Monday, November 8, 2010

Seven Minimally Bold Opening Day Predictions

1. Jamie Dixon or Bo Ryan will make the Final Four this year. These coaches have been performing at too high a level for too long not to catch a break one of these years.

2. The Big 12 will get more NCAA bids than the Big 10. The Big 10 is very good at the top, but I’m not as confident in the bottom or middle of the league.

3. The ACC will once again dominate the early season tournaments. This is not particularly controversial, but I bring it up because I think the ACC is not getting nearly enough publicity this pre-season. The middle of the league has a lot of question marks, but there is simply too much talent here not to expect another dominant non-conference performance.

4. The ACC will have the slowest pace in the last 10 years. Just look at the new coaches.

5. Out of Memphis, Kentucky, and North Carolina, one team will be great, one will be good enough, and one will be awful. I just have no idea where each team will end up.

6. Oliver Purnell will lead DePaul to 4 conference wins. (DePaul has had 0 and 1 conference wins the last two seasons.) I completely agree with people who say Purnell has inherited a disaster. And I’m more optimistic about 2012 than 2011. But Purnell has done this rebuilding thing before and there are a lot of vulnerable teams in the Big East this year.

7. Northwestern will not make the NCAA tournament.

Two Random Facts

If you are watching ESPNU tonight and your team is not playing, you may be a college basketball addict.

If you are reading this blog and not watching ESPNU tonight, you must really hate your cable operator.

The Uncertainty Principle

As much as I love all the preseason prognostication, the great thing about college basketball is that we know so little. This is not the NBA with its handful of clear favorites. Every college basketball season is filled with fresh faces. Every year is filled with uncertainty. We have no idea whether Kyrie Irving can keep Duke’s offense running at a high level. And we have no idea if Kentucky’s youngsters can compete for an SEC title. (Heck, we do not even know if Enes Kanter will play.) But that uncertainty, that fresh start, is what makes each season great. November is like spring training, a time of year when everyone can believe and anything can happen. College Basketball is back tonight!