Several interesting thoughts have been careening around my mind in the wake of the recent developments in the FBI investigation into college basketball.
First, the one-and-done situation has a lot to do with agents offering players money and even collaborating with colleges to acquire the best talent. Most of this money is going to players who are going to the NBA after their freshman year. The NBA controls the rule because it was collectively bargained, and hopefully it will be changed. Just let players declare for the NBA out of high school. The college game will survive.
Second, when this is investigation is done, I believe some schools probably will have to forfeit games from this season. When that will happen I can’t predict.
Third, I hope it doesn’t lead to some system of paying college players large amounts of money. Let the NBA make that mistake.
Fourth, the No. 1 pick in this year’s NBA Draft should be Deandre Ayton, Arizona’s 7-foot-1-inch, 250-pound monster. Marvin Bagley of Duke should be next.
Finally, I’m still going to try to enjoy these games despite all the sleaziness. So, let’s look at this week’s conference tournaments.
March 5, 7-10
First round, campus sites at higher seed
Quarterfinals-final, at Cleveland
Favorite: Buffalo. The Bulls have a talented trio in C.J. Massinburg, Jeremy Harris, and Wes Clark that could cause someone problems in the NCAA Tournament.
Contenders: Toledo, Eastern Michigan, Ball State. Toledo has a great guard in Tre’Shaun Fletcher.
Long shot: Central Michigan. If the Chips can revert to the team that won the Great Alaska Shootout.
MID-EASTERN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE
At Norfolk, Va.
Favorite: Savannah State. The Tigers are 3-point crazy. They need to make them this week.
Contenders: Bethune-Cookman, Hampton, North Carolina A&T, Norfolk State. This is truly wide open. At one point last week, there was a five-way tie for first.
Long shot: Morgan State. Coach Todd Bozeman can motivate the Bears.
Prediction: Savannah State.
ATLANTIC COAST CONFERENCE
Favorite: Virginia. The best defensive team in the country clearly has been the conference’s best team all season.
Contenders: Duke, Clemson, North Carolina. Duke probably has the most talent, but will that be enough?
Long shot: Notre Dame. Bonzie Colson has returned from injury.
Prediction: Notre Dame.
March 6, 8-10
At Reno, Nev.
Favorite: Montana. The Grizz dominated the regular season.
Contenders: Idaho, Weber State, Eastern Washington. Idaho and Eastern were responsible for Montana’s two league losses.
Long shot: Portland State. The Vikings looked tough back in November in the PK80 tournament. They need to regain that magic.
Prediction: Eastern Washington.
SOUTHWESTERN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE
March 6, 9-10
Favorite: Grambling. The incredible turnaround season — going from one of the worst teams in college basketball to a champion — can’t stop now.
Contenders: Texas Southern, Prairie View, Arkansas-Pine Bluff. Playing in its home city, Texas Southern will be a threat.
Long shot: Alabama State. The Hornets have one victory over Grambling.
Prediction: Grambling. I can’t go any other way.
At Washington, D.C.
Favorite: Rhode Island. The Rams have had an historic season.
Contenders: St. Bonaventure, Davidson. Both teams play very fast and could win some high-scoring games.
Long shot: Saint Joseph’s. The Hawks just beat Rhody by 30.
Prediction: Saint Bonaventure.
At New York
Favorite: Villanova. The Wildcats have been consistently the best team in the country.
Contenders: Xavier, Creighton, Seton Hall. X, a potential No. 1 seed and the regular-season champion, amazingly isn’t favored to win its conference tournament. The idea of beating Villanova has half of the city of Cincinnati hyperventilating.
Long shot: Marquette. If all the 3-pointers drop.
At Kansas City, Mo.
Favorite: Kansas. This is not Bill Self’s best team, but it won the regular-season title for the 14th straight year.
Contenders: West Virginia, Texas Tech. Tech has been the most overachieving team in the country.
Long shot: Oklahoma. Freshman sensation Trae Young has to rediscover his best game.
Prediction: Texas Tech.
At Frisco, Texas
Favorite: Middle Tennessee. Let’s get this out of the way: Even if the Raiders don’t win this tournament, they deserve an NCAA bid.
Contenders: Old Dominion, Western Kentucky, Marshall. ODU is 23-6; its great season was overshadowed by Middle.
Long shot: Florida International. It played Middle to a 5-point game.
Prediction: Middle Tennessee.
At Las Vegas
Favorite: Nevada. Reno has become a destination for transfers, most notably the Martin twins, Caleb and Cody.
Contenders: Boise State, Fresno State, New Mexico, San Diego State. Once you get past Nevada, it’s really even.
Long shot: UNLV. The Rebels have slid, but they’re playing in their hometown.
Prediction: Boise State.
At Las Vegas
Favorite: Arizona. Hopefully, no FBI wire taps in the locker room. It’s been a crazy season but the Wildcats are still crazy talented.
Contenders: Southern Cal, UCLA, Utah. The Trojans have their own problems with the FBI but have had a sneaky-good season.
Long shot: Arizona State. The Sun Devils’ guards are capable of taking over a game.
At St. Louis
Favorite: Auburn. The Tigers have overcome ineligible players because of the FBI investigation and one serious injury. It’s been an unexpected, amazing season.
Contenders: Kentucky, Tennessee, Florida, Arkansas. The Kentucky Playaz are playing better than they have at any time this season.
Long shot: Texas A&M. The Aggies have been disappointing but they’re still talented enough.
Prediction: Texas A&M,
At Katy, Texas
Favorite: Southeastern Louisiana. The Lions just spanked Nicholls State to clinch the top seed.
Contenders: Nicholls State, Stephen F. Austin, Sam Houston State. Nicholls hopes to reverse the most recent loss to Southeastern on a neutral floor.
Long shot: Central Arkansas. I can’t get it out of my mind that the Bears beat Cal and took UCLA to overtime.
Prediction: Nicholls State.
SUN BELT CONFERENCE
At New Orleans
Favorite: Louisiana. The Ragin’ Cajuns from Lafayette have had a historic season, dominating with a 16-2 conference record.
Contenders: Georgia State, Georgia Southern. State is coached by Sully’s Court favorite Ron Hunter. I like the way his teams play.
Long shot: Texas Arlington. Senior forward Kevin Hervey will have to put the Mavericks on his back.
Prediction: Georgia State.
WESTERN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE
At Las Vegas
Favorite: New Mexico State. The Aggies are head and shoulders the best team.
Contenders: Utah Valley, Grand Canyon, Seattle. For profit Grand Canyon would like to add to the coffers with NCAA money.
Long shot: Can’t imagine anyone else winning this.
Prediction: New Mexico State.
AMERICAN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE
At Orlando, Fla.
Favorite: Cincinnati. Rough and ready, the Bearcats are not to be messed with. They just have to score enough points.
Contenders: Wichita State, Houston, Tulsa. The Shockers haven’t been in tune all the time, but I love their personnel.
Long shot: Central Florida. The hometown edge might help.
Prediction: Wichita State.
At Anaheim, Calif.
Favorite: UC Davis. The Aggies finished the season on a five-game winning streak.
Contenders: UC Santa Barbara, UC Irvine, Fullerton State. Santa Barbara has a win on Davis’s home court
Long shot: Long Beach State. The league’s traditional power is capable of putting together three good games.
Prediction: UC Santa Barbara.
Favorite: Penn. The Quakers are on their home court.
Contenders: Harvard, Yale. The Crimson have had some bumps in the road this season but they’re playing well now.
Long shot: Cornell. It would take two games of playing way over its head.
Prediction: Harvard.Joe Sullivan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeSullivan