Thursday, July 3, 2008

More CBB Nuggets...

I am sure everyone appreciated the love-fest I had recently over UNC and their potential for 2008-2009 basketball season. If the Heels don’t win it this year, every one of their fans will turn into Joey from Real World Hollywood immediately. They are going to be ridiculous. However, other teams are going to play out their seasons, even defending SEC Tournament Champions Georgia. They are losing Billy Humphrey and maybe Jeremy Jacob, but Dennis Felton losing 2 players in the off-season is about as predictable as a Brett Favre comeback in 2008.

I have listed below 12 teams that could challenge UNC this upcoming season in no particular order:

Louisville – When Earl Clark decided to return the Cards went from top 20 team to top 5. McDonald’s All-American Samardo Samuels (6’9) will team with Clark to form one of the nation’s best frontcourts. Edgar Sosa and Jerry Smith are back at guard along with Mississippi State transfer Reginald Delk.

UCLA – Darren Collison returns but will have a new backcourt mate in Jrue Holiday. Josh Shipp is also back at the wing spot and 6’10 freshman J’Mison Morgan should also start at center.

3) Connecticut – Having a point guard as good as AJ Price and a big guy as dominant as Hasheem Thabeet is a good way to build a great team. Jeff Adrian somehow got a 11th year of eligibility and will help on the boards.

4) Oklahoma – Very intriguing team and the best bet to end the Texas-Kansas supremacy in the Big 12. Blake Griffin will challenge Tyler Hansbrough for player of the year honors and is a likely top 3 pick in next year’s NBA Draft. Sharp-shooting guard Tony Crocker will be joined in the backcourt by blue chip recruit Willie Warren.

5) Pittsburgh – Pitt just won’t go away from the national scene. They were nearly unbeatable towards the end of the year last season when Levance Fields played. Sam Young is also back and Dejuan Blair is a lock 1st Team All Big East.

6) Purdue – The Boilers went 25-9 last year with their top 3 players being 2 freshmen and a sophomore. That trio and excellent coaching makes them the class of the once again terrible Big 10.

7) Notre Dame – The Big East is going to be incredible this year. Returning Conference POY Luke Harangody returns along with Kyle McAlarney and Tory Jackson.

8) Arizona St – James Harden is an All-Conference player at guard and should have a huge sophomore season. Herb Sendek has done a great job rebuilding. Nice job NC State!

9) Florida – The loss of Maurice Speights won’t hurt as much after Billy Donovan got two 6’10 freshmen to join the Gators (Eloy Vargas and Kenny Kadji). The backcourt will be the strength with Nick Calathes and Jai Lucas.

10) Georgetown – Don’t write off the Hoyas after losing Pat Ewing, Roy Hibbert, and Jonathan Wallace. There is still a lot of talent in DC with Austin Freeman, Jessie Sapp, and DaJuan Summers all coming back. Incoming freshman Greg Monroe is a monster at 6’10 and will be more of a scoring threat than Hibbert.

11) Memphis – Landing Tyreke Evans will keep Memphis on the national stage. Having Evans available to run the point is huge because they lost so much talent to the NBA. Robert Dozier and Shawn Taggert are experienced forwards and Antonio Anderson returns as Evans backcourt mate.

12) Arizona – If Brandon Jennings makes it to campus, Arizona will be a Pac-10 title contender. Chase Budinger wised up and returned to school and Nic Wise and Jordan Hill also are back. Losing Bayless will hurt, but the arrival of Jennings is the key to their chances of contending.

How beastly will the Big East be? Not included on this list are Syracuse which returns a ton of players, Villanova and Scottie Reynolds, and a very talented West Virginia team. Marquette still has Dominic James too. They should get at least 9 teams into the 2009 Big Dance.

My early pick for the Final Four? UNC, Louisville, UConn, and Memphis


Beezbo said...

I think if Favre comes back, someone should give him a cheap shot and knock him out, ending his consecutive games streak.

I agree with all the Big East teams, Purdue, and OU all challenging for the Final Four and the title. I think UCLA will get to the Elite Eight and then get blown out.

Other teams I like:
Kansas - They lost a bunch, but the returning guys have the experience and Self is the new Roy-Dub now that he has his title and can just focus on winning more.

USC - Especially if DeRozan is Derrick Rose-esque.

Tennessee - Pearl is a jackass but also a great coach. I like them better than Florida and Donovan's big time recruits who don't seem like they can fill the shoes of Big Al, Brewer, Green, Richard, Humphrey and that piece of Euro trash that likes to get arrested.

Jeff said...

I agree with USC, Taj Gibson is solid inside and if DeRozan puts up 29+ a game, they could be back near the top.

I think Kansas lost too much, with only Collins and Aldrich coming back out of the main rotation. The Big 12 will be down a bit, so don't count out a conference title.

Tennessee would be near the top if Pearl hadn't booted Crews and Ramar Smith off the team. They will still be a top 20 squad with Frosh Scotty Hopson teaming with JP Prince, Chism, and Tyler Smith.

Yannick Noah's son smokes pot? No Way!!