Ten Questions to Consider: End of Season Edition

Posted by Matt Eisenberg on April 23rd, 2018

With the season now well in the rear view mirror, it’s time to look at the long, hot summer ahead. Here are 10 questions to consider this offseason.

Arizona’s No-Show in the NCAA Tournament Capped Off a Frustrating Season in Tucson (USA Today Images)

  1. What will come of the FBI investigation? The uncertainty of what is still to come from the FBI investigation sits at the forefront of this offseason’s key storylines. The drama that unfolded at Arizona late in the season has created great uncertainty for at least one powerful program, but it is only a matter of time before the college basketball world is dealt another blow in this ongoing saga.
  2. Will the NBA change the one-and-done rule? While the FBI holds the key to one significant component of the college basketball offseason, the NBA is likely to also greatly affect the future of the sport. If the NBA rids itself of the one-and-done rule, top recruits will likely be able to make the jump — somewhere — immediately. At the same time, could college basketball adopt amateurism models similar to those of the Olympics, baseball or hockey? A change to the current system seems imminent.
  3. Which player would have the biggest impact if he pulls out of the NBA Draft? While Villanova’s exalted trio of Mikal Bridges, Jalen Brunson and Donte DiVincenzo are the easy picks here, Creighton’s Khyri Thomas would ultimately have the biggest impact. The Bluejays will be without Marcus Foster’s scoring output next season, meaning that a Thomas back in Omaha can fill the role of primary scorer along with being a defensive stalwart — remember that he was the Big East’s Defensive Player of the Year last season. The rising senior might be better suited to return to a featured role next season.
  4. Which coach is under the most pressure to succeed heading into next season? Planes flying around Westwood have returned as UCLA’s Steve Alford enters next season in a position where a trip to the Sweet Sixteen might not be enough success to keep his job. Recruiting victories must better translate to regular season and postseason success, beginning in a Pac-12 where the Bruins should be among the preseason favorites with Arizona facing a period of vulnerability.
  5. Which new head coach will make the greatest impact on his new school three years from now? While Tom Crean at Georgia likely makes the biggest immediate impact, the home run hire of the offseason came at DrakeDarian DeVries, a longtime assistant at Creighton, became the fourth Drake head coach in the last 16 months. An Iowa native, DeVries is someone who understands the needs and culture of a program like Drake. Three years from now, the Bulldogs could be mimicking Northern Iowa as a frequent 20-win program and flirting with Missouri Valley Conference championships.
  6. What team is flying under the radar? A team that has not cracked many of the “Too-Early Top 25s” to this point in the offseason is Notre Dame. Bonzie Colson and Matt Farrell’s injuries wreaked havoc on the Fighting Irish last season, but the returning core of T.J. Gibbs, Rex Pflueger and D.J. Harvey provide Mike Brey with a strong nucleus. The Irish also plan to add a recruiting class that currently sits just outside the top 10 nationally, according to Rivals.
  7. Why did it take the NCAA so long to approve starting the season a few days earlier? Next season will begin on a Tuesday rather than a Friday, giving college basketball a mid-week start date rather than in direct competition with college football and the NFL. Making a smart decision like this should be celebrated but it also remains a mystery as to why it took so long to make it.
  8. How good can Loyola-Chicago be next season? The darlings of this year’s NCAA Tournament return three starters, including MVC Player of the Year Clayton Custer. The key for their continued high-level success next season could come to the continued growth of Cameron Krutwig. As a freshman, Krutwig led the Missouri Valley in offensive rating and was dominant on the glass.
  9. Which non-conference tournaments are worth planning your schedule around? Both the Maui Invitational and the Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational will feature elite programs with the potential for heavyweight matchups. In Hawaii, Arizona, Duke and Gonzaga headline a field that also includes the reigning Big East and SEC champions. In Las Vegas, the four-team field of Michigan State, North Carolina, Texas and UCLA will make for a fun Thanksgiving day of games.
  10. Among grad transfers, which player could become a difference-maker? After scoring 37 points in the Atlantic Sun championship game and 23 points in the NIT, Florida Gulf Coast’s Zach Johnson is heading to Miami (FL). Johnson was a first-team all-conference player and someone who can make an immediate difference for Jim Larranaga in Coral Gables.
Matthew Eisenberg (41 Posts)


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2 responses to “Ten Questions to Consider: End of Season Edition”

  1. I am disappointed by the scandals that generated the fraud investigations into the programs of the NCAA. I hope that the administration can clean the image of the tournament

  2. I think Steve Alford’s days at UCLA are numbered, I highly doubt he’s going to be able to get more wins than last season.

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