MLB Draft: College Teams And Players Who Won and Lost the Draft

Much is made of which MLB teams had good and bad drafts, with each team’s selections graded and separated into distinct winners and losers. But what about collegiate teams? College baseball is more affected by the draft than most other sports, as high school prospects battle a decision between signing with the team that drafted them, or honoring their commitment to play at the NCAA level. So which teams and players were most impacted by the results of the shortened, two-day, five-round MLB Draft? 

Winner: Texas
There’s one reason for Texas making the winner’s category, and that reason is Jared Kelley. Kelley became the first ever draft pick out of Refugio High School in Texas, but despite being ranked as the 12th best prospect by MLB.com, Kelley’s name went uncalled during Wednesday’s first round. Fears of the power-throwing righty being a tough sign caused Kelley to slip all the way to the Chicago White Sox at pick #47. Why is that good news for Texas? Because if Kelley was considered a tough sign near the top of the first round, it’s going to be way tougher for the White Sox to lure the Texas product from his in-state commitment. The slot value for pick #12 is 4.4 million, the 47th overall pick comes with an expected 1.6 million dollar signing bonus. Getting Kelley to leave his home state for barely a third of the money is going to be a tough one to sell for the White Sox, leaving Texas ready to enjoy the luxuries of a stud who looks like he’ll be one of the best pitchers in the country. 

Losers: Mississippi State, Arizona

On the flip side of Texas’s situation is Mississippi State and Arizona, who both couldn’t have been too happy with the Boston Red Sox. For Arizona, they watched one of their premium prospects in Nick Yorke get drafted 112 spots above his ranking, going from a projected fifth-round pick to 17th overall. While the Red Sox did make the pick to save some money on the slot value of the 17th pick, they will likely make an offer far more competitive and enticing to Yorke, who was described by Vanderbilt head coach Tim Corbin as “the best high school hitter in the nation”. Arizona may not have anticipated it being a battle to keep Yorke in the program for the next three years, but Boston just made it a lot harder. Meanwhile. Mississippi State was likely ecstatic when viral slugger Blaze Jordan slipped all the way to the third round. The further he slipped, the more it looked like they would be benefiting from the services of one of the nation’s best power hitters, until Boston swooped in and grabbed the Missouri product at 89th overall. Boston did not have a second round pick, and they will either not sign Yorke or sign him for below slot value, leaving them with plenty of money to throw at Jordan, making his decision a lot tougher. With some of their top prospects’ future on their teams in doubt, Mississippi State and Arizona are in the losers category for this draft. 

Winner: Austin Martin
Slipping from a potential first overall pick to fifth may not be a ideal situation normally, I think this a massive win for Austin Martin. Martin got drafted to the Toronto Blue Jays, meaning he avoids the hapless organizations of the Detroit Tigers, Baltimore Orioles, Miami Marlins, and the Kansas City Royals. The Blue Jays are the only team out of that group of five that has recently shown some upside, and they have a recent track record of developing elite prospects like Bo Bichette, Cavan Biggio, and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. It’s a great situation for the best all-around player in the 2020 MLB Draft.

 Loser: Texas A&M
The Aggies knew they were losing Asa Lacy, their ace left-hander was picked fourth overall. However, they then saw outfielder Zach DeLoach go 36 spots earlier than his ranking suggested, and pitcher Christian Roe jump 41 slots. Both juniors, it looks unlikely they’ll return to the crowded collegiate rosters, with their expected signing bonuses jumping up by nearly a million dollars, leaving Texas A&M floundering a little more than expected in a highly competitive SEC next season. Long-term, however, the Aggies may look like a winner if they can turn this draft night surprise into success on the recruiting front.

Thomas: Best and Worst Atmospheres in College Basketball

Yesterday, we looked at the best and worst atmospheres in each Power 5 conference in college football, and today we’ll do the same on the court, checking in on the best college basketball atmospheres in the power-6 conferences (including the Big East). 

Big East

Worst Atmosphere: DePaul

A really bad team makes it hard to bring in fans, and the Blue Demons exemplify that, with easily the lowest per-game attendance in the Big East. They were just 3-15 in conference play this past season, have not made the NCAA Tournament since 2004, and they’ve had a share of last place in the Big East in ten of the past twelve seasons. Safe to say the student body isn’t exactly coming out in droves for most of their games. 

Runner Up: Georgetown

Best Atmosphere: Creighton

It was a tough race at the top for the best atmosphere in the Big East, but the nod goes to the Blue Jays who are in the Big East, despite hailing from Nebraska. Nebraska loves their college sports teams – the Cornhuskers were ranked the top Big 10 football atmosphere yesterday – and Creighton is no exception. It didn’t hurt that Creighton was really good this past season, but as the Blue Jays rallied down the stretch to claim the Big East regular season title, CHI Health Center Arena was roaring in Omaha, led by the notorious “Creighton Blue Crew”.

MEMPHIS, TN – FEBRUARY 4: Fans of the Memphis Tigers “Blue Crew” cheer on their team during a game against the Xavier Musketeers on February 4, 2012 at FedExForum in Memphis, Tennessee. Memphis beat Xavier 72-68. (Photo by Joe Murphy/Getty Images)

Runner Up: Marquette

Pac-12

Worst Atmosphere: Washington State

The Cougars are much more of a football school – whether it was Anthony Gordon throwing a million touchdowns, or the iconic Gardner Minshew taking snaps under center, Washington State has had some studs on the gridiron. The same cannot be said on the court, where the Cougars haven’t placed in the NCAA Tournament since 2008. ‘08 was also the last year they posted a winning record in Pac-12 play. Coming of entertaining football seasons, basketball just isn’t much of a product to be watched in comparison. 

Runner Up: USC

Best Atmosphere: Arizona
The Wildcats have the second-biggest arena by capacity in the Pac-12, yet they were one of just two teams to produce a sellout in 2019, and the only team to record multiple, as Arizona home games saw capacity crowds flood through the gates four times last season. The Wildcats are traditionally a contender for Pac-12 glory, and they’re fans get hyped down there in Tucson. Easy call here. 

Runner Up: Washington

Big 12

Worst Atmosphere: TCU
The Horned Frogs aren’t even a top-3 program in their own state, so it’s hard to generate a lot of excitement at their games. Their crowds are among the smallest in the Big 12, which has several teams that just pack crowds into their arenas night after night. It was a battle for the bottom between two Texas programs, and TCU loses out as the worst atmosphere in the Big 12. 

Runner Up: Baylor

Best Atmosphere: Kansas

Was there any doubt? Kansas is one of the toughest places to play, and with a horrific football program, gamedays at Allen Fieldhouse is where it is at, if you’re part of Jayhawk nation, or just a fan of great college basketball. The long-time dominant force of the Big 12, Kansas has one of the best homecourt advantages in college sports, backed by a rocking and raucous crowd every night. 

Runner Up: Iowa State

Big 10

Worst Atmosphere: Rutgers

We spat all over Rutgers in football, and unfortunately for the Scarlet Knights, we have to the same here. At least in football, they can be considered the best college team in the state (as sad a statement as that is for New Jersey), but they don’t have that notoriety in basketball, as Seton Hall is a far superior team most seasons. Rutgers was actually not horrible this past season, but years of struggles makes any athletic atmosphere less than electric at Rutgers. 

Runner Up: Northwestern

Best Atmosphere: Wisconsin

Maybe a bold pick, but the Badgers actually in the Top-5 for average attendance per home game. The Badgers are a few years removed from their era of March magic, making a couple of Final Four runs and beating undefeated Kentucky in 2015, but Wisconsin still packs in fans for home games to cheer on a team that is often in Big 10 championship contention. 

Plenty of passionate basketball fans up in Wisconsin

Runner Up: Nebraska

ACC

Worst Atmosphere: Wake Forest

In a basketball-crazed conference, the Demon Deacons’ consistent struggles on the court struggle to bring fans to their ACC contests, where they are oftentimes uncompetitive. Wake pulls an upset here and there, but they are not consistent enough in their success to entice too many fans to come through the gates. 

Runner Up: Boston College

Best Atmosphere: Duke

This is an absolute no-brainer. With a 9,314 seat arena, the Duke Blue Devils pack in 9,314 fans to every home game, with the thundering cheers of the “Cameron Crazies” leading the way. No matter where you sit, you’re close to the action, and you really can’t beat the atmosphere in Durham on gameday, where they also host the biggest rivalry in college basketball once a year. 

Runner Up: Virginia

SEC

Worst Atmosphere: Texas A&M
When basketball season is sandwiched between football at Kyle Allen Field and baseball, where the Aggies have one of the most vocal fanbases, the action on the court tends to play second fiddle to their primary sports. The Aggies don’t have extremely small crowds, but the SEC has some of the best atmospheres in the country, and they simply don’t bring enough tradition to the table to rise out of the cellar. 

Runner Up: Ole Miss

Best Atmosphere: Kentucky

The Wildcats have NBA draft lottery talent playing every single year, and fans are bunching together at the gates trying to get into Rupp Arena. One of the most historic programs in the nation, Kentucky is a must-see team on any die-hard college basketball fan’s to-do list. 

Runner Up: Tennessee

Daily Headlines: McClung Transfers, Arizona Lands Twin International Recruits

The biggest name on the NCAA basketball transfer market made his decision on Wednesday, as former Georgetown star Mac McClung announced his intent to transfer to Texas Tech, the 2019 NCAA runner-ups. It’s a huge pick-up for the Red Raiders, who have lost a few of their top options, including Davide Moretti, who left collegiate ball for pro ball in Italy. McClung became a viral star in high school, and he tore it up with the Hoyas for two seasons before declaring for the draft, while maintaining eligibility. However, McClung recently withdrew his name from draft consideration, and Texas Tech immediately became a favorite to land his services. The Red Raiders are known for their fierce defensive system, but McClung’s fireworks offensively will be a welcome sight in Lubbock, where Chris Beard hopes to compete with Kansas and Baylor for Big 12 supremacy.

Arizona lands twin brother recruits
Arizona basketball received some big-time upgrades via their international recruiting, as they landed twin brothers Azuolas and Tautvilas Tubelis out of Lithuania. Azuolas led Lithuania in scoring in the U16 and U18 European championships, and he is the top-rated international prospect. Tautvilas spent four seasons playing for the elite Vilnius Basketball School, while also competing at the FIBA U16 and U18 European championships. They both cited Arizona’s campus and fans as reason for their commitment. The Wildcats were strong contenders in a wide-open Pac-12 last season, but they lost seven of eight players who got major playing time. They’ll hope these victories on the recruiting front keep them in conference contention.

Johnny Juzang gets immediate eligibility

UCLA got some welcome news as well for their basketball team, as transfer Johnny Juzang got approved to play immediately for the Bruins, after transferring from Kentucky. Juzang was originally a Class of 2020 recruit, but he re-classified and played 28 games for Kentucky, starting two. His numbers (2.9 points per game) didn’t dazzle, but he also didn’t see much playing time until the back-end of the year, and he put up a few impressive performances, including 10 points in a comeback effort versus Florida, as well as thirteen points against Tennessee. The 6’6 shooting guard hails from Los Angeles, and he’s headed back to his home state to play for the Bruins, where he will be an intriguing option for a team that finished second place in the Pac-12 last season, finishing the year as one of the hottest teams in the country.

Houston’s Fabian White out for the season

Houston lost a key contributor for the upcoming season, as senior Fabian White suffered a torn ACL while working out on his own, forcing him to take a red-shirt for 2020-2021 season to preserve his eligibility. It’s really bad luck for White, who started all 31 games in his junior campaign, and for Houston, ranked nineteenth in the country in ESPN’s way-too-early Top 25, they’ll need to replace one of their best players if they want to be contenders for the NCAA Tournament.

This Day in March Madness History: Throwback to when nobody knew about Steve Nash

This Day in March Madness History
March 18, 1993
Santa Clara vs. Arizona

  • The Setup
    Arizona entered as a 2-seed, one step above their third seed in 1992 when they lost to 14. East Tennessee State in the first round. After another successful regular season, the Wildcats entered their game against Santa Clara hoping to exorcise some of their postseason demons. Despite appearing in their ninth straight tournament, Arizona had advanced past the second round only three times in that span, venturing deeper than the Sweet 16 on just one occasion.
    Santa Clara was a little-known 15th seed, making just their second tournament appearance since 1970. They hadn’t won a non-consolation NCAA Tournament game since 1969. They hardly seemed like an intimidating opening round matchup for the Wildcats.
  • How it went down
    Santa Clara came roaring out of the gates, shooting very well for the first 15 minutes. They also played smothering defense, and, as a result, led Arizona 33-21 with just under five minutes to play in the half. But the Broncos went cold, and Arizona heated up, scoring fourteen straight to claim a 35-33 halftime advantage.
    Arizona continued their momentum from the first half by starting off the second half with eleven straight points – for a combined 25-0 run that gifted the Wildcats a 46-33 lead with 15 minutes to play. Against an ice cold underdog squad, the lead seemed pretty secure. However, Arizona’s leading scorer, Chris Mills, had to take a seat with four fouls to his name, and Santa Clara took advantage. They slowly chipped away at the lead, outscoring the Wildcats 16-6 while Mills sat, closing their gap to 52-49. Mills re-entered with 5:21 left, but his presence did very little for Arizona, who proceeded to not hit another field goal until there were 8 seconds left on the clock. By that point, Santa Clara had taken a 64-58 lead, but Mills drilled a triple to bring the Wildcats back within three points. Taking center stage for the Broncos during their comeback was little-known freshman Steve Nash, who was just 1-7 from the field but made eight consecutive free throws to help stave off the Wildcats. Nash and a teammate did combine to miss four free throws in the final ten seconds, but a desperation heave from Arizona clanged off the rim, giving Santa Clara the victory. It was just the second 15-over-2 upset in NCAA Tournament history. 
  • The Aftermath
    As most 15-seeds do, the Santa Clara Broncos lost their next game, their magical upset of Arizona representing their only win. They lost to a strong Temple squad, who ran all the way to the Elite Eight as a seventh seed. They have gone 1-2 in two NCAA Tournament appearances since that loss, and they haven’t gone dancing since 1996.
    Arizona finally shook off whatever postseason jinx was holding them back, advancing all the way to the Final Four in 1994. In 1997, the Wildcats finished the job, taking home a national title, the only one in program history. 
  • NBA Notables (Teams they played 100+ games for)
    Arizona – Khalid Reeves (6 teams in 6 years), Chris Mills (Warriors, Knicks), Damon Stoudamire (Trailblazers, Raptors, Grizzlies)
    Santa Clara – Steve Nash (Suns, Mavericks)

Saturday’s Pac-12 Recaps and Takeaways

The Pac-12 had four matchups on Saturday, with one big upset and a huge statement victory among the results. Here are all the recaps and takeaways from Saturday along with the games to come today.

Arizona State 66 Arizona 65

The Recap: 22 was a special number for Arizona State as they held Arizona to 22 second-half points to rally from a 22-point deficit and beat the #22 Wildcats 66-65. Remy Martin scored 24 to lead the Sun Devils while Alonzo Verge sank the game-winning layup with 9 seconds left. 

The Takeaway: Arizona is not good away from home. The Wildcats are ranked due largely to their 10-1 home record, but they are now 0-4 in road games. Home court matters a lot to this squad – they beat the Sun Devils by 28 at home just weeks earlier. 

Colorado 76 Washington 62

The Recap: Tyler Bey scored 16, McKinley Wright IV had 15, and the #23 Buffaloes rode a 51-point first half to an easy win over Washington at home, improving to 5-2 in Pac-12 play and a three-way tie for second in the conference. 

The Takeaway: Colorado’s depth is a huge strength: Big comebacks are hard enough to make, but overcoming an 18-point halftime deficit is near impossible when your opponent continuously has fresher legs on the court. Colorado had four players play at least 12 minutes off the bench, while Washington had one such player. Overall, Colorado’s bench outscored Washington’s 25-4, which may be a difference-maker in the postseason. 

USC 75 Oregon State 55

The Recap: Propelled by Onyeka Okongwu’s 18 points, USC dominated both halves and earned a huge road victory at Oregon State, keeping pace with Colorado and Oregon for second in the conference with their fourth win in five games.

The Takeaway: USC may be the most dangerous Pac-12 team in the Playoff: USC is now 5-2 in true road games and 7-4 in games played outside their home arena. That’s a huge advantage on every other Pac-12 team, and it could make a huge difference in the postseason, where most if not all games will be played on neutral courts.

Utah 76 Washington State 64 

The Recap: The Utes got a big day from Rylan Jones (24 points) and huge contributions off the bench from Mikael Jantunen (16 points) as they handled the Cougars for the second straight win following a four-game skid. 

The Takeaway: Utah’s defense is their key to victory. The Utes have a decent offense that can put up 70 points a game, but they rarely blow you out of the water with a jaw-dropping offensive performance. However, in four Pac-12 losses, Utah is giving up 84 points a game, compared to 66 points a game in their 3 wins. If Utah figures out how to play consistently good defense, this team could make moves in March. 

Friday’s Games

None

Sunday’s Games

UCLA @ #12 Oregon

Stanford @ Cal