This week, I had the opportunity to have a quick phone conversation with the esteemed Clark Kellogg, CBS college basketball analyst. We talked about the Tournament draw, the Big 12, Baylor's chances of a deep run, and the Capital One Cup.
Being at most an amateur blogger, I have only my quickly taken notes from which to draw, and so no thorough, satisfying quotations. Kellogg did have a couple of surprising opinions, so I thought I would share his thoughts, even if I can't share his exact words.
On the Tournament draw
Kellogg thinks the Tournament draw is fairly even this season. The top seeds are all well distributed, and there are hardly any obviously over- or under-seeded teams. Most of the regions pose the same amount of difficulty. Well, all of them except for Kentucky's, which broke pretty well in their favor. He doesn't see anyone in that region with much of a chance to upset the Wildcats.
Baylor, he thinks, is a prototypical Tournament team: three-point shooting, tough zone defense, and good guard play. Kellogg sees Baylor as a near lock for the Sweet Sixteen. I asked him what he thinks Baylor's chances are against Arizona; 60/40, he said. I know, I was surprised, too! In his estimation, Baylor's defense will give Zona's offense, which already goes through its dry spells, some trouble. Mix in the potential for Baylor to bomb threes like they did against Iowa State, and that's a recipe for Baylor to make their third Elite Eight in six years.
On the Big 12
Kellogg was not as high on the Big 12 generally. He thinks Kansas will meet their end in the first weekend against Wichita State, that Buffalo will upset West Virginia in classic 12-5 style (I sort of like this theory myself), and that Iowa State will have trouble getting past Gonzaga, though it's a possibility that they give Duke a tough game in the Elite Eight. Here's the real kicker, though. I had to remind him about Oklahoma. In his opinion the Sooners are ripe to be upset by Dayton, one of his sleeper teams to make a deep run (Note: Dayton is in the 1st half of its First Four game against Boise State as of the writing of this post). When I pushed back a little, Kellogg agrees that Oklahoma is a very good team, but he really likes the Flyers.
The Capital One Cup
As part of our interview, Kellogg shared with me the mission of the Capital One Cup and his involvement. Kellogg has been an advisor for the Capital One Cup since its inception. It is the mission of the Capital One Cup to recognize excellence in athletic competition and to award academic scholarships to athletes. Baylor currently stands in 29th place on the men's side and in 34th on the women's. If Baylor can make the surprise run to the championship in either Tournament, they'd see their place in the standings drastically change.
My sincere thanks to Clark Kellogg for time. He was very gracious, kind, and had lots of great things to say about Baylor. Best of luck to him and his endeavors.