Entries by: Kevin Stevenson

NCAA Men’s Basketball 2015 Conference Predictions

Written by :
Published on : November 17, 2015

 

With the 2015-16 college hoops season about to begin, I found that it would be suitable to unveil my predictions for conference champs and players of the year. Some of my thoughts are safe and some are bold. Feel free to judge away, I’m only human. Without further ado, here’s the top 11 conferences and how they’ll finish.

 

 

AAC

The Huskies will be up to their usual tricks.

 

Champs: UCONN
POY: Sterling Gibbs, UCONN, G, Sr
Runners up: Tulsa; James Woodard, Tulsa, G, Sr

 

ACC

Coach K always has his team ready to compete for a conference championship.

 

Champs: Duke
POY: Marcus Paige, UNC, G, Sr
Runners up: UNC; Malcolm Brogden, Virginia, G, Sr

 

A10

Davidson will surprise some people this year, and they’ll be led by Jack Gibbs.

 

Champs: Davidson
POY: Jack Gibbs, Davidson, G, Jr
Runners up: Dayton; E.C. Matthews, Rhode Island, G, Jr

 

Big East

Mikal Bridges and the Wildcats will be reaching for a Big East title this year.

 

Champs: Villanova
POY: Kris Dunn, Providence, G, Jr
Runners up: Butler; Henry Ellenson, Marquette, G, Fr

 

B10

Melo Trimble and Maryland will overcome the Spartans to win the B10 championship and POY award.

 

Champs: Maryland
POY: Melo Trimble, Maryland, G, So
Runners up: Michigan State; Caris Lavert, Michigan, G, Sr

 

B12

Kansas will be looking for that #1 spot.

 

Champs: Kansas
POY: Buddy Hield, Oklahoma, G, Sr
Runners up: Oklahoma; George’s Jiang, Iowa State, F, Sr

 

MVC

VanVleet will lead the Shockers to glory this year.

 

Champs: Wichita State
POY: Fred VanVleet, Wichita State,  G, Sr
Runners up: Northern Iowa; Ron Baker, Wichita State, G, Sr

 

MW

Boise State came away with the win last night and will win the conference.

 

Champs: Boise State
POY: Anthony Drmic, Boise State, G/F, Sr
Runners up: San Diego State; Winston Shepard, San Diego State, F, Sr

 

PAC12

The Cal Bears will reach the top spot in the Pac 12 by year’s end.

 

Champs: California
POY: Gary Payton III, Oregon State, G, Sr
Runners up: Arizona; Jakob Poeltl, Utah, C, So

 

SEC

Once again, John Calipari will have Kentucky looking very good,

 

Champs: Kentucky
POY: Ben Simmons, LSU, F, Fr
Runners up: LSU; Daniel House, Texas A&M, G/F, Sr

 

WCC

Kyle Wiltjer shouldn’t be surprised when Zags wins the conference and he wins POY.

 

Champs: Gonzaga
POY: Kyle Wiltjer, Gonzaga, F, Sr
Runners up: BYU; Kyle Collinsworth, BYU, G/F, Sr

 

 

Well, there you have it. Some of these decisions (Gonzaga, Wichita State, Kentucky) were no brainers. On the other hand, other calls(Cal, Davidson, Boise State) are a little against the grain. However, these are my predictions…so…make your own if you disagree.

 

 


Five Teams that may surprise the College Hoops Nation come March

Written by :
Published on : October 27, 2015

 

With so many new faces being added to rosters in the offseason, it is becoming increasingly difficult to predict an outcome for a team in the whirlwind that is a college basketball season.  Experts will take their best shot at telling you which squads will be dancing in the spring.  No matter how accurate they may be, there are always a few sleepers that come out of nowhere and play their way into contention.  Here are five teams that have a very good chance to be one of the aforementioned sleepers, and shake up the world of college hoops.

 

1. Auburn

Bruce Pearl and the boys

 

In only his second year as HC, Bruce Pearl has the Tigers well on their way to ascending out of the basement of the SEC.  He has put together a very talented incoming freshman class, (led by 6’9 Finley Prep, VA forward Horace Spencer).  Throw in 2 returning starters, 2 immediate impact transfers, a high scoring JUCO transfer, and this team has ‘scary’ depth.  There’s more of a feeling that this team will be something special in the future, but if all the puzzle pieces fit then the future is now.

 

2. Mississippi State

Malik Newman doing work for team USA

 

Sticking with the SEC theme because they are arguably the most improved conference from top to bottom. Expect 6, 7 or possibly 8 teams to get into the tournament. Add up new coach Ben Howland, with his 3 final four appearances, with the number one shooting guard and 5 star prospect Malik Newman, and your team becomes an immediate contender. They also have 4 seniors and 1 junior who collectively started 110 games last year. With Malik Newman being a probable one and done, look for the bulldogs to try and ride his shoulders all the way to March.

 

3. Tulsa

Everything is OK in Tulsa

 

This a team that returns all 5 starters after finishing 14-4 in the AAC and getting completely snubbed by the selection committee last year.  Nah, they won’t have a giant chip on their shoulders, (I don’t know if I need to clarify, but that was thick sarcasm).  This team has 9 seniors.  Ill say that again…They have 9 seniors. Unheard of in this day of college basketball.  These are also 9 seniors who know how to win and want to end on a high note.  Guard play is their strength with James Woodard as the top scoring threat. Do not be shocked when the Golden Hurricanes are still alive in March.

 

4. Northwestern

Wildcats

 

Will it finally happen?  Will Northwestern be celebrating on Selection Sunday?  The Big Ten is going to be stacked yet again, but the Wildcats, thanks to wonderful recruiting by Chris Collins, have the talent to compete. This team has 8 players who saw significant minutes last year.  The key, however, will be 6’10 senior transfer from Virginia Tech, Joey van Zegeren.  His experience, along with seniors Tre Demps and Alex Olah, should help gel with the younger players and create a team that could pull off a few surprises.

 

5. Oregon State

This is one Beaver who isn’t messing around

 

This could be the best Beaver team in history.  The key phrase of that statement is “could be”.  They finished 3 games over .500 a season ago and return all 5 starters.  One of those starters is All American candidate and Oregon State royalty Gary Payton II.  He is one of the most complete players in the country on both ends.  The PAC12 is stacked at the top, but the Beavers also have a highly touted recruiting class with 6’4 guard Stephen Thompson Jr. leading the way.  Making a postseason tournament seems definite. Making the NCAA tournament is within reach, and soon will be in the rearview mirror.

 

 


Will Duke repeat as National Champs?

Written by :
Published on : October 11, 2015

 

 

In an era of “one and dones” in college hoops it has become increasingly difficult to try and predict a clear cut favorite to win the national championship. Teams can no longer rely on building a program with a key nucleus of returning players. It also doesn’t help that the number of transfers during the off-season are at an all time high. To try and repeat as national champs is a very large obstacle in which to achieve. Has this hurt college basketball?  Some fans would say so. This fan, however, enjoys the amount of talent coming into the college ranks year in and year out. Even if only for a year, the Durants and Loves look great in an NCAA jersey. There are more teams than ever who have a chance to cut down the net in March thanks to the quick turnover of five star talent.

 

Coach K

 

Coach K, and many other coaches, have adapted to this new way of life. The three best players on the best team in the country left just as quickly as they arrived, saying, “you’re welcome”, as they shut the door at Cameron indoor.  How will Duke recover and defend their title?

 

Regardless of talented recruiting classes, a quality core of returning players who have a team first mentality is needed. Duke has four such guys in Grayson Allen, Amile Jefferson, Matt Jones and Marshall Plumlee. Allen, a freakishly athletic guard, played sparingly throughout the season but stepped up big time in the tournament. He will have a much larger role this season. Jefferson is a blue collar forward who will get you 6 and 8 consistently, and provide much of his contributions on the defensive end. Matt Jones, who became a starter towards the end of last year, is a combo guard/forward when consistent can do a little bit of everything on both ends. He also shot 38% from beyond the arc. Marshall Plumlee carries the famed name on the back of his jersey and while he’s not as polished as his brothers, he brings toughness, defense and rebounding that is more than necessary to be competitive.

 

Practice makes perfect

 

Of course it helps having a “top 5” recruiting class as well. Four freshman will play immediately. Derryck Thornton will step in right from day one and be the starting point guard. He reclassified and came to Duke a year early to fill the void left by the departed Tyus Jones. Center Chase Jeter and wing Brandon Ingram also will likely start. Jeter is a back to the basket big guy and Ingram is a slashing, 6’8, lefty scorer. Luke Kennard is another top guard recruit who will come off the bench and play both guard positions, though he is more of an off guard.

 

The last player to fit into the rotation will be 6’9 sophomore transfer forward Sean Obi. He averaged a double double as a freshman at Rice and was one of the more desirable transfers a year ago.
There are a lot of question marks about this upcoming Duke team,but they are not lacking the talent and role players. All signs point to another deep tourney run in March. Could this be a year we see a back to back champ, or will it end with another Lehigh or VCU upset?

 

 


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