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5 Question Friday: MAC depth, BYU, NMTC hopefuls and more


NCAA Basketball: West Coast Conference Tournament-Saint Mary’s vs BYU Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

This week’s edition of 5 Question Friday is going to cover an underrated deep conference, one of the WCC’s powers, and more. First, here a couple fun things from this week to check out.

The Athletic’s Matt Craig has been running his “Cinderella Code” series on our site. Here’s part two that covers VCU and Shaka Smart. It’s really good and you should read it.

I made a Sporcle quiz where you have to name all 288 non-Power 5 schools. It’s hard!

I also wrote a few brief thoughts on what we should expect from UT Arlington in the first year without Scott Cross.

Now, your questions.

Win the Southland Tournament. Same as every other year for every one-bid league.

But what if they go undefeated in the conference in and lose in the conference title game? See above.

Well, they won’t win the WCC. Gonzaga has that taken care of. Once again, BYU is probably going to be competing with Saint Mary’s and maybe even San Francisco for that second spot.

There’s no doubt that BYU has talent. Yoeli Childs is one of the best forwards in the country, and might be the best one in the conference. TJ Haws will pick up some of the scoring void that Elijah Bryant leaves. Jashire Hardnett and Dalton Nixon will step into bigger roles. There are multiple freshman coming in that will contribute. BYU will do what they’ve been doing for years under Dave Rose: win 20+ games and compete in the conference.

Never say never, but it’s highly, highly unlikely something like this ever happens. Power 5 schools are printing money with the current system. It would take a drastic change in the collegiate athletics landscape to cause something like this. However, I don’t know what that change would have to be.

The MAC is going to sneakily be one of the deeper mid-major conferences next year. Ball State will have a veteran laden team that’s full of talent. Ohio has a ton of talented seniors. Toledo, Northern Illinois and Kent State should all be solid as well. The MAC as a whole was ranked as the No. 13 overall conference on Kenpom last year, and it’s not unreasonable to think they can be in that same ballpark. You’re right that Buffalo is the favorite, but I don’t think they’ll be able to run through the conference with ease like some people might think.

As a proud (or not so proud) member of the NMTC, William & Mary is in for another tough journey. The CAA has a ton of talent in the conference. Charleston brings back a bunch of talent from their NCAA Tournament team, and Northeastern is projecting as a Top-75 team nationally. William & Mary is probably in a tier below those two, but there are some talented pieces there. Nathan Knight, Justin Pierce, Matt Milon and Paul Rowley is a great core to start with. If the Tribe can replicate their offensive prowess of last year, they’ll be right there in the mix when the CAA Tournament rolls around.