With day one in the books, we’re really nowhere near our quota for drama for the first first/second round of the NCAA Tournament. Hopefully there’s plenty more to come with an excellent Friday that sets us up for a fantastic slate of games on Sunday.
For that to happen, though, we’re going to need to get rid of the riff-raft.
Ugly, low-possession basketball is pervading the sport. So to limit our chances of seeing this type of play as the tournament goes on, let’s collectively root against some teams that play sometimes un-watchable basketball.
If you like fun, and teams that know how to keep a basketball game moving at an acceptable pace, then you’re going to want to the following four teams eliminated today.
- Virginia – Not only are the Cavaliers boring (second in the country in defensive points-per-possession and points -per-game) but they are the one true hurdle preventing Missouri and Florida – ranked No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, in KenPom.com’s adjusted offense efficiency – from squaring off against one another in the third-round of the NCAA Tournament. That would be fun to watch. No, actually it would be absolutely awesome to watch. With scoring slowing declining year-over-year in college hoops, fans deserve to be treated to what will likely be a high scoring, guard oriented game. Tony Bennett’s club had a nice season, an overachieving season, but they’re just not cool enough to keep partying at this dance. We don’t need a team that can hold a Drexel to just 35-points marching on into the weekend.
- Alabama – As part of an up-and-down season, the Crimson Tide reached the 70-point mark only once in their last 12 games. That was against Arkansas, so it shouldn’t even really count. Offensive-minded fans don’t want to see this team advance, because not only would it mean that the win came over Creighton, it would mean that Doug McDermott probably had a bad game. Even worse, it would prevent us from Doug McDermott play again until November, and that’s simply not unfair. We need more than just one game of Doug McDermott. The local media isn’t glossing over Alabama’s offensive inferences, but for some reason players aren’t that concerned, and head coach Anthony Grant says the team’s game against the BlueJays is about playing to strengths. I appreciate the positive thinking, but sometimes you gotta be able to keep up on the offensive end and the Crimson Tide have had problems doing just that.
- South Florida – Whether or not you think this team deserved an NCAA Tournament berth, they’re a really nice story, but boy are they excruciating to watch. The Bulls breed more boring basketball than I know what to do with, and their fans have every right to call me out for that statement. Why? Well their approach works, as Stan Heath has gotten this program to their first tourney appearance in 20 years because of sound defense and a we-don’t-care-who-scores offense. The third slowest team in the country, and ranked 326th in scoring, the Bulls don’t try and score more points than their opponent, they try to get their opponent to score less points than them. I wish this team the best, but will happily look for a different game when they’re on the tube.
- Notre Dame – If my reaction to Notre Dame’s approach to basketball was a movable GIF, it would be this. Xavier may have slipped a bit in the rootabiltiy index as part of the fallout from the Crosstown Brawl but, ugh, do you really want the prodding Fighting Irish to advance? Not only would we be subjected to their gimmick offense for another game, but it would likely be against Duke! These are like the two most hated athletic programs in the country. The pretentiousness would be billowing out of our flat-screens! I’m already nauseous thinking about it. Oh man somebody get me a cool towel to damp my face.
Follow Nick Fasulo on Twitter @billyedelinSBN
Five-star point guard Trevon Duval is the most electrifying lead guard in the Class of 2017. The native of Delaware dominated the Under Armour circuit this spring and is currently regarded by many as a top-five player in the class by most recruiting services.
Now he’s down to 10 schools as his recruiting is starting to become more of a focus. The 6-foot-2 Duval is down to Arizona, Cal, Kansas, Maryland, Oregon, St. John’s, Seton Hall, UCLA, USC and Villanova.
Things are still early in the process for Duval and it will be interesting to see if he schedules any official visits soon.
Ohio State has lost quite a few transfers and hasn’t had a lot go their way with regards to recent recruiting, but things could be changing after a good weekend.
The Class of 2018 is starting to look really good for the Buckeyes as they landed commitments from wings Darius Bazley and Justin Ahrens this weekend. The two in-state products are grassroots teammates together on King James and they give Ohio State three commitments in that class.
Bazley is considered a four-star prospect on Rivals while Ahrens checks in as a three-star. They join another Ohio native, guard Dane Goodwin, in the class as this could be the group that helps bring Ohio State back in regular Big Ten contention.
Butler picked up an important commitment on Monday as four-star forward Kyle Young committed to the Bulldogs.
A Class of 2017 stretch forward who can hit jumpers and has an improving skill set, the 6-foot-7 Young comes from Massillon, Ohio and he’s regarded as the No. 109 overall prospect.
Young was impressive in the Nike EYBL this spring and summer with King James as he averaged 15.5 points, 8.0 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game as he shot 48 percent from the field and 36 percent from 3-point range.
This is a nice grab for Butler as Young is the type of versatile perimeter shooter that they like to utilize and he should be able to help a bit on the glass as well.
Young joins a class that includes guards Cooper Neese and Jerald Butler.
Earlier this summer, we told you the story of Collin Sexton, how the 6-foot-2 Georgia native went from being a mid-major recruit to a five-star prospect being courted by the likes of Kansas, Arizona, North Carolina and Villanova.
It’s because he’s a bucket-getter.
RELATED: Making A Five Star
He averaged 31 points in the Nike EYBL circuit, nine points better than Michael Porter, who finished second in the league in scoring. No one puts points on the board like he does, so it’s only fitting that he was the guy that made a shot from the balcony during ‘The Trip’, Nike’s effort to keep kids associated with their brand from Elite 24:
UCLA capped their three-game trip to Australia on Sunday night with a 94-91 win over the Brisbane Bullets, a game in which sophomore point guard Aaron Holiday finished with a team-high 17 points. Bryce Alford and Isaac Hamilton both added 16 points and freshman Ike Anigbogu finished with 13 points and 10 boards.
This win came just two days after the Bruins lost to Melbourne United, 89-84, when Hamilton — 18 points and five assists — and Holiday — 16 points — were both once again impressive. Alford also added 18 points in Friday’s loss.
It’s not surprising that the Bruins had some up and down performances abroad. Everyone does. It’s what happens when a team of college kids, with three freshmen playing key roles, heads to the other side of the world to square off against teams made up of professionals. Don’t go hanging the ‘Fire Steve Alford’ banners on anymore airplanes just yet.
There are, however, two interesting things to consider from this trip:
– Lonzo Ball, UCLA’s star freshman, was, at best, their fourth-best perimeter player. Seniors Isaac Hamilton and Bryce Alford and sophomore Aaron Holiday all played well and posted impressive numbers on the three-game trip. Ball? He didn’t shoot well. At all. In UCLA’s 47-point opening win, he was 3-for-9 from the floor and 1-for-3 from three, putting together was was by far his best shooting performance of the trip. In the three games, he shot a total of 25 percent (9-36) from the field and 19 percent (4-21) from three. He did average 5.0 assists and, in one game, notched 13 boards, but Ball’s ability to shoot will be something to keep an eye on.
– And then there’s this, from Bryce Alford:
UCLA needs to travel with more towels.