Originally written on College Chalktalk  |  Last updated 11/15/14
About one-third of the college basketball season is complete (Current number of unbeaten teams: 9) and after all the exciting action this weekend, one can’t help but drool over the impending festivities which some call “the best tournament in sports,” known as March Madness.  We had some matchups on Saturday which had a tournament-like atmosphere involving the former #1 team (Indiana), its in-state rival and no stranger to the Final Four (Butler), a talented top 10 west coast team (Arizona), and a high-octane team with a head coach known for cutting down the nets in successive years (Florida). There are many dynamics to a successful team in college basketball; chemistry, transfers, incoming freshmen, and dealing with injuries, but arguably the most important being veteran leadership.  Many of the best programs get the top players to come to their university and wear their uniform, but for how long?  The idea of a top basketball prospect staying all four years in college is slowly gaining speed on its path toward extinction. Just pause for a moment… Imagine a world where college basketball included the likes of John Wall, Kyrie Irving, DeMarcus Cousins, Tyreke Evans, Anthony Davis, AND Flat Top (Nerlens Noel).  It’s a beautiful world, isn’t it?  Well, we could’ve had that this season! While doing my best to avoid voicing my opinion on the issue of the “One and Done Rule,” I would just like to point out that the 35-2 magic carpet ride to a National Title that was the Kentucky Wildcats’ 2011-2012 season was quite an anomaly.  While the concept of bringing together top talent from all over the country is the goal of every college coach, many people fail to recognize the egos and character differences these players may possess.  To bring in players who were likely the best player in their respective state, have been told they’re “the next MJ” or they will have “an NBA career comparable to Kobe” and get them to play for each other, to play for one common goal… is near impossible.  Don’t let last year fool you, what Kentucky head coach, John Calipari, did was one of the greatest coaching performances of our generation (Again, that’s a debate for another time – Maybe huddled around a summer campfire). This week in Stats Slant, we will take a look at some eye-catching numbers that have to do with seniority in the current world of college basketball:   88.8 Senior Christian Watford is averaging 12.2 points and 6.8 boards per game while shooting a boiling 91% from the line. (Credit: IU Athletics) Although Indiana lost this weekend to Butler (88-86 in OT), that won’t change the opinion of many that the 2012-2013 Hoosiers are for real.  They’re starting lineup consists of freshman, sophomore, junior, senior, senior.  The two exceptions (freshman – Kevin “Yogi” Ferrell and sophomore – Cody Zeller) play like seasoned vets and might as well be listed as seniors.  The result?  88.8 PPG for the red and white, which is tops in the nation. 396 Arguably, the player with the most definitive “He’s been around forever” label in all of college basketball is Florida’s Kenny Boynton.  The senior is currently averaging 13.3 PPG and his Gators (although suffered an exciting loss at (8)Arizona on Saturday) have as good a chance as anyone to make it to Atlanta for the 2013 Final Four.  As far as personal accolades are concerned, Boynton needs just 396 points (about 15.6 per game) to become the school’s all-time leading scorer.  He would pass Ronnie Williams (1981-1984) who holds the record with 2,090 career points.   10-1 Every season, college basketball fans and media find a new “Cinderella team.”  It’s typically a mid-major who has a chance to make a deep run late into March.  This year, while no surprise to the experts, Greg McDermott (Head Coach) and his son, Doug McDermott (23.7 PPG) have their Creighton Blue Jays bursting onto the scene as far as the casual fan is concerned.  For the second straight year, the Jays have started 10-1, but after a 29-6 finish last season, they didn’t get much respect as they drew an 8-seed and had to play powerhouse, North Carolina, in the second (now known as the third) round.  Combine their senior leadership (Greg Echenique and Grant Gibbs) with the star-power of McDermott, Creighton could make their slipper fit all the way to Atlanta in 2013. Attention: Doug McDermott is a 6-foot 8 forward who is shooting 52.9% from three.  Oh, and he shoots about five per game… Yeah, he’s that good. * * * Related Posts:Creighton’s McDermott sets sights on Missouri Valley championshipStats Slant: The high octane Big Ten? Believe it.Stats Slant – A look at the nation’s impact freshmenTop of the heapHulls leads No. 1 Indiana past Georgia in Progressive Legends Classic Tournament
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