College Basketball: It's Here!

The AP released their first poll, and for some reason, Duke is atop it. :rolleyes:

My Kentucky Wildcats are 9th, which is about right for now (but just wait until we get Morris back to chew gum for 40 minutes) and look pretty good. Sparks and Rondo are already being called the best backcourt in college basketball, and the depth off the bench is good (Bradley, Moss, Stockton.) We’re a little thin up front right now, but I think Rekalin Sims, Sheray Thomas, Bobby Perry and Joe Crawford can get it together.

Center is an interesting position for us. We’ve got 3 7-footers, one of whom is a freshman. The problem is that Obrzut can’t catch or shoot, Alleyne is too skinny to post up, and Carter is a freshman. Getting Morris back will help, if he actually hustles.

I think this team has a shot at the Final Four.

So, how’s your team look?

I bet we’d be a couple of spots higher if Azubuike weren’t such a dumbass.

Well there’s Duke, then all the rest.

Some very interesting local rivalries going on though, Texas vs Oklahoma, Kentucky vs Louisville.

I’m looking forward to the season, pro b-ball just doesn’t do it for me.

Ehh, the more I think about it, the more I understand why Buike did what he did. He’s worried about his dad and wants to help support the family. I just hate that he got cut by Cleveland, since that would have been a good fit for him.

I’m impressed that Chuck was a last-day cut by Houston, and that they’re talking about him coming up from the NBDL next year.

Ahhh, basketball, a real college sport! :smiley:

My team would be looking really great if our point guards weren’t dirty little thieves. Thankfully, Marcus Williams is a first time dirty little thief (or dirty little stolen goods fencer, as the case may be), and if he can be in some semblance of playing shape (and into the offense, given the two month suspension) by the time we get into conference games in The Most Stacked Conference Ever, Since The Last Time We Were This Stacked, we should be fine.

I’m not quite sure that Duke is as far out in front as everyone seems to think they are, and as a result, I think we have a really wide open title race coming into this year. I think my Huskies are the most physically talented team, but not in the ways that are best for winning at the college level (guard play in particular). I can’t WAIT to see the Big East clean up in hoops, given that we’ve spent the last few months as the butt of every “weak BCS conference” joke possible. The only way they’ll put less than eight teams in the tournament is if the committee has a problem with quality teams beating up on each other.

I’m a big Maryland fan and I think that they’re ranked too high (24 in AP). They lost their most talented player (John Gilchrist), didn’t make the tournament last year, and lost to Clemson three times. I think that they’re capable of being a ranked team and maybe even breaking into the top 15, but I feel they need to prove it first.

Overall I expect Maryland to have a better record than last year, winning more games overall against ranked opponents, but I don’t see them beating Duke twice this season. I think that losing Gilchrist is a good thing overall because while the team’s top playing level may have dropped a notch, they’re overall playing level should be much more consistent. Plus DJ Strawberry is back after being injured last season and he’ll help strengthen the defense (now if we can only get his shot to improve). Incoming freshman don’t seem to be anything to get excited about, but JC transfer Parish Brown looks to be a potentially solid sixth or seventh man as a backup PG.

As for Duke, they do look to have the best team by far. They’d be my preseason pick to win the whole thing except for two things, One: I fucking hate them, and Two: I have it on good authority that this is going to be the year that Satan come and collects Coach’s K’s soul. Instead I’ll pick Arizona as a dark horse to win the whole thing (no real reason I just felt like picking them).

As a Michigan State fan, with two weeks left in football season we eagerly await the basketball and hockey seasons. Izzo’s boys look sharp this year, we’re a bit disappointed with the national ranking. A final four trip is what we’ve come to expect and this year is no exception.

I’d be remiss to mention that the hockey team seems off to a better start this year. Comley finally seems at home here.

ANyone notice how Carolina isn’t in the Top 25.

Last time the Champs didn’t show up in the pre-season Top 25. . .

Kansas, after Danny Manning left

And yet I’m still gonna get tickets for their visit to Rupp (hopefully.) I’ll get a Louisville ticket, too.

Yes I did.

Unfortunately, I noticed State isn’t in the Top 25 either.

Duke v. Texas, December 10.

Mark it on your calendars.

Well, I’m going to take a few minutes and appraise you all of the team that will win the Big Ten for the second consecutive year. As an Illinois alum, I’m going to try and restrain my vitriol regarding the BS that was the Championship game. However, there’s reason to hope that the Illini can rectify that injustice this year.

First off, thanks to a trick ankle, Dee Brown returns to guide the fastest backcourt in the entire NCAA. I expect to see him playing like his ass was on fire, and Bruce will institute a semi-fast break transition game. This team will simply never get trapped. Dee, a guy who shot at a 50% clip, will start the season as a pure point. The hope is that Rich McBride grows into the role of true point allowing De to slash and get open looks from 3.

McBride got out of shape last year and has returned like a man on a mission. He’s got the experience of practicing against the trio of Brown, Head and Deron last season and there simply isn’t a player on the NCAA who would catch him by surprise. Althetically he’s got the chops to make some serious noise, and the biggest challenge for him will be proving he can play 40 minutes of top notch defense. If he does, and takes some pressure off Dee to handle the ball by the start of the Big Ten schedule, this backcourt will be very good.

The Illini’s best player come March could likely be Brian Randle. A guy who missed last season’s run due to injury, should be coming in with a serious chip on his shoulder. He’s one of those freakishly althetic guys thats a match up nightmare for most 3s or 4s. Watching him will harken back to the heady Flying Illini days. However he’s got more well rounded skills than Kenny Battle, and won’t simply be remembered for making sick dunks and 40 foot blocks.

James Augustine has one job this year. To get pissed off. He was the refs whipping boy in the NCAA tourney, and he’s going to bulk up to command the interior this season. If he adds muscle and can fill the lane prior to the shot instead of always trying to elevate after the fact he will be a force. If he continues to rely on his ups and quickness he could continue to be a foul trouble liablility. In the Big Ten he’ll remain a force, but playing against ticky-tacky Big East/ACC refs will be a danger zone. All things considered, offensively he’ll be on of Dee’s favorite option on the wing and low post. Having a 6-11 guy who runs the floor this well puts you in a class all your own, however to have Final Four aspirations he has to elevate his game.

Off the bench, we’ve got plenty of size, however they don’t have much experience. That could be an issue. We’re very long and very athletic, and should be able to play defense well, but there’s a question about who will provide the scoring off the bench. Jamar Smith is a deadly long range shooter who needs to prove he can do it with a hand in his face. Shaun Pruitt and Walter Carter got minutes last season in important games, but they never looked comfortable on the offensive end. Carter has the skills to be dominant on the boards, but needs to learn how to be in the right place at the right time.

People have lowered expectations after last year, and I think that’s bullshit. Granted I don’t expect us to go undefeated this year, but the Final Four needs to be a goal. Not just a NCAA berth, and not just a Sweet 16. The Big ten title is theirs to lose, not Michigan States. They’ve got the skills, they’ve got the coach, and they’ve got young talent. Is someone steps up watch out.

Cue up Oskie-wow-wow

As a Duke alum, all the vitriol directed at the Blue Devils – more so than is shown to comparable top programs such as UNC, UK, Kansas, and the like – never fails to make me kinda sad.

Just for kicks, here’s the key games to watch:
11/29 at UNC 9:00 PM
Time for a little payback. We get to go into the Dean Dome and blow them out in front of a national audience for the Big Ten-ACC shootout. It’ll be fun watching Roy sitting on the bench with his head between his knees breathing into a brown paper bag.

12/03 Xavier 2:00 PM
The game is at the United Center, one of Illinois’ favorite places to play, and they’ll be a heavy favorite here. Xavier always plays tough D and could be the first serious zone defense we play against. It’ll be a good education for the youngsters and will indicate how the backcourt has progressed.

12/08 G’town 9:00 PM
The dogs are expected to have a upswing this season and are bringing several starters back from last seasons squad. They are strong in the front court, and will be a good measure of how the Illini interior match up against some of the stronger bigs in the east.

01/05 #5 Mich St 9:00 PM
03/04 at #5 Mich St 12:00 PM

We play the first and last games of the conference schedule against the Spartans. You think both teams have these games circled? Winning the first one gives you a leg up in the race for the title, and then the last one could be the deciding factor. CBS must be giddy. MSU is the most althetic team the Illini will face all season. Last year that didn’t matter since were were the most skilled team in the Big Ten, this year we’ll have to match up with raw talent instead. The youth and size gives us a great chance, and they’ll have to play great full court D, but there’s no doubt that Michigan State will be bringing it’s very best. I like our odds as we’ve had MSU’s number for the last few seasons.

Other games to watch are the matchups against Indiana and Ohio State. With a couple blowouts of Indiana we can basically end Mike Davis’s tenure. I have mixed feelings about this, I hate the guy, but I love watching him ruin Hoosier team after Hoosier team. Plus my friends who went to IU practically froth at the mouth when you talk about him and have basically quit on them before the season even started. All good things. OSU was the team that ruined the perfect season. That was a really really sad day for me. I was in Tahoe and my entire vacation was ruined. They return a deep deep team and have all kinds of power inside. They’ll give everyone fits this year, but I expect inconsistency to cost them a real chance at the Big Ten title. They can beat any team on any given day though, so watch out in the big dance.

Two words: Christian Laettner.

I will never stop hating Duke because of him.

Oh, I’m not one to question people’s visceral reactions, but that kinda begs the question: every top program has its share of ‘hateable’ players…many of whom’ve been on campus more recently than thirteen years ago. :slight_smile:

Oh yeah? Name 3 of Kentucky’s.

/still remembers The Greatest Game Ever Played
//also remembers Laettner stepping on Aminu Timberlake

Preach it, brother!

Well, Pitino counts for like at least 10.

Pat Riley puts you in the pantheon of hatable programs, Mashburn, Magloire, and Mercer would be at the top of the list, but none can match the need to be slapped as Antoine Walker.

Pitino? Never heard of him. :wink:

Riley wasn’t hatable at UK, and neither were Mashburn or Magloire. Mercer and Walker, I might give you.

I really think that any hatred directed at those guys would be as a result of their NBA careers, though.