It will happen.
You’ll bookmark this article. Maybe e-mail it to yourself. Tweet it out with your reasons why you disagree.
But in March, you’ll come back and say “damn, he was right.”
- San Diego State
The biggest snub, as it stands now, is San Diego State. The AP got it wrong putting teams like California and Utah over their fellow West Coast residents. Coach Steve Fisher has made it a hallmark of his program to defend the post, and, again, has the assets to do it this season. Shot-blocker Skylar Spencer returns for his senior season as does Arizona defector Angelo Chol. Looking for scoring punch? Winston Shepard and Malik Pope can provide. In fact, I would not be surprise if Malik Pope’s gaudy 6-10 athletic makeup propels him into an NBA lottery pick if he puts it together in his sophomore campaign. Point guard Trey Kell went through some growing pains last season under the tutelage of Xavier Thames.
Turmoil. But not a bad team Somehow Nic Moore has another year of eligibility. Add to that, his quality play with Kansas basketball as part of the World University Games, and you have a point guard who can lead his team to the tournament. I think this American Conference will continue its being watered-down. Let’s not crown UConn just yet, Memphis is a cluster and both Temple and Cincinnati lost some key pieces. I think shooting guard Keith Frazier is the best player on this roster, which might explain why a school administrator took online classes to solidify his eligibility (according to what Frazier told ESPN) without his knowledge. I think SMU could play the role of spoiler this season. Does a ban from postseason play mean they shouldn’t be ranked? I don’t think so.
- Texas A&M
Aggies alum DeAndre Jordan made a splash this offseason in pro basketball. I think his alma mater should have got more press as well. DJ Hogg, Tyler Davis and Elijah Thomas are stacked together in the 30-40th ranked recruits nationally, according to ESPN. All these Texas boys could make it an interesting year for the Aggies, with a lot of upside. I am especially focusing on the most underrated point guard in the nation, Alex Caruso. Caruso is a true facilitator. He is a senior this season. He averaged 5.5 assists per year last season. (Watch these highlights and watch what I’m talking about: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sJCGQTXb5Us ). Texas A&M returns scoring punch with Danuel House and I think it has enough dogs to scrap ahead of the Auburns and LSU’s in the SEC. (Let’s not discount that Florida will need at least a year adjustment minus Billy Donovan).
- Florida State
As my father once said, “You can’t teach size.” This haunted me as a 5’8″ high schooler failing to make the varsity roster. The concept may also haunt the ACC as I’m looking at Florida State’s roster. 7-3, 7-4, 7-1 it reads. Then think about the scoring punch. Freshman Dwyane Bacon is advertised as a better scorer than Xavier Rathan-Mayes, but that does not have to be the case for this team to be difficult to defend. Rathan-Mayes scored over 22 six times last season, including a 35-point outburst against Miami (while it was fighting for its playoff life in late February). Leonard Hamilton’s Seminole clubs used to be the higher seed squads no one wanted to face in March Madness. They made the Sweet Sixteen in 2011. I feel he has refueled and will return with new faces to those old ways of defending the ball and scoring just enough to stifle the opponent. Yeah, Montay Brandon is a solid swingman as well. I almost forgot about him.
D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera will score his way into the top 25 by Thanksgiving. That is all.