Lineups Set For 2018 Jimmy V Classic

26th Annual Benefit Helping to Eradicate Cancer Will See First Time Matchup Between Two Prominent Football Schools

The doubleheader takes place on Tuesday, December 4 at Madison Square Garden in New York and will be televised on ESPN (streamed also on the ESPN app).

The matchups include:

7 p.m. Eastern, Notre Dame vs. Oklahoma–first time these schools have met on the hardwood.

Around 9:30 p.m., West Virginia vs. Florida–last met in February 2016 during the Big 12/SEC Challenge when the Gators upended the Mountaineers on that particular Saturday.

According to the ESPN Events press release, this will be the 12th Annual V Week For Cancer Research–which stretches across platform, linear and streaming such as SportsCenter, Wingo & Golic, and other ESPN Radio shows.

All four schools were hit hard by either graduation or early departures to the NBA Draft.  Expect all four schools to bring their defense to make up for a few of the teams’ lack of instant scoring–case in point, the losses of Matt Farrell and Bonzie Colson for Notre Dame and freshman sensation Trae Young from Oklahoma.


Comings and Goings With Some News On Transfer Students–Who Will Play Sooner Rather Than Later

Several schools stand to hopefully benefit with extra help to fill the void of many departing players due to graduation and/or testing the NBA Draft waters

The Athletic has been thoroughly keeping tabs on the number of transfers affecting college basketball since the final buzzer that ended the 2018 NCAA Tournament in San Antonio.

A few past Final Four teams received the greatest benefits, while a handful of other schools will have to wait until the traditional sitting out for one year period to see if those moves bear fruit come 2019-2020.

The schools that stand to have the greatest influx of help for 2018-2019 include:

  • Oklahoma–with Jordan Shepherd and Kameron McGusty transferring and Trae Young leaving after a super freshman year to test his game in the NBA, the Sooners will get immediate help with a pair of graduate transfers:  former Maine point guard Aaron Calixte and former Pacific combo guard Miles Reynolds.  Expect some great defensive skills while Calixte is expected to be the new starting point guard, averaged 16.9 points and 3.2 assists in 2017-18 for the Black Bears.  Meanwhile, Reynolds averaged 13.3 points and 2.8 assists for Pacific.  Both players also shot nearly a 38 percent clip from three point range.  Oklahoma will also have a traditional transfer student in former Wichita State sophomore Austin Reaves.  A part-time starter for Gregg Marshall who played both the 4 and the 5 positions, managed to shoot a successful 42.5 percent from beyond the arc.  His average though was only 8.1 points per game in the Shockers’ first season spent in the suddenly uber-competitive AAC.  After sitting out next season, Reaves will have two years of eligibility remaining.
  • Xavier–New Head Coach Travis Steele struck quickly by recruiting three graduate transfers, all within a week.  Look for names like Zach Hankins, a 6-10, 255-pound post player from Division II Ferris State, who averaged 15.1 points, 9.7 boards and 3.3 blocks per game last season.   The Musketeers will also have the services of 6-4 Columbia guard Kyle Castlin, who is coming off a year of mostly being injured but has averaged 8.1 points and 3.4 rebounds per game during his career, and Ryan Welage (18.1 ppg, 5.4 rpg) a 6’9″ stretch four player from San Jose State, who shot 42.9 percent from long distance.
  • Nevada–Coming off a surprise run to the Sweet 16, expect the Wolfpack to be very deep again next season with four transfers who sat out last season will become eligible after what Head Coach Eric Musselman refers to those types of players as being in their “developmental year”.  Two graduate transfers will be eligible to play come November in guard Ehab Amin, (16.9 ppg, 6.6 rpg, 2.9 apg, 3.4 spg who played during 2016-17 for Texas A&M-Corpus Christi) and 6’10” Trey Porter comes by way of Old Dominion who averaged 13.2 ppg, 6.2 rpg, and 1.3 blocks per game.
  • Marquette–The Golden Eagles were looking for guards, and they snatched a pair from north of the border in Canada.  Joining the Big East wars will be graduate transfer Joseph Chartouny, a 6’3″ guard who transferred from Fordham averaged 12.2 points, 4.6 assists and 3.3 steals in 2017-18.  He ranked second in Division I in steals percentage last season and was first in 2016-2017.  The other player is Koby McEwen, a sophomore who is 6’4″ comes by way of Utah State, who averaged 15.6 points, a team-high 5.4 rebounds and 3.2 assists last season.
  • Baylor–The Bears got some young guards to help in the suddenly hot and heavy Big 12 race.  Auburn freshman Davion Mitchell, who was actually recruited by Head Coach Scott Drew while in high school, is a guard who can be like a Trey Young type player–who can create his own shot and excite the crowd.  While Mitchell has two years remaining, former UNC Asheville 6’3″ sophomore MaCio Teague will have one year remaining of eligibility after being named as a member of the All Big South team last season.  He averaged 16.7 ppg and shot an impressive 42.5 percent from three.  The article also stated he has “a 6’10” winspan”, so look for that to help the Bears stretch the floor and hopefully overcome their lack of outside shooting–which plagued them during most of last season.
  • South Alabama–New Head Coach Richie Riley is speaking the truth and I like his philosophy on selling the program to recruits.  He wants to see the players achieve their goals while not having most of the accolades focusing primarily on himself.  Helping in this regard will be a trio of transfers, one who is eligible to play right away come fall:  the school helped lock in graduate transfer Kory Holden in April, who is coming off an injury-plagued season at South Carolina.  However, Holden averaged nearly 18 points per game playing for Delaware in 2016.  The other two will have to wait out a year, first with Don Coleman who arrives from Cal-Berkeley who led the Golden Bears in scoring averaging 16 points per game and Andre Fox, who lit up scoreboards at High Point to the tune of a 1,000-point career.  The Jaguars could definitely make some potential noise as one of the last mid-major bids to play for a trip to the Big Dance come March 2020.
  • Missouri–Even without Michael Porter, Jr. around, Cuonzo Martin found a pair of 6’4″, 200 pound burly guys who can dominate a game just like what Villanova did in winning the title in April.  Look for former Evansville sophomore guard Dru Smith and former Illinois freshman guard Mark Smith (not related) to help the Tigers going forward. Mark was actually recruited by Coach Martin both at Cal and when he left to go to Missouri and started 19 games for Brad Underwood while averaging 5.8 points per game for the Illini and all of Orange Crush Nation.  As for the other Smith, he aveeraged 13.7 points and 4.6 assists per game while making a whopping 48.2 percent of his three pointers for the Purple Aces.
  • Miami (Florida)–With Lonnie Walker IV testing the waters in the NBA, help is coming for Jim Larranaga in the form of “Dunk City” star Zach Johnson.  The graduate transfer is eligible to play next season after averaging 16.1 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 2 steals per game.  At 6’2″, he averaged in the three Atlantic Sun Tournament games this past March, including posting 37 in a loss to Lipscomb in the title game.  Crossing their fingers is for the health of 6’6″ Anthony Mack, who had to miss all of last season due to suffering concussion-like symptoms.  Here is hoping his petition to the NCAA will not fall entirely on deaf ears in Indianapolis, and that he could be eligible to play come November.  If the appeal is denied, he will join 6’5″ Kameron McGusty on the 2019-2010 roster who came off a subpar year averaging only 8 ppg last season playing for Oklahoma.
  • Ohio State–Head Coach Chris Holtmann did not have to go too far after leaving Butler last year to find some help.  6’1″ Florida State transfer C.J. Walker is a point guard that Holtmann recruited out of Indianapolis while coaching the Bulldogs.  Walker saw his playing time decrease to 8.5 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 2.4 apg, and one steal per game, but will have to sit out next year.  Coming to help the Buckeyes immediately will be 6’3″ graduate transfer out of Wake Forest Keyshawn Woods, who averaged 11.9 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 1.9 apg, and shot 37.4 percent from behind the arc.  Woods is expected to help fill the void left behind by Keita Bates-Diop’s departure to the NBA.
  • Grand Canyon–Finally, the second season of the newest member of the WAC will have the services of five new players:  DeWayne Russell and Grandy Glaze are both coming off earning All WAC honors after transferring in from other schools, while Casey Benson joined the Antelopes after being part of the Final Four run with Oregon in 2017.  Two other players are eligible next season in former Illinois forward Michael Finke, averaged just under 10 points per game for the Illini, along with and guard Trey Drechel, who averaged around 15 points per game at Western Washington, a Division II school.  Two other players will be eligible in 2019-2020 as Carlos Johnson (Washington) and Isiah Brown (Northwestern) will have to sit out next season.

Among the schools not filling any major needs include the likes of:

  • Pittsburgh, seven players left after Kevin Stallings was fired as coach.  6’9″ Ryan Luther also left Pitt and will be a graduate transfer playing for Sean Miller at Arizona.
  • Samford–after several players suffered many injuries, Justin Coleman will join Luther in Arizona while Christen Cunningham, who missed a good chunk of last season after suffering with mono will hopefully steer things in the right direction with Chris Mack taking over for David Padgett in Louisville.  As for Trison Chambers, he left to suit up to play at Alabama-Huntsville.
  • Evansville–With forward Solomon Hainna poised to join the military, the likes of Ryan Taylor will help greatly for Chris Collins as Northwestern prepares to move back into their newly rechristened Welsh-Ryan Arena in November, while Dru Smith decided to help out with the Tigers at Missouri.
  • Albany–Joe Cremo leaves behind the Great Danes and will try to help lead Villanova back to the Final Four.  The 6’3″ guard was one of the hottest names on the transfer market.  Cremo averaged almost 18 ppg last season.  As for the team’s third leading scorer in David Nichols, he will finish out his college career down at Florida State after averaging 14.6 ppg last season.
  • Illinois–Poor Orange Crush fans, as Te’jon Lucas left to go up north on I-94 to Wisconsin-Milwaukee and the Illini’s leading scorer and rebounder last season in Leron Black has decided to test the professional waters.  Similar to the NHL Blackhawks, NFL Bears, and MLB White Sox, there is nowhere to go but up for those proud but currently struggling franchises.
  • San Jose State–they are going to have to be starting over after losing out with forward Brandon Clarke who transferred to Gonzaga before Head Coach Jean Prioleau saw the ink dry late last summer.  Then, after seeing his team go a paltry 4-26, his three leading scorers all decided to go elsewhere as Ryan Welage will try to help out Xavier come 2019-2020, while both Keith Fisher III and Jaycee Hillsman will take up residence at Illinois State as the Redbirds will try again to get over the hump in the Missouri Valley Conference.
  • UNLV, Louisville, Creighton, and 2017 Final Four participant South Carolina will have to look elsewhere to fill their rosters for this upcoming season.  Look for them to take some steps back as far as staying competitive for a berth in the 2019 NCAA Tournament.

As more transfer news comes in, I will try to chime in when I can.  Thank you all again for reading, and I look forward to your comments both on my past blogs and whatever items is deemed blog worthy in the future.  Take care, everybody and I hope to see you back here next time.

Supreme Court Rules Sports Betting Is Legal

Landmark case ruling on Monday opens floodgates throughout United States

Well, I guess Brent Musburger is doing something that is opening up more eyes than when the VSIN Network opened for business in 2017.  Likewise, ESPN has for many years grabbing ratings right and left with their fantasy related programming.

Besides Nevada, New York, and New Jersey–sports betting throughout America is considered legal.  Obviously, several loopholes have to be pushed through (albeit not so easily) to make sure fans can fully grasp what will happen during fantasy football, and spilling into other major sports like the NBA Finals, NHL Stanley Cup, and baseball’s World Series.

Of course, even the casual fan knows that the second most wagered sporting event in our country following the Super Bowl each February is the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.  With having staggering odds at six quintillion to 1 of having a perfect bracket as fans try to pick 63 correct games in a nearly three week span, it is no wonder why the money has been flowing like the Mississippi River.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see this type of coverage appear more frequently, especially online and on people’s smartphones.  Television has dabbled with it over the last several years, and first was brought to light each fall Sunday morning on CBS.

If only Jimmy “The Greek” Snyder was alive to see this…considering how he loved to talk about betting lines each Sunday on The NFL Today–but is the NFL going to ever loosen its’ stance saying that ‘gambling is wrong and fans should not do it.’

Bottom line, I bet many hosts on podcasts are jumping for joy somewhere.  Where we go from here is anybody’s guess.

Seth Davis of The Athletic considered many points in a great read from Monday.  Subscribers to the online site can click on the story here:

Great News as Dick Vitale Signs New Deal To Stay With ESPN

Dickie V continues at The Worldwide Leader in restructured deal

ESPN reported this past Thursday (May 10) that they have reached a contract extension with the always effervescent Dick Vitale.  With his honesty, contagious enthusiasm, and spot-on catchprases, this is the best news of the off-season.

The deal was slightly restructured to a similar deal Vitale signed in May 2014.  Besides calling the big games, the contract will also include his many appearances on SportsCenter, writing periodic columns for, and his own podcast, along with making other appearances throughout the season on ESPN Radio.

The deal lasts until the end of the 2020-2021 basketball season.

Some Great Articles Worth Reading

With the debate of “pay for play” raging on in college basketball these days, no wonder the likes of one-time Notre Dame and Oklahoma State player during the late 1980’s in Doug Gottlieb and veteran broadcaster Len Elmore offered their thoughts on the subject and what they would do if they were part of the Commission on College Basketball.

There is also an excellent article from November 2017 as ESPN analyst extraordinaire Jay Bilas gave his thoughts about any legal ramifications on what schools are and are not doing particularly well.  Also, there is a great take on why amateurism is not really part of the education process for college students.

Those links are below for your reading insight (the first link requires a paid online subscription to access any and all articles, just fyi):


Porter Moser Stays With Loyola of Chicago, And That Is Great News For College Basketball

Deal signed on April 24 keeps him at private school until 2025-2026

For several years, Porter Moser and Loyola had some pretty down years.  Poor records to go along with poor attendance at the Gentile Center.

It all changed with Senior Day against Illinois State, which later catapulted the school to winning the Missouri Valley Conference title in Saint Louis and three straight dramatic victories in the NCAA Tournament.

Once the Ramblers outdistanced Kansas State at the Elite Eight in the South Regional Final, Loyola knew they had their man.  It was not a matter of if, but when once the Final Four fervor finally subsided in San Antonio after a well played first half against Michigan–that the future looked bright.

The signing of Head Coach Porter Moser represents everything great about college basketball.  Sure, he received dozens of phone calls inquiring about his services to go to bigger and more established Division I programs.  Beyond what Sister Jean has meant in general terms, they play by the rules and respect every school they play against.  Everything is done in a classy way and with pure class all around.  There are no underground shoe contracts for the players.  A new practice facility is scheduled to open in time for next fall.  Couple that with the fact that they return all but three starters off their Final Four team, 2018-2019 looks like they could be in the mix again.

With the influx of money from their four NCAA Tournament wins, plus the residual effects left behind by former conference member Wichita State during their amazing 2013 run (forever remembered with an * after losing in the national semifinals to Louisville)–Loyola seeks to match what Butler did earlier in the decade.

Let us briefly look back at what Butler did in becoming Cinderella Darlings:

2010:  Average margin of victory in five Tournament wins:  6.6 points per game

2011:  Average margin of victory:  4.2 ppg.

Loyola average margin of victory was an even 5 points.

Something to think about on the road to Minneapolis and the 2019 Final Four.