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Cyber Monday Specials: Who should you buy on special?


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.

No. 1 Kentucky survives without Tyler Ulis in lineup

Tyler Ulis
AP Photo/Chuck Burton
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Less than a week after giving No. 2 Maryland all they could handle, Illinois State went into Lexington and gave No. 1 Kentucky fits.

The Redbirds never really threatened UK in the second half, but they went into the break tied and were within single digits down the stretch, eventually losing 75-63.

Kentucky was flustered. They turned the ball over 15 times compared to just eight assists, they shot 2-for-12 from three and just 29-for-46 (63 percent) from the charity stripe. They simply did not handle Illinois State’s pressure all that well.

And there was a reason for that.

Tyler Ulis didn’t play.

Sometimes it’s difficult to appreciate just what a player brings to a team until that player is not in the lineup, and that was precisely the case with Ulis on Monday night. It was crystal clear what he provides Kentucky. Beyond leadership and the ability to break a press without throwing the ball to the other team, he’s a calming presence. He doesn’t get rattled when a defender is harassing him and he doesn’t get overwhelmed by a situation like a mid-major threatening the No. 1 team in the country in their own gym.

He’s everything you look for in a pure point guard, and for as good as Jamal Murray and Isaiah Briscoe have looked at times this season, it should be crystal clear who the most important player on this Kentucky team is.

LSU loses to Charleston, eliminates at-large bid margin for error

Ben Simmons
AP Photo/Kathy Willens
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Ben Simmons scored 15 points and grabbed 18 rebounds, the second time in his six-game career that the LSU freshman has collected that many caroms, but that wasn’t enough for the Tigers to avoid dropping a game on the road to the College of Charleston, 70-58. It was the third straight loss for Simmons’ crew, as they fell to Marquette and N.C. State at the Legends Classic last week.

But here’s the thing: LSU didn’t just lose.

The game really wasn’t close.

LSU was down by as many as 23 points. It was 39-17 at the half, and that was after Charleston had a shot at the buzzer called off upon review. They made a bit of a run in the second half but never got closer than seven. When LSU would cut into the lead, the Cougars would respond with a run of their own, killing LSU’s spirit while keeping them at arm’s length.

[RELATED: Ben Simmons’ one college year a waste?]

Now, there are quite a few things here to discuss. For starters, LSU’s effort was, at best, apathetic, and, at worst, regular old pathetic. The team has a serious lack of leadership that was plainly evident on Monday night; would Fred VanVleet let his team fold against a program picked to finish at the bottom of the SoCon? Would Tyler Ulis? For that matter, would Tom Izzo or Mike Krzyzewski or John Calipari?

Perhaps more importantly, does any of that change when Keith Hornsby and Craig Victor get back?

Simmons did show off his potential — 18 boards, four assists, he even made his first three of the year — but he also showed precisely why there are scouts that are trying to curtail the LeBron James comparisons. Simmons was 4-for-15 from the floor with seven turnovers against a mediocre mid-major team. There are so many things that Simmons does well, but scoring efficiently — particularly in half court setting — and shooting the ball consistently are not on that list.

But here’s the biggest issue: LSU may have put themselves in a situation where they aren’t a tournament team. As of today, they’re 3-3 on the season with losses to a pair of teams that, at best, seem destined to be in the bubble conversation on Selection Sunday in addition to this loss to Charleston. The rest of their non-conference schedule is ugly. The only game worth noting is at home against No. 6 Oklahoma at the end of January.

The NCAA factors in non-conference schedule strength when determining at-large teams. You need to at least try, and LSU didn’t try; they have one of the worst non-conference schedules in the country.

The great thing about being in the SEC — as opposed to, say, the Missouri Valley — is that the Tigers will have plenty of chances to earn marquee wins. Six, by my court: Kentucky twice, Texas A&M twice, Vanderbilt on the road and Oklahoma at home. They probably need to win at least two or three of those games to have a real chance, and that’s assuming they can avoid anymore horrid losses in the process.

The season isn’t over six games in, not by any stretch of the imagination.

But LSU has done a hell of a job eliminating their margin for error.