Hopefully I am not the only one confused by all these conference realignments in college sports. And I thought the NHL was bad! Anyway, I must admit that I really only start paying attention to college basketball when it’s March, but I know enough about it to make some bold predictions. That is if you count winning eighty dollars in a bracket tournament as sufficient evidence that I obviously know what I am talking about (it doesn’t, I had LaSalle in my final four *facepalm*). However, here is my take on this upcoming season.
In regards to our local teams, Villanova should easily find its way to another berth in the NCAA tournament, and should finish with a good record thanks to a relatively easy schedule despite a challenge on December 28th when they face Syracuse. Villanova is powered by junior forward JayVaughn Pinkston, senior guard James Bell, and senior guard Tony Chennault.
Another local team that stands out is La Salle, who surprised many last March by upsetting its way to the Sweet Sixteen. They beat favored Boise State in the first round, then proceeded to majorly upset #4 Kansas State by two points followed by #12 Mississippi by two, only to lose to #9 Wichita State, who ended up making the Final Four. La Salle retains the vast majority of their previous team, including senior guard Tyreek Duren, La Salle’s leading scorer so far.
The other Philadelphia team who made it to March was Temple. Despite having six consecutive 20-win seasons, Temple sits in the cellar of the American Conference after a 1-2 start, including a loss to lowly Towson. The Owls will have to see a major turn in performance if they want to compete with conference rivals Louisville and Connecticut.
Now here are my predictions. I see Kansas, powered by potential #1 NBA draft pick Andrew Wiggins taking a #1 seed in the tournament. The other #1 seeds will be reigning champions Louisville, Syracuse, and Kentucky with their so called “best recruiting class of all time” living up to the hype on this “championship or bust” season. I think that we will see an emergence from last year’s surprises, such as Wichita State, Oregon, Florida Gulf Coast, and La Salle. Teams like Michigan, Duke, Indiana, Ohio State, Michigan State, Gonzaga, and Florida will all take top spots once again.
Again, this is early, but here are my bold (or not so bold) predictions for my final 4.
I see: Duke, Kansas, Kentucky, and Syracuse in the Final Four, with it coming down to Kansas and Syracuse, and Kansas winning it all this year.