College basketball mailbag: Counting down

Third-year coach Josh Pastner has Memphis playing at a high level.
(US Presswire) is counting down the top 50 players heading into the 2011-12 season. A countdown of the top 32 teams should begin soon, as well. Hope you enjoy them. Whether you agree or disagree, preseason predictions always make for a fun debate. Here are the answers to some of your most recent questions.

Memphis is no mid-major

Memphis IS NOT a mid-major school. They are a non-BCS school, but they have never been considered a mid-major school. Whether you’re talking about money, market, facilities, popularity, history (playing in a national championship in 1973 or losing to Villanova in the 1985 Final Four), Memphis has never been considered a mid-major. Their football team on the other hand …


The Tigers have certainly competed at a high level in basketball in recent years – a trend that didn’t end when John Calipari left for Kentucky. Third-year coach Josh Pastner is recruiting on a national level, too, and Memphis routinely plays one of the toughest schedules in the country. I’d love to see Memphis in one of the Big Six conferences.

[King: 10 questions entering the 2011-12 season]

More on Memphis

I definitely enjoyed your recent article (Ten Burning Questions) regarding the upcoming college basketball season. I just have one comment for you: Memphis is NOT (and never has been) a “mid-major”. A non-Big Six school for sure, but not a mid-major. There is a difference. Thanks for your time. Keep up the excellent work.

Steve Henry

It appears I upset more than a few people by labeling Memphis a mid-major. From now on I’ll refer to it as school from a non-Big Six conference. Whatever the case, I’m hoping I get to spend some time in Memphis this year. I love the FedEx Forum – and Gus’s Fried Chicken is one of my favorite restaurants in the country. Seriously, it’s some good bird.

Will Butler be back

Butler almost missed the NCAA tournament last year and ended up in the championship game. I don’t know how they’ll do it, but I imagine they’ll be back in the tournament again and win at least a game or two again.

Xenia, Ohio

Something tells me you’re right.

Hoosiers NCAA-bound?

I’ll keep it simple. I enjoy your writing. I was happy to hear Christian Watford say the season will be a disappointment if Indiana doesn’t make the tourney. The Big Ten won’t be as tough this year as it has been the last two years. I think Indiana could surprise. The schedule is navigable.


I’m not ready to predict an NCAA tournament berth, but a winning season is certainly a possibility for Tom Crean and Co. – especially if Cody Zeller adapts to the college game quickly. He’ll be the perfect complement to the highly underrated Watford down low.

Teams ranking coming

I’ve been following the preseason Top 50 players list and all the while I’m wondering what happened to the Preseason Top 50 teams list? That was what originally won me away from ESPN. There was so much information on that list, so much detail condensed into single page sheets for each team. Nothing got me more prepped and excited for a college season. What happened? Was it just too much work to compile?

Jason Darcy
No location given

Glad you’ve enjoyed the lists we’ve provided in the past. The “teams” list will begin soon. And our ranking of all the conferences began today.

Coaches’ poll based on season

Can you explain the final ranking provided by USA Today/ESPN? Why is VCU at No. 6 when they made it to the Final Four? Why is Notre Dame at No. 14 when they were beat by No. 19 Florida State? Why is Utah State in the final 25? Is there something sinister going on, or are these rankings just careless?

No location given

The USA Today/ESPN poll is based on votes from Division I head coaches who actually watch and analyze games. If you were going to rank teams based solely on their NCAA tournament finish, there would be no reason to turn on your TV.

[King: Nash predicts big things at Oklahoma State]

Nash’s learning curve

I read your article on LeBryan Nash, to me it seems like he is overconfident and expects too much and doesn’t realize just how much harder college basketball is than high school. My question is this: When does he come back down to reality? Because Oklahoma State isn’t the best team in the conference and I don’t think he knows just how hard it is to play at Kansas, Baylor, Texas, KSU, etc.

Conrad Logan
Kansas City

LeBryan is like a lot of college freshmen who are a just a few weeks away from the start of official practice. He thinks he knows what to expect but, truthfully, he has no idea. I like Nash’s confidence, though. That kind of swagger is probably one of the main reasons he’s made it this far in the first place. As long as he’s not disrespectful to a coach, an opponent or a teammate, I’m fine with it. It wouldn’t surprise me if Nash ends up being one of the top five or six freshmen in the country this year.

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Jason King is a college football and basketball writer for Yahoo! Sports. Follow him on Twitter. Send Jason a question or comment for potential use in a future column or webcast.
Updated Saturday, Oct 1, 2011