During the countdown to the 2020-21 varsity basketball season on the 25th. As the tournament continues into November, an ESPN.com panel of experts is preparing predictions for all the top leagues in the country. We start with the U.S. Sports Conference, where the Memphis Tigers are trying to recover from the disappointing and turbulent 2020-21 years, while the Wichita Shockers face uncertainty about the status of coach Greg Marshall.
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The US superpowers 2020-21
Player of the year
Medal winner calf: Jaden Gardner, East Carolina
Borzello: Caleb Mills, Houston
Gasaway : Lander Nolly II, Memphis
Lunardi: Caleb Mills, Houston.
Beginning of the year
Medallion: Lander Nolly II, Memphis
Borzelo: Landing vessel Nolly II, Memphis
Gasaway : Lander Nolly II, Memphis
Lunardi: Landers Nolly II, Memphis.
American Writers’ Round Table 2020-21
Last year at this time we referred to Memphis as a candidate for the low ranking national championship. In the end the Tigers took 5th place in the league and probably went to NIT. Do you expect the Memphis team to be better, worse or about the same?
Fault! The file name is not specified. Penny Hardaway and Memphis were not active at national level last season, but a talented group has returned. Justin Ford U.S.A. Sports today.
Jeff Borzello, University Basketball Specialist: Tigers should be much better. Memphis couldn’t handle last season’s excitement, but for Penny Hardaway it was one after the other. James Weisman barely played, Jeffries only played 19 games because of a knee injury and some other major player injuries. And don’t forget they were the youngest team in Division I last season.
There have been some departures, but the returnees are a year older and have more experience. Hardway adds one of the best transfers in the country to the former Nolley II wing of Virginia Tech Landers and a potential newcomer to Moussa Cisse, who will be one of the best defenders in the league from day one.
Even when they fought last season, the league coaches talked about how their personality evolved in Memphis; the Tigers play hard, they play fast and they defend just about everyone. If Knolly and Cisse have the desired effect, the Tigers will have to fight for the title of CAA champion.
Myron Medcalfe, College Basketball Editor: I think Memphis is gonna be okay. Memphis has a team that, after finishing last in the league in offensive efficiency through KenPom, can achieve a turnover of 22% of its assets. Add a rebounder and a shot-stopper to Cissa and it becomes clear that the Tigers have a chance to win the American Sports Conference title. Last season Memphis made a lot of mistakes, but without Wiseman he keeps the CAA opponents at 42% of the clip in the bow, and now Cisse joins them. The only question is whether Memphis can organize part of the basketball game afterwards – last year’s fight.
John Gasaway, University Basketball Writer: Memphis is going to improve last season’s performance. Last season the Tigers were even replayed in the American game and this will not happen again. In 2019-20, Coach Hardway’s main task was to attack, and the problem was that his team just gave away too much ball. The good news for Memphis is that this is probably the easiest basic bug to fix (it’s easier than shooting outdoors anyway). Nolley will give the attack the long-awaited boost, and Lester Quinones, Jeffries and Boogie Ellis will be a year older and better cared for. The tigers are heading in the right direction.
Joe Lunardi, ESPN Brackettologist: This year we’re going to see if Hardway can train. We know he can recruit, we know that his recruitment causes an endless vortex, and we also know that he couldn’t stop the bleeding the first time it went wrong. This season he has more basketball teams than all the stars. I think all participants in the program, especially returning players, found their share of humility unpleasant. And it doesn’t taste much worse than losing 40 points in Tulsa. Memphis will be better – maybe even much better – and organizing an NCAA tournament in week two is by no means impossible.
How do you think Gregg Marshall will train in Wichita from the beginning to the end of the 2020-21 season? Do you think Marshall should form the state of Wichita in 2020-21?
Fault! The file name is not specified. Gregg Marshall is severely charged, but so far the Wichita State Administration has pulled cars around him. AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez
Medal winner calf: Marshall should now be suspended indefinitely pending the results of the school’s internal investigation. When dealing with accusations of physical violence against a player and coach, the school cannot take a risk without knowing whether the accusations are true. There wouldn’t be a single player who would be overwhelmed by something like that right now. Marshall doesn’t have to be on his team. And if he was a little coach, he’d be suspended by now.
Marshall has a lot of power in Wichita State, and the school hasn’t finished its research yet, but I really think Marshall has coached his last game with the Shockers. He’s trained some mighty players, and they’re usually quiet. He has the support of wealthy supporters, but I’m not sure that’s enough.
Lunardi: Never underestimate the ability of colleges and universities not to do the right thing in the name of the process. Look no further than the current university football season, gymnastics for the pandemic (and there is also university basketball, by God’s grace…). As for Gregg Marshall in particular, I think these allegations are credible and should be removed from the program until a decision is made on the facts. I predict that this determination will not have time to jeopardize his status as an active coach. Again: How many times do we have to see hypocrisy before we reject it as normal behaviour?
Boroncello: If it turns out that Marshall defeated a player and strangled an assistant coach – and there are several reports with numerous independent confirmations of both situations, as well as a report from Shack Morris – how can Marshall be the Wichita State coach this season? Of course, personal insults and swearing words are terrible, but we’ve already seen how coaches deal with them. But hitting a player and strangling an assistant coach? It’s just too much, and it’s unacceptable.
So Marshall’s supposed to be the state of Wichita? If the accusations are true, then don’t. Is he gonna train them this season? That’s another thing. For some reason, the school didn’t even suspend Marshall until the results of an investigation tell you something. Marshall’s ties to the community are well documented, and he has clearly taken the program to new heights, so there are many variables that can be used. But none of this should matter if the claims are true.
Degassing: I expect Marshall to train from start to finish for a year. As Jeff rightly points out, this implies… that the state of Wichita Marshall did not pay the full price in investigating these charges. Instead, the university continues to put its coach in direct contact with the players, although several people claim that Marshall beats one of the student athletes in his program. Can you imagine the legal revelation that the State of Wichita would face if this incident were to occur in the coming weeks? It’s a risky path to say the least, and the fact that the school chooses this path suggests that Marshall will stay where he is for the foreseeable future.
And no, as long as the due diligence threshold is met and these claims are substantiated, the Shockers should not form a Marshall in 2020-21.
What is the team in this league, few people talk about the direction we should take in 2020-21?
Fault! The file name is not specified. Caleb Mills is an American player of the year, a candidate for the Houston team with great national ambitions. Justin Ford U.S.A. Sports today.
Degassing: Houston! The Panthers keep wasting their time in the sun. Last spring, no NCAA tournament could confirm, but Calvin Sampson really outperformed herself in 2019-20. These guys couldn’t even win 45% of 2 in the U.S. game, yet UH still had second place in the league for attacks. The best shot is expected this season, as DeJohn Jarro, Quentin Grimes and Caleb Mills have been fighting it out for the past two years. Meanwhile, the defense is already excellent (although the Puma’s were a bit lucky last year as their opponents missed a 3 s ton at the conference). Houston managed to win his third American championship title in a row.
Medal winner calf: I’ll take Cincinnati. The Bearcats are losing important players in a tough championship, but how many times have we heard from a Cincinnati team that has yet to find a way to fight for the title and reach the NCAA tournament? It’s another dirty bear troop led by John Brannen. They have Keith Williams and Chris Vogt and some guys who are ready to get up after the losses of Jarron Cumberland and Tre Scott. Rapolas Ivanauskas, who left Colgate last year, had an average of 13.1 AAC and 7.6 RPM. Only two players from the first and second All-AAC team are coming back this season, so the whole league is looking for new stars. I wouldn’t be surprised if Cincy was good enough to fight for a spot in the big leagues.
Boroncello: I think it must be EMS. Tim Yankovich is in charge of the legal team of the NCAA tournament. The Mustangs completely collapsed on that track and lost five of their last six games, but overall they reached this final with 18:6 and 8:4 in the league. Six players who had started at least 12 games came back from this team, including one of the most dynamic backstretchers of the league, Tyson Jolly (14.5 PPG, 6.2 RPG) and Kendrick Davis (14.2 PPG, 6.7 APG). Jankovic also adds to this group the transfer of Darius McNeil to California. The key to the SMU will be on the defensive side. The Mustangs were defensive for the last time last season and held only three of their last 18 opponents with less than a point. This should not be repeated if the CMU wants to hear its name on the Sunday of the collection.
Lunardi: Houston participated in an NCAA tournament 24 years before Calvin Sampson took over. Since its founding, Sampson has won 83 competitions in the last three years and was on his way to becoming the third clear seed in the NCAA (last in the year of Perestroika). Two years ago Sampson brought the Pumas to their first Sweet 16 since the Phi Slama Jama, and it wouldn’t be surprising if they found their way back to the second weekend in 2021. After the loss of UConn in the Great East, Houston and Cincinnati are the only remaining programs in America that have won the national championship. And only the Panthers can be sure that their name will appear on the draw in the next qualifying match on Sunday.
Anonymous AAFC trainers up to American size
Jeff Borzello spoke with coaches of the CAA about their expectations for the competition in 2020-21.
In 2019 we had four NCAA teams, UCF had to beat Duke in the second round, Houston had a chance to beat Kentucky. I think we will play in the team competition of the four ANKAA tournaments again this season.
Losing UConn hurts. One of the things UConn did was to have a great non-conference program, so they always played the conference with a very good NET. They clearly weren’t dominant, but it always helped your computer numbers. They played at UConn, whatever the record of victories and losses, it had to be a Quad 1 game. Play with them at home, quadruple 2 game. This is the biggest fight for our competition, which can compete with the Power 5 and Big East with 1/Quad 2 matches. This is probably the biggest job in our league.
Houston will be more interchangeable. Last year they had legally 4 people, legally 5 people, then 3 guards. Did you know that Fabian White plays 30 minutes per game? You got Nate Hinton. Their fastball was good enough for most nights last year, but they lost a lot of close games. You should be more creative. Caleb Mills is a man, Quentin Grimes better be. He tried to prove too much last season, he should feel more comfortable.
Fault! The file name is not specified. Quentin Grimes is expected to get even better in the second season of the Calvin-Sampson program. Courtesy of the University of Houston in Track and Field.
The biggest problem in Memphis last year was simply, and this is offensive, that there was a turnaround. Rotations or actual rotations. You gave so much to the other team. In defense, they were Jaggernauts. It is not for nothing that they have had the first percentage of protection of field targets in the country. If they could eliminate some of their offensive elements and let you play more against their midfield, it would be like going to the dentist. Penny’s got these guys playing hard to get, and they’re organized.
All EMS activities will be suspended. Can they still arrest people? It’s insulting, they’re very, very hard to look at. But even if you play SMU, the game will never end. They went up against Wichita 20 times, but when they fought to protect themselves, Wichita was still in the game. In EMS you can get up 20 times, but because of the way they score, they never get out.
Cincinnati has earned the benefit of the doubt. This competition has been lethally controlled for nine years. There’s no Jarron Cumberland now, and on the surface I don’t think John Brennen is too upset about that. But you’re filming two people at a conference. Tre Scott was elected player of the year. It will be difficult for them to play at home. They have David DeJulius, Michigan’s top player; Keith Williams, Patriotic League player of the year [Rapolas Ivanauskas]; Chris Vogt.
If Alexis Yetna is healthy, South Florida can be a dark horse. David Collins, all night, all night, producer. Justin Brown is a good song, Yetna is a good song, Mike Durr is a two year old rookie, gives them a legal size in the middle. The beauty of South Florida is that they’re so big. They’re as big as the others. When they come out of the locker room, their size is impressive.
I don’t think Greg Marshall’s situation will have any effect until Wichita does something about it. Until Wichita makes a decision, it’s just noise.
U.S. 2020-21 Scheduled order of completion