Emmitt Matthews Makes Wild National Championship Prediction

Cover Photo: James Knable 

Morgantown, West Virginia – Emmitt Matthews Jr.’s collegiate playing days are over, but he is now making some noise off the court. Matthews, who played four seasons with the Mountaineers and one season with the Washington Huskies during his five-year career, averaged 10.2 points and 3.9 rebounds per game last season for West Virginia.

Matthews made a very interesting prediction on who he thinks will win the national championship next season. Matthews posted the following message on his personal social media account: “Kentucky might win it all next year if Oscar (Tshiebwe) comes back.”

As you likely remember, Oscar Tshiebwe left West Virginia in the middle of his sophomore season and transferred to play for the Kentucky Wildcats. Tshiebwe went on to win the national player of the year award last season and 16.5 points and 13.7 rebounds per game for the Wildcats this season. Because of the COVID extension from the 2019-20 season that was cut short with no NCAA Tournament, Tshiebwe still shockingly has one year left of eligibility remaining.

Although Tshiebwe has been incredibly productive in college, he has not garnered as much attention from NBA scouts as one might think due to his age (he will turn 24 soon) and his limited offensive game. Despite that, he is an elite rebounder and a big-time defensive player, and will likely be picked somewhere in the late 2nd round if he enters the 2023 NBA Draft.

However, Tshiebwe makes major NIL money at Kentucky and was very disappointed in how the Wildcats finished this season, and it’s very possible that he will come back to college for his 5th season and put off playing professionally for one more season. If that’s the case, his return combined with Kentucky’s dynamic recruiting class could potentially make them national championship favorites going into next season.