Thursday, November 09, 2006

Matt's Final Pre-Season

1. Kansas Jayhawks - 1st Big 12
Out of more than just sheer instinct, I think Kansas will have the best season in college hoops. They are so well balanced and deep, I can hardly see them losing to anyone in the Big 12. They have crazy amounts of athleticism, a true leader in Brandon Rush, and the determination to tear it up after being thrown out the past 2 years in the first round. Their only problem might come in the middle, but that can be minimized by a more uptempo pace than most.

2. Florida Gators - 1st SEC
The defending champs are human too. They'll underestimate some opponents, they'll have some shaky games. They may have the best starting 5 in the nation, but they're not as deep as Kansas. They're a powerhouse to be sure, but I see them dropping a few games.

3. UNC Tarheels - 1st ACC
A similar situation as Kansas; a sweet recruiting class and returning most of a good team from last year. They have a leader in Tyler Hansborough, but his game is more limited than Brandon Rush's. They strike me as a powerhouse, no doubt, but they will have to eek out some close ones.

4. Arizona Wildcats - 1st Pac-10
The top 3 teams are the same in every ranking you see, but the 4th team is usually different from poll to poll. In this case, I'm going for Arizona, who a lot of people don't even have winning the Pac-10. Lute Olsen is hyping up Chase Budinger, but he's far from their only weapon. Marcus Williams and Mustafa Shakur are a year better. Ivan Radenovic will need to take a small step up. But overall I really like this team's chances.

5. Ohio State - 1st Big 10
This ranking isn't official till January comes around, when Greg Oden suits up in red. Even until then, I have confidence in the young guys to step it up and hold down the fort, being a top 15 or so team. They'll be a real threat in the NCAA tourney.

6. Georgetown - 1st Big East
Georgetown has more star power than Pittsburgh, assuming that my prediction of 7'2" Roy Hibbert rising to Aaron Gray's level comes true. Also throw into the equation that Jeff Green will be working for a high pick in the NBA draft next June, and you've got a great team, despite inexperience (not holes) in the backcourt.

7. Duke - 2nd ACC
Duke isn't going to plummet to 20th in the nation. Duke is Duke, and will be Duke for as far as I can see. McRoberts is primed for a huge year. Martynas Pocius is a sleeper for a big year. Greg Paulus is a key player for them, but it's not like they'll just be awful without him. There's just too much pure talent here.

8. UCLA - 2nd Pac-10
I believe that Farmar was this teams anchor. It seems like his loss would be absolutely devestating, but Darren Collison is gonna step in and do some good things, and Josh Shipp helps balance out the loss of Farmar. This won't be Afflalo and Mbah-Moute against the world.

9. LSU - 2nd SEC
I don't think Tyrus Thomas was that big of a loss for the Tigers. LSU still holds their anchor Big Baby Davis , but I question if his supporting cast can be consistent.

10. Pittsburgh - 2nd Big East
Aaron Gray is a force inside, no doubt, but I don't think their other players will have the great season they showed hints of last year. The loss of Krauser DOES hurt, too.

11. Boston College - 3rd ACC
Craig Smith? Sean Williams is primed.
12. Syracuse - 3rd Big East
Devendorf will shoot the rock freely without G-Mac
13. Wisconsin - 2nd Big 10
It's a gut feeling that Wisconsin can't live up to their hype. If all their talent comes together they could take the Big 10 by gaining wins on the weakened Ohio State
14. Alabama - 3rd SEC
It hurts to rate them this low, because they have a sweet sweet trio of players.
15. Texas A&M - 2nd Big 12
Jones and Law, but much more?
16. Memphis - 1st C-USA
17. UCONN - 4th Big East
18. Nevada - 1st WAC
19. Marquette - 5th Big East
20. Oklahoma State - 3rd Big 12
21. Creighton - 1st MVC
22. Kentucky - 4th SEC
23. USC - 3rd Pac-10
24. Texas - 4th Big 12
25. Villanova - 6th Big East
26. Georgia Tech - 4th ACC
27. Southern Illinois - 2nd MVC
28. Michigan - 3rd Big 10
29. San Diego State - 1st MWC
30. Washington - 4th Pac-10
31. Xavier - 1st A-10
32. Illinois - 4th Big 10
33. Oregon - 5th Pac-10
34. Tennessee - 5th SEC
35. Texas Tech - 5th Big 12
36. Wichita State - 3rd MVC
37. Gonzaga - 1st WCC
38. Hofstra - 1st CAA
39. Maryland - 5th ACC
40. Indiana - 5th Big 10
41. Florida St - 6th ACC
42. Louisville - 7th Big 12
43. Virginia - 7th ACC
44. Kansas State - 6th Big 12
45. Charlotte - 2nd A-10
46. Akron - 1st MAC
47. Air Force - 2nd MWC
48. California - 6th Pac-10
49. UMASS - 3rd A-10
50. Houston - 2nd C-USA

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