Get inside March Madness with SI.com's Luke Winn in the Tourney Blog, a daily journal of college basketball commentary, on-site reporting and reader-driven discussions.
4/04/2006 07:46:00 AM
The End, Or Only Act I? (A 2006-07 Top 10)
Joakim Noah set a new NCAA tournament record for blocks with 29, including six in the title game.
John W. McDonough/SI
INDIANAPOLIS -- As the clock neared midnight on Monday, Florida's Joakim Noah was still partying with the level of passion that had fueled his brilliant rise from freshman nobody to, as a sophomore, the Most Outstanding Player of the NCAA tournament.
The Ponytailed One was at first sprawled on the floor near center court under a mob of teammates; then he was up, bounding toward his school's student section, then maniacally screaming and Gator-chomping at them from atop a press-row table. Before bolting into the stands to hug his famed father, Yannick, and his mother and sister, Joakim did the unthinkable and heaved his sweaty, No. 13 jersey into the students' orange-and-blue mob. Tangible mementos, presumably, aren't important when one's identity is based on the intangible of emotion. With a wild grin on his face, Noah was deeply feeling Florida's first national championship. (Must-see pictures of the title game)
The question now is does he truly want to feel this for an encore? Before taking the stage at midcourt, Noah stopped to tell a handful of reporters, "I love this! How can I not do this again?" Is this euphoria so enticing that the chase for a repeat championship as a junior trumps being a top-three pick in June's NBA Draft? "It's like you can't even feel your legs; it's like you're eating the best food in the world, like everything tastes good, everything smells good," he said. And then he added, for emphasis, before strutting away, "It's better than sex!"
On Noah's decision -- which will be made later this month, in a less orgasmic setting, sans the streamers, confetti and commemorative Ts -- hinges the crest of college basketball's rankings for 2006-07. If he stays in Gainesville, and fellow Gator pro prospects Al Horford and Corey Brewer follow suit, Florida would be the unanimous preseason top dog -- and the first title-game participant since Arizona in 1997 to bring its entire starting lineup back intact.
Conventional wisdom and recent history suggest that all the good Monday Nighters turn pro and their teams rebuild, but '06-07 could be a departure from the norm. The Gators and runner-up UCLA realistically may retain their super-sophs and remain heavyweights. If '05-06 was stacked with surprises -- the rise of the mid-majors, the early departures of the No. 1 seeds, and a non-guard-dominated champ -- why can't '06-07 be the Season The Kids Actually Stuck Around?
Minutes after Noah and his teammates watched an RCA Dome video-board display CBS' One Shining Moment montage -- the final frames of which were a roof-camera looking down on him, atop that press-row table -- he was sitting with his legs dangling off the stage. In response to another inevitable inquiry about his future, Noah made a broad swoop with his hands toward the celebration that was unfurling in front of him, and said "The NBA can't do this!"
And so, unless we receive different news from Noah, the Gators should begin next season the same way they ended this one: at No. 1.
Now, for the rest of the top 10 -- a very similar version of which appears in this week's issue of Sports Illustrated. (We're operating with a few educated guesses on early entrants to the NBA Draft: UConn's Rudy Gay, Texas' LaMarcus Aldridge, LSU's Tyrus Thomas and Gonzaga's Adam Morrison.)
2. North Carolina: The Baby Heels were ahead of schedule this season, finishing second in the ACC on the shoulders of "Psycho T" -- national freshman of the year Tyler Hansbrough. He'll be joined in the fall by the nation's No. 1 recruiting class, which includes the top-ranked high school point guard (Tywon Lawson), shooting guard (Wayne Ellington) and power forward (Brandan Wright). If that trio assimilates into coach Roy Williams' system as speedily as Hansbrough did, UNC will be scary.
3. UCLA: Westwood's fearless defenders will gain some offensive punch with the return of swingman Josh Shipp, who was the Bruins' most dangerous scorer before missing most of the season with a hip injury. If point guard Jordan Farmar eschews the draft to team up with Shipp, two-guard Arron Afflalo and power forward Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, UCLA will have the best 1 through 4 quartet in the nation.
In a somber Bruins locker room after Monday night's loss, Afflalo indicated that he didn't expect any defections. "We lost some pieces this year in [seniors] Cedric [Bozeman] and Ryan [Hollins], but we've got our two leading scorers [himself and Farmar] coming back, our leading rebounder [Mbah a Moute], and Josh will be back, so we should be good," he said. "We're very fortunate to have gone through this this year, and have the potential to come back [to the title game] next year."
4. Memphis: The fastest-paced, most efficient team in Conference USA returns every key player other than Rodney Carney. With athletes like Darius Washington Jr., Antonio Anderson and Shawne Williams running the Tigers' high-scoring show, another 30-win season and No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament are likely. The rest of the C-USA will once again be gunning for second place.
5. Kansas: Sophomores stole the spotlight at this Final Four, and KU's clan of freshman stars -- guard Mario Chalmers, swingman Brandon Rush and elastic forward Julian Wright -- could make a similar push in '07. But first they'll need to overcome their school's recent first-round NCAA woes (the Bucknell-Bradley curse). Will an even more beefed-up backcourt -- after the addition of Chicago stud Sherron Collins, a McDonald's All-American -- make coach Bill Self consider a Villanova-esque lineup in '06-07?
6. Ohio State: The Buckeyes' ranking all comes down to how much one believes in The Oden Factor. Will 7-foot freshman center Greg Oden carry the Buckeyes to a title, a la Carmelo Anthony, in what will probably be his only season in Columbus? Thad Matta's defending Big Ten regular-season champs will be rebuilt around the blue-chip recruiting class of Oden, his high-school teammate Mike Conley (a talented point guard), as well as shooting guard Daequan Cook and small forward David Lighty. Incumbent point Jamar Butler -- the most valuable returnee -- will help OSU's new wave handle the adjustment.
7. Georgetown: With UConn, Villanova and West Virginia all set to lose significant pieces, the new Beasts of the Big East will reside in D.C. Upsets of No. 1-ranked Duke (in January) and No. 2-seeded Ohio State (NCAA second round) this season may foreshadow greater things for the Hoyas, who have NBA-caliber talent in forward Jeff Green and center Roy Hibbert. The 7-2 Hibbert -- whom coach John Thompson III said he needed to teach how to run when he initially arrived on campus -- is only beginning to realize his potential.
8. Texas: Even if Aldridge makes the jump, the Horns retain an elite inside-outside tandem in guard Daniel Gibson and forward P.J. Tucker, the reigning Big 12 Player of the Year. McDonald's All-American Game co-MVP Kevin Durant -- the nation's top recruit not named Oden -- is a sweet-shooting 6-9 forward who could step in and be an instant force. Fellow incoming freshman D.J. Augustin, a vaunted point-guard prospect out of Louisiana, can take ballhandling heat off Gibson and A.J. Abrams.
9. Texas A&M: The Aggies are the perfect top 10 sleeper: On the strength of their lockdown D, they closed the season by winning nine of their final 11 games, nearly upsetting Final Four-bound LSU in the second round of the NCAAs. With guard Acie Law IV and future pro forward Joseph Jones leading the way, this seasoned squad can make a run at the Big 12 crown. A&M loses just one starter (senior Chris Walker), and sophomore guard Dominique Kirk is ready to get national recognition as a defensive stopper.
10. Southern Illinois: If '06 was the Year of the Mid-Majors, what kind of encore will they have in store? The Salukis, who tied for second in the Missouri Valley Conference, have their top nine scorers back, including the senior backcourt of Jamaal Tatum and Tony Young, who will be gunning for their fourth -- and the school's sixth -- straight NCAA tournament appearance. Veteran squad + prior Big Dance experience + strong guardplay = dangerous in March. Blowout loss to West Virginia this year be damned.
ON THE FRINGE: Boston College, Duke, Wisconsin, Wichita State, Pittsburgh, Hofstra, Tennessee, LSU, UConn, Washington, Arizona, Villanova, Xavier.
Pittsburgh is going to be tough next year. Krauser is the only loss on a top 10 team this year and by the end of the year, Pitt played better without him. Pitt should be the odds on favorite to win the Big East because Hibbert vs. Gray is potential vs. established. Gray will win that battle as will Pitt for the Big East!
what about tennessee...the vols are bringing back one of the most amazing shooters in chris lofton...adding a 6-10 redshirt big man and bringing in a possible top-15 recruiting class. add this to the coaching of bruce pearl, and if he can take such a team this year to a #2 seed, i can only imagaine what next year will be like!
How about the Crimson Tide of Alabama? They will return 4 starters, including first team All-SEC Ronald Steele, and Jamero Davidson. They are experienced in the NCAA tourney and they beat two of the Final Four participants this year. At least show them some respect and say you considered them. This year should demonstrate that the SEC is a top basketball conference as well as the best football conference.
Don't count the cowboys out either. They were within 2 pts of taking the jayhawks down, they beat A&M and Texas and return a full squad next year that should be hungry and one year older. Couple that with a good recruiting class and Sean taking over the reigns and it could be a powerful season in Gallagher Iba Arena.
Great year of NCAA basketball. You're my number one man when it comes to NCAA news. So what's your take on Marquette next year. They had a young team this year with a possible All-American frosh in James and handled themselves well in the Big East. Another run to the NCAA's is likely but what about a conference title. Can Crean bring this team to the next level?
Don't forget the lessons learned from the George Mason upsets. The huge momentum from their Cinderella story may translate into a truly stellar team next year - and if they milk the publicity for all it's worth, they might get a new crop of extraordinary players that could make them suprise contenders again.
GMU just made it to the Final Four, beating Michigan State, UNC, Wichita State and Uconn along the way. On top of that, have top notch starters returning, plus Louis Birdsong, Baltimore City Player of the Year, John Vaughn, CAA all rookie last year who was out due to injury, plus all the xperience a Final Four Brings, and the Coach Bee National Coach of the Year. That has Top 10 written all over it. They belong atleast ahead of all the other mid majors for consideratio in top ten !!
Washington Huskies are DONE - they have now lost Tre Simmons, Wil Conroe, Nate Robinson, Brandon Roy, Bobby Jones, Jamaal Williams, can't keep Martel Webster AND you think they are coming back to the TOP 20 - not a chance!
George Mason just came off a Final Four Run, beating Mich. St, UNC, Wichita State and Uconn along the way. Was top 25 this year, have a strong returning core, plus Baltimore City Player of the Year, Louis Birdsong, the bigtime experience of tourament play this year, the Coach Bee National Coach of the Year, and a crop of heralded youngsters, including John Vaughn, 2005 CAA all-rookie, who was out due to injury. They atleast belong at the top of all mid-majors in top 10 consideration !
First I'm a Gator (grew up in G'ville and graduated in '85). Can't believe Duke and UConn don't crack the top 10. Your top 10 look absolutely scary right now. It will be great for everyone to stay (UCLA's team also) for next year. The NBA draft will be incredible the following year.
Florida is good - but they will not fly under the radar next year - no one picked them to advance as fara s they did --- for good reason. Also- they drew some relatively light competition during the NCAA tourney this year (whith the possible exception of Villanova - which was certainly over-ranked all year).
Duke does not deserve an honorable metntion. Face it - K can not get it done and McRoberts will (should) leave. They'll be lucky to finish in the top 5 of the ACC.
When Barnes realizes growing his legacy at North Carolina State and on Tobacco Road is better than Texas basketball (oxymoron), then Texas will be removed from the list of possible contenders next year.
Luke, assuming no one leaves early- LSU has 2 potential lottery picks, they lose Mitchel, but get Minor (the guy mitchell replaced when he got injured) and a couple of transfers. They make the final four and dont crack the top 10?
Hey Luke, LSU needs a little more credit. Local news has Tyrus leaning towards coming back to develop his skills and Big Baby is sure to come back. With Tack Minor coming off of his medical redshirt year, he brings stability to a shaky backcourt. The Tigers are a force to be reckoned with. Further proving the SEC is the most dominant conference in any sport!
While thinking of all the incoming freshmen, the biggest impact player that didn't suit up for a team this year is going to be Curtis Sumpter at Villanova. Losing Foye and Ray is huge, but Sumpter was better than both of them. Cunningham and Clark proved they can play in the tournament and a decent recruiting class coming in to help create a solid bench. They won't be a bunch of entertaining midgets running around the court, but they are still a top 5 team going into the season.
How can Duke not be higher on your list here. They are bringing in two really good shooters to replace Redick (as best they can), and a 7'1 guy to play down low. That is only the commits at this point. They may still get Lance Thomas at the PF postion. Throw Coach K to lead the talent, I'd take a lineup like that against damn near anyone in the country.
You included So. Ill and Wichita State from the Mo Valley, but what about Creighton? They return Nate Funk, a pre-season player of the year candidate who missed '05-06 due to injury. They have co-freshman of the year Josh Dotzler, as well as newcomer of the year Nick Porter, and the Valley's most improved player in Anthony Tolliver. Toss in heralded freshman Kenny Lawson (6'-9") and Isacc Miles (6'-2") and it could be the year of the Jays!
Nice work, Luke. Be aware that Creighton will be the pre-season pick in the MVC next year. Nate Funk returns from injury giving them two legit All-Americans. SIU and WSU will be looking up at the Jays all year.
Do NOT make the mistake of overlooking Florida State. Aside from North Carolina, Florida State has the most talent returning in the ACC, with Al Thornton, Alexander Johnson, and Jason Rich. They return 4 starters and replace the 5th with a transfer from Auburn who averaged 16 pts a game in his one year there. The Noles will be good, damn good.
How come no one is talking about LSU? Didn't they start 3 freshman and soph "Big Baby"? Final Four this year. Tn fan myself, but kind of hard to over look what they did and what they return. Making the #1 seeds next year can be tough in itself. Paul
The Creighton Bluejays will be there next year. We lost senior pre season 3 Team All American Nate Funk for the year and will have him back. Freshman point guard Josh Dotzler, who played the most minutes, was hurt the last 6 regular season games of the season. Still just missed the tournament. With that team they beat George Mason by 20 AT GM. Also beat UNI 2, Wichita State when we were healthy (and lost at buzzer with these two guys out), beat Nebraska by 26,etc. So lost one starter and add Funk to the mix- we should be top team in the Valley and a top 20 team (with quality recruiting class)
Aggie athletics are back in business. With a stong finish to cap off the year, the most impressive recuiting class in years, and the conituously improving A&M facilities, I think it's fair to say, Aggie stock is on the rise. Gig'em!
SIU was young, but terrible for good stretches of the year. Before Jamaal Tatum focuses on next year, he's going to have to beat another DUI wrap.
If you want a MVC darling-to-be, look at Creighton. Nate Funk, a preseason All-American in some circles, returns from a medical redshirt for his final year of elgibility. Anthony Tolliver was the best center in the league (yes, better than Patrick O'Bryant) and was arguably one of the most improved players in the country. Add to this another year of maturation for a lot of these guys under Dana Altman's watch and a talented and touted recruiting class, and a lot of Creighton fans are expecting major things next year.
Also, food for thought: in one of the few games last year where Creighton was fully healthy, they blew the doors off George Mason in their house.
Luke, was it intentional or did you just forget about the team Georgia Tech will have next year. We are only losing Theo Tarver and are getting two Mcdonald's All-Americans. I know that our season was abysmal this year, however we suffered the same type of situation as Wake Forest: a lot of talent, but not true point guard to run the show. Now that we will be adding Crittendon and Young, the Tech team will be a formidable opponent, for the next two seasons actually. Any thougts?
Though it pains me as a Duke fan to say it, I think that North Carolina will be the team to beat next season. Taking nothing away from Florida's national title, I don't think they're the best team in the country. Like Billy Donovan said after that game last night he doesn't think his team is the best in the country. As it happens in a tournament like this, the best team often does not win. I would put the Gators in the top few, but not at one. I guess, though, that's why you're getting paid to do this and I'm not. Other than that I'd mostly have to agree with you except that I think your last two were more for acknowledging their success as opposed to them being really good next year. I can't wait to watch this tournament all over again next season, though.
FINALLY!!! some body has respect for the Memphis Tigers. Even though they played their worst game againts UCLA, the only "key" player we lose is Rodney Carney, and i used quotain, b/c we didn't really need him. don't get me wrong, he was one the most exciting player in college i've seen in years and he could score from anywhere on the court, but i love the depth that memphis has and next year it won't be different b/c we are getting Willie Kemp, a true point guard and a another joey dorsey type presence on the court. Ya heard it here first, the Memphis Tigers, your 2007 NCAA champions!!!!
Seriously, you guys have got to get a hold of yourselves... next year, Florida will return to being what it was for most of this year: a good, but not great, team that should hover around the top 10. The Gators benefited from a weak Final Four field (UCLA, too, will be good, but not great, next year) and played well in one of the most underwhelming Final Fours in recent memory. Essentially, UF are national champions by default, as no powerhouses really stepped up to the plate. Use your heads, fellas -- North Carolina is #1 next year...
Are you kidding me Southern Illinois and Wichita State get consideration over Creighton from the Valley?? Creighton almost made the tournament this year without it's best 2 players (including All American hopeful, Nate Funk), and they return next year. By the way, they beat George Mason at George Mason by 20 this year when they had all parts to their team.
If Tyrus Thomas goes pro for LSU, you can probably count LSU out of a return trip to the Final Four and out of the Top Ten, possibly even the Top 20. With only Baby as a true standout on the team, you will have a team similar to Indiana, good post game/weak guard play. If that happens, LSU will not be able to effectively compete in the new SEC and certainly not on the national stage.
While most college hoops pundits think that Michigan State will have a down year in 2007, I feel that they may actually be better than their 2006 squad, for aq number of reasons. First and foremost, Tom Izzo has announced made it clear that he is junking the "warm and fuzzy" coddling coaching style of the last 3-4 years and going back to the football-type mentality of his Mateen Cleaves-led teams. They might lose some blue chip recruits, but toughness, heart and dedication will be once again required to crack the rotation in East Lansing. MSU will be led by the returning backcourt of Shannon Brown and Drew Neitzel. the bigs will be raw, but talented, in an improved Marquise Gray, Goran Suton and newcomers in C Tom Herzog and SF Raymar Morgan. Look for MSU to surprise many with another 20-win season and NCAA tourney visit.
Good list overall, although I'm surprised you didn't include Illinois. Despite losing Brown (a non-factor in many games this year) and Augustine, the Illini return the rest of their core, including a talented front-court duo in Pruitt and Carter and a star of the future in McBride. They may not be final four bound, but they should take 2nd in the Big Ten and make a good tournament run.
I agree that Pitt should get some consideration in the Big East next year but to reduce it to Gray vs. Hibbert as "potential vs. established" is absurd. First of all, Big Roy is way beyond potential - he completely outplayed the "established" Terrance Dials in the 2nd round game. Secondly, when Hibbert struggled with Gray in their game this season JTIII moved Jeff Green to center who then proceed to torch Gray. Pitt ought to be pretty good next year, but Georgetown will be a force to be reckoned with.
You are the smartest man alive! You have no idea how it made my day to see Texas A&M in your Top 10 for next year. I was in school there from 2000 to 2005 and endured some pathetic basketball teams, but I was always there. CBS had a little clip they called "One Shining Moment" last night after the game and left us completely out of it. It's good to see someone has noticed what Billy Clyde has done down here.
I loved Hofstra this year but they although they're not losing their stars there losing the 2 guys who do all the hard work Uter and Keizsma are both seniors. Unless they recruit some transfers they will be just mediocre.They do have 3 great guards though coming back.
Don't overlook Coach K and Duke. McRoberts is a budding star and Paulus returns with a year's experience under his belt. DeMarcus Nelson should be healthy. Jamal Boykin, Eric Boateng, and Marty Pocius will play larger roles as well. Add John Scheyer and Gerald Henderson to the mix, and the Blue Devils will challenge North Carolina for the ACC title. Yes, they lose Redick and Williams, but much like Florida, a young team isn't all bad.
What about Villanova? They lose Foye and Ray, but gain Sumpter who is supposedly better than either of them. Lowry is going to be amazing and several of their younger guys will also be significantly improved with a year of experience.
In all honesty I expected to see a MoValley team in your top 10 for next year, and it makes me happy... but the Salukis? I think you meant the Creighton Bluejays. All I need to say is Nate Funk, Josh Dotzler, and Anthony Tolliver.
UK is very young as well. With Rondo out of the picture, look for Ramel Bradley to open some eyes. All those sophomores are now juniors. Big difference. I guarantee you Tubby will not have a disappointing 20 win season next year.
What about Cincinnati? They are starting fresh with a great new coach in Mick Cronin. He took Murray state to the dance twice in three years. I think he will have support of the fans much like they did AK after huggs left.
I believe that Arkansas should be in the top 25 next year. We had one bad game against Bucknell, but we beat the National Champs, Florida Gators. By beating them i think Arkansas bought their way into the top 25.
Texas A&M ?? OMG.. I'm an Aggie and I must admit I was overwhelmed by their success this year... ( I mean, last time I saw success at A&M, Wright was the power forward -- 1978)... So, I appreciate the props from the media, but let's be honest, they picked UCONN as the National Champs... So, how good is the Media?
Sweet recap, Luke. I think Illinois has a shot at respectability next year, maybe not Final Four, but far better than most people think. Expect big things from Pruitt, Randle and Smith, plus some outstanding frosh. More importantly, however, I still have a huge crush on Duke womens' coach Gail Goestenkors. Sweet Lord is she smokin'!
Hey! Where is MArquette here? They lost one star player, Steve Novak and still have 3 superstar freshmen including Dominic James. I think Tom Crean is the best coach in the nation and should have no problem bringing this team to AT LEAST the top 15
The tournament this year was a bore once the sweet 16 started. Don't get too jacked up on Florida next year. This year they beat a 14, 11, 7, 1, 11, 2 seed to win the title. Hardly an impressive road block of opponents (Villanova was on thin ice from the opening tip of the tournament). Definitely a top 10, but nowhere close to repeating as champion. Carolina is the easy choice for #1. If Roy can do with their new recruits what he did with the four freshman this year, look out. Plus they're bringing back Reyshawn, Wes Miller and Quentin Thomas. They will be 11-12 players deep next year. Nobody will be able to keep up with their legs.
You forgot the Ducks. If a nasty run through the Pac-10 tourney that included a demolition of Washington and a close follow-up against Cal, then look at their roster: they return virually everyone. EVERYONE! Sure Brandon Lincoln's D will be missed, but they've still got Jordan Kent and his lockdown D, and there is the continued emergence Big Shot Cham Oguchi, not to mention another year of maturity for Brooks, Hairston and Taylor. The Ducks always dominate when they're under-rated, just look at this past football season.
First of all, Tennessee is going nowhere next year.
Now that I've got that out from under my belt, I would like to point out the absolutely fantastical nature of some of Winn's picks and picks made in the comments, I will suggest a team of my own:
Vanderbilt-as a team, they lack a cohesive unit, can't ever seem to put it together in the post, and have a coach with no endgame. In fact, they sometimes play so badly that I think the Commodores are lost at sea. Like the Kentucky home game, where they let UK whittle a ten point lead down to three in a minute. Then they turned the ball over and intentionally fouled. Kentucky, luckily, missed both free throws and then two ensuing threes.
However, Vanderbilt last year won at Rupp Arena for the first time ever, and swept Kentucky for the first time since around when Dark Side of the Moon was put out. They actually won some games on the road as well.
This is a sure recipe for future success.
Come on, guys. I know you love your team, but let's be realistic here.
Apparently Curtis Sumpter, Kyle Lowry, Mike Nardi, Will Sheriden and Dante CUnningham with a young but deep bench isn't worth of top ten consideration. Are you serious? The real cats play in the northeast UK fans.
Luke.....as usual, you forgot about Michigan State. While the Spartans lose 2 senior starters (Paul Davis & Maurice Ager), returning is potential Big Ten MVP Shannon Brown, sweet shooting jr point guard Drew Neitzel, developing big men Goran Suton and Marquise Gray, and a strong freshman class.
You gotta keep Villanova in the top 10. Sure, they're losing Foye and Ray, but Sumpter, Villanova's most impressive inside and outside talent, is back from redshirt; Lowry, one of the most talented and explosive point guards in college basketball is back; Nardi, an excellent outside shooter during the regular season; Sheridan, a solid inside presence with a pretty good shot blocking and jump shooting abilities; and Cunningham and Clark - up and coming freshmen. There is some great talent coming in next year too.
Arizona played Villanova real tough in what was a home game for Villanova in the 2nd round!
Only losing 2 of their top 10 players and gaing the Mcdonald's game co-Mvp, Chase Budinger and former Mcdonald's all-american Jawaan Mcclennan (back from a wrist injury), Arizona will be back in the top 10 next year!!
As a big Duke fan, I don't think DU will ever sniff the Elite 8 until we get some athletes. Some inner city talent that plays at a level that UF and LSU played with. I know most inner city kids might not have the SAT's and the Grant Hill/ J Will social status, but until K decides to get some Raymond Felton/Tywon Lawson/Marcus Williams talent at the point, it's a wrap. The Dookies will continue to beat Clemson, Ga. Tech, and UVA and spilt with UNC, FSU, and Maryland, and might win the ACC, but I don't care how many ACC championships Duke has. I know what it's going to take. Roy Williams is going to keep getting from the hood or the street and K will revisit his C. Maggette, W. Avery, and E. Brand days and eventually go get him some players. Redick got exposed by true talent in the tourney and Paulus is a poor man's Wojo. So no Championships for the Dookies until K decides to get him some REAL players like Calhoun, Williams, and Boeheim.
Dont overlook miami - the canes got our whole team returning, minus hite. They have one of the sickest shooting guards in the country - in jr Guillermo Diaz, and solid big men, point guards, and bench to back him up.
Don't forgets, what abouts, how comes,shaaaaaad up already!Just because you wake up every morning wearing your beloved teams underoos doesn`t make them top 20 material. You're 1-5's are on the money. I am so looking forward to the Ohio State melt down. And yes, the PAC10 and SEC will shut you up AGAIN this year.
Luke, you have lost your mind. "on the fringe!!!" Granted, Duke loses two of the best COLLEGE players in the game this year. However, if McRoberts stays and coach K gets the rest of the McD's All Americans off the bench that just watched this year, their team will have 7+ McDonald's All American's next year with 2 coming in and maybe Lance Thomas. And we all saw what UNC did with a bunch of youngsters and a few elders. Not to mention I wouldnt sell the ACC to UNC just yet...
Just when we get rid of cheesy mustache guy from Gonzaga and now we have funny face ponytail guy...Please can we have one more goofy shot of some doofus with his mouth open....what was it that he smelled in that last shot....
I'm glad you gave U-Dub some credit. Unlike "anonymous" above who claims they won't be in the top 20, they have an AWESOME (top 3 in the nation) recruiting class coming in. I'm excited to see what these young guys do!!
anonymous at 11:03 AM beat me to it. 'Cuse. The Seniors (Watkins & Roberts) will finally break out. Devendorf has only just begun to bloom and Mr. Paul Harris is potentially 'Melo redux. Oh, and that Mike Jones fella coming in can play some ball too.
Duke fans. Sorry, but Lance Thomas is going to Rutgers where he'll play instead of rotting on the bench thanks to Coach K's great use of his talent. So as scary as this sounds, look out for Rutgers. Douby and his 25ppg will be back with almost everyone else (lose 1 bench guy) and the incoming freshmen class which will include Thomas. Not too bad. Last year's 19-14 should turn into 20 plus wins and a top 20 slot at least. Who would have ever thought? Good timing for Fred Hill.
Hey you Gator haters -- the Final Four was "weak"? We beat George Mason, which beat North Carolina, UConn and Michigan State. We beat UCLA, which dominated LSU, which dominated Texas. The Gators dominated Villanova. The Gators won the SEC tournament, and the SEC is one of the best conferences. If our starters return, they'll only get better. You can talk trash, but let's see your team do it on the court.
Alabama. Where are they? They return arguably the best PG in the nation (defiantly the SEC) in Ron Steele. All-Freshmen SEC PF Richard Hendrix and potential All-America C in Jermareo Davidson. Alonzo Gee will start at the 2 or 3 and Hollinger could start but with a talented group of shooting guards coming in,Brandon may be the 6th man . Depth is being added from 6’11 Yamene Coleman (RFr),starter from last season 5’10 Brandon Hollinger and incoming freshmen Mikhail Torrence ,Justin Tubbs and Demetrius Jemison who,at 6’7” will remind a lot of people of Charles Barkley. Take a look at the team. Plus,they were 2 inches away from beating UCLA in the 2nd Rd when Steele’s 3pt attempt hit the front of the rim.
Creighton should be considered to be a sleeper as well with Nate Funk returning, Josh Dotzler, and ex-Kansas player Nicholas Bahe. With a coach like Dana Altman, expect the Bluejays to come out strong.
Everyone seems so high on Ohio State, I understand that they have a pretty good recruiting class. Why does Washington get zero consideration from anyone? They have a very good recruiting class coming in along with two red shirt players and some returning under classmen. People
South Carolina finished their season winning 9 out of 10 games (including road wins at Florida State and Cincy) to win their 2nd straight NIT. Only loss in their last 10 games was to Florida (who they beat twice in the reg season)in the SEC championship game by 2 points. Balkman will roll the Gameconcks into the top 25 in 2006-2007.
I think A&M could be a top ten next year just because they have their good players and im not sure who Chris Walker is but im pretty sure he is not that important. Billy Gillispie will take this team far if he stays at A&M.
With all due respect, creighton fans, think of all of the talented names in college bastketball coming back and the unreal incoming freshman. I dont think any SIU- creighton argument should contain the words "All-American" in reference to any of the teams players. Nate Funk wouldnt play more than ten minutes a game in a top five team in a BCS conference
Many teams proved this year that young teams can be very good.
As much as I hate to see JJ Redick and Shelden Williams go, I think Duke can be just as good without them; the freshmen will not be intimidated, everyone will do their part, instead of watching the stars.
With a dominant big man, and a steve Nash-esque point guard, along with 2 (possibly 3) all americans coming in, and a 7 footer, they could be a very strong, solid, unselfish, and deep team.
I think you placed them right, give them credit, but they shouldn't start the season in the Top 10. However, I think they will END the season in the Top 10.