Last week I got a great response in communication with my mailbag. This is something I will do weekly and hopefully it makes you a better gambler or helps you in your preparation.
I felt it important to spend the first couple weeks on opening it up to getting you ready for NCAAB. It's my bread and butter as a gambler and as somone with a wealth of knowledge it was important to bestow of that upon all of you. Let's get into it. As always you can submit questions weekly upon request on Twitter!
I'll be honest, I wasn't necessarily surprised with the decision to move on from Chambers, the timing just sucks. This is a pretty solid Penn State basketball team even in one of the best conferences in the country. I got destroyed by Dayton fans for requesting that PSU call coach Anthony Grant. They probably won't but its worth a try. The choices would obviously be Ferry who you stated, but I may go look at a guy like Steve Donahue at Penn. One thing Chambers did really well was recruit in Philadelphia. Donahue can as well to keep that pipeline going and being from the area. He's done some impressive things in the Ivy League including a NCAA berth and is 67-52 in this tenure there. If I'm them though I throw whatever John Becker at Vermont wants to come to Happy Valley. He's one of the true great mid major coaches in the country and I'd be fascinated as to what he could do with more at his disposal. He's made Vermont a perennial team in the mid major ranks and is constantly in the tourney. He'd be a knockout hire for them.
Well. I assume sleepers in this case are teams that are 50/1 or higher than can go and win the national title. I will open up more on sleeper teams to bet on throughout the season. When looking at futures I'm looking deep. I'm trying to find options that hopefully can get into the tourney and make a run. Just get to the tourney and I'll go from there. A few I like: Washington 120/1 is so interesting to me. Last year I was stubborn with them, this year it's the same. I love the length, the zone, the suffocating they can do on defense at times. This year Quade Green is back which helps the offense tremendously. They were terrible last season once he was ruled ineligible. They also attacked the transfer market for shooters grabbing sharpshooter Erik Stevenson and Michigan swingman Cole Bajema. If both them get waivers this team will look a lot different on offense. Nahziah Carter, Jamal Bey, Hameir Wright are all terrific defenders and they are a deep team that can grown tremendously from last year til now. Another group I really like is Richmond 75/1. They have 2 of the most undervalued guards in the country. They both have a role, someone who runs the offense in Jacob Gilyard and a slasher bucket getter Blake Francis. They feature a behemoth down low who can move around, pick and pop and bang in the front court in Grant Golden. This offense is just a well oiled machine: I do worry about about losing forward Nich Sherod to a season ending injury but they are somewhat good depth wise and Nathan Cayo/Andre Gustavson and or Tulane transfer Connor Crabtree will be called on to fill a big role. Defensively last season, the defensive numbers improved significantly and a lot of it had to do with more a focus on running zone almost 60 percent of the defensive possessions they had in the half court. Really like the Spiders.
My pick to win it will be a team that I've probably bet more than any other team in the country the last few years. I'm on board big with WKU. I'm a big Rick Stansbury fan and he's done a phenomenal job recruiting there. They got a huge lift when All American and best player in the conference by a mile Charles Bassey returned. He is off a broken leg and poised for a huge year, If you've seen Bassey play you marvel in his ability to completely dominate teams in this league. He's a truly multi faceted dominator. When looking at the rest of this team, the guard play should be fantastic as well. They welcome back Taevion Hollingsworth who can do it all and is a top guard in the league. They also finally get Lipscomb transfer Kenny Cooper eligible. Cooper was instrumental 2 years ago in a run the Bison made to the NCAA tourney. He had to sit out last year and I love this duo at guard. They also have length with Carson Williams, Josh Anderson and new Davidson transfer Luke Frampton. Keep an eye also on new freshman Dayvion McKnight. He was Mr Basketball last year in Kentucky starring at Collins High School in Shelbyville.
Of course… many teams can take them down. Guard play will be fantastic for them however a lot of guards with a limited front court is concerning. Not a ton of pure shooters on this roster either. I am fascinating by Tyon Grant Foster who comes in from the JUCO ranks. I've mentioned before I love Texas Tech, teams like Baylor are as good as anyone in the country. WVU is a top 15 team and Texas has as good a team they've had in years. To answer your question, yes in my opinion someone other than Kansas will win the Big 12. Even looking at teams like Oklahoma. If they can get certain transfers eligible they are really interesting. This conference is deep like most big conference college basketball. I wouldn't bet Kansas. Look elsewhere.
Great question. My advice would be don't just jump in and go all over the place. Focus on one or two conferences and become proficient with the teams and styles they play in. There are 350+ teams in Division 1 and attacking them all can be tough. Become an expert with one group and as you continue to learn more, expand it. Also go and watch the games and or extended highlights after the fact. Learn what happened, become a sponge. That would be my first steps.
Thanks for all the questions… we will be back with more next week on Ask A Gambler.