Thursday, November 13, 2008
As I mentioned yesterday, I need something to take my mind away from football. There has been too much catastrophic shit that has happened this Fall for me to handle anymore. Thankfully, my second favorite sport, college basketball, has begun play. And I couldn't be more excited. Last year, we had the fortune of seeing the sport over-run by insanely talented freshman who unfortunately are now getting paid. This year? Well, what we have is a massive collection of talented big men and, THEE most important subplot of the season...NO MORE BILLY PACKER! So all in all, it should be quite the entertaining season. Since most of my readers are either still dreaming about what could have been (Ohio State football) or what the hell is going on (Michigan fan), allow me to give you a little taste of what to look forward to on the hardwood this winter. I'm running this prediction post the exact same way that I ran "guest post week" with the football previews. Here we go:
G$'s Top 5:
5. Michigan State - Tom Izzo finally has what appears to be his best team since that Mateen Cleaves team. Why? Because the most overrated, ballhog, Leukemia-surviving point guard ever, Drew Neitzel, is finally gone. Words can't describe how little I thought of him. With Raymar Morgan ready to become a superstar, expect big things from Sparty.
4. UConn - Yeah, they didn't lose anybody and Thabeet is a freaking beast in the paint, but something still bothers me about these guys. The talent is there and all but at the same time, this is the same talent that couldn't beat San Diego in the tourney last year. And Jim Calhoun looks like the biggest asshole on the planet.
3. UCLA - So what if they lost Love, Westbrook, and Luc Richard M'bah-Amoute? Ben Howland just reloads anyway. Darren Collison is still around and stud freshman, J'Rue Holiday, will help lead the Bruins to another Pac-10 title. Unfortunately for the Bruins, they will lose to the RedHawks tonight at 11 pm on ESPNU. I'll be watching, sleep be damned.
2. Louisville - This is a big year for Ricky Pitino. With the exception of glue guy, David Padgett, the Cards return everybody. Terence Williams, Earl Clark, and Jerry Smith are just fantastic players. As long as Pitino leaves the white suit at home, the 'Ville is going to be exceptional this season.
1. North Carolina - If Roy's Boys don't win the national title this season, they may never again. They brought back everybody. EVERYBODY from last year's Final Four team! Now, you all know how little I think of Tyler Hansbrough (and I always will due to his titanic level of doucheyness), but he's the kind of guy that this finesse team needs. They can run anyone out of the gym but it's the toughness, heart, and inside presence that Hansbrough gives them that makes them special. He's still a fetus-face though.
Most Overrated Team: #14 Tennessee
I love Bruce Pearl. In fact, I'm IN love with Bruce Pearl. But this team isn't going to be that great this year. TJ Prince proved in the tournament last year that he's mentally fragile. Wayne Chism sucks and Chris Lofton is no more. They will still make The Dance, but it isn't going to be as a 1-6 seed.
Most Underrated Team: #23 Villanova
Their record at the end of the year may not be that great, but it will be due to the conference that they play in and not for lack of talent. Trust me, they will make waves in March. Scottie Reynolds is turning into one of my favorite players and Jay Wright looks as great as he coaches. You heard it hear first, the Wildcats are going to be a tough out this postseason.
Cinderella (potentially this year's Davidson): St. Mary's
If you watched the Olympics, then you know that Patrick Mills (Australia) can ball. The Gaels (awesome nickname) have a veteran team, a dynamic player, and one of the best home court advantages in the country. Between them and Gonzaga, the WCC is going to be a slugfest this season.
First Coach Fired: Bruce Weber, Illinois
Weber is by far the worst coach in the history of basketball. He excels in only one thing...stupid facial expressions. He doesn't recruit well. He used Bill Self's players to almost steal a championship, and, like I said, he's an idiot. Adios muchacho.
3 Bold Predictions:
>>Oklahoma wins the Big 12 - Impress your friends, tell them that Blake Griffin is the best player in the country. They won't know who you're talking about but you will be able to brag about your statement in a few months when he's dropping 25/12's every game and is the likely #1 pick in next year's draft..
>>USC is better without OJ Mayo than they were last year with him - DeMar DeRozan (awesome name) is going to be a good one and since Mayo and his distractions are gone, Tim Floyd can just focus on winning.
>>Notre Dame struggles - I just hate teams that shoot a ton of three's and The Big East is a bitch this season. I love Harangody but not much else. They played over their head last season and will come back down to earth a bit this year.
Naismith Award Winner: Stephen Curry
This is more of a sentimental pick. Curry, now playing point for Davidson, will have huge numbers. I just don't want to see Hansbrough win this award. Don't be surprised if Griffin wins it.
G$'s Final Four: Oklahoma, UCLA, Louisville, Purdue
Consider me the first to be on the Sooners bandwagon. Jeff Capel can coach. UCLA is easy because UCLA goes to the Final Four every year. Louisville is loaded as I said earlier. There is always a semi-surprise team that gets to the Final Four. I'm going with Matt Painter's young defensive bunch as my sleeper.
National Champion: Louisville
Pitino does it again.
There you have it. My picks that will surely not happen eventhough last year I successfully predicted 3 of the 4 Final Four teams before the season even started. I will probably get three out of 4 again with my lone miss being Charlie Coles getting there instead of Purdue. It could happen! YES WE CAN! If you've got some of your own predictions, you know where to put them. In your corn-shoot.