With Sean Kilpatrick
back in action, can Cincinnati make a splash in the new American Athletic? (Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
Admit it. You’ve been obsessively prepping for last night's season debut of Breaking Bad. Or brushing up on your English soccer knowledge ahead of Saturday’s season kickoff. Or, heaven forbid, you’ve been watching baseball. Whatever your sports or pop culture interest, it’s likely you haven’t been spending your summer priming yourself for November college basketball.
That’s where we come in.
It’s time for the third-annual Twitter-style State of the College Hoops union. In 140 characters (or less) per team, you'll quickly be caught up on the most interesting news and team situations from around the nation. Water cooler convos about Walter White? Quickly counter with Aaron White. Trust me, you’ll sound very cool … at least in Iowa City.
(Teams listed in alphabetical order.)
Frontcourt talent/size galore. D should be sick. But if T.J. McConnell has to be a pass-first PG and primary shooter, will that work on O?
Zona hype will overshadow surging Sun Devils, who will look to drive their Carson at great speeds. PSU transfer Jermaine Marshall will help.
A decade ago, the Bears were banned from nonleague games. Now a "down year" may be 4th in B12. Cory Jefferson will be a highlight staple.
Broncos arrived earlier than expected, but how much upside is left? BSU at UK is must-watch. Can Cat frosh track floor-spacing snipers?
Stevie D’s steady build worked at Cornell, and it’s starting to simmer in Chestnut Hill. Young team maturing w/ Hanlan/Anderson 1-2 punch.
Butler (Atlantic 10 to Big East)
No more Brad Stevens. No more mid-major label. New coach + BEast + huge TV $$ influx makes this a program to watch and discuss for years.
Allen Crabbe a Ewing Theory candidate? Jabari Bird comes in to fill his void and Golden Bears very well could be better this year.
Cincinnati (Big East to American Athletic)
Sean Kilpatrick is back and about 800 shots are available thx to last season’s departures. Hmm. Move to AAC should help very young team.
Given program’s history, last season was terrific. Given the Buffs' talent, it was a bit disappointing. If chemistry gets right, look out.
Connecticut (Big East to American Athletic)
Maybe D-I's best backcourt trio and a massive chip after last season’s APR-fueled NCAA ban. Should be best program in new league going fwd.
Creighton (Missouri Valley to Big East)
Now HMs can’t avoid the Link. Huge year for the program, with Doug McD (and much more) back. Big season gets recruiting momentum rolling.
Denver (WAC to Summit)
3 reasons: 1) I’m a homer. 2) First legit test for Harvard (in Alaska). 3) Summit move creates H-and-H w/ WIU -- 2 slowest teams in D-I.
Blue Devils' revamped frontcourt will be driving plenty with the Hood open and a parallel Parker. And probably less erratically than P.J.
Clearest challenger to Kentucky in the SEC, the Gators (despite personnel losses) have the talent to make a run at (at least) a fourth straight E8.
The behind-the-scenes heavyweight in the new Big East, will the Hoyas be that on the court? Double-digit NCAA seeds everywhere want to know.
Unfairly painted as chokers, CBB’s Sisyphus begins another push with a more guard-heavy approach. Good thing they have several good guards.
May be most talented team in Ivy's restrictive modern era. BCS-quality frontcourt, good guard depth/talent. UConn, CU roadies = soundchecks.
Two top-five picks have departed, and now the Hoosiers need to work on maintaining their revitalized status. The B10 won’t be forgiving.
The Hawkeyes have remodeled with a heavy dose of White Marble and their market value is up. Now they need to style their way to the NCAAs.
Georges Niang and Melvin Ejim return, but Transfer U. landed another one in former Marshall guard DeAndre Kane, who will need to be able.
The Jayhawks already were reloading with much promising talent, but gettin’ Wiggins with it elevated them to legit national title threat.
From national champs to NIT chumps and back again? Anything’s on the table this year, including 7 1st round picks in June. #bestclassever
Southwest Philly Floaters. Fostering L-Train memories. Last year was Sweet. Can Dr. John’s crew map their way through a revamped A-10?
Louisville (Big East to American Athletic)
Russdiculous. Cool Hand Luke. Montrezl. Other elite additions. Defending champs return loaded; you’ll hear “2007 Florida” mentioned a lot.
Forget the regional final. No, seriously, please forget it ever happened. Macro view: Buzz has it rolling, but wishes he was feeling Blue.
The ACC hasn’t rolled out the welcome mat for the Terps’ final season, and despite losing Alex Len, they won’t be a welcome sight to many.
Memphis (Conference USA to American Athletic)
A step up in class means Pastner and Co. will have to start beating some teams they’re not supposed to. They have the talent to do so.
Trey’s gone, but McGary and G-Rob returning make it far from a Crisler crisis. Especially if Spike has maintained his hot hand from April.
2.0 version of last year’s crew should be a F4 threat. If the Spartans downloaded a better Appling, the Green machine will run even better.
No more hashtags, but if Marshall Henderson can find the off-court help he needs, he’s still must-watch TV. #marshallmatters
Noodle(s) on this: 1) The Lobos remain the MWC’s top team. 2) Very little they accomplish before mid-March will matter to most. #sadbuttrue
Guys Roy’s age should be wearing P.J.’s, not suspending them. Despite talent trending upward, the Heels will miss Hairston if he’s gone.
The NCAAless streak may not end this year, but the Cats are trying something novel w/ new head man Chris Collins: Recruiting better players.
Notre Dame (Big East to ACC)
As if the ACC needed another nasty home court advantage, enter the indomitable Joyce Center and an Irish roster primed to do some work.
The Buckeyes are Craft-brewing another B10 contender, with Sam Thompson providing the hops. If LQ comes good, they'll barely miss Deshaun.
Whether or not it was a Smart decision for Marcus to return, the Pokes’ outlook is very bright. Travis can’t a-Ford to waste this chance.
Like their mascot brethren, these Ducks have the wings to fly. Whether they stay afloat in the P12 will depend on frontcourt and boardwork.
Pittsburgh (Big East to ACC)
In terms of long-term impact, keeping Jamie Dixon > losing Steven Adams. Even w/ the Pete in hand, tho, this is a tough job in the mega ACC.
Is the BEast in SLU’s future? Until then, Bills should beast the A-10. Defending champs return four starters, albeit w/o their Kwamain man.
Syracuse (Big East to ACC)
50,000+ for Duke? Boeheim grinding for talent in Vegas? Anything's possible when the Orange hit the ACC. Including a title at first asking.
Someone has to be the SEC's third-best team, but Vols should be better than default choice. March into the NCAAs on tap; B4A is big, tho.
Rick’s last roll? With another bad year looming and in-state talent flooding elsewhere, the Horns’ gig could be the Buzz job next spring.
With more commitment than most marriages, Alford-UCLA will be together awhile. Talent remains to win now; must fix local rep to win later.
Maybe less talent, but less drama could = more results if Dave Rice improves his handling of another deep roster. #fivetransferstarters?
West Dunk City should be fun in Year 1 and cadge a few upsets. Bigger Q: Is Enfield best-shooting coach in L.A.? #ShowdownWithAlford
Why is everyone ignoring the Hoos? Harris is no ordinary Joe and the supporting talent is there for a top-4 ACC finish. #NoCAAteamsthere
Leading choice to be The Next Big Thing in mid-major upward mobility, Havoc will reign again on a rejuggled A-10. Would be a Smart choice.
Final Four appearance? Check. Returning a lot of that team? Check. Creighton’s gone? Check. Could be an Early checkmate for the Valley.
Since Bo knows nothing other than top-four B10 finishes, Bo’s going to finish top four again #metronome. Now about an NCAA upset or two ...