College basketball leaders ponder what the future of the game will look like

With over 1,700 players on the NCAA transfer portal, as well as countless name, likeness and likeness deals completed and conferences (including the Southeastern Conference) adding or losing programs, college basketball gives new meaning to the term “transition game.”

What will college basketball look like in the future?

Here is a collection of observations collected this spring.

Always recruit

ESPN analyst Jay Bilas expressed mixed feelings about the apprehensions coaches might have about the future of college sports.

“Coaches are complaining because their job has become more difficult,” he said. “Part of me is, like, I get it. But the other part of me is, ‘I’m sorry. You earn a lot of money.

The recruitment calendar is likely to be more suffocating.

Coaches will apparently sign high school players and then look to sell their college players while looking to attract college transfers.

“So now coaches have to deal with players who want to leave for whatever reason,” Bilas said. “And you hear, well, players don’t want to deal with adversity anymore. Really?”

On the fluidity of rosters, Bilas said, “It’s not going anywhere until players sign contracts. And it’s coming.”

“It pays to play”

Sports Illustrated published an article in which mike arescothe commissioner of the American Athletic Conference, pondered the future.

“I’m not a prophet, but I think professionalism in college sports is here to stay up to a point,” he said. “And I don’t know what it is. I don’t know why it’s called NIL anymore. It pays to play. It pays to recruit. It’s pay to retain.

“We’ve always recognized that if you don’t have a strict model of amateurism, it can be easily abused. We haven’t made enough incremental, incremental changes. And now we’re into the drink.

Craig Thompsonthe commissioner of the Mountain West Conference, echoed that sentiment.

“We’ve completely gutted the model that’s ruled us for decades,” Thompson said. “The boosters couldn’t drive a guy in the rain. Now we don’t give him a ride – we give him the car.

Jay Bilas said it was “a pipe dream” not to see NIL as a step towards a fee-for-service system.

“Reality has set in,” Bilas said. “This is a multi-billion dollar entertainment industry, and gamers are no longer going to be left out.”

“Massive Shockwaves”

Brigham Young, Central Florida, Cincinnati and Houston joining the Big 12 conference in 2023 are “sending massive shockwaves through the college basketball landscape,” The Field of 68 website posted.

The Big 12 has already placed first in Ken Pomeroyconference rankings from seven of the past 10 years.

From 2016 to 2022, the Big 12 had as many teams winning national championships (Baylor in 2021, Kansas in 2022) as the SEC had reached the Final Four (South Carolina in 2017, Auburn in 2019). During the same period, the Big 12 had five teams that qualified for a Final Four: also Oklahoma in 2016, Kansas in 2018 and Texas Tech in 2019.

While touting the Big 12, The Field of 68 called BYU Coach (and former Kentucky player) Mark Pope a “rising star” and an “offensive mastermind”.

Good idea

Jay Bilas called for reducing the number of Division I programs from 354 to 120.

“There’s no way 354 teams are competing with each other,” he said. “They are not competitive in terms of resources. You name it. They are in no way competitive.

“And just because Saint Peter’s beat Kentucky doesn’t mean they’re competitive with Kentucky, because those are two different things.”

Fewer Division I programs would concentrate talent and make basketball more competitive, Bilas said before adding, “Now a number of places aren’t going to like it because it’s going to cut them off from their dream of to be the next Gonzaga. But, for me, it is obvious for the company.

‘Bad idea’

At the end of April, the columnist John Feinstein of the Washington Post wrote against reducing the number of Division I programs.

“The most important thing for anyone leading men’s college basketball for the next 10 years will be to make it clear to Power Five schools that breaking away from the rest of Division I is a bad idea….,” he wrote. “Power schools don’t create March Madness or any sort of magic in sports’ most relevant month. Saint-Pierre does. Oral Roberts does. Butler, VCU and George Mason did.

“Take away Saint Peter’s and its jaw-dropping run this season, and you have, for the most part, a yawn-filled NCAA tournament that was only of interest to fans of Final Four teams.”

UK odds stretch

The odds of Kentucky winning the 2023 NCAA Tournament have gotten a bit longer, according to gambling site

In updated odds released Monday, Kentucky was a 12-1 third choice with North Carolina to win the championship. In the April 25 update, Kentucky was an 8-1 favorite. The UK’s odds were 11 to 1 on April 5.

The new favorite is Gonzaga at 8-1. Houston is the second pick at 10-1.

Of Adam Burns, SportsBook manager: “We saw a lot of money on Kentucky first. However, with transfers, it is much more difficult to define the initial odds than in the past. Also, in the case of Gonzaga, Drew Timme the return really changed things. We had them up 22-1, down 18-1, 16-1, and now they’re the favourites.

Among SEC teams, Arkansas has the second best odds at 16-1. Longer shots include Alabama (40-1), Tennessee (40-1), Florida (50-1) and Auburn (55-1).

Louisville’s odds went from 125-1 on April 5 to 80-1.

fashion statement

From The Field of 68 website:

Question: If there was one thing you could change about the current structure of college hoops, what would it be?

Response from former and current Murray State coach Steve Prohm: “That’s a tough question. I think college basketball is the best sport in the world. It has provided my family with many blessings over the years. I would say I hope we keep the dress casual for the coming years !

Passed ball

The term “passed ball” will take on new meaning in a Major League Baseball stadium at the start of the next college basketball season. On November 11, a doubleheader featuring men’s and women’s teams will be played at American Family Field, home of the Milwaukee Brewers.

Wisconsin will face Stanford in the men’s game. Wisconsin will face Kansas State in the women’s game.

American Family Field has a retractable roof. The ground will be placed in the infield with center court at the mound.

These won’t be the first college basketball games played at a Major League Baseball venue. In December 2015, San Diego played San Diego State at Petco Park, home of the San Diego Padres.

Pratt remembered

Coach Bellarmine Scott Davenport text his reaction to the death of Mike Prata star as a Kentucky player and later as a color commentator on British games radio broadcasts for 21 seasons.

“Terrible loss! Davenport texted. “Class PERSONIFIED!!!”

Davenport said that as a seventh grader, he attended a basketball camp led by Pratt and his former British teammate. Dan Issel.

“I’m ALWAYS thankful and thankful!!!” Davenport wrote.

Notable transfer

In case you missed it, Michael Savarino transferred from Duke to New York University. His grandfather is Duke’s retired coach. Mike Krzyzewski.

Happy belated birthday

To Gimel Martinez. He turned 51 on Tuesday.

Happy birthday

To Tim Stephens. He turned 64 on Thursday. … TO Emmanuel Quickley. He turned 23 on Friday. … TO Joe Crawford. He turned 36 on Friday. … TO Del Harris, who will be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame later this year. He turned 85 on Saturday. … TO Derek Willis. He will be 27 on Tuesday. … TO Ravi Moss. He will be 38 on Tuesday. …to the former Western Kentucky and Georgia coach Denis Felton. He will be 59 on Tuesday.

Jerry Tipton has covered Kentucky basketball from the 1981-82 season until today. He is a member of the Basketball Writers Association of America Hall of Fame.
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