Thursday, November 05, 2015

Morning News: Marcus Paige Hurt, St. John's Exhibition Blowout, Ray Smith Done For Season, And More

Nowhere to go from here but up.
The first Morning News of the season! There will probably be a few more off days in this final week of exhibition games, but the Morning News will be daily once the regular season starts a week from Friday. Anyway, let's get to some recent news from yesterday (and the past week or so):

Marcus Paige To Miss 3-4 Weeks: There may not be another player more crucial to a title contending team than Marcus Paige, who will be expected to run the Tar Heels offense. That said, if you've got to miss a month it might as well be now. If North Carolina goes 14-4 in ACC play and wins the ACC tournament then they'll earn a 1 seed in March, regardless of what happens in November. These first few games just won't mean much anymore once we hit March.

St. John's Loses By 32: Exhibitions mean absolutely nothing. There are quite a few examples of recent teams that lost to non-Division I teams in exhibitions and went on to have great seasons, as I detailed a year ago here. That said... losing by 32 points at home to a Division II team is under any circumstances an embarrassment. The fact is that this St. John's team is a long, long way from competing. Chris Mullin brought in some talented pieces, but the entire six man rotation from last season is gone, and the Johnnies have a real chance to finish dead last in the Big East this coming season.

Ray Smith Done For The Season This is a big loss for Arizona, even with all of their depth. Ray Smith was a blue chip recruit, and was expected to be a significant contributor. Also, even assuming that he comes back next season, Smith has now suffered a serious ACL tear in two consecutive basketball seasons, and you have to wonder what effect that will have on his potential as a player. Arizona is still, in my opinion, the Pac-12 preseason favorite, but the gap between them and the likes of UCLA, Utah, and Oregon is significantly smaller.

Caleb Swanigan Cleared To Play: Purdue fans got a bit nervous when star recruit Caleb Swanigan's eligibility case was red-flagged by the NCAA, but they got relief this week when he was cleared to play. He'll be good to go for their season opener.

Robert Cartwright Done For The Season This will be a big blow for a Stanford team that likely was going to end up near the bubble at the end of the season. Cartwright was effective in 11 minutes per game off the bench this past season as a freshman, and perimeter play is where this Stanford team is really lacking depth for this coming season.


JohnMitch said...

I take it your not high on California. Any particular reason why? All of the "experts" seem to love them and see them as the PAC 12 favorite but you don't even mention them when talking about the Ray Smith injury and also have them as a 7 seed in your projected bracket. I am not disagreeing with you but more just curious.

Jeff said...

It would simply be unprecedented for a team to rise as high in one year as California would have to rise to win a Pac-12 title. They were really bad last season. As a rule of thumb, when bad teams suddenly become super hyped because of a monster recruiting class, I take a skeptical eye and project those recruits to not quite live up to expectations in year one.