Sports Illustrated put out a list of 68 things to watch this college basketball season. I won't discuss all 68, but instead, I'll go over some of the more intriguing ones.
Let's start with Kentucky first. It will be interesting to see the Wildcats use two different starting 5s but I think Calipari can handle that. Even though I am not a fan of his coaching style, he is very good at getting young high school stars to play together as a team. This Wildcat team has a total of 9 McDonald All-Americans on this team, that's a lot of talent but even more egos to handle. On paper, this team looks primed for the National Championship but this could also backfire, indicating over-recruiting by Calipari.
I don't think Okafor has to "outdo" Jabari mainly because they are two different players. Jabari was forced to play the 5 last year mainly because Duke was small, and with him being 6'8 along with being the best player on the team, he was the best option for that position. Okafor is actually playing at his natural position, being a center. You could argue whether or not this team is more talented but with their best player playing at their natural position, your team is more primed for success.
Boatright was a recruit when Kemba Walker took the college basketball world by storm in 2011. He was a sidekick to Shabazz Napier, who also took over College Basketball during tourney time last year and was a sidekick to Kemba in 2011. Does he have what it takes to transform into an All-American during tourney time? We'll have to wait and see, I'm sure he knows and understands the expectations of being a UConn floor general.
*Keep an eye on Sam Cassell Jr., who is out of Baltimore. He is entering his sophomore season. *
I really don't understand why people would be against storming the court. To me, it's apart of the game, just like storming the field. Now I do think kids should understand the rules to court storming. If you’re going to storm the court, it has to be either;
- A. against a team ranked higher than you
- B. against a team your school has never defeated
- C. against a team that is apart of a bigger conference than your team’s
And if you do storm, you should NEVER attack the opposing team players. In fact, ignore them if they are still on the court or field, look pass them and go celebrate with your teammates. I don’t think just because a few people made bad decisions that court storming should be abolished. Sometimes the best way to end a game is to Storm The Court. These athletes and students go to school together, party together, and walk around the same campus, they should also be able to celebrate a big win together. This is not corporate america, this is college basketball.
I counted 6 teams that could possibly go dancing from this conference, which would be great if it wasn't 14 teams in this conference. Maryland and Rutgers are the new comers to the conference and will have to prove themselves. UMD shouldn't have an issue adjusting to the Big 10 competition since they were playing in the ACC.
A potential Wooden winner in my opinion. This kid last season impressed me with his dominance in the paint. I expect Trez to bless us with plenty of highlights and big time poster dunk. I see him being a regular on Don't Jump.
Bruce Pearl will make his return to the sideline after being exiled by the NCAA for 3 years. Pearl will attempt to bring the Auburn Tigers back into the national convo but it won't be easy. The Tigers only have 8 appearances in the NCAA tournament, last one coming in 2003. If anybody can help this lackluster program, it's definitely Bruce Pearl, who has a coaching record of 492-145.
I remember watching both of their high school highlights on YouTube during their senior seasons and thinking, "Florida will be a problem for the next four years." Neither will probably stay all four years but it will be fun watching play together. Both didn't have great freshman season but they were playing behind some talented upper-classmen. Now I'll get a chance to see how these two will coexist as starters.
Texas has been receiving a lot of hype this pre-season and I have to wait before I say if it's deserved or not. In the month of January last season, they went on a 7-game win streak, 4 victories coming against ranked conference opponents, so this team definitely has potential to make some noise.
Danny Manning took a Tulsa team to their first NCAA Tournament since 2003 in only his second season as head coach. Now he will start a new era at Wake Forest, who has more of luring prestige than Tulsa. If Danny can get some highly-touted recruits in Wake, I can see this time rising to the top of the ACC, somewhere they haven't been for almost a decade.
If the Rebels strong recruiting class can grow up fast, we could see them make some noise. I am very familiar with Baltimore Native, Dwayne Morgan, who played at St. Frances Academy, so I will keep a close eye on him. He is a 6'8 forward, that can stretch the floor a little bit. I actually like him inside the paint but he likes to shoot the mid-range.
SMU was snubbed last season and unfortunately it could happen to them again. They a few tough test with trips to Gonzaga and Michigan and 4 conference games against Cincinnati and UConn. I want to see this team go dancing but they must take care of business in the conference tournament.