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BTP Mailbag: Greg Gantt, transfer portals, quantum tunneling, and other assorted things

Who’s in the photo?

Washington v Oregon Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images

The mailbag is back for another week, this time with extra mentions of quantum tunneling. Congrats to packpowerfan on getting last week’s photo reference. It was Ben Gibbard, lead singer of The Postal Service. Such Great Heights is one of the best songs ever written. We at BTP do regret to inform you that we don’t have actually have $47 for you. I lied about that. Anyway, $47 to whomever gets the reference in this week’s featured image. Now let’s open these letters.

Will the ‘22 ACC football championship game be the division winners or will there be a change for this year to feature the best 2 teams? Who would you like to see in our pod? - CanisRufus

AlecLower: ‘22 will be the same old division system we’ve been watching for years. The end of divisions is imminent but to my knowledge, nothing official has occurred yet. If the ACC does elect to go with the three yearly opponents setup that seems to be the most popular, I would be stunned if State gets anything other than UNC, Clemson, and Wake. They’ll preserve the rivalries and State’s group of three just feels like a no-brainer. Personally, I’m okay with getting Clemson. I know it’s not fair that State keeps seeing these guys and they very rarely win that game, but call me crazy, I’ve enjoyed playing the best teams over the years. I would sacrifice that for an ACC Championship, obviously, but State is likely going through Clemson for one of those regardless. I would definitely be down to replace Wake with Duke though. It’ll never happen, but it’d be preferable, and I don’t think I need to jump into why.

Essad: I would love for the ACC to lean forward and change the need for the ACCCG participants to be decided by the same ‘ol division winners, but this is the same conference that can’t even figure out how to air its own baseball conference tournament. So yeah, the 2022-2023 season is going to be unchanged. Changing now would require the ACC to do actual work in a quick manner. Instead, they’re likely going to spend the better part of the next year debating who ends up in whose pods.

Speaking of which, naturally we’d love to limit the pods to the in state NC schools all playing each other. There are a few problems with this. The history of the current ACC setup has meant NC State and Duke have seen each other so rarely that there’s barely any rivalry there in football. Second, both unc and NC State have other teams out of state they’d want to maintain the matchup with. unc has been playing UVA for like a hundred years, and they don’t want to stop seeing which of them can pop the collars on their polos higher, or who has the flashier pair of Sperry’s. Likewise, the “Textile Bowl” is (probably) a thing worth saving (kind of like the textile industry as a whole). Not just for what Alec said, but there is value in almost always being in a highlighted nationally televised game. And losing to Clemson in the new setup does not put you out of the running to make the ACCCG. Losing once then running the table to set up a rematch would be a cool story, and helps NC State’s SoS.

How does the frontcourt situation work for men’s hoops and can Ebe be happy with his role? - NCSUMets

Alec Lower: This is a great question that I don’t think will see any concrete answer for a long time, like well into the season. The only thing I feel really confident saying is that DJ Burns will see as many minutes as he can handle. That four spot is going to be very interesting though. A lot of people seem to want to lean towards Gantt there, and it makes sense. Gantt is a defensive asset who you can depend on a little more to switch screens and guard 1-5, and State should open its lineup to anyone who has even heard the word defense before. But if you put him on the floor with Burns or Ebe, you’ve got multiple guys on the floor who can’t shoot. This is initially why I leaned toward Jack Clark starting at the four, in addition to the fact that Gantt hasn’t played competitive basketball in well over a year. Clark is a solid rebounder and Keatts recruited him to be a floor stretcher guy (he’s said as much). Now Clark isn’t actually a good shooter percentage-wise, but Keatts’ commentary on him made it pretty clear that that’s the role they wanted him to take on. I think that spot is eventually destined for Ernest Ross, who is a freakazoid athlete and could become a not-totally-useless jumpshooter, but he probably still has to grow into that. That leaves Ebe as essentially a backup to Burns, at least in my estimation. That’s how I think it shakes out, and I’m sure many different lineups will be tested in live game action. As far as the second part of the question, you’ll have to ask Ebe.

Essad: We have to be honest and admit that the frontcourt during Kevin Keatt’s tenure has been quite shaky, to put it mildly. I feel like Burns could be one of the best fits for the Keatts PnR-based system. I’m high on Gantt even though I’m not totally sure why, just words on the internet rather than actual evidence. There is a real chance Ebe’s PT could slip behind Burns, Gantt or Clark in some combination. Ebe will likely not be happy with this, considering he provided serviceable support in a starting role last year with Manny Bates out. He wasn’t half bad on defense, and did have a decent block rate. The problem Keatts would prefer to, you know, score points by putting the ball through the hoop. Ebe didn’t show he was the man for this task. If he slides down the depth chart, don’t be surprised if the transfer rumors start firing up.

Also, do you guys think one day the top 25 transfer recruiting ranking will become more important than a top 25 high school recruiting ranking?

AlecLower: Depends on the sport. I think it already is for many college basketball teams. Really any team that doesn’t engage in recruiting one-and-done type talent, the transfer market offers just a much more proven group of players because you have data points at the D1 level. I think a lot of coaches would prefer to recruit in the transfer portal, especially since a transfer in is less likely to transfer out than a guy who can still use the one time no sit rule.

Essad: I don’t know about the top 25 rankings as current recruiting rankings can be suspect. But finding talent in the portal is the game now, just look at Wes Moore this offseason. I think it might actually be less impactful for football skill players compared to finding linemen ready to plug and play without the multiple years needed to develop them physically for P5 play is something Dave Doeren is well aware of. More Cory Durden’s, please. And for basketball, the old adage of “we need to wait 4-5 years for a coach to recruit a whole roster of his guys” is completely out the window. Signs of success should be seen within 2-3 years if the portal is recruited well.

The Arizona Cardinals released Jaylen Samuels yesterday. Why do NFL teams refuse to use modern technology such as quantum tunneling and handicap the excitement of the league? - PirateWolf

AlecLower: Quantum tunneling, like nuclear fusion, distortion of space time, and the triple option, is really still stuck in college. Given how useful Jaylen Samuels is in all these offensive concepts, particularly how hard he is to tackle when he starts bending the space time continuum, it’s a shame that the NFL refuses to innovate the game. Samuels is just a running back without that stuff. A running back progressing through time in a normal, linear manner. There’s a lot of those.

Essad: The NFL is always several years behind the college game in adopting new strategies. Then they’ll bring it in and people will applaud them for their smart and forward thinking, without giving credit where its due. Years from now they will realize the errors of their ways.

Until then,

Why does the NCAA suck so bad? - Kimbersdad

AlecLower: It’s just incompetent. It’s the poster boy for incompetence. I think the NCAA is a lot like a fourth-grader who forgot his math homework and is rushing to get it done before class starts. He didn’t pay attention in class, so he really doesn’t know what he’s doing, and he knows that this isn’t going to work, but he’s just making stuff up at the last second hoping to get enough right that he doesn’t get a zero.

Essad: It’s just the wooooooorst. The No Clue At All organization could have books written about its utter incompetence. I think it’s even beyond that, though. It’s a string of avoidable mistakes, they just choose to do the wrong thing constantly. They spent the past two decades defending their fiefdom over the definition of amateurism, only to completely botch the rollout of NIL. They’re powerless over their own bureaucracy, taking years to make decisions that should take months. They’re notorious for making choices inconsistent with previous ones or within the guidelines that they themselves chose to use (NET/RPI/Covid rules enforcement, etc. etc.). Oh wait, was the question WHY do they suck so bad? I dk... Maybe having one structure to manage a few hundred schools of varying sizes across the country is not the right way. Just tear it all down.

What does the [men’s basketball] team look like with Smith and without Seabron - @TreyLowerPxP

AlecLower: I don’t know how popular of a take this is but if I could only have one of these two, I think I would take Smith, especially with the current roster’s best perimeter shooter outside of Smith being a guy who shot 35% last year. It’s hard to win in college basketball if you suck at threes, and State would be hard up for some triples without Smith. Without Seabron, you’ll see a team this year that is less effective at creating rim pressure, but (and this is especially true if State adds Campbell transfer Cedric Henderson), they’ll have an easier time spreading the floor with better shooters.

Essad: Seabron was great, and I wish him all the best in the league. Hopefully he gets drafted and succeeds. He was a great find for Keatts. Both he and Smith are examples of early gems Keatts found before anyone else, we can’t take anything away from Seabron’s contributions. That being said, swapping him out for Jarkel Joiner should (hopefully) offer more variability to the offense. While Seabron was better than just about anyone at getting to the hoop, he hadn’t added a reliable jumper. If you go into create-a-character mode and move down the slider for dribble drives a bit, but move up the outside threat slider, that’s where I see this pair line up. As long as they can work to spread the offensive responsibility better than last year’s team, then that side of the floor should be fine. The question will remain on whether Joiner can affect the defensive side like Seabron could with his impressive length. We’ll see.