NCAA basketball season off and running

December 9, 2011

Thomas Iacobucci, Staff Writer

Last year at the end of March was the championship game and the winner was the UCONN Huskies, but that was nine long months ago and many things have changed With the 2011-2012 NCAA Basketball season starting, it’s a whole new game.

            Many teams lost their stars last year either due to their four years being up or being drafted into the NBA. Stars like Kemba Walker of the champion UCONN Huskies, Kyrie Irving of the Duke Blue Devils, and Jimmer Fredette of the BYU Cougars are just some to name a few. The impact these players had their teams was pivotal. Without Jimmer this year, BYU will be lucky to win half as many games as last year.

 

            There are quite a few teams to look for this year. Projected number one, but soon dropped to number six with a loss to Kentucky, the North Carolina Tar Heels are a young, agile team that could go all the way. They are led by their stud forward Harrison Barnes, averaging 17.0 points per game along with five rebounds per game. Also a key aspect to the team is Tyler Zeller, their 7-foot senior who offers a strong presence under the hoop. He averages 18.0 points and seven rebounds per game. Another team to keep your eye on is the Ohio State Buckeyes. Returning as a sophomore, Jared Sullinger is one of the best players out there. Averaging 19.0 points, one assists and nine rebounds, he is one player teams should fear. Ranked second this year they are a force to be reckoned with. Even though George Mason cut their tourney run short last year they do have potential to go all the way. “I was so angry last year,” said huge Ohio State fan Natalie Castine “I love Ohio State and hope they win it all this year.” Number 12 Florida also has high aspirations for this season. Led by their 5-8 point guard Erving Walker, who averages 10.0 points, four assists, and four rebounds, they look to do some damage in the upcoming season. Gator fan Mark Salem said, “Florida is hands down the best team in college basketball. I’m feeling we go all the way this year.” Number one Kentucky is like no other team out there. John Calipari has outdone himself with coaching and recruiting so far. Freshman Anthony Davis has been the foundation of their defense, averaging 12.3 points, nine rebounds and one assists per game not to mention all of the shots he has blocked, including a game winning shot attempt by North Carolina’s John Henson. The SEC is shining in basketball just like they do in football. Also ranked and in the SEC is number 15 Alabama. They are 7-1, but look to make moves up the polls.  Number three Syracuse finally looks like a powerhouse again. With a 9-0, start they might be just as good as Kentucky. Number 10 Missouri looks like the best team in the Big 12, although their rival Kansas is just behind, ranked thirteenth. “Who would have thought Mizzou would be ranked ahead of Kansas,” said expert college basketball analyst Cody Carlisle. For the first time in the school’s history Harvard is ranked 24th, also being the first Ivy League school to be ranked since Cornell in the 2010 season. If they keep it up, who knows what could happen.

 

 

Many teams are already looking ahead to March. The regular season is important, this is true enough, but it all comes down to the tournament. March Madness. You lose once you’re done. All the work you put forth in that season can be wiped away with a last second layup.  But as Dick Vitale would say, “It’s gonna be awesome, Baby!”

 

 

 

ESPN Top 25 Coaches Poll

 

1 Kentucky (19)

8-0

763

2 Ohio State (11)

8-0

754

3 Syracuse (1)

8-0

713

4 Louisville

7-0

654

5 Duke

7-1

611

6 North Carolina

6-2

594

7 Baylor

7-0

582

8 Xavier

6-0

538

9 Connecticut

7-1

533

10 Missouri

7-0

511

11 Marquette

7-0

468

12 Florida

5-2

419

13 Kansas

5-2

385

14 Pittsburgh

7-1

359

15 Alabama

7-1

326

16 Wisconsin

6-2

306

17 Creighton

7-0

222

18 Mississippi State

8-1

208

19 Michigan

6-2

164

20 Memphis

4-2

154

21 Georgetown

7-1

136

22 Gonzaga

5-1

96

22 Illinois

8-0

96

24 Harvard

8-0

95

25 Texas A&M

6-1

79

 

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