Cyber Monday Specials: Who should you buy on special?

2 Comments

In order to help you maximize your online shopping on this Cyber Monday, we at CollegeBasketballTalk ahve provided you with a guide on who to buy, who to buy lots of, and who to stay away from after the first three weeks of the season.

Who are you buying on sale?:

Raphielle Johnson: Miami. I think some had their doubts when the Hurricanes lost at Florida Gulf Coast to begin the season, even with Durand Scott out of the lineup. With him back the perimeter play is much better, and they’re coming off of a solid win over Detroit. Get them cheap.

Dan Martin: Connecticut. Kevin Ollie has his team playing with house money, having been banned from postseason play this year. They caught the nation’s eye with a win over Michigan State to start the season and I’ll take them at 35% off.

Troy Machir: Maryland. Tight on funds but looking to surprise a fan of conference realignment? The trio of Len, Faust and Howard should bring a smile to any downtrodden ACC fan outside of the Tobacco Road Triangle.

Rob Dauster: VCU. The Rams are 3-3 right now, after dropping decisions to both Duke and Missouri in the Battle 4 Atlantis. You can get this team on the cheap right now, and it will pay dividends when they run through March.

Eric Angevine: I’ll buy some cheap North Carolina. Roy’s teams always hit some speed bumps in the early going, but a loss to a very good Butler team is nothing to hang your head about. This team always rounds into shape for ACC play. I’d buy Ohio cheap, but they aren’t really on sale. They’ll be overlooked all season until March, when everyone realizes how good this team really is. Always in the bargain bin, but they don’t belong there.

David Harten: Colorado. As far as most pundits were concerned entering the season, it was Andre Roberson and the rest of the Buffaloes. They’ve proven they’re not one-dimensional with a prolific scorer in Askia Booker and have received a boost from freshman Josh Scott.

Who are you buying three of on sale to resell on Craigslist for profit?:

Eric Angevine: I’ll buy three of Minnesota on sale, and try to resell for a profit. I’ll admit that I’m shorting them, because I think the team is good enough to win 20 games, but will be cut down to size in the Big Ten. They ain’t that good.

Rob Dauster: Missouri. I had the Tigers top five in the preseason. No one else did, and everyone else’s opinion of them went down when Mizzou got run out of the Dance Hall by Louisville in the Bahamas. But the Tigers are playing without their two best wing-scorers in Mike Dixon and Jabari Brown. Get them now.

Dan Martin: Pittsburgh is under the radar at this point, so I’ll gladly grab three of them and sell high later in the season. James Robinson and Tray Woodall make up a very solid backcourt.

Raphielle Johnson: Montana. The Grizzlies moved to 3-1 with a one-point win over San Diego and they’ve got a trip to BYU on Wednesday night. But this is all happening with Will Cherry out of the lineup. When he returns in December Montana will be the team expected by many to not only win the Big Sky but possibly scare someone in the Big Dance.

David Harten: Drexel. Bruiser Flint returned a ton of talent from last season’s team, but is currently sitting at 2-4 after losses to Xavier, St. Mary’s, Kent State and Illinois State, three of which have legitimate shots at the NCAA Tournament. On paper, some sucker would take this bargain, though in the end it might be a good one.

Troy Machir: Davidson. A relatively cheap gift considering their 3-3 record, but with close losses to Gonzaga and New Mexico along with a few more high-profile, non-conference opponents still remaining, the Wildcats could be a very desirable commodity for bracket enthusiasts come March. De’Mon Brooks is safe for children 12 and up.

Who are you avoiding, even at a 50% discount?:

Troy Machir: The A-10. It looks like a great gift now, but after a month of non-conference play, how confident are you with the over-priced investment you are likely to make now? Hold off until the President’s Day sale.

Dan Martin: Memphis. The Tigers came into the Battle 4 Atlantis ranked in the Top 20 and leave with two losses and a narrow win over Northern Iowa.

Rob Dauster: I’ll give you two: Baylor and UNLV. The Bears lost at home to Charleston and have, once again, failed to play up to their talent level. UNLV’s roster concerns are beginning to manifest themselves. Stay away from both.

David Harten: UCLA. The Bruins just tanked a game against Cal Poly. Before that, it took overtime to beat UC-Irvine and they squeaked past a Georgia team that got owned at home by Youngstown State. Maybe this is too knee-jerk, but there was a warning label attached to this team from the beginning. And it’s starting to show why.

Eric Angevine: UCLA obviously. So the non-obvious answer is Memphis. Great talent as usual, but not gelling as a team.

Raphielle Johnson: UCLA. That front court. Don’t even know what to say after their loss to Cal Poly, in which they were outscored by the Mustangs 28-16 in the paint. There’s talent on the perimeter but teams that get to the Final Four have dependable interior options. Bruins don’t have those right now.

Jim Larranaga believes he’s ‘Coach-3’ in FBI investigation

Joe Robbins/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Despite losing key contributors Davon Reed and Kamari Murphy from last season’s NCAA tournament team, the Miami Hurricanes are expected to be a player both within the ACC and nationally this season. But instead of having the focus solely on the likes of JaQuan Newton, Bruce Brown and Lonnie Walker, Jim Larrañaga’s program is also having to deal with the impact of the ongoing FBI investigation into corruption and fraud in college basketball.

While no one connected to the Miami men’s basketball program was arrested last month, the program is referenced in the FBI report. On Monday, Larrañaga stated during a press conference that he believes that he is “Coach-3” in the FBI report. Larrañaga also maintained his innocence, saying that he had done nothing wrong while also being thankful that none of his assistant coaches were involved.

“It’s been a strain, physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually,” Larrañaga said according to the Palm Beach Post. “It’s something that’s there. I have to deal with it. I have the support of my wife and a wonderful family. I have the support of the university, my staff and players.”

According to the FBI report, “Coach-3” requested that payments totaling $150,000 be funneled to “Player-12” in order to ensure his commitment to their university. It has been reported that “Player-12” was 2018 five-star prospect Nassir Little, who has also stated that he had done nothing wrong. Two of the schools recruiting Little at the time, Arizona and Miami, have been entangled in the FBI investigation to varying degrees.

While Miami has not had anyone connected to its program arrested, Arizona assistant coach Emmanuel “Book” Richardson was one of the four Division I coaches were were indicted. As a result Little removed both Arizona and Miami from consideration before ultimately committing to North Carolina earlier this month.

There’s no telling what the FBI investigation will ultimately uncover, which for the schools involved could take a heavy toll not only for the 2017-18 season but for future years as well. The FBI case has been comparatively quiet since the first set of indictments, with future moves likely to be influenced by what authorities learn from the ten individuals named in the first announcement.

Miles Bridges discusses being offered money during recruiting process

Rob Carr/Getty Images
1 Comment

With the FBI launching an investigation into corruption and fraud in college basketball last month, the entire sport has found itself under the microscope. Ten people, including four Division I assistant coaches, were arrested and there’s no telling just how long the FBI’s investigation will last or what information it will produce.

Michigan State forward Miles Bridges is considered by many to be the leading candidate for national Player of the Yeah honors, and he had the opportunity to turn pro after a good freshman season. But Bridges made the decision to return to East Lansing, and with that comes questions as to why he would do that as opposed to cashing in on his NBA potential as soon as possible.

In an interview with Brendan Quinn of The Athletic (subscription required) Bridges discussed a host of issues, including being offered money by people while going through the recruiting process.

“I mean, if you get caught, that might be the end of your career. I wanted to play in college really bad,” Bridges told Quinn. “I don’t know — materialistic things, they don’t really get to me. So when people were offering me money, I would say no right away, because I wanted to be able to live out my college experience. But really, I don’t know, it is hard, especially because I was so young at the time — 17.”

Given the ongoing investigation, high-profile players and teams will be on the receiving end of increased scrutiny even if they aren’t part of the FBI probe. It’s an unfair situation for a player like Bridges to deal with, as even in the actual cases of alleged wrongdoing the players themselves are essentially commodities whose services are being auctioned as opposed to the main characters looking to cash in.

Unfortunately, due to recent events a decision like the one made by Bridges will result in some questioning whether or not the player received something from the school or another entity/individual. And that’s a tough — and unfair — thing for a young player to have to deal with.

Broken hand sidelines North Carolina PG Joel Berry II

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Leave a comment

North Carolina’s defense of its national title will likely begin without its most important player, as it was announced on Monday that senior point guard Joel Berry II will miss approximately four weeks due to a broken bone in his right hand.

Berry started at the point each of the last two seasons, earning Most Outstanding Player honors in April as the Tar Heels defeated Gonzaga to win the national title. As a junior, Berry averaged 14.7 points, 3.6 assists and 3.1 rebounds per game and started 37 of the 38 games in which he played. Berry shot 42.6 percent from the field and 38.3 percent from three, with the latter percentage being the best on team amongst players who attempted at least two three-pointers per game.

Berry was named an NBC Sports Preseason Third-Team All-American in late September.

With Berry out of the lineup, North Carolina loses its floor general as well as one of their top perimeter shooters. Sophomore Seventh Woods and freshman Jalek Felton become more important options at the point as a result of Berry’s injury, and the team doesn’t lack for perimeter shooters either with Cameron Johnson, Brandon Robinson, Kenny Williams and freshman Andrew Platek all being capable of helping to pick up the slack.

North Carolina opens its regular season on November 10 against Northern Iowa.

Bill Self’s stance on Kansas/Missouri series remains unchanged

J Pat Carter/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Sunday afternoon in Kansas City, bitter rivals Kansas and Missouri got together on the basketball court for the first time since 2012, with the Showdown for Relief raising $1.75 million for recent hurricane victims. In what was an entertaining game, the Jayhawks won by the final score of 93-87 with point guard Devonté Graham leading the way for the winners with 25 points and ten rebounds.

Kansas finished the game with five players in double figures, including Mississippi State transfer Malik Newman (17 points) and center Udoka Azubuike (16). On the other side freshman Michael Porter Jr. paced four Tigers in double figures with 21 points while younger brother Jontay grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds off the bench.

However despite the excitement for the two rivals being on the same court in any capacity, Sunday’s meeting was different given the circumstances. Following the game Kansas head coach Bill Self was asked about the possibility of the two teams meeting in a regular season game, and he maintained the stance he’s held since Missouri left the Big 12 for the SEC.

“I’m not going to say never, but I don’t think there’s been any change in our position as far as the university goes,” Self said following Sunday’s exhibition. “I’m the spokesman, I guess, on this but trust me, I’m not the only one that feels that way.”

While it would certainly benefit college basketball if Kansas and Missouri were to renew acquaintances down the line, it is understandable that Self — and maybe some others on the Kansas side of things — would have reservations. The programs, even with the arrival of Cuonzo Martin in Columbia and the freshman class led by the aforementioned Michael Porter Jr., are in different places right now.

The Jayhawks have their sights set on a 14th consecutive Big 12 title and a run at their first national title since 2008, Missouri is looking to fast-track a rebuilding process after struggling mightily under former head coach Kim Anderson. Yet with that being said, the state of the two athletic departments during realignment likely has more to do with the teams not playing each other.

Missouri was a school with options earlier this decade before joining the SEC, but that was not the case for Kansas. Had the Big 12 broken up as some believed would be the case, where would the Jayhawks have landed? Fortunately for the school the Big 12 survived the realignment craze, losing four schools (Missouri and Texas A&M to the SEC, Colorado to the Pac-12 and Nebraska to the Big Ten) and adding TCU and West Virginia to get their membership number to ten.

Given that, the best bet for college basketball fans who want to see this rivalry played during the regular season may be to hope for the programs wind up in the same in-season tournament. Even better, how about the same NCAA tournament region?

Top 100 Players Countdown

NBC Sports
Leave a comment

Starting on Monday morning and continuing throughout the week, we will be counting down the top 100 players in college basketball on the College Basketball Talk twitter account.

Check back to this page – or to the CBT twitter account – throughout the week to get caught up on the rankings.

MOREThe Enigma of Miles Bridges | NBC Sports Preseason All-American Team
CONTENDER SERIES: Kentucky | Kansas | Arizona | Michigan State | Duke
Big Ten Preview | ACC Preview | Big 12 Preview | Pac 12 Preview