Monday, October 22, 2012

My Preseason AP Top 25, All-America Team

Happy to say I'll be Connecticut's AP Top 25 men's basketball voter again this season. I think this is the fourth straight year? Those Sunday night West Coast late games are always fun when your ballot's supposed to be in by Sunday night.

Anyway, here's the preseason Top 25 I submitted to the AP a few minutes ago (minus the occasionally witty blurbs). Although they are eligible to be voted for despite their postseason ban, UConn doesn't make the cut:

1. Louisville
Rick Pitino may be, in Jim Boeheim's words, "full of (bleep)," but the defending Big East champ Cardinals certainly aren't.
2. Indiana
Most figured Tom Crean would get Hoosiers back to national prominence quickly. Led by Cody Zeller, it's happening now.
3. Kentucky
The beat goes on: farewell, Anthony Davis; hello, Nerlens Noel. (By the way, didn't Yankees notice that 'Cats won national title this season?).
4. Michigan
I've always loved John Beilein as a coach. Give him a team brimming with talent and watch out.
5. N.C. State
On Dec. 4 at MSG, UConn will see first-hand if Wolfpack deserve preseason tabs as ACC's best team.
6. Ohio State
I'm a little leery of Buckeyes without a dominant big man in middle, but Aaron Craft is a top guard.
7. Duke
OK, let's get our Plumlees straight: Miles is gone, Mason's back and Marshall's ready to go. Right? Right.
8. Kansas
Jayhawks slipped from first to second in Big 12 for first time in eight seasons last year. Not likely to repeat that this season.
9. North Carolina
If UConn players could have taken phony courses UNC players have been taking, they might be eligible for NCAA tourney this year.
10. Florida
Gators will be playing Yale in New Haven on Jan. 6 so that Rhode Island's Erik Murphy gets a chance to play game closer to home. Should be fun.
11. Syracuse
Orange play UConn for final time as members of the Big East on Feb. 13 in Hartford. Sad.
12. Michigan State
The Kevin Ollie Era (and '12-13 college hoops season) kicks off with bang when Huskies face talented Spartans Nov. 9 in Germany.
13. UCLA
If Shabazz Muhammed, Kyle Anderson are deemed eligible, Bruins could be Final Four-bound.
14. Arizona
After starring at Xavier last year, Mark Lyons gets to play for Wildcats this season as a grad student. Odd.
15. Creighton
Blue Jays have one of best players in nation in coach's son Doug McDermott, who could average over 25 per game this season.
16. Memphis
Will Joe Jackson be "Steppin' Out" as one of nation's elite players this season?
17. Baylor
Surprised Scott Drew hasn't found a way to get Brittany Griner to play for his team.
18. San Diego State
Fab Five father Steve Fisher has top four scorers returning from last year's Mountain West regular season champs.
19. Missouri
Those predicting that Mizzou is Final Four good apparently feel Alex Oriakhi will be 2010-11 Oriakhi, not '11-12 Oriakhi.
20. St. Louis
It's too bad Rick Majerus (heart issues) will be sidelined for what could be Billiken's most exciting season in years.
21. Notre Dame
With Farmington's Tim Abromaitis unable to secure a waiver to play, who'll be Big East's scholar-athlete of the year this season?
22. UNLV
Roscoe Smith won't be able to play this season for this "organization" (as he likes to call teams), but Rebels are very strong.
23. Pittsburgh
With a healthy Tray Woodall and frosh Steven Adams in two, no way Jamie Dixon has second disappointing season in a row.
24. Virginia Commonwealth
Another NCAA tourney run will make Shaka Smart even more attractive to big programs (including Warde Manuel?).
25. Tennessee
After watching Jarnell Stokes dominate UConn first-hand last year, I'm pretty high on the Vols this season.

Doug McDermott, Creighton
Cody Zeller, Indiana
Isaiah Cannan, Murray State
Jamaal Franklin, San Diego State
C.J. Leslie, NC State

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