I want to start out by apologizing for not getting a fraud watch out last week, with Feast week going on and so many neutral site games taking place, I thought it would be best to wait a week and have a full picture of all of the fraudulent activities going on after this Feast Week. The good news is that there are plenty of suspects of fraudulent behavior going on, and no team or league is safe. I have five teams and two leagues selected this week for being frauds.
There should be no team more fit to be the fraud of the week than the Oregon Ducks, who went 1-2 in the Maui Invitational and is looking downright atrocious to start this season. Losing to BYU by 32 is embarrassing but it’s just one game, so I’ll brush it off to the side. Following that up with losses by a combined 41 points against St. Mary’s and Houston is just even more embarrassing. The transfer additions have been downright disappointing, while they still are looking for answers at the center spot. Frankly, the only player who has been good has been Eric Williams Jr, who was expected to come off the bench to start the season.
This is a prime example of why some seasons are different than others, a year ago Drake was world-beaters in non-conference play and they used that to slide into the Tournament, despite having multiple key injuries. This year with a fully healthy roster, they have started 3-3, while going 0-3 in the ESPN Events Invitational. Sure Belmont is a decent team, but if you’re an NCAA Tournament contender, that needs to be a game you win. Losing to Alabama wasn’t a bad loss, but they also should’ve beaten North Texas the following game. None of these losses are bad by any means but when you’re trying to prove yourself to be an NCAA Tournament contender, you have to get a couple of these wins. The more pressing concern is that the team has regressed, the shooting numbers are down, the ball seems to stick more, both of which are concerns that need to be fixed going forward.
At 5-1 this season, the Tigers have been excellent on the defensive end, and atrocious offensively. Turns out getting a true point guard might have been something that would’ve helped this team. Emoni Bates is a good isolation scorer but needs to be moved off the ball. Alex Lomax isn’t the answer, and there aren’t many good options off the bench. Memphis guards really well and has great frontcourt options, so just focusing on feeding the post would be my suggestion. That said, turnovers are always going to keep this team from achieving their preseason aspirations.
Sure, Maryland hasn’t lost any terrible games to this point but that doesn’t matter because this team is downright disappointing. They lost to a George Mason team that has since fallen off a cliff, Mark Turgeon got outcoached by Mike Pegues, an interim coach who served because Chris Mack was suspended. Fatts Russell has been okay, but Eric Ayala has regressed, and Qudus Wahab has been one of the most disappointing transfers of this season. Sure there’s time for this team to improve, but Mark Turgeon is also their coach, so don’t expect that to happen.
Coming off an incredible NCAA Tournament, the Pac-12 has been incredibly disappointing to start this season. UCLA, Arizona, and USC have all been good but that’s about it. Oregon is already mentioned in this article, Washington State lost to Eastern Washington, Washington is 4-4 with four bad losses, Stanford has looked disappointing, while California, Arizona State, and Oregon State are all below .500 on the season. Sure the league could get three Elite Eight teams in those top-3, but those might be the only teams from the league to make the NCAA Tournament.
While the Pac-12 being bad is certainly in the headlines, but the ACC has been just as bad as well. Duke has been fantastic and is deserving of the #1 ranking, but that’s the only thing going right for the ACC. Florida State is 5-1 but nearly lost to Boston, North Carolina’s defense can’t guard a folding chair, Virginia’s defense is bad, Virginia Tech lost to a Xavier team that was without three key rotation pieces. The only teams that have surprised have been Louisville, who still has a home loss to Furman, and Wake Forest, who is 6-1 with no wins that are remotely decent. The ACC is also down 2-0 in the Big Ten/ ACC challenge and that doesn’t look like it will be getting better anytime soon.