I already miss the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament.

Sure, there are 4 games each on Thursday and Friday this week, but they don’t make them all standalone games for some reason. Instead, they have 2 games overlapping starting at 6:30 and 7 p.m. ET and then 2 others overlapping in the late window.

I understand that CBS/TBS probably do better numbers with the overlapping games, but I’d love to have 1 last 2-day stretch where there’s basketball on from noon to midnight.

Oh well, enjoy the Sweet 16 and Elite Eight, y’all!

Here are your questions for this week’s SDS Mailbag:


If the SEC and Big Ten did a football challenge against each other in 2023, as was suggested as a possibility by Matt Hayes this week for something that could (and should) start in 2024, who would win? Use last year’s standings as a way to determine matchups (first vs. first, second vs. second, etc.).

OK, first let’s take a look at what the matchups would be. Then we can break down who would win. Based on last year’s standings (and excluding USC, UCLA, Texas and Oklahoma, who won’t join their new conferences until 2024), here are the matchups:

  • Georgia vs. Michigan
  • Tennessee vs. Ohio State
  • LSU vs. Penn State
  • Alabama vs. Purdue
  • Mississippi State vs. Illinois
  • South Carolina vs. Iowa
  • Ole Miss vs. Minnesota
  • Kentucky vs. Maryland
  • Arkansas vs. Wisconsin
  • Florida vs. Michigan State
  • Mizzou vs. Nebraska
  • Auburn vs. Indiana
  • Texas A&M vs. Rutgers
  • Vanderbilt vs. Northwestern

Am I crazy to think the SEC would dominate that challenge? I may be a bit of an SEC homer, but I see Georgia winning easily. I also have Alabama, Mississippi State, South Carolina, Ole Miss, Kentucky, Mizzou, Auburn and Texas A&M winning comfortably.

That’s 9 SEC wins right there. I also think LSU and Arkansas would win, albeit with a bit more difficulty.

I’ll give the Big Ten the Northwestern win. I also think the B1G would win the Ohio State-Tennessee game, but my goodness, what a showdown that would be. Whoever got home-field advantage in that matchup might get the victory. Florida vs. Michigan State is also a toss-up, in my opinion.

So, while I hope that Hayes’s suggestion does come to pass soon and we get to see a challenge like this in the future, it might take a few years before the Big Ten can actually be competitive in it.

(Note: I went with conference standings only, excluding nonconference games from the records.)


Which players have stood out to you in the NCAA Tournament so far in terms of improving their stock for the 2023 NBA Draft?

I’ll give you 2 guys that have caught my eye thus far – 1 from the SEC and 1 not. We’ll start with the non-SEC guy, and that’s Jarace Walker out of Houston.

Yes, he’s been on the NBA radar for a while, but has sometimes been overshadowed on his own team by guys like Marcus Sasser and Jamal Shead. Heck, it’s hard to stand out on a team that has 5 players averaging at least 10 points per game.

But in the first round against Northern Kentucky, Walker showed his offensive chops, scoring 16 points. Against Auburn in Round 2, it was his defense that stood out. He only scored 7 points, but he grabbed 10 rebounds and blocked an impressive 6 shots. Look for Walker to be a lottery pick.

The other guy is Kentucky freshman guard Cason Wallace. Yes, Kentucky got bounced from the tourney in Round 2, but Wallace was impressive in the loss to Kansas State. He scored 21 points to go with 9 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals. He fouled out of the game, but he played his usual trademark strong defense and managed to stay on the court for a total of 34 minutes.

He should be taken right around the end of the lottery or the start of the non-lottery picks in the middle of Round 1.


Will Cam Newton end up on an NFL team in 2023?

Barring an injury to a starting QB early in the season, I don’t think so. Newton still has a ton of talent, but his ability to run the ball as effectively as he did when he was younger is gone. That’s a big loss for a player of his caliber.

Yes, he still has a cannon for an arm and is still a decent quarterback, but there’s another issue – his personality. This isn’t a knock on him. Quite the opposite, in fact. Newton is an alpha. He has an electric aura about him and isn’t afraid to speak his mind.

A guy like that isn’t someone you can bring in as a backup QB. If Newton was willing to accept a backup role, I’d bet he’d find a home in the NFL really fast. However, he still sees himself as a starter, and I’m not sure there will be any takers for him in that role at this point.

Things change quickly in the NFL, though, so never say never, but I don’t think it’s likely that we’ll see the former Auburn Heisman Trophy winner starting for an NFL team in 2023.


Mizzou vs. South Carolina. Big baseball series this weekend. Who ya got?

You might think I’d be a homer and pick Mizzou, but as many of you know if you follow me on Twitter (@AdamSpencer4, by the way), I’m also very much a Mizzou nihilist and believe everything good that happens to the Tigers will come to a gut-wrenching end.

Thus, while I’m impressed with the start to the season that has the Tigers at No. 22 in the country after an incredible weekend sweep of Tennessee, I am very nervous about this weekend’s series at No. 11 South Carolina.

While Mizzou’s pitchers have been great, compiling a 3.49 ERA through 20 games, South Carolina’s staff has been better (2.70 ERA). While Mizzou’s offense has smacked 29 home runs, the Gamecocks lead the country with 56.

I think the Gamecocks win the weekend series, but my hope is that the Tigers take at least 1 game over the weekend.

Have a question for next week’s Mailbag? Tweet at us using #SDSMailbag or email me at Adam.Spencer@XLMedia.com.