Hey everyone, Matthew Ryan and Rob Mailley here! During March, we will be responding to takes posted on the @tfrontoffice Instagram story, so head over to the page to drop your opinions, then come back to the blog and see what we have to say! Today we’re responding to hot takes on the first weekend.
Texas loses in the first round vs Abilene Christian:
I’m not sure how much I buy this take: Texas is just too damn good. The Longhorns are red hot with 5 dubs heading in to the tournament, and they have an absurdly good backcourt in Jones, Coleman, and Ramey, all who consistently produce solid numbers. Also, I simply cannot see Texas losing to a team led by a man named Kolton Kohl – I refuse to envision that reality. Kohl is a 7 foot center, and freakishly good at drawing fouls, at a clip of 6.7 per 40 minutes. That being said, he’s a poor rebounder for his size, and Texas should be able to control the boards. If they can do that and minimize turnovers, this should be a win
Oral Roberts upsets OSU
When I first read this one, I just about laughed my ass off. Oral Roberts? That backwards bible college? But it turns out that not being able to drink, smoke, or engage in premarital sex gives the basketball players plenty of time to work on their game. And they do just that – they have two players, Max Abmas and Kevan Obanor, who are assets on the offensive end. Abmas has the highest offensive rating in the country per Kenpom, and Obanor will be an issue in the paint for the OSU defense. I could see these two shooting the lights out and shocking Ohio state, but when I take a step back, it looks a lot less likely. Ohio state has length – and ORU is already poor on the boards. They’re also 0-5 against major conference opponents, and they were run out of the gym by Mizzou in the beginning of the season. The closest they got to defeating a real opponent (sorry Summit League) was at Oklahoma State, where they lost by 5 and were outrebounded 42-33. I expect more of the same today.
Creighton makes the Sweet 16
In the first round, the Bluejays, who are a really solid 7-3 in quad one games, go up against UC Santa Barbara, who have an impressive 18-1 record in their last 19 games, but when you take a closer look, they are playing schools that I didn’t even know exist. UCSB has not played a single quad one game and is just 2-4 in quad two games. I expected Creighton to easily handle them and advance to the second round, where I suspect they will play Virginia, assuming Virginia beats Ohio University. Virginia has had a nice year, winning the ACC and going 5-4 in quad one games. Overall, Creighton plays very inconsistently, so their game against Virginia could go either way, but I see the Bluejays pulling it out and advancing to the Sweet 16.
LSU upsets Michigan and makes a tournament run
LSU having a competitive game against Alabama in the SEC Championship game is a great sign going into the tournament. I will put them past their first round matchup, St. Bonaventure, and have them playing Michigan in the second round. The Wolverines had a great start to the year but have won just two of their last five games, granted all of those losses have come against tournament teams, and two of them came against top two seeds. Michigan is down one of their starters, Isaiah Livers, who is their second leading scorer at 13.1 PPG. I see LSU beating Michigan and advancing to the Sweet 16, where they will most likely face Florida St. I give the edge to LSU as they will be riding the momentum of a second round upset win and advance to the Elite Eight, where they will most likely have an SEC Championship game rematch against Alabama. This is where I see the run for the Tigers ending, but an Elite Eight showing for an eight seed is very impressive.
Villanova advances to the Sweet Sixteen
This is really tough. ‘Nova has been ranked all season, but an injury late in the year to their point guard Collin Gillespie REALLY hurts. The ‘Cats are 0-2 without Gillespie in the starting lineup and have a tough first round matchup against the 23-1 Winthrop Eagles. Much like UC Santa Barbara, the teams that Winthrop has played I have never heard of, and the Eagles have not played a single quad one game. I see ‘Nova getting out of the first round despite losing their leader, Gillespie, and facing Purdue in the round of 32. This isn’t an ideal matchup for ‘Nova as Purdue’s leading scorer Trevion Williams (15.6 PPG) is 6’ 10,” and they also have 7’ 4” Zach Edey down low. The tallest player on ‘Nova is just 6’ 9”, so guarding those two bigs will be an issue. If Purdue does play Edey a lot, ‘Nova can take advantage on the offensive side of the ball if they can knock down their threes, which can happen, but the ‘Cats have been pretty hot or cold this year. I can see this game going either way, but I give Purdue an edge because of their size.
(All quadrant records are from Warrennolan.com Quadrant Record-NET)