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ACC Preview Roundup

Posted by Tommy on November 10, 2008

Here are my preseason rankings and the links to the preview articles for each team. 1. North Carolina 2. Duke 3. Wake Forest 4. Miami 5. Virginia Tech 6. Clemson 7. Maryland 8. Boston College 9. Georgia Tech 10. North Carolina State 11. Florida State 12. Virginia

First Team
G- Tyrese Rice, Boston College
G- Jack McClinton, Miami
G/F- K.C Rivers, Clemson
F- Tyler Hansbrough, North Carolina
F- Kyle Singler, Duke

Second Team
G- Ty Lawson, North Carolina
G- Greivis Vasquez, Maryland
G- Wayne Ellington, North Carolina
F- James Johnson, Wake Forest
F- Jeff Allen, Virginia Tech

Third Team
G- Toney Douglas, Florida State
G- Jeff Teague, Wake Forest
G/F- A.D Vassallo, Virginia Tech
F- Gani Lawal, Georgia Tech
F- Brandon Costner, North Caolina State

Honorable Mention
G- Nolan Smith, Duke
G/F- Jon Scheyer, Duke
F- Al-Farouq Aminu, Wake Forest
F- Trevor Booker, Clemson

All-Freshman Team
G- Iman Shumpert, Georgia Tech
G- DeQuan Jones, Miami
F- Al-Farouq Aminu, Wake Forest
F- Miles Plumlee, Duke
C- Ty Walker, Wake Forest

Player of the Year: 1) Tyler Hansbrough 2) Tyrese Rice 3) Jack McClinton
Defensive Player of the Year: Toney Douglas
Breakthrough Player: Gani Lawal
Freshman of the Year: Al-Farouq Aminu
Coach of the Year: Dino Gaudio, Wake Forest
NCAA Teams: 6
NIT Teams: 4
CBI Teams: 1

Top Five Games:
1) North Carolina @ Duke: 2/11
2) North Carolina @ Wake: 1/11
3) Duke @ North Carolina: 3/8
4) Miami @ Duke: 2/7
5) Duke @ Wake: 1/28

That’s all folks. Hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. Should be a exciting year in the ACC! Stay tuned for up-to-date ACC Reports all season long.

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ACC Preview: #1 North Carolina

Posted by Tommy on November 10, 2008

Coach- Roy Williams (6th season)

PG- Ty Lawson (JR): Lawson, commonly known as the Roadrunner, is the motor that makes this North Carolina team go. Roy Williams loves to have his guards break out after a defensive rebound in order to get a quick numbers advantage on the other end, and the speedy Lawson is the perfect guard to execute this strategy. He’s a great decision maker in the open floor, he can shoot from beyond the arc and is really good at finding the slightest holes in opposing defenses. As an underclassman for the Tar Heels, Lawson shot above 50% and had an assist to turnover ratio around 2.5. Not only does he excel with the ball in his hand, but he generates tons of steals with his constant pressure on the defensive end. North Carolina is a completely different team with Lawson at 100% and if he stays healthy all season it’ll be hard to pick against UNC as the national champion.

SG- Wayne Ellington (JR): Smooth. The first word that comes to my head when I watch Ellington. I know ACC basketball fans are probably tired of hearing Dick Vitale rave about how “smooth” Ellington’s game is, but there’s no denying it. He isn’t as quick as Lawson or as athletic as Danny Green, but he has great technique and is deceptive. Ellington is a cold-blooded shooter from beyond the arc and has a fine mid-range game as well. He makes it tough from opponents to double down on Hansbrough because of his shooting ability. He has good size for a guard at 6-4, allowing him to get a nice look at the rim over his defenders. While Hansbrough is out, the Heels are going to look to Ellington to be the primary option on offense. If Williams needs a clutch 3-pointer, Ellington has shown that he’s capable of knocking down big shots.

SF- Marcus Ginyard (SR): What David McClure is to Duke, Marcus Ginyard is to North Carolina, although Ginyard is a bit better. He played the third most minutes for the Tar Heels last season despite contributing only 6.9 PPG. He’s a great defender who does all the little things that don’t show up in the stat sheet and can play four positions. He’s not the most outspoken senior leader, but leads by example with his hustle and hard-working mentality. The Heels have no shortage of scoring options, so Williams just needs Ginyard to do what he does best: defend. Unfortunately, Ginyard is out for eight weeks after undergoing foot surgery meaning the Heels won’t have one of their senior leaders for most – if not all – of their non-conference schedule. Losing a player like Ginyard would be a pretty big hit for most teams, but Danny Green will suit the Tar Heels just fine until December.

PF- Tyler Hansbrough (SR): Nothing comes easy in college basketball, something the Heels are learning as they prepare for the season. In addition to the loss of Ginyard, Hansbrough is out indefinitely is a stress reaction in his leg. Hansbrough should miss only a couple weeks of the season but we’ll see if the possible nagging effects of the injury affect his play. I can’t really say anything else that even the most casual college basketball fans don’t already know about Hansbrough. I’m sure you’re sick and tired of hearing Jay Bilas ball wash Hansbrough, but it’s impossible not to admire somebody who’s undersized and not as athletic as his opponents, but is the best player in the country purely because of his work ethic.

PF- Deon Thompson (JR): The lanky 6-8 junior from California really came along for the Heels last season. He’s got plenty of raw talent but has some work to do technique-wise. Thompson gives North Carolina a shot-blocking presence down low, the only thing that Hansbrough doesn’t provide in the paint. Thompson is an average scorer and rebounder but is very athletic and runs the floor well. I think Thompson will be the most improved player on this North Carolina team when it’s all said and done.

Bench: Last year’s ACC Sixth Man of the Year Danny Green is a starter on any other team in the country. He’s a much better scoring option than Ginyard and is actually a solid shot blocker for a G/F. The Heels really could have used point guard Bobby Frasor last season when Lawson went down. Frasor can come in for Lawson at the point and run the offense with little drop-off. UNC brings in three McDonald’s All-Americans in Tyler Zeller, Ed Davis and Larry Drew Jr. Zeller and Davis will be the first two guys off the bench for the frontcourt while Drew Jr. is the 3rd guard behind Frasor and Green. These five players off the bench would probably be a competitive team in the ACC, which goes to show just how stacked UNC is this season.

Backcourt: A+
Frontcourt: A+
Bench: A+
Coaching: A

Bottom Line: I’ve been a firm believer that no team is capable of going undefeated in college basketball, but looking at this roster gives me second thoughts. They have the best big man in the country, one of the top backcourts in the country and go ten deep. One thing that UNC really needs to improve on from last season if they want to go undefeated is their defense. If they let a team like Michigan State, Duke or even Wake catch fire, they’ll could find themselves in some trouble. This team will get tested early with a very strong Spartan team and will face Notre Dame in the final of the Maui barring a pretty big upset. It’ll be a very tough road especially playing away from home where every crowd fired up to see their team beat the best team in the land.

Key Non-Conference Games: 11/18 vs. Kentucky, 11/24-26 Maui Invitational, 12/3 @ Michigan State,
Key Conference Games: 1/11 @ Wake Forest, 1/17 vs. Miami, 2/11 @ Duke, 3/8 vs. Duke.
Most Valuable Player: Tyler Hansbrough
Projected Postseason: NCAA (National Champion)

Posted in ACC Report, Conference Previews | Tagged: , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

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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Pac-10 Preview (#1): UCLA Bruins

Posted by Patrick on November 8, 2008

https://i0.wp.com/farm1.static.flickr.com/165/393553649_ebd59ed0c1.jpg

#1-UCLA Bruins: Coach-Ben Howland (6th year)

PG-Darren Collison (Sr.)- For the past two seasons Collison has been one of the best point guards in the nation and this year I expect that he’ll pick up just where he left off.  Collison has a young and talented group of players to pass the ball to, and also can take the ball to the basket himself. Sometimes people overlook Collison’s ability to shoot the ball, but last year he shot 52% from behind the arc on 101 attempts. If Collison can shoot the three like that this season, UCLA should compete for a national championship.

SG-Jrue Holiday (Fr.)- The most complete freshman in the nation makes his way over to Los Angeles to become part of a Bruins team that is looking to make yet another consecutive Final Four.  Holiday has great fundamentals, plays superb defense, knows how to score, shoots a consistent three ball, and is very athletic. He may be UCLA’s leading scorer this season, and will easily be one of the top players not only in the Pac-10 but in all of college basketball.

G/F-Josh Shipp (Sr.)- While a lot of people think that freshman Drew Gordon could be starting at this spot by season’s end, Howland will most likely give the nod to Shipp who was a major part of their Final Four run last season. He is a great shooter and a strong defender, hurting the opposition inside and out. Plus, who can forget his performance at Cal last season. Shipp is a vital part of this team and he could be a major factor if this team wants to win a national championship.

PF-Drew Gordon (Fr.)- Like I said, some people may think that Gordon will be better suited at SF instead of PF, but if you have a guy like Shipp already on your team you have to move Gordon to a different position. Gordon will fight for rebounds, and he definitely has the ability to post up and score.  He’s the wild card of the Bruins starting lineup; he could become a great player immediately, or he could fold under the pressure and UCLA fans will see more Alfred Aboya.

C-J’Mison Morgan (Fr.)- Morgan would be the best center in this year’s class if not for B.J. Mullens. Morgan is a force on the inside that can compete at the high-major level, matching up well with every other center in the Pac-10 right away.  Morgan is also a tremendous rebounder and blocks shots like its nobody’s business. If he can continue these trends in college, Morgan’s play will vault UCLA from a very good team to an elite team.

Bench: Malcolm Lee and Jerime Anderson are two stellar recruits that will be great bench players for UCLA. Anderson will be the back-up point guard. Alfred Aboya and Michael Roll round off the 9-man rotation that will be on the court for the Bruins this season. The bench provides talent, experience, and athleticism that will take UCLA a long way come March.

Bottom Line: This team reminds me of a worse version of last year’s Memphis. They are quick, athletic, and like to get into the fastbreak. They also are young but have experience where it counts. This team has the ability to get back to the Final Four, but most of the production depends on three freshman who I just don’t see getting the job done in March. UCLA is a stellar team this year and will win the Pac-10, but I see them falling in the Elite 8.

Backcourt: A

Frontcourt: B+

Bench: B

Coaching: A

Projected Post-Season Tourney: NCAA (Elite Eight)

Key Non-Conference Games: 2K Sports Classic (11/20-11/21), at Texas (12/4), Notre Dame (2/7)

Key Conference Games: at USC (1/11), Arizona State (1/17), USC (2/4), at Arizona State (2/12)

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2008-09 Big 12 Preview

Posted by Zach on November 8, 2008

The Big 12 is becoming more deep, more talented and more balanced every single season. They boast the national champion Kansas Jayhawks, up-and-comers like Baylor and Oklahoma, mainstays atop the standings such as Texas, and perennial dangerous teams Texas Tech, Kansas State, Missouri, Texas A&M and Oklahoma State. It wouldn’t be wise to underestimate Colorado, Iowa State or Nebraska, either. With Kansas losing basically their entire championship roster, it’s time for a new team to emerge. Will it be Texas and A.J. Abrams? Oklahoma and Blake Griffin? Baylor and Curtis Jerrells? Here are my predictions for the 2008-09 season:

1. Oklahoma Sooners: While most preseason prognosticators have the Longhorns notched to the top spot, I’m picking Oklahoma based on three assumptions: 1) I feel like their backcourt of Johnson and Crocker will stay healthy and overachieve, 2) Willie Warren is going to have a major impact, and 3) Blake Griffin could be the best player in the country (hey, he is my preseason player of the year over Hansbrough). None of these expectations are out of the realm of possibility, and I may even argue they all have a high probability of happening.

Backcourt:
Point guard Austin Johnson isn’t the type of player to wow anyone with his pure skills, but he’s a solid point guard and court anchor for coach Jeff Capel. He finished with near a 2:1 assist to turnover ratio last season, can drain a clutch three-pointer, and also led the team in minutes played per game. The drop in FT% from 93% to 73% is concerning, yet I feel that is more fluke than reality. Fellow backcourt mate Tony Crocker is a double digit scorer with one of the deadliest shots from behind the arc. Crocker shot 42% overall from three last year, but in Sooner wins he shot a stunning 52%. If he can improve on reducing the turnovers and become more of a complete guard, it’ll be awfully difficult to defend Tony Crocker this season. Completing Jeff Capel’s three guard lineup is freshman sensation Willie Warren, a dynamic scorer who may be Oklahoma’s top recruit in the program’s history. Warren has an outstanding mid-range jumper and exceptional athleticism, but Warren must learn to transition from the high school game where he dominated every night scoring-wise to more of a team-oriented passer and rebounder for the Sooners. Coach Capel believes he can, and Warren even predicted he’d average eight assists per game this season.

Frontcourt:
The Griffin brothers. More famous than the Jonas Brothers? Probably not, but they play a decent game of basketball. Most would imagine Taylor Griffin may become slightly jealous of his younger brother, but the modest Taylor remains Blake’s biggest fan. He embraces his role as the team’s prototypical glue player, a guy never afraid to dive on the floor for a loose ball or snag the key offensive rebound. With the loss of Longar Longar, Griffin’s 4.9 RPG must improve for Oklahoma. Capel wants Taylor to play with “reckless abandon” this season in the paint. The more touted of the siblings is All-American brother Blake Griffin, the player that truly transformed the atmosphere around Oklahoma basketball. As a freshman, Blake showed the skills to average nearly 15 PPG and just over 9 RPG including a 57% mark from the field. Those stats don’t tell the entire story; Griffin really improved during Big 12 play and against the best forwards in the nation. If he can improve defensively, he’ll be the best player in college basketball and likely the #1 pick in the NBA Draft. Blake’s in the best shape of his life and ready to win a national title first.

Bottom Line: The Sooners have an experienced and tested backcourt with a little Willie Warren mixed in. They also have a duo in the frontcourt that does everything to win. Their bench is useful with JC transfer Juan Pattillo and senior Omar Leary. Coach Jeff Capel has done a tremendous job with this Oklahoma program, but with Warren a possible one-and-done and Griffin surely entering the draft, this may be his one year to shine in the near future. Look for him to take advantage.

2. Texas Longhorns:
When I rank Oklahoma number one, don’t think that’s a slap in the face to the most underrated coach in the nation, Rick Barnes, and this Texas Longhorns squad. I just think very highly of the Sooners upside. Texas and Oklahoma will be neck-and-neck all through January and February battling for that conference banner much like Texas and Kansas did last season.

Backcourt: A.J. Abrams was told by NBA scouts after testing the draft waters that they viewed the 5’11 dynamo as more of a point guard than a shooting guard. Well, it appears like Rick Barnes agrees, and Abrams will be playing mostly the 1-spot this season. Abrams led the Big 12 in three-pointers made en route to a 16.5 PPG average in a season in which he made second team all-Big 12. Why does Barnes believe Abrams can play the point guard with flourishing success? How about only 31 turnovers total last year. The biggest knock on Texas heading into the season is whether they can find a dependable floor leader, but A.J. Abrams certainly fits that bill and he should have Texas competing for a #2 seed. Also in the mix will be Turkish guard Dogus Balbay, who played for the U20 Turkey club and led the team in assists per game over the summer. Justin Mason is Texas’s glue guy- a defensive mastermind who flies around the court and plays like the ultimate competitor he is. Mason only boasts average all-around offensive skills, but makes up for his weaknesses with effort and athleticism.



Frontcourt:
Damion James is more of a perimeter-oriented forward that finished second in the conference in RPG last season with 10.3 per game. How is that possible? Watch James play on a consistent basis and you’ll find out: it seems like this athletic forward is about 15 different places on the court at one time. He’s truly a complete player, someone that can step back and drain a clutch three-pointer (41%) or lock down the other team’s top scoring wing on the other end of the floor. Seemingly his only true weakness is at the free throw line. Gary Johnson is the player that can turn Texas into an elite team. The 6’6 sophomore has finally recovered fully from a scary heart condition and the athletic forward should finally be able to see the floor on a consistent basis for Rick Barnes. When Texas is playing on all cylinders, center Connor Atchley is leading the charge. The breakout player from last year, a season in which he averaged nearly 10 PPG, shot 54% overall and blocked 80 shots,  Atchley is looking to become one of the most feared postmen in the Big 12. Dexter Pittman is another wild card. He’s lost over 75 pounds since coming to Austin and still weighs around 315 pounds. When he’s able to play prolonged minutes, Pittman is a ferocious rebounder and a capable post scorer.

Bottom Line:
Much like Oklahoma, Texas has plenty of question marks. Can Abrams run the point? Can Dexter Pittman contribute? Is Gary Johnson finally healthy? If most of these questions play to Rick Barnes’ favor, they should win another Big 12 title. They preach stout defense and can shoot from outside- a recipe for another successful year in Austin.

3. Baylor Bears: The rebuilding project of all rebuilding projects is finally crystallizing into something special for the Baylor Bears and head coach Scott Drew. Last season, Baylor was the last team admitted to the NCAA Tournament on Selection Sunday after winning 21 games and 9 conference contests. But that doesn’t tell the whole story: nine of the team’s 11 losses were by 10 points or less. That means Baylor won 21 games and was still unlucky last season. That bodes well for 2008-09 and the four returning starters.

Backcourt: The leading scorer in the history of United States high school basketball- Tweety Carter- will start at point guard for Baylor in his junior season. Carter isn’t a polished point guard by any means, but the quick tempo that coach Drew instills means half-court sets are a rarity, and Carter can do what he does best: score the basketball. He shot 43% from the floor last season, a good number for a 5’11 combo guard. Curtin Jerrells is the backcourt star, a 13.6 PPG scorer who should explode in his senior season. Someone with his pure talent could have bolted after Baylor was littered with punishments (including a year of zero non-conference games) but Jerrells stayed loyal and that decision is bearing fruit. He led the Bears in scoring- he’s led Baylor in scoring all three years- assists, minutes, field goals and free throws, finished second in three-pointers and earned a spot on the all-Big 12 squad. Sophomore LaceDarius Dunn may come off the bench like he did much of last season and provide coach Drew with an excellent shooter from outside and the free throw stripe. If Dunn can mold into a more fundamentally sound player on defense, he’ll be a national star by his junior season. Henry Dugat is yet another double-digit scorer who’s also Baylor’s top returning defender and is the opposite of Dunn- a complete and consistent player who simply contributes where he can.

Frontcourt: Kevin Rogers is the post anchor for Baylor. His numbers- 12.3 PPG, 8.5 RPG, 50% FG, 77% FT- are all extremely solid. It’s a luxury for Drew to have a consistent player like Rogers to depend on if the Bears need a basket inside. He notched 18 boards last year vs. tournament team Texas A&M and is an outside contender to average a double-double this season. The center position is much more of a question mark, meaning it’s entirely possible Drew goes with four guards and Rogers for the majority of the time. The 7 foot Josh Lomers started 24 games last year and shot 61% from the floor, using his size and strength to dominate for easy baskets in the post. Anthony Jones is a 6’10 freshman that should see major minutes. The lanky forward was ranked in the top-50 nationally in most recruiting magazines and should provide Drew with advanced defense and another scoring option. Quincy Acy is another freshman who may make an impact. Credit Drew with assembling recruits where he was clearly short-manned this season.



Bottom Line:
The job this program has done through epic trials and tribulations to make the NCAA Tournament last season and hopefully contend for the Big 12 title this year is truly remarkable. They’ll be a national favorite and deservedly so. The talent assembled could reach unimagined heights four years ago with Dunn, Jerrells, Rogers and Dugat leading the charge. Watch out for the rejuvenated Bears.

4. Kansas Jayhawks:
As the national championship banner rose to the rafters a couple Friday’s ago in Lawrence, only two contributors from that squad actually remained: Sherron Collins and Cole Aldrich. Gone is hero Mario Chalmers, Darnell Jackson, Brandon Rush, Russell Robinson, Darrell Arthur and Sasha Kaun. Luckily for coach Bill Self, who finally tore that postseason monkey off his back, he’s recruited a top-flight class to keep Kansas in contention.

Backcourt: Sherron Collins needs to develop into one of the top point guards in the nation for Kansas to compete for a conference championship. Whether Collins is fully motivated and can get his weight and conditioning under control are two question marks that Bill Self hopes to answer in the affirmative. With the youth assembled on this Kansas team, Self needs Collins to be a leader more than anything, because we know the talented Chicago guard can score and distribute. Whether Collins can answer that call and become the face of the Kansas program is undetermined. Freshman Tyshawn Taylor, a former Crean recruit at Marquette, looks to be the second starting guard, but who really knows at this point. Taylor led St. Anthony’s to a 32-0 record and can really play the point guard position for someone his age, much like Kemba Walker at Connecticut. Mario Little could be Kansas’s top player by the end of the campaign. The top JUCO player in the nation shot 55% from the floor and 40% from three as a wing player. Freshman Travis Releford is an excellent defender and should play the role of knocking down a clutch three-pointer.

Frontcourt:
The Morris twins, Marcus and Markieff, are the gems of the incoming recruiting class. Marcus is a versatile forward who can handle the rock both inside and outside.  He’s made outstanding improvements both defensively and rebounding the basketball in his last year, two areas where Self needs Marcus to contribute this season. Twin brother Markieff is much like Marcus in that he’s a versatile post player who can step outside and drive to the hoop. He’ll likely start off on the bench and give Self another defender and rebounding option. The most improved player in the nation this year could be center Cole Aldrich. He wasn’t able to see many minutes due to the frontcourt logjam for Kansas last year. Now he’s the starting center and ready to shine. Aldrich is a shot-blocker who could also led the Jayhawks in scoring and rebounding in his sophomore campaign. We saw glimpses of his potential against North Carolina in the national semifinal when he contributed with eight points and four blocks.

Bottom Line:
It’s going to be a rebuilding year in Lawrence, and it’s probably a good sign that a rebuilding year means a likely winning record in conference and an NCAA Tournament selection nonetheless. The freshman talent is certainly assembled, they’ve lured two outstanding JUCO players, and Aldrich and Collins are two players who could really make the leap. Kansas will be right in the mix as always.

5. Texas A&M Aggies: Coach Mark Turgeon should have another competitive team in College Station. Three-point shooter extraordinaire Josh Carter returns, a 6’7 swingman who shot 50% from three as a sophomore to lead the nation and “fell off” to 38% last season. Donald Sloan went through rough times replacing Acie Law at point guard, but improved mightily in the second half of the year cutting down on turnovers and turning into a team leader. His jump shot still needs improvement. Forward Bryan Davis also improved as the season wore on for the Aggies, averaging 9.2 PPG and 5.2 RPG during conference play. He’s also A&M’s strongest post defender and shot blocker. Junior Derrick Roland should see minutes as a role player. Two freshmen will contribute immediately: Dashan Harris and David Loubeau. Harris is a 6’0 scoring point guard who’s ranked #70 by Scout.com nationally, and Loubeau, who averaged a stunning 29 and 17 as a senior, chose Texas A&M over UCLA and Pittsburgh.



6. Oklahoma State Cowboys:
New coach Travis Ford leads a backcourt-oriented Cowboys team into battle. Byron Eaton averaged 20.6 PPG during the Cowboys’ late winning streak in February and March, and with his weight under wraps, Ford expects Eaton to become a top point guard in the nation this season. He should bloom under Ford’s freer offense rather than the strict Sutton rules. I’m more excited about sophomore James Anderson and his potential. A future NBA talent, Anderson led Oklahoma State in three-pointers last season as a freshman and averaged 13.3 PPG. His numbers dipped mightily in conference play, though. Anderson will need to play a full season of top-notch basketball for the Cowboys to contend. Terrel Harris is another double-digit scoring returnee in the backcourt. Harris will need to improve on his dismal 27% from behind the arc. He’s a better shooter than that number indicates. Junior Obi Muonelo will need to step up in a thin frontcourt and provide OSU with more rebounding and toughness than he did last year. 6’11 sophomore Ibrahima Thomas and senior Anthony Brown need to play more in the post or Oklahoma State will be out-rebounded on a nightly basis.

7. Missouri Tigers:
Coach Mike Anderson would love to play more of a fast-paced offense, but his two best players are both over 6’8: DeMarre Carroll and Leo Lyons. Carroll, a former Vandy transfer, emerged as the do-everything forward for Missouri, leading the team in rebounding, points, free throws made, steals and blocked shots. His two weaknesses are committing stupid fouls and struggles at the free throw line. Lyons really emerged in the second half of Missouri’s season, culminating in 27 points and 18 rebounds against Oklahoma State in February. Lyons can certainly score and rebound, and he may even prove to be an all-Big 12 type player if his defense continues to improve. 6’9 JUCO transfer Keith Ramsey will also contribute in the frontcourt. The loss of Keon Lawrence to Seton Hall could be crushing blow in what would have been a stellar backcourt that’s now just average. 6’7 senior Matt Lawrence is an outstanding jump shooter and 6’3 junior J.T. Tiller is a dependable point guard and defensive stopper. 6’2 freshman Marcus Denmon will also see plenty of minutes.

8. Kansas State Wildcats:
Losing Michael Beasley and Bill Walker certainly stings. The only returning starter is Jacob Pullen, who finished third in scoring behind the dynamic freshman duo last season. He’s a smart ball-handler with shooting skills and made a mark with his 20 points in the epic win over Kansas. Sophomore Fred Brown should start at the other guard. He shot the three well at 37%, but has plenty of development to do before he’s a reliable contributor. Ron Anderson and Dominique Sutton should anchor the frontcourt. Anderson is a ferocious rebounder who shot 55% from the field a year ago in limited time. Sutton is also a strong rebounder who needs to become more of a scoring presence. Miami transfer Denis Clemente will help right away as a scoring combo guard. While this is a rebuilding year in Manhattan, coach Frank Martin has a great freshman class in line for next season.

9. Texas Tech Red Raiders
10. Nebraska Cornhuskers
11. Iowa State Cyclones
12. Colorado Buffaloes

Big 12 First Team
G- Sherron Collins, Kansas
G- A.J. Abrams, Texas
G- Curtis Jerrells, Baylor
F- Damion James, Texas
F- Blake Griffin, Oklahoma

Freshman of the Year:
Willie Warren, Oklahoma
Newcomer of the Year: Mario Little, Kansas
Coach of the Year:
Jeff Capel, Oklahoma and Scott Drew, Baylor
Player of the Year: Blake Griffin, Oklahoma

Posted in Big 12 Report, Conference Previews | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments »

ACC Preview: #2 Duke

Posted by Tommy on November 7, 2008

Coach- Mike Krzyzewski (29th season)

PG- Nolan Smith (SO): Greg Paulus has occupied the point guard spot for the last two seasons for Coach K, but Smith’s improvement over the summer has propelled him into the starting lineup. Smith put himself through a rigorous off-season conditioning regiment to improve his explosiveness and it has apparently paid off. Smith doesn’t have as good of a shot from deep as Paulus but has a good mid-range game and is very dangerous when he drives to the basket. Smith’s athleticism will allow Duke to play at a faster pace and spread the floor a bit more. The part of Smith’s game that really puts him in front of Paulus is his defense.

SG- Jon Scheyer (JR): Scheyer impressed a lot of fans as a freshman starter for the Dukies two years ago, but became the first man off of the bench for Coach K last season. His scoring numbers took a slight hit due to the decrease in minutes, but Scheyer seemed more comfortable off the bench. It’s tough to tell if Scheyer’s numbers improved just because he got better between his sophomore and freshman season or if he was truly more comfortable coming off the bench. Scheyer has a number of tools and can hurt defenses in plenty of ways. He has a good shot from beyond the arc and is excellent at finding lanes in the paint to score.

G/F- Gerald Henderson (JR): Henderson has the potential to be a NBA Lottery pick in the near future. Henderson is far and away the most athletic player on the team, but needs to polish his game if he wants to play like a lottery pick. He has an improving mid-range game, but his outside shot is sporadic. This may have been due to a torn ligament in his shooting wrist he played with during the second half of last year. Henderson improved on his numbers from his freshman year and nothing is holding him back from improving on last season’s solid totals. I think Henderson is going to thrive in a more fast-paced spread offense with Smith at the point because of the increased amount of touches in the open court and more room to beat his defenders off the dribble.

PF- Kyle Singler (SO): Singler lived up to all the hype surrounding him as an incoming freshman for the Dukies. His versatility is second to none in all of college basketball. He has all the dribbling and court vision of a guard and the size of an average power forward. It’s really tough for opposing forwards to guard Singler on the perimeter because he’s so good off the dribble and guys Singler’s size aren’t used to defending out on the perimeter. Singler put on about 20 pounds over the course of the offseason which will help his scoring ability on the low block as well as his rebounding. Singler has to play big this season because Duke doesn’t have a center that has proven himself in the post.

PF/C- Miles Plumlee (FR): Plumlee is another young player who has impressed coaches over the offseason. The 6-10 freshman is more mobile and athletic, making him a better fit for Duke’s style of play than clumsy 7-footer Brian Zoubek. Plumlee is a pretty good scorer when facing the basket and has a variety of scoring moves on the block. Plumlee is a solid shot blocker, something Duke hasn’t had since Shelden Williams. Since the departure of the Landlord, Duke has been exposed in the paint which has made for a couple of early exits from the dance. It would be a huge bonus for the Dukies if Plumlee could solidify himself as a reliable scorer and rebounder down low.

Bench: Coach K pretty much has six starters with Greg Paulus as the first man off the bench. Don’t be surprised to see Paulus starting at the two guard and Scheyer being the sixth man, where he played so well last season. Like many Duke teams during Coach K’s reign, this year’s team has a plethora of guards that can come in and do different things. Freshman Elliot Williams has looked impressive in the preseason and will get his fair share of minutes. Lithuanian junior Martynas Pocius has shown flashes of his potential but has been bothered by injuries during his entire career; this may be the year him to showcase his skills. David McClure is Coach K’s glue guy off the bench. Coach K loves the scrappy game that McClure brings to the table. Brian Zoubek hasn’t earned significant playing time and I suspect the high level of Plumlee will keep him riding the pine a lot this season. Junior Lance Thomas was a highly touted freshman when he arrived on campus two seasons ago but hasn’t performed anywhere near the expectations of the Duke faithful.

Backcourt: A
Frontcourt: B+
Bench: A
Coaching: A+

Bottom Line: Preseason polls have the Dukies in the top 10 (ESPN/USA today has them at 5) so there are high expectations going into the season. DeMarcus Nelson was the lone senior from last year’s team so many of the same faces are back playing in Cameron Indoor in 2008-09. Singler, Henderson and Scheyer will be the nucleus for this team while Smith, Paulus, McClure and Plumlee combine to make up a really nice supporting cast. Duke will be a completely different team in 2008-09 with Smith at the point. They can push the tempo and won’t rely as heavily on the three this season, which is a plus now that the arc is moved back. Like I said before, if Plumlee plays well in the post it gives this squad an added dimension and legitimizes them as a Final Four team.

Key Non-Conference Games: 2K Sports Classic (likely to play UCLA in finals), 12/2 @ Purdue 1/7 vs. Davidson, 1/17 vs. Georgetown
Key Conference Games: 1/28 @ Wake Forest, 2/7 vs. Miami, 2/11 vs. North Carolina, 3/8 @ North Carolina
Most Valuable Player: Kyle Singler
Projected Postseason: NCAA (Elite Eight)

Posted in ACC Report, Conference Previews | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

Pac-10 Preview: #2 Arizona State

Posted by Patrick on November 5, 2008

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#2 Arizona State Sun Devils- Coach: Herb Sendek (2nd Year)

PG-Derek Glasser (Jr.)- Glasser was probably the Sun Devils most improved player last season, averaging almost one more assist per game, nearly doubling his assist/turnover ratio, and making a drastic change for the better in his free throw shooting. There is no saying what he can do this year if he improves even half as much as he did last season. Besides being a hard worker, Glasser is a guy that can hide in this offense and defenders will stop paying attention to him when Harden and Pendergraph are at their best, and if you leave Glasser open he has the ability to knock down the outside shot.

SG-Ty Abbott (So.)- Abbott was a bit flaky at times last season, but that is expected when you call on a freshman to play such a big role in your offense (if his name isn’t James Harden). This year I think that Abbott will make a huge improvement and gain the ability to shoot threes consistently. Abbott could be a very important part of this Sun Devils team, and if they want to advance far in the tournament like many know they can, Abbott will need to play some of his best basketball.

G/F-James Harden (So.)- James Harden showed that not only is he one of the best players in college basketball, but his desire to win is up there with the best. Harden exhibited that he is a great competitor that doesn’t want to move onto the next level until he has done his job where he is at right now. He could have easily been a top 15 pick in the NBA Draft and be on the road toward millions, but the chance to win a national championship was more important to him. Oh yeah, and he averaged 17 PPG and shot 40% from three as a freshman.

G/F-Rihards Kuksiks (So.)- Straight out of Latvia, Rihards Kuksiks saw a very expanded role in the offense late last season and provided a bit of a spark for this team down the stretch. Kuksiks is a solid shooter, and if he can keep the momentum from late last season and carry it over to this year, he should play a key role in the offense.

PF-Jeff Pendergraph (Sr.)- Pendergraph will be the glue that holds this team together, not only with his inside presence but with his amazing defense and ability to lead a basketball team. The only problem I see is that from the 2006-07 season to the 2007-08 season his RPG decreased by almost three, which is probably just because he received a more expanded role in the offense. If he can pull down nine rebounds per game this season Arizona State will be in very good shape. Pendergraph is one of the best power forwards in the nation without a doubt, and can lead this team deep into March and maybe even April.

Bench- Eric Boateng, a Duke transfer from London, should see a lot of time at center, and is a great player to have off the bench if ASU needs to guard a big man. Jerren Shipp will be a solid replacement at guard, and when he is on can be deadly from behind the arc. Arizona state also has two solid freshman in guard Johnny Coy and big man Taylor Rohde that will help coming off the bench.

Bottom Line- Arizona State has set themselves up to be one of the elite teams in college basketball, and I really don’t see this team losing many games in the Pac-10. The duo of Harden-Pendergraph is as good as any in the country and will lead this team to an NCAA tournament after having just two conference wins two seasons ago. Herb Sendek has done a great job with this program in the short time that he has been there, and this season is when he gets his sweet reward.

Backcourt: A

Frontcourt: B+

Bench: B

Coach: A-

Key Non-Conference Games: Anaheim Classic (11/27-11/30), BYU (12/20)

Key Conference Games: at USC (1/15), at UCLA (1/17), Washington (1/31), UCLA (2/12), USC (2/15), Arizona (2/22)

Projected Post Season Tournament: NCAA (Elite Eight)

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ACC Preview: #3 Wake Forest

Posted by Tommy on November 5, 2008

Coach- Dino Gaudio (2nd season)

PG- Ishmael Smith (JR): This six foot guard is lightning in a bottle. Everybody raves about Ty Lawson being the fastest player up and down the court with the ball, but I’d pay a lot of money to see a race between Smith and Lawson. Being fast with the ball is nice and all, but I’m sure Dino Gaudio would like to see Ish slow the game down just a notch because he committed almost 3 turnovers per game as a sophomore. Turnovers are a minuscule problem compared to Ish’s woes at the free throw stripe. He shot 29% at the line last season. Yes 29%, it’s not a misprint. It’s mind-boggling because Smith does everything else so well but for whatever reason, it doesn’t seem to click at the line. Smith will provide around 10 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 5 APG, shoot 43% from the field and will probably get his assist-to-turnover ratio up around 2, all pretty good stats for a point guard. With all that upside, Gaudio is forced to take his starting point guard out of the lineup in end-game situations where Wake is getting fouled, which is extremely unfortunate because Smith knocked down two game-winning shots in ACC play last season.

SG- Jeff Teague (SO): Teague was Wake’s second leading scorer last year as a freshman. He and Smith combine to make one of the quickest backcourts in the country. Teague’s athleticism and quickness is similar to Smith’s but Teague has a more polished jumper and a little more size. He’s very good at getting his hands on the ball on defense and is always in the hip pocket of his counterpart. As a freshman, Teague seemed to step up in the big games and played like an experienced leader during ACC play. He scored 26 vs. BYU, 27 vs. Miami, 26 vs. Duke, 18 @ UNC and 25 @ Va. Tech. Now that he has a full year under his belt, Teague is going to have to be one of the leaders of this young Demon Deacon squad. In my opinion, he’s on the verge of a breakout season and will flourish with all of the athleticism round him.

SF- Al-Farouq Aminu (FR): Gaudio landed a Top-five incoming freshman class overall and the best small forward of the 2008 class. He made his high school opponents look like preteens with his size, jumping ability and skills. This kid has nice length for his 6-8 frame and can jump out of the gym. He has a rare ability to create offense on his own whether he pulls up from deep or takes it all the way to the rack, both of which he’s very capable of. He has good size for the three spot so I’d like to see him be post defenders up as well as beat them off the dribble from the perimeter. If Aminu does prove he can score on the block, he would feature a three-pronged offensive game similar to that of former freshman phenom Kevin Durant.

PF- James Johnson (SO): At 6-9, 245, Johnson is built like a power forward but has the skill set to play both the three and four. He was Wake’s leading scorer and rebounder last season with 14.6 PPG and 8.1 RPG and like the rest of this Demon Deacon team has great athletic ability. Johnson reeks havoc on defense with his combination of size, athleticism and length and averaged 1.4 STL per game and 1.3 BLK per game last season. Johnson has tremendous upside and deserves to be thrown into the conversation as one of the best up and coming players in the conference.

C- Ty Walker (FR): As a coach, if you have an incoming class of freshmen in which a player like Tony Woods isn’t the headline guy, you know you’ve got some young talent. One thing about Woods that turns me off is his string bean-like frame at 7′, 215. I’m sure he’ll put on some muscle mass under college strength coaches, but strong post players will be able to use their body on the block to negate Wood’s shot-blocking ability. He’ll provide the Deacs with a great shot blocking presence for when guards penetrate or when another player is being posted up, but adding weight would really help Woods. His size and ability to run the floor will prove a nice addition for Wake.

Bench: Wake is returning their top nine scorers from last season and brings in one of the best recruiting classes in the country which consists of three stud freshmen, two of whom are starting. The only player who averaged more than 30 minutes per game last year was Ish Smith and I expect much of the same liberal substituting this year from Gaudio. The frontcourt will be bolstered by junior Chas McFarland and freshman Tony Woods, two very capable post players. Junior L.D Williams gives Gaudio a guard that is solid at both ends of the floor and has a little more size than Teague and Smith. Senior Harvey Hale is a capable backup guard and will come in for Smith when Wake needs a good free throw shooting lineup. Junior Jamie Skeen will come off the bench and give the Demon Deacons a strong rebounder and defender.

Backcourt: A-
Frontcourt: A-
Bench: A-
Coaching: A-

Bottom Line: Words cannot even begin to describe how much upside Wake Forest has this season. Each starter is very talented and very athletic and for the most part, young. Smith, Teague and Johnson, three of their go-to guys, combined for 7.9 turnovers per game last season, far too many for two guards and a talented player like Johnson. If Wake cuts down on turnovers, their athleticism alone will keep them in games. Wake has the talent to surpass Duke at number two in the ACC, but if they continue to turn the ball over they could fall behind Miami and perhaps Virginia Tech. A pretty favorable ACC schedule in which they only have to play North Carolina and Miami once apiece certainly helps. With that said, all the pieces are in place for Wake to make a run at the ACC title in 2008-09.

Key Non-Conference Games: 11/27-30 2008 76 Classic, 1/03 @ BYU
Key Conference Games: 1/11 vs. North Carolina, 1/28 vs. Duke, 2/4 @ Miami, 2/22 @ Duke
Most Valuable Player: James Johnson
Projected Postseason: NCAA (Sweet 16)

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Pac-10 Preview: #3 Washington Huskies

Posted by Patrick on November 5, 2008

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#3 Washington Huskies– Coach: Lorenzo Romar (7th year)

PG- Justin Dentmon: Dentmon is an experienced senior that has been getting major time at point guard ever since his freshman year. He has the ability to score in large amounts, but saw a major decline in his stats last season. His free throw percentage fell almost 10 percent, and he averaged one less assist per game than in his first two seasons as a Huskie. However, he did cut down on his turnovers which, if he continues to play smart basketball, will help tremendously. Dentmon is also a solid defender and has advanced court vision. His primary job will be finding an open Jon Brockman and getting him the basketball.

PG- Venoy Overton: Overton is just a sophomore, but he got plenty of game experience last season even as a freshman. This year, he could receive just as much time running the point, especially if Dentmon is struggling. The problem with Overton is his tendency for turnovers and his outside shot is nothing more than mediocre, but if he knows his role on the team and can play good defense then he should make a solid contribution to the Huskies.

SG-Elston Turner: Turner is one of three incoming freshman that look to make a major impact for Washington this season. He has a big frame at 6’4” and 190 lbs, and has great scoring ability when given the chance. The only problem is that he is an easy player for a good defender to shut down, and he will be seeing a lot of quality defenders in this conference.

SG-Scott Suggs: In my opinion, Suggs is the best of the three incoming freshman guards. He has the ability to take the ball to the basket, and he has a great outside shot. Suggs is also a very athletic player that loves to get the ball in transition, and can kill other teams when he’s on the fast break. Defending isn’t his strong suit but he is still an adequate defender that can shut down some average players. I’d look for Scott Suggs to make a major impact at Washington this season.

SF-Quincy Pondexter: Washington’s frontcourt is anchored by two players: Pondexter and Jon Brockman. While Pondexter is no Brockman, he is still a very solid basketball player that can score points in the paint and grab rebounds down low. His free throw shooting was average last season, but if he improves on that he will be a very tough player to stop in the Pac-10. Pondexter often feeds off of Brockman’s success, so if Brockman is having a great game look for Pondexter to do the same.

PF-Jon Brockman: Brockman could play on any team in the nation in any conference, and still be a first team all-conference caliber player. He is a lot like Luke Harangody of Notre Dame: tremendously strong, athletic, and loves to score. Brockman is also a great defender that pulls down lots of rebounds; he will be the lifeblood of this Huskie team and could lead them to a possible Sweet 16 appearance in March.

Bench: Depending on which point guard is coming off the bench, they will play a major impact for this team. Also big men like senior Artem Wallace and freshman Tyreese Breshers will play big roles in the frontcourt. Washington has a great starting five, but they lose a lot in terms of depth; however, if Romar can find a solid eight man rotation (barring foul trouble with Brockman) they should have no trouble living up to their expectations in the Pac-10 this season.

Backcourt: B

Frontcourt: A

Bench: B-

Coach: B+

Bottom Line: As I said before this team will revolve around Brockman, but this doesn’t mean that they don’t need other players to step up. If Dentmon and Pondexter can do more than will be asked of them it will not only make Brockman’s job easier but it will also help the freshmen settle into their roles on the team. Like many Pac-10 teams, Washington is young and they will have their growing pains. However, having a player as good as Brockman will help come tourney time and in those close conference matchups. I expect nothing less than a tournament appearance and a first round victory.

Key Non-Conference Games: CBE Classic (11/20-11/25), Oklahoma State (12/4)

Key Conference Games: USC (1/22), UCLA (1/24), at Arizona State (1/31), at USC (2/21), Arizona State (2/26)

Projected Postseason Finish: NCAA (Second Round)

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ACC Preview #4 Miami

Posted by Tommy on November 4, 2008

Coach- Frank Haith (5th season)

PG- Lance Hurdle (SR): The lack of a quality point guard was the bugaboo of last year’s Hurricanes. Haith gave Hurdle and freshman Eddie Rios an opportunity, but the job ended up going to Jack McClinton because neither provided enough offense. I suspect Haith will give Hurdle the nod to start the season at the point so McClinton can go back to his natural two spot. Hurdle won’t provide as much scoring as McClinton or James Dews in the backcourt, but he turns the ball over much less than McClinton and averaged a solid 8 PPG last year. If the ‘Canes need some extra scoring, look for McClinton to run the point and be coupled with Dews in the backcourt, but because Hurdle handles the ball better he’ll probably start. Good play from the point would be a huge bonus for the Hurricanes who have all the other pieces in place to make a run in the dance.

SG- Jack McClinton (SR): The Baltimore native became nationally recognized after his 38-point game against Saint Mary’s in the first round of the NCAA tournament. McClinton is undoubtedly the go-to guy for the ‘Canes and would really benefit from good play at the point from Hurdle and/or Rios because the responsibility would be taken off of his shoulders, allowing him to focus on scoring. He shot a deadly 42.7% from beyond the arc last season and has a lightning-quick release, but does much more than shoot 3-balls. He’s got a quality mid-range game, drives to the rim with success and if defenders over-commit, he’s pretty good at finding the open man. McClinton’s percentage from beyond the arc may take a hit due to the arc being moved back, but the talented guard has enough talent around him where he won’t draw too much attention. McClinton’s name will be on the First Team All-ACC roster and he could even climb into All-America conversation.

SF- Brian Asbury (SR): Asbury is the most versatile player on the Hurricanes’ roster. At 6-7 he has more size than his defenders, but his outside shot must be respected. While he may not have the most explosive offensive game, his combination of size and athleticism makes him a great defender. His offense came along near the end of last season after scoring double digits in seven of the last 12 contests. If he polishes his offensive game and keeps up his rebounding and defending from last season it’ll be hard to keep Asbury off of the floor for too long.

PF- Dwayne Collins (JR): Collins was a pleasant surprise for Frank Haith last season. Collins is a strong, broad-shouldered post player with plenty of toughness and raw athleticism. He loves to bang bodies down low and excels in rebounding. Although he only averaged 8.6 PPG as a sophomore, he shot .550 from the field and had glimpses of greatness such as his 26 point performance against Duke in which he was 12-14 from the field. Now that Collins is an upperclassman, he needs to not only beat up on weaker frontcourts but needs to perform well versus the tougher frontcourts of the ACC like that of North Carolina. Opponents may implement a hack-a-Shaq policy on Dwayne if he does start to become dominant in the paint because he only shoots 50% from the stripe – an area he must improve on.

PF- Jimmy Graham (SR): Graham has been a good bench player for Frank Haith, but the departure of Anthony King leaves a hole in the frontcourt. He has a very similar game to that of Collins. He shoots just about as well from the field as he does from the stripe, is a strong rebounder and a good defender. Both players are listed at 6-8 but Graham has a more lengthy frame than Collins which means he’ll be guarding the opponent’s tallest player. If Graham improves his confidence with the ball he can become a reliable scorer down low for the ‘Canes.

Bench: Dews, who will probably see as much, if not more, playing time than the starters in the backcourt, was last year’s second leading scorer behind McClinton and gives Haith another deep threat if he needs it. Arkansas transfer Cyrus McGowan is yet another strong physical presence in the paint for the ‘Canes. 6-9 redshirt freshman Julian Gamble will be the other key reserve for the frontline. Gamble, McGowan and incoming freshman Reggie Johnson are the three tallest players on the team and will play significant roles especially with Graham’s tendency to get into foul trouble. Eddie Rios got some time at the point last year but his inexperience made it tough to be a quality ACC point guard. This season he’ll get more chances to prove himself, especially during Miami’s weak non-conference schedule. Overall, Haith has a very nice set of reserves this season and can consistently go ten men deep into his roster with little drop-off.

Backcourt: A-
Frontcourt: B+
Bench: A-
Coach: B

Bottom Line: The ‘Canes have a very strong frontcourt and plenty of scoring ability in their backcourt as well as a deep bench to go to in case of injury or foul trouble. Also, having four seniors and a junior in their lineup is a luxury not many teams have. This experience will certainly give Miami an edge over their more inexperienced opponents in ACC and postseason play. If Asbury, Collins and Graham come along offensively, the ‘Canes are probably better than 4th in the ACC, but right now it looks like McClinton and Dews will be relied upon to provide much of the scoring. They lost very little from a team that made it to the round of 32 last season, so I expect them to make a run in the NCAA tournament.

Key Non-Conference Games: 11/21-11/24 Paradise Jam, 12/6 @ Kentucky
Key Conference Games: 12/21 vs. Clemson, 1/17 @ North Carolina, 2/4 vs. Wake Forest, 2/7 @ Duke
Most Valuable Player: Jack McClinton
Postseason Tournament: NCAA (Sweet 16)

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