The beauty of college basketball is its bigness. Whereas the NBA is a highly scrutinized cabal of 30 organizations who are single-mindedly committed to optimizing their way to glory, college basketball decidedly is not that. Most of the 358 teams exist in relative obscurity—it’s ok if they get a little weird. Since almost no team really has the airtight personnel to play basketball the analytically “correct” way with a well-spaced offense and a switchable defense, teams are free to play basketball their way and creatively explore all the schematic studio space that the NBA has ignored. Here is a place where junky defenses like zones and presses can become impenetrable fortresses of solitude, where a team can become the 11th best offensive team in the country despite not ever really dribbling, where Isiaih Mosley (a 6’5 shooting guard for the Missouri State Bears) can firebomb his way to stardom.
Although Mosley doesn’t necessarily lead the nation in points per game (his 21.3 points per game are ninth), he’s still the best pure scorer in college basketball—he’s the first player in over a decade to average more than 20 points per game while also shooting over 50 percent from the field, 40 percent from three, and 90 percent from the free throw line. While Mosley has largely flambeéd mid-major teams in the Missouri Valley Conference, he’s also shown that he can translate his production against better competition: his 40-point masterclass against a powerhouse Loyola Chicago team is arguably the best performance that any player has had all season.