If you look at the RPI numbers - and our newest staff member did just - you can make a pretty strong case for Xavier as a one seed right now. Obviously things will change - he points out that UD won't be a top 10 win all year - but do you think X has a shot to get on the one line? If so, what do they have to do to get there?
I think X can get there so long as there isn't a terrible loss and we beat Nova the next time. Ultimately though, I think even a two or three seed will be great for this team. It always boils down to matchups in March anyway. Sure, a one or two is basically a bye, but a three or even a four (maybe) can be just as good as long as the matchups work.
Speaking of terrible losses, Seton Hall just went down to Creighton. That actually isn't a terrible loss at all, but I think Kevin Willard might be a terrible coach. Meanwhile Greg McDermott is getting a lot more out of Creighton than anyone thought he would.
That win moved Creighton to 40th in the KenPom and the loss dropped Seton Hall to 53rd. After the shuffling that comes with the rest of the night's results, we'll still have six teams in the top 55 or so, and none of them is Georgetown. (1) This league is really deep and (2) is John Thompson III any better a coach than Kevin Willard? Is it clear that DSR has developed at all under him?
I feel like the way Willard handled last season should have been a huge warning flag for Seton Hall. He clearly lost the locker room and Gibbs and Sina. At least Thompson's teams seem to get along with one another, if they do consistently underachieve come March. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Wright is clearly a pretty good coach, I think McDermott has done well with little the last couple of seasons, and Mack has taken X from a mid major to a top 10 team. That leaves us Cooley, Holtmann, Wojo, Mullin, and Leitao. Is it really as easily stratified as 6 good coaches and 4 bad ones or are there layers beyond that? I think I would rather have JTIII than Willard, Mullin, or Leitao, but I'm not sure how much better he is.
I think JTIII can get good players, but it's not clear that he can develop them or get the best out of them. Willard can get good players but seems to have a less nuanced approach to roster construction and deployment than I did when I would fill a team with guys who had three-point ratings over 90. Is he capable of reining in a star player? It doesn't look like it. Mullin has a long way to go, but it's hard to say for certain anything more than he stinks right now.
One of the biggest things this league has going for it is keeping coaching talent. I don't have to worry that anyone who goes over .500 in consecutive years is off somewhere that will pay him.
I wonder if Willard didn't realize how divisive and, frankly, not good Whitehead was when he brought him in and now he's stuck with him. I think the team was designed think Whitehead was a Semaj like star who would lift the lesser players. When he turned out to be a complete tool, Willard suddenly had a subpar roster full of dudes he thought were going to mesh in.
I can't remember who it was, but some dude who covers a lot of recruiting tweeted a while back that guys you make feel like they're doing you a favor during recruiting are going to be really tough to coach when you get them onto campus. Meanwhile, Willard hired Whitehead's high school coach to be part of his staff. I don't know how it all ties in, but it absolutely looks like Willard cannot control his team. Exhibit #4015 why we should be stoked to have Coach Mack.
Another reason is recruiting. Tyrique Jones plays mean in Vermont. Quentin Goodin just went for 28/20/6 with 6 steals. Eddie Ekiyor is on campus and Coach Mack has gone out of his way to talk up his intelligence and understanding of the game. We've talked about developing players; I think one thing Coach Mack has gotten really good at is having succession plans in place for guys who graduate or leave. If Ed jumps after his sophomore year, consider that our PG options appear to be a senior LAJ or a sophomore Quentin Goodin who seems stout. That's waves of talent, which is what anyone not pulling in half a dozen five-star recruits every year has to do.