We are two short weeks away from basketball taking center stage in the sports world. Once the Falcons and Patriots square off in Super Bowl LI less than two weeks from now there will be no more football until August which plays out perfectly with the stretch run of the college basketball season and preparation for the NCAA Tournament in March.
Our top team will have their toughest stretch of games this season start this week in what will be a week full of notable games and matchups between teams featured in our rankings.
We’re starting to settle in to conference play, and this week helped further establish teams that should be playing in the NCAA tournament when March rolls around. With their blowout win over Baylor, West Virginia has established themselves as a legitimate threat to Kansas for the regular season title. Those three teams, Baylor, Kansas, and West Virginia, have all but guaranteed themselves a spot in the NCAA tournament.
5-28. That is what the SEC’s record is against opponents in the current AP top 25 so far this year with all 5 wins coming from a combination of Kentucky and South Carolina who happen to play this Saturday. Anyway, there are three good teams in the SEC and they all happen to be ranked. And depending on the day, Arkansas may show up and look impressive, but the rest of the league is pretty putrid outside of those four teams. Auburn has flashed potential, but they still seem to be a year away.
Before I begin this week’s mid major blog, there are two mid major players that deserve some recognition. With the 2016 Wooden Award Midseason Top 25 candidates being announced, senior forward Alec Peters of Valparaiso and junior guard Nigel Williams Goss of Gonzaga have been named finalists. Both players are having spectacular seasons for their respective schools and conferences. Peters is averaging 23.8 points per game, 10.7 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game, while he is shooting 45 percent from the field and 92 percent from the free throw line.
With just 4 NCAA sophomores drafted in the 2016 1st round, and 10 overall draftees, it still ended up doubling the output of last year’s junior class. The sophomore class is usually highlighted by some players who had a legitimate chance to be one-and-done but for various reasons decided to come back, work on their games, and enhance their draft stock. This year there are a number of prospects at the top who did just that and should be in line to be more ready to contribute than they otherwise would have. Here are the top 15 sophomores for this year's NBA draft.