Game Theory with Sam Vecenie: College Basketball | NBA Draft | NCAA Podcast

NBA Draft and College Basketball Expert Sam Vecenie talks all levels of Pro & NCAA hoops.
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Game Theory with Sam Vecenie: College Basketball | NBA Draft | NCAA Podcast





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Mar 21, 2018

In this episode, I chat with Reags from over at Barstool about what we saw in the NCAA Tournament, and what we expect to see going forward. First though, we chat about gambling on the Tournament, and the mess that was the opening weekend from that perspective. 

Then we chat about some of the funnier moments we saw from the weekend, some of the biggest news from this past weekend. Then we jump into some discussion on who the best players, best matchups, and best NBA Draft Prospects remaining in the NCAA Tournament. We chat about Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Kevin Knox, Marvin Bagley, Wendell Carter, Mikal Bridges, Robert Williams and more. 

This podcast is sponsored by HIMS. Go to to get a trial month for $5. 

Mar 17, 2018

In this episode, I chat with friend of the program Cole Zwicker to break down all of the important action of the first round in the NCAA Tournament. First, we chat about what I saw out in San Diego (not much, other than Jon Elmore exploding into our minds and hearts). Then, we get into the big stories, including:


Arizona also cops a pretty bad ass-kicking to Buffalo

Michael Porter and Trae Young likely play their last college games

Kentucky beats a tough Davidson behind Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Kevin Knox

Mohamed Bamba continues to ride the roller coaster in his play

Collin Sexton carries Alabama late

Plus, a rapid-fire breakdown, including thoughts on Rob Gray, D'Marcus Simonds, Miles Bridges, Ohio State, Lonnie Walker's bad final two minutes, and more!

Mar 12, 2018

In this episode, Sam Vecenie is joined by Chris Stone from over at FanSided, where they break down -- in pain-staking detail -- every NBA prospect matchup in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, and all of their potential favorite matchups that could happen later in the Tournament. 

They start in the South, where Virginia, Kentucky, and Arizona are the standout teams to watch. Then, they move to the West, which seems to be the weakest NBA Draft region. Then, they chat about the East, where Villanova looks to be in for some fun, athletic matchups. Finally, they move to the midwest, where Michigan State-Duke awaits in the Sweet 16. 

This episode is sponsored by RXBar. Go to to get 25 percent off on the best nutrition bar money can buy. 

Mar 9, 2018

In this episode, Sam chats with Cole Zwicker about the NBA MVP race, which is heating up quickly. They go in detail on James Harden, LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Stephen Curry, and Giannis Antetokounmpo, and discuss each of their cases for the top-five. 

Then, they deep dive on some of the players Sam has gotten a chance to see on his trip to Las Vegas for conference tournament week. Some in-depth breakdowns on Killian Tillie, Rui Hachimura, Troy Brown, Allonzo Trier, and Aaron Holiday. Then, they go in detail on Cole's article scouting NBA defense, particularly as it refers to team defense and help defense, using some underrated prospects and the elite prospects as examples. 

Mar 4, 2018

In this episode, Sam Vecenie chats with Jared Weiss from over at CelticsWire about the terrific Celtics-Rockets game on Saturday night. What makes the Rockets such a tough guard night-in, night-out, particularly when they close games? How does Clint Capela make such an impact even on a night where he doesn't score? What did we think of the Celtics' play last night? How does the Celtics' lack of bad players help them? Also, how great is it that Terry Rozier is actually good now? 

Then, Trevor Lane from over at Lakers Nation joins the show, and they chat about the Lakers young core. They deep dive on Lonzo Ball, what he's done so far, and what there is to be even slightly concerned about. Then they chat about Brandon Ingram, who has been terrific over the last two months. What has he done that has helped him take the next step? How great has Julius Randle been? And then why has Kyle Kuzma hit a bit of a slump? Then, finally, putting it into context and whether or not we'd rather have their situation or Phoenix's?

Mar 1, 2018

In this episode, friend of the program Cole Zwicker joins the show to chat about a few NBA topics as well as a few Draft topics. First, they chat about the Philadelphia 76ers asset management over the last couple of years. Has Bryan Colangelo done anything to inspire 76ers fans with the way he's handled their roster since taking over for Sam Hinkie? 

Then, they chat about the Wizards, winners of eight of their last 11 without John Wall in the lineup? Is there anything to take away from their ball movement heavy alignment? How good has Tomas Satoransky been since taking over as the starting point guard? What do they like about how this team has operated with Wall, and do how do they think he'll be integrated back into the fold? 

Finally, they chat about the NBA Draft. What do they make of Collin Sexton's recent play? Is he still a no-doubt top-10 prospect? Then the majority of the time is spent talking about Arkansas big man Daniel Gafford. What makes Gafford a potential lottery pick despite being outside of the top-40 in his high school class? Then they bounce around a bit, and specifically chat about DeAndre Hunter and Zhaire Smith as long-term prospects at the end. 

Feb 22, 2018

In this episode, Sam is joined by Cole Zwicker where they debate the merits of Trae Young as a draft prospect. For reference: Cole has Young as a top-three prospect, and Sam has him more in the No. 6-7 range. What are his best aspects as a prospect? What makes us hesitant about him as an NBA player? We dive as deep as possible into the stats, the scouting and the context surrounding him both in high school and in college. 

At the top, we chat briefly about the Dallas Mavericks-misogyny story, then later in the show chat about Jaren Jackson and the ridiculous flashes he's shown in the recent month of play. 

Feb 19, 2018

In this episode, Sam Vecenie is joined by Danny Leroux where they chat about everything they saw in All-Star Weekend and Basketball Without Borders. First, they break down what they saw on Rising Stars game night, where Jaylen Brown stole the show but Bogdan Bogdanovic came away with MVP. Then, they chat about All-Star Saturday, and the relative disappointing evening that was. Finally, they chat about the All-Star game itself, along with who/what stood out. 

Then, they move forward into breaking down Basketball Without Borders, a tremendous event every season involving the best youth players that the rest of the world has to offer. They chat about players like Sekou Doumbouya, Luka Samanic, A.J. Lawson, Charles Bassey, Paul Eboua, N'Faly Dante, and much more. 

Feb 15, 2018

In this episode, Sam chats with Zach Harper from Leverage the Chat and from Fan Rag Sports about a variety of topics. First, they hit on the Ben Simmons vs. Donovan Mitchell rookie of the year debate. Which one would they take and why does the other one suck?

Then, they chat about buyout candidates. They run through the list of names they're interested in, and chat briefly about some of the teams who do or do not have open spots, including the Cavaliers, Celtics, Warriors, Rockets, and more. 

Finally, they finish on the NBA Draft, where Zach has done some interesting work this year breaking down prospects. Why does he like Jaren Jackson, what do they think about Marvin Bagley, and why is Deandre Ayton awesome? Finally, they finish on Trae Young, and try to figure out if he'll be a good professional. 

This episode is sponsored by eHarmony. Go to and use the code "Game Theory" for one month off on a three-month subscription. 

Feb 12, 2018

In this episode, Cole Zwicker joins Sam on the show to chat about a couple of topics. First, Cole and I break down the Cavs-Celtics game from Sunday afternoon. Did the Cavaliers re-establish themselves as the favorites in the Eastern Conference? Was this, simply, a down night for the Celtics? How did the Cavs' new pieces look. 

Then, Cole and I embark on a new project. We do podcast mock draft where we go back and forth making selections for each team, breaking down who we would pick if we were in each team's position. We go from Sacramento at No. 1 all the way down to the Warriors at No. 30, going in-depth on each pick and explaining why we've decided to make such a selection for that team. 

Our sponsor: eHarmony. Use the code "Game Theory" to get one free month on, where you can find your match today. 

Feb 9, 2018

In this episode, Sam is joined by friend of the program Dieter Kurtenbach to chat about what went down on NBA Trade Deadline day, an afternoon ruled by the Cleveland Cavaliers trading half of their roster.

How much better did Cleveland get? Did they establish themselves as the favorite of the Eastern Conference? Can they compete with Golden State? Does this make any tangible difference in their long-term outlook? Also, what do their trades mean for the Lakers, Jazz, and Kings -- the other teams involved in the moves?

What did we think of the other teams involved in the deadline action and the other trades that went down? Also, what did we think about Boston, Memphis, Golden State, Toronto and Houston -- among others -- sitting out the action for the most part? All that, a quick rant on the Georgios Papagiannis pick, and more in this super-sized edition of the podcast. 

Feb 8, 2018

In this episode, Sam has his weekly podcast with Cole Zwicker, where the two of them chat about some of the news that's happened in the NBA in recent days. First, they break down the sadness that is the Kristaps Porzingis left ACL tear. Why does he keep getting left-side injuries? How good has he become? And what do the Knicks do now that he's hurt? Also, they chat about the Willy Hernangomez trade and why that happened.

Next, they chat about the Lou Williams extension. Why did Lou undersell his marketplace value? Should have have gone to the market instead of extending? Also, why can't Williams now be traded? 

Then, they do a quick run-through each of the seven best teams in the NBA as Deadline Day approaches. What should the Warriors, Rockets, Celtics, Raptors, Spurs, Timberwolves, and Cavaliers do? They also come up with an interesting Brooklyn/Boston deal that might solve some of their issues. 

Finally, they break down Jaren Jackson Jr. as an NBA Draft prospect. Why is a player averaging 11 points and six rebounds considered a potential top-five pick. Well, it has to do with versatility and skillset. 

Feb 6, 2018

In this episode, Matt Moore of The Action Network joins to chat about the upcoming NBA Trade Deadline. First, we chat about Marcus Smart, the Celtics, and if the Denver Nuggets actually make sense for him. Then, they chat a bit more about Denver, where Denver sits within the scheme of things as they try to make the playoffs. 

Then, we chat generally about the Eastern Conference. How screwed are the Cavs? What do we think about Toronto right now (a lot of love)? Can Boston make the run to the NBA Finals, and what do they need to pick up in the trade market? Then we really get into the nitty gritty, and try to fix the Cavs. Is there an answer to their ills that gives them a chance in the Finals this year? Then in that conversation, we hit a truth: the Cavs should seriously consider trading LeBron. In that vein, we come up with some fake trades with Minnesota, Milwaukee, the Clippers, and more. 

Finally: they chat about some news and notes: should the Blazers move Maurice Harkless? What do we think about Willy Hernangomez' trade demand? Finally, do we like the Tyler Zeller-Rashad Vaughn trade? 

Feb 3, 2018

In this episode, Sam has his weekly podcast with Cole Zwicker where they break down various roster movement and NBA Draft news. 

In this episode, there was a lot to hit on. They start with 10 minutes on Greg Monroe signing in Boston (both are, overall, quite positive on the choice). Then, they briefly chat about the Nikola Mirotic trade to New Orleans. Does that deal make sense for the Pelicans? Should Mirotic have exercised the option in his deal? 

Next, they move on to the Joakim Noah news that he's leaving the Knicks for the time being. What are the Knicks' options? Should they stretch his contract? Should they just ride out the final two years? In their final NBA topic, they chat about the report from The Athletic that the Magic are quietly shopping Aaron Gordon. Should the Magic seriously consider moving him? Also, why?

Then, they break down Mohamed Bamba, and how he's turned it up significantly over the last month of the season. How strongly do they believe in his game? Where do they have him on their boards? Finally, they chat quickly about Lonnie Walker, and how he has the look of a lottery pick despite a slow start. 

Feb 1, 2018

In this episode, Sam talks with Danny Leroux from over at The Athletic (and Dunc'd On, and RealGM Radio) about the NBA Trade Deadline that's coming next week. 

They start by talking about Tyreke Evans and his eventual stop. Do they trust him as an asset to acquire for the rest of the season? Does Boston make the most sense? What are some deals that make the most sense for him? 

Then, they talk about the Los Angeles teams. What deals are out there for the Lakers to pursue in order to achieve their dream of two maximum salary slots? What should the Clippers do following the Blake Griffin deal? Should Avery Bradley be one of the best commodities on their roster? What should they do with DeAndre Jordan and Lou Williams? 

Then, they focus on the 76ers. What should the 76ers do? Should they try to acquire Evans? Should they try to get off the Bayless contract by using their first round pick? Also, what do they make of the Nikola Mirotic scuttled deal that would have sent him to New Orleans?

Then, they talk about how the teams with a lot of money in expiring contracts could actually look to be long-term buyers despite their lack of contention this season. Should Dallas or Atlanta try to get some interesting assets? 

Finally, they focus on Cleveland. What is the best set of moves out there for the Cavaliers to pursue? How does the buyout market affect that? 

Jan 30, 2018

In this episode, Seerat Sohi joins Sam to talk about the shocking, surprising Blake Griffin trade that occurred on Monday evening. The deal is Blake Griffin, Willie Reed and Brice Johnson for Tobias Harris, Avery Bradley, Boban Marjanovic, a first round pick and a second round pick.

What do they think about the Clippers telling Blake he'd be a lifelong Clipper only to trade him six months later? What is Blake's game like now? What is the fit between Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond? Generally, why are they not a fan of this for the Pistons as Stan Van Gundy tries to save his job? And why does Sam think Tobias Harris is probably the best asset in the deal as he gets massively underrated nationally? 

Then, they chat about the DeMarcus Cousins injury, an incredibly sad moment in this NBA season. Why was the Cousins-Anthony Davis pairing working so well? Why was Cousins so awesome this year? And could this spell the end of the Davis-Pelicans era? 

Jan 26, 2018

In this episode, Cole Zwicker joins Sam and talks about a couple of topics. First, they discuss Zion Williamson and his commitment to Duke. What kind of prospect is Williamson? Is he as elite as his reputation purports him to be? Also, what could his NBA future look like, and what does his fit with Duke look like? 

Then, they discuss Sam's updated 2018 NBA Draft Big Board. First, they discuss Sam's move of Deandre Ayton to No. 1 over Luka Doncic. Then, they discuss Mohamed Bamba, and why Sam is a bit lower on the long-armed center. They then move on to the Kentucky guys and discuss some of the better players on the Wildcats' roster who could be one-and-dones. 

Then, it becomes more of a grab bag. Why is Chandler Hutchison sitting at No. 14? What do they think of Arkansas big man Daniel Gafford? Is Killian Tillie a bit overslotted at No. 25? What do they think of Melvin Frazier, Lonnie Walker, Landry Shamet, and Jontay Porter?Finally, Sam asks Cole who the most overrated or underrated player on his board is. 

This episode is sponsored by RXBAR. Go to to get 25 percent off your first purchase. 

Jan 23, 2018

In this episode, Sam chats with Dan Feldman from over at NBC Sports about the various NBA news and trade rumors in the NBA. First, they chat about Jason Kidd getting fired in Milwaukee, where Milwaukee goes from here, and where Kidd goes from here. Then, they chat about the report that Kawhi Leonard is unhappy in San Antonio, a very strange situation that neither really understand how to make heads or tails of. 

Then, they chat trades. They go in detail on the Kemba Walker situation, discussing what the Hornets should try to get out of a deal and what other teams should be involved. Then they talk Cavaliers, and discuss whether George Hill, DeAndre Jordan, or Lou Williams are fits. Finally, they chat Lakers, and then discuss what young players selling teams should target in deals. 

This podcast is sponsored by RXBAR, use the code gametheory at to get 25 percent off your first purchase. 

Jan 19, 2018

In this episode, Sam chats with Rob Dauster from over at NBC Sports and does something a little bit different. Typically, he has people on who scout college basketball solely for the purpose of breaking them down as NBA prospects. Instead, in this episode, Sam chats with Rob about NBA Draft prospects from the perspective of someone who writes full-time about college basketball and evaluates players for that purpose.

What does he think of Marvin Bagley? Then, there is a long discussion about Trae Young, the system he operates in, how great his numbers are, and what Oklahoma's scheme tells about what his best fits will be in the NBA. Next, they chat about Mohamed Bamba, and whether or not they trust him at the next level. 

Then, we move on and chat about the Kentucky prospects. What does Rob think about Kevin Knox, Shai Alexander, Hamidou Diallo, and more. We also get into a discussion on Kentucky's best lineups. Finally, we chat about some of the prospects Rob thinks are undervalued by draft people. 

Jan 16, 2018

In this episode, I have two markedly different discussions. First, I chat with former NBA scouting director and current President of TPG Sports Group Pete Philo about the Ball family over in Lithuania. Pete has been to Lithuania on over 50 scouting trips, and is as much an expert on the area as anyone in the public sphere. Pete discusses the differences in talent level, the lack of foresight by LaVar from a player development perspective, and creates a realistic development plan for LaMelo Ball to reach his ceiling as a player. 

Then I talk to Cole Zwicker, where we discuss our top five rookies in this current NBA class. My list: 1. Ben Simmons 2. Jayson Tatum 3. Donovan Mitchell 4. Lauri Markkanen 5. Lonzo Ball. Cole's: 1. Ben Simmons 2. Donovan Mitchell 3. Jayson Tatum 4. OG Anunoby 5. Kyle Kuzma.

I also ask both about Markelle Fultz, and the remarkable question about his jump shot. 

Jan 11, 2018

In this episode, I chat with good friend of the program Cole Zwicker and we finally do what we've been foreshadowing for the last two months: we argue about Marvin Bagley III. I give the case for Bagley, and why he's worthy of a top-three pick in the draft. Cole gives the case against and discusses why he thinks NBA teams will have issues fitting him into their roster due to his limitations. 

Then, we chat about my updated 2018 NBA Mock Draft over at The Athletic, talking about some of the players who have moved up or down my board over the course of the last month. 

Jan 5, 2018

In this episode, I chat with Michael Pina from over at Vice Sports about three different topics. First, we chat Cavs-Celtics from Wednesday night, and then do a deep dive on each team. What do we think of Cleveland? How did the Isaiah Thomas addition the night before against Portland affect them? Do we trust their defense? Do they need another wing? How does Kevin Love fit? Why has Jae Crowder been so bad? A lot of pretty important questions to figure out. 

Then, we chat about the Celtics? Do we think they are realistic contenders for the East? Why has Marcus Morris been so bad? Do we think the defense is stabilizing? How much does their length help them on defense? Then, we chat about Al Horford at length, and discuss why he's been a top 10 player in the NBA for me this season. 

Finally, we chat about the race for the No. 1 overall pick. With eight teams within three wins of each other, and 10 teams within five losses, what should losing teams' priorities be going forward? How do they decide on their goal? 

Jan 3, 2018

This is a pilot episode for a podcast Reags from over at Barstool and I have wanted to do for a while. It's a college basketball picks podcast! This is not a tout podcast, but rather a way into analyzing what's going on with teams around college basketball. In this episode, we chatted about Bonzie Colson's injury, UNC-Florida State, Virginia-Virginia Tech, Kentucky-LSU, and Clemson-Boston College, then at the end give two picks that we really like. 

Any feedback on the concept would be terrific. We're looking to see if this is something we should continue on its own feed, something we should tweak and change, or something that is worthwhile. One note: the sound quality in this episode is not perfect, as Reags was in a McDonald's parking lot. We've adjusted and it'll get better heading into the future. 

Thanks for listening, and we hope to hear from you. -Sam and Reags

Jan 3, 2018

In this start of the year podcast, Cole Zwicker and I look back. We talk about what things we learned about the NBA Draft evaluation process in 2017, and how we're improving our process for the 2018 draft. We then talk about what we screwed up and why (in other words, how did we miss on Kyle Kuzma and some others?). 

Then, we chat some about the forwards in the 2018 NBA Draft class, including some risers that have been interesting so far in Chandler Hutchison, Keita Bates-Diop, and others. 

Dec 29, 2017

In this episode, I chat about the Lakers' organizational situation, the Kentucky-Louisville game, and Luka Doncic. 

First, Trevor Lane of Lakers Nation comes on to chat about the Lakers. Particularly, we chat about Julius Randle and Jordan Clarkson, and the strange situations involving both of them. Are the Lakers doing the best job they can at creating a positive organizational culture in Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka's first full year? What do we make of the way the organization has messed with Randle's minutes this year despite his strong play? What are he and/or Jordan Clarkson worth in a trade? 

Then I chat with Cole Zwicker about the Kentucky's domination over Louisville? How great was Shai Alexander? What do we make of Hamidou Diallo's dominance on the break versus his struggles in the halfcourt? Do we like P.J. Washington? Finally, we finish on Luka Doncic's unbelievable season. What makes him so good? Is he an underrated scorer? What teams are his best fits in the NBA? 

The sponsors today: DraftKings and MyBookie. You can use the promo code CLNS at DraftKings, and on MyBookie use GAMETHEORY. 

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