence inside, while Capel (9.7 ppg, 47.6%, 49.5% 3) has ben solid outside in low usage.

August Shannon leads the reserve crew with 11.8 ppg.

The Daniel Matic (6.4 ppg, 5.5 apg) is the main distriutor for a team who averaged 20.3 assists per game. That was 32nd in the nation.

In terms of how their offense runs, Bynum is best coming off a screen (1.23 PPP, 66.7% shooting) and in spotting up (.97 PPP, 55.8%). Capel is much more effective in spotting up (1.25, 71.2%). Shannon does most of his damage in transition (1.11 PPP, 60.3%); TDM is solid in transition and spotting up, as well as in a handoff.

This team is quite effective around the rim, Bynum in particular (68% on 2.3 attempts). Indiana is pretty poor in close attempts and in long-range jumpers. Missouri would want Rodney Collins (35.8%) and Malik Harris (22.7%) to shoot from outside. THey want to keep the ball out of Capel's, Bynum's, or Shannon's (44.6%) hands.

One thing MIssouri might want to let Indiana do: post up. Nobody is really adept at posting up for Indiana.

One thing Missouri definitely doesn't want Indiana to do: cut. Most of the players average over 1.0 PPP in cuts. This is a very efficient offensive team

Player to gamble on: Malik Harris, PG. Harris has been dreadful all year, having to deal with losing his starting spot to TDM. He's been a -1.7 EWA, and a -5.2 BPM. His ratings (93.7/102.2) suggest he's a player Missouri could exploit. But he's also a senior point guard, who, as you know, we're high on. We feel like Harris can shine in this game. We also think the TIgers will give him the chance to do that.

Indiana has a lot of variety on their team, which makes them dangerous. Bynum led the team in plays run for him, with 534, but two players (Shannon, Lindsey) had over 300. Capel had 276. TDM, Harris, and Kesean Thompson all had at least 149 plays run.

Missouri on defense: They ranked 45th in oPPG (64.1), and were 256th in DRtg (105.9). The Tigers are 350th in total rebounds per game, and 343rd on the defensive end. None of their defensive stats really stand out, save for contested shots (12th in the nation) and deflections (9th). Defense is not where this team hangs its hat.

Their lead lineup has a DRtg of 109.5, while their backups are the more defensive lineup, at 98.5.

Of course, the team has Dampier, who proved to be maybe the best all-around defender in the country. He had a DRtg of 95.3, and was among the national leaders in steals and blocks. The issue here: their next-best defender appears to be SF Gabe Jones, who had a 105.3 DRtg in 302 minutes (1/3 the time of Dampier).

Among the starters, their next-best defender is Trey Blakeney, who had a DRtg of 108.1. He also accured 0.6 defensive win shares, which was also second on the team. Teams shot 44% against them this year, and 33.7% from beyond the arc. That 44% ranks Missouri among the worst in the nation, whereas the 33.4% is more middle of the pack.

Okay, so this team isn't going to win any awards on defense. But against a team with the firepower and efficiency like Indiana, this is a major problem.

Missouri on offense: We know this is where Missouri plants is flag. The Tigers ranked 49th in PPG (73.9), but were the nation's most efficient team (121.5 ORtg). They are 2nd in field goal percentage (47.9%), and third in free throw rate. THey finished 20th in eFG% (53.7%), and were third in turnovers per game, at 6.9.

The Tigers were 6th in free throws made, 9th in free throws attempted, and 40th in FT percentage (78.2). They are also 36th in turnovers per game.

They are the ultimate plod pressure team, as their 322nd-ranked pace indicates. THey have won the same way teams like Duke and Virginia won...they are calcuated on offense, and force teams into limited possessions.

Of course, the Tigers run through Dampier, who led the nation in scoring (22.5 ppg, 60.6% FG). Derek Gibson posted 14.2 ppg on 42.2% FG, 39.6% from three; he has been more dependable from deep as the season has gone on, but in every loss the Tigers have had, he put up a clunker. His ziee against TDM is an advantage, but TDM is by far the better, more efficient player.

Joseph Morton (9.3 ppg, 45% FG and 3pt) is their main wild card. He is capable of going for big numbers, but typically gets swallowed up by Gibson's thirst for points. However, in a matchup against Capel, it is possible that Morton goes completely silent. This will be a splendid matchup for both players, as Morton's offensive game is more subtle, but quite efficient (126.9 ORtg)

This team operates primarily off of Dampier cuts, which is interesting. He's at 1.27 PPP, with a staggering 339 points on 67.5% eFG. This is where Morton also thrives, as he is 1.43 PPP, 71.7% shooting (just 33 points on 23 possessions). Missouri does this far, far more than anything else; 266 possessions ended in Dampier cuts (for 339 points). Their next-highest was with Dampier as a pick-and-roll man (1.13 PPP, 166 points on 147 possessions).

If they want to cut into Dampier's efficiency, make him play with his back to the basket. His eFG is just 48.7% there.

For Gibson, let him post up (.71 eFG) or take handoffs (.84). Blakenely too (.56). Reaistically, the more you put the ball into Trey Blakeney's hands, the better off you are as a defense. His effectiveness starts and ends with cuts (1.33 PPP). He's sub 1.00 in every other form of offense for Missouri.

Dampier led the team in possessions with 603 plays run for him. Gibson had 436, then Blakeney with 288. The more they get the ball into Trey's hands, the better off for Indiana.

Indiana on defense: The Hoosiers ranked 66th in oPPG (65.9), but were sixth in DRtg. (These two teams were 6th and 7th in NetRtg.) Indiana was 5th in blocks per game (6.3), 7th in transition points per game (11.2), and 29th in points off turnovers per game (10.8). They are 44th in defensive rebounds, and 131st in overall rebounds. They finished 29th in contested shots, and 127th in deflections. But they led the nation in charges drawn, and finished 53rd in loose balls recovered.

This team gets after it.

Teams shot 40% from the field against the Hoosiers (30th in the nation), and 30.4% from 3 (33rd in the nation).

Looking at their individual stats, their worst defender--The Daniel Matic--would be the Tigers' second-best defender, if you look at DRtg (104.5 DRtg). Capel led the nation with a 88.9 DRtg, while Bynum posted a 94.3 mark. Lindsey was at 99.3. Rodney Collins, the forgotten starter, is 96.2. Kyle Anton has a 92.7 mark off the bench. KeSean Thompson has a 95.8.

As a unit, Indiana's starting lineup has a 91.1 DRtg, and hold teams to 37.6% from the field, 27.5% from three. Their backups have an 88.0 DRtg.

Our call:

The clear-cut advantage here is in Indiana's defense. But how much of an advantage will it be? Kansas has what could be considered an elite defense, and Missouri shredded it. But we feel as the Tigers haven't seen a defense like Indiana's. Dampier, in particular, hasn't seen a defender like Bynum. Rodney Collins should make Trey Blakeney's life a living hell. And TDM, while not a defensive genius, can make things very, very tough for Derek Gibson, who is bull-headed enough to try and defeat that challenge, and torpedo Missouri's offensive plans altogether.

The question here is, can Dampie get Bynum into early foul trouble? Granted, KeSean Thompson is just as good a defender as Dampier, and Demonte Lindsey doesn't give any quarter...but if Dampier can force Indiana to have to resort to its bench early, and disurpt the depth, which also benefits the Hoosiers, then this game shifts back towards Missouri.

In the end, we're going with what we said in the beginning. We have felt all year that Indiana was the nation's best team. There has been absolutely nothing to dissuade us from that line of thinking. As good as Missouri is, they have some major hurdles to overcome in this game, hurdles they didn't face in a very offensive SEC.

Our Pre-Tournament Pick: Indiana 87, Missouri 85

We feel that to be pretty correct, though we could also see Indiana winning by 12+, because of Missouri's inefficiencies on the defensive end, as well as Indiana being able to neutralize what Missouri does well. We do believe that Dampier is good enough to keep Missouri in this game by himself (we said we could see him going for 44-17-5 in this one).

However, in a season full of offensive amazes, defense will reign.

Indiana will win the national championship.

We said it on Day 1.

We will watch it on Day 153.
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Old 05-07-2020, 08:27 PM   #40
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The Quadaily 25, 2028 Season (Day 154): The Decisions of a Champion (An Homage to Ind

JBL | The Quadaily 25, 2028 Season (Day 154): The Decisions of a Champion (An Homage to Indiana)

To understand what we loved about the Indiana Hoosiers going into this season, we need to look at the national semifinal.

Really, we need to go further back.

Back to Day 34.

Indiana had just dusted Florida, 82-56, in a game that wasn't even that close. Derrick Bynum had 21, on 9-13 shooting (3-5 from 3). Kevon Capel went for 13-8-4-2-1. August Shannon, then starting, had 16.

Malik Harris, though, stayed in a major slump.

Harris, who had been the starting point guard at Indiana since he stepped onto campus, had been in a season-long slump. He had averaged at least 11.8 points a game each of his three years.

This made his early season struggle--he had not scored more than eight points in any game to that point--more agonizing. He had been such a tough-nosed player in a tough conference, someone who had always done what was asked of him.

The coaching staff, though, asked something of him he didn't see coming when the season started.

They asked him to take a seat, in favor of The Daniel Matic.

Sidebar: Now look, we know some people in Bloomington want to call him Daniel O'Matic, or Auto Matic. That's fine. He's THE Daniel Matic, according to The Qaud. Always has, always will be. It's the perfect nickname. Come on. Auto and O' are easy nicknames. THE is more subtle. Now, we move on.

TDM didn't exactly light it up in his first action, either. But there was something about the rest of the team when he was on the floor, especially on offense, that caused the coaching staff to believe it was he, and not Harris, that could get this team to where they wanted it to go. He had shown the flashes in the Florida game, as he had 10 points and four assists in just 15 minutes.

So, after the Florida game, Indiana, then 7-1 (and ranked #1 in The Quad 25), made two changes.

They moved TDM into the starting lineup. They also moved Rodney Collins into the lineup, in favor of August Shannon.

Twenty-five percent into the season, the Hoosiers made a change that utlimately made their destiny.

The demotion of August Shannon was much more questionable to the casual fan. After all, if you take out the first game of the year (4 points), he had games of 23-13, 28-10, 14-17, and 16 in the rest of his starts. At the time of his benching, he was Indiana's leading scorer.

Obviously, this was as gutsy a move as putting a national championship contender in the hands of a true freshman point guard.

Yet, this is what Indiana did. And that's why, to a deeper-thinking fan, this was an easy move. TDM was offense on the second team. The Hoosiers needed a sparkplug off the bench. Collins, a senior defensive guard, gave the Hoosiers an impenetrable defense on the wing.

Indiana now had balance, and a better hierarchy on offense. It obviously identified that, in its construct after the Florida game, there was a ceiling. So, they made a move.

Now, go back to the future, and head to the national semifinal.

Forty-six seconds left.

Sam McArdle's pair of free throws had just put Maryland up, 80-74. Arguably the hottsst team in the nation heading into the tournament, Maryland, would be exacting revenge for their last loss, a 90-88 epic against the Hoosiers on the final day of the regular season.

It does need to be said...the two Maryland-Indiana games are the two best games of the year. This was the rivalry we never got to have, because their only game was on the final day of the season. That might have been the best game all year...at least, until this one (and then, until the title game).

So, McArdle hit the freebies. Kevon Capel (a kid who will be a top-five pick next season; he would have been a top-ten pick in this draft, had he come out) hit a three to cut the lead in half. Demonte Lindsey fouled Mason Hargrove, who hit just one of two free throws.

Capel got the board, Indiana called time, and then Capel turned it over on a bad call by the officials (offensive three seconds).

Hargrove was fouled, and again, made just one of two. This should have been a seven-point lead with ten seconds to go, not five. It's hard to pile on Hargrove here (he wasn't the only one...give us eight seconds), but Maryland went 3-6 from the line down the stretch.

That's when Rodney Collins, the forgotten offensive cog in this system, hit a three with :04 left. He was assisted by TDM.

The lead was cut to two.

Robert Walsh was fouled, and went to the line. He missed the front end, but made the back. It was back to three.

Indiana called timeout, and called for a variety of routes for Lindsey to throw to.

The first option was Bynum, cutting to the baseline. The second was for Capel, coming off a Collins screen; Collins would then flash to the ball.

Unfortunately for Indiana, that was the option available...to Collins. He caught the ball with his shoulders facing the sideline, just off the top of the key. He was well behind the arc.

That's when TDM came flying from the opposite wing. He began squaring to the hoop as he reached Collins. Collins, setting a natural screen simply by existing (realistically, Maryland should have just fouled Collins in this spot, but come on, these are college kids). Collins tip-passed it to Matic, who got off a clean look.

Boom.

Overtime.

Indiana relied on the guys they trusted to step up back on Day 34. In overtime, they relied on their stars--Bynum, Capel and Lindsey, to get them to the championship. And they did.

In the title game, however, they relied on the guys who were asked to do a job they weren't ready to do when the season started.

But first, let's talk about Brandon Dampier.

Look, when we wrote our tournament preview, it's true...we had all four teams in the Final Four. It's also true that we picked Indiana over Missouri (87-85). And this is what we said about this game, and about Dampier:

::Indiana 87, Missouri 85

Indiana will be tested in this game, no doubt. But they've proven they can win high-scoring games all year. We won't stray from our preseason pick, especially when the preseason pick spent 2/3 of the season atop our poll, and only fell off because of two late losses. This is the best team in the nation in our view. Brandon Dampier is, far and away, the best player in the nation. We expect him to show it in this one, perhaps to the tune of 44-17-5. But, basketball being a team sport, we think the perimeter defense of Indiana will force the rest of the Tigers to falter when the game is on the line.::

Dampier had 20 of Missouri's first 24 points. When he came out, with 9:50 to go in the first half, it was 24-23, Missouri. Indiana simply had no answer for him.

Dampier came back with 6:06. Indiana was up 36-30, though it felt more like 50-30. The way Indiana outplayed the Tigers in that three-minute stretch, it felt like the game was pushed out of reach.

Of course, it was not.

This game was the ultimate testament to Brandon Dampier's time in college. He was a man among other men. Yes, Indiana played a position down, as Bynum, a natural SF, had to defend Dampier for most of this game. (To be honest, after a couple of fouls, Bynum acquitted himself well.) This does not slight what Dampier did in this game whatsoever.

We thought (okay, we just threw it out there) that he would go for 44-17-5.

Dampier finished with 45-17-2 (but with five blocks). He was 20-28 from the field. The rest of the team was 14-39. A big reason Indiana won this game was because of their ability to stay grounded on defense.

To that point: Dampier shot just seven free throws.

Indiana had just 12 fouls, this in a game in which they trailed for much of the second half, including in the final minute.

Now, let's go back to Indiana, and the start of this final installment of the 2028 Quadaily: August Shannon and Malik Harris doing their jobs.

Shannon was fine in moving to the bench role; he is a natural scorer, and proved to be quite capable of filling the role Indiana needed him to fill. In this game, he had two threes with Dampier out of the game in the first half, as the Hoosiers looked to take control of the game. He finished with 14 points, providing valuable scoring for a second unit that was 115th (8th in the Big Ten) in bench scoring.

In this game, their bench posted 38 points, up from their average of 33.5.

There is another unsung hero to discuss, before we move on. That is KeSean Thompson, their senior backup post. Thompson never started a game at Indiana, though he played in 130 of them. He averaged 12.4 minutes per game this year, and posted a career-high 5.3 points.

In the national title game, Thompson had to spell Bynum, when he got into early foul trouble. He also had to spell Lindsey, when he got into late foul trouble. The result was 11 points, on 5-8 shooting; this tied a season-high for him. He also had three assists, (all for threes). He played the game of his college life in the final game of his college life. Simply amazing, and a total microcosm of this Hoosier team.

But, of course, there's Harris.

Harris struggled with the adjustment to the bench. Part of this was good for Indiana. A decline in his production meant that Indiana was simply a better overall team. Remember, when he was a major producer, it was done when the team was...well, mediocre. Harris is solid, tough-nosed...but he is not a scoring guard. And that he was moved to this role meant that Indiana was simply in a better place. This is also due, in part, to his contributions over the past three seasons.

But, still, he struggled all year long to find his rhythm. When you go from being a three-year starter, to no longer being the starter, that can be difficult.

Yet, in this game, the final one of his career, the one that he never thought he would play in...well, his pride had been swallowed long ago. He would not let the turbulance of the season, the end of his career (surely as he hoped, but not at all as he hoped), get in the way of this moment.

With 1:28 left, another curveball was thrown. Harris was brought in for Shannon. Shannon,e xhausted, needed the break. It was evident. And TDM, who had just scored six of the last eight points for Indiana, was the hot hand.

So, Harris came in, and Indiana went to a two-point lineup in the national title game, with, again, 1:28 left.

The game was tied.

Rodney Collins, we should point out, could not go in the game. He fouled out with 2:13 to go.

Over his career, Shannon played in 132 games. He played just four minutes, in his career, as a shooting guard.

In his career, he was 106-318 from three (going into this postseason). He was just 5-22 from three this year, and 14-60 last season (23.3%).

In this postseason, Harris was 0-5 from three across the five games before the title game. He shot just 5-28 in the entire postseason.

And so, here we are. Tie game, 1:28 to go. Indiana gets two shots at breaking the tie, but fail to do so. Dampier gets the board, comes down, and throws down the final of his 45 points. The Tigers lead, 91-89.

Harris gets the inbound, comes down, gets a screen from Lindsey, and fires up a shot.

Twenty-three percent from three the past two seasons.
Eighteen percent this season.
Zero percent in the postseason.
5-for-28 from the field, period.
Team down two.
Thirty seconds left.
Senior point guard.

Harris knew it was good before its trajectory reached its apex. He was already running down the court, holding three fingers in the air.

THAT is a senior point guard.

Indiana by one.

On the next, and perhaps most pivotal possession, Derrck Bynum showed why he has been the top prospect all season long.

He pulled the chair on Brandon Dampier.

In case you're unaware of this move, it's when a defender, knowing a player is putting his weight on them in the post, times it just right...and steps aside. The offensive player, losing what they had been placing their weight upon, usually falls down.

Bynum waited for the perfect moment to spring this upon the freshman. Missouri came down and waited; they didn't just fire up a shot. They knew they had a post player who scored 45 points in an ultra-efficient fashion. Jeez, Dampier was 20-28 from the field. Come on.

So, with ten seconds left, they initiated. They didn't trust in their outside shooters to be able to get them from a three-point hole...so they waited, and went to their star.

And Derrick Bynum pulled the chair on Brandon Dampier.

Just as the ball was headed his way.

Dampier, not seeing this coming, grabbed Bynum as he tried to regain his balance.

Offensive foul.

Indiana called time, and Bynum got the inbound. He was fouled, and did what leaders who have had the spotlight, the doubts, the questions, the unwarranted criticism, the cautious praise, on them for two seasons.

He sank both free throws.

Missouri had two chances to tie it. Tyler Wnuk missed a three with :03 left. Brandon Ball managed to get the rebound, then he called timeout, which was probably not what Missouri wanted. But Missouri didn't want to be in this position, period. It was the nightmare scenario, after all. The Tigers were 62nd in the nation in three-point percetage...but they were 306th in threes made, just 346th in attempts.

Threes were not their thing.

And now, with the season, banner, net, immortaility and free meals all over Columbia, all of that on the line...they had to sink a three with a second left.

Of course, and with great irony, it was Derek Gibson who took the shot.

Gibson had bombs lobbed his way in the CJBL Tournament preview by the 40ish Minutes podcast, where it was said that, if you wanted Missouri to lose, you let Gibson shoot all he wanted. It's also been said that Gibson's draft prospects are inflated, the result of being the guy who feeds Dampier. And it's been said that Gibson can get bull-headed and take it all on his shoulders at times.

With a second left, he did just that.

Gibson peeled off what was supposed to be a screen, by him and his 6'7 frame. He began to set it, then flashed to top of the key. He received the ball and threw up a shot. It actually had a chance, but was off to the left.

Indiana, through its wing defense and use of the total team, had survived the effort of the best player in college basketball.

Interestingly, Dampier was actually under the team's ORtg of 116.7. That's due to his 48% usage rate, we're guessing. Gibson's ORtg was 146.0, mainly deut o his 10.1 usage rate. Trey Blakeney, who Indiana identified as a guy they wanted to shoot (good call; he was 3-11) finished with just an 85.6 ORtg).

THE Daniel Matic, by the way, had an ORtg of 195.2. That's why he was placed into the starting lineup. Collins played a very poor game in this one, mainly due to the foul trouble. But Shannon and Harris picked him up.

This is what the Hoosiers did all year long.

This is why they cut down the nets, will get to hang a banner, and will get free food and booze anywhere in Bloomington for the rest of their lives.

It began back on Day 34, when the coaching staff identified a way they could be better, and two players put the team first. And while it was almost taken down by a superhuman effort by a superhuman basketball player, in the end...

...the team reigned.

We look forward to the movie about this team.
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Old 05-08-2020, 10:02 AM   #41
NoSkillz
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Great stuff Comey.

I'm really excited to be in the league in 2029 - hopefully I can produce a consistent winner at Buffalo in order to make your columns.
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Old 05-21-2020, 07:35 PM   #42
Comey
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The Quadaily 25, 2029 (Preseason) - Faces of the Nation

JBL | The Quadaily 25, 2029 Season (Preseason): Faces of the Nation

Five on Five
Five players, Five Teams
The Faces of the 2029 Season

As we dawn on the new season, we want to take a minute and give everyone an idea as to who enters the season as the current...we won't say standard-bearers, but more so the faces of the landscape, as we turn the calendar over.

To achieve this end, we decided to point out five players, and face teams, to watch heading into the season. Of course, more should be considered. But we only have so much time.

So, we start. In no particularly order...

Indiana - The defending champions return a considerable amount of firepower. Led by Kevon Capel (more on him in a bit), THE Daniel Matic, August Shannon, and Demonte Lindsey, the Hoosiers return a solid core from last year's run. They also added prized recruit Razul Vuko. We won't speak about Indiana's chances to repeat. This is not about then, it is about now. Indiana is the current face of college basketball. The defending champs always are.

Kevon Capel, Indidna SG - Capel was considered by many in JBL circles to be the most impactful player in the CJBL Tournament not named Brandon Dampier. His defensive ability may rival that of Ricky Jackson, Jr., for best defensive guard to enter the league in a decade. And Capel has the shooting chops, and ideal size (6'7, 189) to become, quite possibly, the top pick in the 2030 JBL draft. We do know he would have been a top-ten pick, had he come out last year...he might have gone as high as third overall. We are certain he is the top guard in the class.

Southern Cal - If a team is to follow the blueprint set by Stanford and Indiana, the last two champions, it is the Trojans. USC can boast wing depth like no other, with seniors Kris McDermott, Marko Radovich and Reed Faizon leading the way. They also added Jackson Jones, the top power forward in this year's class. They also have a senior point guard (we love those!) in Joaquin Buckley. They have to replace Jordan Loose, but they have senior guard Aundre Wright to do that. The Pac-12 is likely the nation's top conference this season, and we feel like people are watching the Trojans more so than anyone else.

Eddie Maye, UMass SG - Our lasting image of Maye was his 38-point game against Michigan in an epic Sweet Sixteen win over the Wolverines. For the entire tournament, Maye averaged 26.5 points per game, on a ridiculous 51.3% from deep (5/9.8). It wasn't like this came out of nowhere; Maye averaged 20.7 points per game, shooting 46.9% from the field, and 40.1% from three. He was reckless with the ball (3.42 TO per game in the regular season, 4.25 in the CJBLT), but his scoring ability will forgive this. He may be a four-year star at UMass, the one who will take the crown of CJBL Scoring Wizard from Jack Dawkins.

Duke - The Blue Devils, above perhaps any random college basketball team, have a target on their backs. In most seasons, that target is huge, but tough to hit. The Blue Devils are a premiere program, the cupboard generally stocked with elite talents. This year...that target is easier to strike. The Blue Devils do have junior center Antoine Davis and seniors in the post in Brandon Eichelberger and RJ Keely, along with top recruit Jahmiah Rice. But they are lacking in meaningful experience, and are very much looking up at several teams in the conference.

Rajion Ward, Texas C/PF: Ward was a top-ten prospect for much of last season, then fell off as his production did. His slippage was the embodiment of Texas' fall from grace. Will his resurgence be indicative of the return of the Longhorns? Nobody is sure, to be honest. We have Texas ranked, but it is a cautious one for us. Ward is in love with the three, but the three is not in love with him. If he continues to do that, and continues to buy his own hype, he'll sink not only Texas, but his draft prospects. Will he be the dynamic player teams in the JBL think he can...or is he the next Mike Atwell?

UNLV - Their fan base bitched consistently about their perceived lack of respect last season. This year, they open the year ranked 11th in the Quad 25. They added #2 overall recruit, Quinn Oakley, then promptly began an ad campaign for his NPOTY candidacy. The Runnin' Rebels should be careful what they wish for, because they're earning the biggest bullseye on their back west of Raleigh. They have a ton of talent, and one of the top point guards in the nation, in Kendall Houston, Jr. Oakland makes them a legit contender. But now they have to go and do the thing, and prove they belong. They wanted this billing, and they got it. Now, what do you do with it?

Kobe Thomas, Syracuse SG - He upset a lot of people within JBL circles when he returned to school. Thomas reportedly loves Syracuse and didn't feel like he was ready to leave. Perhaps he saw the other off-guards who were coming out and decided to wait. We'll tell you this: if Thomas had come out last year, he would have battled Capel's hypothetical spot for top off-guard taken in the draft. He definitely would have been taken first if Capel hadn't. The only knock on him, and this is a strange one, is that he is "severely undersized". Yes, he's a beanpole, at 6'7, 187...but he can put weight on. He is extremely quick, has a lightning first step, and is surprisingly strong for that wiry frame. He can finish better than just about anyone around the basket. The kid has the makeup of a potential scoring champ in the JBL. Him not coming out was a major surprise. But it makes him a major face of the CJBL.

Maryland - The Terrakingpins-in-line in the Big Tem, we have Maryland as third in the nation coming into the season. They have two legit Quad-American candidates in Mason Hargrove (who was on the team last year) and Sam McArdle. Omari Aube replaces Taurean Prince at the point, and will probably do it better. Robert Walsh and Dana Davis are top-flight seniors. Some were surprised to see Maryland march to the Final Four aftter a 24-9 regular season, but not us...obviously, since we picked them to go there.

Jackson Swann, UNC PF - Will he or won't he? That has been the question with Swann, in relation to his JBL draft status. It was a major shock when he didn't come out as a freshman. He actually fell in his rank last year, but the last class was a deep one. He currently ranks sixth among returning players, so presumably, his stock will go up some. The question is, is he capable of building his stock back up from the late lottery status he enjoyed his freshman year? Or do the longer JBL teams look at him, the more holes they find? This is the pivotal year for Swann.

Our CJBL Tournament Picks NOW: Well, we decided why not throw caution to the wind, and go with our CJBL Tournament picks right now. Because hell, we did it right last year...surely it can happen again, right?

Right?

Sweet Sixteen: USC, UNC, Maryland, Colorado, Utah, Georgetown, Ohio State, Syracuse, LSU, UNLV, Washington, Cincinnati, Villanova, Arkansas, Illinois-Chicago, Illinois State

Elite Eight: USC, UNC, Maryland, Colorado, Georgetown, Syracuse, UNLV, Utah

Final Four: USC, UNC, Maryland, Colorado

National Champs: Southern Cal 89, Maryland 87

The Quad 25
2029 Season, Preseason

1. Southern Cal
2. North Carolina
3. Maryland
4. Colorado
5. Kansas
6. Utah
7. Georgetown
8. Ohio State
9. Syracuse
10. LSU
11. UNLV
12. Washington
13. Cincinnati
14. New Mexico
15. Kansas State
16. Villanova
17. Michigan State
18. Arkansas
19. Georgia Tech
20. Arizona
21. Wisconsin
22. Texas
23. Gonzaga
24. Duke
25. Iowa State
NEXT: NC State, Connecticut, Michigan, Pittsburgh, Kentucky
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Old Yesterday, 01:52 PM   #43
Comey
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The Quadaily 25, 2029 Season (Day 9): Brought To You By Baclofen (Truncated Column Ve

JBL | The Quadaily 25, 2029 Season (Day 9): Brought To You By Baclofen (Truncated Column Version)

It's very early in the season, and way too early to discuss disappointments.

But it isn't too early to discuss some early surprises.

Duke (4-0): Despite the psychotic cult that fronts this program, the Blue Devils have been able to reload and start the year undefeated...probably with a start most would have predicted wouldn't happen. The Blue Devils have beaten BYU, Washington, UConn and gone to Michigan and won easily.

The key for this team has been a solid offense (24th in PPG, 41st in oRTG) with a high FG% (25th nationally) and eFG% (31st). They're also 29th in field goals made per game.

On the player side, the tandem of Jahmiah Rice (16.5/5.5/5.8) and Nick van Bree (17.0/3.0/5.5/2.0/1.25) has been electric. We do wonder if van Bree's production is sustainable, given his 41% shooting from the field, and if Rice's three-point woes (21% on 4.8 attempts) could cause teams to pack the middle on him. That would considerably deflate Duke's offensve. However, Antoine Davis is performing at a high level (9.3/7.5/1.8).

The issue with Duke, and it was why we picked them to finish fourth in the conference, is on defense. The started are fine, but the second unit has been dreadful (DRtg of 140). Specifically, we wonder if Malik Gaines and Brandon Eichelberger being together is the culprit. THey have the two highest DRtgs of anyone on the team that gets meaningful minutes.

We expect their first loss to be when they travel to Maryland on Day 12. But we do expect them to continue to rise in our poll.

Marquette (3-0): The Golden Eagles opened this season by soundly defeating #1 USC, 77-64. They followed that up with a win over Illinois, on a pair of Patrick Nugent free throws with :06 that gave them an 84-81 lead, and a timely foul right before Jordan Powell Jr. was set to shoot a three to try and tie the game.

Marquette is 48th in DRtg, 61st in ORtg, and fifth in free throw rate. They are 6th and 7th in free throws made and attempted. Getting 25.3 points per game at the stripe is a major reason for their success.

As expected, Nugent (17.3/7.0/2.0) is leading the team, and Maurius Greenwood has been the key supporting piece (14.7 ppg). Neither have been particular efficient, but they are getting the job done. We would be leery of a team whose fourth-leading scorer, Jarrel Leifson, is shooting just 26.9% from the field (2.3/8.7). That's an issue that could really hamper Marquette, especially in games where Nugent and/or Greenwood do not produce. Perhaps feeding Brad Bozeman (8.7 ppg on 4.3 attempts) would be beneficial.

Marquette on this list is because of taking down USC and following that up with an impressive win over a solid Illinois team. We still expect them to end up around the middle of the pack in the Big East...but perhaps we could see them pushing for third in the conference.

UCLA (2-0): Yes, it's been two games. but the Bruins taking out Georgia Tech and Minnesota, the former a team we are high on, the latter a team we think can contend for a back-end CJBL Tournament spot, is very impressive. Of course, having Jarius Richmond helps. But Jimmy Charnov (16.0 on 57.1% shooting) and Marvin Bessick (16.0/5.0/2.5, 2.0 stl) have formed a fantastic trio. Add in that they are 38th in DRtg, and lead the nation in pace (something we think may be sustainable), and the Bruins may play a very different style than what the Pac-12 thought they may this year.

This may be a much more interesting season for Bruins fans than expected, even with Richmond in the fold.

(We know this is a really short column today; due to a back issue, and subsequent pain meds knocking us out for most of the day, our writing time has been short. We apologize for the terribleness of this column. Also, for too much Duke.)

The Quadaily 25, 2029 Season
Day 9

1. North Carolina (2-0, 1)
2. Maryland (2-0, 2)
3. Ohio State (4-0, 6)
4. Georgetown (3-0, 4)
5. Southern California (2-1, 5)
6. Kansas (2-1, 3)
7. UNLV (4-0, 7)
8. Colorado (3-1, 8)
9. Utah (2-1, 9)
10. Syracuse (2-1, 10)
11. Cincinnati (3-0, 11)
12. Washington (2-1, 13)
13. Arizona (3-0, 18)
14. Villanova (3-1, 15)
15. Michigan State (2-1, 17)
16. Kansas State (1-1, 16)
17. Duke (4-0, 19)
18. New Mexico (2-1, 14)
19. Wisconsin (4-0, 20)
21. LSU (2-2, 12)
22. Iowa State (4-0, 25)
23. Georgia Tech (1-1, NR)
24. Kentucky (3-0, NR)
25. UCLA (2-0, NR)
NEXT: Pittsburgh, Gonzaga, Oregon, Arkansas, Marquette
Dropped Out: Gonzaga (22), Connecticut (23), Arkansas (24)
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