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Mailbag: The best 1-bid leagues and Alan Alda

Plot twist: The best one-bid leagues become two-bid leagues

Entertainment: 25th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards Dan MacMedan-USA TODAY NETWORK

We haven’t done a mailbag in a while, which is a shame because A. we miss you and love to hear from you and B. it’s easy content during the offseason. So we’re gonna do one today and hopefully this helps make October pass just a little quicker as we inch closer to Thanksgiving.


This is a trick question! You see, the best one-bid leagues will actually be two-bid leagues and so they aren’t one-bid leagues and the actual one-bid leagues aren’t good leagues then are they? Let’s take a stab at this anyway. Right now, the following conferences that fall under our purview have multiple teams in The Other Top 25 top 10 and so we will call them multi-bid leagues for now: Atlantic 10, Missouri Valley, Mountain West. I also have a hard time believing Gonzaga will be the only West Coast Conference team in the field, and even if it is, the WCC is not a traditional one-bid league anyway. That leaves everyone else. My quick rankings:

1. Southern Conference: The SoCon doesn’t have that one team with Sweet 16 potential like we’ve seen in recent years with Wofford or East Tennessee State. That’s just fine. The SoCon is still deep with the Buccaneers joining UNC Greensboro and Furman at the top. They churn out talent in Greenville, SC like few other programs at this level, and if you don’t know Noah Gurley, perhaps you should familiarize yourself with the Furman big man. Gurley can dominate inside (take his 29-point game on 8-11 shooting vs. USC Upstate) or make you pay from deep (40% from deep on 58 attempts). Look for Alex Hunter and Mike Bothwell to fill the void that Jordan Lyons leaves.

2. Conference USA: We say it every year, I know. This time we mean it. Our pal Bart Torvik projects four CUSA teams in his top 101 next year, led by Charles Bassey, who is now healthy and one of the best NBA prospects returning to mid-major basketball next season. North Texas and Old Dominion are the biggest challenges for the Hilltoppers — the Monarchs return six of their top seven scorers from a team that went .500 in league play but showed growth down the stretch. North Texas will also present a formidable challenge, but we’ll get to them in a minute.

3. Ohio Valley: Let’s get weird and go with the OVC. Unlike in normal seasons, this won’t be a two-team battle between Belmont and Murray State. In fact, Austin Peay might be the best team in the conference. The Governors were the best offensive team in the OVC and return the backcourt duo of Terry Taylor and Jordan Adams. They also defeated both Belmont and Murray State last season. But if Austin Peay wants to take the OVC crown, it will have to go through Murray, KY, where the Racers bring back KJ Williams and Tevin Brown. Belmont takes a hit with the loss of Adam Kunkel, but Nick Muszynski is an early candidate for conference player of the year.

Really, though, the best one-bid league will be the Pac-12. AAC a close second.


The Mean Green look pretty darn good going into next year, I’m not gonna lie. They went 14-4 against an albeit lousy CUSA last season and are one transfer to Oklahoma (Umoja Gibson) away from MAYBE being league favorites. North Texas led CUSA in offensive efficiency, two-point percentage, and three-point percentage last season. Javion Hamlet was arguably the best point guard in the conference last year, leading the league in assist rate and shooting 43% from three.


The Dons don’t project to be great, especially with the losses of Brian Patrick and Matt Holba. But all is not lost. In addition to bringing back Jarred Godfrey (15.6 points per game), they gain two key transfers — Ra Kpedi from Vermont, who sat out last season, and immediately eligible Bobby Planutis from St. Bonaventure. As a sophomore with the Catamounts, Kpedi started six games for a loaded squad and shot 58% from the floor. Planutis showed flashes of promise in the Atlantic 10, scoring in double-figures five times last season.


And now your Alan Alda takes: