What’s Trending: Roster Shake-ups, Big Shots and the Wacky Side of College Hoops

Posted by Matt Eisenberg on December 23rd, 2019

What’s Trending is a column examining the week that was in college basketball social media. Matthew Eisenberg (@matteise) is your weekly host.

The week began with Iowa’s Jordan Bohannon making a decision to have hip surgery and redshirt this season. While it might be a decision that many within the Hawkeyes’ program saw coming, it’s a decision that will have a lasting impact on the ceiling of the team this season…

A day after Bohannon made his decision, the injury that kept Cole Anthony out of the Tar Heels recent loss against Wofford was revealed. Anthony, suffering a partially torn meniscus, will miss four to six weeks of action. While North Carolina ended its four-game skid against UCLA over the weekend, their play on the offensive side of the floor was suspect – shooting just 41.8 percent from the field and turning the ball over 17 times. After finishing each of the past four seasons with a top 10 offense, Roy Williams current squad sits outside of the top 60.

Days after the news of Anthony’s injury came the surprising move of another star freshman as James Wiseman decided to leave Memphis. In just three games as a Tiger, Wiseman averaged 19.7 points and 10.7 rebounds per game. Dealing with the wrath of the NCAA which led to his “suspension,” Wiseman’s decision allows him to prepare full-time for the 2020 NBA Draft.

Wiseman’s decision revived the debate about a players decision to leave school and the impact it has on college basketball. On the one hand, the sport would greatly benefit from having an elite talent like Wiseman. The decision is personal and no one but he can make the decision…

On the other side of the argument comes those that feel college basketball will not miss those that decide to forgo their eligibility. The wave of players who found their way to NBA without touching the college hardwood has recently grown. Highly-regarded recruits like Darius Bazley or Terrance Ferguson decided to not play college basketball, and while the schools they spurned might have missed them, the game itself did not.

Dan Dakich’s take on the matter is a combination of the two arguments. Yes, college basketball did survive without Kobe and LeBron, but how much better would those seasons have been if they had played? Come March, watching big time players make big time plays makes everything better. The season will go on without Wiseman, but almost everyone would agree that it would have been more fun with him playing college basketball.

This past week brought the debut of the 2019-20 NCAA NET Rankings. While rankings in December mean nothing come March, they do help paint a picture of the early season….

https://twitter.com/marchmadness/status/1206616449072025602?s=20

Dayton, a top 10 team in the NET rankings, found itself trailing Colorado by three points in the final seconds when the ball made its way into the hands of Obi Toppin

https://twitter.com/marchmadness/status/1208562423982182401?s=20

After Toppin forced overtime, Colorado then found itself needing a basket in the closing seconds. The ball found its way to Tyler Bey, the team’s second leading scorer. Instead of forcing up a bad shot, he found D’Shawn Schwartz wide-open with this look for the win…

https://twitter.com/marchmadness/status/1208566341000667136?s=20

Just as Dayton and Colorado needed big shots with the clock winding down, Villanova was down a pair at home against Kansas when Jermaine Samuels got open and was in position to give Villanova the lead…

https://twitter.com/CBBonFOX/status/1208461387447619590?s=20

Villanova’s win over Kansas was just another in the conga line of top-ranked team going down. If Gonzaga grabs hold of the #1 ranking this week, will the Bulldogs find a way to avoid the fate that other teams have been unable to avoid?

To go along with the historic nature of five #1 teams falling before January comes two statistics that also sum up all that is college basketball. First there is this tweet from Ken Pomeroy. Unfortunately for the Big East, league play will cause that losing streak to come to an end…

And finally, there was all that the Arizona StateSt. Mary’s game gave us. First, there was the opening half of action where St. Mary’s Jordan Ford poured in 22 points, three more than the entire Sun Devils team. Then there was the final score, a-40 point victory for the Gaels. But the oddest thing in the game came via Arizona State, which had just three players score. Off the bench, Alonzo Verge scored 43 points on 18-of-29 shooting. The rest of the team scored just 13 points on 5-of-35 shooting. College basketball, where ANYTHING is possible.

Matthew Eisenberg (110 Posts)


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