The Lindy's college basketball preview magazines are dropping, and one of the great things are the regionally specific covers. Today we're tackling this pressing issue: if each cover represented a 3-on-3 team, who would win?
1. THE MIDWEST-ISH. I'm sure there's a name for the greater Nebraska/Kansas/Missouri landscape, but I don't know what it might be. What I do know is that their Lindy's team is sick. Phil Pressey should contend for the best PG in the nation avatar, Doug McDermott can score from anywhere, and Jeff Withey is the player Kansas has designated their annual role of "really good sidekick who will now dominate."
2. PHILADELPHIA. The only thing that keeps this team from the No. 1 spot is their lack of size. They only go 6-2 and 6-4 on the wing – but that's alright because Galloway is a 47% 3-point shooter, and Khaliff Wyatt is one of the top multi-threat players in the nation. And then they have Villanova's Mouphtaou Yarou who is a 6-10 shot blocking, rebounding machine.
3. FLORIDA. Our first four player team. UCF's Isaiah Sykes will start on the bench, but he can play valuable minutes when Florida State's Ian Miller needs a rest. Miller is a combo guard who can score, but more importantly was No. 11 in the ACC at not turning the ball over. Kenny Kadji is a 6-11 freak for whom the pick-n-pop was invented, and Patric Young is not only Jimmy Dykes homo-erotic muse, but also a tough interior presence who will erase an awful lot of mistakes.
4. INDIANA. Eric Atkins is a solid point guard who can kill you from deep. Watford, at 6-9, can do the same. And Andrew Smith will hold down the middle. Smith has a tendency to drift outside too often for my tastes, and Terone Johnson is one of the worst free throw shooters in the nation. But hey, in 3-on-3 that doesn't matter.
5. KENTUCKY. If the contest turns into a 3-point shootout then you could bump this team up to No. 1 – but in 3-on-3 you have to be able to dominate the interior. Isaiah Canaan and Kyle Wiltjer make a formidable punch on the outside, but they both attempted at least half their shots from beyond the arc. For Dieng to be an offensive force, he needs more slashing and general chaos from his teammates.
6. NORTH CAROLINA. The ACC's two best point guards can battle for time alongside the Plumlee who looks like a superhero and the Tar Heel anointed to be the next Chapel Hill hero. In a 3-on-3 setting, Plumlee's athleticism would be key to this team's success, and then the 3-point shooting of CJ Harris (42%) combined with the total game of Lorenzo Brown would open up the mid-range expectations laid by McAdoo.
7. ARIZONA/UTAH. You've got a point guard in Carlino who likes to force up bad shots, and a bench guy in Felix who is probably the least efficient player on any of the covers. But the other two can flat out ball. Washburn gives the needed size (6-10) and Hill is the versatile inside/out on the wing.
8. OREGON/WASHINGTON. Probably the last team without a glaring weakness. N'Diaye is a 7-0 athletic freak who won't need to score (lucky for the team), while Singler and Pangos can both score from all over. If either get open it's bottoms.
9. DC/VIRGINIA/MARYLAND and for some reason WESTERN PENNSYLVANIA. This geographically challenged squad will also have a serious problem defending anyone. At 6-6 Joe Harris is the big. Woodall and Starks can both bury threes, while Theus can lock people down. Faust is talented, but probably not ready to get a lot of time on the floor with this team.
10. GEORGIA/SOUTH CAROLINA. At some point the uber talented Milton Jennings is going to do something good, right? Regardless, he's 6-9 and athletic. Udofia and Bruce Ellington both have offensive ratings below 95 (which is bad), and Caldwell-Pope can do a lot of good things on the court, but unfortunately falls in love with the three while being a 30% shooter.
11. OHIO. O is for Ohio, or in this case, for "oh if this team had a big." Defensively, no one will want to play them, but anyone of size will just camp at the rim. Wells (6-4), Kilpatrick (6-4) and Craft (6-2) are one of the most talented teams in this contest, but unfortunately the translation from talent to success is not simply a sum of its parts. I'm also not all that sure that Lindy's wants to sell magazines to Xavier fans.
12. TENNESSEE. Another vertically challenged team. Kedron Johnson, at 6-4, will be guarding guys like Mason Plumlee and Jeff Withey. If trades were allowed they could ship out Joe Jackson for a big, but trades aren't allowed. They're stuck with a team of point guards, albeit very talented ones.
13. ALABAMA. Purifoy is the biggest of the three, and he stands 6-5, and he's a terrible rebounder for his size. But he does make up for it by being able to score from anywhere. Releford and Frankie Sullivan are a pair of 6-0 points who prefer getting out and running – something which doesn't happen in 3-on-3.
14a: ARKANSAS/MISSISSIPPI STATE. The beginning of the teams which do not qualify, as Lindy's couldn't find a third player. How about Murphy Holloway from Ole Miss? He's only 6-7, but he's a rebounding terror.
14b: NORTHEAST. Really Lindy's – there's no one else in the northeast that could have gone in place of that stupid ad in the corner? No Chaz Williams (UMASS)? Justin Edwards (Maine)?
14c: CHICAGO: There are seven other Division I universities with the word "Illinois" in their name. That's roughly 90 scholarship players to choose from.
14d: WISCONSIN: Lindy's I would give you a pass here, except that Wisconsin Green Bay has a 7-1 player by the name of Alec Brown who was 1ST TEAM ALL CONFERENCE IN THE HORIZON.
14e: MICHIGAN. With Trey Burke and Branden Dawsen forming a great slashing/athletic combo, it would be nice if this team had someone who could camp on the 3-point line. If only there was a university like Oakland, and they had a career 41% 3-point shooter like Travis Bader.
14f: NEW YORK: Only two players in a region that includes New York City? You gotta be fucking kidding me.