Three Teams That Will Not Return to March Madness in 2017
Roster and staff turnover is a basic part of the world of college basketball. The ability to create a powerful program depends on a school stabilizing the effects of these changes. There are a few teams that I see as unable to cope with what they have lost this year and will not make the NCAA Tournament in 2017.
- Wichita State Shockers
The Missouri Valley Conference continues to fluctuate between a one-bid and multi-bid conference depending on the year. Ben Jacobson and Northern Iowa appear like they will be competitive, which will continue to cause difficulty for the Wichita State Shockers and Gregg Marshall. Over the past several years, the Shockers have posted regular season records of 35-1, 30-4, and 26-9.
The biggest thing that is happening to the squad this off season is that they are losing the last remaining pieces of Gregg Marshall’s 2011 Final Four team. Ron Baker and Fred VanVleet are lost to graduation. The team loses its two leading scorers and best distributor. Both upper classman continually showed excellent decision making and remained the go-to players in end-game situations. More than just losing stat sheet fillers, Marshall loses two experienced guards that opened the floor for the rest of the team as well as his two best leaders. This will undoubtedly change the make-up of Wichita State basketball. After losing two players like this, who could blame Gregg Marshall for missing his first NCAA tournament with the team since 2010?
- Oklahoma Sooners
Losing your leading scorer is never an easy thing to deal with. Losing the leading scorer and National Player of the Year Candidate, plus your third and fourth leading scorers is a tragedy of epic proportions. Not only that, but Ryan Spangler is also the Sooner’s leading rebounder, nearly averaging a double-double. He, Buddy Hield, and Isaiah Cousins leave Oklahoma nearly in shambles if it weren’t for Khadeem Lattin and Jordan Woodard still being on the roster.
Buddy Hield was one of the most complete players in college basketball this year and was a leading candidate for the Naismith and Wooden Awards as well as the AP Player of the year. He shot nearly 90% from the free throw line, over 45% from deep range and an astounding 50% from the field en route to 25.0 points per game. If that weren’t enough, he averaged 2.0 assists, 5.7 rebounds and even 1.1 steals per game. Isaiah cousins posted multiple games with over 5 assists and rebounds while recording 12.6 points per contest. This team is just losing too much senior leadership in the off-season.
While Lon Kruger is an excellent coach and has a great track record, the team will be exponentially different having one of the biggest roster overhauls in the NCAA. The fact that much of his coaching staff has jettisoned the school for their own coaching opportunities does not help. They will not make the tournament in 2017.
- St Joseph’s Hawks
Phil Martelli essentially must start over in Philadelphia much the same as Lon Kruger must do in Norman. St. Joe’s was a very talented team last year that won its conference tournament title and then came close to upsetting the Oregon Ducks in the Second Round of the 2016 NCAA Tournament. The Hawks, however, are losing entirely too much for next year to be anything other than a rebuilding project.
With the departure of DeAndre Bembry, after he signed with an agent for the draft, The Atlantic 10 Tournament champions are losing 45.9 of their 77 points per game. Isaiah Miles and Bembry were some of the more talented players in the conference, not to mention in the country. The school is also losing third leading scorer Aaron Brown and is not exactly reeling in five star recruits like the blue bloods of college basketball to replace what is leaving. With a large amount of development necessary for the remaining team members, we will have to wait for the teachings of Martelli to take hold before this team makes its next appearance in an NCAA tournament.