Already five weeks are on the books for my mailbag article and many great questions have been shared on the thread.

We have discussed specific teams and their chances for a conference title and being Cinderella stories in their conferences or the upcoming NCAA Tournament. We have also delved into the neural networks science and their use across many application platforms. So, I want to thank all of you, once again, for making these threads good ones. Remember to keep an eye out for the new thread I start every Monday in Players Talk for you to ask questions and you can also email me questions to johnryan@sbrforum.com. 

2boca asks: “John, do you think Baylor can get it together for a deep run this year?”

I just don’t see Baylor getting the job done. They are in a tough conference and I believe they are significantly behind conference leader and No. 5 ranked Kanas and second place and No. 3 Missouri. Baylor is ranked no. 14 in the latest polls with a solid 24-5 season record and 11-5 Big-12 conference record. They have won seven of the last 10 games and are on a nice three game winning streak.

However, I have Baylor ranked 18th, which is a marginal difference from the poll ranking, but nevertheless a downgrades of sorts. They play Texas Tech Monday, which should be a near scrimmage for them. Texas Tech is having a horrid season sporting an 8-20 record and are just 1-15 in Big-12 conference play.

Baylor will end the regular season with a significant set at Iowa State March 3. Iowa State is in fourth position in the Big-12 with a an 11-5 record and are 21-8 for the season. This game will determine, who finished in third place in the conference standings and I expect Iowa State to a be a slight favorite in this game on the NCAA basketball odds board.

Baylor is a solid team, but they don’t have the depth and strength at both ends of the court to even win their conference championship. They are solid team, but not an elite one. I can point to one glaring problem that will prevent them going deep into the Tournament and that is rebounding. The Bears ranks 257th in the nation allowing 10.2 offensive boards per game. Come tournament time, the elite teams in the nation turn up the defensive heat and focus even more on defending the glass to minimize and second and third chance scoring opportunities. I believe this may be the root of Baylor’s failure to become a Cinderella type team.

For next week let’s start the discussion off with an evaluation of the Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles basketball program that appears 13th in the RPI ranks and has been steadily climbing those ranks in recent weeks. Is this the Cinderella team we all look for come Tournament time or are the mathematics of the RPI providing a mask to the smoke and mirrors that many media talking heads have been portraying?

Georgetown is also flying under the radar and although not a true long shot, I think the Hoyas have what it takes defensively to upset Syracuse or Marquette in the Big East conference tournament.

Michigan, Temple, and possibly Missouri are becoming more frauds than contenders in my eyes. Temple lost to St. Josephs Saturday and were dominated down the stretch in that game. I also do not believe that Missouri has a realistic shot at defeating Kansas this week either and another loss would send the Tigers into the bottom-half of the Top-25 poll. With all of this said, can Southern Mississippi compete and defeat any of these aforementioned teams?