Stony Brook forwards Chris Braley and Scott King to transfer

Sources have confirmed that Stony Brook forwards Scott King and Chris Braley will transfer out of the program at the end of the semester.

An extremely extremely long and athletic stretch-four with the ability to knock down shots from behind the arc 6’10”, King never really put it together on the court, averaging just 3.1 points and 1.2 rebounds per game over his career. As a red-shirt junior, King saw his playing time and touches decrease, averaging career-lows of 7.9 minutes and 3.0 points per game. King will graduate this summer and be eligible immediately as a graduate transfer.

An extremely strong and physical forward, at 6’5”, Braley brought toughness and rebounding to the floor, but struggled to carve out a niche. Recruited for his 3-point shooting, Braley struggled to find his stroke, hitting just 26.3 percent of his threes over his first two seasons, including just 21.1 percent as a sophomore during the past season. Should he transfer to another Division I program, Braley will have to sit out the 2015-2016 season per NCAA transfer rules, but can play immediately if he transfers to a lower division.

Both King and Braley were blocked from above on the Seawolves’ depth chart by two-time conference player of the year Jameel Warney, as well as forwards Rayshaun McGrew, Roland Nyama, Tyrell Sturdivant and Jakob Petrus.

NCAA Tournament: OBW’s favorite Sweet 16 games

Believe it or not, the NCAA Tournament is already down to 16 remaining teams. The Sweet 16 starts Thursday, and that got us thinking: what are our favorite Sweet 16 games we’ve watched?

Sam Perkins and Doric Sam recount theirs below.

Sam Perkins

My favorite all-time Sweet 16 matchup came when 13th-seeded Valparaiso and eighth-seeded Rhode Island met in the 1998 Midwest regional semifinal — a battle between the two big Cinderella stories of that year’s tournament. Seventeen years later, I still vividly remember watching this game, as an eighth grader, with my dad.

Valpo’s path to the Sweet 16 was well told, and, thanks to Bryce Drew’s game-winning long bomb in the opening round against Mississippi, remains well known today.

But the Rams were a great story in their own right. The roster was largely built by Al Skinner before he left for Boston College, and they remained together under new head coach Jim Harrick. They featured future NBAer Cuttino Mobley, but they were a sum-is-larger-than-its-parts squad led by the dynamic playmaking of pint-sized point guard Tyson Wheeler and the heart of undersized power forward Antonio Reynolds-Dean.

The Sweet 16 matchup between two teams that had been written off by just about everyone entering the tournament didn’t disappoint — truly one of those games where neither team deserved to walk away with an L. This was a 40 minute war between two teams who simply did not want to go home, with the Rams and the Crusaders throwing haymakers from the opening tip until the final horn.

Rhode Island opened the game up 50-39 with a little over 18 minutes remaining on a big dunk by center Luther Clay — a moment most thought would be the final nail in the Crusaders’ coffin — only for Valparaiso to get up off the mat and throw a flurry of punches, cutting the Rams’ lead down to one, 64-63, with 3:54 left. But Reynolds-Dean took over in the game’s final minutes, coming up with two huge blocks at the rim, while converting a 3-point play at the other end, giving the Rams a sliver of breathing room en route to a 74-68 win.

After the game, the Crusaders and their fans provided one final, magical March moment. With thousands of fans remaining in the arena, chanting, long after the final horn, the entire Valpo roster — from the players, to the coaches, to the trainers and managers, none of whom had a dry eye — returned to the court for a final curtain call.

Doric Sam

I had to get over the heartbreak of Syracuse losing to Butler earlier that night, and I couldn’t stand to watch basketball so I missed the first half of Kansas St. vs Xavier. I tuned back in at some point during the second half, right in time for the barrage of three-pointers.
I remember how many times Xavier’s Terrell Holloway got fouled before the referees finally blew their whistle as he heaved up a three-pointer at the end of regulation, calmly knocking down all three free throws to force overtime. Then came Jordan Crawford’s 35-foot bomb that swished through the basket at the end of the first overtime (editor’s note: “Crawford’s gotta hurry! Uh?! Ohhhh!!!!” — Gus Johnson, on the call). Finally Kansas State’s Jacob Pullen, who was unconscious all night with six 3-pointers, hit two treys in the second overtime to seal the 101-96 win for the Wildcats.
This game had so many improbable shots go in that I couldn’t help jumping up and down like a fan as each shot went in. Normally my interest in the entire tournament would have dwindled after Syracuse was eliminated, but this game was a nice pick-me-up that reminded me why college basketball is so magical and made me want to see what happens in the next game.

NCAA Tournament: OBW’s favorite Cinderellas

T.J. Sorrentine. Photo Credit: Vermont Athletics / Sally McCay
T.J. Sorrentine. Photo Credit: Vermont Athletics / Sally McCay

This year’s NCAA Tournament is a tad short on the Cinderella story.

UCLA is the worst seed in the Sweet 16 at No. 11, and we all know the Bruins’ storied history. Wichita State and Gonzaga are the only Sweet 16 teams that don’t hail from a power conference. Neither could really be considered a Cinderella anymore, anyway, not with the Shockers two years removed from a Final Four, one year from a No. 1 seed and not even a week from a top-15 national ranking, and not with the Bulldogs, a No. 2 seed.

So Sam Perkins and Doric Sam took a trip down memory lane, recounting their favorite Cinderella stories from NCAA Tournaments past.

Sam Perkins

This is a really tough one for me. Although my earliest college hoops memories are of rooting on “Tark the Shark,” Larry “Grandmama” Johnson and the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels, and I grew up in the John Calipari “Refuse to Lose” UMass Minutemen family (where my father played college hoops way back in the day), I’ve always been a fan of college basketball’s Cinderellas and underdogs, so choosing just one is hard.

I have to give honorable mention to the Casey Calvary/Matt Santangelo/Quinton Hall “The Slipper Still Fits” Gonzaga team of the 98-99 season that went to the Elite Eight as a No. 10 seed — THE team in which the entire subsequent Bulldogs program has built upon. That was one hell of a tough, physical, gritty team that showed no fear against the college hoops big boys, knocking off No. 7 Minnesota, No. 2 Stanford and then a Florida team featuring about a half-dozen future NBA players — I can still remember watching that whole run as a high school freshman, screaming at my TV with my brother, my good friend Noah, and his younger brother.

Also major props to the Bryce Drew Valparaiso team of a year earlier that went to the Sweet 16 as a No. 13 seed, shocking No. 4 Mississippi with “The Shot” in the opening round, before beating Florida State. That Valpo team had so many great story lines — Drew playing for his father, Homer, and drilling big shot after big shot, including one of the most improbable, full-court inbounds plays in college hoops history; twins Bill an Bob Jenkins; foreign 7-footers Anatas “Tony” Vilcinskas (Lithuania) and Zoran Viskovic (Croatia) chief among them.

The University of Rhode Island team that ended Valparaiso’s magical run in 1998 also deserves recognition. The 1997-1998 Rams were one of the most fun teams I’ve had the pleasure of watching. Yes, they were a No. 8 seed, and thus in the top half of their bracket, and they came from the Atlantic-10 at the tail end of the league’s golden era when the A-10 was putting anywhere from 4-6 teams in the NCAA Tournament. But this was a URI squad that was overlooked and undervalued in its own league, and a squad that no one — and I mean no one outside of the that locker room — expected to go to the Elite Eight and be a minute and a half (and essentially a blown inbounds) away from the Final Four. The Rams were super physical and extremely talented, with 6-foot-5 power forward Antonio Reynolds-Dean bringing toughness, intangibles and a heart the size of a basketball, playing alongside a dynamic backcourt of Cuttino Mobley and pint-sized Tyson Wheeler. But they were also selfless and a team that’s sum remained far greater than its individual parts.

However, my favorite Cinderella of all time remains the 2004-2005 Vermont Catamounts. Don’t get me wrong, the 04-05 Catamounts don’t have the NCAA Tournament resume of the teams listed above — they won a grand total of one game. But the Taylor Coppenrath/T.J. Sorrentine Catamounts will forever have a special place in my heart because they were a team that I got to know on a far deeper level than any other Cinderella. I watched the senior class that carried them from the time they were wet behind the ears freshmen (“puppies” as head coach Tom Brennan called them) to the final horn of their careers — a second round (back when the “second round” was the field of 32) loss to Michigan State.

The Catamounts had legitimate high-major level stars in Coppenrath, a 6-foot-9 backwoods Paul Bunyon of sorts who was country strong and could score from anywhere on the floor, and Sorrentine, a scrappy, smack-talking spark plug who played with crazy swag and had range from anywhere inside the state line. Both Coppenrath and Sorrentine were completely overlooked by the basketball establishment, and both used that to fuel them through their careers.

But the Catamounts were more than a two-man team (although both Coppernath and Sorrentine were completely irreplaceable) with the rest of the roster not only knowing and embracing their respective roles, but excelling at them (with players like Germain Mopa-Njila and David Hehn bringing tenacious defense and rebounding).

What was great about the 04-05 UVM squad was that they spent the entire season with a bullseye on their backs, not only in the tiny America East Conference, but on the national level, with feature articles in both ESPN the Magazine and SI, while also being followed around by a camera crew for ESPN’s “The Season” and playing in the marquee matchup of the inaugural Bracket Buster. And they responded every time.

Their 60-57 shocker over Syracuse was one of the most amazing events I’ve ever experienced, with the Orange selling out to stop Coppenrath and Sorrentine at all costs, and Mopa-Njila stepping up to have the best game of his career in the biggest game of his life (20 points on 9-of-10 shooting to go with nine rebounds, five assists and four steals). And, of course, there was Coppenrath knocking down the elbow jumper to force overtime and Sorrentine’s “nah, coach, I got this” shot “from the parking lot” to win the game.

The Catamounts were the ultimate underdog that grabbed their one, fleeting, shining moment. They were the embodiment of why I love March Madness. They also had an incredibly special meaning for me, as I had started watching Vermont with my father three years earlier (he was a big fan of the late Trevor Gaines and of Sorrentine), and had continued to watch them after he was killed in a car accident in January of 2004.

The year since had been one of the worst of my life, and following the America East had given me one final connection to him that couldn’t be severed by death or heartbreak, and the impact of Vermont’s win meant much more in keeping his memory alive than I can put into words.

Doric Sam
I’m probably exposing myself as a young’n of the OBW staff with this pick, but I remember being completely encapsulated with the 2010-11 VCU team during my senior year at Stony Brook. I even used them as the subject of an assignment in a broadcast journalism class, having my professor pretend to be Shaka Smart while I interviewed her (I aced that assignment, by the way).

Shaka Smart just had this energy and swagger about him — it was fun watching a young coach, one who doesn’t wear a suit jacket during games as if it’s a fashion statement, running up and down the sidelines like a madman, something not normally seen from coaches on the big stage. The advent of the “First Four” that year seemed ridiculous to me at first, but it helped the Rams make history by being the first team to win five games to reach the Final Four. Their wins over Georgetown, Purdue and Florida State were impressive, but when they ran into No. 1 Kansas in the Elite Eight, I thought, “There’s no way.” But then power forward Jamie Skeen dominated inside and outside (four three-pointers) against the twin towers of Marcus and Markieff Morris on his way to 26 points and 10 rebounds.

The other true Cinderella team during my college basketball fandom was the 2005-06 George Mason team, but all that team really did was make me want to set fire to my bracket and say, “Who the f— is George Mason?” I wanted to know who VCU was, making that Rams team my favorite Cinderella squad of all-time.

Holy Cross hires Bill Carmody as head coach

Bill Carmody waited two years, and now he has his third head-coaching gig. Holy Cross announced its hire of the former Princeton and Northwestern coach Thursday.

“I am excited about the opportunity to become the head coach at Holy Cross, and I look forward to bringing the program back to the top of the Patriot League,” Carmody said, according to a release by the school. “I would like to thank Rev. Philip Boroughs, S.J., and Nathan Pine for their confidence in me and for allowing me the opportunity to lead this storied program. I cannot wait to start working with our impressive student-athletes, who represent the College with pride and honor both on and off the court.”

Carmody parlayed a four-year stint at Princeton that included two NCAA Tournament berths into the head job at Northwestern, where he coached from 2000-2013. Carmody went 192-220 at Northwestern, but he took the Wildcats to four consecutive NITs from 2009-2012.

Carmody replaces Milan Brown, who led Holy Cross to two winning seasons in five years. The Crusaders went 14-16 in 2014-15 after winning 20 games in 2013-14.

Binghamton extends Tommy Dempsey through 2018-19

Binghamton has extended Tommy Dempsey through the 2018-19 season, the school announced Thursday afternoon.

Dempsey, whose five-year deal signed in 2012 was due to expire after the 2016-17 season, has compiled a 16-76 record through his first three years. Despite the mark, Director of Athletics Patrick Elliott has expressed faith in Dempsey’s ability to rebuild a program that won one game the year before he came over from Rider, where he went 119-105 and won a MAAC Coach of the Year award.

“Tommy has done a great job building a strong foundation for the future success of our program,” Elliott said in the school’s release. “I believe that it is important to ensure stability and continuity as we move forward over the next several years. With quality student athletes, a dedicated staff and our loyal fans, I am excited as our program takes the next steps forward.”

The Bearcats went 6-26 in 2014-15, battling back from Jordan Reed’s defection and Nick Madray and Dusan Perovic’s season-ending injuries to finish 5-11 in the America East. They took Stony Brook to the wire in a 62-57 loss in an America East quarterfinal.

“I am grateful to work for an administration that believes in our process,” Dempsey said. “We are working hard to build a program that the University, alumni and community can be proud of. I’m looking forward to being the leader of this program for many years.”

March Madness: Best Round of 64 matchups

The First Four is over, and we’re ready for the real March Madness to begin. Here are the matchups we’re looking forward to most in the Round of 64.

Midwest Region

Sam Perkins: No. 8 Cincinnati vs. No. 9 Purdue

Bearcat Octavius Ellis goes 6-foot-10 and about 240 pounds. He dunks a lot and punches shots. His boilermaker counterpart A.J. Hammons goes 7-foot, 260 pounds. He also dunks a lot and punches shots. Ellis’ backup, Coreontae DeBerry is 6-foot-10, 270 pounds. DeBerry’s counterpart and Hammons’ backup, Isaac Haas, is 7-foot, 297 pounds. Needless to say, there will be a whole lot of humanity in the low post. Beyond the bloodbath in the paint, neither Purdue nor Cincinnati features a true star, they both get everyone involved on offense, and this game could — and should — feature a lot of different lineups, changing defensive schemes, and selfless play. These are arguably the two most evenly matched teams in the entire Round of 64.

Doric Sam: No. 3 Notre Dame vs. No 14 Northeastern

I covered Northeastern once this season, and I was very impressed with the team’s poise. This veteran squad, led by Scott Eatherton, David Walker and Quincy Ford, will not whither under the bright lights of March Madness. The Huskies’ defense probably isn’t strong enough to stop the Fighting Irish, though, meaning we might be in for an old-fashioned shootout, which is always fun.

West Region

Sam Perkins: No. 5 Arkansas vs. No. 12 Wofford

This game looks like it could be a big-time battle of contrasts: Wofford is a sum-is-greater-than-its-parts mid-major that really gets after it on defense (24th in the nation in points allowed); Arkansas is a BCS program powered by a high-octane offense (16th in the nation in points per game, 12th in assists per game) that goes only as far as stars Bobby Portis and Michael Qualls will carry it. A battle on the low blocks between the 6-foot-11 Portis — a legitimate NBA-level talent — and Wofford power forward Lee Skinner (who at 6-foot-6 plays by the motto “heart over height”) could be an outstanding battle.

Doric Sam: No. 4 North Carolina vs. No. 13 Harvard

Out of the top-four seeds in every region, I think the Tar Heels were dealt the worst hand. Harvard is a sound defensive team and is not afraid of making the game ugly. Wesley Saunders is a baller in every sense of the word, and Siyani Chambers and Steve Moundou-Missi are studs. North Carolina should be on upset-alert.

East Region

Sam Perkins: No. 7 Michigan State vs. No. 10 Georgia

I’ve always been partial to teams that get after it on the glass and mix it up in the paint, and for all of their respective failings (and despite their power conference status, neither the Spartans nor the Bulldogs are close to being a complete team), both of these teams get after it on the glass and around the rim. Spartans Branden Dawson and Denzel Valentine both top out at around 6-foot-5 and 220 pounds, but they’re both tough as nails and get after it on the glass, and watching them battle it out with the Bulldogs’ Montenegrin enforcer Nemanja Djurisic (6-foot-8, 230 pounds) and in-state brawler Marcus Thornton (6-foot-8, 235 pounds) should be fun to say the least.

Doric Sam: No. 3 Oklahoma vs. No. 14 Albany

The Great Danes are a veteran team led by Sam Rowley and Peter Hooley and they have a strong supporting cast with Evan Singletary and Ray Sanders. Albany is well-coached by Will Brown, who always makes it known to his players that the pressure is greater for the higher-seeded team. That type of confidence gives the Great Danes a great chance at an upset, though they face a tough task in a strong Oklahoma team.

South Region

Sam Perkins: No. 5 Utah vs. No. 12 Stephen F. Austin

You might as well call this one the Goliaths vs the Lilliputians. Utah features two 7-footers and starts four players 6-foot-5 or taller. Stephen F. Austin has just two players on its entire roster above 6’6”, neither of whom play major minutes. A low-post battle between bearded Lumberjacks Thomas Walkup and Jacob Parker (6-foot-4 and 6-foot-6, respectively) and Utes 7-footer Jakob Poeltl could be one heck of a battle. But far beyond the visual disparities, this game features a slow, methodical offense (Stephen F. Austin) versus a slow, methodical defense (Utah).

Doric Sam: No. 5 Utah vs. No. 12 Stephen F. Austin

Everyone should tune in to this game to see the offensive machine that is Stephen F. Austin. The Lumberjacks average 79.5 points and are tremendous on the offensive glass. Thomas Walkup (15.7 ppg.) and Jacob Parker (14.1 ppg.) give SFA a right-cross, left-hook 1-2 punch combo that can knock the daylights out of anyone. Utah is no slouch, either, as the Utes play strong defense (56.9 opp. ppg.), so this one should be fun.

Quinton Chievous rocks rims in Hampton’s NCAA Tournament win

Quinton Chievous had to walk along a long and winding road less traveled before he finally found his way into a Hampton Pirates uniform and made it back to the NCAA Tournament.

He wasted no time in making his presence felt once he stepped out onto the grand stage and under the bright lights of the NCAA Tournament, posting a double-double while throwing down a pair of vicious slam-dunks in 16-seed Hampton’s 74-64 First Round win over fellow No. 16 Manhattan.

The son of former NBA player and Missouri all-time leading scorer Derrick Chievous, Quinton began his career at Tennessee, where he redshirted one season, and could never find his way into the rotation, watching from the end of the bench as the Vols’ advanced to the Sweet 16 in 2013. After graduating in three years, Chievous, a 6’6” wing, transferred to Hampton as a graduate student, and emerged as a key player in the Pirates rotation.

On Tuesday night, Chievous messed around and had a double-double by halftime, posting 11 points and 10 rebounds in the games first 20 minutes, before finishing with 15 points and 13 rebounds, while shooting 7-of-12 from the floor.

Chievous threw down a big one-handed dunk in each half, the more earth-shaking of the two coming in the second half when he caught a feed from outside the right low-block, took one hard power-dribble towards the hoop and took off, posterizing 6’9” Manhattan forward Zane Waterman.

Chievous would leave the game in the final minutes after landing awkwardly, but appeared in high spirits after the games final horn, saying he “had to get healthy,” in time for the Pirates Thursday night showdown against undefeated overall No. 1 Kentucky.

NCAA Tournament: Best upset picks

The NCAA Tournament is right around the corner, and a few of us over here at One-Bid Wonders figured we would share some of our insight on the most likely upsets to help you with your last-minute picks. Enjoy!

Most likely West Region upset

Ari Kramer: No. 11 Ole Miss/BYU over No. 6 Xavier

Xavier has been wildly inconsistent this year. How so? The Musketeers beat Georgetown but lost to Long Beach State on a neutral floor. They beat Providence, but they lost to Creighton at home. Though Ole Miss’ best win was Cincinnati or Oregon, the Rebels took Kentucky to overtime at Rupp. I’m more sold on BYU, which won at Gonzaga.

Martin Kessler: No. 11 Ole Miss/BYU over No. Xavier

Xavier has lost to some meh teams — Long Beach St., Auburn, DePaul. BYU, meanwhile, has been playing solid ball of late, winning eight of their last nine games (including a split with Gonzaga). I expect BYU to come away with a win over Ole Miss in the First Four matchup and then carry on with another W against the Musketeers.

Doric Sam: No. 10 Ohio State over No. 7 VCU

VCU’s HAVOC defense isn’t nearly as strong or scary as it used to be with opponents averaging 65.5 ppg. I think D’Angelo Russell has a huge game to lead the Buckeyes.

Sam Perkins: No. 10 Ohio State over No. 7 VCU

Is this really an upset? I know VCU has Shaka Smart and a history as a tournament darling, but on paper, Ohio State is every bit as good, statistically. VCU has shown the ability to lose to some mediocre teams this year (Richmond twice, St. Bonaventure’s), and D’Angelo Russell can absolutely light it up. VCU is also without key defender Briante Weber, and has been a streaky shooting team for much of the year.

Zolan Kanno-Youngs: No. 13 Harvard over No. 4 UNC

That players-only meeting after the Crimson’s loss to Dartmouth has been the difference-maker for Harvard’s season. After that 70-61 loss, the Crimson has won 11 of their last 13 games. The Ivy-League team has proven they can upset teams in the past and this year may be no different.

Most likely Midwest Region upset

Ari Kramer: No. 12 Buffalo over No. 5 West Virginia

I like the Texas/Butler upset pick, but so does Vegas — the Longhorns are actually favored, despite having the worse seed. I’ll take Buffalo because the Bulls take care of the ball, are solid on the glass and get to the foul line, where they hit 72.2 percent of their attempts. That’s almost exactly how you counter West Virginia’s strengths.

Martin Kessler: No. 11 Texas over No. 6 Butler

Texas can really buckle down on defense, and I worry Butler won’t be able to get much going. This is sad because a we-used-to-be-cinderellas matchup between Butler and Wichita State in the Sweet Sixteen would be fun.

Doric Sam: No. 12 Buffalo over No. 5 West Virginia

Simply superstition: I needed another 5-12 upset. Power forward Justin Moss averages 17 and 9 and will dominate inside if the Bulls can break the Mountaineers’ press defense.

Sam Perkins: No. 13 Valparaiso over No. 4 Maryland

Valparaiso likes to slow the pace down, and plays a style that could allow them to hang around all night. With the 6-foot-10 Vashil Fernandez (and his 7-foot-5 wingspan) and the 6-foot-9 Alec Peters, the Crusaders are not only not going to get bullied in the post, but could actually start throwing their weight around against the Terps’ less-than-intimidating frontcourt. I could see Valpo making this game ugly, with Fernandez taking over on defense, for an ugly, trench-warfare-style upset.

Zolan Kanno-Youngs: No. 9 Purdue over No. 8 Cincinnati

They’re only one seed apart, but it still qualifies as an upset. Cincinnati has proven they can lose to anybody with East Carolina, Temple and Tulane claiming wins over the Bearcats.

Most likely East Region upset

Ari Kramer: No. 13 UC Irvine over No. 4 Louisville

Louisville is a team built to lose against a 2-3 zone. Force the Cardinals to shoot, and they become vulnerable. UC Irvine plays zone and has a 7-foot-6 giant named Mamadou Ndiaye manning the middle of it, so I’ll take the Anteaters.

Martin Kessler: No. 11 Dayton over No. 6 Providence

The Flyers get to play their First Four matchup at home. They should get the win against Boise St. Then it’s up to coach Archie Miller to come up with a scheme to stop Providence’s high-scoring duo of LaDontae Henton and Kris Dunn. I think he’s up to the task.

Doric Sam: No. 9 LSU over No. 8 NC State

Jarrell Martin’s between-the-legs dunk in the middle of a game is one of the best things I’ve seen this year. To have the audacity to pull that off shows the Tigers play with a chip on their shoulder and won’t go down in the first round without a fight.

Sam Perkins: No. 12 Wyoming over No. 5 Northern Iowa

My heart wants me to go with No. 14 Albany and the amazing story of Peter Hooley’s perseverance after the death of his mother over No. 3 Oklahoma, and honestly, Hooley is the kind of emotional, inspiring player who could put his team on his back for a game. But I think Wyoming has the talent and potential — two big buzz words and huge “ifs” — and above all athleticism that they could put it together to shock the Panthers. Northern Iowa likes to play a slow it down style, but while Wyoming grinds it out on D, the Cowboys can really push the ball on offense. Star forward Larry Nance Jr. is well known nationally, and regarded as perhaps the best dunker in college ball, but he might not even be the best athlete on his own team. Wyoming point guard Josh Adams — whose tatted up arms and swag are reminiscent of Jason “White Chocolate” Williams, but whose crazy speed, insane athleticism and ability to stop and go on a dime are more similar to Allen Iverson — is the key for the Cowboys.

Zolan Kanno-Youngs: No. 10 Georgia over No. 7 Michigan State

The Bulldogs will represent the SEC and take down Tom Izzo’s Spartans. Big man Marcus Thornton should expect to see big minutes in the Round of 64.

Most likely South Region upset

Ari Kramer: No. 13 Eastern Washington over No. 4 Georgetown

There are a few solid upset picks in this region, but I’ve dug Eastern Washington since the preseason so I’ll go with the Eagles here. Tyler Harvey is the nation’s leading scorer. Venky Jois is one of the best bigs you don’t know. Eastern Washington is a bit smaller than Georgetown, but the Eagles can make up for the deficiency with a hot night from deep, where they shoot 39.6 percent.

Martin Kessler: No. 13 Eastern Washington over No. 4 Georgetown

Eastern Washington — winners of five straight — love to let it fly from beyond the arc. The Eagles have hit 39.6 percent of their three-point attempts (14th in the country) and take 43.2 percent of their shots from deep (18th in the country). Georgetown, meanwhile, doesn’t play great perimeter defense. I could see Eastern Washington getting hot and knocking off the Hoyas.

Doric Sam: No. 12 Stephen F. Austin over No. 5 Utah

SFA has been in this situation before, knocking off VCU as a 12-seed last year. Utah plays good defense (56.9 opp. ppg.), but the Lumberjacks’ high-powered offense (79.5 ppg.) will prevail.

Sam Perkins: No. 12 Stephen F. Austin over No. 5 Utah

Stephen F. Austin can score with anyone in the country, mainly because almost everyone on their roster can put the ball in the hoop AND find the open man (they led the nation in assists). Despite the presence of 7-footer Jakob Poeltl, I don’t think Utah has the roster to “big” Stephen F. Austin too much around the hoop, nor the athleticism to run them out of the gym. This is a game I could see the Lumberjacks hanging around, and hanging around, and hanging around, before making some veteran plays down the stretch. Thomas Walkup and Jacob Parker, Stephen F. Austin’s best players and a pair of 6-foot-4/6-foot-6 men without positions are going to be tough matchups for the Utes.

Zolan Kanno-Youngs: No. 10 Davidson over No. 7 Iowa

With one of the best offenses in the nation, the Wildcats could very well shoot themselves past Iowa into the Sweet 16. They proved that earlier in the year against Dayton – and pretty much in every other game they played.

Upset you’d expect to see in the Round of 32

Ari Kramer: No. 11 Texas over No. 3 Notre Dame

I’ll preface by saying I think Jerian Grant is one of the best players in America and I love watching Notre Dame. That said, Texas’ defense has flustered some elite offenses, like Kentucky’s and Baylor’s. If the Longhorns can lock down the perimeter, they’ll dance into the Sweet 16.

Martin Kessler: No. 7 Michigan State over No. 2 Virginia

This is not a knock on Virginia — the Cavaliers play impressie defense. But Michigan State is a really tough matchup for anyone. Of course Tom Izzo is going to have his guys ready, plus the Spartans have some talented scorers in Travis Trice and Denzel Valentine.

Doric Sam: No. 12 Stephen F. Austin over No. 4 Georgetown and No. 7 Wichita State over No. 2 Kansas

As I stated above, I don’t believe in the Hoyas in March (plus, I’m a Syracuse fan). Also, I think the Jayhawks fold under the pressure of trying to avoid being upset by the Shockers.

Sam Perkins: No. 5 Utah or No. 12 Stephen F. Austin over No. 4 Georetown

Maybe it’s the fact that Kevin Broadus found his way back to the Hoyas staff after imploding Binghamton’s men’s basketball team; maybe it’s the fact that Georgetown completely crumbled under pressure against Florida Gulf Coast’s Dunk City two years ago, or the fact that the Hoyas have lost to a double-digit seed in each of their last four NCAA Tournament appearances – more likely, it’s all of the above – but no matter how you slice it, I just don’t believe in G-town.

NCAA Tournament: Final Four picks

The NCAA Tournament is right around the corner, and a few of us over here at One-Bid Wonders figured we would share some of our insight on the Final Four to help you with your last-minute picks. Enjoy!

No. 1 most likely to miss out

Ari Kramer: No. 1 Wisconsin Badgers

Wisconsin’s potential Sweet 16 matchups are scary. If the favorites advance, the Badgers would face either UNC or Arkansas. Both squads have the pieces to frustrate Wisconsin — UNC with its size, athleticism and playmaking of Marcus Paige, and Arkansas with its frenetic pace. If the Badgers advance, they’ll probably face Arizona, a tough, physical team with the versatility up front to match Wisconsin’s.

Martin Kessler: No. 1 Wisconsin Badgers

This isn’t really about the Badgers. This is just about the West’s strength. Arizona, the No. 2 seed, has legitimate championship ambitions. Baylor, the No. 3 seed, is battle-tested. And No. 4 UNC recently beat both Louisville and Virginia in the ACC tournament. And don’t overlook No. 8 Oregon or No. 9 Oklahoma State — either team could be a challenge for the Badgers in the Round of 32.

Doric Sam: No. 1 Villanova Wildcats

If the Wildcats are able to get past Louisville, I have them facing Virginia in the Elite Eight. Villanova steamrolled through the Big East with ease and has not seen a defense like Virginia’s. Part of me also expects Justin Anderson to be at full strength by this point, which would allow the Cavaliers’ offense the ability to keep up with the Wildcats.

Sam Perkins: No. 1 Wisconsin Badgers

Gotta’ love Frank “The Tank” Kaminsky, and the Badgers are no joke, but they also would appear to have by far the toughest road to the Final Four of the four No. 1s, with a super physical Baylor squad, perennial contender UNC, and two very solid teams in the 8/9 game in Oregon/Oklahoma State.

Zolan Kanno-Youngs: No. 1 Villanova Wildcats

The Wildcats are in a tough, tough East Region and they rely on the long ball. 43 percent of their field goals come from beyond the arc and in a one and done scenario, one bad shooting game means an early exit from the tournament. With Louisville, Providence or UVA standing in the way, Nova’s trip to the Final Four looks unlikely.

Non-top-two seed most likely to make it

Ari Kramer: No. 3 Iowa State Cyclones

I love Iowa State’s draw in the South, a region loaded with offensive-minded teams. Fred Hoiberg’s offensive scheming is as good as anyone’s, and the up-tempo Cyclones wouldn’t run into a slow-paced, defensive-oriented team until the Elite Eight – and that’s if Utah or San Diego State gets on a roll.

Martin Kessler: No. 3 Iowa State Cyclones

The Cyclones enter the tournament on a roll, having just topped Kansas in the Big XII title game. Georges Niang is a beast, the type of player who could put Iowa State on his back for a couple games. The Cyclones would have to get past No. 1 seed Duke — admittedly a challenge — but I have a feeling No. 2 Gonzaga will fall before the Elite Eight.

Doric Sam: No. 7 Michigan State Spartans

Tom Izzo’s team can never be counted out in March. The Spartans are battle-tested with seven overtime games this season. As long as they don’t choke from the free throw line, which seems to be their Achilles heel, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see them make a run deep into the tournament.

Sam Perkins: No. 3 Baylor Bears

If Notre Dame was a 3-seed in any other region than Kentucky’s, I’d be going with the Irish, because their athleticism and toughness are ridiculous.  Instead, I’ll go with Rico “The Enforcer” Gathers and the Bears’ ability to rebound the ball, play physical, and make things really ugly in the paint.

Zolan Kanno-Youngs: No. 3 Iowa State Cyclones

Yes, this means I believe Jahil Okafor and Duke will not make the Final Four. ISU will beat the Blue Devils in the Elite Eight, and make the Final Four, behind one of the most entertaining, fluid and well-rounded offenses in the nation. Fresh off a win against Kansas, Georges Niang and Monte Morris and the full cast of Cyclones, will keep the momentum going straight to the end of March.

Seed worse than No. 7 most likely to crash the party

Ari Kramer: No. 8 San Diego State

Maybe this is crazy, but isn’t that the point of this superlative? In a region stacked with offensive teams, San Diego State is great a grind-it-out group. They say defense wins championships, and the Aztecs allowed just 88.3 points per 100 possessions (No. 4) this year. They also play at one of the country’s slowest paces. Slow down Duke and make the game ugly? The Aztecs can do that and win. Successfully apply that gameplan to Gonzaga or Iowa State, as well, and San Diego State, which already beat Utah, seems like a solid darkhorse to frustrate just enough people to crash the Final Four.

Martin Kessler: No. 10 Ohio State Buckeyes

OK, maybe I just really want this to happen but there’s a non-zero chance D’Angelo Russell (who is averaging 19.3 points per game) goes off and leads Ohio State to four straight wins. Right? Either that or the Buckeyes lose their first game to VCU. It could go either way.

Doric Sam: No. 12 Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks

No real analysis here. I picked SFA to upset Georgetown, which would set up a game against Duke in the Sweet 16. Like most people, I hate Duke (and Christian Laettner, of course), so I’d love to see the Blue Devils get upset. The Lumberjacks would be riding high off such a huge win and use that momentum to be victorious in the Elite 8.

Sam Perkins: No.  9 LSU Tigers

The Tigers are interesting to me because they both rebound and share the ball. The Tigers’ frontcourt of Jarell Martin and Jordan Mickey is no joke… NO JOKE – athletic, tough, physical, and relentless on the glass, a good recipe for March Madness success.

Zolan Kanno-Youngs: No. 8 Oregon Ducks

The Ducks have only three losses since late January, two of them coming against Arizona, a team in their region. It will be a tall task for Oregon to take a win-streak deep into March but senior Joseph Young’s performance of late has been enough to turn me into a believer.

Will Kentucky be stopped?

Ari Kramer: I just don’t see that happening, and if you’re going to call me lame, I’ll retort that anyone picking against Kentucky is doing that to be different. There’s no other reason. Sure, West Virginia could frustrate the Wildcats on the glass and with pressure defense. Kansas is a different team than the one Kentucky throttled by 32 points — 32 points! — in November. Arizona’s physical enough and Wisconsin’s versatile enough, and Duke could beat Kentucky in a shootout. At the end of the day, though, the Wildcats have overcome every ounce of adversity. They really look like a team that will go undefeated.

Martin Kessler: Kentucky will reach the Final Four. They’re too big and too deep to be stopped by anyone in the Midwest. But…in the Final Four, the Wildcats could face a huge test in Arizona  (more on that below). If they make it to the championship, though, I like Kentucky over Villanova, Virginia, Duke or anyone else from that half of the bracket.

Doric Sam: I am a strong advocate for kids staying in school to develop their games rather than coming out after their freshman year, so I admire someone like Frank Kaminsky of Wisconsin. Granted, Kaminsky wasn’t as good as these current diaper-dandies, so staying in college was more of a necessity for him, but I digress. I predict his experience will be able to carry the Badgers over the youthful Wildcats

Sam Perkins: In theory, sure. Walk-on Sam Malone’s headband could snap on the sidelines and knock out the entire starting five… but, honestly, this team is a machine made up of NBA players just biding time before going on to the League. They’re super athletic, deep, far more talented than anyone else in the field and huge.

Zolan Kanno-Youngs: No. That is all.

Matchup you would love to see

Ari Kramer: No. 1 Kentucky Wildcats vs. No. 2 Arizona Wildcats

I think Arizona has the best chance to beat Kentucky, and if John Calipari’s bunch is going to go undefeated, I hope they don’t get to feast on a surprise Final Four team like No. 5 Arkansas. The Wildcats from the desert have the size to compete with Kentucky’s — the 6-foot-1 T.J. McConnell is the only starter shorter than 6-foot-6. Their defense — the third-most efficient in the country, behind Virginia’s and Kentucky’s — is predicated on keeping teams away from the rim, and only 24.5 percent of their opponents’ field-goal attempts are at the tin (No. 9 nationally). So basically I think Arizona has a shot. I’d love to see Kentucky face its stiffest challenge to a perfect season.

Martin Kessler: No. 1 Kentucky Wildcats vs. No. 2 Arizona Wildcats

I think Arizona has a decent chance against Kentucky. Sure, the Pac-12 wasn’t very strong this year, but Arizona took care of business, finishing a dominant 16-2. More importantly, the team is big and athletic: four (four!) of Arizona’s starters are at least 6-foot-7 (6-foot-7!). If anyone can top Kentucky, it’s Zona.

Doric Sam: No. 1 Kentucky Wildcats vs. No. 1 Wisconsin Badgers

I would’ve preferred they be on opposite sides of the bracket so this could be the national championship game, but seeing it in the Final Four will have to do. As I stated above, it would be a matchup of youth vs. experience, and it’s always interesting to see which wins out.

Sam Perkins: No. 1 Kentucky Wildcats vs. No. 2 Arizona Wildcats

Both of these teams are HUGE, Kentucky starts five players 6-foot-6 or above (including 6-foot-11 and 7-foot in the middle), and Arizona counters with four players 6-foot-7 or over including their own 7-footers. These teams are both deep, super athletic and physical, and it could be one highlight after the next.

Zolan Kanno-Youngs: No. 13 Harvard vs. No. 14 Northeastern

Because how awesome would that be for a Cambridge-native reporter who covers the Huskies?

NCAA Tournament: Sweet 16 picks

The NCAA Tournament is right around the corner, and a few of us over here at One-Bid Wonders figured we would share some of our insight on the Sweet 16 to help you with your last-minute picks. Enjoy!

Top-two seed most likely to miss out

Ari Kramer: No. 2 Virginia Cavaliers, East Region

Michigan State was a popular pick to beat Virginia in last year’s Sweet 16, and look what happened. That’s not to say Tom Izzo and the Spartans own Tony Bennett and the Cavaliers. It does show, however, that Izzo has found a way to beat Virginia’s pack-line defense. Even though the Spartans have fewer threats than last year, they’ve had quality players — like Bryn Forbes — step in and they’ve looked pretty good lately.

Martin Kessler: No. 2 Gonzaga Bulldogs, South Region

Gonzaga is 32-2, but the Bulldogs have a tendency to choke — they’ve failed to reach the Sweet 16 each of the last five seasons. Does this year’s team have what it takes to make it to the second weekend? Maybe but Gonzaga could have a tough time with either Iowa or Davidson in the third round.

Doric Sam: No. 2 Kansas Jayhawks, Midwest Region

Facing Wichita State in the Round of 32 will not be an easy task, and the Jayhawks know it. The Shockers play sound defense and have the benefit of not having to deal with the media blitz they dealt with last year. Remember when everyone was picking them to upset Kentucky in the second round? Wichita State doesn’t have nearly as much pressure this year, whereas the Jayhawks will definitely feel pressure weighing on them as they try to avoid an upset.

Sam Perkins: No. 2 Gonzaga Bulldogs, South Region

Call it a troubling trend, call it history, call it bad luck. As much as it pains me to say this — more than anything because I remember watching Gonzaga’s run before the term “Mid-Major” even existed and because I am a massive fan of Lithuanian basketball (see: anyone with the last name “Sabonis”) — the Bulldogs just can’t seem to follow through on their talent and potential in the postseason. These guys are good, but I just get that feeling in my gut they won’t make the Sweet 16. The Bulldogs have a tendency to choke — they’ve failed to reach the Sweet 16 each of the last five seasons. Does this year’s team have what it takes to make it to the second weekend? Maybe, but Gonzaga could have a tough time with either Iowa or Davidson in the third round.

Zolan Kanno-Youngs: No. 2 Kansas Jayhawks, Midwest Region

Even at the Jayhawks best moments, their defense looked suspect. In January, they gave up 78 points in a win over Oklahoma. A couple weeks later Kansas gave up 76 points in a win over Iowa State – the Jayhawks one win out of three meetings with the Cyclones. In fact, their most recent game was a 70-66 loss to 3-seed Iowa State. When a team’s defense is so inconsistent, it could mean upset alert.

Double-digit seed most likely to crash the party

Ari Kramer: No. 11 Texas Longhorns, Midwest Region

Believe it or not, Texas is the rare underdog that’s actually favored in the first round. Vegas is giving Butler a point or point-and-a-half, depending where you look, and the Longhorns have the size and raw talent to beat a lot of teams, including No. 3 Notre Dame. The question is: can they play smart? I think they can play just smart enough to crack the Sweet 16.

Martin Kessler: No. 10 Davidson Wildcats, South Region

No, Steph Curry does not have any eligibility left, but I still like the team’s chances to make a run to the Sweet Sixteen. Why? The Wildcats have shown they can hang with good teams — see wins over VCU and Dayton — and they let it fly from deep. Davidon attempts more threes than almost anyone in the country (45.7 of the team’s field goal attempts are threes) and they connect on 39.3 percent of their shots. That high-variability on offense could pay off. The Wildcats will have to get by Iowa in their first game and will then likely face No. 2 Gonzaga in the third round. The Zags have a history of coming up short in the tournament.

Doric Sam: No. 12 Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks, South Region

The Lumberjacks are one of my 5-12 upsets, and that would set up a matchup with Georgetown in the second round. I just don’t believe in the Hoyas in March. I predict Georgetown will go cold from the field, and the Lumberjacks’ fire power will be way too much for the Hoyas to handle.

Sam Perkins: No. 12 Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks, South Region

There are bigger, faster, more athletic, and much more “traditional” double-digit seeds than the Lumberjacks, but that’s what makes them so interesting to me. A team of misfit toys, neither of the Lumberjacks two best players — Thomas Walkup and Jacob Parker — have a true position. But this team finds ways to get the job done, is very efficient on offense, plays incredibly hard and has all the characteristics to fluster and frustrate bigger teams from higher-level conferences by playing such a different style while presenting matchup problems across the board.

Zolan Kanno-Youngs: No. 15 New Mexico State Aggies, Midwest Region

Trust that the Aggies believe in the upset detailed above. Red-hot NMSU’s last loss came on Jan. 17 to Seattle but they haven’t looked back since. Don’t get me wrong, the winners of 13-straight are clear underdogs against Kansas. But don’t be surprised if freshman Pascal Siakam is dancing while Wayne Selden Jr. is watching come the Sweet 16.

Matchup you would love to see

Ari Kramer: No. 2 Gonzaga Bulldogs vs. No. 3 Iowa State Cyclones, South Region

This game would be too much fun, so leave it to No. 6 Southern Methodist or No. 11 UCLA to spoil the party by ousting the Cyclones in the Round of 32. If the basketball gods are kind enough to treat us to this matchup, we’ll see two different but great point guards (Kevin Pangos vs. Monte Morris) and two versatile forwards (Kyle Wiltjer vs. Georges Niang) go at it. This game could very well end in the high 80s.

Martin Kessler: No. 6 Providence Friars vs. No. 7 Michigan State, East Region

Don’t get your hopes up, but how fun would this matchup be? On one side, you’ve got Providence, a team that nearly toppled Villanova with two guys — LaDontae Henton and Kris Dunn — who could go off in any game. On the other side you’ve got Michigan State, a team that brings it every March. The Spartans also have star power in Travis Trice, Denzel Valentine and Branden Dawson.

Doric Sam: No. 1 Villanova Wildcats vs. No. 4 Louisville Cardinals, East Region

When I first started following college basketball, I became a fan of Syracuse and the Big East. I long for the days of the Big East Tournament, and seeing the Wildcats against the Cardinals in a high-stakes game would be the closest thing to those high-intensity games at Madison Square Garden. Even though as a fan I hate both these teams, the media pundit side of me would love to see Villanova’s high-powered offense against Louisville’s pressure defense.

Sam Perkins: No. 2 Arizona Wildcats vs. No. 3 Baylor Bears

How fun would it be to see Baylor center/Nose Tackle Rico Gathers — “undersized” at 6’8” and 300 pounds — go head-to-head with the Wildcats towering, physical front court? I’ve always been a huge fan of brawls on the low-blocks, and with true low-post players who embrace the physicality of the game on the verge of extinction, this could be a throwback to the kind of battles I watched as a kid in the 90s.

Zolan Kanno-Youngs: No. 3 Oklahoma Sooners vs. No. 6 Providence Friars

After a 30-point blowout win over Albany, Oklahoma will lose to Providence and that is purely why I would love to see this game. The Friars have beaten two out of the three teams ranking higher than them in the Big East. They were close to beating Villanova at the end of the season in a 63-61 loss. With the best passer in the nation in Kris Dunn and a prolific scorer in LaDontae Henton, Providence is dangerous.