SEATTLE, Wash. — The off-season following the 2016-17 season has seen a number of programs leave their mark on the transfer market.
The first programs that come to mind are power conference programs. Both the Kansas Jayhawks and the Arizona State Sun Devils have picked up key additions that will help their respective programs in the 2018-19 season.
Then, there’s the Nevada Wolfpack, who are big players in terms of transfers year in and year out. Eric Musselman has done a tremendous job making Nevada a desirable place to play for both incoming recruits and transfer players from across the country.
However, there’s one team in particular who has added a slew of talented players this off-season, but don’t have the national attention to match.
EDINBURG, Tex. — As the off-season continues to roll along, more and more big names seem to be hitting the transfer market in the later months.
Just a couple weeks ago, sophomore guard C.J. Bryce announced he was transferring from the UNC Wilmington Seahawks, and he committed to Kevin Keatts and the NC State Wolfpack a short time later.
Now, on Friday afternoon, the transfer market picked up some more depth by way of a player who has flown under the radar for two years in the WAC.
For fans outside of the WAC, and the state of Texas, paying attention to the UT-Rio Grande Valley Vaqueros isn’t high on their priority list. However, over the past two years, those fans have missed the emergence of a talented scoring guard who is now looking for his new home.
CALGARY, Alta. — One Elite Eight came to an end on Sunday, while another gets underway on Monday morning.
On Sunday, the North Carolina Tar Heels and South Carolina Gamecocks rounded out this year’s Final Four, joining both the Gonzaga Bulldogs and Oregon Ducks in Phoenix.
With just a handful of games left in the 2016-17 season, the end is in sight.
However, the season isn’t completely over for those programs who have played their last game. The College Court Report Player of the Year Fan Vote is still in full swing, and the field has been trimmed down to its own Elite Eight.
This past week, in the Sweet 16, fans came out in full force once again to support their favourite players from across the country. Over 15,000 votes were cast in the round across all three platforms (online polls, Facebook, and Twitter).
Three of the match-ups this past week were decided by less than 100 votes, while a pair of front-runners continued to hum right along.
Below, you can see the results for all eight match-ups from the Sweet 16. The winners in each region will go head-to-head this week for a spot in the Final Four.
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.
While he may have missed the first two games of the season, senior guard DeWayne Russell has been among the nation’s best players in 2016-17.
Once he made his debut on November 19th against the Albany Great Danes, both Russell and the Grand Canyon Antelopes have been on quite the roll.
Russell has already played the most minutes of any player on the roster, despite playing two less games than several of his teammates. He has played all 40 minutes in five games, and hasn’t played less than 31 minutes in a contest.
On top of that, he has scored in double figures in each of the 11 games he’s played. Since his return, the Antelopes have gone 8-3, and currently sit at 8-5 on the year. The team has been without the services of Joshua Braun for the last seven games, but the play of Russell has kept the Antelopes on a roll.
This past week, Grand Canyon played a pair of games in the days leading up to Christmas, and Russell continued his strong play over the first half of the season.
In the Antelopes’ two wins, Russell averaged 29.0 points per contest, while also adding 4.0 rebounds, 4.0 assists, and 2.0 steals per game.
Players aren’t the only ones who make their debuts in college basketball each November.
Each season, there are several first time head coaches who realize their dreams of becoming a head coach at the Division I level. Many have paid their dues, whether it be as an assistant coach in the NCAA, or as a head coach at a smaller institution. The journeys are undoubtedly long, but well worth it in the end, when they see the title of ‘Head Men’s Basketball Coach’ after their name.
The start of the 2016-17 season was no exception.
In total, there are 29 coaches across the country who are first-time head coaches in Division I this season. Some have been assistants at larger programs in the country, while others have been head coaches in the junior college ranks.
Regardless of where they came from, they are now head coaches at the top level of collegiate basketball.
The transition hasn’t been easy for every coach, as only nine of the 29 first-time coaches have a winning record through the first five weeks of the year.