Missouri Tigers at Kentucky Wildcats -8
The Missouri Tigers are coming off of a route of Chicago State. Not exactly a good warmup for the #17 team in the country coming off of their biggest win of the season over rival Louisville. The Wildcats come into this with a clear size advantage, Missouri’s leading rebounder is guard Mark Smith averaging just 4.9 per game. They are going to be at a serious disadvantage on the boards. Kentucky can bring multiple bigs at the Missouri defense including Nick Richards and EJ Montegomery. Missouri will not get many, if any second chance opportunities while the Wildcats should be wild on the offensive boards.
This game will feature the 25th (Missouri) and 26th (Kentucky) adjusted defenses according to Kenpom. While they are both great on defense Mizzou ranks 117th in adjusted offense. Even if Mizzou is able to slow the game down, they are at such a huge disadvantage in size that is should be an easy win and cover for Kentucky.
Pick: Kentucky -8
Villanova Wildcats at Marquette Golden Eagles +1
I want to start by saying I love Markus Howard. One of my favorite players in the nation to watch. Problem is that his team doesn’t always show up the way he does. They have to face off against a Villanova team that is as hot as they come currently in college basketball. Winners of six straight including two wins over Xavier and Kansas. Villanova’s two loses came on the road against top ten teams Baylor and Ohio State. This game will be on the road but against a very different kind of opponent. Both of the aforementioned losses were against much stiffer defensive competition ranking 4th (Ohio State) and 12th (Baylor) in Kenpom’s defensive rankings.
Marquette is coming off of a loss to Creighton where they surrendered 92 points. They have to bring more intensity on the defensive end to stand a chance. Marquette will keep this one close but they have not shown the ability to finish higher level competition with their best wins coming against Kansas State, Purdue and USC, none bring the potential firepower Villanova does.
I like Villanova to establish themselves as the class of the tough Big East. Should be fun but this is a day for Wildcats.
Picks: Villanova -1
NC State Wolfpack vs. Memphis Tigers
A matchup between two teams that are hanging out next to each other on the Kenpom ratings with the Wolfpack at 41 followed directly by the Tigers at 42.
Memphis has won three straight since losing prized big man James Wiseman, they have done it by working the ball inside. Precious Achiuwa and DJ Jefferies carried the load against Ole Miss putting in 25 each. Achiuwa and Jefferies will have a premier matchup as the Wolfpack have had their issues guarding the interior, allowing lesser competition to dominate them.
NC State is lead by a great player in guard Markell Johnson. Johnson is going to have to deal with some serious pressure from the Memphis defense which will force turnover which will lead to easy points that the Wolfpack won’t be able to make up for.
Pick: Memphis Tigers ML
Davidson Wildcats vs Marquette Golden Eagles
Marquettes lone loss on the season came at the hands of Wisconsin who was able to control the pace of the game. Davidson this season has not been able to hold down the pace of anyone, ranking near the bottom of division one in defensive efficiency. Davidson just gave up 81 and 92 on back to back games against Wake Forest and Nevada, two teams that don’t bring the potential firepower that Marquette will.
This game will come down to the easy factor of controlling the glass. Marquette has a clear advantage lead be Theo John on the inside. This one could be close but the Golden Eagles have clear advantages.
Pick: Marquette -3
John Calipari has become one of the most recognizable
coaches in college basketball. Bringing
the Kentucky Wildcats storied program back to the prestige it was held.
Calipari revolutionized the one and done rule to the point that other coaches
were forced to adjust their mentality to compete.
Calipari is kind of a turd. He’s cocky, loud, conceded and a
winner. These traits, are the traits of
a coach that can make it in the league now.
His confidence makes him relatable to players. He has the confidence that is the way society
is, most recently shown by the comments of the “GOAT” Lebron James.
Let’s look at the potential for Cal in the NBA. The Washington Wizards will most likely move
on from Scott Brooks at the end of the season.
Why not make a call to coach Cal and see if he would be interested in
working with his old buddy John Wall again? Wall has shown immaturity
throughout his career, but he has a respect for his old college coach. If the
Wizards are committed to making it work with Wall bringing in a coach of his
choosing like Calipari would be a smart move. They can move Bradley Beal for a
mid-level player and clear some cap space for impending free agent DeMarcus
Cousins in 2019 or potentially wait for the big piece in two years with Anthony
Davis. Both former Calipari guys and both would show interest in matching up
with their former coach.
Let’s not act like bringing Calipari to the LA Lakers wouldn’t
be completely crazy. Luke Walton has not
made himself indispensable. Adding Cal
would work to help them recruiting Anthony Davis as well as make huge headlines
for an organization
Ok, maybe that idea is farfetched. Why would those guys want to go to
Washington? Well why would Paul George
stay in Oklahoma? Why did Lebron go back
to Cleveland? What is the deal with
Kawhi Leonard? There are a lot of things
that are hard to explain, the NBA continuously has players, coaches and teams
that make questionable decisions. Is it
so crazy to think that these players aren’t drawn to Calipari and his loose
style and demeanor?
Why would Calipari leave Kentucky? Being one of the most successful college
coaches of my generation is no joke. He
was able to take UMass and Memphis to heights that they have never been. Now he is at one the most prestigious
universities of all time. The reason he
may leave is that the one and done rule is on its way out. New developmental leagues are going to
attract players that want to make money instead of spending a year being forced
to go to classes that they do not care about.
This change will have an impact on the way Calipari has been building
While the changes in the NCAA can have an impact, I think it
is the past failures in the NBA that will drive Calipari to the NBA. During his time in New Jersey he was the
definition of inconsistency finishing with a career record of 72-112. This has to sit in his mind. His personality will drive him to make an
impact in the NBA before he calls it quits.
If Calipari was going to the NBA it should happen now.