Sep. 26, 2016
Five college basketball storylines to follow
It is a new season of College Basketball which means new storylines have been formed. Here are some of the most interesting storylines to follow for this upcoming College Basketball season.
Will Tom Crean save his job?
Tom Crean was hired by the Indiana Hoosiers to be their head coach before the 2008-2009 season. Crean had spent his previous nine years at Marquette where he had a lot of success. In his nine seasons with Marquette, Crean led the Golden Eagles to a 190-96 record and a 2002-2003 Final Four. However, ever since coming to Indiana, it has been a rollercoaster career for Creen in Bloomington. Through his nine seasons at Indiana, Crean has a record of 149-119.They have made the NCAA Tournament four times and has two Big Ten regular season championships. Indiana during Crean's tenure has only finished in the AP Poll at the end each season three times. Despite having some very good years, Crean's teams at Indiana have been disappointing given the talent they have. Indiana has some serious talent this year, led by star sophomore Thomas Bryant, and are currently ranked 11th in the AP Poll. Indiana needs to have a good season and make a run in the NCAA Tournament or else Crean may be out of a job come June.
Will Rhode Island reach the NCAA Tournament for this first time since 1999?
The Rhode Island Rams find themselves currently ranked 23rd in the AP Poll. It has been a long time since Rhode Island has put together a good basketball team. The last time they were ranked was in the 2007-2008 season when they got all the way up to being ranked 22nd, but fell apart and missed the NCAA Tournament. The Rams’ start player, guard E.C. Matthews, is now healthy after tearing his ACL last season. Matthews was named to the preseason Naismith Player of the Year watchlist. In addition to Matthews, the Rams have a growing star in Hassan Martin as well as Jarvis Garrett and Jared Terrell. Between the star player in Matthews and very good complimentary players surrounding him, the Rams have a very good chance to party like it’s 1999.
What can Wisconsin do under Greg Gard in his first full season?
The College Basketball world was shocked last season when longtime Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan announced retirement after a win against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi early in the season. Ryan said he wanted assistant coach Greg Gard to be his replacement. Ryan wanted to retire before the season started, but retiring midseason would ensure Gard would be given an opportunity so Athletic Director Barry Alvarez couldn’t hire someone else. Wisconsin was not playing well early last season, with a record of 7-5 when Ryan retired. Wisconsin under Gard struggled, going 2-4 in his first six games. Then Wisconsin turned it on, winning 11 of their next 12 and finished the season 20-12 and advanced to the Sweet 16. Gard definitely proved his value and was given a contract extension before this season. Wisconsin is now ranked ninth and Gard will have his first full season as a head coach to show Ryan made the right decision.
Is Grayson Allen the best player in the nation?
Grayson Allen made his name known to the college basketball world when he scored 16 points off of the bench and winning the NCAA Championship Game for the Duke Blue Devils in 2015. Allen went from a no named player averaging less than 10 minutes a game to being their best scorer last season. Allen shot 46.6% from the field and 41.7% from three last year, averaging 21.6 points per game. He became one of the 10 semifinalists for the Naismith Player of the Year Award last season, losing to Oklahoma’s Buddy Hield. Many of the players on that list like Hield, Ben Simmons, and Malcolm Brogdon are now in the NBA. Allen decided forgo the NBA Draft and stay for his Junior year at Duke. Now with another year of experience and many of the star players from last year gone, will Allen set himself apart as the best player in the country?
Can Syracuse repeat their miracle run they had last season?
The Syracuse Orange’s 2015-2016 season was an up and down one. Their Hall of Fame coach Jim Boeheim was suspended for nine games last season due to academic violations from some of his players on previous teams. The Orange started the season 18-8, but lost five of their last six regular season games and almost missed reaching the NCAA Tournament. Syracuse ended up being a 10 seed in the tournament and became the first 10 seed to reach the Final Four, defeating Dayton, Middle Tennessee, Gonzaga, and Virginia. It’s a new season and Syracuse has lost three starting players, Michael Gbinije, Trevor Cooney, and Malachi Richardson to the NBA. With a very different looking team, will transfer student Andrew White and freshman Tyus Battle be able to make up for the production Syracuse lost last year?