2012-13 College Basketball Season Preview
DISCLAIMER: I am in no way actually qualified to talk about most teams in college basketball because I have paid approximately zero attention to teams outside of the top 10 and/or the SEC. This makes me about as qualified as any idiot writing a column in your local newspaper.
Now that’s out of the way, let’s talk about the 12-13 season in general. The consensus is that, after last year’s NBA draft, a lot of the talent got sucked out of the top of college basketball. That’s obviously true at Kentucky and North Carolina, less so at UofL, IU, and sort of Duke. Most of the higher-ranked teams are in that position because they managed to keep most of their roster from last year. However, as we well know, experienced players don’t always mean good teams.
The B1G figures to be a strong league (Ohio State, Michigan State, Indiana, Michigan are ranked), as does the ACC (Duke, UNC, Florida State, NC State). The Pac-12 is an unknown commodity outside of UCLA. The SEC has two or three teams that expect to do well in Kentucky, Florida, and maybe Tennessee, while Vandy is in for an off year after losing their entire starting lineup to graduation and the draft. The Big East features UofL this year, but usually omnipresent UConn is a question mark, as is Syracuse with Brandon Triche manning the point this year after being beat out for the starting role last season.
TO THE NOTABLE TEAMS, BARTMAN:
Adjusted O/D Numbers from last season: 119 pts per 100 poss (#1) on offense, allowed 91.6 (15th)
Who’s coming back: IU has 17 guys on its roster, which is a lot, but the notable returnees are Will Sheehey, Cody Zeller, Christian Watford, Jordan Hulls, Victor Oladipo, and Derek Elston.
Who’s new: Yogi Ferrell, Hanner Mosquera-Perea, Jeremy Hollowell, and Peter Jurkin, none of whom I have ever heard of before. Ferrell is a top 20 guy and a point guard, where the Hoosiers needed help because Hulls can’t guard man to man particularly well.
What does it all mean, Basil? IU is ranked Number One for a pretty good reason: they return most of their impact players from a team that got to the Elite Eight last year, and brought in a top 5 recruiting class. However, they didn’t play great in the B1G, which is loaded this season. I don’t think IU will be able to stay in the top 5 come conference time, but they are definitely going to have an impact.
Adjusted O/D Numbers from last season: 109.9 pts per 100 poss (34th) on offense, allowed 88.4 (2nd)
Who’s coming back: All Big East PG Peyton Siva, Gorgui Dieng, Chane Behanan, Russ Smith, Wayne Blackshear, blunt/sharpshooter Mike Marra, Steven Van Trease
Who’s new: Logan Baumann, Montrezl Harrell, Luke Hancock (Jr. transfer), Mangok Mathiang. Harrell was a good get, but otherwise the freshman class did not crack the Rivals Top 30.
What does it all mean, Basil? UofL returns most of its roster from its Final Four team last year, sans senior Chris Smith and leading points scorer Kyle Kuric. Points, however, were at a premium for the Cards, as they seemingly would go hours without a basket in 2011-12. Luke Hancock figures to help fill that void, along with a healthy Wayne Blackshear. This is going to be a really good team, make no mistake, but the Cards need to learn to create their own shots and otherwise score more efficiently come tournament time.
Adjusted O/D Numbers from last season: 117.4 pts per 100 poss (#2) on offense, allowed 89.3 (5th)
Who’s coming back: Jarrod Polson, Jon Hood, Brian Long, Sam Malone, Twany Beckham, Ryan Harrow (Jr. transfer). There’s a reason you’ve probably never heard of any of these kids.
Who’s new: EVERYBODY: Nerlens Noel, Archie Goodwin, Willie Cauley-Stein, Julis Mays (Sr. transfer), Alex Poythress; good for the #1 recruiting class in the country minus Mays.
What does it all mean, Basil? I have no idea. This team will probably look terrible in November and most of December, and it will probably lose its first two games - against Maryland and Duke, mind you, but still. However, I’ve never seen anyone get a bunch of young kids to play like a team like Calipari has, thus the high expectations for this team. They’ll probably take their lumps, but the ceiling is really high for these kids in March.
4. Ohio State
Adjusted O/D Numbers from last season: 114.6 pts per 100 poss (#6) on offense, allowed 87.9 (1st)
Who’s coming back: Aaron Craft (again), Deshaun Thomas, Evan Ravenel, Lenzell Smith, Jr.
Who’s new: Amadeo Della Valle. Yep. That’s it.
What does it all mean, Basil? I’m biased against B1G basketball because, like B1G football, it’s slow paced, beat the crap out of the other team under the basket, limit possessions, no fun to watch basketball. That said, Ohio State was very good last year and I was surprised they didn’t make it past Kansas, frankly. I think they’ll have similar success this year, even with the loss of Jared Sullinger to the draft, because, outside of Cody Zeller, there really aren’t that many uber talented big men in the league. They bring back a lot of experience, that much is sure, and are going to be in the conversation for a one seed.
Adjusted O/D Numbers from last season: 114.5 pts per 100 poss (#7) on offense, allowed 93.1 (25th)
Who’s coming back: Trey Burke, Tim Hardaway, Jr., Jordan Morgan, Stu Douglass, Zack Novak, Evan Smotrcyz or something
Who’s new: Michigan brought in a reallllly good freshman class, 7th in the country, including Mitch McGary, Glenn Robinson III (look out Bristol Palin), Nick Stauskas, and awesomely named Spike Albrecht.
What does it all mean, Basil? Michigan was maddeningly inconsistent last year. Fun to watch, which is odd for B1G basketball, but they couldn’t defend anybody. That’s about all I know about them: they were pretty good, and, unlike most of the other top teams, added a really good class to get them into the top 5. Not confident they’ll be sticking around, but I think they will make some noise in the league for sure.
Other teams of note that I won’t do the whole diagnosis on because man it’s exhausting:
Duke returns a bunch of smart and talented white guys, but losing slasher/scorer Austin Rivers will make their top 5 offense from a year ago a little less efficient. Coach K didn’t assemble a top 30 recruiting class, but did pick up Amile Jefferson and Rasheed Sulaimon, top 5 recruits for their respective positions. This is Duke, they’ll be annoyingly good.
NC State signed a very good recruiting class, something Mark Gottfried was good at at Alabama, too. Problem was, he was a terrible coach. That said, they made some noise in the ACC last year, and with this talented recruiting class, the Wolfpack should be able to stay in the conversation around the top 10 all year.
Florida lost Bradley Beal, but they still have some great pieces in Kenny Boynton, Dan Murphy, and Patric Young. This was a strange team last year, losing some league games it shouldn’t have, but playing very well in the NCAA.
Kansas loses most of its scoring with Thomas Robinson and Tyshaun Taylor, but Jeff Withey surprised a lot of people with his skills around the basket last year, and Travis Releford and Elijah Johnson are solid, solid players. The Jayhawks also finally get to play a bunch of guys who were suspended for a variety of reasons last season, along with the addition of a strong recruiting class. They’re likely to win the Big TwelveTen conference for the 9th straight time.
Syracuse: I don’t really care.
That’s it. Guh. Hope you enjoyed it. YAY BASKETBALL IS HERE I HATE FOOTBALL SO MUCH RIGHT NOW.