It’s March, which means that the frozen hellscape outside will soon be transitioning into a sunny playland. The birds will sing, flowers will bloom, and I will be sneezing uncontrollably while watching college basketball for 72 hours straight. That’s right baby—it’s time for MARCH MADNESS. So, to celebrate I want to break down three of my favorite plays from this college basketball season and give out a couple of goat awards.
First. For those of you unfamiliar with Tennessee’s Admiral Schofield I’ll allow him to introduce himself.
ANCHORS AWAY ADMIRAL. With that backdoor slam Admiral Schofield and the Vols set sail for a beat down of the top ten Kentucky Wildcats. It should be a surprise to no one that Tennessee Basketball has seen a revival since being graced with the best name in college basketball. For those without the eyeballs or the time to watch the Vols this year, The Admiral—he doesn’t even need a nickname—has been the second leading scorer for the Vols. The 6’6 and 24-pound guard has been an offensive and defensive force—averaging sixteen points, six rebounds, and two steals a game. While the Admiral did not enjoy his normal scoring output in this game—he only scored seven points—he got the highlight of the contest by rocking the rim with that sweet jam.
Times have not always been this good for Admiral, patience has paid off for the senior. Tennessee suffered though two losing seasons his first two years before converting these last two seasons into a genuine SEC challenger to Kentucky and the Cal Pals. I wouldn’t be shocked the Admiral and the rest of the Tennessee Volunteers at the top of the SEC at the end of the week.
Second. JESUS JA. May I present to you the Lord and Savior of Murray State basketball.
With his burst, court vision, and heavens blessed athleticism Ja split the Belmont defense and blessed the rack with a divine dunk in the OVC championship game. That jam wasn’t the only inspiring play Ja had in the championship game—his footwork and handles also come from above. The way Morant moves in the paint to create space for himself or for his teammates to score is otherworldly. With a head fake or a quick spin he’s either laying it in himself or willing into existence a scoring opportunity for a teammate. While the rest of Murray State might not share his top talent—Ja is the only division one player in the top ten of both scoring and assists—let us bask in Ja’s warm glowing warming glow while we still can.
Third. MOTHER OF GOD DID ZION JUST DO THAT!?
Zion Williamson—the thiccest thick boy to ever live and the most exciting prospect since Anthony Davis—just did an Olympic long jump in game to spike the basketball into a black hole. He is the best. Zion Williamson is without a doubt the G.O.A.T. of this college basketball season. Let us not forget that when this season began the common thought was that Steve Nash’s godson R.J. Barrett was considered the better player. Zion Williamson has hulk smashed that notion into oblivion with earth crushing dunk after earth crushing dunk. His superhuman leaping ability—no mortal weighing 285 pounds should be able to leap six feet straight into the air—has enticed everyone from Floyd Mayweather to Barack Obamas to Cameron Indoor Stadium. Nike shoes cannot contain him, the Super Bowl tickets cannot outsell him, and my eyes cannot wait to witness his return to the basketball court to rampage across the NCAA tournament.
Utah State University is a small school in Logan, Utah that never gets enough recognition as (I think) it deserves. People often think about USU as the youngest brother of The University of Utah and Brigham Young University, the other state universities. However, this “little brother” did quite well this year in athletics.
While Yale over LSU has been the trendy upset pick, the other 3/14 matchups have been widely overlooked. Texas Tech should take care of business vs Northern Kentucky, but due to the Red Raiders’ heavy reliance on Jarrett Culver to carry the offensive load, the Norse might be able to give Tech some trouble if they can force Culver’s teammates to knock down shots. Led by D’Marcus Simonds (18.4 ppg), Georgia State is equally capable of troubling their opponent, Houston. Houston is a predominantly guard-oriented team, and at 6’3 195, Simonds is much bigger than Houston’s guards. Also, Georgia State played well against power 5 teams in the non-conference slate. The Panthers defeated Georgia, Alabama, and Saint Bonaventure and had a good showing at Kansas State too. Lastly, the sneakiest 3/14 matchup to keep an eye on is Purdue vs Old Dominion. Recently, Purdue had been Carsen Edwards-or-bust on offense. If Edwards struggles from the field once again (he is 23-102 on 3s since February), the Boilermakers will struggle to score on Old Dominion’s stellar defense, which ranks 9th in the country in defensive efficiency. Earlier this season, the Monarchs overcame double digit halftime deficits to upend both VCU and Syracuse.Continue Reading!
Both teams have a fast-paced offense but North Carolina is a great team. I don’t see a chance of an upset here.
Prediction: North Carolina
Utah State vs Washington
Utah State has a great duo of Sam Merrill and Neemias Queta. Merrill is an experienced offensive leader that can shoot the three and Queta is a talented rim protector with NBA potential.
Washington’s head coach Mike Hopkins brought the 2-3 zone to Washington from Syracuse and the Huskies have a strong defense. Matisse Thybulle is one of the best defensive players in the country and part of their balanced scoring attack.