Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Preseason Bracket

1 seeds
Tennessee (SEC)
Memphis (C-USA)
UCLA (Pac-10)

2 seeds
Kansas (Big 12)
Louisville (Big East)
Kansas St.

3 seeds
Washington St.
Michigan St. (Big Ten)

4 seeds
Southern Illinois (MVC)
Texas A&M

5 seeds
NC State
Ohio St.

6 seeds
Notre Dame
Gonzaga (WCC)

7 seeds
Butler (Horizon)

8 seeds

9 seeds

10 seeds
George Mason (CAA)
Fordham (A-10)

11 seeds
New Mexico (Mt. West)

12 seeds
Rhode Island
Utah St. (WAC)
Davidson (Southern)

13 seeds
New Mexico St.
Kent St. (MAC)
South Alabama (Sun Belt)
Montana (Big Sky)

14 seeds
Holy Cross (Patriot)
High Point (Big South)
UC Santa Barbara (Big West)
Loyola (MD) (MAAC)

15 seeds
McNeese St. (Southland)
Austin Peay (OVC)
Boston University (Am East)
IUPUI (Summit)

16 seeds
Mercer (A-Sun)
Columbia (Ivy)
Robert Morris (NEC)
Hampton (MEAC)
Arkansas Pine-Bluff (SWAC)

Big East- 8
Pac 10- 7
Big 12- 5
ACC- 5
Big Ten- 5
SEC- 5
A-10- 2
C-USA- 2
CAA- 2
Mt. West- 2
WAC- 2

First Four Out
Xavier, West Virginia, Syracuse, California

Also Considered- Illinois, Houston, Oklahoma, Florida St., St. Joe’s, Maryland Appalachian St., Fresno St., Bradley, Missouri St., Boston College, Baylor, Texas Tech, Oklahoma St., Nevada, Western Michigan, Auburn, South Carolina, Georgia Tech, Michigan, Nebraska, Mississippi St., LSU, Georgia, Minnesota, UW-Milwaukee, Western Kentucky, Vandy, Penn St., Akron, UNC Greensboro, Ohio, Illinois St., St. Mary’s

Monday, November 19, 2007

Preseason Picks VI

Big East
Champ- Louisville
Locks- Georgetown, Marquette, Villanova, Pittsburgh, Notre Dame
Bubble- Providence, Connecticut, West Virginia, Syracuse
The Rest- Cincinnati, Seton Hall, St. John’s, DePaul, South Florida, Rutgers

Big 12
Champ- Kansas
Locks- Kansas St., Texas A&M, Texas
Bubble- Missouri, Oklahoma, Baylor, Texas Tech, Oklahoma St., Nebraska
The Rest- Colorado, Iowa St.

Champ- Utah St.
Contenders- New Mexico St., Fresno St., Nevada
NIT Bubble- Hawaii, Boise St.
The Rest- San Jose St., Louisiana Tech, Idaho

Champ- Western Michigan
Contenders- Kent St., Akron, Ohio
The Rest (East)- Miami OH, Bowling Green, Buffalo
The Rest (West)- Eastern Michigan, Western Michigan, Toledo, Northern Illinois, Ball St.

Champ- Davidson
Contenders- Appalachian St., UNC Greensboro
The Rest (East)- Western Carolina, Elon, Chattanooga
The Rest (West)- Charleston, Wofford, Georgia Southern, Furman, The Citadel

Champ- Southern Illinois
NIT Bubble- Bradley, Missouri St., Illinois St.
The Rest- Wichita St., Indiana St., Northern Iowa, Creighton, Drake, Evansville

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Preseason Picks V

Champ- North Carolina
Locks- Duke, NC State
Bubble- Clemson, Virginia, Florida St., Maryland, BC, Georgia Tech
The Rest- Virginia Tech, Wake Forest, Miami Fl.

Big Ten
Champ- Michigan St.
Locks- Indiana, Ohio St.
Bubble- Purdue, Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, Penn St., Minnesota
The Rest- Northwestern, Iowa

Champ- George Mason
Bubble- VCU
The Rest- UNC Wilmington, James Madison, ODU, Hofstra, Drexel, William & Mary, Delaware, Georgia St., Northeastern, Towson

Conference USA
Champ- Memphis
Bubble- UAB, Houston
NIT Bubble- UCF, Southern Miss
The Rest- Tulane, Tulsa, Marshall, East Carolina, UTEP, Rice, SMU

Champ- Fordham
Bubble- Rhode Island, Xavier, St. Joe’s
NIT Bubble- Dayton, Duquesne, Temple, St. Louis, George Washington
The Rest- Richmond, Massachusetts, Charlotte, La Salle, St. Bonaventure

Mt. West
Champ- New Mexico
Bubble- Utah
NIT Bubble- San Diego St., BYU, Wyoming
The Rest- UNLV, Air Force, TCU, Colorado St.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Preseason Picks IV

Sun Belt
Champ- South Alabama
Contender- Western Kentucky
The Rest (East)- Florida Atlantic, Florida International, Troy
The Rest (West)- La Monroe, North Texas, Arkansas St., New Orleans, La-Lafayette, Ark.-Little Rock, Denver

Patriot League
Champ- Holy Cross
Contenders- Bucknell
The Rest- Lafayette, Army, Navy, Lehigh, Colgate, American

Champ- UT-Arlington
Contenders- Sam Houston St., McNeese St.
The Rest (East)- Northwestern St., Lamar, Nicholls St., SE Louisiana, Central Arkansas
The Rest (West)- UTSA- Texas A&M-CC, SFA, Texas St.

Champ- Loyola MD
Contenders- Siena, Rider, Manhattan, Niagara
The Rest- Fairfield, Marist, St. Peter’s, Iona, Canisius

Champ- Austin Peay
Contenders- Eastern Kentucky, Murray St.
The Rest- Eastern Illinois, SE Missouri St., Tennessee Tech, Tennessee St., Samford, Jacksonville St., Morehead St., UT-Martin

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Preseason Picks III

Champ(s)- 1. Tennessee (East), 1. Arkansas (West)
Bubble- 2. Kentucky, 3. Florida, 4. South Carolina, 5. Georgia, 6. Vandy (East), 2. Alabama, 3. Auburn, 4. Miss St., 5. LSU (West)
The Rest- 6. Ole Miss (West)

Summit League
Champ- IUPUI
Contenders- Oakland, North Dakota St.
The Rest- Southern Utah, Oral Roberts, IPFW, UMKC, South Dakota St., Western Illinois, Centenary

IUPUI returns three of their top four scorers from a young team that finished fourth last year in the old Mid Continental Conference now the Summit League. Oakland finished second in the regular season and made it to the conference championship last year. Returning four out of their top five scorers, gives the Golden Grizzlies a good shot at dancing. North Dakota St. will be good this year and could take the regular season championship but they are in their last year of reclassification from D2 and will be eligible next year.

Champ- Arkansas PB
Contenders- Grambling St., Southern
The Rest- Jackson St., Alabama A&M, Miss Valley St., Alabama St., Texas Southern, Alcorn St., Prairie View A&M

All these teams have major problems and are probably looking at the play-in game. The best of the worst is Arkansas PB who returns a lot for a team that gave defending conference tournament champion Jackson St. a huge run for its money in the conference semifinals. Grambling St. and Southern are the two teams from the rest that have the best chance to challenge APB this year.

Champ- Robert Morris
Contenders- Wagner, St. Francis (PA)
The Rest- St. Francis (NY), Mt. St. Mary’s, Sacred Heart, Quinnipiac, Long Island, FDU, Monmouth, CCSU

Robert Morris is an experienced team and easily has the most talent in the league led by Tony Lee and A.J. Jackson. Wagner should also be good but I like RMU more. St. Francis returns pretty much everyone but the team finished last in conference play last season and with several other teams returning a good amount of players, a worst-to-first story shouldn’t be expected.

Champ- Hampton
Contenders- NC A&T, Coppin St.
The Rest- Morgan St., Bethune-Cookman, Norfolk St., Delaware St., Florida A&M, South Carolina St., Howard, Winston-Salem St., MD Eastern Shore

Hampton is the only team that will return all of its starters as well as a few key bench guys. They finished third in the conference last year and should improve on that as the two teams ahead of them were hit by graduation and a coaching change.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Preseason Picks II

Champ- UCLA
Locks- 2. Washington St., 3. Oregon
Bubble- 4. Stanford, 5. USC, 6. Arizona, 7. Washington, 8. Cal
The Rest- 9. Arizona St., 10. Oregon St.

Champ- Gonzaga
Contender- St. Mary’s
The Rest- San Diego, Santa Clara, San Fran, Portland, Pepperdine, Loyola Marymount

Gonzaga still has the most talent in the league but will be vulnerable. Derek Raivio is gone but Josh Heytvelt returns as do five other rotation players. However, St. Mary’s should give Gonzaga a run for its money and I wouldn’t be surprised to see San Diego, Santa Clara, or San Francisco knock off the Zags at home.

Big West
Champ- UCSB
Contenders- Cal Poly, CS Fullerton, CS Northridge, Pacific, UC Irvine
The Rest- UC Davis, UC Riverside, Long Beach St.

UCSB returns four starters including Alex Harris who led the league in scoring last year and Chris Devine, leading rebounder and second in scoring. Cal Poly though returns a good portion of last year’s squads and they should be competitive but I like the Gauchos to win it all.

Champ- Butler
Contenders- Wisconsin-Milwaukee
The Rest- Wisconsin-GB, Wright St., Loyola (IL), Detroit, Valparaiso, Youngstown St., Illinois-Chicago, Cleveland St.

Butler is easily the class of the conference again with AJ Graves and Mike Green returning along with four other key rotation guys. Wisconsin-Milwaukee brings back mostly everyone and would win this league if Butler weren’t in it. Valpo will be an intriguing team this year. They return their top 7 scorers but their upgrade in conferences will probably be too significant to let them be competitive.

Champ- Columbia
Contenders- Brown, Cornell, Yale, Penn
The Rest- Princeton, Dartmouth, Harvard

Columbia has all but one player returning from last year’s team that went .500 in Ivy League play. Brown, Cornell, and Yale all return a decent portion of their squads and if Columbia stumbles then they will all be right there. As for the Quakers, I expect a down year after losing Mark Zoller and Ibrahim Jaaber but you can never count out Penn.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Preseason Picks I

American East
Champ- 1. Boston University
Contenders- 2. Albany, 3. Hartford
The Rest- 4. UMBC, 5. Vermont, 6. Binghamton, 7. Stony Brook, 8. UNH, 9. Maine

BU returns 3 starters and their top 3 scorers and all of their relevant bench guys. Their 4 best players are all turning sophomores so a growth spurt is expected. An early season test at Pitt will determine how feared this team should be. Albany, last year’s champ, also returns 3 starters but losing their Jamar Wilson and Jason Siggers will mean a second place finish.

Atlantic Sun
Champ- Mercer
Contenders- East Tennessee St., Jacksonville
The Rest- Kennesaw St., Campbell, Belmont, Stetson, Lipscomb, Gardner-Webb, Fl. Gulf Coast, North Florida, SC-Upstate

This season will come down to Mercer and East Tennessee St. ETSU probably has the most talent and returns PoY Courtney Pigram but they’ve had the most talent since they have joined the league and they haven’t won yet. Mercer returns 5 out of their top 6 scorers and 6 out of 7 players who started 14 or more games. They have no problem scoring and a little defense should mean a conference championship. Jacksonville is a team on the rise returning 3 starters and bringing in another solid recruiting class and will surprise some teams.

Big Sky
Champ- Montana
Contenders- Weber St., Portland St.
The Rest- Montana St., Northern Arizona, Idaho St., Northern Colorado, Sacramento St., Eastern Washington

Montana returns 6 of its top 7 scorers including potential PoY Andrew Strait. Don’t be surprised to see them win a game or two against Gonzaga, Washington St. and Air Force in the first month of the season. Another team that could win the title is Weber St. who was last year’s NCAA representative for the Big Sky. They return 4 of their top 5 scorers (and 7 of 9) but the one they lose is last year’s leading scorer David Patten. Portland St. should also be dangerous as they return 4 players who started 22 or more games for them last year and 4 of their top 5 leading scorers.

Big South
Champ- High Point
Contenders- Winthrop, UNC Asheville, VMI, Coastal Carolina
The Rest- Charleston Southern, Liberty, Radford

High Point returns the most talent starting with reigning PoY Arizona ‘AZ’ Reed. They return 7 rotation players in all on a team that finished second last year behind that great Winthrop team. Winthrop returns its leading scorer, Michael Jenkins who averaged 14.8 ppg but they lose three starters. UNC Asheville could be a very good team. They return their top 3 scorers, 4 starters, most of their bench, and plenty of size. Who could forget VMI’s memorable run last year capped by their great-but-not-quite performance against Winthrop in the finals? They return Reggie Williams who average 28.1 ppg last year and the Holmes twins. However, this team was just 14-19 (5-9) last year and is extremely streaky but if they get hot at the right time then who knows? Coastal Carolina could be a sleeper since they return four starters but they one they lost was their leading rebounder and they couldn’t rebound last seasons so what will they do this season?