CJBL Tournament - West Bracket

  • By Michael Miller, Day 158, 2021


Arizona (#1) vs. Lehigh (#16)
Georgia Tech (#8) vs. North Carolina State (#9)
Kansas (#4) vs. Georgia State (#13)
Marquette (#5) vs. Bethune-Cookman (#12)
Syracuse (#2) vs. William & Mary (#15)
Maryland (#6) vs. Pittsburgh (#11)
Georgetown (#3) vs. Southern Utah (#14)
South Carolina State (#7) vs. Pepperdine (#10)

Draft Prospects to Watch

SG Trenton Knox - Arizona
C Connor Maitland - Arizona
PF Xavier Maxwell - Arizona
SF Dakarai Savage - Syracuse
SG Eddie Clemons - Syracuse
C Jalyn Jones - Syracuse
C/PF Rashaad Haslen - Georgetown
PG/SG Vince Stallings - Georgetown
C/PF DeAndre Stackhouse - Kansas
SG Marcus Dunn - Kansas
SG/SF Rene Lyles - Kansas
C/PF Brandon Weir - Marquette
SG Derek Okwarabizie - Marquette
C JT Barrett - Georgia Tech
SF Tyrone Wheeler - Southern Utah

Opening Round Preview - All eyes will be on Trenton Knox to see if he can continue his amazing junior season for the Arizona Wildcats. Knox is not alone, however, as he has a deep frontcouurt in prospects Connor Maitland and Xavier Maxwell. There is a reason why the Wildcats were the #1 team in the country for most of the year. Arizona comes in with the best RPI in the country (.642) and best net efficiency rating (27.4) in the country and are far ahead of the Texas Longhorns, who had the second highest net rating (18.2). As such, we do not really see Arizona getting pushed until at least the Sweet 16, likely against Kansas. That would hope to be a promising matchup, as Kansas has elite talent but has underachieved this year. PF/C DeAndre Stackhouse and SG Marcus Dunn are considered potential Top 5 draft picks, and SG/SF Rene Lyles was a solid returning starter from a 2020 Kansas team that reached the CJBL Elite Eight. Nevertheless, the Jayhawks have been inconsistent and racked up a surprising 12 losses. On the other hand, perhaps they are starting to jell as we head tournament time, as they did reach the Big 12 Conference Tournament final, losing to Texas, 92-69. To get to Arizona, however, Kansas will likely have to get past an underseeded Marquette, who received a 5 seed despite being ranked the 9th best team in the final AP Poll before the post season. Marquette is led by outstanding C/PF Brandon Weir, who may be poised for a breakout tournament. At the bottom half of the bracket, it would be surprising to see anyone but Syracuse and Georgetown play in the Sweet 16. The Orange have rebounded nicely after losing Quavious Williamson to the JBL following their CJBL National Championship loss, reloading with hotshot freshman wings Eddie Clemons and Dakari Savage. Meanwhile, Georgetown has a nice mix of veterans and young players to make a deep run, Haslem could make a claim to the top of the lottery with a strong performance, and the undersized 5'11" PG Vince Stallings has demonstrated an aggressive attitude on defense that filters to the rest of the team. On the other hand, the Hoyas are still smarting from their upset loss to DePaul in the Big East tournament, so there is a concern it could impact their focus in the opening rounds of the tournament. While we doubt any other team will break up the anticipated Arizona/Syracuse/Georgetown/Kansas Sweet 16, Pittsburgh could very well surprise. The unheralded Panthers, with lead scorer freshman PG Matt Roy were more competitive than anticipated in the ACC. Yet, they are likely still a year away. As such, we predict chalk all the way, at least for the early part of the tournament.

Predicted Sweet 16 Matchups - Arizona (#1) vs. Kansas (#4) and Syracuse (#2) vs. Georgetown (#3)

Most Likely Cinderella - Pittsburgh

Predicted Regional Winner - Arizona --- They have been fantastic all year, the road will not be easy, but hard to go against them here.