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Missing Out On Obi Toppin’s March Madness Run Was A Damn Shame

Obi Toppin

Obi Toppin was the best player in college basketball last season. The 6-foot-9 do-it-all sophomore from Dayton won the Naismith College Player of the Year award and joined players like Zion Williamson, Anthony Davis, Blake Griffin, and Kevin Durant to win the award as an underclassman.

Toppin finished in the top-30 with 20 points per game. He also averaged 7.5 boards per game, up from 5.6 per game his freshman season.

If you’re a nerd like me, you love advanced statistics. KenPom is amazing (cut the check) for my fix.

True shooting percentage (TS%), measures a player’s true shooting percentage. KenPom explains the calculation by taking effective field goal percentage (eFG%) and trips to the free-throw line. The calculation then approximates how many shots a player would need to make to produce on all his shooting attempts. Effective field goal percentage is the same as regular field goal percentage, except made three-pointer carry more weight.

I know that is a lot just to say Toppin was an absolute stud. With an eFG% of 67.4, Toppin finished fourth in the nation behind Udoka Azubuike (74.4 – Kansas), Sha’markus Kennedy (68.2 – McNeese St.), and Garrett Sturtz (68.0 – Drake). He was ranked even high in TS% at third in the nation.

For comparison, John Fulkerson led the Vols in both eFG% (61.4 – 38th) and ts% (65.2 – 17th).

Toppin led the Dayton Flyers to a 29-2 overall record and a perfect 18-0 record in the Atlantic 10 Conference. Both losses came in overtime before the Christmas break to: Kansas 90-84 and Colorado 78-76.

One thing stats can’t show is the pure athletic ability of Toppin. The dude can fly and plays so smart getting to the right spot on the court. Watch the video below from a little pick-up:

There’s no doubt that Toppin should be a top-5 pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. If I were a GM, I would be taking Toppin with the first overall pick. He’s that good.

I was excited about his March Madness run. In my bracketology model, Dayton was a clear No. 1 seed. My only issue penciling the Flyers into the Final Four was head coach Anthony Grant. He squandered the game against Kansas with terrible coaching decisions. I worry Grant would have done it again in the biggest moment.

Maybe Toppin was good enough to overcome incompetent coaching. Nonetheless, missing out on Toppin’s March Madness run is such a shame.

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