Northwestern Wins: A College Hoops Blog

An ode to Verne Lundquist’s calls and everything college basketball

Archive for November 9th, 2008

5 Things To Look For This College Basketball Season

Posted by Patrick on November 9, 2008

Ah! Do you guys smell that sweet aroma lingering in the air? I do, and it smells like a new college basketball season. So, here are the top five things that I will be looking for this college basketball season. It should be one hell of a ride.

1. Can North Carolina run the table?- Zach wrote a previous post that centered around this question, and there is no doubt that if any team is going to be able to do it, its UNC. Everyone is back, and I can assure you that UNC’s goal is to finish not only as National Champions but with a goose egg in the loss column. Although I was one of the people that said the Tar Heels will go undefeated, ever since Hansbrough’s injury I’ve had doubts. There are too many things that can go wrong during the long college basketball season and when you’re playing in a conference as tough as the ACC it would be damn near impossible to not slip up at some point. However, like the Patriots last season, it will be fun to watch this team “Chase Perfection”.

2. The Freshmen- Every season you hear people talk about why this year’s freshman class is better than the last, and after a while that argument gets pretty tiresome. However, I think it is very fun to watch how the freshman make the transition from high school to high major NCAA teams. Look out for DeMar DeRozan, BJ Mullens, Delvin Roe, Tyreke Evans, etc. (I could go on all day) to make a huge impact in college basketball this season.

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3. Stephen Curry- Stephen Curry is like your sibling that goes off to college and months later you realize that you miss him/her and had always taken them for granted. When Curry leaves for the NBA (fingers crossed that it never happens) we will realize a couple of months into the next college basketball season just how much we miss that kid. So take advantage of the opportunity this year, it may be your last chance to see Curry play meaningful basketball.

4. Coaching Changes- Its always fun to analyze the top coaching moves and how they play out, especially when it is a former mid-major coach making the transition to coaching a BCS conference team. Look for Keno Davis, Travis Ford, Trent Johnson, Tom Crean, and Buzz Williams this season as the coaches that will be under the most pressure in the first year with their teams.

5. Gus Johnson- Well, you can’t really look at him while you watch games so this is more of a “Top 5 Things To Listen For”. Everyone that has listened to Gus Johnson announce a close game knows that no one else is in his league in terms of getting into the moment. Now Johnson is at the Big Ten Network, so get ready to watch MSU-Purdue go down to the wire while Gus Johnson loses his vocal cords. I can hear it now “Lucas brings it up the court! Gives it to Roe outside the key! Pump-fake! FIIIIIIIRRRRRRREEEESSS!!!!!!!!!!! ITS GOOOOOOOOOOOOD! THE SPARTANS WIN!!!!” (or insert players from Purdue and switch Spartans to Boilers).

I don’t know about you but I can’t wait.

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FINAL Preseason Top 25

Posted by Zach on November 9, 2008

Final Top 25 before the season begins Monday posted under the ZPT Weekly Top 25 tab.

Tommy’s and Pat’s are now entered in.

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Top Ten Games Of The Week (11/10-11/16)

Posted by Zach on November 9, 2008

The college basketball season is finally upon us. After the March Madness recap, the recruiting rampage, clinics and camps, transfers, injuries, Midnight Madness and weeks worth of practice, real, unedited college basketball will be shown on my television for the first time since Mario Chalmers led Kansas to the national title last April. It makes no difference to me that the score will likely be Duke 104, Presbyterian 55. It’s college basketball, it’s live, and even the sight of the Cameron Crazies are enough to get me excited.

Most of these games in my first edition of the Top Ten Games of the Week are assumptions. That is, we’d need Michigan and Northeastern to beat Division II or awful Division I teams to reach that matchup. Unless we have another Gardner Webb on our hands (and most of these teams are even worse), I’d say most of these are fair bets to occur. So without further ado, here’s the Top Ten in order:

1. San Diego @ UNLV (Saturday, MTN)– The best game of the first week features two mid-majors looking to advance to the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament. First team all-WCC forward Gyno Pomare and senior guard Brandon Johnson lead the way for the Toreros in this difficult early road game in Las Vegas. UNLV is the preseason Mountain West favorite after returning three starters from a 27-win team. Wink Adams is the floor general and best player on the Rebels, while this game will give us the first look at Memphis transfer Tre’Von Willis. Prediction: San Diego 70, UNLV 74

2. New Mexico @ Creighton (Sunday)– Our second best game displays another Mountain West contenders- the New Mexico Lobos and head coach Steve Alford. Many feel they can contend for the top spot in the conference with Tony Danridge at the helm of the offense. Look out for combo guard Chad Toppert as a capable compliment to the scoring leader Danridge. Creighton is the near-unanimous preseason favorite in the Missouri Valley, and will look for super sophomore P’Allen Stinnett to carry the Jays to a big road victory. Prediction: New Mexico 69, Creighton 76

3. Clemson vs. Temple (Sunday, Sport South)– This matchup assumes both teams get through two easy rounds at the Charleston Classic over the weekend. Clemson is looking like a bubble team in the middle of the ACC pack, while Temple could be a true contender in the Atlantic 10 with Xavier and Massachusetts. This would be a huge resume building win for Dionte Christmas and Temple notching a victory over an ACC school like Clemson, who will attempt to hold off the Owls with the help of K.C. Rivers and Trevor Booker. Prediction: Clemson 67, Temple 65

4. Massachusetts @ Southern Illinois (Wednesday)– If both of these teams take care of business against cupcakes in the first round of the Carbondale regional in Coaches vs. Cancer, Southern Illinois will get a tough home test in a battle for a game with Duke in Madison Square Garden. If that’s not a motivating factor, then I don’t know what is. The dynamic guard duo of Ricky Harris and Chris Lowe lead the charge for UMass against Bryan Mullins and the Salukis in a contest of offensive firepower vs. defensive dominance. Prediction: Massachusetts 70, Southern Illinois 68

5. Bradley @ Florida (Sunday, ESPNU)– This one could be closer than casual viewers expect. Andrew Warren, Theron Wilson and a well-balanced high-scoring Braves attack could give Florida and their young roster a scare in Gainesville for a healthy part of this game. But I expect Nick Calathes, Erving Walker and Co. to pull away near the end in this warmup for the CBE Classic in Kansas City. Prediction: Bradley 79, Florida 90

6. Northeastern @ Michigan (Wednesday, ESPNU)
– Watch out for this one, folks. Other than sensational guard Manny Harris, the Wolverines don’t have the talent to avoid a possible upset, even in Ann Arbor. Northeastern and Matt Janning have their eyes set on a Colonial title this season and a long-awaited trip to the NCAA Tournament, while the Michigan program is still attempting to right the ship under new coach John Beilein. This winner of this game will face UCLA in New York. Prediction: Northeastern 60, Michigan 61

7. George Mason @ Vermont (Saturday)– This is an early season battle of two programs that have certainly produced magic in the NCAA Tournament and are in prime position to return this season. The backcourt combination of senior Dre Smith, who sank 10 threes in a game last year, and double digit scorer John Vaughan might be enough to knock off America East contender Vermont. They’re led by Michigan State transfer Maurice Joseph, double-double man Marqus Blakely and outstanding guard Mike Trimboli. Prediction: George Mason 76, Vermont 79

8. Houston @ Duke (Tuesday, ESPNU)
– I don’t expect this one to be particularly close with a trip to New York on the line in Durham. I’m still intrigued to see some of Houston’s new players, notably freshman Desmond Wade and a slew of talented JC transfers along with guard Kelvin Lewis, and how they hold up in Cameron against Kyle Singler, Gerald Henderson, Greg Paulus and the rest. If Houston does stay close, Memphis might have a difficult conference foe on their hands. Prediction: Houston 68, Duke 88

9. Illinois State @ Wright State (Saturday)– Not many searching for good games this week will avoid overlooking this battle, but these are two schools that could win their conferences- the Missouri Valley and Horizon League, respectively. 15.8 PPG scorer Osiris Eldridge is a contender for MVC Player of the Year while Todd Brown and Vaughn Duggins look to defend their home court in this battle of mid majors. Prediction: Illinois State 59, Wright State 60

10. American @ Oklahoma (Friday, ESPN Full Court)– Oklahoma should win this easily, but you’ll surely see American as an upset contender next March. They’ve got one of the best unknown players in the nation in Garrison Carr. Derrick Mercer is another outstanding guard for the Patriot League favorites. This is also our first look at Willie Warren for the Sooners. Prediction: American 71, Oklahoma 90

Also keep an eye on:
– Miami (OH) @ UCLA (Thursday, ESPNU)
– Bucknell @ Maryland (Friday)
– Butler @ Drake (Saturday)
– Pennsylvania @ North Carolina (Saturday, FSN South)
– Northeastern @ Providence (Saturday)
– Rhode Island @ Duke (Sunday, ESPNU)
– Winthrop @ South Carolina (Sunday)
– Milwaukee @ Iowa State (Sunday)

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Pac-10 Preview Roundup

Posted by Patrick on November 9, 2008

Links to my other posts: 1.UCLA, 2.Arizona State, 3.Washington, 4.USC, 5.Arizona, 6.Washington State, 7.Cal, 8.Stanford, 9.Oregon, 10.Oregon State

First Team:

James Harden (G-Arizona State)

Darren Collison (G-UCLA)

Jon Brockman (F-Washington)

DeMar DeRozan (G-USC)

Chase Budinger (F-Arizona)

Second Team:

Jrue Holiday (G-UCLA)

Taj Gibson (F-USC)

Jeff Pendergraph (F-Arizona State)

Aron Baynes (C-Washington State)

Patrick Christopher (F-Cal)

Third Team:

Quincy Pondexter (F-Washington)

Mitch Johnson (G-Stanford)

Derek Glasser (G-Arizona State)

J’Mison Morgan (C-UCLA)

Daniel Hackett (G-USC)

Player of the Year:

1) James Harden, Arizona State

2) Jon Brockman, Washington

3) Darren Collison, UCLA

Defensive Player of the Year: Darren Collison, UCLA

Breakthrough Player of the Year: Derek Glasser, Arizona State

Freshman of the Year: DeMar DeRozan, USC

Coach of the Year: Herb Sendek, Arizona State

Dark Horse Player: Tajuan Porter, Oregon

Dark Horse Team: Washington State

NCAA Teams: 5

NIT Teams: 3

CBI Teams: 1

Top Five Games:

1. Arizona State at UCLA (1/17)

2. UCLA at USC (1/11)

3. Arizona State at Washington (2/26)

4. USC at Arizona State (2/15)

5. USC at UCLA (2/4)

The SEC Preview will be up at some point this week. Oh yeah, and there is a college basketball game tomorrow night, in case your wondering.

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