Friday, November 13, 2009

Money's prediction for College Hoops 2009-2010

Here we are again, on the brink of another season of college basketball. It seems like yesterday that I held your hand and walked you through the exact scenario of March Madness. Well, it was not yesterday and I was pretty much wrong on all my predictions except for getting the last few games of the season right.

This brings us to this year and my thoughts. What did we learn from last year? I think the main takeaway for me was to not fight the rankings of the teams at the top. I always like to pick dark horses, or home dogs, usually to a fault, but the good teams were a lot better than everyone else last year and I see the same thing happening this year too. I think there are a few really good teams at the top, but then I think there will be a quick drop-off. Kansas, Texas and Kentucky have the most talent. After them the drop off starts. This year’s final four will have three really dominant teams and then one head scratcher. Let’s start with the AP Pre-season Top 25 for this year.

1) Kansas
2) Michigan State
3) Texas
4) Kentucky
5) Villanova
6) North Carolina
7) Purdue
8) West Virginia
9) Duke
10) Tennessee

This is a good top 10, but not dominant. I see Kansas as the clear cut #1 option and the most reasonable choice to cut down the nets in April. They have good leaders, role players, a point guard, coach and incoming talent. They are totally legit and in my eyes the team to beat. Michigan State returns a lot of talent, could find themselves in the championship game again. Izzo always seems to get to the Final Four, so a return trip seems likely. However, I don’t see them going much further. Last year was an emotional run fueled by the down economy in Detroit. I don’t see the same energy or run coming from these guys again. With that the drop-off has officially started. I look at the number two team in the country and say they can’t/won’t win a national title.

Texas has great talent, maybe the best in the country, but they always find a way to let everyone down come tournament time. Kentucky is similar to Texas, talent-wise, but I do believe in Calipari and I do expect this team will be there in the end. Villanova is small again and a guard led team won’t win the National Championship. Dismissed. UNC is up there on name. They are big. Too big in fact. But they will suffer in guard play and Lawson is what made that motor run. Dismissed. Purdue will now have the same core for the third year now, so a deep run by them is likely if they can stay healthy. I am buying them, at least for a final four run. West Virginia is a team that B. Anthony likes and there is reason for optimism. They will be talented and make a good run, but I am leaving them out of my final four. Duke is no longer Duke and gets a good ranking because of their name. Not buying them. Tennessee is the same team as Villanova; talented guards running and shooting all over the court. Not a final four team.

So, these are the best teams in the country? Pretty weak if you ask me. Where are the teams we expect to see year after year? Where is Uconn, Florida, UCLA?

Well, Uconn is 12, but that is very generous. They lost the best defensive player in the country and their fantastic point guard. This ranking is based on name and they will not be a top 10 team this year. Florida? I don’t know anything about them. Where did they go? UCLA? They lost a lot of talent to the NBA over the last 2 years. They will still get it done this year, by defense, but this will be a down year for them.

One thing that really sticks out to me is Cal being ranked #13. They return all starters from last year and are very deep, but they are not the #13 best team in the country. No way. It is great to be recognized, but they rely too much on the 3 point shot and will get outrebounded regularly. A #13 ranking just shows you how diluted the talent is this year.

So who wins it all this year? KANSAS. Sorry, obvious pick, but it is the right choice. They will meet Kentucky in the final game.

Final Four
Georgia Tech

Dark horse teams: USC, Seton Hall, Siena, Fresno State

Best conference: Big East again

PAC 10 thoughts: This will be a down year. ASU lost major talent. Arizona is reloading. Stanford is horrible. UCLA is down (for them). Cal is up, so is Oregon State. I expect Washington to win the regular season, followed by Cal and then UCLA and USC. Oregon to win the conference tournament. Cal shoots its way into the sweet 16 this year. Jerome Randle is my hero!



Blogger B. Anthony said...

one of us should have added Syracuse. damn they look good. They will be top 10 team

7:36 AM  
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