Episode four of the College Basketball Podcast is here to ring in the new year. Host Troy Machir is joined by expert college hoops insider Jeff Goodman of CBSsports.com to check the pulse of the college basketball world.
The show opens up with a reminder of the podcast’s core values: We’re here to talk hoops. We didn’t bring Jeff on to ask him about his Christmas presents or his New Years plans. The CBT Podcast is dubbed “The best 30 minutes in college basketball” for a reason.
We dive right in to recapping the action and setting the tables for conference play. The Big-10, Big East and SEC are all discussed and Jeff tries his best to predict the top-5 in each conference.
But the overarching theme of the podcast is “leadership”. Michigan State is trying to replace Draymond Green, one of the greatest leaders in college hoops history. Louisville, who Jeff still thinks is the best team in the country, has a terrific leader in senior guard Peyton Siva. Across the state in Lexington, the Wildcats are looking for leadership out of freshman Alex Poythress, who has struggled recently to get himself involved in important moments in games.
Finally, we hand out some awards for the first two months. You will be surprised to hear who Jeff thinks is “most improved”.
So if you’re ready for the best 30 minutes in college basketball, click “play” or open the link below and let’s get things started.
The 6-foot-3 guard averaged 10.3 points per game, while shooting 42 percent from three, as a freshman. He, along with Malcolm Hill and Michael Thorne Jr., is one of three returning players who averaged double figures last season.
This could prove to be a make-or-break year for John Groce, who enters his fifth season at the helm. He guided the Illini to an NCAA Tournament in his first season, but hasn’t been back since.
The key for the Illini is health. Abrams gives them experience and leadership, but it won’t be a surprise if there’s some rust in his game after spending the past two seasons on the sideline. Having a healthy Coleman-Lands will help stabilize the backcourt, while Hill, an all-conference caliber forward, and Thorne anchor the frontcourt.
Like Alkins, Jones was a sought-after scorer. The 6-foot-4 two-guard was rated No. 69 overall in the Class of 2016 by Rivals. He picked Indiana over offers from Cal, Cincinnati, Georgetown and more than a dozen other high-major programs.
Jeter, the 6-foot-10, played in a reserve role as a freshman, averaging 1.9 points and 1.9 rebounds per game last season. He will be part of a loaded frontline that includes heralded freshmen Harry Giles and Marques Bolden, as well as redshirt senior Amile Jefferson, who returns to the lineup following a foot injury.
The greatest player in Auburn program history will honored with a statue outside of the team’s home arena.
The university announced that Charles Barkley, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer, will be the fourth athlete to be given a statue, joining Heisman Trophy winners Bo Jackson, Pat Sullivan and Cam Newton.
“It just means a great deal to me,” Barkley said in a statement. “Being a kid from Alabama, going to Auburn. I think everybody knows what Auburn means to me. It’s going to be pretty cool.”
Barkley, currently working as an analyst for TNT, was the SEC Player of the Year in 1984, as well as a second team All-American. He averaged 14.1 points and 9.6 rebounds per game in 84 appearances for the Tigers.