Category Archives: Mountain West

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

Elijah Brown is one of the top scoring guards on the transfer market this season, and is immediately eligible next season. (Source: New Mexico Athletics)

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 junior 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: Juniors, Part One

Coastal Carolina, Wyoming set to do battle in best-of-three series for the CBI crown

Sophomore Justin James is looking to continue his strong play as of late and lead Wyoming to the 2017 CBI title.
CALGARY, Alta. — March Madness is in full swing, and it’s lived up to the hype so far.

Several ‘streaks’ are in jeopardy, like whether or not a Hall of Fame coach will make an appearance in the Final Four. Then, we have the top-seeded Gonzaga Bulldogs, who are looking to snap their own personal drought and make a Final Four appearance for the first time ever.

Following their win over the West Virginia Mountaineers in the Sweet 16, the Bulldogs are now knocking on the door of the Final Four in Houston.

While most people tend to focus solely on the NCAA Tournament, there are two teams who are looking to put an end to their championship droughts in Division I basketball.

On one side, you have a team looking to give the Mountain West Conference back-to-back winners in the College Basketball Invitational (CBI) Tournament, and their first tournament title since 1943.

On the flip side, you have a team who is looking for their first-ever post-season tournament title in men’s basketball.

Starting Monday in Conway, SC, there’s a lot on the line for both the Wyoming Cowboys and the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers, who square off against one another in a best-of-three series to determine the 2017 CBI champions.

Here’s a look at how both teams got to where they are, and what they need to do to bring home some hardware. Continue reading Coastal Carolina, Wyoming set to do battle in best-of-three series for the CBI crown

Pair of big name players hit the graduate transfer market for next season

Elijah Brown announced his intentions to graduate and transfer from New Mexico on Monday, becoming the second key transfer to leave the Lobos in the past two seasons.

CALGARY, Alta. — The off-season leading up to the 2017-18 season has been an exciting one, so far.

There’s only one thing. The 2016-17 season isn’t over yet, and big dominos are already falling. From coaching changes and player transfers, to star players declaring early for the draft, the off-season is shaping up to be one for the ages.

On Monday alone, Tyler Lydon declared for the 2017 NBA Draft after two seasons with the Syracuse Orange. The LSU Tigers found their new head coach, in Will Wade.

Then, on opposite sides of the country, two big time players announced their respective intentions to graduate and transfer elsewhere for next season.

Guards Duane Wilson and Elijah Brown both announced their intentions on Monday, adding more excitement to the ensuing off-season that will take us to the 2017-18 season. Continue reading Pair of big name players hit the graduate transfer market for next season

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

Auburn transfer New Williams commits to Rodney Terry, Fresno State Bulldogs

Rodney Terry and the Fresno State Bulldogs got some good news on Monday night, as Auburn transfer New Williams committed to the Bulldogs.
Rodney Terry and the Fresno State Bulldogs got some good news on Monday night, as Auburn transfer New Williams committed to the Bulldogs.

Monday seemed to be filled with more bad news than good for teams all across the NCAA.

Maurice Watson, Jr. went down with a knee injury Monday afternoon in the Creighton Bluejays’ win over the Xavier Musketeers. It’s feared that he may have a torn meniscus, and could miss the rest of the 2016-17 season, depending on the severity of the injury.

In the ACC, the Louisville Cardinals announced that Quentin Snider would miss two-to-three weeks with a strained hip flexor.

Two big losses for two teams who could very well contend for a national title this season. While Snider will be back in plenty of time before March, it’ll be interesting to see how both teams adapt moving forwards.

On the West Coast, one team got some good news about their future.

Rodney Terry and the Fresno State Bulldogs learned that guard New Williams has committed to the program, after transferring earlier in the year from the Auburn Tigers. Continue reading Auburn transfer New Williams commits to Rodney Terry, Fresno State Bulldogs