The COVID-19 pandemic restricted the variety of practices and video games some school basketball groups might have over the previous couple of months, making a disjointed begin to the season that negatively affected some packages greater than others. However as most groups that haven’t already begun convention play put together to take action within the coming days, a contemporary begin is so as.
For groups that padded their win totals with weak nonconference schedules, it is time to show it towards high quality competitors. However for groups which can be off to disappointing begins, convention play brings an opportunity to show issues round because the calendar flips to 2021. At 1-6 and going through a steep uphill climb to make the NCAA Event, Kentucky is the obvious disappointment up to now within the school hoops season, however the Wildcats have firm within the class of groups needing a turnaround to get their seasons again on observe.
On this week’s version of the dribble handoff, our writers are sharing which groups have been most disappointing to them at this level within the season. And, sure, these poor Wildcats have been the primary workforce chosen throughout this course of.
This season’s greatest disappointment is clearly Kentucky. Even Kentucky followers would agree. The Wildcats have been tenth within the preseason Related Press Prime 25 ballot and twelfth within the preseason KenPom rankings. Now they’re unranked in all human polls, right down to No. 52 at KenPom and, extremely, sitting on a 1-6 file for the primary time in additional than a century. Kentucky has turned the ball over on 22.8% of its possessions, which ranks 273rd nationally whereas capturing 25.0% from 3-point vary, which ranks 319th nationally. Neither of the projected one-and-done lottery picks (Brandon Boston, Terrence Clarke) have carried out to the hype. One participant (Cam’Ron Fletcher) has already served what amounted to a suspension. It has been a large number in principally each means, one that can virtually definitely trigger John Calipari to overlook the NCAA Event for simply the second time because the 2005 season, which can greater than probably result in him reevaluating precisely how he roster-builds on an annual foundation at this blue-blood program that ought to by no means be this unhealthy. — Gary Parrish
Allow us to be clear that any workforce that is “disappointing” within the midst of a pandemic is all relative right here. The actual fact we’re even having a season and it is continued on with a completion charge approaching 80% in regard to video games not indefinitely postponed or outright canceled is a win. So inside that viewpoint, I feel I will decide Arizona State. I am influenced a bit right here by the actual fact I noticed ASU play in individual in late November at Mohegan Solar’s Bubbleville. The Solar Devils sit at 4-3 and are at present on one other COVID pause. I had a number of coaches within the Pac-12 inform me this was essentially the most gifted workforce in that league, however up to now ASU’s finest win was its first this season — towards Rhode Island by six factors in a recreation ASU flirted with shedding. Test the standings and you may see URI is 3-5. ASU’s most up-to-date recreation was Dec. 16, a house loss towards UTEP. That’s the solely win the Miners have vs. Division I competitors this season. With preseason Pac-12 Participant of the Yr Remy Martin, plus a pair of extremely gifted freshmen (Josh Christopher, Marcus Bagley), ASU needs to be displaying higher than it has to date. I feel it will probably get there. This would possibly wind up being an inverse of ASU’s good seasons underneath Bobby Hurley. As a substitute of a sizzling begin, maybe we’ll get a streaky end (in a great way). — Matt Norlander
Issues have not fairly clicked for Indiana this season, which has largely been the story for this system annually up to now underneath Archie Miller. The Hoosiers returned freshman star Trayce Jackson-Davis and a fantastic supporting forged to recommend Miller’s fourth season may be considered one of his finest. However up to now the workforce has stumbled out of the gate to a 5-4 begin. Now, let’s pause and provides credit score to IU right here — these 4 losses aren’t any joke. Texas, Florida State, Northwestern and Illinois all seem like event groups. However I anticipated — and nonetheless count on — this Hoosiers workforce to be included amongst that unique membership by year-end. To take action, they’ve gotta begin profitable a few of these shut video games, and the Huge Ten slate upcoming is unrelenting. Two dwelling video games to shut out the calendar 12 months could possibly be a get-right spot to even up the league file at .500 going into 2021. — Kyle Boone
Penny Hardaway has led Memphis to 2 20-win seasons, seen two signees get taken within the first spherical of the NBA Draft and is continuous to recruit at a excessive degree. But it’s clear that one thing wants to alter if Hardaway’s third season — and his teaching tenure — goes to pan out the way in which Memphians hoped it will.
As evidenced as soon as once more in an unpleasant 58-57 dwelling win over South Florida on Tuesday evening, the Memphis offense is damaged. The Tigers rank 196th nationally in factors per recreation, 261st in 3-point capturing proportion, 265th in 2-point capturing proportion and 307th in free-throw capturing proportion as of Tuesday morning. Comparable struggles clarify why Memphis didn’t attain its potential final season, and poor offense is the explanation why the Tigers have already got 4 losses this 12 months regardless of starting the season solely two spots out of the AP ballot.
Perhaps “damaged” is not the proper time period as a result of it implies the merchandise in query was complete at one time. However the Tigers have not run a coherent offensive system at any level throughout Hardaway’s tenure. He deserves credit score for the job he is accomplished in recruiting and in constructing a gritty protection. However till he turns the offense over to an skilled school assistant, Memphis feels destined to proceed falling wanting expectations. — David Cobb