Sunday, October 28, 2012

DWG College Hoops Preview: Teams #25-20

Delmon effing Young.  Is it possible that the dude is a legit playoff assassin?  And when he blows up in the playoffs and the Tiger fans are like, "Hooray Delmon he's awesome" and all us Twins fans are kind of like "ha ha small sample size it's pure luck this dude sucks" that we're actually wrong?  Like, that Delmon is a Mr. Clutch type of guy rather than a Mr. Plow type of guy?  He has 8 home runs in his postseason career (115ish ABs) which would put him at like 40 for a season at that rate when his career high is 21.  In seven career playoff series he's hit over .300 in four of them, which is pretty remarkable when he's never done it in a full season.  He's OPSed over 1.100 twice in the playoffs, which is pretty remarkable.  You know how many dudes have ever done that?  Well probably a lot but I still think it's crazy that we're talking about Delmon Young.  When do we pass the small sample size thing?  He's over 100 ABs at this point.  I'm just saying.  Maybe the guy knows how to raise his game?  Or actually tries in the playoffs?  I don't know.  Pretty crazy. 

25.  Virginia Commonwealth Rams.  I'm getting kind of sick of VCU doing well all the time, but there's no reason to think this streak is going to end as long as Shaka Smart is still there and not coaching the Gophers.  VCU even picked up two recruits off ESPN's Top 100 list, the first of the Smart era.  They only lose one starter off of last year's squad, and even though he was their leading scorer last year it doesn't really matter because the way these teams are always constructed to be deep, balanced, and give plenty of minutes to plenty of players so with almost the full rotation back plus the two freshmen I think these guys will be just fine, and moving to a bigger conference (they're in the A-10 now) means they won't have to scrape and claw for an at-large bid so expect to see them in March once again.  Oh, and just to rub it in, VCU is planning construction on a new basketball practice facility sometime in 2013.  *killsself*

24.  San Diego State Aztecs.  Remember that SDSU team from two years ago that was so awesome?  I loved that team, and good news for people like me, this year's Aztec team is similarly built and might be even better.  Pretty much everybody of consequence on this year's squad is versatile and between 6-3 and 6-8, they have last year's two top scorers in the Mountain West back in Chase Tapley and Jamaal Franklin, a very good point guard in Xavier Thames, one of the best recruits in history coming in with Winston Shepard, and great depth on the bench thanks to a whole slew of transfers.  Last year was a disappointment but the Aztecs still made the NCAA Tournament for the third straight season under the awesome Steve Fisher, a streak that should continue unlike my streak of winning on pulltabs which ended last night thanks to a stupid box called "Halloscream."  Always stay away from seasonal gimmicks.  I should have known better.

23.  Notre Dame Fighting Irish.  Speaking of remember things, remember Luke Harangody?  Well apparently he had a twin little brother because Jack Cooley is back for his senior season and he's pretty much the exact same guy.  The numbers aren't quite as gaudy but the game is nearly identical as is the physical appearance to a creepy level.  Even creepier than having a Harangody clone hanging around is Scott Martin is back for another year.  Yes, the same Scott Martin who was part of the JaJuan Johnson/Robbie Hummel/E'Twaun Moore/Scott Martin recruiting class at Purdue.  The transfer to Notre Dame and losing a year to injury have had him in college nearly as long as Trevor Mbakwe.  What it really means is that the starting front court for Notre Dame 2013 will look exactly the same as Notre Dame 2010.  It would be sweet if you knew someone who went into a coma in 2010 and then just woke up and you could have them watch a Notre Dame game and convince them they were only unconscious for a couple of days.

22.  Michigan State Spartans.  It is a testament to the program Izzo has built that he can lose the unquestioned leader, heart and soul of the team, do everything coach on the floor guy from last year's team and not take a step back, which I suppose isn't really much of a surprise since, like LL Cool J, he's been here for years.  What is a little surprising is there's no heir apparent as the go-to guy/leader that Izzo almost always has.  The team's leading returning scorer is Keith Appling who is too erratic, the lone senior is Derrick Nix, who isn't good enough and got busted for pot this summer, and the team's two best players will probably end up being a freshman (Gary Harris) and a guy returning from a knee injury (Branden Dawson).   Although knowing how things happen at Michigan State it wouldn't surprise me if one of these guys (or someone else) will morph into that guy.  One thing's for sure, the Spartans will play defense, rebound, and will be able to change their game to match their opponent and hang with anybody.  I have them as my fifth best Big 10 team, but it wouldn't surprise me if they're the last one from the conference standing in March.  They're like the St. Louis Cardinals - nothing they do in the postseason is ever a surprise.

21.  UNLV Runnin' Rebels.  I think it's safe to say the old Rebels are back in the form of the new Rebels.  Under Lon Kruger the Rebels became a walk-it-up kind of team, but with Dave Rice taking over last season they upped their tempo to top 29 in the country and it wouldn't surprise me if they were even faster this year.  And they're continuing down the transfer route with Khem Birch, former McDonald's All-American, coming in from Pittsburgh and Bryce Jones, a former starter at USC, coming in this year and both expected to start with Roscoe Smith from UCONN coming in next season.  Add in having their leading scorer and rebounder back from last season (Mike Moser who averaged a double double) and add in Anthony Bennett, the 7th best recruit in the country, and the Rebels are loaded with talent.  The only real question is will they mesh like Tarkanian's UNLV teams, or Tarkanian's Fresno State teams?  Obviously, I'm betting on the former (and you can too at 25-1 to win the whole thing).

20.  Cincinnati Bearcats.  It might be a bit odd to have the Bearcats this high considering they lost Yancy Gates and have nobody who can clearly replace, or even step in, for him, but they have two things that won me over.  First, they seemed to be on TV a ton last year and every time I watched them they impressed me with their toughness.  Remember after the big fight Xavier went into a tailspin while Cincy went on a run, culminating in a amazing streak closing out the season (wins over #7 Marquette, #14 Georgetown, and #2 Syracuse in the final month) and a run to the Sweet 16.  Not to sound like some stupid cliche-ridden sportswriter guy, but these guys were warriors last year.  Second, they are loaded at guard with three guys who can shoot, create, get to the rim, and play defense and I'm always a sucker for great guards.  All of this is for naught if nobody can play in the paint, however, and their most talented front court guy is a redshirt freshman who is 6-7 and weighs 170 - that's not a typo.  Guy's like if you took Manute Bol, shrunk him by a foot and then made him 33% skinnier.  And also you'd have to take away the 3-point shot because Manute was NAILS.

Teams #68-60
Teams #59-53
Teams #52-47 
Teams #46-39 
Teams #38-34 
Teams #33-26


Anonymous said...

Why so bitter towards VCU?

WWWWWW said...