With College Basketball Season just around the corner, I have my pre-season Top 25 Rankings.
Listed next to each team is their projected finish in their conference, some key players, and a key non-conference game or games this year.
1. Kansas-Big 12 #1, PG-Sherron Collins-Sr., C-Cole Aldrich-Jr., F/G-Xavier Henry-Fr.,
Despite fight with football team, are still my #1. Collins and Aldrich are both capable of being 1st Team All-Americans.
2. Michigan St.-Big 10 #1, PG-Kalin Lucas-Jr., F-Raymar Morgan-Sr., SG-Durrell Summers-Jr., @Texas-Dec. 22
They went to the title game last year, but I think people might underestimate the losses of lock down defender Travis Walton and sharpshooting big man Goran Suton.
3. Tennessee-SEC #1, F-Tyler Smith-Sr, F/G-J.P. Prince-Sr., C/F-Wayne Chism-Sr.,
Until Kentucky beats them, they are still #1 in the SEC to me. The return of Tyler Smith is HUGE. Circle your calenders for Feb. 13 in Lexington.
4. Kentucky-SEC #2, PF-Patrick Patterson-Jr., PG-John Wall-Fr., C-DeMarcus Cousins-Fr.,
UNC-Dec. 5 and @UConn-Dec. 9
Calipari +Patrick Patterson's return+the top recruiting class in in the country= Major expectations. They are thinking championship in Lexington.
5. Texas-Big 12 #2, F-Damion James-Sr., SG-Avery Bradley-Fr., C-Dexter Pittman-Sr., PF-Gary Johnson-Jr., UNC-Dec. 19 and Mich. St.-Dec. 22
Avery Bradley may not be as good of a shooter as A.J. Abrams, but he can do everything else better. The return of James makes them a championship caliber team.
6. West Virginia-Big East #1, SF-Devin Ebanks-So., F-Da'Sean Butler-Sr, G-Darryl Bryant-So., @Purdue-Jan. 1
Ebanks is a poor man's Kevin Durant. The 3 D's (Devin, Da'Sean, and Darryl) could be the best trio in the nation.
7. Purdue-Big 10 #2, F-Robbie Hummel-Jr., F/C-JuJuan Johnson-Jr., PG-E'Twaun Moore-Jr.,
Purdue's trio might even be better than the 3 D's. How many people think Hummel is better than Kyle Singler? This guys does.
8. Villanova-Big East #2, PG-Scottie Reynolds-Sr., G-Corey Fisher-Jr., SF-Corey Stokes-Jr. @Maryland-Dec. 6
They always have a lot of talented guards and Reynolds has proved over and over how clutch he is in the big games.
9. UNC-ACC #1, PF-Ed Davis-So., C-Deon Thompson-Sr, G/F-Marcus Ginyard-Sr.
Mich. St-Dec.1, @Kentucky-Dec. 5, @TEX-Dec. 19
They lose 4 starters from the National Title team and are still in the Top 10. UNC is a factory.
10. Duke-ACC #2, F-Kyle Singler-Jr., PG-Nolan Smith-So., F-Lance Thomas-Sr., @Wisconsin-Dec. 2 and @Georgetown-Jan. 30
They will go as far as Singler can take them.
11. California-PAC 10 #1, PG-Jerome Randle-Sr., SG-Patrick Christopher-Sr., SF-Theo Robertson-Sr., @Kansas-Dec. 22
Randle is the best player in the nation under 6 foot. He and Isaiah Thomas of Washington will battle it out for PAC 10 POY once agian.
12. Michigan-Big 10 #3, G-Manny Harris-Jr., PF-DeShawn Sims-Sr.,
@Kansas-Dec. 19 and UConn-Jan. 17
They will battle with Ohio St. and Minnesota to see who is the best team behind Mich. St. and Purdue in the Big 10.
13. Butler-Horizon #1, PF-Matt Howard-Jr., SF-Gordon Hayward-So., SG-Shelvin Mack-So., @Georgetown-Dec. 8 and Ohio St.-Dec. 12
It is scary how young and talented they are. I can't wait to see that Ohio St. game.
14. Ohio St.-Big 10 #4, SF-Evan Turner-Jr., G-William Buford-So., G-Jon Diebler-Jr.,
UNC-Nov. 19 (coaches vs. cancer) and @Butler-Dec. 12
15. Washington-PAC 10 #2, PG-Isaiah Thomas-So., SF-Quincy Pondexter-Sr.,
The PAC 10 is down this year and I mean down, They can have a very good record and possibly as high as a 2 seed going into March
16. Mississippi St.-SEC #3, C-Jarvis Varnado-Sr., SG-Barry Stewart-Jr., G/F-Raven Johnson-Jr., F/C-Renardo Sidney-Fr. (might not be eligible),
Hasheem Thabeet was so 2009, in 2010 the best shot blocker/defender in the country is Varnado. If Sidney is eligible they should easily run throught the SEC West.
17. Minnesota-Big 10 #5, SG-Lawrence Westbrook-Sr., SF-Damien Johnson-Sr., PG-Al Nolen-Jr., @Butler-Nov. 26
Good coaching and guard play can go a long way in the tournament.
18. Georgetown-Big East #3, C/F-Greg Monroe-So., G/F-Austin Freemen-Jr., PG-Chris Wright-Jr., Butler-Dec. 8, @Washington-Dec. 12, Duke-Jan. 30
Failed to meet expectations last year , now it is time for Greg Monroe to prove he is a top 10 talent and time for Coach Thompson to prove he can get this team back deep in the dance.
19. Notre Dame-Big East #4, PF-Luke Harongody-Sr, PG-Tory Jackson SG-Ben Hansbrough-Jr., UCLA-Dec. 19
The return of Luke is huge. The Fighting Irish have something to prove after missing the dance last year.
20. Oklahoma-Big 12 #3 CG-Willie Warren-So., SF-Tony Crocker-Sr., C/F-Keith Gallon-Fr., @Gonzaga-Dec. 31
Obviously they will miss Blake Griffin a lot, but Willie Warren is an athletic beast. I would love to see him square off with John Wall in March.
21. Siena-MAAC #1, F/G-Edwin Ubiles-Sr., PG-Ronald Moore-Sr., PF-Ryan Rossiter-Jr.,
@Georgia Tech-Dec. 2
They return 3 senior starters and have won a game in the NCAA Tournament in back to back years. Last year they proved the #8 seed thay recieved in the tourney was deserved when they almost upset Louisville.
22. UConn-Big East #5, SG Jerome Dyson, PG Kemba Walker-So., SF Stanley Robinson-Sr., Kentucky-Dec. 9 and @Michigan-Jan. 17
A lot of question mark for the Huskies, How will they be affected with Coch Calhoun's health? How well will Dyson perform coming back from his injury? Is Robinson ready to be a go to guy?
23. FSU-ACC #3, C-Solomon Alabi-Jr., SF-Chris Singleton-So., SG-Michael Snaer-Fr.,
@Florida-Nov. 24 and @Ohio St.-Dec. 2
They have a top 10 NBA draft prospect in Alabi and a top 10 recruit in Snaer, but they key will be if Singleton and Snaer can replace Toney Douglas' scoring load.
24. Kansas St.-Big 12 #4 G-Denis Clemente-Sr., G-Jacob Pullen-Jr., F-Wally Judge-Fr.,
This is a very good team that will go under the radar. Clemente is very good and they have a strong recruting class coming in.
25. Florida-SEC #4 PG-Kenny Boynton-Fr., F/C-Alex Tyus-Jr., SF-Chandler Parson-Jr.,
FSU-Nov. 24 and Mich. St. (in Atlantic City, NJ)
Let the Kenny Boynton era begin. Hopefully he can do something that former stud PG Nick Calathes never did, which is lead Florida back to the tournament.
Honorable Mention: They are divided into two categories: Up and Comers and Teams that Lost Too Much
Up and Comers:
Georgia Tech-If Kentucky is a championship caliber team with stud Freshmen leading them, then Tech can easily make it in the Top 25 with
superstar Frosh Derrick Favors and versatile Soph. SG Iman Shumpert leading the way
Wisconsin-Are led by guard Trevon Hughes and have a good core that will grind out wins with great defense and smart play.
Maryland-Greivis Vasquez might mean more to his team than any other player in the country. With him the Terps are in Top 25 contention, without him they have no shot at even making the tournament.
Tulsa-7 footer Jerome Jordan leads a veteran team that could finally overtake Memphis in Conference USA
Wake Forest-Can really be put in both honorable mention categories, they lost Jeff Teague and James Johnson,
but Super Soph. SF-Al-Farouq Aminu leads a talented team that will still be very competive in the ACC
Lost Too Much:
Louisville-Lost Earl Clark and Terrence Williams, they still have Coach Pitino who has had a lot to deal with this summer.
Mizzou-Lost 3 best players from their Elite 8 Team last year.
Gonzaga-Lost 4 of 5 starters, Matt Bouldin is good, but he can only do so much.
Pittsburgh-Lost DeJuan Blair, Sam Young, and Levance Fields, they have some young talent, they still SHOULD be able to make the tournament.
Memphis-Lost Coach John Calipari plus pretty much everyone who played significant minutes last year.
It will be interesting to see if another team can overtake them in Conference USA, this would be the year to do it.
15 other teams to watch out for:
Texas A&M-Big 12
Western Kentucky-Sun Belt
Oregon St.-PAC 10