Northwestern Wins: A College Hoops Blog

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

Ten Bold Predictions For 2008-09

Posted by Zach on November 10, 2008

We have arrived.

My equally obsessive passion- baseball- kept me occupied long enough over the summer to avoid thinking about how much I miss college basketball. As my team’s season ended with a sharp groundball to Aki Iwamura in mid-October, my mind immediately transforms into one completely transfixes with counting the hours, minutes, seconds until the squeak of the sneakers against the college basketball hardwood. Tonight, the Cameron Indoor Stadium doors open, the Crazies will paint their faces and Coach K will patrol the sidelines. I know it’s only Presbyterian, it doesn’t matter one iota to me. A real college hoops game will be played tonight and that’s more than enough to keep me going through the bitter cold of the winter.

We’ve done our best to get our readers prepared for the journey ahead. With bracketology, major conference previews, Top 25’s, breakout players, predictions, summer roundups and instant reactions to breaking news, we hope our little experiment called Northwestern Wins has been a decent read for you, the fans that have longed for the opening jump ball as much as we have. Hopefully you’ll make your way back here during the regular season. We have plenty in store. So tie up those Adidas, Gerald Henderson, and let the season begin.

Here are ten bold predictions that we could see in 2008-09:

1. Virginia Tech will be the firmest ACC challenge for North Carolina- The Heels were pushed to the brink in last year’s ACC Tournament by the Hokies, who return everyone of note besides Deron Washington. Seth Greenberg’s team plays the best defense in the ACC and feature talented players like Jeff Allen and A.D. Vassallo. Blacksburg isn’t an easy place to win for any opponent, and these two teams face off late in the seaosn (March 4). Virginia Tech, not Duke or Wake or Miami, will give the Tar Heels their toughest fight during ACC play.

2. Memphis will lose in the first round of the NCAA Tournament- John Calipari’s team certainly has the talent assembled, but I see a combination of mostly role players with limited upside. Robert Dozier, Antonio Anderson, Shawn Taggart, Angel Garcia and Willie Kemp are perfect role players around stars like Chris Douglas-Roberts and Derrick Rose, but can they be the centerpieces? Tyreke Evans could mold into something special very soon, but he’s no Derrick Rose. They also turn the ball over enough to make John Calipari’s head explode and nobody can shoot free throws.

3. Siena will defeat Kansas at Allen Fieldhouse– Led by Edwin Ubiles, Kenny Hansbrouck and Alex Franklin, three players who scored 15+ PPG last season, Siena will be the top mid-major in college basketball this season. They return nearly everyone from their 4-13 win over Vanderbilt last March, and the Saints will finally receive national recognition when they take down Kansas on the road January 6. Look for them to go undefeated in the MAAC, as well.

4. The Big East will get 10 teams in the tourney– I’ve made this prediction before, but the Big East is strong enough where a 8-10 Providence team could be the last team in. Barring some major disappointments, the nine teams ahead of Providence in the preseason should push their way into the field. The Friars added the National Coach of the Year and have plenty of scoring. Ten teams from one conference will happen.

5. Gonzaga will reach the Final Four- If Austin Daye finally plays up to his potential, Gonzaga will be playing into April. They have the explosiveness of Jeremy Pargo, the scoring of Micah Downs and Matt Bouldin, the three-point shooting of Stephen Gray, and the inside game of Daye and Josh Heytvelt. They’ll be tested in a brutal non-conference schedule along with San Diego and Saint Mary’s in the WCC.

6. Someone will emerge in the Duke frontcourt- Whether it’s Mason Plumlee, Lance Thomas, Brian Zoubek or Kyle Singler becoming more of an inside force, the Blue Devils will finally have someone to lean on in the paint when March rolls around. My money’s on Singler- he gained 20 pounds of bulk over the summer in preparation for lasting through ACC play. Thomas may finally break out of his shell.

7. Iman Shumpert will win ACC Rookie of the Year– Shumpert will be the centerpiece of the Jackets offense (especially now with Clinch suspended due to academics) from the opening tip. He has the skills to outlast Aminu, Davis, Zeller, Williams, Jones, Singleton and the rest for the honor.

8. Indiana will not win a Big Ten game this season- Not one. Not even over Iowa, Northwestern or Michigan. Look at that roster. It would barely survive in the Horizon League.

9. Connecticut will defeat North Carolina in the title game– I love the way UConn, at full strength, matches up with the Heels. Thabeet can frustrate Hansbrough down low, Price matches up well with Lawson containing his speed, Austrie/Dyson can hold Ellington from getting too many open looks, and the Huskies are nearly as deep as North Carolina. It’s not like Jim Calhoun will be outcoached, either.

10. Duke will lose to Presbyterian tonight– On second thought, I’m not that bold.

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10 Responses to “Ten Bold Predictions For 2008-09”

  1. Daniel said

    1– Va Tech’s ceiling is a 4th place finish. Duke is considerably better and I like Wake a lot. They’ll battle with Miami and Clemson behind UNC, Duke and Wake Forest.

    2– Could happen.

    3– Since it’s at Allen Fieldhouse, a Siena win would be surprising. But Siena might be a better team than KU.

    4– 9 should get in, maybe Providence or Cincy can sneak in but I think the Big East will beat them down too much.

    5– Definite possibility.

    6– Duke needs more than just someone to play decent up front. They need a difference maker to be a Final Four team, and they just don’t seem to have that right now. The Blue Devils look very similar to last year.

    7– One of Wake’s trio of freshman could beat him out. Or perhaps DeQuan Jones at Miami.

    8– Indiana will beat somebody at home. 1-17 or 2-16 is likely though.

    9– I can see that happening. Lots of possibilities though, it’s only Nov. 10!

    10– Agree. Presbyterian’s got too much talent not to win it all this year!

  2. Zach said

    Anyone see that Georgia Southern-Houston finish??

    INSTANT CLASSIC!

  3. Patrick said

    From what I’ve watched so far, Duke looks really sloppy. Also, Zoubek looks terrible once again.

  4. “2. Memphis will lose in the first round of the NCAA Tournament”

    Well, that’s what the experts have been saying for the past three years.

  5. Zach said

    I had UT-Arlington over Memphis, too. I know…destroyed my bracket.

  6. Patrick said

    Really? I had Kansas over Memphis in the championship game, won me 500 bucks. God I love epic meltdowns.

  7. Zach said

    Like this? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vt0VUSyVIr4

  8. Jeremy Pfingsten said

    1. Virginia Tech will be the firmest ACC challenge for North Carolina

    Umm….Duke….in cameron?

    2. Memphis will lose in the first round of the NCAA Tournament

    Yes they will.

    3. Siena will defeat Kansas at Allen Fieldhouse

    I’d pay to see this after last years final four.

    4. The Big East will get 10 teams in the tourney

    What are you smoking? I want some.

    5. Gonzaga will reach the Final Four

    See previous comments and I hate Patrick. In other news….Gonzaga goes out in the first round.

    6. Someone will emerge in the Duke frontcourt

    Let me correct this, “Something will emerge in Dooks frontcourt…Herpes.

    7. Iman Shumpert will win ACC Rookie of the Year

    I can’t disagree with this.

    8. Indiana will not win a Big Ten game this season

    See number seven comment.

    9. Connecticut will defeat North Carolina in the title game

    I hate you and Patrick…and seriously…puff puff give.

    10. Duke will lose to Presbyterian tonight

    I was happy when I saw this but then remembered that you pick UCONN. I hate you. 🙂

  9. Zach said

    Dude, I’m trying to go out on a limb here. That’s the entire point.

    6. Someone will emerge in the Duke frontcourt

    Let me correct this, “Something will emerge in Dooks frontcourt…Herpes.

    Wait I’m not done………..holding my sides

    I hate you.

  10. David said

    I think Siena at Pittsburgh and Kansas are great measuring points for the Saints. As a Saints fan, I was glad to see McCaffrey put the Old Spice Classic (with a 1st round matchup with Tennessee), Kansas and Pittsburgh on the schedule. If they capture just one of these games it’ll show the Saints as a team people need to watch out for.

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