Mayfield to the Jets?

The New York Jets are looking for a new quarterback in this year’s NFL draft, and they believe that the young guys coming in can fill in the spot. There are numerous options to choose from in the draft. The top prospects are Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen and Lamar Jackson. But let’s not forget about last season’s Heisman Trophy winner, and playmaker, Baker Mayfield. The Jets have the third pick in the draft, and they’re still trying to figure out who will they take. They’ve had their eyes on Darnold and Allen, but there’s a chance that Mayfield might be the top prospect for the Jets.

College Career

The 6-foot-1, 215 quarterback from the University of Oklahoma has an endless motor of energy when it comes to football. He’s one of the most electrifying players in college football history. He loves the game, and he also loves to get into his opponents head, whether it’s through trash talking or showboating. Before he was a Sooner, Mayfield was a walk-on at Texas Tech University, starting at quarterback throughout his whole freshman season in 2013.

He was literally the first true freshman walk-on in FBS history to start a season opener. Mayfield led his team to a 5-0 record until he got hurt. During his recovery, Mayfield had announced that he was transferring, because Tech didn’t offer him a scholarship for the spring semester. In 2014, he became a walk-on at the University of Oklahoma.

Baker Mayfield

Baker Mayfield
(use today)

Due to NCAA rules, Mayfield was unable to play during that year, and he had to sit out for the 2014 season. He won the starting quarterback job for the Sooners during fall camp in 2015. Mayfield began to make a name for himself as a Sooner. He led his team to three Big 12 titles.

He then had an outstanding season during 2017-2018, throwing for 4,627 yards and 43 touchdowns, becoming a Heisman trophy winner, and leading his team to the college football playoffs. The young quarterback led the FBS for three years, with 119 touchdown passes. He also

had set the record for most touchdown passes in 27 games. This resulted in Mayfield becoming one of the most promising prospects in the draft.

What Can Mayfield Bring to the Table?

He has a great arm, he has great accuracy and he is quick on his feet. The only thing that Mayfield needs to work on is his character. He has a past of being arrested and kicked out of restaurants due to bad behavior. In 2017, Mayfield was arrested and pleaded guilty to intoxication, cursing at police and disorderly conduct. If he brings this same character along with him in the NFL, then his career will be cut short.

Baker Mayfield throwing at the draft
(nypost)

The Jets believe that Mayfield would be the right quarterback for their west coast offense. He has quick reads, he’s mobile and can scramble out of the pocket, and he can put the ball in small windows. He also has a 67% completion rate on throws when he scrambles. This could be a major key to the Jets offense. If Mayfield is able to stay focus throughout his career and surrounds himself with positive influences, then he’ll be able to make it far and won’t fall short.

 

 

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A recap of Selection Sunday

Well Selection Sunday has finally hit for college basketball fans. Selection Sunday is when the 68 teams that compete for a National Championship get announced. Whether you were comfortably in like Virginia and North Carolina or had to sweat it out like UCLA and Arizona State the field has officially been set.

Surprises: Arizona State:

Few people thought that Arizona State was going to make the big dance but they managed to do enough to grab an at-large bid. A record of 5-2 against other teams that made the NCAA tournament field was key here.

Although Arizona State has lost some games to lesser opponents they have key wins against Kansas, Kansas State, UCLA and Xavier that were too good to pass up to the selection committee.

Oklahoma:

The committee wasn’t judging the Sooners based on their whole body of work this season. Even worse is they didn’t think that Oklahoma well in the “last four in” category. Oklahoma has won just six games in all of 2018.

Yes you read that right, they have a 7-9 record against other teams that made it into this years field but have been trending in the wrong direction of late. Like Arizona State, a team that was once a top 10 team mid-season fell off drastically and almost missed out on one of the 32 at-large bids.

Syracuse:

This ones just completely shocking. I really did not think that Syracuse did enough to make the NCAA tournament. They were 5-9 against the field this season and had some “quadrant 3” or even worse loses. They did not fair well against the bottom of the ACC and finished 9-12 overall in conference, which includes conference tournament play.

The Fives and Sixes:

(KUhoops.com).

Notoriously a spot where there are a plethora of upsets the five and six seeds are locked in. One of the best match ups has to be Clemson and New Mexico State. New Mexico State is 2-0 against this year’s tournament teams.

They have back to back wins this season against Miami and Davidson and are 27-5 this season. They are lead by Zach Lofton ad have five guys that average eight or more points this season. The Aggies have some senior leadership and have the ability to shut down the incredible backcourt of Gabe DeVoe and Marcquise Reed.

Another solid matchup is West Virginia and Murray State. Now both these teams have very fast paced games which make this game interesting. West Virginia is the better team at forcing turnovers but Murray State both scores and allows less points. I think this game will be closer than many think and if Jonathan Stark, who averages just under 22 points per game shows up to play, this could be a big 5-12 upset.

The One seed with the toughest road:

This falls to either Villanova or Kansas. Even though Kansas has both Duke and Michigan State in their bracket they only have to play one of them in the Elite Eight.

With the best seeds in their bracket they would have to face Penn, Seton Hall, Auburn and then Duke. Auburn has slumped lately, Seton Hall they match up well against and then Duke will ideally be a toss up depending on the health of Udoka Azubuike.

Ultimately Virginia got rewarded this season by getting a gauntlet for a bracket. Seeds 2-8 have all been ranked at least once this season. They draw the SEC champion in Kentucky, SEC runner up in Tennessee, AAC champion in Cincinnati and a team that they have seen twice already this season in Miami. A team that has dominated all season will get tested throughout each game if they wish to win the National Championship.

Outside the top 2 seeds:

Michigan is blazing hot and comes in as a three seed. They fall in a region with North Carolina and Xavier who are all built similarly. They typically play with four guards who can handle the ball and play with one big. Ultimately teams clicking at the right time are dangerous in March.

This is one of the best brackets in recent memory. Lots of good matchups throughout the tournament as well as many teams who can win on any given day. The NCAA tournament is set and the Madness is set to begin.

Hitting your stride at the right time can lead to a deep NCAA tournament run. If you don’t believe me? You can ask Kemba Walker.

 

Featured image from Basketballscores.com.

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2018 NCAA Tournament bracketology: Selection Sunday

It’s March and the madness has already begun with conference tournaments. It is now Selection Sunday! The Game Haus will be updating a new bracketology every day and sometimes multiple times a day, so please check back! Here is the 2018 NCAA Tournament bracketology: Selection Sunday. Click to zoom.

 

Last four byes: Virginia Tech, St. Bonaventure, USC, UCLA

Last four in: St. Mary’s, Oklahoma, Texas, Florida State

First four out: Notre Dame, Louisville, Arizona State, Baylor

Next four out: Oklahoma State, Middle Tennessee, Syracuse, Marquette

 

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2018 NCAA Tournament bracketology March 9

It’s March and the madness has already begun with conference tournaments. There are still a lot of games to be played before Selection Sunday, but it’s always good to take stock of where the teams are standing. The Game Haus will be updating a new bracketology every day and sometime multiple times a day before Selection Sunday, so please check back! Here is the 2018 NCAA Tournament bracketology March 9. Click to zoom.

Last four byes: Florida State, USC, Texas, Oklahoma

Last four in: Alabama, UCLA, Notre Dame, Louisville

First four out: Oklahoma State, Middle Tennessee State, Syracuse, Arizona State

Next four out: Baylor, Marquette, Penn State, Oregon

 

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2018 NCAA Tournament bracketology March 8

It’s March and the madness has already begun with conference tournaments. There are still a lot of games to be played before Selection Sunday, but it’s always good to take stock of where the teams are standing. The Game Haus will be updating a new bracketology every day and sometime multiple times a day before Selection Sunday, so please check back! Here is the 2018 NCAA Tournament bracketology March 8. Click to zoom.

Last four byes: Kansas State, USC, Texas, Oklahoma

Last four in: UCLA, Alabama, Notre Dame, Arizona State

First four out: Baylor, Louisville, Oklahoma State, Syracuse

Next four out: Marquette, Boise State, Utah, Penn State

 

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Oklahoma Sooners: Going the wrong way at the wrong time

A month ago Trae Young was the front runner to win the Wooden Award. Oklahoma was the number four team in the nation and leading the Big 12. A lot has changed since the calendar month changed to February and we can only expect a lot more when it changes to March.

Wheels falling off:

Oklahoma Sooners

Khadeem Lattin, (Sooner Sports).

Well, Oklahoma is now essentially in a free fall. They just lost their second game to Texas, are 6-8 in conference play and have lost eight of their last ten. Trae Young has struggled lately, and so have the Sooners.

They have lost seven straight road games and have struggled to get wins that would increase their stock come March. The Sooners defensively haven’t held a team to under 65 points.

The best two wins they have are on the road against Wichita State and at home against Kansas, but the NCAA tournament cares about strength of wins, consistency of the team and the trend they are heading in. Oklahoma is heading in the wrong direction when they should be improving their resume.

Young is shooting just four for his last 27 threes in his last three games. The tough shots that he was making early in the season just aren’t consistently falling right now. Young is turning it over 5.3 times a game and is shooting just 37 percent from three.

Where they struggle:

Oklahoma is the number two offense in the country. They can put points up in a hurry and play at one of the fastest paces in basketball. Unfortunately they are the 337th ranked team in points defended against. They are +5.5 in point differential but give up 82 points per game.

The Sooners have lost to 5 teams with an RPI of 51+. To put it into perspective, that’s the same amount as Washington. They allow average teams to hang around due to their defensive inefficiencies. It’s not hard for an above average offensive team to hang around when playing Oklahoma.

A team that once was a sure thing for the NCAA tournament in slowly sliding toward the bubble.

Trae Young:

It’s unfair to blame Trae Young for this sudden slide. Many of the Sooners lack the ability to create space, in which Trae Young specializes in. Despite 5.3 turnovers a game, Oklahoma would struggle tons without his offensive play-making skills.

This is virtually the same team that that lost 18 games last season. People can’t assume that just because a young freshman guard comes in they will be the top of the Big 12. It takes both time and multiple play-makers to make this team go.

What they need to do:

As of right now it will be tough for Oklahoma to improve their resume with four games left in the season. With that being said, it would be rather easy for them to hurt their resume. A loss at home to either Iowa State or Kansas State would be extremely detrimental to the Sooners chances to get a higher seed.

Oklahoma needs to go 2-2 in their next four games. I don’t see them going to Kansas or Baylor and coming out victorious. They are both 12-4 and 12-3 respectively at home and the Sooners have just two true road wins.

On the other side Iowa State is 0-8 on the road and Kansas State is 6-3 on the road. Although Kansas State is 6-3 on the road, they have yet to beat a ranked team on the road. Oklahoma is 11-2 at home and seem like a completely different team when they are in Norman.

Oklahoma will have to do some damage in the Big 12 tournament. They are 7th in the conference right now and would have to win at least one game in the Big 12 tournament to stop the free falling of their stock.

Ultimately I think that Oklahoma will be an 8 or a 9 seed come selection sunday. They have done enough early in the season to solidify themselves in the tournament barring a 0-5 finish. Despite lacking a ton of late quality wins, the Sooners will limp into the NCAA tournament and be a very dangerous higher seed.

 

Featured image from Sooner Sports.

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2018 NCAA Tournament bracketology February 12

The NCAA selection committee released their top 16 seeds this Saturday to give a look into how they would seed the teams right now. This can officially put everyone in the mindset for March Madness. Here is the latest NCAA Tournament bracketology. Click to zoom.

 

First four out: SMU, Nebraska, St. Bonaventure, Utah

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West Virginia blows another second half lead

No. 15 West Virginia entered its highly anticipated showdown against Kentucky desperately needing a victory. Head Coach Bob Huggins went back to what the Mountaineers do best: apply pressure defense.

In the first half, West Virginia jumped all over a sluggish Kentucky team. The Mountaineers forced 11 turnovers and shot approximately 58 percent from three point range. Kentucky did not appear to belong on the same floor as West Virginia.

Then the second half came and Coach John Calipari’s Wildcats saved their season. Kentucky rode freshman forward Kevin Knox’s season high 34 points to an impressive 83-76 comeback win on the road. Kentucky outscored West Virginia by 22 points in the second half in a stunning turnaround that saw Huggins’s crew blow yet another second half lead.

West Virginia is now stuck in a brutal stretch which has seen them lose four of their last five games, squandering double-digit leads in three of those games.

Inconsistent Half-Court Offense

Freshman Teddy Allen has endured an up-and-down debut season for the Mountaineers (Photo by Kevin Kinder/BlueGoldNews.com).

Every coach knows how West Virginia wants to play each game. Huggins is going to implement his aggressive full-court press and force opposing teams to turn the ball over at a high rate. This allows guards Jevon Carter and Dexter Miles to utilize the fast break to score easy baskets and avoid the half court offense.

However, in order to successfully apply this pressure, West Virginia needs to score. This has proven problematic in their recent stretch as Huggins’s offense has been prone to lengthy cold streaks. West Virginia only shot 32.4 percent from the field in the second half against Kentucky and, as a result, was only able to press four times. This allowed Kentucky to set up its half court defense and force WVU into uncomfortable offensive situations

Press Virginia

 The staple of any Bob Huggins coached team is his press defense, predicated on hard traps, communication and rotational timing. Obviously, as stated above, the primary goal of this aggressive defensive style is to force turnovers.

This playing style allows Carter and Miles to dictate the pace of play. West Virginia’s dynamic defense wears its opponents down physically and mentally. It is especially difficult for freshmen-dominated teams such as Kentucky to survive a team such as WVU, as breaking this pressure requires composure and communication. However, strong on-ball defense and rebounding will prevent West Virginia from obtaining desired open looks from three and second chance opportunities it thrives on.

Paging Teddy Allen

Freshman forward Teddy Allen has been a pleasant surprise for Huggins, providing a critical offensive spark early in the season. Allen proved he could play at this level with a breakout game in West Virginia’s 89-76 win over Oklahoma, scoring 20 points shooting 81.8 percent from the field.

However, Allen quickly fell out of favor with Huggins due to issues with his attitude. Huggins did not cite any off-court incidents, but simply said Allen needed to mature. Huggins has taken on the reputation of a no-nonsense head coach who will not play to a single player’s wants and desires over what is best for the team. However, with the Mountaineers mired in their recent slump offensively, it might be time for Huggins to give Allen a second chance.

Verdict

A simple solution for the struggling Mountaineers is to increase offensive efficiency. That is easier said than done, of course. The Mountaineers have the talent to not only win the Big 12 Tournament, but also make a Final Four run. But until Huggins can solve West Virginia’s offensive issues, fans should not trust “Press Virginia” as a legitimate title contender come postseason play.

Featured image by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

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The best player in college basketball: Trae Young

Every year in college basketball, there is one player who stands out over the rest. Two years ago it was Buddy Hield, while last year Josh Hart was argued as the best player, although Caleb Swanigan had a pretty good case as well. The best player doesn’t necessarily mean the person who scores the most, gets the most assists or rebounds the best, but it sometimes ends up that way. This year there is only one choice for the best player in college basketball: Trae Young.

The sooners’ Rise

The best player in college basketball: Trae Young

Trae Yong (Photo by 247sports.com)

Young came in to college as the 23rd best recruit in the class according to ESPN. As the fourth best point guard in the class, he was highly sought after, but wasn’t by any means projected to be this good. He chose to go to Oklahoma because he was a fan of the team growing up and rooted on players such as Blake Griffin.

Oklahoma wasn’t highly thought of coming into the season, as they were picked to finish sixth in the Big 12 during the conference’s media day. Most thought that they had lost too many good players from years past, like Hield, Ryan Spangler, Isaiah Cousins and Jordan Woodard.

Most Oklahoma fans probably would have taken a bid to the NCAA Tournament, but because of Young, the Sooners have been able to do much better than this.

There were signs of Oklahoma’s offense being explosive after their first two games. They beat Ball State and Nebraska-Omaha while scoring 108 points in each game. Oklahoma lost their third game of the season to a solid Arkansas team, but that was the game that Young proved he could play against good competition. He finished with 28 points and five assists.

The Sooners did not lose another game until conference play started. Their biggest non-conference wins were over Wichita State, Northwestern, Oregon and USC. Against Oregon, Young finished with 43 points and seven assists for an impressive performance against a big conference team. He also had a game against Northwestern State, in which he had 26 points and 22 assists. This tied the NCAA Division I record for assists in a game.

Conference play has provided some stiff competition. Still though, Oklahoma is 4-3 in conference and ranked 12th in the country. They have wins against TCU (twice), Texas Tech and Oklahoma State. Their losses have come at the hands of West Virginia, Kansas State and Oklahoma State.

While he continues to score, with a good shooting stroke, and assist at a high rate, there are some concerns about his decision making and turnovers. Any player who has the ball that much will turn over the ball a lot, but most of the problems can be fixed with a little coaching and a change in mindset.

The stats

The best player in college basketball: Trae Young

Trae Young (Photo by oudaily.com)

Young leads the country with both 30.5 points and 9.7 assists per game. If he finishes the season well, he can be the only person in NCAA Division I history to lead the country in both statistics. Keeping up that stat line makes him a legend and is a feat that may never be seen again.

The points are impressive enough. Not many people that walk the earth can say they averaged over 30 points per game in a season. Since 1985 only ten players have averaged that many points per game for a season. Young can join the likes of Glenn Robinson and Hersey Hawkins with a strong finish. Before this time frame, Pete Maravich, Oscar Robertson and Larry Bird all averaged at least 30 points per game. This again, puts him among the all-time greats.

He has the points, but he also sets up a lot of teammates for easy scores. Since 1985 only 26 players have averaged more than nine assists per game. If Young can complete the season at that rate, he will be in company with Avery Johnson, Mark Jackson and Jason Kidd.

While there are some players who have done one or the other, there is no other player in the history of college basketball that have officially put up at least 30 points and nine assists per game. Young is in a class all by himself.

From here on out

It won’t be easy, but keeping up the stat line would cement his legacy in college basketball history. He does need to cut down on turnovers and step up his defense, but is still by far the best player on the college hardwood.

Outside of the stats, Young has completely elevated the Sooners’ level of play and made them national contenders. What else can he do to make his time in college better? A deep run in the NCAA Tourament, would certainly do it.

While Young is the best player in college basketball, don’t get too comfortable with him in a Sooners uniform, because the NBA will be calling his name this offseason.

 

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Trae Young

Can Big 12 teams slow Trae Young down the second time around?

Well Trae Young is still leading all of college basketball in assists and scoring. However, now there are scouting reports, and most teams in the Big 12 have already gotten a taste of him.

Although his numbers are impressive, this is where the part of the schedule gets difficult. This is the time for Wooden Award candidates to show if they really are special. Conferences are ready to get another swing at Trae Young, and this is where numbers start to slow down a little for star players.

Can Big 12 teams slow down Trae Young the second time around? Or will his numbers continue to be off the charts?

Schedule

Oklahoma has played one of the hardest schedule’s in all of college basketball this season. They have played six games against ranked teams so far. They are 5-1 in those games and swept TCU, which has only lost four games all season.

Young has continued to put up numbers, but has struggled shooting wise to get them. He has also struggled with his increasing turnovers. He has had halves of games where he shoots under 30 percent, but still finds a way to get to 30 points and 10 assists. Young is finally seeing signs of struggle and proving that he might actually be human.

The truth is, Kansas State may have just shown the blueprint in how to contain and beat the Oklahoma Sooners. A team scoring over 92 points a game scored 69 points and never even got close to on track on offense. Young had 20 points and 6 assists, but turned the ball over a career-high 12 times. It seemed like the first time all season where Young didn’t help his teammates and instead hurt their production. He shot just 2-for-10 from three and went just 8-for-21 overall.

One of the biggest things that Young likes to do is get to the free-throw line. Like James Harden and other NBA stars, getting to the free-throw line is an easy way to not only get your shot on track, but also get some quick and easy points. Trae Young went just 2-for-4 from the free-throw line in the game against Kansas State. He did not leave his normal Trae Young impression on the game.

In games that Young has drastically less than 10 assists and more than four turnovers, the Oklahoma Sooners are going to struggle. Against West Virginia, Young had 29 points and five assists. He also had eight turnovers to go along with those five assists.

Seeing him twice

Trae Young

Trae Young taking it into the TCU defense. (Photo from Tulsaworld.com)

The Big 12 is starting to become familiar with the explosive Trae Young. He is getting a lot more attention, and teams are learning that he wants to play fast. They are slowing the game down and attempting to cut down on live ball turnovers.

What’s crazy about Young seeing TCU two times already is he was actually better the second time around.

In the first matchup, Young had 39 points on 9-for-23 shooting and 15-for-18 from the free-throw line, He also added four rebounds, 14 assists and seven turnovers.

In the second time around, Young had 43 points on 15-for-27 shooting and 3-for-7 from the free-throw line. He added 11 rebounds, seven assists and nine turnovers as well.

For a team that’s well coached and has seen Young twice, TCU got torched by the young guard. What does that mean for the rest of the Big 12 and stopping Young and the Sooners?

How to slow the Sooners down

It’s definitely not easy to do so, but slowing Young down is a five-person job. One thing that has been done is getting the ball out of Young’s hands early in the possession.

Making the offense run through someone else means that Young isn’t as involved. Obviously Young is the most dangerous with the ball in his hands. He shows that to us with his scoring and assisting statistics.

Another thing that’s vital is chasing him off the perimeter. Obviously that’s easier said than done due to his extended range, but it’s always better to give up twos against bigger guys than to give up threes where he is most comfortable.

The most important part is slowing the game down. Young loves to get out in transition and getting easy baskets because of it. If a team controls the speed of the game, he gets frustrated and is more likely to try and force things. He gets frustrated and looks to make plays that are tougher because the way he plays is taken away.

Don’t let him get to the free-throw line and get him in a groove easily from the stripe.

Moving Forward

Even though Oklahoma has stumbled as of late, they are still in the thick of the Big 12. Young is one of the toughest people to guard in all of basketball, and it is going to be tough for almost every team from here on out moving forward. Trae Young is the best guard in America right now, and it takes a whole team to contain him on any given night.

 

Featured image from USAtoday.com.

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