Is Duke Done? A Season of NCAA Basketball Surprises
Number seven on a wild Saturday in College Basketball Duke has now lost three of their last four there twenty three and six overall thirteen and five in the ACC exponential weird and wild season for men's college basketball with Duke. Losing three of their last four games does a sense that anyone can win it all and no one knows how the final rankings shake out today. We'll traditional powerhouses like Kansas and Gonzaga dominate in the NCAA tournament or will march man. This truly live up to its name. I mean at times it's Monday march. Second this is. Espn daily presented by ADT Myron. I think the last time we spoke. I was at Cameron Indoor Stadium asking You what you thought about Zion Williamson. That was the last time and now Zion's gone and things haven't been as good for college basketball since he left. Myron Medcalf is a senior college basketball reporter for ESPN. Men's college basketball has been having a pretty weird season. Can you explain to us sort of the state of things and why some of the usually omnipresent contenders your dukes your? Unc's Kentucky aren't even in the top five while it's a meeting in a year like this anybody who tells you that they know exactly what's going to happen in March. They're lying because there was no one no expert. That understands kind of what's happened so far. It's just been a wild year but I think you can look at some of the things that transpired Really at the start of the season. I think the James Wiseman suspension by the answer. Aa For twelve games after being ruled ineligible. You have a Memphis team that I think had a chance to be much better if he sticks around. Lamelo ball who if he follows the traditional track and goes to a UCLA USC that changes the spotlight on those programs as well But instead you have a lot of the blue blood teams that don't have the lottery level talent that they had a year ago. Duke is still a top ten level team but they don't have anyone close To a Zaylon you'd have a team like Gonzaga that had to lottery picks last year. They got some good players. Nothing like that so the the powerhouse teams are just really good team which has closed the gap so now a San Diego State with the Malachi Flint and against double team Malachi for three huge three by malachite lend. That's a really good team. Competing for number one see the Dayton with an ob top suddenly was one of the best teams in America. And I think it's because you just don't have the same concentration of talent we're accustomed to seeing with your Kentucky's in Dukes. Then you'RE K. Use Marin what is it like covering a season like this where there are really clear favorites and no one seems to have any idea. What's going on this year? You just don't really know who to chase like. You don't know who to say okay. That's the team to watch. Because they're really good. It just feels like a pretty fragile college basketball scene which is great for the tournament for everything. We didn't have in college basketball this year in terms of no established kind of powerhouse team. I think we're going to see the benefits of it. Come into double A. Tournament. Time when we could have one of the craziest craziest. March madness is we've ever had so. Let's talk about Duke. Quit even when dukes not great? We're still going to talk about Dick. Because it's really interesting. Myron how much struggled on Saturday they lost to Virginia Virginia wins. That look the three point line. Just couldn't connect before that game. They were ranked seventh. But I imagine they could go down even further now right. Yeah I mean this is a team that I think will will fall in the rankings. Duke has run into some teams who put on their Superman capes in the last couple of games. And that's change things you have. Nc State which made sixty one percent of its threes and that loss A week ago wake forest mixed fifty four percent of its threes. These things those teams had done before they phase Duke and Virginia really as just a team on the rise So I think duke got caught in kind of a weird gauntlet there but trae Jones has been sort of their closer whereas a year ago you could go to RJ bear. You could go to Cam Reddish you could go on. And now they're a bit more one dimensional They're much closer to what you see. Maybe in a typical season where they're right there with Louisville and Florida state and Virginia and the other teams at the top of the ACC. But they don't have a guy who's GonNa carry them to the top of the League and just help them separate. That's just not enough talent in college basketball for really any team to do that. But especially in the league like the Agency. So you're in Kansas right now in Kansas. The number one team. You were there to watch them. Play Kansas State and it was a right because these two teams Fighting literally fighting back in January Shit and now the benches inc just unnecessary. That's not good. This is Paul. This is bad this is but on Saturday night myron. They shook hands before the tip off in. Kansas came away with the victory. What did you make of the number team in their performance? Well I I'm just glad nobody fought again because that that would have been bad Glad to have that moment before the game I will say. I've never been to a regular basketball game outside of the NCAA tournament that had as much security as that game. Had I mean they were everywhere about? I'm glad there was an incident. I I think Kansas is sort of the perfect team in a year like this. Do they have a lottery pick? No but they've got this really balanced group of guys who are pretty good offensively. They've been pretty efficient team and they got two guys who win they're together. They're hard to stop. It's Dotson In Gaza Buki who when they're on the floor together. Kansas made about sixty percent of his shots inside the art. Their opponents have made about forty one percent of their shots inside the three point line. That's the story right there when those two guys are together. Kansas is certainly the best team in America. But you also look at them and go. Are they one bad night from Abu? Koa from struggling. He was hurt part of the game on Saturday against the bad Kansas state team boss feeds it in bounced past as a group. Six to shoot you back down spits travels this is the shot ultimately but he rolled his ankle. Oh this is good has approved. He is clutching his right foot so Kansas is good. But like a lot of teams there. One bad moment badge stretch away from being right there with everybody else. Well now. It seems like Kansas is going to run away with the big twelve after Baylor who was ranked number two going into the weekend got upset by. Tcu How bad was this for Baylor? It's always interesting right. Like Baylor won every game but one for like two months straight and now all of a sudden last week I think a lot of people are panicking and that happens to a team. Like Baylor which doesn't have the brand recognition of Duke or Kentucky or a Kansas. So in hard times. I think we may be overemphasized Some of their struggles. I think you obviously don't want to continue losing and losing to a team like Tcu is not good For them but this is a team that again played a tissue team that did things that they haven't done in the past made forty five percent of the threes on Saturday against Baylor. They made thirty three percent of their shots from three point. Line before that so that can be more of an anomaly. I think Baylor overall though is one of the best defensive teams in America made the best defensive team not named Kansas. So that's GONNA keep them in every game that they play well one team. That's right up there with Kansas and Baylor is Gonzaga perennial contenders They did lose to. Byu about a week ago but they're still considered favorites to win the WCTC. How good is this Gonzaga team? I think they're really really good me now like I think they're amazing. I just think this is a year where because everyone has been sort of even you get one loss and all of a sudden. Gonzaga gets the whole. You haven't played anybody. And why are you losing you know in the West Coast Conference and I think that's unfair? Byu was a really good team like Byu's go into selection Sunday with maybe a five or six seed. Maybe even better so. There's nothing wrong with losing a road game in that environment to a good team. They have the number one offense in America a flea Petra. Sav is one of the best young players Indian tire country. We would know what mark few the head coach can do. And they've got two losses all year. I think that is one of the best teams in America and I think will prove it wants double a. Tournament starts so most of the rankings have some combination of Kansas Baylor in Gonzaga in the top. Three we'll see how this weekend changes that but after that myron gets pretty interesting. I'm you've got Dayton San Diego state. Did you see that coming up before the season began out like I wish I could lie and say I did? I wish I could be that dude. It was like yeah. I called San Diego State back in October in Dayton. But I didn't I mean like ob top and a Dayton is suddenly this lottery pig. And I don't think anybody saw that Common Dayton on Friday against Davidson Mia. Think about this number. They may ninety six percent of their shots inside the three point. Line Ninety six percent like I don't care if you're playing a high school junior Varsity Team. That's really difficult to do in Dayton. Did that and not only did they do it. They've been doing it Throughout the season just really inefficient offensive team in San Diego State. A team that lost its first game about a week and a half ago. The they've been role as well in their line of people who will say San Diego State doesn't play the competition that the other top teams have faced in college basketball. That's not true. They beat the. Byu Team that just beacons Aga- they beat Creighton. Which I think is the surprise of college basketball naked win at all by thirty one points and they beat Iowa another solid team another Aa tournament team by ten points so the best teams that were thrown at San Diego State. They won those games now. They did lose the UNLV Week ago but beyond that there have been a really really good team and I think in a year like this again. You're not going to run into a team with two lottery. Picks it feels like they can make Iran as well both San Diego state ending all right after the break. Let's talk about how this all might play out in the tournament as part of your morning routine. Espn daily gives you the most important sports story of the day. But how do you get even more out of your morning with your favorite McDonald's breakfast sandwich and right now you can pick two of them for just four bucks from the Bacon Egg and cheese biscuit sausage mcmuffin with egg and Bacon? Egg and cheese griddles. Now let's see you hit in that drive through to get more out of breakfast at participating. Mcdonald's for a limited time only at breakfast single item at regular price wake-up Breakfast with McDonald's a myron. This feels like one of those years. Where Ninety nine point nine nine nine percent of people's brackets are going to get busted almost immediately but we're still going to try to predict the outcomes anyways how much will the rankings affect the tournament. This year. I'LL DO. The ratings will matter unless you know coaches and players. Use It as motivation The Way John Moran US somebody on twitter as motivation against the Lakers. I don't think it's a big deal especially in the year. Like this where you know. Who's really the number one team in America? Whose number two. I don't think any of that matters but I do think seed matters more than ever because of course Virginia became the first number one. See to lose to a sixteen Two years ago but I think this is also one of those years. Were like a three where plan some dangerous fourteen seed versus getting that to that is what the top teams in the country are certainly thinking about going into the double. A. Tournament not getting caught in some difficult first round matchup That end your season prematurely. While you mentioned The infamous Virginia. Upset which you may have forgotten you. Nbc Will Never. Let you forget that happened. I don't think anyone saw this coming. But are there any sort of Cinderella's or giant slayers that you're looking out for For that first weekend while I would say I mean if you WanNa talk about like true Cinderella teams. You can't ignore the Stephen F. Austin team That one at do where the lumberjacks had it. They just couldn't secure and then from there. Just kinda bulldozed everybody in the southland conference They are forcing turnovers on almost thirty percent of their opponents attempts. Which means you'll every ten possessions your turnover. Turn the ball over three times against the I mean. They are a a really really frustrating opponent. They've lost two games Since December second. And they're just scary. You should also be scared because their mascot is just a do dressed up as a lumberjack. With an axe scary. I've seen them. It's very terrifying. It really is who are some of the more realistic contenders sort of in that. Middle Terry Above Your Stephen F Austin's but below your Kansas's and Gonzaga's I mean the big Tim might have all of the FBI teams in the big. Did that are just very interesting. Like a Wisconsin team that I thought wasn't worth following his suddenly one five games in a row just wanted Michigan There now Plan in the top tier that league team like Penn State which people think Penn State and they think football right. I mean but penn state Despite his loss on Saturday Iowa's been really good team. You've lost three games. Only January fifteenth the one team that I would keep an eye on. Is this good providence team which no one really saw them comment but they've won four in a row. They defeated teams Seton Hall. Which is a really good team. Beat Marquette by double digits and then on Saturday they went to Villanova and they won there as well so I think that to me is a rather interesting team. I would watch. Ucla SURPRISINGLY UCLA Mick. Cronin's first year on the job. In here he is in first place In the PAC twelve it is. It is remarkable. What has happened now? Ucla isn't a lot to get into the tournament. Believe it or not but if they do I mean you're talking about a team that his legitimately been on a run. It's February six. No one saw this common from Mick Cronin who was basically doing this with Steve. Alford's leftovers so I think they're going to be an interesting team to follow as well but I honestly feel like you might have twenty teams depending on the draw. That have a chance to win this thing. What about teams on the bubble any? Is there anyone who jumps out at you? That might actually be a break thirteen. We'll I'll say this. And this is my favorite team and if our saying hey who should you follow In College basketball over the next week. Or so Gimme Rhode Island. And they have to me my favorite player. He also has the best name in college basketball fats. Russell Fats Russell is. The Guy was a five ten guard who has just been great. He's fiery. He's not afraid to fight people he's just one of those guys who's tough in the next three games. We'll find out if they're going to get over the problem getting to the NCAA TOURNAMENT. But they've been a really good team. Their only crime is that they're playing in Dayton at Dayton has been obviously the talk of that League providence. I mentioned them earlier and what they might be able to do and then that. Ucla team Myron. You've been covering college basketball for a long time. Is this as wide open field as you've ever seen to me because you know usually even a year like this where you say it's wide open. There's a duke. Kansas there's an Arizona. There's a Kentucky someone has a team where you're like. Yeah it's wide open to a point. Okay you can get to the elite but then the top teams are GonNa take over and eliminate all these mid majors. This actually feels like you're Dayton San Eagle State Gonzaga's they can win at all You don't have a big power five program other than Kansas. If they stay healthy that Kinda beat anyone out there so it does feel as wide open. Any year that I've covered. I think people will get tired of seeing the same teams on top every year. Myron but people also like rooting against them by them. I mean Duke. I'm talking about Duke. People like reading against Duke. Do you think this level of parody that you're describing is good for college basketball or do you think it's going to be a problem. When March madness begins I think in terms of the help the sport having Duke in Kansas and Kentucky as the teams to Chase. That's always good for the sport. And then if you get a San Diego state or Dayton or some team like Loyola Chicago a couple years ago if you get them to enter the mixed. That's the best blend but duke being involved as always going to be a good thing because you know when you look at fans and like twitter's unofficial poll Meena. There is no fan base in America that gets more satisfaction. They get more satisfaction out of playing Duke and beating Duke than any other team in America. You can be Kentucky Arizona Kansas. You could beat the Milwaukee Bucks it would not be the same level of celebration that teams have when they find a way to beat Duke. So certainly haven't Duke in the mix is a good thing for college basketball tournament all right. It's march second. Myron got a long way to go. I'm GonNa ask you this again at some point but I'm GonNa put you on the spot right now. Who Wins it all? I will say if I had to pick right now it would be Kansas. I would also say if we find out that as a Buki isn't healthy for some reason or he's got some lingering in Injury I would replace Kansas with Gonzaga because they're right there as well but I think Canada's is the team that I would pick if I had to right now but I mean all of the top ten teams in this week's poll could be audited by the time we get to Atlanta like. That's how wide open this. Thanks so much myron. Thank you for having me. I really appreciate coming up. Our pitchers really going after the Astros. Now you can win a two hundred fifty thousand dollar home renovation designed by the Scott Brothers and at Adt Smart Home Security System to enter just head to ADT DOT com slash past the protection. And tell us what you want to protect. A beautiful home is great but a safer home is even better. Now's your opportunity to get both the winner and the winters home will be featured in Adt video with Scott Brothers. No purchase necessary void where prohibited ends. March sixteenth must be eighteen or over and a homeowner as a February first two thousand twenty to learn more about the contest and read the official rules go to Adt dot com slash pass to protection. Here's another story. I want you to know as we've been chronically here on. Espn daily people are really really bad at the Houston Astros. They're so mad. It's widely believed that opposing team's fans going to boo the Astros all season. Think game of thrones styles cries of shame. Shame shame and opposing pitchers are gonNA drove them. Indeed the William Hill sports book has the over under on Astros. Getting hit by pitches at eighty three point five which would be up from sixty six last year. And as Sunday morning Houston players have been hit seven times with videos about Jose. Altuve A and Alex Bregman getting plunked making the rounds online. It would seem like we're in for a season of chaos except that according to ESPN baseball writer. David Schoenfield it's actually not that unusual in a PC FOR ESPN DOT COM. Schoenfeld points out that while Bregman and how to Bay were amongst the players who have been hit and not by fastballs. It should be noted the five other astros who are plunked wart likely targets for some REVENGE SCHEME. Three of them were low level minor leaguers and one. Dustin Garneau wasn't even on the Astros until the season. Sean also notes. That only three of the pitchers who committed the plunking were even in the majors last year. Most of them are guys who are just trying to make big league teams meaning. They're unlikely candidates to waste their pitches on street. Justice on top of that. Well it may seem like seven pitches. Just a few games a lot. The reds dodgers and cardinals have all been hit by nine pitches each already now. That doesn't mean the Astros escape getting punished this season. It's possible that pitchers are waiting for the bigger stage after spring training but it does mean we should pump the brakes before predicting a season of vengeance or at least we should wait until we see some more trustworthy signs and this has been ESPN daily. I'll talk to you tomorrow.