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FAQ: A guide to the 2014-15 college basketball season for diehard football fans

Love football? Like post-Super Bowl college basketball and want to be educated before the NCAA Tournament starts? We're here, bruh.

Sean Dougherty-USA TODAY Sports

We know why you're here. We don't really understand it, we absolutely don't approve of it, but we accept it.

We know you only watched bits and pieces of the Maui Invitational because it was an alternative to Thanksgiving family interaction. We know you've only seen Jahlil Okafor for 60-second spurts on SportsCenter. We know you have, at best, a limited understanding of the majesty of Utah State hair, and the inability of any conscious being to resist it.

We know you're only here because football is over. It's cool. You've been missing out, but it's cool.

Anyway, as someone who has been living and dying with every 51-48 game played since the middle of November, I figured I'd answer some of the most frequently asked questions hardcore football fans might have at this most delicate time of transition. Read up, and come March Madness you'll be able to convince Brent that you've been a hoop head since the start of November. Because Brent sucks. Every Brent.

Who is good?

Solid first question. I'm feeling good about this already.

Kentucky is really, really good. I think it's safe right now to say they're not just good, they're the best.

Like, how good?

The Wildcats started the season ranked No. 1 and are looking to become the sport's first wire-to-wire national champion since Duke in 1992. They're currently 21-0 and are 19 wins away from becoming the first team to finish a season undefeated since Indiana in 1976.

That's cool. So when's their next big game and how can I watch?

Ok well that's kind of an issue right now.

Kentucky played and beat some good teams like North Carolina and Kansas and Louisville early on in the year, but there aren't any ranked teams in the SEC, which means the Wildcats won't be playing another top 25 team until the NCAA Tournament.

Still, UK is chasing history every time they step on the court, which means games against teams like Florida (Feb. 7/March 7), LSU (Feb. 10) and Arkansas (Feb. 28) are definitely worth checking out.

I bet Duke's probably pretty good.

That's not a question, but yeah.

Duke has already lost three ACC games and is ranked No. 4 in the country, but a lot of people think the Blue Devils are actually Kentucky's biggest challenger. They're the only team to beat third-ranked Virginia so far this season, knocking off the Cavaliers at home by six last Saturday.

The biggest reason Duke is being viewed as a legitimate national title contender is freshman center Jahlil Oka--

Yeah I've heard of him.

--for. Some people are calling him the most polished college big man since Tim Duncan, and right now he's probably the favorite to win every national Player of the Year award.

I saw something about Coach K winning his 1,000th game earlier. Had that been done before?

Nope. At least not at the Division I level.

Isn't Gonzaga really good? Or are they just ranked really high because they're not losing to crappy teams?

Interesting question.

Gonzaga has good non-conference wins over SMU and St. John's, and their only loss was an overtime thriller at Arizona, but because of their conference and their recent struggles in the NCAA Tournament, there are plenty of skeptics out there who believe the Bulldogs aren't built for a run to the Final Four.

See this is my problem with college basketball. I've missed the first, like, three months and we still don't know if these teams are any good or not.


The consensus seems to be that, at the very least, this Gonzaga team is more well-rounded and better equipped to deal with the different styles of March Madness than some of Mark Few's past teams. They have a great guards in Kevin Pangos and Gary Bell Jr., a lethal outside shooter with size in Kentucky transfer Kyle Wiltjer, and a pair of quality big men in Przemek Karnowski and Domantas Sabonis.

Sabonis? Like Arvydas Sabonis' son?

You betcha.

Are there any other former NBA players' sons playing college basketball who will make me feel 95?

There are!

Earlier this season, Gary Payton Jr. became the first Oregon State player since his dad in 1988 to record a triple-double. A few days later he played against Shawn Kemp Jr., who suits up for Washington.

Some more:

--Anthony Mason's son Antoine is the second-leading scorer at Auburn.

--Hersey Hawkins' son Corey is one of the leading scorers in the country, averaging 21.3 ppg for Big West leader UC Davis.

--Juwan Howard Jr. is the team leader in points and assists for Detroit.

--Jim Jackson's son Traevon is Wisconsin's starting point guard, but he's currently sidelined with a right foot injury.

--Wyoming's Larry Nance Jr. is the star of the best Cowboys team in recent memory.

--Eleven-year NBA veteran Harvey Grant's (Horace's twin) son Jerian is Notre Dame's best player and a potential first team All-American.

That was fun. What about great dunks? I like dunks.

There have been so many dunks.

Here's one from just last weekend by Louisville's Montrezl Harrell:

This is more of a throw dunk ... a thunk, if you will.

That's not funny.

I'm not trying to be funny. I just think there needs to be a new name for dunks where the player's hand doesn't actually touch the rim.

Well it doesn't need to be thunk.

This is Kansas freshman Cliff Alexander's thunk:

And do you remember that Jerian Grant guy we were talking about?

Thunk is never going to catch on.

Well, here's what appears to be a gravity-defying dunk against Georgia Tech, and then Grant himself explaining what happened.

There have been many more terrific dunks this season, and I recommend you seek them out yourself when you have some spare time.

Is UConn gonna go back-to-back?

Actually, the Huskies are looking like a longshot to even make it back to the tournament. They're just 11-9, they have no top 25 wins, and they're just 4-4 in a sub-par American Athletic Conference.

Well at least they won't be able to upset Florida in the Final Four this year. Gators goin' all the way?

No, man. We actually talked earlier about how there are no top 25 teams in the SEC.

Yeah, that's on me.

Florida also looks like a longshot to make the big dance. They're only 12-9, they actually lost to UConn at home and they've been knocked off three times already in conference play.

Didn't they do something dumb to lose a big game?


What about Wichita State? They're not undefeated again?

No, but they're good. They saw their regular season winning streak snapped with a loss at Utah on Dec. 3, and then had their 27-game Missouri Valley Conference winning streak snapped last Saturday.

I bet it was by Creighton.

No, man. Creighton's in the Big East. I feel like we talked about this last year.

Northern Iowa is the team that beat Wichita State, and they're actually 20-2 and ranked 14th right now. The game was the first time in more than 30 years that two ranked Missouri Valley teams have played in the regular season. They'll play again in Wichita on Feb. 28.

Why is Rutgers playing two non-conference games against Maryland?

They're both in the Big 10 this year.

So Rutgers isn't in the Big East playing Creighton anymore?

Rutgers moved out of the Big East and into the AAC last season, so they were never in the same conference as Creighton.

The AAC with Louisville, right?

Right, but Louisville is in the ACC now.

With Maryland?


Is DePaul still bad?


Heh. I like when players make last-second shots to win games. Have I missed any of those?

Those shots are actually commonly referred to as "buzzer-beaters" -- named after violent early 20th century clock operator Herman Buzzer -- and boy have there been some dandies.

Peep this 75-foot game-winner from George Mason.

Here'a a more conventional game-winner from last weekend by NC State's Trevor Lacey.

Cool. I liked the dude in the corner holding his arms out.

Me too.

Cool. You're ok. I live on the West Coast and would like to see one of the teams out here win it all this year. Any chance that happens?

Well, we've already talked about Gonzaga, but the team that handed them their only loss, Arizona, is also very good. The Wildcats have a terrific freshman named Stanley Johnson, and they are currently rolling over their competition in the Pac-12. Despite that, another Pac-12 team, Utah, is also pretty good. They have an All-American candidate in Delon Wright and play the type of defense that will keep them in the game against anyone.

All three of those teams have the capability of winning six straight games come March Madness.

But they probably won't?

They probably won't.

So this new ACC actually the best conference this year?

At the top, definitely. The top five teams in the conference -- Virginia, Duke, Louisville, Notre Dame, and North Carolina -- are all currently ranked in the top 12. Unfortunately, the middle of the conference has a few good teams, while the bottom of the league is much worse than it is in most years.

The Big 12 has a better argument for being the most complete conference, as six of its 10 teams are currently ranked, and eight of those teams have legitimate NCAA Tournament aspirations. Kansas is once again the best of the bunch, and appears poised to win at least a share of its 11th straight regular season championship.

I don't like Michigan teams. Can I make fun of the Michigan teams?

Yes. Michigan and Michigan State already have a combined 16 losses, and the Wolverines lost to something called NJIT at home. The Spartans haven't missed the NCAA Tournament since 1997, and while keeping that streak alive is far from a certainty, they're definitely the more likely Wolverine State power to end their season dancing.

Anything else I need to know?

All right, let's rapid fire this:

--A lot of teams, including most of the best ones, aren't scoring a whole lot of points.

--A freshman named D'Angelo Russell of Ohio State might be the most exciting player in the country.

--Kentucky has like 17 interchangeable 7-footers, and most people think the two freshmen guards who come off the bench are better than the two sophomores who start.

--Villanova is in the top 10 again even though they've already taken another inexplicably lopsided beatdown in conference play.

--You're not going to see nearly as much of Karl Hess.

--Butler coach Brandon Miller surprisingly announced he was taking a leave of absence in early October, forcing assistant Chris Holtmann to be named interim head coach. Holtmann has responded by surprisingly getting the Bulldogs into the top 25 for much of the season, and has since been named the team's full-time head coach.

--In addition to UConn, Florida, Michigan and Michigan State, perennial powers UCLA, Syracuse, and Memphis are also having extremely rough goes of it.

--Stephen F. Austin, Murray State, Green Bay and Georgia State are names you should remember when the bracket is unveiled on Selection Sunday.

--The quarterfinals, semifinals and finals of the ACC and Big 12 tournaments are going to be incredible. Clear anything and everything you had planned for March 11-15. Actually clear anything and everything you had planned for that whole month. It's all going to be incredible.

I want to win my work office pool, is that going to happen now?