NCAA Tournament Teams to Cheer For

Tournament Time: Who You Should Cheer For

As Dick Vitale would say, “It’s tournament time baby!” I don’t know who is more excited, the fans or the players. Even if your team didn’t make it to the dance, there is still a lot to cheer for.

I know the term bandwagon fan carries a lot of negative connotation, however for bragging rights, you want to be cheering for the right teams. Now fair warning, these might not be the teams that have the best statistics or record. Half of the battle is figuring out how the bracket is set up, which has a large impact on how teams do rather if it is admitted or not. Here are the teams to root for if yours didn’t make the cut.

The underdog: Middle Tennessee State

The beauty of tournament time is that anyone can win on any given day. Pay attention to the season statistics but also expect the unexpected when the final buzzer sounds.

Middle Tennessee State is that Cinderella team that could get out of the first round and surprise us all. The Blue Raiders are 20-1 in its last 21 games and they only have three underclassmen. So if they want it to happen, this is the year to do it.

Their team is ranked in the top 50 for overall defensive efficiency. All four of their losses this season have been relatively close and they only allow 63.3 points per game (ranked 21st). Let’s not forget MTSU beat Michigan State last year and could very well do the same to Minnesota.

NCAA Tournament Teams to Root For

Giddy Potts of Middle Tennessee State (DNJ.com)

Giddy Potts is leading the charge for his talented squad. Potts is averaging 15.8 points per game and 5.5 rebounds per game. What makes him special is his work effort and ability to score at all three levels consistently.

He was named MVP for their conference tournament after putting up 30 points against Marshall. Potts is the guy who will hit contested threes, but burn his opponent with a quick first step if they close out too hard.

Potts may be getting buckets, but he isn’t out on an island. He has the help of JaCorey Williams who is shooting 54.1 percent from the field right now.

Reggie Upshaw and Tyrik Dixon are also contributing large minutes and statistics for the Blue Raiders.

After beating Minnesota, the Blue Raiders will take on either Butler or Winthrop. Butler is a good tournament team and known for upsets in the past, but Middle Tennessee State has proven to be a tough team.

Keep an eye on notre dame

The Irish have proven to be a wholesome team over the duration of this season. They are coming off a close loss to Duke which should propel them throughout the tournament.

The key to success for Notre Dame is sharing the ball. They are 37th in the nation for assists, averaging 16 per game. They have strength at all positions and when they share the ball, they can’t be stopped.

NCAA Tournament Teams to Cheer For

Bonzie Colson of Notre Dame (Photo Credit to Zimbio.com)

If Bonzie Colson is having a game for himself, Notre Dame is just as good as any team in nation. Duke may have won the ACC tournament but Colson put up 29 points and pulled down nine rebounds in a stellar performance.

Colson isn’t putting on a one man show though. Matt Ferrell is a special point guard dishing out 5.5 assists per game and shooting 41.3 percent from behind the arc.

The Irish are killer from behind the arc because of Ferrell and a few other key players. Steve Vasturia and V.J. Beachem are shooting over 36 percent from three-point range. This will be tough to guard for their opponents.

The Irish often are over looked when it comes to tournament time. Last year they made it to the Elite 8 and lost to UNC. This year they have a better record coming out of regular season play and more experience.

Arizona deserves a lot more respect than they’re getting

All of the talk regarding the PAC-12 has been about UCLA mostly because of Lonzo Ball and his father’s interesting comments. Most recently LaVar Ball said he could’ve beaten Michael Jordan in his hay day and his son is better than Steph Curry. One could see why the press would jump on that. UCLA is also ranked 78th in adjusted defensive efficiency according to pre tourney data (kenpom.com) which is a weakness for sure.

However the real team to watch from the PAC-12 is Arizona. They just won the conference tournament, and beat Oregon and UCLA to do so. They likely won’t see any true competition until the Sweet Sixteen if they play to the best of their ability.

Right now it’s the combination of Lauri Markkanen and Allonzo Trier that are making offense flow for the Wildcats. Markkanen is a freshman with the skills to play inside and out. Trier is basically doing it all from scoring and rebounding to distributing the ball. Both guys are shooting over 40% from behind the arc.

The team itself is highly efficient from three point and on offense in general. Their top five player of Allonzo Trier, Lauri Markkanen, Rawie Alkins, Dusan Ristic and Kadeem Allen are all shooting over 37% from three-point land. They are also all over 44% from the field. Not only that, they also allow only 65.4 points per game on the defensive end.

The west is a tough region but the Wildcats have the personnel to do some damage.

Iowa state could go far in the midwest

Lots of people are saying that Kansas has a cake walk to the National Championship game. Everyone seems to forget that Iowa State has gone 10-2 in its last 12 games including a road win against Kansas.

They beat Miami early on in the regular season. They only lost to Baylor by two early on, then beat them by three in late February. The Cyclones also beat Kansas in overtime in early February as previously mentioned. To sum up, they have the heart and the gumption to beat some high caliber competition.

NCAA Tournament Teams to Cheer For

Monte Morris flexes on the baseline after a big play (Photo Credits to YouTube)

The team itself is comprised of a bunch of guys who put up good numbers. They aren’t anything out of the ordinary, they just get the job done. Monte Morris leads the team with 16.3 points per game but the next few guys are all putting up anywhere from 12-16 points on average.

After a win over Nevada, they will likely see a very good Purdue team.

When it comes down to it, all the statistics in the world can only tell so much. March is the month of madness for a reason.

 

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“From Our Haus to Yours”

The Hypocrisy of College Football

Eric Gay/ AP

Eric Gay/ AP

College football is my favorite sport and there is probably nothing that can change it, but the hypocrisy of college football is getting out of hand. I fully understand coaches breaking those hundreds of promises they make to players every year, like Ed Oliver, and leave “small” schools and go to “big” schools. They are chasing money and accomplishments. Nothing wrong with that. Everyone person in America has their right to pursue prosperity, except college football players.

It seems silly to me when coaches can go and get a future job, when he already has a preexisting job at school.

*cough Lane Kiffin cough*

He still has a possibility to coach two more games. But when Leonard Fournette and Christian McCaffery decide not to play in a meaningless bowl game, everyone wants to “protect the intergrity of the game.” That’s a bunch of bologna.

Courtesy of USATSI

Courtesy of USATSI

Think about last year’s Fiesta Bowl game, when Ohio State played Norte Dame. Former standout linebacker Jaylon Smith completely obliterated his knee playing in a big time bowl. Now look at him.

Was he drafted? Yes. Did Notre Dame do right by Smith? Yes, Notre Dame did properly compensate the former linebacker.

But, that $900,000 will never compare to the money a healthy Smith would have made in the NFL. He has even said himself that if he could go back to January 1, 2016, he would play again. Even though Smith feels that way about his and his former teammates, he still forwent his senior year and entered the draft.

But of course, he would play the game again. It was the Fiesta Bowl against Ezekiel Elliott, Michael Thomas, Braxton Miller, and other prime offensive players from The Ohio State University in a New Year’s Six Bowl. It was a huge stage to play on. That game was a barometer test for him. NFL scouts wanted to see if he could tackle and cover a great running back like Elliott. He needed that game.

Fournette and McCaffrey do not need to play in their bowl games to show their worth. Fournette has been a top five pick since last year. And after McCaffrey’s last year Rose Bowl 368 all-purpose yard performance, he needs to show nothing else.

If NFL GMs don’t want to pick them just because they skipped one game, that’s their prerogative. But I would ask them this question: What if they both played their bowl game and entered the draft, as juniors, wouldn’t they still be “quitting” on their team?

Bill Feig/ Advocate.com

Bill Feig/ Advocate.com

Cary Edmondson/ USA TODAY Sports

Cary Edmondson/ USA TODAY Sports

I love College Football but I am not blind to the hypocrisy of college football. They let coaches leave schools under contract and coach the next year, but if Ed Oliver wanted to leave Houston he would have to wait a year to play college football again. That’s not fair. And neither is frowning upon players who want to not harm their NFL draft stock. If these players want to finally pursue a purse, what’s so wrong with that?

Eliminate College Conferences

Change. It is a simply spelt and pronounced word, but becomes complex when people start to deal with change. People run away from change out of fear. People usually grimace at the thought of change. Change is often looked at as a bad thing, but change can also be viewed as a great thing. Change is needed for growth and knowledge. Society finds it hard to change things that are long standing traditions, even if they do not work, are outdated, or completely wrong.

(Photo: Daniel Gluskoter, AP)

(Photo: Daniel Gluskoter, AP)

Take a look at the national anthem controversy for instance. Rather than admit its flaws, people are back-lashing against Colin Kaepernick. Why can’t we admit our faults as people or as a society? Because people hate change, whether it’s for the betterment of society or not. It is so much easier to go with the flow rather than to adapt.

It is time for a change in college football by eliminating any and all conferences. They are unnecessary in this day and age. They serve no purpose other than to please tradition. This is a highly unpopular opinion but hear me out before you grab your pitchforks.

Sep 3, 2016; Green Bay, WI, USA; Wisconsin Badgers players celebrate defeating the LSU Tigers by doing the Lambeau Leap following the game at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports ORG XMIT: USATSI-269730 ORIG FILE ID: 20160903_jla_sh5_731.jpg

(Sep 3, 2016; Green Bay, WI, USA; Wisconsin Badgers players celebrate defeating the LSU Tigers by doing the Lambeau Leap following the game at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY)

The best teams need to play each other weekly regardless of their region or conference. Week one was one of the greatest weeks of college football ever. People are still glamorizing it because it was that epic. We saw great games all over such as (15) Houston defeating (3) Oklahoma. We saw Wisconsin upset (5) LSU. We saw unranked Texas A&M upset (16) UCLA. (18) Georgia beat (22) North Carolina. (2) Clemson had to sneak by unranked Auburn by six points. Fans saw Texas upset (10) Notre Dame in an overtime classic. On a Monday night game, (4) Florida State beat (11) Ole Miss.

Week two also saw some great programs matching up for exciting games. Arkansas was unranked and upset (15) TCU. (17) Tennessee beat Virginia Tech at Bristol Motor Speedway in the most attended game in college football history with 156,990 in attendance.

(http://www.usatoday.com/videos/sports/ncaaf/2016/11/18/houston-dashes-louisville's-playoff-hopes-upset/94060980/)

(http://www.usatoday.com)

Since the first two weeks there still have been great non-conference games even as teams have gotten into conference scheduling. In week six, Navy upset (6) Houston 46-40 in one of the most exciting back and forth games of the year. Most recently in week 12, the same Houston team that was upset by Navy, and was unranked, ended (5) Louisville’s shot at making the playoffs. They upset the Cardinals 36-10.

All these non conference match-ups with top programs facing off gave us excitement. Fans of football rejoiced over how fun it was to watch these teams play their hearts off to win these big time games. These games mean so much more with the rather new playoff system that determines a true champion in college football. Eliminating conferences would not eliminate rivalries because schools would be able to schedule 10-12 games completely how they want. The only thing each school would  have to do is make sure they schedule their rival schools annually.

(MARK ALMOND)

(MARK ALMOND)

These huge games are what the fans want to see. It doesn’t have to be just about the fans either. The college football playoff committee highly values a team’s strength of schedule. Nobody wants to see Alabama playing teams like Chattanooga or Kent State, teams in which they manhandled this year. Ohio State shouldn’t be playing teams like Rutgers, who happens to be in their conference, or Tulsa. Clemson games are boring when they play teams like South Carolina State or Syracuse. Imagine Clemson scheduling Alabama, Michigan, and Ohio State. If a team goes undefeated with a non-conference schedule as tough as this, there would be no question they deserve to be in the playoffs.

One of the biggest problems with the state of college football now is that great teams still get snubbed from making the playoffs. We need the best four teams in the country making the playoffs as long as it is a four team format. Maybe one day it will be a six or eight team format to eliminate more doubt, because there will always be a team or two on the bubble.

Currently the SEC, ACC, Big Ten, Pac 12 and the Big 12 are known as the power five conferences. Most people can agree these are the top five conferences in the country, with each taking turns on where they rank within the power five.

In the current playoff system, one of the power five conferences will not be represented. A champion from one of these conferences will not have the chance to play in the playoffs and prove they are the best team in the country. This doesn’t account for a team without a conference, such as Notre Dame, who could go undefeated and cause two power five conferences to be left out of the playoffs. It also doesn’t account for a year like this one in which Ohio State and Michigan both look like teams capable of winning a national championship.

(http://www.sbnation.com/)

(http://www.sbnation.com/)

The first ever college football playoff left out TCU and/or Baylor in favor of Ohio State. The debate raged on about which of these teams should have gotten in. Ohio State then went on to win the National Championship as a four seed to quiet the debate, but how do we know, without a doubt, that TCU or Baylor would not have done the same? How do we know TCU or Baylor would’t have beat Ohio State? This is the problem with conferences. The Big Ten was assumed to be the better conference which is why the playoff committee chose to take Ohio State over one of the Big 12 teams. It was all because the Big 12 conference doesn’t have a conference championship game.

There is another issue at hand when it comes to conferences and the entire playoff format. There is always a talk of two teams getting into the playoffs from the same conference. If that were to happen, two conference champions from a power five conference would be left out. This was the problem with the BCS system that the playoffs were suppose to fix. The question that should be asked is how can you be a champion of the nation if you weren’t a champion of your conference? Essentially that is what happens if two SEC or two Big Ten teams get into a four team playoff. Eliminating conferences erases all the doubt. It makes teams schedule harder competition and creates more exciting games. If a school didn’t do it, they wouldn’t get into the playoffs.

(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Conferences started mostly due to how difficult it was to travel when teams were still taking buses. Colleges can afford to fly their teams in today’s sports and traveling is not as hard as it use to be. What is the need for conferences then? The idea of no conferences at all is highly appealing in my eyes, but will not be popular to most. It would be revolutionary to eliminate conferences. The most remarkable changes in the world once were thought to be outlandish. Conferences are a tired idea that is outdated and the sport can become more exciting by eliminating them.

 

 

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NCAA Football Week One Picks

Rob Doerger and Joe DiTullio (Staff writers and personalities on the DiTullio and Doerger College Sports Show), pick every game in the week one slate for FBS.

Away Home Location Rob Joe
Presbyterian College Central Michigan Kelly/Shorts Stadium, Mount Pleasant, MI C. Mich CMU
Charlotte #19 Louisville Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium, Louisville, KY Louisville Louisville
Tulane Wake Forest BB&T Field, Winston-salem, NC Wake Wake
Tennessee-Martin Cincinnati Nippert Stadium, Cincinnati, OH Cincy Cincy
Maine Connecticut Rentschler Field, East Hartford, CT Uconn Uconn
William & Mary NC State Carter-Finley Stadium, Raleigh, NC NC State NC State
Indiana Florida Intl FIU Stadium, Miami, FL Indiana IU
Appalachian State #9 Tennessee Neyland Stadium, Knoxville, TN Tennessee Tennessee
South Carolina Vanderbilt Vanderbilt Stadium, Nashville, TN Vandy Vanderbilt
Southern Utah Utah Rice-Eccles Stadium, Salt Lake City, UT Utah Utah
Weber State Utah State Romney Stadium, Logan, UT Utah St Utah State
Rice Western Kentucky L.T. Smith Stadium, Bowling Green, KY WKU Wku
Oregon State Minnesota TCF Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, MN Minnesota Minnesota
South Dakota New Mexico University Stadium , Albuquerque, NM New Mexico UNM
Montana State Idaho Kibbie Dome, Moscow, ID Idaho Idaho
Jackson State UNLV Sam Boyd Stadium, Las Vegas, NV UNLV UNLV
Mississippi Valley State Eastern Michigan Rynearson Stadium, Ypsilanti, MI E. Mich EMU
Ball State Georgia State Georgia Dome, Atlanta, GA Georgia St Ga State
Albany Buffalo UB Stadium, Buffalo, NY Buffalo Buffalo
Colgate Syracuse Carrier Dome, Syracuse, NY Syracuse Syracuse
Army Temple Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, PA Temple Temple
Furman #12 Michigan State Spartan Stadium , East Lansing, MI Sparty MSU
Northwestern State #23 Baylor McLane Stadium, Waco, TX Baylor Baylor
Colorado State Colorado Sports Authority Field, Denver, CO Colorado Colorado
Kansas State #8 Stanford Stanford Stadium, Stanford, CA Stanford Stanford
Toledo Arkansas State Centennial Bank Stadium, Jonesboro, AR Toledo Toledo
Cal Poly Nevada Mackay Stadium, Reno, NV Nevada Nevada
Georgia Tech Boston College Aviva Stadium, Dublin GT GT
#3 Oklahoma #15 Houston NRG Stadium, Houston, TX Oklahoma Oklahoma
Fordham Navy Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, Annapolis, MD Navy Navy
Eastern Kentucky Purdue Ross-Ade Stadium, West Lafayette, IN Purdue Purdue
Bowling Green #6 Ohio State Ohio Stadium, Columbus, OH Ohio St OSU
Western Michigan Northwestern Ryan Field, Evanston, IL NW NW
Hawaii #7 Michigan Michigan Stadium, Ann Arbor, MI Michigan Mich
Margin of Victory 44 39
Boise State Louisiana Lafayette Cajun Field, Lafayette, LA Boise Boise
South Alabama Mississippi State Davis Wade Stadium, Starkville, MS Miss St Miss St
Missouri West Virginia Milan Puskar Stadium, Morgantown, WV WVU WVU
Howard Maryland Maryland Stadium, College Park, MD Maryland Maryland
Liberty Virginia Tech Lane Stadium, Blacksburg, VA VT Va Tech
Villanova Pittsburgh Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, PA Pitt Pitt
Abilene Christian Air Force Falcon Stadium, Usaf Academy, CO Air Force AF
Rutgers #14 Washington Husky Stadium, Seattle, WA Washington Wash
#16 UCLA Texas A&M Kyle Field, College Station, TX UCLA TAMU
#5 LSU Wisconsin Lambeau Field, Green Bay, WI LSU LSU
Richmond Virginia Scott Stadium, Charlottesville, VA Virginia Virginia
Kent State Penn State Beaver Stadium, University Park, PA Ped St Penn State
Miami (OH) #17 Iowa Kinnick Stadium, Iowa City, IA Iowa Iowa
Texas State Ohio Peden Stadium, Athens, OH Ohio Ohio
Murray State Illinois Memorial Stadium , Champaign, IL Illini Illinois
Southeastern Louisiana #21 Oklahoma State Boone Pickens Stadium, Stillwater, OK OK St OK St
Louisiana Tech Arkansas Razorback Stadium, Fayetteville, AR Arkansas Ark
UC Davis #24 Oregon Autzen Stadium, Eugene, OR Ducks Oregon
#18 Georgia #22 North Carolina Georgia Dome, Atlanta, GA Georgia Georgia
Southern Illinois Florida Atlantic FAU Football Stadium, Boca Raton, FL Salukis FAU
Hampton Old Dominion S.B. Ballard Stadium, Norfolk, VA Old Dom ODU
North Carolina Central Duke Wallace Wade Stadium, Durham, NC Duke Duke
Western Carolina East Carolina Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium, Greenville, NC ECU ECU
Florida A&M Miami Hard Rock Stadium, Miami, FL Miami Miami
Savannah State Georgia Southern Allen E. Paulson Stadium, Statesboro, GA Geo South Geo South
Austin Peay Troy Veterans Memorial Stadium , Troy, AL Troy Troy
VMI Akron InfoCision Stadium, Akron, OH Akron Akron
Alabama A&M Middle Tennessee Floyd Stadium, Murfreesboro, TN MTSU MTSU
SMU North Texas Mean Green Stadium, Denton, TX SMU SMU
San José State Tulsa Chapman Stadium, Tulsa, OK Tulsa Tulsa
Towson South Florida Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, FL USF USF
South Carolina State UCF Bright House Networks Stadium, Orlando, FL UCF UCF
Rhode Island Kansas Memorial Stadium , Lawrence, KS Kansas Kansas
Southeast Missouri State Memphis Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium, Memphis, TN Memphis Memphis
Alabama State Texas San Antonio Alamodome, San Antonio, TX UTSA UTSA
Southern Louisiana Monroe Malone Stadium, Monroe, LA ULM ULM
Southern Mississippi Kentucky Commonwealth Stadium, Lexington, KY Kentucky UK
Massachusetts #25 Florida Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, Gainesville, FL Gators Florida
#20 USC #1 Alabama AT&T Stadium, Arlington, TX Tide Bama
Northern Iowa Iowa State Jack Trice Stadium, Ames, IA Iowa St Iowa State
Fresno State Nebraska Memorial Stadium , Lincoln, NE Nebraska Nebraska
Eastern Washington Washington State Martin Stadium, Pullman, WA Wash St Wash St
New Mexico State UTEP Sun Bowl, El Paso, TX UTEP Utep
South Dakota State #13 TCU Amon G. Carter Stadium, Fort Worth, TX TCU TCU
Stephen F Austin Texas Tech Jones AT&T Stadium, Lubbock, TX TT Ttu
New Hampshire San Diego State Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, CA SDSU SDSU
#2 Clemson Auburn Jordan-Hare Stadium, Auburn, AL Clemson Clemson
BYU Arizona University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, AZ Arizona BYU
Northern Illinois Wyoming War Memorial Stadium , Laramie, WY NIU NIU
Northern Arizona Arizona State Sun Devil Stadium, Tempe, AZ Arizona St ASU
#10 Notre Dame Texas Royal Texas Memorial Stadium, Austin, TX Irish ND
#11 Ole Miss #4 Florida State Florida Citrus Bowl, Orlando, FL FSU Ole Miss
Gameday Guest Picker (Green Bay, WI) Aaron Rodgers Jared Abbrederis

Terrance’s Top Ten Returning College QBs #5 Joshua Dobbs

And at the number #5 spot on my list is…

Courtesy of Saturday Down South

Courtesy of Saturday Down South

#5 University of Tennessee’s Joshua Dobbs- The 6’3″ senior QB will be returning to Knoxville to quarterback the Vols for the third year in a row. Dobbs is coming off a very good 2015 campaign. He’s not your typical starting college QB, he is studying aerospace engineering at Knoxville so he must be a dedicated student while also being a dedicated athlete. The University needs a student athlete like Dobbs right now because he could be one of Tennessee’s shining star to distract from some of the issues going on at Tennessee. He led the Vols to their best season since 2007, with a 9-4 record. Dobbs has steadily improved in his first three years at Rocky Top. He is now one of the feared dual threat QBs in the nation. He threw for 2291 yards through the air and rushed for 671 yards. He passed for 15 touchdowns and only threw 5 interceptions and he also ran the ball into the endzone 11 times. During his junior year, Joshua Dobbs had some very impressive games for Rocky Top Nation.

On October 10, the Vols were facing the Georgia Bulldogs. Coming into this game the Vols had just dropped their first two SEC games by a combined margin of 5 points so the Volunteers needed a W in the baddest way. To start the game it looked like Tennessee wanted no part of the Georgia Bulldogs. Late in the second half, Tennessee was trailing 24-3 and from that point Tennessee never looked back. They ended the game on 35-7 run, including 28 unanswered points, and won the game 38-31. Dobb threw the a career high 312 yards passing add 118 yards on the ground. He had a season high in yards from scrimmage. He scored three times through the air and twice on the ground. He accounted for all of Tennessee touchdowns against Georgia that day. Dobb led his team to the third biggest comeback in school history. The biggest one since the 1991 game against Notre Dame. Also on this day Dobbs did something that only one other person in Tennessee history had ever done. He passed for over 300 yards and over 100 yards rushing. The other guy to do it? Joshua Dobbs in 2014 against South Carolina.

On October 31, he returned to the field after suffering a close loss to the Alabama Crimson Tide on the road, 19-14. Their opponent on this Saturday was the Kentucky Wildcats and once again the Vols were looking to get the bitter taste of defeat out of their mouth. Tennessee went to Kentucky and exercised their demons. The Vols would win the game 52-21. He threw for 233 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. He also rushed for 51 yards and scored twice using his feet. The most important stat for this game for Dobbs was that he had a QBR of 94, but this was not his season high. He would get his season high against Vandy on the 28th of November.

In the last home game of the season, the Vols played in-state rival Vanderbilt and Dobbs put on a show. They beat Vandy 53-28. Dobbs threw for 170 yards two touchdowns and he also rushed for 93 yards and had one rushing touchdown. But the biggest stat was his QBR. Dobbs had a season high QBR of 94.8 during his last game of 2016.

Going into the 2016 season the Vols and Dobbs have a chance to do something really special. They have an experienced backfield anchored by Dobbs and RB Jalen Hurd. If Dobbs continues to improve coming into the 2016 season, he and his team will be some shiny hardware back to Knoxville.

Pre-Lottery Mock Draft 1.0

Nov 16, 2015; Baton Rouge, LA, USA; LSU Tigers forward Ben Simmons (25) slam dunks against the Kennesaw State Owls during the first half of a game at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Nov 16, 2015; Baton Rouge, LA, USA; LSU Tigers forward Ben Simmons (25) slam dunks against the Kennesaw State Owls during the first half of a game at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports


  1. Philadelphia 76ers: Ben Simmons F LSU: He will be the number pick in the draft due to his potential and upside. He needs time to develop and grow but will be a great player in the NBA. He is not as NBA ready as some of the other players but over time may be the best player drafted over the past 10 years.
    Duke's Brandon Ingram (14) shoots over Buffalo's CJ Massinburg during an NCAA college basketball game in Durham, N.C., Saturday, Dec. 5, 2015. (AP Photo/Ted Richardson)

    Duke’s Brandon Ingram (14) shoots over Buffalo’s CJ Massinburg during an NCAA college basketball game in Durham, N.C., Saturday, Dec. 5, 2015. (AP Photo/Ted Richardson)

  2. Los Angeles Lakers: Brandon Ingram F Duke: Brandon Ingram is going to jump right into the NBA and start scoring. He will make a quicker impact than Ben Simmons does and has just as high as ceiling. Ingram has the talent to go number one overall but he will be available at number two.
     (AP Photo/Ted Richardson)

    (AP Photo/Ted Richardson)

  3. Boston Celtics: Jaylen Brown F California: The Celtics are loaded with young talent and I foresee them trading this pick. Whoever they trade with will trade up to draft Jaylen Brown who at  6’ 7” can really shoot. He spent time working out with Draymond Green which will really help him in becoming a good NBA player. He should also turn into a very talented defender in the NBA.
    (photo credit: Ciamillo-Castoria)

    (photo credit: Ciamillo-Castoria)

  4. Phoenix Suns: Dragan Bender F Croatia: The Suns need some front court help to go along with their talented guards. Dragan Bender is this year’s Porzingis. He is a stretch four at 7’ 1” who’s stock is going to benefit from scouts being wrong on Porzingis. He has a decent 3 point shot and is getting strong. Being only 18 really helps him because he could mold into a very good player.
    Photo ANDREW DOUGHTY

    Photo ANDREW DOUGHTY

  5. Minnesota Timberwolves: Buddy Hield G Oklahoma: Buddy can score from anywhere at anytime on the floor. He is deadly from behind the arc and has developed a great all around scoring game that will translate well into the NBA. Some say his size is going to hurt him, but if we looked at size to determine ability Isaiah Thomas wouldn’t be an all star. The Timberwolves can continue to build a dominate core that will grow into a championship caliber roster.
    (Source: Getty Images)

    (Source: Getty Images)

  6. New Orleans Pelicans: Jamal Murray G Kentucky: Jamal Murray is one of the best players in this draft that is flying under the radar. He has superstar potential and a very good three point shot. The Pelicans need a player who can create pressure on the defense and take away some of the pressure from Anthony Davis. Murray would be a great option for the Pelicans.
    Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports.

    Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports.

  7. Denver Nuggets: Kris Dunn G Providence: The Western Conference is ruled by good backcourts. If the Nuggets want to become a playoff contender they should follow that blueprint. Last year they drafted Emmanuel Mudiay and so far it seems to be a very good pick. Pairing Kris Dunn with Emmanuel Mudiay would create a young and talented backcourt that the Nuggets could build around. Some scouts even see Dunn as a top five pick so if that is true this is really a steal for Denver at pick seven.
    (AP Photo Morry Gash)

    (AP Photo Morry Gash)

  8. Sacramento Kings: Henry Ellison F Marquette: Something tells me DeMarcus Cousins will find himself on another team either during or after the draft. If that does happen they will desperately need front court help and Ellison will be able to provide that with his ability to stretch the floor. Even if Cousins is not moved this would be a good pick to solidify their front court.
     (photo by Chris Reynolds)

    (photo by Chris Reynolds)

  9. Toronto Raptors: Skal Labissiere F Kentucky: Skal has the talent to be a top three pick but had a little underwhelming season with Kentucky. He has a good shot but needs to get stronger for the NBA game. This pick would give the Raptors a deeper front court that could help them take deeper steps into the playoffs.
    (Charlie Riedel / Associated Press)

    (Charlie Riedel / Associated Press)

  10. Milwaukee Bucks: Jakob Poeltl C Utah: The Bucks already have a team that is long and drafting 7’1” Poeltl will just add to that. The Bucks tried signing Greg Monroe to help their front court but the signing has proved to be underwhelming. Poeltl is already talented defensively and his offensive game is sure to improve. He would fit in with the current Bucks really well.
    Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

    Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

  11. Orlando Magic: Denzel Valentine F Michigan State: Many scouts want to compare Valentine to Draymond Green and that is understandable. He has proven to be a good leader and a talented perimeter shooter but he lacks the quickness to be a higher pick. If he turns into the player he was in college the Magic will have a great player for a long time.
    Dec 1, 2015; Chapel Hill, NC, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels forward Brice Johnson (11) reacts in the first half at Dean E. Smith Center. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

    Dec 1, 2015; Chapel Hill, NC, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels forward Brice Johnson (11) reacts in the first half at Dean E. Smith Center. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

  12. Utah Jazz: Brice Johnson F North Carolina: The Utah Jazz are on the cusp of returning to the playoffs but just need more talent. Brice Johnson had a tremendous year for North Carolina. He is very athletic and a high percentage shooter. He needs to bulk up some for the NBA but that should happen over time. Brice Johnson could be the piece the Jazz need to make a playoff spot next season.
    (AP Photo/Young Kwak, File)

    (AP Photo/Young Kwak, File)

  13. Washington Wizards: Domantas Sabonis F/C Gonzaga: Sabonis reminds me of a more offensively talented Joakim Noah. Good rebounder with tons of energy and passion. He will give you everything he’s got 100% of the time. The Wizards may not have a desperate need for him but he will be the best player available and the Wizards would be smart to draft him.
    (Photo: Kelly Kline, Kelly Kline/Under Armour)

    (Photo: Kelly Kline, Kelly Kline/Under Armour)

  14. Chicago Bulls: Thon Maker F/C Australia: The Bulls front office sometimes doesn’t know what they are doing. There really is no consistency in how they draft and there aren’t many small forwards in this draft worth drafting at pick 14. The Bulls may trade down but I see them taking a very talented, yet unknown, Thon Maker to possible replace Joakim Noah and/or Pau Gasol. He is a freak athlete at 7’1” who has great handles for his size. He could turn out to be the best player in the draft, or the worst, only time will tell.
    ISTANBUL, TURKEY - APRIL 07: Furkan Korkmaz, #10 of Anadolu Efes Istanbul in action during the 2015-2016 Turkish Airlines Euroleague Basketball Top 16 Round 14 game between Anadolu Efes Istanbul v Panathinaikos Athens at Abdi Ipekci Arena on April 7, 2016 in Istanbul, Turkey. (Photo by Aykut Akici/EB via Getty Images)

    ISTANBUL, TURKEY – APRIL 07: Furkan Korkmaz, #10 of Anadolu Efes Istanbul in action during the 2015-2016 Turkish Airlines Euroleague Basketball Top 16 Round 14 game between Anadolu Efes Istanbul v Panathinaikos Athens at Abdi Ipekci Arena on April 7, 2016 in Istanbul, Turkey. (Photo by Aykut Akici/EB via Getty Images)

  15. Denver Nuggets: Furkan Korkmaz: G Turkey: International players are always tough to judge because of the level of competition they play against but Furkan Korkmaz is a natural scorer. He is 6’7” so he may even be able to play some small forward as well. His offensive game is completely well rounded and because he is so good offensively, his defensive game is behind. He may be a bit of a developmental project but has a lot of upside and Denver has the time to wait for this pick to develop.
    (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

    (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

  16. Dallas Mavericks: Tyler Ulis G Kentucky: It has been quite a while since the Mavericks have had a legitimate point guard and drafting Ulis would give them that. The common knock on Ulis is that he is too small. If you watched any Kentucky games you know he made up for his size in his ability to create for his teammates and score. He is gritty and a team leader and Dallas would get a quality player if they drafted Ulis.
    Jan 9, 2016; Coral Gables, FL, USA; Florida State Seminoles guard Malik Beasley (5) dunks the ball past Miami Hurricanes forward Kamari Murphy (21) during the first half at BankUnited Center. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

    Jan 9, 2016; Coral Gables, FL, USA; Florida State Seminoles guard Malik Beasley (5) dunks the ball past Miami Hurricanes forward Kamari Murphy (21) during the first half at BankUnited Center. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

  17. Memphis Grizzlies: Malik Beasley G Florida State: Memphis is a team that grinds out games and plays a tough, physical defensive game. They usually struggle with having a go to scorer. Beasley would provide an excellent scoring option for the Grizzlies. Some scouts say his weakness is creating for others but with Mike Conley Jr. at the point he would not have to create for others. He would be a perfect fit with the Grizzlies.
    By Brendan F. Quinn

    By Brendan F. Quinn

  18. Detroit Pistons: Caris LaVert G Michigan: The Pistons took a big step under Stan Van Gundy this year by making the playoffs. Now they need to add depth to take another step in the playoffs. LaVert would be a viable option off the bench and could develop into a long time starter.
     Fernando Salazar The Wichita Eagle

    Fernando Salazar The Wichita Eagle

  19. Portland Trailblazers: Stephen Zimmerman C UNLV: Zimmerman is a very talented seven footer. He has above average handling ability for his size and has a very consistent mid-range jumper. He was plagued with injuries throughout the year that did not allow him to become a dominant player. He needs to hit the weights because he is skinny and will get pushed around in the NBA. With all that being said, he’s only 19 years old and could develop into a potential all star in the right system with the right coaches.
    (Feb. 5, 2016 - Source: Michael Hickey/Getty Images North America)

    (Feb. 5, 2016 – Source: Michael Hickey/Getty Images North America)

  20. Indiana Pacers: Demetrius Jackson G Notre Dame: Jackson has a nice burst of explosion and has a great assist to turnover ratio. He is polished and has develop and will be one of the older players drafted. Because of his age you expect to get a more mature player who is capable of dictating an offense. The Pacers need more offense and Jackson is the type of player who can create that.
    (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

    (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

  21. Atlanta Hawks: Taurean Prince: F Baylor: Atlanta needs a player who can defend against other teams’ best players in the playoffs. With Teague, Horford and Millsap the Hawks have plenty of scoring. In reality, they need someone to slow down LeBron if they want to get further in the playoffs. Prince has great length and good defensive instincts. He would be a great fit with the Hawks.
    Washington forward Marquese Chriss breaks away for a dunk as Utah forward Jakob Poeltl watches in the second half as the University of Washington Huskies take on the Utah Utes at Alaska Airlines Arena in Seattle Sunday January 24, 2016. (Bettina Hansen / The Seattle Times)

    Washington forward Marquese Chriss breaks away for a dunk as Utah forward Jakob Poeltl watches in the second half as the University of Washington Huskies take on the Utah Utes at Alaska Airlines Arena in Seattle Sunday January 24, 2016. (Bettina Hansen / The Seattle Times)

  22. Charolette Hornets: Marquese Chriss F Washington: Charolette is a difficult team to predict so I think they will take the best available player and many scouts think Chriss will go in the top 15 but I don’t think he will go that high. He is very athletic and will dunk on anyone. He has a good wingspan that may allow him to become a good defender.
    Dec 9, 2015; East Lansing, MI, USA; Michigan State Spartans forward Deyonta Davis (23) reacts to a dunk against the Maryland-Eastern Shore Hawks during the first half a game at Jack Breslin Student Events Center. Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

    Dec 9, 2015; East Lansing, MI, USA; Michigan State Spartans forward Deyonta Davis (23) reacts to a dunk against the Maryland-Eastern Shore Hawks during the first half a game at Jack Breslin Student Events Center. Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

  23. Boston Celtics: Deyonta Davis F Michigan State: Davis is big and has been molded by Tom Izzo. His game may grow in the NBA but as of now he is an offensive liability. Time will tell if he can develop his offensive game but he is NBA ready on the defensive end.
    (sportsandentertainmentnashville.com)

    (sportsandentertainmentnashville.com)

  24. Miami Heat: Damian Jones F/C Vanderbilt: Hassan Whiteside is going to be a free agent and it is unknown if he will stay with the Heat. Damian Jones is a very athletic seven footer who was instrumental in the success of Vanderbilt. The Heat need some front court help so they should go Jones.
    Maryland guard Melo Trimble (2) goes up for a basket during the first half. (Mel Evans / Associated Press)

    Maryland guard Melo Trimble (2) goes up for a basket during the first half. (Mel Evans / Associated Press)

  25. Los Angeles Clippers: Melo Trimble G Maryland: The Clippers will look to add depth because they might not be able to find a true impact player this late. Melo would be a good second option to have behind Chris Paul as he is a good ball handler and free throw shooter.
    (Dec. 15, 2015 - Source: Ethan Miller/Getty Images North America)

    (Dec. 15, 2015 – Source: Ethan Miller/Getty Images North America)

  26. Oklahoma City Thunder: Patrick McCaw G UNLV: McCaw was UNLV’s leading scorer and at 6’7” he has great size for the NBA. He can play on the ball and off the ball. His versatility and athleticism is what teams will be intrigued by. He is also good for at least one steal that leads to a breakaway dunk per game as he did it regularly while at UNLV.
    CZBG, Stefan N.

    CZBG, Stefan N.

  27. Toronto Raptors: Timothe Luwawu G France: Luwawu is a bit of an unknown from France but he stands at 6’7” which is great for a guard. He is quick off the dribble and a good three point shooter. The Raptors would love to get a player who could be versatile.
    (Photo: Brad Fedie , 247Sports)

    (Photo: Brad Fedie , 247Sports)

  28. Cleveland Cavaliers: Diamond Stone C Maryland: The Cavaliers will take a big man who can run the floor well for a seven footer. He has long arms and is great at grabbing rebounds.
    Associated Press

    Associated Press

  29. San Antonio Spurs: Gary Payton II G Oregon State: Tony Parker isn’t getting any younger and the Spurs need to look at developing his replacement. Payton is just like his dad when it comes to getting his hands a ball defensively and Popovich will love that. He is also very explosive and athletic and he could be a great piece to go along with LaMarcus Aldridge and Kawhi Leonard.
    FILE - In this Nov. 17, 2015, file photo, Connecticut's Daniel Hamilton, left, shoots over New Hampshire’s Jaleen Smith, right, in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, in Storrs, Conn. Isaac, 21, and Daniel, 19, are still the younger brothers, but they are no longer little and have been making names for themselves this season on opposite coasts _ Daniel at UConn and Isaac at UCLA. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill, File)

    FILE – In this Nov. 17, 2015, file photo, Connecticut’s Daniel Hamilton, left, shoots over New Hampshire’s Jaleen Smith, right, in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, in Storrs, Conn. Isaac, 21, and Daniel, 19, are still the younger brothers, but they are no longer little and have been making names for themselves this season on opposite coasts _ Daniel at UConn and Isaac at UCLA. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill, File)

  30. Golden State Warriors: Daniel Hamilton G UCONN: Hamilton will fit the Warriors’ system of versatile athletes. He is not a great three point shooter and may take time to develop which is why the Warriors would be a great fit for him. They don’t need him to be good right away right away.

Three Takeaways From the 2015-2016 College Basketball Season

This year’s college basketball season was one of the most interesting in recent memory.  Story lines poured out of the action on and off the court. Here’s what I consider the main themes of the 2015-2016 season:

  1. Senior Rebirth

Some of this year’s best teams featured multiple seniors. Many of the Naismith and Associated Press Player of the Year candidates were seniors, unlike in previous seasons. The star power was held by many players who have developed over their years at their respective schools. People still question why these players did not develop faster or declare for the draft earlier. Recent trends have shown, however, that perhaps it is better for players to delay the jump to the pros. No one would say that Buddy Hield is not a complete player at this point, yet many people can pick out the weaknesses in Ben Simmons’ game namely his inability to shoot the jumper.

Buddy Hield and Ryan Arcidiacono were two of this season’s most prolific seniors. (Photo courtesy of Fox Sports)

This year, there was a plethora of entertaining seniors to watch. The more notable players included Denzel Valentine, Marcus Paige, and Jake Layman. The final four teams featured line-ups riddled with seniors. The Oklahoma Sooners had several seniors that saw the floor in addition to their Naismith Candidate in Ryan Spangler and Isaiah Cousins. National Champion Villanova had two prominent seniors in Daniel Ochefu and Ryan Arcidiacono. Syracuse had an excellent example in player development with former Duke transfer Michael Gbinije. The Tar Heels had a number of seniors on the team in addition to Paige, the most entertaining being Brice Johnson.

The fact that these players stayed for their whole careers shows that the NBA is not completely killing the amateur game. While some players will still make the jump too early and many top recruits will make the obligated year long trip to play school before leaving to make their money, the landscape of college basketball still shows growth and life which is something we saw this year.

  1. Scandal

Rick Pitino’s Louisville Cardinals missed the postseason due to scandal. (Photo courtesy of the LA Times)

Scandal is wreaking havoc on the game. Several schools were under the gloomy cloud of sanctions this year and some will carry this problem into the following season. An SMU team that started hot missed the tournament due to academic fraud. Likewise, two final four teams have dealt with their own problems. Jim Boeheim and Syracuse are still in muddy waters and North Carolina could be facing some loss of scholarships and postseason bans due to their school infractions.

The king of kings, however, is Louisville.  Rick Pitino’s future remains uncertain as does the team’s season to come. At this point it seems that academic progress failure and scandal are normal parts of NCAA culture. While the NCAA has gotten many things wrong in the past two decades, it does appear that these schools will face harsh discipline at the expense of the student-athletes.

  1. Parity

Many people indicated that this year’s domination of the final four, elite eight, and sweet sixteen by power conference teams was an indication of the lack of the so called “parity” in college basketball. Even ESPN’s Jay Bilas was in agreement with this train of thought. While I recognize the fact that the numbers show an inordinate amount of teams in the latter stages of the tournament, looking at the topic of parity from this one perspective oversimplifies the subject.

It is difficult to look at the season and tournament as a whole and not see the parity available in college basketball. In early season match-ups, Monmouth took down Notre Dame, an elite eight team, and Northern Iowa defeated North Carolina, the national runner-up. There was even a cry for Monmouth and St. Mary’s to make the tournament. Dick Vitale mentioned in his post season summary that there was no respect for the little guy.

Northern Iowa lost in a devastating manner when Texas A&M rallied from down double digits in the final minute of the second round (Photo courtesy of thegazette.com)

We saw, for the first time in history, a 12, 13, 14, and 15 seed win in the same weekend. Northern Iowa was 35 seconds from the sweet sixteen and Stephen F. Austin was a tip in away as well. We saw Middle Tennessee State take out a team that caused many brackets to be busted.  We saw Hawaii take down a very talented Cal team, Purdue get beat by Arkansas-Little Rock, and Yale take down Baylor. That being said, there was very little representation of the small conferences in the sweet sixteen. However, no one would say that just because Butler made the championship that this was an indication of parity. The opposite indication is represented here. The whole story is more complex and we were a few points away from having a year dominated by the little guy in the end chapters of March Madness, and the overall story includes this change in the winds of college basketball  that should continue to make the opening rounds of the tournament interesting for years to come.

Now as we put a wrap on 2015-2016 we look ahead. There are a few final commitments, a few loose ends to tie up and then it is on to the following season. Every indication is that it should be fantastic, with a host of powerful recruits coming in but some of the tale of this season could bleed into the next. At this point it is very difficult to see what is to come in the vastly changing arena of college basketball.

ACC: The Best of the Best

All of us college basketball fans learned something during the first weekend of the tournament. We learned that upsets will happen no matter how strong the top seed seems to be. We learned that no one is ever gonna be 100% correct during March Madness. Northern Iowa knows that no lead is ever safe during the tournament. But the really big take away from last weekend is that the ACC is the best college basketball conference in the nation.

During the first weekend the ACC, had the most wins by any conference in the nation. The ACC went 12-1 in the opening weekend. The only loss the ACC suffered was a Pittsburgh loss to Wisconsin. They are also sending a record six teams to the Sweet 16. No conference has ever done this. This is an incredible thing to see in this day and age of college basketball, where there is more parity in the game. The ACC had seven total teams in the tournament, and if Louisville was not on probation it could have easily been eight ACC teams in the tournament. In the Sweet 16 matchups, it is very possible that the ACC could have six teams advance to the Elite 8.

All 6 teams come into the tournament with different storylines. Let’s start with lowest seed left, Syracuse. Syracuse came into the tournament as one of the teams many say should not have been in the tournament. But they have proven so far that their patented zone defense is hard to deal with. And during this tournament they had to “upset” higher-seed Dayton. In the round of 32, had to beat Middle Tennessee, the team that beat Michigan State. Now in the Sweet 16, they will face 11-seed Gonzaga. Whoever wins that matchup will be the highest seed in the Elite 8 this year.

(AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

(AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Next is Notre Dame. The Irish came into this tournament with a pretty bitter taste in their mouth. The last time they were on the court the North Carolina Tar Heels ran them off the court. So the Irish were hungry to reclaim glory to their name. The Irish got their real first shot at righting their wrong against 11-Seed Michigan. They beat the surging Wolverines to move on to the Round of 32, where they had to play 14-seed Stephen F. Austin. And it took the late game heroics of Rex Plfueger, to propel the Irish over the Lumberjacks. But next up for Notre Dame is another team of destiny, 7-Seed Wisconsin.

4-Seed Duke comes into this tournament after one of its most scrutinized seasons in a while, after one of the worst stretches Coach K has ever had with the Blue Devils. Even with a limited bench, Duke is here in the Sweet 16. The Blue Devils are highly dependent on the strength of their starting five, that includes one of the nation’s best players, Brandon Ingram.

(Photo: Winslow Townson, USA TODAY Sports)

(Photo: Winslow Townson, USA TODAY Sports)

3-Seed Miami has taken probably the hardest way to the tournament, but this team is definitely up to the challenge. The Canes were even underdogs to the 11-Seed Wichita State team and will probably once again be underdogs against the Villanova Wildcats. Miami G Angel Rodriguez and the Canes dare any “expert” to rule them out.

The two ACC number 1-seeds are still alive. UNC is in the East, and UVA is in the Midwest. UNC will have to fight it out with the historically great Indiana Hoosiers. And UVA will have to play the Iowa State Cyclones. These two matchups are very favorable for the two number 1-seeds. UNC has the height advantage over the Hoosiers and the Heels will force Indiana to cough the ball up. UVA will slow the pace down and make it hard for the Cyclones to get out in transition. The Cavaliers will key on Cyclones F Georges Niang and make the other players beat them.

Geoff Burke/ USA TODAY Sports

Geoff Burke/ USA TODAY Sports

If the weekend works how the ACC wants it to, there could be an all-ACC Final Four, which would lock in the ACC’s second title in a row.

The Game Haus Play Of The Week – 3/21/16

Sadly, March Madness only comes once a year. After all, it is truly the best time in the NCAA. As everyone prepared their bracket for the tournament and before witnessing any devastating upsets that would not only destroy those brackets but dreams of those athletes trying to reach the championship, I cannot help but sympathize with those fans in their deflated state especially if their team was a part of such an upset. Till this moment, I do not have the words to summarize what happened to Michigan State. I replay the last few minutes of the game as I refuse to accept the reality of what occurred, but MSU just simply did not play like their true selves. Truly unfortunate for Denzel Valentine to end his career that way with Michigan State.
The tournament this year is definitely filled with close losses and significant upsets making the rest of the anticipated championship unpredictable. March Madness will definitely keep any fan on the edge of their seat especially with your teams’ future at stake within the tournament.
The same applies to this week’s play of the week. During the Notre Dame (6) and SF Austin (14) game, each team gave significant effort with taking the lead from the other team only to have it taken back within seconds. With just 1.5 seconds left in the game and the Irish down 2 points, Demetrius Jackson goes in for the shot but misses as Zach Auguste’s attempted rebound fails. With Notre Dame about to lose a Sweet 16 berth, Rex Pflueger tipped the ball in to secure the lead. This was Pflueger’s first basket of the game and the points needed to win the game for the Irish, 76-75 advancing them within the Tournament.
If you missed this incredible basket, here it is:
https://youtu.be/5eIEdYHlXnY
If you would like to talk more about this amazing play, come meet me and others in the forum.To nominate a play of the week, please post your entries on our FacebookTwitter and Instagram Pages. Perhaps your selection will get chosen for next week’s “Play of the Week.”

Congrats to Rex Pflueger for making this play possible and advancing in the tournament.

National Signing Day: ACC and Notre Dame

The future of college football starts now on national signing day. Plenty of recruits will sign with their future school and will mold the next few seasons of football. Here is how the ACC and Notre Dame rank:

Malik Henry will be the next great Florida State quarterback. Photo courtesy 247sports.com.

  1. Florida State- 5 Stars- 1, 4 stars- 18, 3 stars- 6, Total 25

Florida State has one of the best recruiting classes in the country, which should help them get back to an ACC title in the coming years. They have one five-star prospect, but have a lot of talent that could propel them to the top spot in the recruiting rankings by the end of the day.

Cornerback Levontae Taylor is their best recruit and could help out a secondary that loses Jalen Ramsey to the NFL. They have another good cornerback in this class who is a four-star recruit, Carlos Becker. Defensive end Jamarius Robinson and linebacker Keion Joyner are solid recruits as well, which helped Florida State hit every level of the defense in this class.

Jimbo Fisher may have found his quarterback for next season in Malik Henry from California, who is a great dual-threat for the Florida State offense. Center Baveon Johnson is their best offensive line recruit, and will be a future star. They also bolstered their offensive tackle position by signing Landon Dickerson, a four-star recruit. Wide receiver Keith Gavin will join a good receiving corps and will need to battle to get on the field. Running back Amir Rasul will back up Dalvin Cook next season.

Dexter Lawrence will fill the role of the next great Clemson defensive lineman. Photo courtesy scout.com.

  1. Clemson- 5 stars- 1, 4 stars- 14, 3 stars- 5, Total 22

Clemson is coming off of a National Championship Game appearance and has a great recruiting class to keep their success going. Dabo Swinney has been known as one of the best recruiters in the country and didn’t disappoint this season.

The Tigers have a great defensive class thanks to a great signing day thus far. Defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence is their only five-star prospect and is physically big, which means he will be the next great Clemson defensive lineman. Cornerback Trayvon Mullen is a four-star prospect and is needed to replace Mackensie Alexander, who is leaving for the NFL draft. They have two talented linebackers in this class in Rahshaun Smith and Tre’ Lamar, who both should be future starters for Clemson.

The Clemson offense was young this season so they don’t need much from this recruiting class. Their best offensive player is running back Tavien Feaster, who will have the honor of backing up Wayne Gallman in his first season. Diondre Overton is a talented big receiver to put next to Artavis Scott next season. They only have one four-star offensive lineman at this point and that is guard Sean Pollard. They may need more from the offensive line in this class.

Liam Eichenberg has been tested in high school football in Ohio and is a good pickup for Notre Dame. Photo courtesy 247 sports.com.

  1. Notre Dame- 4 stars- 9, 3 stars- 13, Total 23

Notre Dame is abnormally still without a five-star commit at this point. Brian Kelly still has a good class and should be competing for the College Football Playoff next season with help from this class.

The Fighting Irish have their two best recruits on the offensive line in Liam Eichenberg and Tommy Kraemer, who are both from Ohio. The other great offensive recruit is Chase Claypool out of Canada, who is six foot five inches tall and can be a great red zone target.

The defensive players that stand out are defensive end Khalid Kareem, safeties Donte Vaughn and Spencer Perry and defensive end Julian Okwara, which shows they are still looking for a star linebacker in this class.

  1. Miami- 4 stars- 11, 3 stars- 7, Total 18

Miami doesn’t have the most players in this class yet, but they do have a lot of talent. Mark Richt has done a good job of retaining commits from Al Golden’s tenure, to make the recruiting class near the top of the ACC. The Hurricanes did a great job recruiting their own state, getting their top ten recruits from the state of Florida.

The top player Miami has in this class, pocket-passing quarterback Jack Allison, looks to have a bright future, but most likely won’t play as a freshman because the Hurricanes have a star in Brad Kaaya. To go along with Kaaya next year, Miami has wide receivers Sam Bruce, Dionte Mullens and running back Travis Horner, who are all talented enough to compete for playing time next season.

Defensively the Hurricanes have one of the best linebackers in the country signed with them, Shaquille Quarterman. They also have linebacker Zachary McCloud, defensive end Patrick Bethel, Joseph Jackson, and safeties Romeo Finley and Cedrick Wright closing out their defensive four star commits.

5. Duke- 4 stars- 7, 3 stars- 14, Total 21Duke has its best recruiting class in school history this season. David Cutcliffe has completed a successful turnaround of the Duke football program and it doesn’t look like they are going anywhere.

The Blue Devils have a very balanced class. Defensively their best recruit is Chidi Okonya, who is six foot seven inches, but is a slender 211 pounds. The other star defensive recruit is safety Dylan Singleton who is undersized at five feet eleven inches, but is a four-star recruit nonetheless.

Offensively the Blue Devils have four different four star prospects. Offensive tackle Robert Kraeling has the necessary size to compete in the ACC already. Tight end Mark Birmingham and wide receiver Scott Bracey will be great targets for Thomas Sirk in their first season. Running back Brittain Brown looks like he will be productive running the football for Duke for the next few years.

6.Pitt- 4 stars- 3, 3 stars- 20, Total 24

Pat Narduzzi has gotten his first full year of recruiting in, and it paid off. He has been extremely successful keeping players in Pennsylvania.

Cornerback Damar Hamlin is a prized recruit right out of Pittsburgh and decided to stay home to play for the Panthers. He and defensive tackle Keyshon Camp, from Florida, will be ready to play from day one and could have a big impact in their first season. The best offensive recruit is running back George Hill out of Ohio, but he still needs to sign with Pitt to make it official.

  1. North Carolina- 4 stars- 5, 3 stars 20, Total 25

Larry Fedora and North Carolina have done a good job of recruiting, but last year was the first year when that recruiting truly transferred to the on-field play.

Four-star Tomon Fox is a defensive end out of Georgia, who is a little bit undersized, but makes up for it with quickness. Quarterback Logan Byrd is a four-star pocket-passing quarterback, also out of Georgia, is the only offensive four-star recruit for the Tarheels. Athlete Chazz Surratt, cornerback Patrice Rene and defensive tackle Kyree Cambell are all four-star signees that will have a future impact for North Carolina.

 

  1. Louisville- 4 stars- 6, 3 stars- 15, Total 23

Bobby Petrino has Louisville poised to be at the top of the ACC the next couple of years. His recruiting class this season will help their team compete in the tough Atlantic Division.

The best recruit is dual-threat quarterback Jawon Pass, from Georgia. Pass may end up playing another position on the offense, as Petrino gets a lot of dual-threat quarterbacks to play wide receiver and running back. Their secondary was good last season, but they added on to that by getting cornerback Ronald Walker, who is a Juco recruit. They also have three wide receivers and an outside linebacker rounding out their four star recruits.

  1. Va Tech- 4 stars- 5, 3 stars- 13, Total 21

Virginia Tech is in their first offseason without head coach Frank Beamer and now is looking at Justin Fuentes to lead them. Fuentes has big shoes to fill and has to start with recruiting to build the program back to Beamer’s standards.

The top four recruits are all on the offensive side of the ball, including three receivers. Divine Deablo is a big receiver out of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, who has the potential to be a star. To go along with Deablo and the other receivers the Hokies have dual-threat quarterback Joshua Jackson who may be able to compete for the starting job next season.

  1. NC State- 4 stars- 1, 3 stars- 22, Total 27

NC State only has one four-star recruit, but has a lot of quality three-star recruits rounding out their class. Dave Doern made a bowl game this season and now needs to make a push and compete in the ACC.

The four-star recruit is tight end Thaddeus Moss, who is six foot four inches and from North Carolina. Jacoby Brissett has exhausted his eligibility, but NC State may have his eventual replacement in three star quarterback recruit, Dylan Parham, who is a pocket passer.

  1. Georgia Tech- 4 stars- 2, 3 stars- 14, Total 18

Paul Johnson has a unique time recruiting each year because he runs the triple option offense. The option offense helps him compete against teams who often recruit better players.

The Yellow Jackets have two four stars this season bolstering their class. Offensive Guard Parker Braun, from Texas, is an undersized offensive lineman, who will fit in perfectly in the triple option offense. Defensive End Jordan Woods will play as a Freshman for Georgia Tech.

  1. Wake Forest- 3 stars- 20, Total 22

Wake Forest has a balanced recruiting class in terms of offense vs. defense. Head Coach Dave Clawson needs to improve his 6-18 overall record to keep his job, making this recruiting class important.

The Demon Deacons have two standout recruits that could have impacts on the team as freshmen. Sulaiman Kamara is a defensive tackle commit, out of Virginia, who could see time next season to help what was a decent defense. Wake Forest needs offense because they only averaged 17.4 points per game. Their best offensive recruit is dual-threat quarterback Jamie Newman out of their home state of North Carolina.

  1. Virginia- 3 stars- 24, Total 24

Bronco Mendenhall is in his first offseason with Virginia and didn’t have too much time to recruit, but will continue to get better at recruiting during his time at Virginia. The Cavaliers don’t have a great recruiting class, but Mendenhall has done well without having the best talent during his time at BYU.

The Cavaliers seem to be targeting offense with their top five recruits coming on the offensive side of the ball. Virginia has three receivers at the top of their class. Joseph Reed and Cole Blackman are both from Vriginia and Hasise Dubois is from New Jersey. Dubois is a big receiver and can create matchup problems.

  1. Syracuse- 3 stars- 18, Total 20

Syracuse has a class that is at the bottom of the ACC once again. They need to capitalize on this signing day to compete in the ACC.

The best recruit is Rex Culpepper, who is a pocket-passing quarterback out of Florida. They also have offensive tackle Sam Heckel, from Wisconsin, and running back Moe Neal, from North Carolina. Syracuse seems to have a focus on recruiting offense this offseason, due to their scoring offense which is the eightieth best in the country.

  1. Boston College- 3 stars- 14, Total 22

Boston College has the worst recruiting class in the ACC, but do have 17 three star prospects. The Eagles have a tendency to find diamonds in the rough, like NFL linebacker Luke Keuchly, and they will be hoping for the same thing in this class.

Steve Addazio needs to get these players to pan out to insure his job security. The two best recruits are wide receiver Kobay White and linebacker Ethan Tucky. White is a six-foot receiver out of Pennsylvania. Tucky is six-foot two inch linebacker out of Ohio.

 

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