Top 25 Countdown: Others Receiving Votes

Leave a comment

All month long, CBT will be rolling out our 2013-2014 season preview. Check back throughout the day, as we’ll be posting three or four preview items every day.

To browse through the preview posts we’ve already published, click here. The rest of our Top 25 Countdown can be found here. For a schedule of our previews for the month, click here.

Listed alphabetically.

Arizona State:

  • Last Season: 22-13, 9-9 Pac-12 (t-6th); Lost in NIT 2nd round
  • Key Losses: Carrick Felix, Evan Gordon, Chris Colvin
  • Key Returnees: Jahii Carson (18.5 ppg, 5.1 apg, 3.7 rpg), Jordan Bachynski (9.8 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 3.4 bpg), Jonathan Gilling (9.7 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 2.8 apg)
  • Key Newcomers: Jermaine Marshall, Egor Koulechov, Chance Murray, Shaquielle McKissic, Sai Tummala
  • Outlook: The big news for Herb Sendek’s club this offseason: Jahii Carson returned to school. Arguably the most exciting player in the country, Carson is the engine that makes the Sun Devils go. He’s an all-american candidate. Adding Penn State transfer Jermaine Marshall should help offset some of the perimeter punch that was lost with Carrick Felix and Evan Gordon departing, and Jordan Bachynski’s return provides a defensive menace around the rim. Missing the NCAA tournament (again) would be a major disappointment.

Baylor:

  • Last Season: 23-14, 9-9 Big 12 (6th); Won the NIT
  • Key Losses: Pierre Jackson, AJ Walton, Deuce Bello, LJ Rose
  • Key Returnees: Isaiah Austin (13.0 ppg, 8.3 rpg, 1.7 bpg), Cory Jefferson (13.3 ppg, 8.0 rpg, 1.9 bpg), Brady Heslip (8.6 ppg, 38.6% 3PT)
  • Key Newcomers: Kenny Chery, Ishmail Wainwright, Allerik Freeman, Johnathan Motley, Royce O’Neale*
  • Outlook: The good news is that the Bears have one of the best front lines in the country, as Isaiah Austin and Cory Jefferson are as long and athletic as any duo in the country. They averaged a combined 26.3 points, 16.3 boards and 3.6 blocks last season. The issue, however, is that a lot of that scoring came off the creativity of now-graduate Pierre Jackson. Can JuCo transfer Kenny Chery fill that role? Scoring guard Allerik Freeman and versatile wing Ishmael Wainwright can contribute as well. One interesting storyline will be Denver transfer Royce O’Neale’s pending eligibility.

Boise State:

  • Last Season: 21-11, 9-7 MWC (t-4th); Lost in the NCAA First Four
  • Key Losses: Kenny Buckner
  • Key Returnees: Anthony Drmic (17.7 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 39.2% 3PT), Derrick Marks (16.3 ppg, 3.9 apg, 42.3% 3PT), Jeff Elorriaga (10.3 ppg, 44.7% 3PT), Ryan Watkins (8.4 ppg, 6.8 rpg)
  • Key Newcomers: Darnell Taylor, Dezmyn Trent, James Webb
  • Outlook: The Broncos were supposed to be “a year away” last season, and yet they managed to put together a campaign strong enough to earn a trip to the NCAA tournament. This year, Leon Rice’s club will have one of the best perimeter attacks out west. Derrick Marks is one of the most explosive scorers in the country, and he’s the team’s second-leading returning scorer, trailing Anthony Drmic. Jeff Elorriaga is almost automatic from three when he gets his feet set, and Mikey Thompson and Igor Hadziomerovic provide a nice pop off the bench. The key? Finding some help for Ryan Watkins in the paint.

Cal:

  • Last Season: 21-12, 12-6 Pac-12 (t-2nd); Lost in the NCAA Round of 32
  • Key Losses: Allen Crabbe
  • Key Returnees: Justin Cobbs (15.1 ppg, 4.8 apg, 3.5 rpg), Ty Wallace (7.2 ppg, 4.4 rpg), Richard Solomon (8.9 ppg, 6.8 rpg)
  • Key Newcomers: Jabari Bird, Jordan Matthews, Kameron Rooks, Sam Singer, Roger Moute a Bidas
  • Outlook: Cal loses a lot with Allen Crabbe headed to the pros, but Justin Cobbs should anchor a perimeter attack that will rival any in the Pac-12. Ty Wallace is in line for a breakout sophomore season, Ricky Kreklow is finally healthy and Jabari Bird and Jordan Matthews anchor a solid incoming class. The key will be in the front court. Can Richard Solomon find a way to maximize his talent? Can David Kravish make the jump to the next level? Cal is a tournament team that is a sleeper to make a run at the Pac-12 title.
source:
Getty Images

Creighton:

  • Last Season: 28-8, 13-5 MVC (1st); Lost in the NCAA Round of 32
  • Key Losses: Gregory Echenique
  • Key Returnees: Doug McDermott (23.2 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 49.0% 3PT), Grant Gibbs (8.5 ppg, 5.8 apg, 4.1 rpg), Ethan Wragge (7.7 ppg, 44.6% 3PT)
  • Key Newcomers: Zach Hanson, Darian Harris, Toby Hegner, James Milliken, Devin Brooks
  • Outlook: The big news for Creighton is that they got their two-time first-team All-American, Doug McDermott, back for their inaugural season in the Big East. The better news was that playmaker Grant Gibbs was granted a sixth season of eligibility, anchoring a back court that has played together for a couple of years. Losing Gregory Echenique will hurt, however, as he had the kind of size and strength to battle with anyone in the post. The Bluejays need an interior presence. Who steps up?

Harvard:

  • Last Season: 20-10, 11-3 Ivy (1st); Lost in the NCAA Round of 32
  • Key Losses: Christian Webster
  • Key Returnees: Wesley Saunders (16.2 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 3.5 apg), Siyani Chambers (12.4 ppg, 5.7 apg), Laurent Rivard (10.4 ppg), Kyle Casey (11.4 ppg, 5.5 rpg in ’11-’12), Brandyn Curry (7.9 ppg, 4.9 apg in ’11-’12)
  • Key Newcomers: Zena Edosomwan, Hunter Myers, Matt Fraschilla
  • Outlook: The Crimson will be as talented as any Ivy League team in the history of the conference. They lose one player from a team that won the conference outright and knocked off New Mexico in the Round of 64 while adding a top 100 big man in Zena Edosomwan. and bringing back two all-Ivy caliber seniors in Kyle Casey and Brandyn Curry. Siyani Chambers was one of the most under-appreciated point guards in the country, and Wesley Saunders is a stud. Keep an eye on this group.

Iowa:

  • Last Season: 25-13, 9-9 Big Ten (5th); Lost in the NIT title game
  • Key Losses: Eric May
  • Key Returnees: Roy Devyn Marble (15.0 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 3.0 apg), Aaron White (12.8 ppg, 6.2 rpg), Mike Gesell (8.7 ppg, 2.6 apg),
  • Key Newcomers: Jarrod Uthoff, Peter Jok
  • Outlook: This is the year for Fran McCaffery’s club. The Big Ten is a bit down compared to where it was a season ago, and the Hawkeyes have a nice blend of talent, youth and experience. Roy Devyn Marble and Aaron White provide a solid core while sophomores Mike Gesell and Adam Woodbury should take the next step this season. Keep an eye on Wisconsin transfer Jarrod Uthoff, who has sat out the last two seasons as a redshirt and a transfer. Expect Iowa to pull off a couple big wins at home and to get into the NCAA tournament.

La Salle:

  • Last Season: 24-10, 11-5 Atlantic 10 (t-3rd); Lost in the Sweet 16
  • Key Losses: Ramon Galloway
  • Key Returnees: Tyreek Duren (14.2 ppg, 3.3 apg), Tyrone Garland (13.1 ppg, 2.0 apg), Jerell Wright (10.8 ppg, 6.7 rpg)
  • Key Newcomers: Tony Washington, Amar Stukes, Khalid Lewis
  • Outlook: Losing Ramon Galloway hurts, here’s no way around that fact, but Dr. John Giannini still has enough talent that a return to the NCAA tournament isn’t out of the question. Tyreek Duren has spent his career being underappreciated, while Tyrone “Southwest Philly Floater” Garland should see a bump in production with more shots and minutes available. Sam Mills and Jerell Wright also return, and keep an eye on Delaware transfer Khalid Lewis in the back court.

LSU:

  • Last Season: 19-12, 9-9 SEC (t-8th)
  • Key Losses: Charles Carmouche
  • Key Returnees: Johnny O’Bryant III (13.6 ppg, 8.7 rpg), Anthony Hickey (11.2 ppg, 3.8 apg, 2.9 spg), Shavon Coleman (10.5 ppg, 5.9 rpg), Andre Stringer (10.4 ppg)
  • Key Newcomers: Jarell Martin, Jordan Mickey, Tim Quarterman, John Odo, Brian Bridgewater, Darcy Malone
  • Outlook: Is this the year that the Tigers finally make that return trip to the NCAA tournament? They lose one player off of a team that won 19 games while bringing in a loaded recruiting class. Johnny O’Bryant should anchor a young-but-talented front line, while Anthony Hickey is once again back to terrorize opposing point guards. Quality depth — are freshman Jarell Martin, Jordan Mickey and Tim Quarterman ready to contribute immediately? — could determine the Tiger’s tournament chances.

Maryland:

  • Last Season: 25-13, 8-10 ACC (t-3rd); Lost in the NIT semifinals
  • Key Losses: Alex Len, Logan Aronhalt, Pe’Shon Howard
  • Key Returnees: Dez Wells (13.1 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 3.0 apg), Nick Faust (9.4 ppg, 3.7 rpg), Seth Allen (7.8 ppg, 2.3 apg)
  • Key Newcomers: Damonte Dodd, Roddy Peters, Evan Smotrycz
  • Outlook: Losing Alex Len to the NBA took Maryland out of any real contention for a run at an ACC title in their final season in the league, but there are enough pieces here for Mark Turgeon to get his group into the NCAA tournament. The Terps will have plenty of perimeter options with Dez Wells, Nick Faust and Seth Allen returning, and with Roddy Peters joining the mix, Maryland might actually have a real point guard on the roster. Evan Smotrycz and Jake Layman will spread the floor with Shaq Cleare and Charles Mitchell taking up space inside.

Missouri:

  • Last Season: 23-11, 11-7 SEC (t-5th); Lost in the NCAA Round of 64
  • Key Losses: Laurence Bowers, Phil Pressey, Alex Oriakhi, Keion Bell
  • Key Returnees: Jabari Brown (13.7 ppg, 3.4 rpg), Earnest Ross (10.3 ppg, 5.1 rpg)
  • Key Newcomers: Jordan Clarkson, Wes Clark, Johnathan Williams III, Shane Rector, Torren Jones, Keanau Post
  • Outlook: The Tigers lose quite a bit off of last year’s team, but there is reason to be hopeful in Columbia. Jabari Brown and Earnest Ross both return, and Frank Haith landed a talented recruiting class, headlined by Johnathan Williams III and Wes Clark. But the guy to watch will be Tulsa transfer Jordan Clarkson. The Tigers think he is the real deal, a talent that could make the all-SEC first team. Youth at the point and in the paint is a tough thing to overcome, but that trio on the wing could be enough to earn a tournament berth in a weak SEC.
source:
AP/Getty Images

Oregon:

  • Last Season: 28-9, 12-6 Pac-12 (t-2nd); Lost in the Sweet 16
  • Key Losses: EJ Singler, Tony Woods, Arsalan Kazemi, Carlos Emory
  • Key Returnees: Dominic Artis (8.5 ppg, 3.2 apg), Damyean Dotson (11.4 ppg, 3.5 rpg), Ben Carter (2.4 ppg, 2.3 rpg)
  • Key Newcomers: Mike Moser, Jordan Bell, Jason Calliste, Elgin Cook, AJ Lapray, Richard Amardi, Joseph Young*
  • Outlook: Dana Altman has become a master of the transfer market, this year landing Mike Moser and Jason Calliste as graduate transfers eligible immediately to bolster his roster. If Houston transfer Joseph Young gets a waiver from the NCAA as well, the Ducks will have one potent perimeter attack, as Dominic Artis and Damyean Dotson return as well. But who steps up in the front court to replace Arsalan Kazemi and Carlos Emory? Waverly Austin, Ben Carter and Richard Amardi should all get a shot at major minutes.

Saint Louis:

  • Last Season: 28-7, 13-3 Atlantic 10 (1st); Lost in the Round of 32
  • Key Losses: Kwamain Mitchell, Cody Ellis, Cody Remekun
  • Key Returnees: Dwayne Evans (14.0 ppg, 7.7 rpg), Mike McCall Jr (9.3 ppg, 40.2% 3PT), Jordair Jett (9.0 ppg, 3.2 apg)
  • Key Newcomers: Tanner Lancona, Mike Crawford, Reggie Agbeko
  • Outlook: The Billikens will be an interesting group to watch in the Atlantic 10 next season. They lost some talent with Kwamain Mitchell and Cody Ellis graduating, but Dwayne Evans could end up winning Atlantic 10 Player of the Year, Jordair Jett is one of the league’s more underrated players and the Billikens run a system where parts can be replaceable. They may not be getting a top four seed this year, but a trip to the tournament should be expected.

San Diego State:

  • Last Season: 23-11, 9-7 MWC (t-4th); Lost in the Round of 32
  • Key Losses: Jamaal Franklin, Chase Tapley, James Rahon
  • Key Returnees: Xavier Thames (9.5 ppg, 2.4 apg), JJ O’Brien (7.2 ppg, 4.5 rpg), Winston Shepard (5.7 ppg, 3.5 rpg)
  • Key Newcomers: Josh Davis, Dakarai Allen, D’Erryl Williams
  • Outlook: The Aztecs are in for a bit of a rebuilding season, as they lost their most talented player (Jamaal Franklin) and their most important player (Chase Tapley). Bringing in Josh Davis from Tulane should help them sustain the blow, but it will be the development of Winston Shepard as a sophomore and the impact of Dakarai Allen as a freshman that will determine if SDSU can be more than just a “tournament team”.

St. John’s:

  • Last Season: 17-16, 8-10 Big East (11th); Lost in the NIT’s 2nd Round
  • Key Losses: Amir Garrett
  • Key Returnees: D’Angelo Harrison (17.8 ppg, 4.3 rpg), Phil Greene (10.1 ppg, 2.7 apg), JaKarr Sampson (14.9 ppg, 6.6 rpg), Chris Obekpa (6.2 rpg, 4.0 bpg)
  • Key Newcomers: Rysheed Jordan, Orlando Sanchez, Max Hooper
  • Outlook: The Johnnies will be the most intriguing team in the Big East next season. They are deep, they are talented, they have athletes up and down their roster. JaKarr Sampson might end up being a lottery pick. D’Angelo Harrison and Rysheed Jordan will be one of the most dynamic back courts in the country. Chris Obepka defends the rim like he’s got skis for arms. Will they put all the pieces together? Can Steve Lavin coach a winning team? He’ll have every chance this season.

Stanford:

  • Last Season: 19-15, 9-9 Pac-12 (t-6th); Lost in the NIT’s 2nd Round
  • Key Losses: Andy Brown
  • Key Returnees: Dwight Powell (14.9 ppg, 8.4 rpg), Chasson Randle (13.6 ppg, 2.6 apg), Josh Huestis (10.5 ppg, 9.0 rpg), Aaron Bright (9.3 ppg, 3.4 apg)
  • Key Newcomers: Malcolm Allen, Marcus Allen, Schuyler Rimmer
  • Outlook: This may be a make-or-break season for Johnny Dawkins. For the third straight season, he’ll have his core of Dwight Powell, Chasson Randle, Josh Huestis and Aaron Bright intact, but does that mean that he’ll end up playing in the NIT for the third straight season?

UNLV:

  • Last Season: 25-10, 10-6 Mountain West (3rd); Lost in the Round of 64
  • Key Losses: Anthony Bennett, Anthony Marshall, Katin Reinhardt, Mike Moser, Justin Hawkins, Quintrell Thomas
  • Key Returnees: Bryce Dejean-Jones (10.3 ppg, 2.3 apg), Khem Birch (7.2 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 2.6 bpg)
  • Key Newcomers: Roscoe Smith, Jelan Kendrick, Deville Smith, Jamal Aytes, Christian Wood, Kendall Smith, Kevin Olekaibe
  • Outlook: The Runnin’ Rebels will undergo a major roster overhaul this season. Bryce Dejean-Jones and Khem Birch are the only returnees, but Dave Rice replaces the six rotation players he lost with a loaded class of recruits and transfers. How they come together, however, will be interesting to watch. Roscoe Smith was a top 30 recruit but left UConn. Jelan Kendrick is a McDonald’s all-american that flamed out of two schools in a year and a half. Deville Smith transferred from Mississippi State after one season. Rice has been able to amass talent out in Vegas. Can he finally get them to come together?

Virginia:

  • Last Season: 23-12, 11-7 ACC (t-4th); Lost in the NIT quarterfinals
  • Key Losses: Jontel Evans, Paul Jesperson
  • Key Returnees: Joe Harris (16.3 ppg, 4.0 rpg), Akil Mitchell (13.1 ppg, 8.5 rpg), Mike Tobey (6.8 ppg, 2.9 rpg), Justin Anderson (7.6 ppg)
  • Key Newcomers: London Perrantes, Devon Hall
  • Outlook: A couple of ugly losses early in the season cost the Cavs a chance at the NCAA tournament, but Tony Bennett brings the majority of his roster back from a team that was better than their postseason tournament would indicate. Joe Harris and Akil Mitchell might be the best 1-2 punch in the country you’ve never heard of. Mike Tobey is a trendy pick as a breakout star. Justin Anderson is the perfect wing for Bennett’s system. Replacing Jontel Evans’ leadership won’t be easy, but the Cavs are a sleeper ACC title pick.

USC lands four-star 2018 guard Elijah Weaver

Leave a comment

USC landed an important commitment for its future on Monday night as four-star Class of 2018 guard Elijah Weaver.

Regarded as the No. 35 overall prospect in the Rivals’ national Class of 2018 rankings, the 6-foot-5 Weaver gives the Trojans a floor leader to build around for the future as he provides great size in the backcourt. Capable of playing multiple guard spots, Weaver has a lot of upside for a program that has done a very solid job of developing backcourt talent under head coach Andy Enfield.

Weaver’s commitment is also important for the Trojans because it comes despite the looming FBI investigation that the program is dealing with thanks to former assistant coach Tony Bland. USC had recently lost a four-star commitment from forward J’Raan Brooks, so the commitment of Weaver is a huge momentum boost for them as they get right back on track in the Class of 2018.

With Weaver in the mix, USC now owns three four-star pledges in the 2018 class as he joins four-star forward Taeshon Cherry and four-star guard Kevin Porter.

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?