Posts tagged March Madness
Ball Don't Lie EP. 45 - Giannis World Order

Scott and Dante are in this week to chat about Giannis and the Bucks beating down Harden and the Rockets, the battle for the 8th seed in the East, Boston and Golden State's roads to the playoffs, the Big Baller Brand drama, March Madness, NFL news and much more.

Topics:
Are the Bucks for real?
Playoff battles
Lonzo leaves BBB
Bulls options in the draft
Sweet 16 preview
Gronk retires
Bears/Packers opening night
new rule changes
Eloy's new contract
Goofy Mog of the Week

Listen to the new bangers playlist on Spotify, Tidal, and Apple Music!

Tidal: bit.ly/tidalbangers
Spotify: bit.ly/spotifybangers
Apple Music: bit.ly/applebangers

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The Barber's Chair NCAA men's All-American teams

March Madness is in full swing, so what better way to celebrate the month than by acknowledging the best players in the country?

Disclaimer: Two considerations are made for this team:

1. Players production in correlation to team success & laying the foundation for continued growth & success.

2. My desire to coach/enjoyment level of seeing these kids play.

So, inclusion here is the purpose. There’s four teams & 20 guys to be split amongst them. This team is built from the idea of creating an actual team of superhero players in the college game. Let’s get into it.

1st Team

Jalen Brunson, 6’3” Guard | Junior | Villanova

• 19.4 pts 4.7 asts 41% 4FG• Big East Player of the Year• Wooden Award Finalist

Trae Young 6’2” Guard | Freshman | Oklahoma

• 27.4 pts 8.7 asts 86% FT • Big 12 Freshman of the Year • Wood Award Finalist

Miles Bridges 6’7” Forward | Sophomore | Michigan State

• 16.9 points, 6.9 rebs, 2.8 assists, 88% FT

Marvin Bagley III 6’11” Center | Freshman | Duke

• 21.1pts 11.5 rebs 61% FG, 37% 3FG• ACC Player, Freshman of the Year

DeAndre Ayton 7’1” Center | Freshman | Arizona

• 20.3pts, 8.2 rebs,, 62% Fg, 36%  3Fg• Pac-12 Player, Freshman of the Year, All Pac-12 First Team, Defensive Team

I dare you to direct me to a better quintet in college basketball this season. Jalen Brunson has been a starter in 109 of the 110 games he’s played at the Division I level & it shows. Coaches, take notes. Stop sitting freshmen because they’re freshmen.

Trae Young gave us the best freshmen season we’ve ever seen from a guard during the same season that Marvin Bagley III (more on him later) did for the post game. But please, stop with the Steph comparisons. The analysts don’t have anything better to do & old dogs don’t hear well. But I challenge my generation to educate themselves to the capacity that we no longer rely on player comps to get a point across. I can confidently project the thought process I have for any player I speak on. Feel free to @ me.

Miles Bridges is an absolute winner. He didn’t have to come back & did. Here’s to him taking his coach to a title & his talents to the NBA, where he’ll be appreciated as opposed to lied on.

Random Fact: DeAndre Ayton & Marvin Bagley III played high school ball together. Let that sink in.

2nd Team

Devonte’ Graham 6’2” Guard | Senior | Kansas

• 17.3 pts, 7.5 assists, 38 minutes • Big 12 Player of the Year

Kyle Guy 6’3” Guard | Sophomore | Virginia

• 14.1 pts, 50% 3FG, .6 turnovers(61 total turnovers in career)

Trevon Bluiett 6’6” Forward | Senior | Xavier

• 19.5 pts, 5.7 rebs, 25 asts, 42% 3FG, 86% FT

Luke Maye 6’7” Forward | Junior | North Carolina

• 17.2 pts, 10.1 rebs, 44% 3FG

Jock Landale 6’11 Center | Senior | St Mary’s

• 21.5pts, 10.1 rebs, 64% FG, 65% 2FG

This second team is filled with low mistake, high IQ guys who are going to be efficient, effective & elaborate with everything you do. You trust your recruits to spend time with these guys. They’re your team captains in just about every setting they’ve been in.

Here’s hoping Luke Maye ignites a trend across the country. If guys are working hard, they deserve opportunities. Regardless of how many stars ESPN gave them while seeing them in mostly AAU settings only.

3rd Team

Jevon Carter | 6’2” Guard | Senior | West Virginia

• 17.0 pts, 6.6 asts, 2.9 steals• Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year

Keenan Evans | 6’3” Guard | Senior | Texas Tech

• 17.5 pts, 3.0 rebs, 3.1 asts• 2nd in Big 12 in FT attempts

Gary Clark | 6’8” Guard | Senior | Cincinnati

• 13.0 pts, 8.5 rebs, 43% from deep• AAC Player of the Year

Mike Daum | 6’9” Forward | Junior | South Dakota State

• 23.8 pts, 10.4 rebs, 42% 3Fg, 86% FT• Back-to-back Summit League Player of the Year

Keita Bates-Diop | 6’7” Guard | RS Junior | Ohio State

• 19.4 pts, 8.8 rebs, 1.1 asts• Big Ten Player of the Year

The lunch pail & hard hat guys that you absolutely know will bring it every night. Also, Gary Clark is the most productive, valuable player in college basketball. Highly efficient. Terrific IQ. The NBA loves potential & youth but as we transition towards improving the pro model, its time these veteran college guys stop being disrespected.

Imagine if we celebrated CJ McCollum & Malcolm Brogdon as much as we talk about Lonzo Ball & Jayson Tatum.

4th Team

Aaron Holiday | 6’1” Guard | Junior | UCLA

• 20.3 pts, 5.8 asts, 1.3 stls, 43% 3FG

Carsen Edwards | 6’1 Guard | Sophomore | Purdue

• 18.5 pts, 3.9 rebs, 3.0 asts, 41% 3FG, 81% FT

Wendell Carter Jr | 6’10 Forward | Freshman | Duke

• 13.8 pts, 9.3 rebs, 2.1 asts.• 56% FG, 46% 3Fg, 73% FT

Mikal Bridges | 6’7” Forward | RS Junior | Villanova

• 18.0 pts, 5.4 rebs, 1.1 blks, 2.1 asts,• 52% FG, 43% 3FG, 85% FT

Nick King | 6’7” Guard-Forward | Senior | Middle Tennessee State

• 20.9 pts, 8.5 rebs, 39% 3FG

Bright bright futures ahead for every young man on this list, including the only senior. Trials & tribulations make a man stronger, wiser. Nick King has seen his share of adversity so him being able to finish college basketball on his terms, playing at a high level & taking home a conference player of the year, after all the new homes he’s had to adjust to is a story that needs to be heard. One that should be told boldly.

Mikal Bridges has so many tools on both ends of the floor & hasn’t even figured it out yet. Guys like he & Wendell Carter Jr are why I’m working so hard to get to my spot on the sidelines.

This caliber of talent deserves someone who will be excited to go to work with them & create new art with their talent every game.

What teams to watch in men's NCAA tournament
ESPN

ESPN

The number one overall seed wasn’t ranked to begin the year --are we finally allowed to replace the voter’s panel yet?

We never got to see Billy Preston, Mitchell Robinson or Deanthony Melton play this season.

Allegedly, the investigation into corruption in college hoops has been completed yet penalties won’t be handed down until the day after the national championship.

Tony Bennett has built this Virginia program up in a way that many would’ve called a waste of time in this era. Defense first. A commitment to the program, the team above all else. So many other teams around the country are shifting their principles & allowing substandard activity to tarnish their legacy, meanwhile Coach Bennett is trying to bring back glory days reminiscent of short-shorts & players actually wanting to take your head off if it allowed an advantage to the ball.

Let’s slide a little further South: Mike Krzyzewski fought off the one & done model as long as he could. It’s fitting he’s the only coach to be successful with the model, winning a natty in 2015 with Jahlil Okafor, Tyus Jones & Justice Winslow leading the way. The difference with that team was a balance of experience & veteran leadership. Another of the freshmen, & likely the least successful pro of the bunch has been around every year since & a leader he is not. This team is likely the most talented & dynamic K has ever coached yet it also doubles as the most likely to be upset by a team that shouldn’t even be within 15 points of them. Attention to detail, a capacity for failure & pride is a huge part of success in college basketball. Duke seems to be lacking the entirety of this humble triumvirate.

Before we dive into the real point of this article, let’s make one last jump across the country. For all the confrustration (confusion + frustration) that has been Duke basketball, the hottest take in the country all season has been surrounding the Oklahoma Basketball Sooners & Trae Young. OU seems to have the most polarizing players in both of its high-yielding sports & they have taken advantage of the spotlight associated with it.

Did OU’s second half of the season warrant inclusion in the NCAA tournament over an Oklahoma St team it got run over by twice also swept Big 12 Champ Kansas?

So yeah. Most wide-open field ever.

Spoiler Alert: None of the teams mentioned above appears again in a positive light.

Gonzaga

Zach Collins is in the NBA & Przemek Karnowski could help many of the teams there. Yet Mark Few continues to reinvent himself every season & finds a way to make his team relevant from a national standpoint.

The OG vein of coaches typically bring a style & a system to the table & recruit to said philosophies. The millennial coach, the new generation coach that will have success & soon will become the standard will be basketball purists who enjoy the idea of each season being a piece of artwork. You have to enjoy the journey that becomes the painting that is your season. The demand for a winning culture either cultivates pressure or it creates opportunity. The Zags very likely will be one of the last teams standing again as they rate 6th in the country in defending the two.

New Mexico State/Murray State

To be completely candid, there wouldn’t be any amount of shock if every 12 seed in the tourney advances. The 5-seeds:

West Virginia, Kentucky, Clemson & Ohio State have all been exposed in one way or another. Fast forward to March & the 5-seed is never a gift.

No 5 seed has ever won a national championship & the only two to ever make a Final four (Butler & Michigan State in 2010) had arguments for being under seeded.

These teams find themselves here as they have tons in common: defensive systems committed to being disruptive, elite athletes who have committed to the system & a Buchanan from Mississippi that Smoove had a hand in cultivating before now.

These kids have worked their entire lives for this moment & chose the schools they did for a chance to shock the world.

What are the chances they both advance to the Sweet 16 out of San Diego? You’ll just have to watch & find out.

11-seeds

Congratulations Florida & TCU. You’ve drawn the teams with the most to prove in this year’s tournament without having fully established an identity for yourselves. This is your tape. Regardless of who wins either play-in game, not only are you playing a team of equal or greater talent, but the nerves are gone.

Houston, of its own volition, has the potential to shake up the tournament as a confident, well-coached Kelvin Sampson team has before but looking past Steve Fisher’s protégé would be a mistake. All four 11-seeds could change the trajectory of this tournament but be on the lookout for at least one. My bet?

The Ramblers of Loyola Chicago.

Arizona

The team with the most to prove, the most dominant player in the country on a nightly basis & the coach whose name has been drug through the mud the most over the last 60 days.

This is a team that has every reason to fail. Most bets have them failing & in order to win a national championship, teams have to thrive in adversity.

You have to have the capacity to win ugly games.

Win games with your third or fourth offense.

DeAndre Ayton gives Zona the type of game changing player necessary to accomplish these things.

Not to mention some veteran, frustrated help around him.

Michigan State

Is this the year it all comes together for Izzo & crew to bring home their second national championship? All signs say yes.

The most wide-open season field ever feels a lot like that tournament in 2000 that was filled with upsets & teams playing above their seeding.

That 2000 team had made the Final Four the previous year before losing to Duke. Cleaves could’ve gone to the NBA but decided to return to school. The rest is history.