Big East MBB – Preseason Preview & Projection 2021-2022

If you’re just starting to pay attention to Big East hoops again (or any college sports for that matter), there are 2 game-changing NCAA rule updates to note for the 2021-2022 season:

  1. All athletes who were eligible during 2020-2021 were granted an unprecedented additional year of eligibility due to Covid. So, all players that were eligible to play last year have 5 total years of NCAA eligibility.
  2. All athletes this year (and going forward indefinitely) are now allowed a 1-time penalty free transfer. So, players will no longer have to sit out a year to be eligible to transfer among D-1 schools as in years past. Thus, the transfer portal was especially spicy this year.

Ok, with that out of the way, let’s get into the preseason preview and projection!

Projected Big East MBB Standings:

  1. Villanova
  2. Xavier
  3. St. Johns
  4. UConn
  5. Seton Hall
  6. Butler
  7. Providence
  8. Creighton
  9. Georgetown
  10. Marquette
  11. DePaul

Projected NCAA Tournament Outlook for the Big East:

  • One Seed Potential – Villanova
  • Locks – Xavier, St John’s, UConn
  • Bubble – Seton Hall, Butler
  • Better Luck Next Year – Everyone Else

Big East Team Projections

1. Villanova

Departures:

  • Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, F – NBA
  • Cole Swider, F – Transfer to Cuse
  • Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree F – Medical retirement, sat out all of 20-21 with injury
  • Kyle Neptune, AC – New Fordham HC. Neptune was Nova’s longest tenured Assistant

Returners/Additions:

  • #3 Big East Recruiting Class (by average recruit ranking) – Freshman are not listed individually as they’re largely unknown quantities at the college level at this point
  • Collin Gillespie, G – Returning extra-year senior
  • Jermaine Samuels, F – Returning extra-year senior
  • Justin Moore G
  • Jermaine Samuels F
  • Caleb Daniels G
  • Brandon Slater F
  • Eric Dixon F
  • Bryan Antoine G
  • Chris Arcidiacono G
  • Trey Patterson F

The kings of the New Big East remain so until someone takes their crown. They lost in the Big East Tournament last year (without Gillespie and Moore) but they did win the regular season. Robinson-Earl left for the NBA, but with Gillespie and Samuels returning for another go around the rest of the Big East will probably have to wait at least another year before attempting to usurp the crown. However, aside from Gillespie, Samuels, Moore and Caleb Daniels there is not a lot of experience for Jay Wright’s squad. No one aside from those 4 averaged 4 or more ppg last year .  If the team fails to fill in around the big 4 or there are key injuries Gillespie and Samuels may find themselves wishing that they didn’t come back for that 5th year of play.

2. Xavier

Departures:

  • C.J. Wilcher G –  Transfer to Nebraska
  • Bryan Griffin F – Pro
  • Jason Carter F – Senior Transfer to Ohio U
  • Daniel Ramsey F – Transfer to Tenn Tech

Returners/Additions:

  • KyKy Tandy G – Opted out of Transfer Portal
  • Paul Scruggs G – Returning Extra-Year Senior
  • Nate Johnson G – Returning Extra-Year Senior
  • Jack Nunge F – Transfer from Iowa
  • Jerome Hunter F – Transfer from Indiana
  • Zach Freemantle F
  • Colby Jones G
  • Adam Kunkel G
  • Dwon Odom G
  • Ben Stanley F
  • Danny Ramsey F
  • Dieonte Miles F

The Musketeers floundered down the stretch last season and missed the NCAAT entirely but that seems more due to untimely and lengthy Covid pauses more than anything else. X gets a boon in returning extra-year seniors in Scruggs and Johnson, Iowa transfer Nunge, and Tandy opting to return back to the fold. Zach Freemantle is the Big East’s co-Most Improved Player and earned 2021 Second Team All Big East honors along with Scruggs. Colby Jones also earned a spot on the Big East Freshman Team last year. The Baseline Times also expects Dwon Odom to improve upon his stellar 20-21 campaign and earn Big East Sixth Man of the Year honors. This squad should be deep and experienced – no excuses for Head Coach Travis Steele if he can’t get it done this year. This probably means a top 3 finish in the Big East and at least a 7 seed in the NCAAT. Winning the Big East tournament or regular season would not hurt either. Anything less than the above and Steele’s seat will be as hotter than a $2 pistol. 

3. St. John’s

Departures:

  • Rasheem Dunn G – Senior Transfer to Robert Morris
  • Greg Williams Jr G – Transfer to ULL
  • Marcellus Earlington G/F – Transfer to USD
  • Josh Roberts F – Transfer to Manhattan
  • John McGriff G – Transfer to Binghamton
  • Vince Cole G – Transfer to Coastal Carolina
  • Isaih Moore F – Transfer to Southern Miss
  • David Caraher G – Departed team early last season

Returners/Additions:

  • Aaron Wheeler F – Transfer from Purdue
  • Stef Smith G – Transfer from UVM
  • Joel Soriano F – Transfer from Fordham
  • Montez Mathis G – Transfer from Rutgers
  • Esahia Nyiwe F – Transfer from Texas Tech
  • Julian Champagnie F – Elected not to go to NBA Draft
  • Posh Alexander G
  • Dylan Addae-Wusu G
  • Arnaldo Toro F
  • Aremios Gavalas G

The Red Storm lost almost all of their leading players from last year except for Champagnie and Posh. But those are the two who matter most as Champ was All Big East First Team in 20-21 and Posh made the Freshman Team and also named co-DPOY. If St John’s had returned those two plus most of the rest of their squad, they might have been battling Nova for control of the Big East. However, HC Mike Anderson did bring in some impact transfers in Wheeler, Smith, Soriano, and Mathis so they don’t slide far. In fact, these incoming transfers may be even better than the players they lost but there is something to be said about continuity and development in a system. So, the Johhnies could be feast or famine this year. If the team gels and the role players fit in around Champ and Posh they could be sitting very pretty. If not, it could be a long season in Queens.  Basketball is a game of star power and the Johnnies boast two of the 7 or 8 best players in the league.  I think this ends up as a banner year for the Johnnies. 

4. UConn

Departures:

  • James Bouknight, G – NBA
  • Josh Carlton, F/C – Senior Transfer to Houston
  • Branden Adams, G – Transfer to George Washington
  • Javonte Brown-Ferguson C – Transfer to Texas A&M, did not play in 20-21
  • Kevin Freeman AC – Stepping down from on-court coaching role to an admin role to spend time with family.

Returners/Additions:

  • Big East’s #2 Ranked 2021 Recruiting Class (#1 by avg recruit ranking)
  • Luke Murray AC – Son of Bill Murray but a talent in his own right. Coached under Hurley at URI and Wagner.
  • R.J. Cole G
  • Tyrese Martin G
  • Isaiah Whaley F – Returning Extra-Year Senior
  • Tyler Polley F – Returning Extra-Year Senior
  • Adama Sanogo F
  • Jalen Gaffney G
  • Andre Jackson G
  • Akok Akok F
  • Richie Springs F
  • Andrew Hurley G

The Huskies suffer the biggest single player loss on this list in G James Bouknight to the NBA. Last year, when they had to play without Bouk they were barely a .500 team… but this will likely help the squad this year as they’ve already had to adjust to life without last year’s star. Whaley returning for another year is huge for UConn as he is the reigning Big East co-DPOY and they need his size, depth, experience, and versatility (nicknamed the Wrench). Sanogo was named to the Big East All Freshman Team and expects to make an even bigger jump in his sophomore season. Fellow Soph Andre Jackson is freak-of-nature athletic and also expected to make a jump. Cole and Martin were transfers last season that seemed to find their stride with the team and the conference as the season progressed. If Junior C/F Akok Akok can return to his 2019 form from achilles injury and their terrific recruiting class can contribute, UConn should find itself in the upper echelon of the Big East once again.

5. Seton Hall

Departures:

  • Sandro Mamukelashvili F – NBA
  • Shavar Reynolds G – Transfer to Monmouth
  • Takal Molson G – Transfer to JMU

Returners/Additions

  • Jamir Harris G – Transfer from American
  • Kadary Richmond G – Transfer from Cuse
  • Alexis Yetna F – Transfer from USF
  • Myles Cale G
  • Jared Rhoden G/F
  • Ike Obiagu C
  • Tyrese Samuel F
  • Bryce Aiken G
  • Jahari Long G
  • Tray Jackson F

After Bouknight and UConn, Seton Hall losing Mamu is likely the second biggest single player loss in the Big East. Jared Rhoden looks to be the next man up leading the Pirates in a one-man wrecking crew linage that seems to go Myles Powell-Mamu-and now to Rhoden. Myles Cale will play Robin to Rhoden’s Batman and defensive stalwart transfers Yetna and Richmond look to make a big impact in their first year in the Big East. Richmond in particular, has been getting hyped up as an incredibly cerebral defender who can fill out a stat sheet. Obiagu still anchors the defense and provides elite rim protection. The Pirates will be long, tough, and exceptionally hard to score on. Expect a lot of slug fests out of this squad.

6. Butler

Departures

  • JaKobe Coles – Transfer to TCU
  • Markeese Hastings F – Transfer to WMU but opted out of most of 20-21 season.

Returners/Additions

  • Ty Groce F – Transfer from Eastern Michigan
  • Chuck Harris G
  • Aaron Thompson G
  • Jair Bolden G
  • Bryce Nze F
  • Bryce Golden F
  • Bo Hodges G
  • Myles Tate G
  • Myles Wilmouth F
  • John-Michael Mulloy F
  • Christian David G

Butler is certainty the most experienced team in the Big East, maybe the most experienced team in the entire country from top to bottom. Of the eight returners/incoming transfers who expect to see significant playing time, six are seniors (five of whom are redshirt seniors). Heck, at this rate the Bulldogs rotation might be older on average than the OKC Thunder who have an average age of 23.5. The one starter who is not a senior, Chuck Harris, was their best scorer last year as a freshman and potentially their best player in 21-22. Aaron Thompson is the team leader and facilitator, averaging 4.7 apg and all of the starters have the ability to average 10+ ppg. Butler battled with health issues last year but if they have better luck in that regard and Harris takes a step forward like expected LaVall Jordan’s squad will be in the hunt for an at-large bid.

7. Providence

Departures

  • David Duke G – NBA
  • Greg Gantt F – Transfer to NC State
  • Jimmy Nichols F – Transfer to VCU

Additions/Returners

  • Aljami Durham G – Transfer from Indiana
  • Justin Minaya F – Transfer from South Carolina
  • Nate Watson C – Extra year senior
  • Noah Horchler F – Extra year senior
  • A.J. Reeves G
  • Jared Bynum G
  • Alyn Breed G
  • Brycen Goodine G
  • Ed Croswell F

Ed Cooley’s squad got a huge lift when C Nate Watson decided to return for an extra year. He made a leap to almost 17 ppg in 20-21, from less than 10 ppg in 19-20. Al Durham also transfers in from Indiana averaging 11 pts, 3 rebs, and almost 3 asts per game in the Big Ten. The change of scenery should do him good, and I expect him to continue or improve that production in the Big East. He won’t fill David Duke’s shoes but AJ Reeves and Jared Bynum should be able to shoulder more of the load after another year of development.  The Friars ceiling appears to a middle of the pack finish in the Big East and perhaps one of the last few into the dance. However, Prov is always a tough out.

8. Creighton

Departures:

  • Marcus Zegarowski G – Pro
  • Mitchell Ballock G – Pro
  • Denzel Mahoney G/F – Pro
  • Christian Bishop F – Transfer to Texas
  • Damien Jefferson F – Pro

Returners/Additions:

  • #1 Recruiting Class in the Big East and #7 class in the country
  • Ryan Hawkins F – Transfer from D-II SW Missouri State
  • Keyshawn Feazell F – Transfer from McNeese State
  • Shereef Mitchell G
  • Ryan Kalkbrenner F/C
  • Alex O’Connell G
  • Rati Andronikashvili G – Medical redshirt
  • Modestas Kancleris F – Medical redshirt

The Bluejays are the youngest and least experienced squad in the Big East this year. Having lost the vast majority of their production from last year, they don’t have a player who has averaged 6 or more points in P6 play. They do bring in transfers Hawkins and Feazell who averaged 22.6 and 13.1 ppg in lesser leagues. Kalkbenner will be Creighton’s best player and premier rim protector this year. On the flip side, Coach McDermott brought in a heck of a recruiting class, the best ever in their history. It is 5 players deep, 4 of which are in the top 75 players in the 2021 class: Arthur Kaluma, Trey Alexander, Mason Miller, and Ryan Nembhard. In addition, the Bluejays get another highly touted recruit back who missed all of last year due to injury in Andronikashvili. Those 5 in fact represent the 5 best recruits that have ever signed with Creighton. The future looks bright for McDermott’s squad but this year will bring some growing pains for Creighton’s version of the Fab 5.

9. Georgetown

Departures:

  • Jahvon Blair G – Pro
  • Jamorko Pickett F – NBA G League
  • TJ Berger G – Transfer to San Diego
  • Qudus Wahab C – Transfer to Marlyand
  • Chudier Bile F
  • Jalen Harris

Returners/Additions:

  • Kaiden Rice G – Transfer from The Citadel
  • # 1 Recruit in the Big East this year
  • Chudier Bile F
  • Donald Carey G
  • Dante Harris G
  • Jalen Harris G
  • Timothy Ighoefe C
  • Collin Holloway F
  • Jamari Sibley F
  • Kobe Clark F
  • Malcolm Wilson C

Patrick Ewing had the Hoyas rolling at the end of last season. You likely know that they won the BET but you may not know that they went 10-5 to end the season with losses only to tournament teams (Nova, Creighton, UConn x2, and Colorado). Unfortunately, Georgetown lost its three most productive players from that team in Pickett, Blair, and Wahab. I expect Sophomore Dante Harris to make a leap forward this year and transfer Rice averaged 17.6 ppg for the Citadel last year. The Hoyas figured to have the services of EKU transfer Tre King but news just broke last week that he will not be with the team, a major blow for their 2021-22 season.  Georgetown didn’t bring in an overall top recruiting class but they did land the top incoming recruit in 5 star shooting guard Aminu Mohammed (there is also a familiar name in 4 star center Ryan Mutombo).  So, Ewing will have a squad to get into shape but it will be tough to replace the lost production entirely. If Ewing can get them rocking like the end of last year – look out. However, if the team doesn’t gel it could get ugly.

10. Marquette

Departures:

  • Steve Wojciechowski HC – Fired
  • Dawson Garcia F – Transfer to UNC
  • D.J. Carton – Pro
  • Theo John F – Transfer to Duke
  • Koby McEwen G – Transfer to Weber State
  • Jose Perez G – Transfer to Manhattan
  • Jamal Cain F – Transfer to Oakland

Returners/Additions:

  • Shaka Smart, HC – Hired from Texas (Before he could be fired from there)
  • Darryl Morsell G – Transfer from Maryland
  • Tyler Kolek G – Transfer from George Mason
  • Kur Kuath F – Transfer from Oklahoma
  • Olivier-Maxence Prosper F – Transfer from Clemson
  • Justin Lewis F
  • Greg Eliott G
  • Oso Ighodaro F

Shaka Smart arrives in from Texas to replace the ousted Wojo. He inherits a squad with a lot of roster turnover and lacking the best players from last year’s Golden Eagles squad in Garcia, Carton, and John. He did have success in bringing in some bigtime transfers in Morsell, Kolek, Kuath, and Maxence Prosper. It also feels like this job is a more natural fit for Smart as a Wisconsin native. He is at the helm of more of an upstart, scrappy bunch rather than the number one athletic department by revenue in the country. This is a role he thrived in at the helm of the VCU Rams.  I feel like Shaka will get the Marquette magic rolling but it will take him a few years to really contend in the Big East.

11. DePaul

Departures:

  • Dave Leitao HC – Fired
  • Romeo Weems – Pro
  • Pauly Paulicap – Transfer to WVU
  • Charlie Moore G – Transfer to Miami
  • Ray Salnave G – Transfer to UMBC
  • Kobe Elvis G – Transfer to Dayton
  • Darious Hall F – Transfer to Central Arkansas
  • Keon Edwards – Transfer to Nebraska

Returners/Additions:

  • Tony Stubblefield HC – Former Asst Coach at Oregon
  • Jalen Terry G – Transfer from Oregon
  • Brandon Johnson F – Transfer from Minnesota
  • Tyon Grant-Foster F – Transfer from Kansas
  • Philmon Gebrewhit G – JUCO Transfer
  • Yor Anei F – Transfer from SMU
  • Javan Johnson F – Transfer from Iowa St.
  • Javon Freeman-Liberty G
  • Nick Ongenda F
  • Courvoisier McCauley G
  • David Jones G/F

The Tony Stubblefield era begins in Chicago.  Dave Leitao didn’t leave the cupboard completely bare but Stubblefield had to rely on bringing in a litany of transfers.  He succeeded in bringing in others from P6 or other high-major schools.  Javon Freeman-Liberty ran the show for the Blue Demons last year (avg more than 14 ppg), we will see what Stubblefield brings to stylistically to Chicago.  He has a good pedigree and many years of experience as a long time assistant at Oregon.  He seems like a man who is up to the task of turning things around for DePaul but time will tell.


Check Out the Baseline Times’ Projected Big East Year End Awards

Projected Big East MBB Awards 2021-2022

In projecting the 2021-2022 Big East Men’s basketball season I sat down attempted to determine who will be the most significant players. My hope is that figuring out who will earn the hardware for the end of the year will allow me to reverse engineer the season for my Big East season projection (coming soon). Lets take a look, shall we?

All Big East First Team*

  • Julian Champagnie, St. John’s, G/F, Jr., Brooklyn, N.Y. – Probably the best player and NBA prospect in the Big East this year.
  • Collin Gillespie, Villanova, G, Sr., Huntingdon Valley, Pa. – One of the three 2021 co-POYs comes back for one last ride.
  • Posh Alexander, St. John’s, G, So., Brooklyn, N.Y. – 2021 co-DPOY as a freshman, if he has developed a reliable outside game over the summer look out.
  • Nate Watson, Providence, F/C, Sr., Portsmouth, Va. – Made a leap to almost 17 ppg in 20-21.
  • Zach Freemantle, Xavier, F, Jr., Teaneck, N.J. – Also made a leap to 16 ppg in 20-21, looks poised for a big 21-22.
  • Paul Scruggs, Xavier, G, Sr., Indianapolis, Ind. – Already a solid scorer and elevated his facilitation to 5.7 apg last year. Solid leader needs to be the key to give X a big 21-22.

* Six selections are made for the First Team.

All Big East Second Team

  • RJ Cole Sr., UConn, G, Sr., Union, N.J. – Former MEAC POY, Cole transferred in last season and seemed to get a feel for the Big East game as the year progressed.
  • Adama Sanogo, UConn, F, So., Bamako, Mali by way of The Patrick School (Hillside, N.J.) – A bit undersized for the frontcourt but extremely powerful, Sonogo is a force in the paint.
  • Jermaine Samuels, Villanova, F, Sr., Franklin, Mass. – Rangy wing in the Nova tradition has a knack for hitting big shots and was All Big East Honorable Mention last season.
  • Jared Rhoden, Seton Hall, G/F, Sr., Baldwin, N.Y. – Looks to be the next man up to play the role of Batman for the Pirates.
  • Justin Moore, Villanova, G, Jr., Fort Washington, MD. – Already a significant contributor at shooting guard for Nova, Moore was good in 20-21 but he can take another step forward this season.

Honorable Mention*

  • Chuck Harris, Butler, G, So., Washington, D.C. – Will be surrounded by experience, as the only non-senior starter for the Bulldogs. Went on a tear towards the end of last year, ended up averaging almost 13 ppg but may see some of his touches diminish with all of the returners that Butler has coming back from injury.
  • Al Durham, Providence, G, Sr., Lilburn, GA – Durham transfers in from Indiana averaging 11 pts, 3 rebs, and almost 3 asts per game. Expect him to continue or improve that production in the Big East.
  • Nate Johnson, Xavier, G, Sr., Miami, FL – A dead-eye shooter, Johnson shot better than 45% from three point range last season and averaged more than 11 ppg in his first season in the Big East.
  • Myles Cale, Seton Hall, G, Sr., Middletown, DE. – Cale looks poised to play Robin to Rhoden’s Batman averaging 11.6 ppg last year. He has good length for a SG at 6’6″, which helps on both ends of the court.

* The Big East makes an undetermined amount of Honorable Mention selections each year, usually 2-3 players and quite often they are seniors. I couldn’t choose from among these players, they’re all so deserving!

All Big East Freshman Team*

  • Arthur Kaluma, Creighton, F, Glendale, AZ
  • Aminu Mohammed, Georgetown, G, Washington DC
  • Jordan Hawkins, UConn, G, Hyattsville, MD
  • Jordan Longino, Villanova, G, Fort Washington, PA
  • Rati Andronikashvili, Creighton, G, Tbilisi, Georgia * Medical Redshirt in 20-21

All of these players are unknowns at the college level at this point; however all are four star recruits aside from Mohammed who was a five star and the number 23 player in the 2021 class (per 24/7 sports). UConn’s Samson Johnson (C, Elizabeth, NJ) and Rahsool Diggins (G, Philadelphia, PA) are also highly ranked but may not reach enough playing time to make the squad, especially with Hawkins also in the mix. Ryan Nembhard of Creighton (G, Ontario, Canada) was ranked just behind those two as a recruit, but it might be difficult for so many Creighton players to be recognized. Marquette’s Stevie Michell (G, Reading, PA) and DePaul’s Ahamad Bynum (G, Chicago, IL) may both crack their starting lineups. So, they could earn a spot on this squad if they show out.

Individual Awards

  • COY – Travis Steele, Xavier – COY should probably always go to to Nova’s Jay Wright but the voters would tire of giving him the award every year. Steele looks like he will have Xavier in the next best spot so he gets the nod here.
  • POY – Gillespie, Villanova & Champangie, St John’s – As mentioned, reigning co-POY and the conference’s best player.
  • DPOY – Alexander, St John’s – Co-DPOY last year as a freshman (with UConn’s Isiah Whaley), many expect Posh to make enough strides in year two to take sole possession of this award.
  • Freshman of the Year – Mohammed, Georgetown – Highest ranked recruit in the Big East and the Hoyas need the help.
  • Most Improved Player – Akok Akok, UConn, F, Jr. Manchester, N.H. – The big man missed most of last season with an achilles injury. When we last saw him in 19-20 he was an amazing shot blocker. Expect the rest of Akok’s game to have improved considerably as well.
  • Sixth Man Award – Dwon Odom, Xavier, G, So., Alpharetta, Ga. – Odom would be starting on most teams in the country but extra year seniors have crowded the Musketeer’s backcourt. Odom’s game will provide a spark off the bench and Steele should give him enough minutes to keep him happy.

Conference Success in Earning NCAA Tournament Bids

Earlier this week, I put out an article about the distinction between major, mid-major, and low-major conferences that had a chart very similar to the below. I have expanded such to add the Power Six conferences for comparison purposes and added the column to the far right on percentage of schools in each conference that earn NCAAT bids per year.

Conference2021 Bids2019 Bids2018 Bids2017 Bids2016 BidsAvg # of Bids# of Conf Teams*MultiplierExpected Bids in a 16 Team Conf% of Teams With Bids Per Year
Big 12767676.610.01.6010.5666%
ACC779977.814.01.148.9156%
Big East446755.210.21.578.1651%
Big Ten98477714.01.148.0050%
SEC678535.814.01.146.6341%
Pac-12533474.412.01.335.8737%
American24324311.41.404.2126%
Atlantic 10223332.614.01.142.9719%
WCC221211.610.01.602.5616%
MWC222111.611.01.452.3315%
MVC211121.410.01.602.2414%
NCAAT Bids Per Major & Mid-Major Conference 2016-2021

* You may notice that some of these conferences are listed as having a number of teams that is not a whole number. And you might be thinking how can that be? (Or you’re thinking that I am a total moron). Well, friend, I have adjusted the number of teams for schools departing and joining conferences. Namely, UConn moving from the AAC to the Big East for 2020 and Wichita State leaving the MVC for the AAC in 2018 (Moves that have been widely applauded by both fan bases but some are still somewhat skeptical). Anyway, each year of having an additional team is worth an +.2 to the number of teams in a conference. This number is then used to calculate the three right hand columns.


Majors, Mid-Majors, & Low-Majors: Defining College Basketball Conferences

Let’s set this straight once and for all. There are 3 levels of D1 college basketball conferences: Majors (aka High-Majors), Mid-Majors, and Low-Majors.

Many people think there are only 2 designations (majors and mid-majors) and that all non Power 6 conferences are mid-majors. Those people are wrong. This is just like a fast food place offering medium, large, or extra-large drinks. We all know that is a lie and the sizes are: small, medium, and large no matter how big their cups are.

So, let’s make this real simple and settle this. We will use average number of NCAA Tournament bids per year as the defining metric as that is easily quantifiable and well known. There are far more scientific metrics we can use but the fact of the matter is that the college basketball world defines conferences by the number of March Madness bids they are able to earn in a given year. See the definitions and conferences below.

Majors – Numerous Bid Conferences

Definition: Conferences that send 4 or more teams to the NCAA Tournament per year on average (evaluated within a 5 year period). I settled on 4 bids as the cut off as this is double the mid-major requirement. This means generally that a conference had at least 4 teams within the top 44 in the country in that 5 year timespan.

Qualifying Conferences: B1G, SEC, ACC, Big 12, Pac 12, Big East, AAC.*

Mid-Majors – Multi Bid Conferences

Definition: Conferences that send between 2-3 teams to the NCAA Tournament per year on average (evaluated within a 5 year period). This means generally that a conference has 2 or 3 teams within the top 44 (depending on seeding) in that 5 year timespan though it is very possible that these conferences have an auto-qualifier (AQ) that pulled an upset.

Qualifying Conferences: A10, MWC, WCC, MVC.*

Low-Majors – Single Bid Conferences

Definition: Conferences that send only 1 team to the NCAA Tournament per year on average (evaluated within a 5 year period). These are usually AQ teams only.

Qualifying Conferences: All others.

Notes

  • A team can be very good, or elite even, and play in a mid-major or low-major conference (Gonzaga for example in the WCC). This is a conference wide designation and does not have a bearing on any individual team in that conference.
  • A conference can raise or lower its status with performance or by schools joining/leaving the conference.
  • I chose to evaluate this in 5 year time periods as that is the length of time in which you would expect a full recruiting class to process all the way through to graduation (factoring in red-shirts, medical issues, etc.).
  • *The conference size rule* – I am equalizing conferences of varying size by seeing how many bids would be expected if the conference had 16 teams. To do this, I multiply their average tournament bids by 16/their # of conference members. I’m using 16 as the cutoff here as the new SEC will have 16 teams so that seems like a good limit for conference size (the old Big East had 15 basketball schools fwiw). If we move to super conferences in the future we will have to adjust this formula.
  • The AAC and all of the mid-majors aside from the A10 (which has 14 teams) would not have qualified for their current designations without the 16 team conference multiplier but it doesn’t seem fair to penalize smaller conferences and to reward large conferences with a hard line. See the below sheet for the last 5 years for applicable conferences.

Conference2021
Bids
2019
Bids
2018
Bids
2017
Bids
2016
Bids
Avg # of Bids# of TeamsMultiplierExpected Bids in a
16 Team Conference
AAC243243111.454.35
A10223332.6141.142.96
WCC221211.6101.62.56
MWC222111.6111.452.32
MVC211121.4111.452.03
There was no NCAAT in 2020, as we all know 🙁


Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics Hub

The 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games are underway! Stay up-to-date with us at Baseline Times!

Official – Full Schedule from NBC (for the United States)

Baseline Times Olympic Leaderboard

The Baseline Times has developed its own rubric for scoring each country’s performance at the Olympic Games by weighing each medal based criteria like competitiveness, number of athletes, medal value, etc. Follow along all throughout the Games to see who is truly winning the Olympics! See here for the rules and logic behind this medal tracker.

CountryGoldSilverBronzeBT Points
USA141711224
China18911192
ROC (Russia)101410175
Japan1746165
Top performing countries will be filled in as medals are awarded

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Views from the Baseline: 2021 March Madness Recap

Chevy brings back the College Experts Cody and John in a bittersweet episode. The madness is OVER! Sure enough, they share the embarrassing news that Cody’s Texas pick for the Final Four still won him a bracket challenge. Cody and John share their thoughts about the Men’s and Women’s tournaments, praise Gonzaga’s future, and give their draft prospect stock updates post-tournament. Finally, the duo goes for a round of “Shoot or Pass” to close out the NCAAB season. They give us an insight on if Gonzaga is frauds, the Men’s AND Women’s PAC-12 Conference dominance, and decide on if the Blue Bloods of College Basketball can bounce back next season.

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2021 NCAA Basketball Tournament Hub Page

All of our 2021 March Madness NCAA Basketball coverage and updates!

Round-by-Round Picks

Podcasts

Idols of March (Madness)

March Madness Insights:

Top players to watch in the 2021 tournament

Related 2021 March Madness content

Underseeded:

I consider these teams ‘underseeded’ in that I expect that they will perform better than their seed indicates in the NCAA tournament. This has less to do with their overall resume and more to do with how well they have been playing recently.

TeamKenPomNetSeedConfNotes
OK State30294B12Hot! May be the hottest team in the country. 
Uconn16307BELikely NBA lottery pick James Bouknight missed 8 games earlier in the season with an elbow injury.  The Huskies are 10-3 with him in the lineup and have been clicking at the right time.  
Oregon36347P12The Ducks got a boost with G Will Richardson back from injury in Feb. 
Loyola-Chi9108MVCSeeding Inequality
Wisconsin10279B1GSeeding Inequality
St Bona25239A10Seeding Inequality
Georgetown556412BEThe Hoyas are on a roll, went 10-4 down the stretch & won the BET!
‘Underseeded’ 2021 NCAA Tournament Teams


Overseeded:

Note that I consider these teams ‘overseeded’ in terms of how I expect the to perform in the tournament. This is not a reflection of their resumes per se, though in some cases that became relevant.

TeamKenPomNetSeedConfNotes
Michigan241B1GKey G Isiah Livers may be out. The Wolverines have also lost 3 of their last 5 games. Tough competition in the B1G but still not a good look.  
Kansas22113B12Recent positive Covid test, unclear effect.
Texas26213B12Seeding Inequality
WVU27343B12Seeding Inequality
Virgina11124ACCRecent positive Covid test, unclear effect.
FSU15244ACCWaning down the stretch. FSU has lost 3 of 5 against mediocre teams. 
Nova12165BESenior All-American PG Collin Gillespie is out of the tourney. Nova looked poor in his absence.  G Justin Moore may also be out.
Clemson42417ACCSeeding Inequality
Wichita St.747211AACSeeding Inequality
‘Overseeded’ 2021 NCAA Tournament Teams

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NCAA Basketball Coaching Moves: Williams Retires, Beard Moves from Lubbock to Austin

While the NCAA Tournament continues to steal most headlines due to the fact, well, it’s the first in two years, and it’s been must-see TV on both the men’s and women’s side this year, there have also been many moves off the court.

The biggest story came today out of Chapel Hill when legendary head basketball coach Roy Williams announced his retirement from North Carolina.

The 70-year-old leaves the Tar Heels after 18 seasons with an overall record of 485-162, leading North Carolina to National Championships in 2005, 2009, and 2017. Before coming to Chapel Hill, Roy Williams coached 15 seasons at Kansas, leading the Jayhawks to four Final Four appearances.

Williams retires as the fourth all-time leader in wins in NCAA Division I with a complete record of 903-264 with a win percentage of .774. Williams’ also provided plenty of top-tier talent to the NBA as 21 of his former players were drafted in the first round of the NBA Draft.

Usually, we’d say the next stop: the basketball Hall of Fame. Still, Roy Williams is passed that as the legendary coach was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2007.

North Carolina now has the hottest job opening in all of college basketball, especially now that Texas has hired their next head basketball coach.

According to sources to ESPN, the Texas Longhorns will be naming Texas Tech head coach Chris Beard as their next coach. Beard has become one of the biggest names in the coaching world after guiding the Red Raiders to an NCAA Runner-Up finish in 2019, and Elite Eight run in 2018.

While the move may rub some the wrong way, it was expected throughout the Big 12 as long as the buyout wasn’t outrageous. Beard began his coaching career at Texas as a student assistant under Tom Penders. Beard has been Red Raiders’ head basketball coach since 2016 and previously served as head coach at Arkansas-Little Rock.

Beard takes over from Shaka Smart, whose underwhelming tenure as Longhorns’ head coach came to an end after six seasons as he left to become head coach at Marquette.

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2021 NBA Draft – Final Four Prospects

The Men’s NCAA Basketball Tournament Final Four is set! In case you’ve been taking a break from March Madness because your bracket was busted, or now intrigued here are the 2021 NBA Draft Final Four prospects to watch this weekend!

No. 1 Gonzaga vs. No. 11 UCLA

An 11th seed out of the First Four makes the Final Four. UCLA marks the first time a First Four team makes the Final Four since Virginia Commonwealth University did in the 2011 Tournament. On the flip side, Gonzaga has won 30 straight games and their undefeated season continues.

Gonzaga

Jalen Suggs – Gonzaga (Guard)
Suggs is a Freshman who already is in the mix of top 5 pick considerations in the 2021 NBA Draft. The future star guard is said to have star potential further in the NBA. Suggs is shooting 50-percent from the field this season. His speedy ability and composure to finish well at the rim make him an offensive threat that is difficult to guard. He will be considered as one of the top guards in the 2021 NBA Draft.

Corey Kispert – Gonzaga (Forward)
Kispert is a 6’7 Senior that keeps the frontcourt for Gonzaga well balanced. If you look at this season you may not see Kispert’s name in the mix of season leaders in points or rebounds (that actually goes to Drew Timme). Kispert’s three-point shooting is the best on Gonzaga this season. He is shooting the three-ball at 43-percent which is the best out of Zaga’s starting five. The Forward is a long-range shooter but the expectation of him being an overall player especially on the defensive end is unlikely. He is projected to go as a late lottery pick in the 2021 NBA Draft.

UCLA

Johnny Juzang – UCLA (Forward)
A potential Idol of March according to our very own John Glowatz. Here is a guy that came back home and also was looking for an opportunity to elevate his game. Juzang spent his Freshman season at Kentucky primarily as a role player. He serviced the Wildcats as a spot-up shooter more than getting an opportunity to be the main attraction on offense. Juzang isn’t going to wow you with athleticism but he is more so a prolific scorer that makes it look easy. His Elite 8 game against Michigan surely helped his draft stock rise. He scored 28 points on 11-of-19 shooting (58-percent). Johnny is a 6’6 Forward that is projected in the second round of the 2021 NBA Draft at this time. This Final Four can make or break his draft stock.

Honorable mentions: Drew Timme – Gonzaga (Forward), Joel Ayayi – Gonzaga (Guard), and quite frankly mostly Gonzaga players are the best 2021 NBA Draft prospects in this Final Four

No. 1 Baylor vs. No. 2 Houston

The Midwest region featured No. 1 Illinois who was most likely projected as the winner of the region. However, Loyola-Chicago had other plans in the second-round and ended the Fighting Illini’s hopes of a Final Four run early. Houston returns to the Final Four for the first time since 1984 when a team dubbed “Phil Slama Jama” made the tournament’s Final Four. Clyde Drexler and Hakeem Olajuwon sound familiar? Both now retired from their respective NBA careers sure puts the time frame into perspective. Baylor enters the Final Four after last being there in 1950.

Baylor

Davion Mitchell – Baylor (Guard)
He wears 45 and his name is Mitchell across the back of his jersey. Could he be confused with a potential NBA look-alike? Probably not physically but I would say it’s fair to compare his game similar to a Donovan Mitchell from the Utah Jazz. A late bloomer for Baylor but nonetheless a difficult player to guard. His speed and ability to change pace quickly and finish the rim make it difficult for any team to defend. I sort of compare him to Kemba Walker as he’s a bit shorter listed at 6’2. His speed is getting attention and causing his draft stock to rise into a potential lottery pick. Mitchell as a top 10 lottery pick may be the highest ceiling for him but unlikely to be a franchise turnaround player.

Jared Butler – Baylor (Guard)
Here is the other guard in this game that the 2021 NBA Draft could possibly be kind to. He is not a “pass first” point guard but could make his way into the NBA first as a scoring guard. He’s a bit undersized at 6’3 for the two-guard spot but can knock down the three-ball. Butler’s 16.5 points per game led Baylor in scoring all season long.

Houston

Quentin Grimes – Houston (Forward)
Likewise Juzang, Quentin Grimes played his Freshman season elsewhere which happened to be in Kansas. Now in his Junior season, he’s making a slow climb into the 2021 NBA Draft boards. He averages 18 points on 40-percent shooting for the Cougars on the season. Grimes may not show up on any first-round draft boards but the Final Four could help him boost himself as a second-round pick at best.


Beyond the 2021 NBA Draft – Final Four Prospects see Glo’s Idols of March for this 2021 March Madness Tournament

2021 NCAA March Madness – Sweet 16 Expert Picks

The 2021 NCAA March Madness tournament is here! Dive in with our experts and their 2021 NCAA March Madness Sweet 16 Expert Picks. We are partnered with Tallysight.com where our very own experts are ranked in the top 10!

2021 NCAA March Madness – Sweet 16 Expert Picks included below!

Ohio State Collection at HOMAGE

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More College coverage from Baseline Times

Baseline Times is partnered with Tallysight.com which tracks expert picks throughout the entire NCAAB season this year. Tallysight helps track our experts up against top industry experts and other platforms. Check out Tallysight.com for more information.