Category Archives: Conference USA

Building a 12-man roster from uncommitted transfers: Sophomores, Part One

Marcus Evans opted to transfer from Rice after his sophomore season, and instantly became arguably the top transfer on the market this season.

CALGARY, Alta. — Once again, the transfer list continually grows with each passing day.

According to Verbal Commits, the 2017 Division I transfer list has eclipsed 240 names, and that number will only continue to rise as the off-season rolls along.

For the record, the off-season doesn’t officially begin until Tuesday, April 4th, the day after the National Championship is decided.

With the high numbers of players finding themselves on the open market, testing the waters in the hopes of securing a scholarship at a school that better fits their needs, there a plethora of talented student-athletes on the list. From the power conferences and perennial national title contenders, right down to the smallest of schools, there are transfers from all across the country.

So, we got thinking. What would a team look like if it was built solely from uncommitted transfers?

We decided to dig a little deeper and see what kind of team we could come up with. The list was divided into each player’s year of eligibility, and then rosters were formed of players in the same year.

Here is the best roster that we could come up with for sophomore players who have transferred, but not yet committed to a new school.

As each week passes, and more players either transfer or commit to schools, we will alter the rosters on Tuesdays to accommodate the changes in the market. Continue reading Building a 12-man roster from uncommitted transfers: Sophomores, Part One

Wesner’s 4-Point Play: The NOT SO Wild West, the rise of #12 Middle Tennessee & fall of #12 Nevada

Photo courtesy of Getty Images and Mike Ehrmann.

1. The NOT SO Wild West
The complete West Regional was in action on Thursday. 

Let’s just someone left the chalk out.

In eight games, just one featured a lower seed prevailing victoriously; #11 Xavier defeated #6 Maryland, 76-65.

Though, is an Edmond Sumner-less Musketeers beating an overrated Terrapins team an upset? 

Absolutely not! 

Bracket brainiacs know Xavier OWNS City Beautiful, aka Orlando, Florida. Since November 2015, Chris Mack’s squad is 7-0 with two early season tournament championships (2015 Advocare Invitational and 2016 Tire Pros Tip-Off) in Orange County (Florida). Equally impressive is the individual play of the junior sensation Bluiett, underneath the Florida sun, is averaging 17 points per game in Orlando during his collegiate career.

Despite defeat, mid-major scoring guards lived up to their expectations. #13 Bucknell sophomore Kimbal Mackenzie netted 23 points (7-of-15 shooting), #14 Florida Gulf Coast junior Brandon Goodwin finished with 28 points (12-of-27 shooting) and 7 rebounds and #15 North Dakota senior Quinton Hooker had 25 points (10-of-21 shooting). Though, a common denominator, outside of defeat, is all three had shooting percentages under 50 percent.

Efficient performances are imperative for star mid-major guards if one wants to advance to the next round.

2. #5 Virginia and #4 Florida kill upset fun

When the NCAA Tournament bracket was announced, the Virginia Cavaliers and Florida Gators were immediately put on upset alert. Both lost the first game of their respective conference tournaments and appeared to be sitting ducks (No pun intended, Oregon) for #12 UNC Wilmington and #13 East Tennessee State.

It’s always sunny in Orlando.

The two higher seeds held off competitive showings from their opponents to force a Saturday night showdown for a trip to the Sweet Sixteen.

For a second straight game, Tony Bennett’s Cavaliers struggled to string stops together on the defensive end. Against Notre Dame in the quarterfinals of the ACC Tournament, Virginia gave up 71 points, which is the same amount the Seahawks posted.

Upperclassmen London Perrantes and Marial Shayok outshined the heralded UNC Wilmington duo of C.J. Bryce and Chris Flemmings, combining for 47 points on 17-of-28 shooting as opposed to the latter’s 9-of-27, 26-point total. 

One positive Virginia can take away on defense is the blanket they threw on Bryce. The Seahawks leading scorer, normally responsible for about 18 points per game, was limited to 8 points.

While Cavalier Nation had to sweat out 40 minutes, the heartbeat of the Florida faithful raised very little. The Gators exploited East Tennessee State’s lack of athleticism and frontcourt size in route to an 80-65 victory.

Devin Robinson did it all. The junior stuffed the stat sheet via a 27-point, 7-rebound, 2-block performance. Senior Kasey Hill neutralized the impact of Buccaneers guard T.J. Cromer (19 points) with 14 points, 6 rebounds, and 5 assists.

3. #12 Nevada caged by poor shooting

Two years ago, Marcus Marshall and Jordan Caroline both wore maroon.

Marshall, who was the star on Missouri State, and Caroline, a freshman at Southern Illinois, started their collegiate careers within the Missouri Valley Conference.

Then, the mass transfer exodus of 2015 occurred. Marshall and Caroline, along with other big names, like Illinois State’s Reggie Lynch and SIU’s Deion Lavender, grabbed their sneakers and headed elsewhere. 

On a day when Lynch’s NCAA Tournament title aspirations evaporated with Minnesota, Marshall and Caroline had a chance to seize a win over #5 Iowa State.

11-of-32 shooting will NEVER get the job done.

Although the tandem scored 36 points, missed field goals turned into wasted possessions for Nevada, resulting in an 84-73 defeat.

The Wolfpack did a very good job causing turnovers — they forced the Cyclones to spin into 14. However, they failed to rebound against Iowa State’s Big 12 bodies, losing the rebounding battle, 38-28, and was taxed to exhaustion due to a lack of depth.

Nevada only went six deep. In comparison, Iowa State played eight with FIVE chipping in at least 12 points. Cyclones senior Monte Morris pushed the envelope for a triple-double, yet was two rebounds and two assists shy (19 points, 8 rebounds, 8 assists). 

Iowa State will face arguably the nation’s best frontcourt, #4 Purdue’s Isaac Haas and Caleb Swanigan, on Saturday.

Photo courtesy of Yahoo! Sports.

4. The blossom of a perineal mid-major

If there was one school every bracket brainiac despised last season, it was none other than #12 Middle Tennessee. As a 15-seed, the Blue Raiders burned a multitude of brackets by defeating Michigan State in the opening round.

This year, Middle Tennessee had a chance to be its haters’ best friend with a win over #5 Minnesota. 

A villain was turned hero.

Led by scary seniors JaCorey Williams and Reggie Upshaw, not to mention junior Giddy Potts, Middle Tennessee stayed one step ahead of Minnesota to defeat its second Big Ten NCAA Tournament opponent in 12 months. 

All three members of the trio posted double-digits. Upshaw seized the spotlight with 19 points and 9 rebounds against the Golden Gophers, who are known for their rebounding ability (via Reggie Lynch).

Thursday’s win for Middle Tennessee has solidified their reputation as a bona fide bracket buster. With Belmont and Monmouth falling to the NIT, Middle Tennessee, outside of Wichita State and Gonzaga, may be the most dominant mid-major of the 2016-17 season.

New will meet old on Saturday; past mid-major and current Big East team #4 Butler will face the new kids on the block for a berth to the Sweet 16 on the line.

Starting Five

1. Trevon Bluiett (#11 Xavier)

  • 21 points (7-15), 4 rebounds, 4 assists.
  • Averaging 17 PPG in games played within Orange County (Fla.).

2. Bryant McIntosh (#8 Northwestern)

  • 25 points (10-16), 4 rebounds, 3 assists.
  • Made pair of free throws to give Wildcats 1-point lead with 15 seconds left.

3. Reggie Upshaw (#12 Middle Tennessee)

  • 19 points (7-13), 9 rebounds.
  • Averaging 18.3 PPG and 7.8 RPG since start of Conference USA Tournament.

4. Donte DiVincenzo (#1 Villanova)

  • 21 points (9-15), 13 rebounds.
  • 1st double-double of collegiate career.

5. Dwayne Bacon (#3 Florida State)

  • 25 points (11-17), 9 rebounds.
  • Has posted double-figures points in 33-of-34 games this season.

Photo courtesy of Florida Seminoles athletics.

Stay tuned for more Wesner 4-point plays as the NCAA Tournament continues to supply madness in March.

— P. Wesner

4th Annual College Court Report 351-Team Ultimate Bracket

Zach Collins, Nigel Williams-Goss (5), and the Gonzaga Bulldogs are the top seed in our 351 team ultimate bracket.
Zach Collins, Nigel Williams-Goss (5), and the Gonzaga Bulldogs are the top seed in our 351 team ultimate bracket.

Every year, teams see their dreams of making the NCAA Tournament come true, while others accept bids into other post-season tournaments.

Last season, 68 teams made the NCAA Tournament, 32 made the NIT, 16 made the College Basketball Invitational, 32 made the CollegeInsider.Com Tournament, and 8 teams took part in the inaugural Vegas 16 tournament. If the math is correct, that leaves 195 teams without a spot in post-season play.

Some teams aren’t even eligible for post-season play due to off-court issues, whether it’s due to low APR scorers or self-imposed bans.

That’s where we come in. We don’t discriminate, and even teams who aren’t eligible in the real world are welcome in our eyes. Living up to the Canadian stereotype of always being nice, we have included all 351 teams into one hypothetical post-season tournament.

For the fourth year in a row, the College Court Report 351-Team Ultimate Bracket is back to give a look at what it would be like if every single team in the country took part in the same post-season tournament. Continue reading 4th Annual College Court Report 351-Team Ultimate Bracket

College Court Report Player of the Week: Ryan Taylor, Marshall Thundering Herd

Over Marshall's three wins this past week, senior forward Ryan Taylor averaged 25.3 points and 13.3 rebounds per contest.
Over Marshall’s three wins this past week, senior forward Ryan Taylor averaged 25.3 points and 13.3 rebounds per contest.

If you would have said before the season started that the team atop the Conference USA standings after the first two weeks of conference play would be the Marshall Thundering Herd, some would have said you were crazy.

What’s even crazier, at least to some, is that it’s actually the case.

The Thundering Herd, armed with one of the more electric offenses in the country, are currently 4-0 against Conference USA foes, and are a half-game ahead of the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders for top spot. Marshall has topped the 100-point mark three occasions, going 2-1 in those games.

Four players have played in at least 14 games this year, and are averaging 11.6 points per game, or more.

One of those players is senior forward Ryan Taylor, who is stuffing the stat sheet despite missing three games earlier in the year.

This past week was no different for the big man. The Thundering Herd took to the hardwood three times, and came away with three impressive wins. Taylor was a big part of all three, recording three double-doubles in the wins.

For his efforts over the past seven days, a stretch that saw him average 25.3 points and 13.3 rebounds per contest, Marshall forward Ryan Taylor has been named the College Court Report Player of the Week for January 2 – 8, 2017!
Continue reading College Court Report Player of the Week: Ryan Taylor, Marshall Thundering Herd

Thursday Headlines: UT-Arlington Scores First-Ever Win over a Ranked Team, Middle Tennessee Wreaks Havoc on the SEC, and More

The UT-Arlington Mavericks scored their first-ever win over a ranked team on Thursday night, knocking off #12 Saint Mary's in Moraga, CA, 65-51. (Source: USA Today Sports) (Header Photo: UT-Arlington Athletics)
The UT-Arlington Mavericks scored their first-ever win over a ranked team on Thursday night, knocking off #12 Saint Mary’s in Moraga, CA, 65-51. (Source: USA Today Sports) (Header Photo: UT-Arlington Athletics)

Thursday night may have only had 11 games on the slate, but it most definitely provided its fair share of excitement, and then some.

Two ranked teams were in action on the night. They both lost.

A Conference USA powerhouse took on yet another team from the SEC. They won for the third straight time against teams from the conference.

There were some career-best performances across the country (Shamorie Ponds and Maurius Hill, we’re talking about you), and an ugly performance from the Fordham Rams.

Despite only having 11 games on tap, Thursday was a night to remember. Here are Thursday’s Headlines. Continue reading Thursday Headlines: UT-Arlington Scores First-Ever Win over a Ranked Team, Middle Tennessee Wreaks Havoc on the SEC, and More

Tuesday Headlines: Florida Atlantic Stuns Ohio State, A Pair of 40-Point Performances, Navy’s Massive Comeback, and More

Nick Rutherford banked in a jumper in the closing seconds of overtime, sending the Florida Atlantic Owls to the stunning upset over Ohio State on the road, 79-77. (Source: USA Today Sports)
Nick Rutherford banked in a jumper in the closing seconds of overtime, sending the Florida Atlantic Owls to the stunning upset over Ohio State on the road, 79-77. (Source: USA Today Sports) (Header Photo: Richard Drummond, Jr. – Central Michigan Life)

The folks over at Mid-Major Madness summed up Tuesday night’s theatrics with one simple headline.

Early Dose of March Madness Arrives…”

Tuesday night’s action had a little bit of everything. From stunning road upsets, to a double-overtime thriller, to a pair of 40-point performances across the country, college basketball fans everywhere were treated to a fantastic night of action.

Here are the top headlines from an action-packed Tuesday. Continue reading Tuesday Headlines: Florida Atlantic Stuns Ohio State, A Pair of 40-Point Performances, Navy’s Massive Comeback, and More