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.
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.
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.
For the first time in program history, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish are 4-0 in conference play after ending the Miami Hurricanes 21 home game win streak, beating them 67-62.
This was the 21st meeting between the Irish and the Hurricanes with the Irish now leading the all time series 11-10. Notre Dame had lost both meetings with the Hurricanes last year, losing by nine the first game and 18 points the second.
Miami has had an okay start to the season as they are now 11-4, losing to Syracuse, Iowa State, Florida and now Notre Dame with their most notable wins coming from Stanford and North Carolina State.
Regardless of their win-loss record, Miami possessed a dangerous and athletic roster capable of ending Notre Dame’s streak.
“They’re really physical drivers” said head coach Mike Brey, “they’re athletic and long”.
After three straight home wins against Pittsburgh, Louisville and Clemson, Notre Dame possessed lots of momentum entering this game and looked to find their offensive spark early.
After taking down the Pittsburgh Panthers on New Years Eve in over time thanks to a clutch last second three pointer by senior captain Steve Vasturia, the #22/23Notre Dame Fighting Irish opened ACC play 1-0 to start the New Year, but needed to turn their attention immediately to the #9 Louisville Cardinals.
Despite the Irish trailing in the all time series against the Cardinals, 14-20, Notre Dame has won the last five meetings against Rick Pintino’s squad with their last meeting being February 13th, 2016 in which the Irish won 71-66 at home.
The series between the Irish and the cardinals have been notorious for going into over time, with nine of the series’ 34 games going into over time. The most notable over time game between these two rivals was back in February of 2013, where the Irish and the Cardinals duked it out in five overtimes, before Notre Dame finally secured the win 104-101.
Louisville has been off to a hot start to the 2016-2017 season with their most notable wins coming from the then #15 Purdue Boilermakers (now ranked #20), #6 Kentucky Wildcats and #16 IndianaHoosiers, while only losing to the now #2 team in the country Baylor Bears by three and the #12 Virginia Cavaliers.
Another tough matchup for Irish head coach Mike Brey and his squad that will not get any easier. Securing a win against the Cardinals, followed by another home win against the Clemson Tigers on Saturday before heading to Miami could give the Fighting Irish the momentum needed to tackle their three game road trip against prominent ACC opponents.
For the first time since December 1, Gamecocks‘ star senior Sindarius Thornwell will be in uniform and back to scoring the basketball. Thornwell was suspended for a violation of athletic department policy.
“Sindarius has taken full responsibility for his mistake that led to his suspension,” said South Carolina head coach Frank Martin in a press release. “He has worked hard over the course of the last few weeks and has done everything we’ve asked of him to make his way back to the court.”
Thornwell, an SEC All-Defensive Team player last season, was off to a terrific start prior to suspension. The 6’5″ guard was averaging 18.7 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 4.1 assists per game through the first seven of the season. In addition, he had at least 20 points in four of his seven games played.
Following the beginning of his suspension, The Post and Courier of Charleston reported Thornwell was arrested in May. The four-year starter was driving with a suspended license while possessing marijuana, which resulted in a fine. While no one, including Martin, commented whether the suspension was connected to his arrest, many analysts believed there was a correlation.
If there has been any positive from Thornwell’s suspension, it is undoubtedly the development of PJ Dozier. The former McDonald’s All-American assumed the responsibility of go-to scorer and thrived in the role, scoring 20+ points in five games and averaging 19.7 points per game in December.
In addition to benefiting Dozier, the senior’s absence has supplied South Carolina with the opportunity to compete without its best player. Outside of a road loss to Memphis, the Gamecocks were defeated by a total of 5 points. Thus, with the team’s competitiveness without Thornwell, their quality of play will only improve with the stat-sheet stuffer back in the lineup.
10-3 South Carolina opens up SEC play January 4 at Georgia. The conference is wide open outside of Kentucky as only Florida (ranked #25) is currently in the Top 25.
The Gamecocks are looking to make the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2004.
Hindman, KY native Camron Justice had himself quite the high school career at Knott County Central High School. During his senior season, he was named both the Kentucky Gatorade Player of the Year and Mr. Basketball.
When he graduated, he was third all-time in high school scoring in the state of Kentucky, recording 3,588 points over his high school career.
ESPN rated him as a four-star recruit, and the second-best player to come out of the state of Kentucky in the Class of 2015. Justice held trio offers from instate schools, but opted to go out-of-state for university, committing to the Vanderbilt Commodores.
After a less-than-stellar tenure with the Commodores that has seen the 6’3” guard compete for playing time since day one, Justice decided to transfer.
Following the completion of the fall semester in December, Justice announced his intentions to transfer from the program. After receiving his release, he wasted little time in finding his new home.