Originally Posted by Boston Red
Now that practice has started, it's time to have a general thread related to the sport. For Xavier fans, this is a season we've been waiting for all our lives. The concept of the "Catholic Conference" was floated a number of times, but I did not think it would ever actually happen. But not that it's a reality (plus Butler), I have to think it's one of the few positive outcomes of the conference realignment blitz over the last few years. Granted, if you ask the Georgetown fans who were separated from Syracuse, Louisville, UConn, Notre Dame and the like, they may not be quite as excited about this as I am.
So what to expect in '13-'14? Is it more Bluegrass domination (another championship for Kentucky or Louisville)? Or can Tobacco Road get back on track? Or is it someone else's turn? Any teams or players you are particularly excited to see play?
I can't wait for the season to start in about 6 weeks.
I really believe this will be one of the best years in college basketball. So much talent on so many levels, so many storylines.
The Champions Classic will be one for the ages with the age and experience of Michigan State taking on the youth and talent of Kentucky. Throw in Andrew Wiggins vs Jabari Parker in the Duke-Kansas finale and it will be the best collection of talent in just the first week alone.
Michigan State is the most seasoned team IMO. I really hate their style of play but Izzo's teams can usually make an impact on the Final Four with their physicality.
I'm not ready to pencil in Kentucky for the 2014 National Championship just yet. Too many unanswered questions from last season and even though there were a lot of weak points, one is still the experience factor. Can someone step up and take a leadership role? As much fame as Anthony Davis and Michael Gilchrist had two years ago, Darius Miller was the glue of that team.
Kansas will be the odds on pick of the Big 12 but this is somewhat of a rebuilding year. Like Kentucky, Kansas will be extremely young. Can Wiggins put KU on his back and carry them through March? I'm not ruling out Oklahoma State in conference play, especially with Marcus Smart coming back to Stillwater for another season.
Like Kansas, Duke has also lost a lot of key pieces to last years team and is banking on Jabari Parker among others to shoulder the load. Will Duke's lack of a post presence hurt them moving forward? No Brian Zoubek or any of the Plumlee's on the inside but a lot of guards. Will be fun to watch.
UNC is trying to get back on track and will be looking to make a statement when Kentucky comes to town in December. I think that will be a pivotal game for them to try to make a statement.
Louisville will be aiming to go back to back for the first time since Florida did it with Noah and Co. Replacing Peyton Siva and Giorgui Gieng will be tough but the Cards have a lot of depth and players coming in that can make an impact.
Out in the land that nobody stays up to watch at night, Arizona looks to be the favorite in the Pac-12. While Arizona has the bigs (Tarczewski, Ashley, and Gordon) can they get some help on the perimeter and at the point?
Which of the midmajors will be a factor? Wichita State? Gonzaga? VCU?
Who has the most to prove this season? I'll start in Texas with Rick Barnes. With DeLoss Dodd's announcing his retirement and Mack Brown's status in football in limbo, I think its a matter of time before the Longhorns decide to move in a different direction in basketball as well. Never has a program done so little with so much.
A lot of questions, but this will be IMO the best season for college basketball in a long time.