Pre Season Top 25
With this coming weekend being the first weekend in October and most college football teams being at the half way point with their sixth regular season game we all know it's real close to that first college basketball practice which is the unofficial start of basketball season in our Commonwealth. So, I'll provide my loyal readers of this column with my crystal ball take on what could be another special college hoop season even though I don't think a top 25 college basketball poll should be discussed , debated , or for sure voted on until January 1st each year.
- Florida - Billy The Kid has Gators back in the hunt this year and with two big commitments already on board should keep them in the hunt for the next few years.
- Louisville - Chane Behanan & Wayne Blackshear will be studs and Dening will be better, If Siva can develop a little more consistency Cards may dance in the Georgia Dome.
- Indiana - Crean has brought Hoosiers back to the elite of college hoops and added a couple more sweet recruits for some quality depth.
- Kentucky - Most schools get a year of reprieve after an NCAA championship but not in Kentucky, If Noel - Poythress - Goodwin are the real deal maybe an Elite 8.
- Michigan - Talented freshman McGary will make Wolverines top 10 for sure and with a little luck top 5.
- N.C. State - Surprise, Surprise as Gomer Pyle would say. Gottfried leads the Wolfpack to its first dream season since Jimmy "V" days.
- Baylor - Bears lost a lot to NBA but reloaded impressively , however the question is can young Scott Drew lead them to the Promise Land.
- Syracuse - The Orangemen have more depth than anyone in Div. 1 plus they added a stud in 6' 10" DaJuan Coleman.
- Michigan State - It will be tough to replace Draymond Green but Izzo has done it before and will again.
- Duke - Even with Rivers gone to NBA "Dookies" still have plenty quality players returning and a new stud freshman in 6' 8" Amile Jefferson.
- North Carolina - Roy Williams lost a lot but the Tar Heels are one of maybe five teams that can reload just as impressively.
- Ohio State - Sullinger promised Motta two years so he's gone but there are more bullets in the gun.
- Kansas - If Bill Self didn't prove his worth last year then he will this year to those who don't know or understand college basketball.
- Arizona - West will be significant again in college hoops and Arizona will lead the way.
- Memphis - The Tigers will exit Conference USA as champs and enter the Big East in 2014 just as competitive as ever.
- Creighton - Doug McDermott is returning and that makes this team VCU, Murray State, and Butler all rolled up into one team for 2013.
- Alabama - Anthony Grant will be rewarded in 2013 for the tough love he administered to his elite players last year.
- Marquette - Buzz Williams has taken the Warriors to back to back Sweet 16 appearances and to the Big Dance every year since joining the Big East in 2005 but gets no respect.
- Texas - Rick Barnes had one of the youngest rosters in the Big 12 last year and is now adding a top 5 recruiting class to that, I've probably underrated them.
- Notre Dame - Mike Brey has consistently taken the Fight Irish to heights "Digger" only thought about and in the tough Big East not against pigeons & ducks.
- VCU - Shaka Smart stayed in Virginia for a reason so don't take this team lightly again, you'll be foolishly embarrassed if you do.
- Gonzaga - The far west 2nd best team.
- Florida State - Any team that wins (3) games against North Carolina & Duke in the same year has to have something left in the tank for the next year.
- San Diego State - Steve Fischer has slowly and solidly built a consistently winning college basketball team and this year one of the top 25 in USA.
- Tie - Maryland - Lot of big expectations coming out of this ACC schools fan base and they will have a solid season but I can't go much higher than bottom of top 25.
- Tennessee - One more recruit like Jarnell Stokes and Cuonzo Martin may have his own Ernie & Bernie show.
Special Note - Until the NCAA decides the UCLA Bruins fate with their two highly skilled but presently ineligible freshman recruits I held off rating them but if they do become eligible throw the Bruins in the mix at the top.
College basketball programs to keep an eye on because of coaching changes, conference changes, etc.
Missouri - Lost three starters from last year’s top 5 team but they are entering the SEC and maybe the returnees are good enough to get Tigers into the Big Dance in March.
South Carolina - Frank Martin has many contacts throughout the south especially in Florida and Georgia where many talented players nest but it may take a couple years to be serious.
Kansas State - Can Bruce Weber sustain what Martin started. It's hard to sell Manhattan, Kansas unless you have unique talents or resources.
St. Louis - Has Rick Majuers health finally caught up with him with the many tireless hours coaches must devote to their teams.
Butler - Is the King of the Mid-level Div. 1 schools run behind them now that Coach Cal's new one and done theory has been proven to be successful for elite Div. 1 teams.
Rating the Top (10) NCAA Division 1 Basketball Conference's for 2012 - 13
- Big East - Last hoorah for this conference with Syracuse, Pitt, and Notre Dame leaving in the near future.
- ACC - All of a sudden Tobacco Road just got a little more interesting when Mark Gottfried rolled into town and Leonard Hamilton solved Tobacco Road.
- SEC - Missouri and Texas A&M bring quality hoops programs to conference and Florida is back to Top 10 status and Bama has reloaded.
- Big Ten - Indiana is finally back and Michigan is close behind plus the Spartans and Buckeyes are solid and no weak sisters are below those four.
- Big 12 - Kansas, Texas, and Baylor can't carry the torch forever but Oklahoma St. will be better and hopefully Kansas St. will offset the mess at TT.
- Pac 12 - Until UCLA and Southern Cal solve their problems and resurface I can't put this conference any higher
- C-USA - Memphis is still in C-USA and Houston is on the rise again but this conference is about to bottom out with its studs heading up east.
- Missouri Valley - Creighton raises the bar for this conference and maybe for the rest of the NCAA when all is said and done in March.
- Atlantic 10 - Butler - U Mass - Xavier - VCU all are still well respected across the college basketball landscape.
- Mountain West - Steve Fischer coming to San Diego State has raised the bar for the rest of the conference to make hoops significant out west.