Thursday, January 11, 2018

Possession Arrow 1/11/2018: Five Storylines of the Season (So Far)

By Pat Tregoning, @PatNShaker

Welcome back to another edition of the Possession Arrow.

If you are coming down from the adrenaline of the CFP National Championship and you are looking for another sport to occupy your time? Welcome to College Basketball. This season has had a lot of compelling storylines as we are 60 days until Selection Sunday. In this edition of Possession Arrow, we give you the storylines to get you up to speed, four national headlines and one local headline.

1. There is no "favorite" for the National Championship so far. There are just a bunch of "good teams".

We are approaching 60 days to the NCAA Selection Show, and no one team has solidified themselves as THE favorite heading into March. We have had three different teams hold the top spot in the polls at some point or another this season (Duke, Michigan State, Villanova) and the teams we commonly find in the top 10-15, have all lost their fair share of games heading down the stretch this season, most recently Michigan State getting thumped by Ohio State in Columbus this past weekend. We have a case where 8-12 teams could all make a case to win the National Title in April, which team will seize the opportunity?

2. Kansas' Big 12 regular season title streak is in serious jeopardy

Jayhawk fans will tell you they are underachieving this year, and they are partially right. Coming into this season, Bill Self has only lost ten games at Allen Fieldhouse in his lengthy career. Kansas started the second week of January with TWO losses at home already. Depth is a big concern for the Jayhawks as they continue to limp to the end of the season, which is putting thei consecutive regular season title streak in serious jeopardy. The other half of that argument is that the Big 12 has risen up and become a tough conference this year. Outside of Kansas, you have West Virginia, Oklahoma and Trae Young (more on him later), Texas and Mo Bamba (more coming up), TCU is not an easy out and Texas Tech is a scary team to face this season. I'm not saying its a guarantee; but it is an intriguing situation to monitor.

3. Trae Young has taken the College Basketball world by storm

If you don't know who Trae Young is? You need to take the time to watch Oklahoma basketball. In one season, he has become THE National Player of The Year favorite and a skyrocketing lottery pick. With his play being compared to Steph Curry and his passing ability compared to some of the best dimers in the Association today, NBA scouts are flocking to Norman, Oklahoma to see Trae play. He is averaging a 56 percent assist rate while averaging 29.5 PPG. If you need someone to watch this season? Trae Young is a great player to watch (*cough cough* Cavs fans re: Brooklyn pick)

4. This is the year of the Big Man

No big man has won the Most Outstanding Player since 2012 (Anthony Davis). The men in the middle are dominating this season from the big time players like Marvin Bagley III (Duke) is solidifying himself as a top 3 pick, Mo Bamba (above, Texas) is a freak 6-11 brick wall averaging 5 blocks a game. DeAndre Ayton is 7-1, 250 pounds and has surged to the top of draft boards in Arizona, averaging 20 PPG and 11 RPG. If you want a big man outside of the big schools? Look to Jock Landale of Saint Mary's in California averaging 21 PPG and 10 RPG. Seton Hall's Angel Delgado has also had a double-double in 13 of 16 games this season. The big men are dominating this season, and they will all be players to watch in the NBA next season.

5. Ohio State Basketball is not officially "back".....but the future is very bright

If you read my article on the keys to a successful Chris Holtmann era in Columbus, you know what they needed. They needed the players to buy in to the Chris Holtmann system and for Holtmann to win the recruiting battle in Ohio. It's safe to say the Buckeyes are buying in to Holtmann's system. Coming into this season, Ohio State was picked by most to finish at the bottom of the Big Ten. They have silenced those critics with a 13-4 start, with wins at Wisconsin, Iowa and against then number one Michigan State by 16 at home. We have seen a renaissance from Keita Bates-Diop from potential Buckeye bust, to a bright NBA future. Obviously, we have two months of basketball left to play, so lets not crown them yet (RIP Dennis Green), but the future is VERY bright for the Buckeyes in Columbus.

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