2004-5 College Basketball Preview

Ok, I think most of us around here agree that baseball is the best sport to follow, but to me the best event in all of sports is the NCAA b-ball tourney. After a few years of having to adjust to losing the top High school big men to the NBA, the amount of quality teams has reached early 90’s level.

The ACC has 7 teams in the Top 25 and should be create a war every night on Tobacco Road. The Big 12 and Big 10 are improved, with 4 teams in each league who could be Sweet 16 squads. The SEC is usually the most underrated conference in America, but this year I just don’t see any of their teams in the Final 4. The Big East doesn’t have a National Champion-type club, unlike the past 2 winners, UConn and Syracuse. The Pac-10 is soft and until they start playing more physical, the league is going to suffer in the tourney.

Here are the 6 clubs who I believe will fight it out for NCAA Champion this year.

Georgia Tech- Physical guard play is the best way to win a championship and the Yellow Jackets have it, plus the Big Red Head, who runs the court so well.

Illinois- The Illini have a physical team, with quality depth, led by Williams and Brown who make for a really difficult match-up.

Oklahoma State- I thought the Cowboys were the 2nd best team in the country, last year and despite losing Allen (*edited), this team might be better.

Michigan State- Despite losing at Duke last night, this club is the best Izzo has had since he won a Championship. Perfect tourney team.

Kansas- Very similar to Illinois, which isn’t surprising since Coach Bill Self recruited most of the Illini players.

Wake Forest- Chris Paul is my favorite player in the country, as he’s the perfect college guard. If Danilus plays like he did two years ago, I like them to move up to the top of this list. Not sure though that Prosser is as good of a coach as the other teams have that are listed above.

The one team which stands out from the Pre-season polls that I’ve failed to mention is North Carolina. McCants has some Ron Artest-like personality traits that can create team dissension, even though he’s an incredible talent. I think this is not a Roy Williams-type team, which I believe makes it hard for them to achieve the championship. Depth is a major concern, also.