Let’s goooooo! We are a sleep away from the college basketball season and I can’t wait. Crowds are back baby and the bouncing O’s in the stands will return. This is going to be a great sigh of relief with normalcy returning to the campus hardware.
That’s one of the many headlines this season is going to have. Others include: the final season for Coach K, can Gonzaga get over the national championship hump? How will UNC be without Coach Williams? How will Baylor rebound after winning the national championship. There’s really so much excitement that this season can bring and I just can’t wait.
One headline that is worth talking about is the ACC strength and if they can bounce back. Let’s keep in mind, Duke did not make the tournament last year. DUKE!!! That’s how out of sorts this conference has been the last few years. It is a little concerning. I do think Duke bounces back this year, I also think FSU will be a solid team and although a lot of people transferred from the school after their Sweet 16 run last year, I do believe Syracuse will be an ACC dark horse and would not be surprised if they finish top 3 in the conference. That team can shoot.
Another headline is Kentucky. I mean what the hell happened last year? That could have been the craziest thing we have seen in the Coach Cal era. 9-16. Yes you read that right. Bold prediction. They will win the SEC this year. There’s no way a Kentucky team with Coach Cal doesn’t bounce back….right?
Texas is a team that is very interesting. Basically all of the squad returns and this is the year that well, they got to get it done. They have not made the Final Four since the 2003 National Championship. This year they have the pieces to do it but they will have to do it under a new coach since Shaka Smart left for Marquette. Now, Chris Beard will have to gain the trust of this experienced core.
UCLA is also an interesting headline due to their amazing run in the NCAA tournament and them literally returning everyone back including Johnny Juzang. However we’ve seen this before. Keep in mind they were an 11 seed going into the tournament. This could have been a team that just got hot at the right time. It will be interesting to see what they do now that the National Spotlight is on them. To be honest, I think they don’t have the season that most people are expecting from them.
My pick for the national championship: Gonzaga
Yes, I know they can’t seem to do it ever. It’s stupid to go back to them, but listen. Since everyone was on them winning it all last year, I think this year they will finally pull through. It all makes sense! Fade the public, Drew Timme and Chet Holgren will be a force down low. If the shooting falls, you will see them as your national champions. And this is because they did not win it last year.
Enjoy the Champions Classic Tuesday night, a great way to start off the season each year. It will be Kansas vs Michigan State along with Duke vs Kentucky. Let’s get after it.
As the great Jon Rothstein says, we sleep in May.