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5 Question Friday: Saint Louis’s outlook, the MAC’s future, and more

Answering your questions to get you through the offseason.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-First Round-Saint Louis vs Virginia Tech Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Hey everyone, are you still there? We’re at the point in the college basketball calendar in which everything is sort of up in limbo and there’s not much going on. There are little sprinkles of news every so often with transfers and the like, but overall it’s generally quiet on the hoops front.

With that being said, we can still find things to talk about. More specifically, we’re going to talk about things that you want us to talk about. It’s time to bring back the first 5 Question Friday of the offseason in which we’ll try to answer five Twitter questions every Friday in the form of a mini-mailbag. So let’s get into it.

Following their surprise run to the NCAA Tournament, the Billikens lost a couple of key pieces in Tramaine Isabell, Javon Bess and D.J. Foreman. However, Travis Ford is bringing back some major contributors that can help them stay in the A-10 mix. Jordan Goodwin will likely assume the role of being the go-to scorer after averaging double figures last season. Hasahn French was an A-10 All-Defensive team player. Fred Thatch will likely step into a bigger role, and Javonte Perkins should provide a much-needed scoring punch as a JUCO transfer.

Overall, the Billikens are going to have some talent. Without knowing what the non-conference schedule will bring and how each roster is going to look by the time the season starts, it’s hard to predict a record. I do, however, think that Saint Louis will be one of the contenders in A-10. Not the favorite, but a top 4 finish isn’t out of the picture.

[Extremely recruit voice] TOP 5 NO ORDER RESPECT MY DECISION!

  • Gonzaga
  • Saint Mary’s
  • VCU
  • New Mexico State
  • Utah State

I’m very skeptical that Buffalo will be able to maintain its success after 1) losing its very good coach and 2) losing its very good players. The Bulls still have some guys, but we’ll need to see some results from Whitesell before jumping to conclusions. He was fine as a head coach at Loyola, but it’s unlikely that Buffalo can reach the level of a Wichita State or a VCU.

As far as the rest of the MAC goes, Ball State brings back quite a bit of talent in Tahjai Teague, Kyle Mallers and K.J. Walton, among others. Bowling Green has great guards in Justin Turner and Dylan Frye. Miami OH might have the best player in Nike Sibande if he winds up withdrawing his name from the NBA Draft. I don’t think there’s a clear-cut favorite right now like there has been in recent years with Buffalo.

The SoCon would have been a two-bid league last year if Wofford hadn’t won the conference tournament. The problem is that Wofford was so damn that we didn’t get to see it happen. So I guess it really comes down to if you think that one of the SoCon teams can be in the neighborhood of how good the Terriers were last year?

With Mike Young now at Virginia Tech, it likely comes down to Furman, UNC Greensboro and East Tennessee State for SoCon supremacy. Of those three, ETSU might have the best roster. Steve Forbes is one of the best coaches around, and he’ll have a roster that’s full of upperclassmen, which is almost a necessity for a mid-major that is hoping to make a run at an at-large bid. It’ll be interesting to see how they schedule. If try to go out and schedule aggressively with Power 5 opponents or talented mid-major teams, that could give us an indication that ETSU thinks it has the goods. That really goes for any of the SoCon teams that are going to compete for a conference title. They’ll have to try and get as many opportunities for quality wins in the non-conference slate as they can if they hope to have a chance at an at-large, despite how slim that chance may ultimately be.

The general consensus around Mullins getting the Southern Illinois job was that it was a great choice. He’s young, he’s returning to his alma mater where he was a star for one of the best teams in school history, and he’s coming from another in-state program in Loyola that he helped build into one of the best in the Midwest. He checks a lot of hypothetical boxes that you’d look for in a coach to help build a program back up. He’ll probably do well there, but it won’t be instantaneous.