It’s been less than a week since the college basketball season started, but it already feels like so much has happened. We’ve had some upsets and we’ve had some really good games between mid-majors. As a whole, there has been good basketball on every night, which is about all you can ask for early on in the season.
Now that we have some results and actual basketball to base our opinions off of, it’s time to make some overreactions and assumptions about the first week of games.
As always, you can submit your mailbag questions to our Twitter account (@mid_madness).
Let’s get to it.
How good can Illinois State be this year? I know their defense struggled against Florida Gulf Coast but that seemed to be more of how good FCGU is than ISU being bad.— Michael Sprieser (@MichaelSprieser) November 15, 2017
It’s obviously still very early, but a lot of us on staff were pleasantly surprised with Illinois State’s performance in that game against Florida Gulf Coast. Dunk City is one of the best mid-majors in the country, and going on the road is a tough opener for the Redbirds.
The biggest question mark for Illinois State was who would step up and take on a more prominent scoring role. Keyshawn Evans and Phil Fayne stepped up to the plate with 28 and 24 points, respectively. If Dan Mullen get consistent production out of a couple of guys to go with a defense that should end up being pretty good, Illinois State will be alright. Maybe not to the level of last year, but they can absolutely be a factor in the Missouri Valley.
Winthrop in for an abnormally rough year?— Justin (@Jstnro40) November 15, 2017
An 0-2 start obviously isn’t ideal, but it’s not the end of the world. However, it’s clear that they miss the scoring punch that Keon Johnson provided for years. Failing to crack 1.00 points per possession against Southern Illinois and then barely hitting that mark against Colorado State isn’t a good omen for the Eagles. A couple of games of non-Division I opponents might be what they need to build a rhythm on offense.
Why are refs? Just, why? (looking at you, idiots in striped shirts who worked the Nevada-URI game)— stacey (@stlyme) November 15, 2017
The officiating in the Rhode Island-Nevada game was frustrating for a multitude of reasons. To start, it completely killed the flow of the game. These are two of the best mid-major teams around, so it would have been nice to see them get up and down without interference from the Zebras. The free throw disparity was 44-18 in favor the Wolfpack, which obviously made some folks Mad Online, but it is what it is. Nevada was aggressive and accomplished what they set out to do. Props to them.
Which Hogwarts House would each of these mid-majors belong to and why? Bucknell, Harvard, Vermont and UT-Arlington.— Afi Ahmadi (@ahmadiesq) November 15, 2017
This is among the best questions we’ve ever received for the mailbag. Few things in this world are better than Harry Potter and mid-major basketball. Here are some opinions from the MMM staff:
Cam Newton: Obvious answer is that Harvard is Ravenclaw, but they're really Slytherin. Steph Crandall: Vermont is Slytherin.
Cam Lopez: Harvard Slytherin, UT Arlington the other irrelevant one, Vermont Gryffindor, Bucknell irrelevant pt 2.
Here is how I would sort those particular schools into the four Hogwarts Houses: Gryffindor (UT Arlington), Slytherin (Vermont), Hufflepuff (Bucknell), and Ravenclaw (Harvard).
Who you got in the WAC? i see 4 good teams in @GCU_Lopes @CSUBAthletics @NMStateMBB and @UVUmbb— Jeffrey Allan (@jeffersallan) November 15, 2017
This is a question that’s probably best suited for our own Greg Mitchell, who knows more about the WAC than anybody should. However, I talk to and read Greg’s stuff on the WAC, therefore I am incredibly knowledgeable and 100% qualified to offer my opinion on this. As of now, here’s how I’d rank those four teams:
1. New Mexico State
2. Utah Valley
3. Grand Canyon
4. Cal St. Bakersfield
does EWU have a legitimate sleeper shot in the Big Sky after how well they played last night against Stanford?— David C (@CBBHoops_DavidC) November 15, 2017
Possibly! The one thing to keep in mind with these type of upsets is that it’s still extremely early. In Eastern Washington’s case, they showed that they have a go-to guy in Bogdan Bliznyuk, and that they could hang with Power 5 caliber programs. But they have to keep that momentum to be considered a contender. They can’t come out and start laying eggs against teams they should beat. We’ll know more in a few weeks once we get a bigger sample size.
SFA a sweet 16 Team?— Dustin Helton (@TheRevSFA) November 15, 2017
EXTREMELY unlikely. I’m upset that I took time to type out an answer to this. Are we sure they’re even the best team in their conference?
#RealTalk to me about Loyola Greyhounds. They held #19 Northwestern real close and almost won please tell me this is their year— Happening Hoops (@happeninghoops) November 15, 2017
They did play them close, which is good! Want to know what isn’t good, though? Following it up with a double digit loss to Fairfield. Scoring 52 points in a game that had over 70 possessions is bad for anyone. Their offense has struggled mightily early on in both games.
Richmond?— Oliver Purnell has never been fired (@morrisoncrying) November 15, 2017
Here are some fun facts about Richmond, Indiana:
- It is home to the country’s 4th largest high school game. The Tiernan Center at Richmond High School has a capacity of 8,100.
- It is the hometown of my dad as well as a significant part of that side of my family.
- I spend most major holidays visiting family there. In fact, I’ll be there next week consuming large quantities of food while watching Feast Week games.
- Here’s a notable college basketball players to come out of Richmond: Dominique James (Marquette), 2006 Big East Rookie of the Year
I’m assuming this is the Richmond Cam is referring to.
Is Temple the best 0-0 team in the country? haha— Mid Major Matt (@MidMajorMatt) November 15, 2017
Yes. But they’re also the worst.
Is the big sky for real?— James Nelson (@hoopfanmontana) November 15, 2017
Is the Big Sky for real in what sense? Is the Big Sky going to be a competitive league? Yeah, there’s a few teams there that should make for a decent season. Is the Big Sky going to be anything more than a one-bid league that probably ends up with a 15 or 16 seed? Probably not.
Upset alert looming Saturday....Long Beach State at Oregon State— Alex Ormeno Manfredi (@alexmanfr3di) November 15, 2017
The contest between Oregon State and Pitt for being upset the most is going to be fascinating to watch this year.