by Ken Thomson

Let’s Go, jump it up already! The 2018-19 season should be an interesting one to say the least. With the FBI still doing it’s due diligence to try and clean up shady, under-the-table pay-outs, the playing court may level out just a bit. The incoming freshmen class may be the strongest for a long time, maybe ever with the NBA G-League now opening up their wallets to some kids that have no interest in going to College just to be looked at on the hardwood. The sad thing for a lot of these kids that don’t take advantage of the FREE Education is that many will fall through the cracks and have no back up plan. Injuries and just plain out not being good enough, will send many around the world competing for jobs in foreign countries.  It is sad that so many agents give these kids bad evaluations and input into their future and when the ones who don’t make it have reality set in we often find their names in the police blotter. I’ve been around this game for four decades and nothing surprises me anymore.

Ok, let’s talk on the court College Hoops for this season. Three Big schools have new head honchos as they look to change their direction and ascend back to respectability. Duke’s top assistant and former HC at VCU & Oklahoma, Jeff Capel takes over a Pitt program that hit rock bottom last season with former Vandy mentor, Kevin Stallings, going 0-18 in the ACC. It will be a project to say the least but in three years I believe Capel will have this team back on solid ground. Jersey Kid, Dan Hurley, Danny during his playing days at Seton Hall, leaves Rhode Island for UConn after former Huskie Kevin Ollie upset the apple cart with some off the court issues and was let go. Hurley is a winner and growing up with legendary High School coach, Bob Hurley Sr., there is no doubt coaching is in his veins and UConn will be a big player again in the near future. His brother Bobby will have Arizona State competitive in the Pac-12 again as well.
The other big hire is Chris Mack signing at Louisville after the Pitino mess short circuited the Cardinals last season and they went with interim coach David Padgett to salvage things the best they could last year. Mack left a solid job at Xavier and should have the Cards back in the mix sooner rather than later but this season the NIT may be as good as it gets.
Needless to say, like Bama in College Football, the rich get richer in College Hoops as well. Duke brings in their strongest trio of freshmen ever with number one recruit R.J. Barrett leading the way. Kentucky, with Coach Cal still relying on one and done guys, is loaded as well and Stanford transfer Reid Travis could give the Cats the veteran leadership they’ll need in close games and down the stretch. The usual suspects will also be knocking at the door to try and get to the Final Four in Minneapolis. Expect Kansas, Gonzaga, and North Carolina to challenge at the end while some new faces will emerge as well. Rick Barnes has a solid squad at Tennessee and there is no doubt Nevada under Musselman will have their most talented team on paper in their school’s history. Virginia became the first number one seed to ever lose to a sixteen, something Coach Tony Bennett would like to forget. His team with Guy & Jerome will be focused big time to make amends. Nova, Auburn, Sparty, and Kansas State will also be in the mix and there are a few out west that could challenge in Oregon & Washington as well as the Bruins of UCLA where Coach Alford is among coaches on the early season hot seat.
Keep glued to ATN as myself and Basketball Guy will look to make you some good money throughout the season. Oh, and don’t forget your injury reports that can seriously change team’s fortunes. Mizzou has already lost Porter for the season while several others are out for the year as well. BYU will get back PG Emory who is back at school and eligible after being suspended the first nine games. With stud Yoeli Childs back as well as TJ Haws, the Cougs should pass St. Mary’s as the number two dog behind Gonzaga in the WCC. I could write another five pages on things going around the country with 300 plus D-I teams to keep track of but you’ll get all the action and info right here at Against the Number throughout the season. Buckle up and let’s take a ride on the NCAA HOOPS ROLLERCOASTER. Here’s to having more ups than downs together while we laugh all the way to the bank!!
by Basketball Guy

Only seven months ago the Ramblers of Loyola Chicago reminded everyone that college basketball is indeed the greatest sport of all. Porter Moser and company made an improbable run into the final four and into everybody’s hearts. Can another mid major pull off the same feat? Both Nevada and Gonzaga are in the preseason top Ten which is rarefied air to have more than one mid major in the mix this early. For a mid major to have a shot, you have to have an excellent coach at the helm. Eric Musselman of Nevada and Mark Few of Gonzaga certainly check that box. Gonzaga is no stranger to the top ten but Nevada is definitely in unfamiliar territory. The Wolfpack return the Martin twins, Jordan Caroline, and a host of talented newcomers and i do believe have a legitimate shot at the Final Four. Both them, and Gonzaga, are around 12 to 1 to win it all and it would not surprise me if one of those two teams are chopping down the nets come early April.

But when it comes to betting futures, I prefer to go for longer shots. The two I have in mind for this year are Virginia Tech and TCU. The Hokies program is led by Buzz Williams and if you can find a price around 100 to 1, I think its worth a buck or two. TCU is coached by Jaime Dixon who is entering his third season in Fort Worth. He did a wonderful job at Pitt and I do believe this is the year the Frogs go deep into the tourney. The key might be the health of point guard Jaylen Fisher. He has not been able to stay healthy in either of his two years as a frog but i do believe this is the year he does and when he is on the court he has a special presence about him. November is nearly upon us and the first two months of the season present a myriad of betting opportunities as power rankings can easily be off by as many as ten points. Enjoy the season – without question the best sport of all  !!!!

Lace ’em up for the entire College Basketball season right here at Against The Number with Ken Thomson & Basketball Guy