Q: The "mid-major" heavies (Butler and Gonzaga) are off to solid starts but who would be another threat to the "big boys" this year in the tournament from a mid-major?
— Vincent Porcher, Tampa, Fla.
A: Vincent, I’m going to give you a bonus and name two teams to watch: Rhode Island from the Atlantic-10 and Missouri State from the Missouri Valley.
Rhode Island is 9-1 and already has victories over Boston College, Providence, Davidson and Fairfield. That’s the start of a good NCAA resume, but the Rams will have to survive in a very competitive A-10 race. Senior guard Keith Cothran is the main man for coach Jim Baron.
Missouri State was undefeated until Tuesday night, but there’s no shame in losing on the road to Arkansas in overtime. The Bears, now 10-1, were off to their best start since 1996-97 when they also opened 10-0. A win over Arkansas might have lifted Missouri State into the Top 25.
Q: Memphis Tiger fan here, blue blood, etc. There’s some dispute here over whether it is common for recruits to pledge to a school, or to the coach who recruits them. Was Cal [John Calipari] out of line taking his best signees to Kentucky, or is this normal?
— Dan S., Memphis, Tenn.
A: Dan, I understand exactly where you are coming from. You are still bitter about Coach Cal packing his bags for Kentucky and stuffing several members of a top recruiting class in that luggage checked all the way to Lexington. It doesn’t seem fair to the jilted team but this isn’t unique. It may have been one of the most extreme cases of players following a coach, but why should a player be forced to stay when the coach that recruited him takes off for another school?
From the Duke-Butler rematch to the Bluegrass State Showdown, here are the games you have to watch.
I don’t know if there’s anything “normal” in the world of recruiting these days. But Calipari didn’t break any NCAA rules, and he didn’t force any players to follow him. Kids make their own choices and these days, I honestly think most top players make their choices based on the head coach — and not the program. If you are a top recruit, you are going to love Calipari. He runs the dribble drive offense. He doesn’t mind recruiting one-and-done players who have immediate NBA aspirations. In fact, he encourages it. Play for Coach Cal, win a lot of games, get the exposure of the NCAA tournament, and turn pro. That’s money.
As a Memphis fan, I’m can’t blame you for wanting John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins and Xavier Henry in the Tigers’ lineup. But Cal didn’t get them all. Henry ended up at Kansas. Cousins never signed with Memphis and Wall was uncommitted when Cal got the Kentucky job, so they weren’t exactly “signees.” It just feels that way.
Duke coach said that after winning his second gold medal in men's basketball would be his Team USA finale. That may not be the case anymore.
Latest from CollegeBasketballTalk
USA Basketball releases 24-man roster for U19 tryouts3 hr 53 min ago
College basketball videos
Griner comfortable with coming out
DPS: Richard Deitsch from Sports Illustrated joins the show to discuss Brittney Griner coming out and explains why it wasn't seen as a big deal.
Three cheers for college hoops
Take a look at cheerleaders in action from around the country.