Weekend preview: Impact of injuries being felt going into March

  • Myron Medcalf, ESPN Staff WriterMar 1, 2024, 08:25 AM ET Close Covers college basketball

  • Joined ESPN.com in 2011
  • Graduate of Minnesota State University, Mankato

Sure, the best group might win everything in March. However maybe the healthiest squad might have the edge when it’s time to cut down the nets.The past month

of college basketball has actually had lots of injuries that have impacted the depth charts of America’s top groups. The result of a few of the developments is obvious. Others may not be as clear on the surface, however the metrics recommend they could have an influence on their particular teams’ Last 4 hopes if they remain in the weeks ahead.Auburn’s Jaylin Williams missed out on a game due to a knee injury, however returned for Wednesday’s loss at Tennessee. Duke’s Caleb Foster suffered an ankle injury during his team’s loss at Wake Forest and missed Wednesday’s win over Louisville. Foster is expected to return, but the timetable of a possible return for other crucial players has been more uncertain.Men’s Competition Obstacle Complete your bracket by selecting the winner for each game of the 2024 men’s NCAA tournament. Play

Men’s Tournament Challenge Langston Love( 11.1 PPG, 49 %3-pt )was playing some of his finest basketball of the season for Baylor when a leg injury derailed his season and required him to miss out on most of February’s slate and potentially beyond. Tre Mitchell, Kentucky’s leading rebounder, has actually missed 6 of the past 7 games with a shoulder injury. Joshua Jefferson( 10.2 PPG)has actually missed out on several games for Saint Mary’s with a knee injury.And earlier this week, Costs Self said Kansas is not”relying on”the return of Kevin McCullar Jr., a potential All-American and forecasted first-round choice in this summer’s NBA draft.That’s all problem

at the worst possible time for these groups that hope to make sounds in the NCAA competition. It’s likewise the regrettable reality of a prolonged season. Sometimes the team that avoids the injury bug carries that enter upon the postseason.The possible returns of those key players– or their ongoing lacks– could change everything in March.Odds provided by ESPN BET.

Friday, 9 p.m. ET,

ESPN2 Drew Valentine was just 29 years

old when he accepted the Loyola Chicago task following Porter Moser’s departure for Oklahoma almost 3 years earlier. He won 25 games throughout the 2021-22 season, his very first as a head coach, and led the group to the NCAA tournament. However 4 of the 5 starters from that squad finished. A year later on, he won just 10 games, and critics questioned if he ‘d acquired a job he couldn’t deal with. This season, Valentine is showing he was the ideal choice. He has his Loyola squad at the top of the standings with an opportunity to win the Atlantic 10 championship in simply its 2nd year in the league. However the Ramblers will have to power through Dayton to achieve that objective. DaRon Holmes II (20.0 PPG, 8.0 RPG, 2.1 BPG, 37%from the 3-point line )and the Flyers have actually lost simply three games because Nov. 19. Medcalf’s pick: Dayton, 75-70; Against the spread: Dayton (-1.5 )

Saturday, 1 p.m. ET ABC Editor’s Picks 2 Associated There are concerns these two teams should answer in order to reach their ceiling as March techniques. For Baylor, this is the mystery: Where is the real RayJ Dennis? The Toledo transfer and previous MAC Gamer of the Year, is shooting just 33% from the 3-point line in conference play. He’s also 2-for-12 from beyond the arc with 15 turnovers in Baylor’s previous 3 games. Yves Missi and Ja’Kobe Walter are playing like the forecasted first-round picks they are, per credible mock drafts, but the Bears need Dennis to return to an elite level.Meanwhile, Kansas has actually

been not able to develop any consistent, good offense from its half-court sets without McCullar. Johnny Furphy, the 6-foot-9 Australian who is unexpectedly increasing on mock draft boards, is probably the team’s most capable scorer without McCullar, and Costs Self’s squad needs a boost with the prospective All-American sidelined, perhaps for the remainder of the season. The Huge 12 is a two-team race between Houston and Iowa State, however Baylor and Kansas are trying to determine who they are before the postseason arrives.Medcalf’s pick: Baylor, 77-74; Versus the spread: Unavailable at time of publication Saturday, 2:30 p.m. ET, FOX In the two games prior to Wednesday’s 91-69 win over Providence– success over DePaul and Xavier– Tyler Kolek taped 28 helps and 3 turnovers. The Golden Eagles are a more fluid group when the possible All-American and NBA prospect is both a potent scorer and efficient distributor. Marquette is 12-1 when Kolek completes with at least 8 helps in a game this season. He has balanced 5.6 APG and 2.8 turnovers per game in Marquette’s 6 losses. In his group’s uneven loss at UConn last Saturday, he ended up with three assists and four turnovers. It’s obvious whom Creighton will attempt to stall in this matchup … but just if Kolek is readily available. He left Wednesday’s game with an oblique injury. If he can’t go, whatever modifications. Even a fully healthy group would have an obstacle with this Creighton squad.Ryan Kalkbrenner(17.1 PPG, 2.9 BPG) has been a force on both ends of the flooring for Creighton. But the Bluejays, who take 3-pointers on nearly half of their field goal efforts, can get disrupted by their volume shooting. After a big win over UConn recently, they shot 6-for-26 from beyond the arc in a 14-point road loss to St. John’s on Sunday. Then, that exact same group hit 41%of its 3-point efforts in a Wednesday success over Seton Hall. Kolek or not, Marquette will have its hands full with this Creighton squad.Medcalf’s pick: Creighton, 86-80; Against the spread: Not available sometimes of publication Saturday, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN Leading stories of the week from

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of premium short articles a year from top writers. – Bubble Watch: Big 12’s function so far”- A free representative finalizing due date for MLB?” – NFL complimentary agency tiers: RBs and LBs”More ESPN +material”Skill, talent, defensive expertise and shooting ability all effect a group’s prospective throughout the season. But the schedule matters, too. Tennessee and Alabama are connected for top place in the SEC,
so the winner of this game will

have the benefit in the conference race. The league’s slate, however, might determine who wins the regular-season crown. After this game, the Vols will travel to play South Carolina– the same South Carolina that beat them in Knoxville earlier this season– and then host a Kentucky group with a bunch of future pros in the season ending. Alabama will play at Florida and finish with a home game versus Arkansas (125th in the internet rankings). Tennessee is 7-1 in its past eight games, but just two of the wins came versus a top-25 KenPom squad. Alabama gave up 117 points in a loss at Kentucky last Saturday, but the Crimson Tide are still ranked initially in adjusted offending efficiency.Medcalf’s pick: Alabama, 79-77; Against the spread: Not available sometimes of publication SEASON overalls Medcalf’s picks directly: 35-24 Against the spread: 30-29

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