Each Conferences Sleeper Team

Big Ten- Maryland Terrapins

I may be more of a believer in Maryland then most, but this team seems to have something.  Bruno Fernando is an elite big that could develop into an NBA superstar if put in the right situation. Fernando is an elite player that will be drawing double teams in big games. 

Guards Anthony Cowan, Aaron Wiggins and Eric Ayala will have open opportunities to get wide open shots from deep.  Ayala in particular will be huge shooting 47% from three on the season.  Wiggins and Cowan bring an 80% free throw shooting rate which can be a huge asset down the stretch in a close game.  Look at the UConn team that featured Shabazz Napier a few years ago, when they had a lead in the fourth quarter the game was essentially over.

The battle tested Terrapins currently hold an RPI of 27 and SOS of 27.  Two big matchups with Michigan will show the world what the potential of this team really is.

Big 12- Baylor Bears

If you have bet against the Baylor Bears this year you have probably found yourself cursing at the TV as they pull of another underdog upset. A team left for dead after their embarrassing opening night loss to Texas Southern has emerged as a potential contender in the Big 12.  It’s all pretty much pointless as we know Kansas is going to win the conference, but the Bears can be a problem for teams come March.

The Bears have quality wins over Iowa State, Oklahoma, TCU and Alabama have put Baylor back on the map after their brutal start.  Senior leadership of Makai Mason and King McClure will be huge in during March Madness.  Baylor shoots at a staggering 45% from the field while also being road warriors. Baylor is 4-1 straight up over its last five road games. This team is experienced and efficient.  A long run could be in store for the Bears.

ACC – Syracuse Orange

The perennial bubble team Syracuse should find themselves comfortably in the dance come tournament time, despite their poor showing at home against Florida State last night. The Orange are never a team to bet against, just ask the Duke Blue Devils.  This team has a SOS of 25 with quality non-conference wins over Ohio State and an emerging Georgetown team.

Frank Howard is the difference maker for Syracuse.  Howard is currently shooting above 40% on the season while be the floor general for a team that has to keep the ball moving for a chance to score.  3-point shooting with obviously be a factor as the Orange are about as bad as they come in that attribute shooting just 32% on the season.

Despite their shooting struggle Syracuse brings an elite defense and great experience on the floor.  They will be a team that no one wants to face in March.

SEC- Auburn Tigers

Most have forgotten that the Auburn Tigers were a top ten team at the start of 2019. Losses to NC State, Duke, Kentucky, at South Carolina and at Mississippi State took them out of the rankings but outside of the loss at South Carolina none of those horrible defeats.  Currently projected as a potential seven seed would put them in a great place come tournament time.

Bryce Brown and Jared Harper are as good as it gets backcourt tandom.  They should be getting back Center Austin Wiley for the stretch run as well.  Wiley a player that can anchor the defense averaging nearly two blocks per game in just sixteen minutes played per game. 

This team is too reliant on the 3-point shooting, if they are dropping they could be impossible to beat.  Their depth and running style will be a matchup that can where down opponents that have to play multiple games over a short time period.

Pac 12- Washington Huskies

There was really no other option.  They are ok in a PAC12 that is brutal.  They could win a game or lose in the first round.  Only other option was maybe UCLA. 

Game One of the NCAA Basketball Season

The NCAA Basketball season is back! November basketball doesn’t mean much in the long landscape of college basketball.  Teams that struggle on the first night mostly can regroup  when crunch time hits in February and March but as a sports community we are always quick to judgement so let’s judge away.

The Good- The ACC

As a Duke fan I try and keep my ACC biasis in check most of the time but this league is just to good to ignore.

Syracuse and Virginia will most likely be the most boring teams in basketball but their defensive ability will smother teams of all leavels.  Combined they both gave up just 76 points.

North Carolina avenged their loss to Wofford last year (they also covered -10.5).  Wofford is veteran team that gave them all they wanted.  North Carolina has a very underrated freshma class to compliment Luke Maye and Cameron Johnson.  This team is good.

We will get to the biggest statement win at the end of this article, don’t ignore the domination that Florida State showed last night. Florida is a solid team out of the revamped “basketball” conference the SEC.  Florida was never in that game.

The ACC showed how dominate they could be last night,  even Pittsburgh won!

The Bad- The Atlantic 10

The A-10 was set for some regression in 2018-19. Rhode Island lost their big stars and their coach.  St. Bonaventure lost a litany of starters, VCU has not been able to return to  since Shaka Smart moved on to Texas and the SLU Billikens are still transitioning into relevance under Travis Ford but opening night for this league did not go well.

George Mason, took a loss at home to the Ivy League’s Pennsylvania Quakers, traditionally not a terrible loss but for a team many saw as a top three contender in the Atlantic 10 this was very surprising.

George Washington continued its irrelavane after a dismal 2017-18 seaosn falling at home to American East’s Stony Brook Seawolves.  A game that saw George Washington blow an earyl 22-0 lead! George Washington is not good but this was a game that they were suppose to cruise to a win.

The Temple Owls were able to pull out a victory over La Salle but they did not look impressive to say the least struggling to keep the lead against a very unimpressive Lasalle squad.

Finally conference preseason favorite the SLU Billikens won but showed their potential issues in a ten point victory of Southeast Missouri State.  The Billikens could not find any shooting stroke making just 4-25 three point shots.  In today’s game lack of shooting will come back to haunt them.

Davidson and Rhode Island looked good beating two lesser teams but overall this was not a night to remember for the respected Atlanic 10 Conference.  Luckily for them they were over shadowed by a few games that had a bit more media draw.

THE SEC also had a pretty rough night.  Cough, Kentucky, Cough, Florida.

The Zion

There is a belief that Zion is the Holy Land and it truly exists.  Duke’s Zion Williamson, Cam Reddish, RJ Barrett and Tre Jones are the Zion of college basketball. The domination of the number two ranked Kentucky Wildcats was the tip of the iceberg of what this team can be.

While the four freshman bring the flash, role players Jack White, Marques Bolden, Alex O’Connell and Javin Delaurier complemented them perfectly on Tuesday night.  Talks of this team going undefeated are premature in the loaded ACC.  Games against defensive minded Syracuse and Virginia will give the Blue Devils trouble this season, but they established themselves as the true contenders, potentially the favorites to win it all.  There is a lot of basketball to play anything can happen over these next few months but as you watched the destruction of an extremely talented Kentucky team you could almost hear a collective groan from the rest of the college basketball world.