WHICH FINAL FOUR TEAM PRESENTS THE MOST 'VALUE'?
That trip to Ames used to be a guaranteed 'W' for the bigger programs. But after last season's upsets I think that Iowa State will get a lot of people's 'A' game. We've seen teams have dream seasons like this in the past. But momentum and magic don't carry over from year to year. This is a new season, and one good month doesn't make up for decades of incompetence from this program.
Iowa State does get five Big 12 home games. But one of them is against Oklahoma, who will be out for some major revenge after last season's beating. Iowa State's schedule is very front-loaded. They have to play rival Iowa the week before that OU showdown. And if the Cyclones lose back-to-back big games early in the season then that could pop their balloon heading into a killer three-game stretch at TCU, at Oklahoma State and at home against West Virginia.
It's very possible that this team could be going into their Oct. And if that happens then I don't know if they will have the confidence to win four of their final five and get back to a bowl. I do think that Iowa State has the goods to get to six wins and make it back-to-back bowl games.
They should finish top 8, though. Louisville returns and reloads its young relay that took 6th last year with three frosh and a sophomore. Competition for the rest of the A final should be tight, as the top freestylers are quite spread out roster-wise, compared to last year when Cal, Stanford and Georgia combined to take up 6 of the top 8 spots in the individual free, then went in this relay with a full-second cushion on the rest of the field.
Georgia is in trouble after graduating two second splits. None of those teams have 4 great legs, though, so filling out the bottom of the A final might come down to which teams can get the most out of their depth on Saturday morning. After such a good performance on the free relay, I think Stanford should use Ally Howe on the free relay. My pick for the relay is Ella Eastin. She split a I guess you could pull Ledecky for her. Though KLs speeed seems to be fine. With coach Sean Miller tied to recruiting corruption, any success for Arizona may be short-lived, on paper at least.
Junior forward Mike Daum Coach Kelvin Sampson has the Cougars in position for their first tournament win in 34 years. Senior guard Rob Gray has poured in at least 30 points in five games this season. Senior wing Theo Pinson can slash, pass and finish in the paint.
The senior averaged Senior point guard Jevon Carter averaged 17 points, 6. The gritty point guard has already been a part of two runs to the Sweet 16 for coach Bob Huggins. Jalen Brunson and Mikal Bridges won the national title as freshmen and were bounced in the first weekend by Wisconsin last year.
On Saturday night, the guards combined for 56 points to lead the Wildcats to a Big East tournament title. Ken Pomeroy rates Villanova as the best offense in the country