Mental Dimes NCAAM Basketball Podcast Episode 5–Interview w/ Trevor Smith & Recruiting w/ Jamie Malloy

Summary: In Episode 5 of the NCAAM Basketball Podcast, Shea and Trevor discuss:

As always, big thank you to our Sponsors at Lookout Cafe and Adelos Pizza for making this podcast possible!

Jamie Malloy’s Recruiting Breakdown

Jamie is our recruiting expert at Mental Dimes and we asked him to highlight 4 players he felt could make an impact next season. Here are his breakdowns of:

Avery Brown: A three star national recruit and 189 overall per 24/7 Sports, could definitely be considered a 4-star based on his offers. Nebraska, Arizona State, Colorado and a handful of other power programs have reached out in interest. And it’s no wonder, Brown can score–he averaged 13.3 ppg in 32 games for Northfield Mt. Hermon last season, plus he’s a stellar ball handler that can space the floor without fear of attacking the rim. While these major programs can certainly carve out a role for Brown–Jamie believes a notable Mid-Major, such as Dayton would be a better place to jumpstart his career, using them as a stepping stone to potentially transfer into the Power Conferences in the future.

Paul McMillan: Is another 3-4 star ball handler similar to Brown. He’s ranked a 4-star at 171st nationally by 24/7 sports. He’s currently committed to NJIT, a move Jamie believes is motivated by playing time opportunities, but he received multiple Power Conference offers from teams like Kansas St. and Ole-Miss. He’s a versatile guard that can play 1-3, he has a good shot, can hit from deep, and with decent competition in the Northeast with Vermont he’ll have a chance to prove himself against tournament level teams. His high school stats prove why he’s so legit–he was awarded Gatorade Player of the Year for the state of Ohio and posted 27.3 ppg to go with 5+ assists and 4+ boards. He’ll be a force in the Northeast worth watching.

Donovan Clingan: Is a BIG man. The huge 7-footer will be joining the UCONN Huskies next season and can immediately help them battle in the juggernaut of the BIG-East. A Bristol native, he lit up the stat sheet–his senior season he averaged 24.9 points, 18.1 boards, 3.1 assists, 6.1 blocks a game. No, those are not typos, and they are the reason the Huskies reached out in extreme interest. Jamie believes Clingan is more than just a big guy that lives in the paint, he can also shoot from outside and has developed the new versatile style of play for Centers–he’ll have the skill set ready to make an impact in college and should he continue to progress he’ll find his way to the NBA.

Jett Howard: People certainly had Jett on the radar–son of Michigan coach Juan Howard, Jett joins his father next year with the Wolverines. He has a strong frame, an aggressive defender, a great three-point shooter, he won the three-point shootout in the Iverson Classic this year, and Jamie believes this will help him make an immediate impact as a Freshman. In addition to the Iverson classic he posted 13 in the Jordan classic against a handful of major recruits heading into next season. Michigan will battle for the top of the BIG-10, and Jett could be a key piece to their success moving forward.

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Elite-8 Segment — This Week’s Topic: First Round Tournament Upsets in Past 8 Years

The Mental Dimes ELITE-8 Segments feature our MentalDimes NCAAM Podcast hosts Shea Irish and Trevor Heilman, each battling to choose what they think are the best 8 picks based on each week’s new topic. The way it works: 

  1. A topic is chosen—it can be Basketball related (famous villains, best shots, worst coaches, etc.) or it could be fun (best pizza toppings, worst injuries, best purchases under 5$, etc.)  
  2. Each week Shea and Trevor rotate who gets the #1 picks, and they each go back and forth, unable to choose what the other has chosen. 
  3. When the picks have been made—you can find a poll on our MentalDimes NCAAM Social Media pages to vote for who you think has the best team. OR you can vote in the poll section below the article.  
  4. The winner is announced on our Podcast the following week and either receives an award from the loser, or the loser is given a punishment by the winner. 

This Week’s Topic: Biggest First Round Tournament Upsets in Past 8 Years

Trevor Pick 1: 2018 (16) UMBC over (1) Virginia 

Shea and I both agreed that this may be a trump card play–it truly is the most remarkable upset in the history of the NCAA Tournament, and it’s only happened once. 16 seeds at the time were 0-143 against 1 seeds… until the UMBC Retrievers showed up and knocked off the Cavaliers–demolishing all brackets in 2018. It was 21-21 at half and that alone was a perceived accomplishment for the underdogs, but then they took off and smoked Virginia by nearly 20 points to finish the second half. They were 20.5 point underdogs, had lost to Albany earlier in the season with a score of 39, while Virginia had only lost 2 games the entire year, both losses by a total of 8 points. It may take another 143 games before we see another upset like this again, truly remarkable.

Shea Pick #2: 2014- (14) Mercer over (3) Duke

Photo By: Bryan Horowitz, CC BY-SA 2.0

This upset will go down as the last time in Coach K’s career that the Blue Devils lost in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. The tiny school from Macon, GA  played the game of their lives and sent home a Duke team that had 7 future NBA guys on the roster, including Jabari Parker, Rodney Hood, and Quinn Cook. The Atlantic Sun Champions held their top two scorers Parker and Hood to a combined 6 of 24 from the field, and for the game outshot Duke by a margin of 55.6% to the Blue Devils 35.5%. This matchup happened just two years after Lehigh stunned the Blue Devils in a 15 over 2 upset, so this monumental victory for Mercer was an even bigger surprise as everyone figured Duke would not take another underdog lightly. It was the Bears first trip to the big dance since 1985 and the odds for Mercer to win the game were +800. As the Atlantic Sun POY Langston Hall said after the game, “This is what March Madness is all about!”

Trevor Pick #2: 2021 (15) Oral Roberts over (2) Ohio St. 

Photo By: The Volante, CC BY-SA 2.0

This is a personal pick because I hate Ohio St., but would’ve been an easy pandering pick in 2021 as Max Abmas, the Nation’s leading scorer, had become America’s darling. Oral Roberts was most certainly chosen as a fan-favorite in far too many brackets than logic would allow, but the Golden Eagles showed up big with Abmas dropping 29, and Kevin Obanor posting 30. Ohio State had their chance, missing a buzzer beater in regulation, but Oral Roberts ended the victor on their way to defeating Florida, and nearly knocking off Arkansas in a heartbreaker two games later.  

Shea Pick #2: 2016 (15) Middle Tennessee over (2) Michigan State 

The Blue Raiders absolutely shocked Tom Izzo’s Spartans right from the opening tip. They jumped out to a 15-2 lead before the first TV timeout and never trailed once the entire game. Michigan State made it a ball game with 3 minutes to go by cutting the deficit to 3, but MTSU closed the game out on an 11-5 run to win 90-81. At the time of this upset, Middle Tennessee was just the 8th 15 seed ever to advance past the first round. The Blue Raiders came in as heavy underdogs, by as much as 17 points on some betting sites. The Spartans came into the game winning 13 of their last 14 games, including a run to win the Big Ten Tournament Championship. They were a trendy favorite to take home the National Championship that year considering the only game they had lost in the previous two months was a 1 point OT affair, and they had the AP National POY in Denzel Valentine. The underdogs from Murfreesboro, TN would put a stop to that chatter right away.

Trevor Pick #3: 2021 (14) Abilene Christian over (3) Texas

This was the first tournament win for Abilene Christian in school history, and what better way to make your mark than by knocking off the inner-state powerhouse. The game ended 53-52 in a defensive juggernaut—ACU shot 29% while texas hit 40 (a testament to ACU’s defense). But the cool part was Joe Pleasant, who shot less than 60% from the line, was fouled on a putback attempt with 1.2 seconds left in regulation. With endless pressure on his shoulders, he stepped up to the line and sank both to send the Longhorns packing.

Shea Pick #3: 2015 (14) Georgia State over (3) Baylor 

Photo By: LockedIN Magazine, CC BY-SA 2.0

This unforgettable March Madness memory can not be kept off the list. Down 56-54 with 10 seconds left, R.J. Hunter (future Boston Celtics 1st Round draft pick) had the ball in his hands with a chance to tie or take the lead for the Georgia State Panthers. Instead of attacking the basket, he decided to settle for a deep 3-pointer from halfway between the 3-point line and the edge of the center court logo. BANG, nothing but the bottom of the net with 2.6 seconds remaining. Georgia State 57, Baylor 56. Lost in the chaos of what would ultimately be the game deciding shot to send the 14th seeded Panthers on to the Round of 32 was R.J. ‘s father Ron Hunter (Georgia State’s head coach) falling off his stool on the sideline. The coach tore his achilles celebrating his team’s Sun Belt Championship win to lead them to the big dance, and for an encore he fell off his seat in amazement from his son’s GW shot. That scene arguably has to be one of the top 10 moments in NCAA Tournament history, and of course was the result from one of the biggest upsets in recent memory. 

Trevor Pick #4: 2022 (15) St. Peters over (2) Kentucky 

This game began the greatest Cinderella run of all time when the Peacocks—who NO ONE knew–knocked off a potential title winner in Kentucky. They were 17.5 point underdogs on a team that 99% of college basketball fans couldn’t name a starter, and they somehow managed to reach Overtime against Oscar Tshiebwe and company. After wearing down the Wildcats in regulation, the Peacocks put their foot on the gas and won the overtime battle 85-79. The peacocks were 260 in offensive efficiency that season and had less than a 5% chance of winning… Doug Eddert come on the podcast please.

Shea Pick #4: 2018- (13) Buffalo over (4) Arizona

Photo By: Cay North, CC BY 2.0

If you look at the team names on paper, any college basketball fan would have told you that Arizona should have been the prohibitive favorite over Buffalo. But the game isn’t played on paper, instead on the court. Wes Clark, the player of the game with 25 points and 7 assists, put it perfectly when he said “With us being a MAC team, it’s easy to look at us and say that we can’t compete with a high-major, a team that has four NBA prospects. We know deep down from looking at the film and getting our confidence right that we could play with those guys. We came and played hard.” He was spot on, and during that day it was clear who the better team was, especially in the 2nd half. The Bulls outscored the Wildcats 49-30 after the break to pull away for an 89-68 first round upset over the Pac-12 Champions. The decisive factor in the game came from 3-point range, as the Bulls hit 15 of them and Arizona went just 2-18 (11.1%). That Wildcats team had star big man and 1st overall NBA draft pick in 2018 DeAndre Ayton, plus Allonzo Trier who played a few seasons with the New York Knicks.

Authors

  • Trevor Heilman

    I'm Trevor Heilman--currently a high school teacher and coach, and an aspiring sports editor for Mental Dimes. I'm a self-proclaimed expert when it comes to NCAA Basketball, an embarrassingly awful Fantasy Football player, underdog loving sports bettor, Gonzaga alum, and huge fan of anything sports. Co-Host of the mental Dimes NCAAM Podcast

  • Shea Irish

    Shea is a life-long college basketball fanatic. He has always been passionate about following mid-majors hoops. He's 25 years old and currently resides in Upstate New York. Co-host of the Mental Dimes NCAAM Podcast.

  • Jamie Malloy

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