College Basketball- Preseason Roundup

TOP 25 OF THE MATTY:

  1. UCLA (11-0) The Bruins aren’t the most talented team, but right now they are playing together better than anyone behind great coaching and intense defense.
  2. North Carolina (10-1) Watching the UNC-Ohio State game, I was amazed by how much more athletic these teams seemed than anyone else I have seen this year. The loss to Gonzaga is in the books, but will they lose again? The freshman contingent is growing up fast.
  3. Florida (11-2) The Gators will benefit from the early losses they suffered and looked like the champions they are against Ohio State. Pound for pound, this is still the best team in the country talent-wise, but will they regain that spark that led them to the title last season?
  4. Kansas (10-2) The overtime win over Florida showed the Jayhawks at their best, and at that level they can beat anyone. Losses to Oral Roberts and DePaul showed a different side. Which will prevail?
  5. Ohio State (10-2) With Greg Oden healthy, this might be the best team in America, but they were outmatched from start to finish by the defending champs.
  6. Arizona (9-1) The Wildcats are a serious sleeper to win it all. They’ve been hot since losing the season opener to Virginia, and beat a talented Memphis team last week.
  7. Wisconsin (12-1) A loss to respectable Missouri State notwithstanding, the Badgers are proving that they and Ohio State are on another level compared with the rest of the Big Ten. The win at Marquette was impressive.
  8. Duke (11-1) The Blue Devils haven’t looked good, and would have lost to my Hoosiers easily if IU could have hit any free throws in that two point loss. Nevertheless, they keep finding ways to win. We’ll see how they fare against North Carolina though…
  9. Alabama (11-1) The Tide are loaded with talent in the backcourt and up front, but struggled in a loss to Notre Dame. I’m still waiting for them to grab a marquee win, but that will come in time.
  10. Washington (10-1) The Huskies are a big reason why a lot of people think the Pac-10 is the best conference in basketball. When was the last time that was the case?
  11. Butler (12-1) Preseason NIT champs beat in-state rivals Indiana, Notre Dame and Purdue, but missed out on an unquestioned state championship due to a confusing loss to Indiana State. Wins over Tennessee and Gonzaga look good as well.
  12. Marquette (12-2) Wins at Duke and against Texas Tech keep Marquette right in the thick of things. The loss to a talented Wisconsin team can be appreciated, but what happened against North Dakota State? Throw that one out.
  13. Connecticut (10-0) It frustrates me that a team with UConn’s prowess refuses to schedule any meaningful preseason games. Until they beat a team that has any hope of making the tournament, the Huskies won’t get any top ten love from me.
  14. Witchita State (8-1) If last year’s tournament run wasn’t proof enough of The Shockers’ talent, big preseason wins at LSU and at Syracuse should be. A loss to New Mexico over the Holiday weekend can be forgiven.
  15. LSU (7-3)  The Tigers struggled a bit early, although losses to Texas, Witchita State and Washington are all respectable. Marquee win over Texas A & M stands alone, and the Tigers are finding out how much they miss Tyrus Thomas and his athleticism, but these holes should be filled come March.
  16. Texas A & M (9-2) Played UCLA as tough as anyone, but I’m still waiting for that big win, as the Aggies fell short to tournament nemesis LSU as well.
  17. Oklahoma State (12-1) The Cowboys have overachieved a bit, winning important games against Pittsburgh, Missouri State and Syracuse. The lone loss at Tennessee isn’t anything to be ashamed of.
  18. Pittsburgh (10-2) The Panthers should rebound in the Big East season, but had to be a little overrated coming into this year. Big win over Florida State looks better after the Noles knocked off Florida, and losses to Wisconsin and Oklahoma State make sense enough.
  19. Tennessee (10-2) The Vols’ only losses came in the Preseason NIT to top ten teams Butler and UNC. Since then they’ve played well against a tough schedule, winning against Memphis, Oklahoma State and Texas.
  20. Memphis (9-3) The Tigers have looked pretty good playing a fairly difficult schedule. A win over Kentucky remains the biggest accomplishment.
  21. Oregon (10-0) Surprising win over Georgetown remains lone accomplishment, aside from not losing to a slough of inferior opponents.
  22. Gonzaga (9-4) The only four loss team on the list has played the nation’s toughest schedule to date, and have a win over North Carolina to their credit.
  23. Florida State (9-2) A scary team capable of big things, the Seminoles make the list after a shocking early season upset of defending champ and cross-town rival Florida.
  24. Kentucky (8-3) The Cats haven’t been pretty, but this team is going to win some games.
  25. Indiana (8-3) : My Hoosiers are holding steady here after steadily improving and losing three narrow games to three teams ahead of them on this list by a combined 12 points. A convincing win over a Southern Illinois team that made my preseason Top 16 merits placement here.

Teams like Air Force, Nevada and Clemson have shot up the coaches poll for beating nobodies. These teams have to beat someone before they earn my respect, I won’t rank Air Force #16 for doing nothing…

Others receiving votes: Notre Dame, Maryland, Michgan State, Texas, Missouri State

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