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2004-05 NCAA Basketball Preview

College Basketball: Monday Mailbag


By Joel Welser

December 20th


Joel’s Monday Mailbag


Each Monday, Joel Welser will be bringing you his Monday Mailbag.  If you have a question which you'd like Joel to answer, email  He’ll post and answer as many questions as possible.  Please include your first name and home state when contacting Joel. 


One question each week is chosen as the "Question of the Week", and is answered by a few CHN staffers.  At the end of each Monday Mailbag, Joel presents his "Team of the Week" and his "Thoughts of the Week."  Visit the Mailbag Archive for past installments.



If you had to rank the following criteria/factors that a recruit bases his college selection in basketball, how would you rank them?

Playing time
NCAA Tournament probability
Final Four probability
Appearance in the previous year's Final Four
NCAA Championship (winning The Final Four the previous year)
Area (metro or same state) earlier recruit attending the same university/college


From John,



That’s tough because it is going to change with every recruit a great deal.  What may be first for one, will be last for another.  It would change a lot if the recruit has NBA dreams or just wants to play some college ball.  I’ll rank them as best as I can with my reasoning.


  1. School.  Everybody has a favorite school growing up that they dream of playing for.

  2. Curriculum.  While this might not be high on a lot of the name player’s lists that we’ve all heard of, the school’s curriculum is important to the majority of recruits.

  3. Location.  Again, while the big names might look at other factors first, many players want to stay close to home or have a specific location that interests them.

  4. Coach.  Spending four or five years under the tutelage of a coach is a major commitment.  It should be high on everybody’s list.

  5. Playing time.  Most people being recruited want to play.  Playing time is why every high school kid in Arizona can’t play for the Wildcats.  Well, that and Lute wouldn’t have enough scholarships.

  6. NCAA Tournament probability.  Even I would want one of my games to be on TV.  Having the potential to win the conference tournament can be a big factor.

  7. Area.  A couple factors here are family tradition or a recruit just having a player they want to emulate.  The recruit says I play like Chris Duhon, so I want to go to Duke and be the next Duhon.

  8. NCAA Championship.  Winning the National Championship the previous year is just more exposure for that team.  The top recruits want to play for a winner, but there will be other options out there for them to play for a team that can win it all.       

  9. Final Four probability.  Just about all major conference teams can pitch Final Four probabilities over the next four or five years.  Deep down even a recruit at Northwestern thinks they have a chance at a Final Four during that recruits tenure.  Well, maybe.

  10. Appearance in previous Final Four.  That doesn’t apply to many recruits, but the exposure for the team definitely helps in the recruiting process.




Could we see a young Kentucky team picking themselves up after their first loss against UNC?  Does the upset against Louisville prove to the basketball world that the Wildcats mean business?


From Aaron,

Ashland, Kentucky


The Indiana and Louisville victories were huge for Kentucky’s young team.  They have confidence heading into the SEC schedule.  I’m sure that Kansas, Mississippi State, Alabama and Florida have taken notice.  Kentucky will still have some bad games due to their inexperience, but if they can beat Louisville in the middle of December, they should be even more successful later in the season.  They have Kansas at home, but I’m not sure they’ll be ready for the Jayhawks by January 9th, but the absence of Wayne Simien should help.  Tubby Smith’s squad still isn’t proven on the road, but starting in mid January Kentucky has five of six conference games on the road.  If they win the road games they should, than the fans in Lexington should be happy come March.

Question of the Week

 - The question of the week is answered by multiple CHN staffers -

*Due to the holidays, there is no Question of the Week this week or next*


Have a question?  Email Joel at, and please include your first name and home state. We’ll post and answer as many as possible.  All questions may be published or edited unless requested otherwise.


Joel’s Team of the Week

San Francisco Dons

Last week the Dons beat St. Joe’s and Pacific.  This week they took out Montana and Fresno State to make it seven wins in a row for Jesse Evans’ squad.  Johnny Dukes came off the bench to lead San Francisco with 16 points en route to a 79-58 win over Montana.  The game against Fresno State was all about John Cox.  The senior scored a career-high 35 points to lead the Dons over the Bulldogs by a score of 73-62.  It doesn’t get any easier for San Fran.  They play at Texas Tech on New Year’s Day and then host Penn before starting conference play. 


Joel’s Thoughts of the Week


Does anybody actually watch these bowl games?  Unlike most, my only beef with the BCS is the fact that it takes away the importance of other bowl games.  I’ll cringe when I see a Big 12 team playing in the Rose Bowl next week.  I spend my fall Saturdays in front of the couch from noon to two in the morning (four, if Hawaii plays at home) with my meatless chili and a couple 2-liters of diet 7-up like any wussy football fan, yet I have no urge to watch any of the bowl games.  Maybe it is because basketball season is underway or maybe it is because all but one of the bowl games is virtually a preseason game for next year.  I’ll watch Wyoming play UCLA in September, but not in December.  That’s why college basketball is so much better.  I do have a solution to the BCS, which I might as well share since everybody else does anyway.  The bowl games need to be more established…like every conference should have their Rose Bowl.  The MAC champion should always play the WAC champion in some bowl game.  It would be the goal of every MAC and WAC team to make it to the Motor City Bowl or whatever, just like it is every Big Ten and Pac 10 teams’ goal to go to the Rose Bowl.  Get rid of the BCS and be proud of winning your conference and making it to your bowl, not just winning a national championship.  People can vote on that if we must have a national champion, but none of those rankings affect your bowl game.  Back to the old way for picking a national champion, but with some established bowl games and better conference alignment to those bowl games.


Have a question?  Email Joel at, and please include your first name and home state. We’ll post and answer as many as possible.  All questions may be published or edited unless requested otherwise.


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