Preseason Prediction on Final TOP 20!

  • Forget preseason Top 20s guessing what teams belong there now… who cares about that.

    What really counts is where they end up after March.

    So brave souls step forward and expose your crystal balls predicting the future.

    Tell us the final Top 20 that will come out next April.

    Maybe we can get some sponsorship from Quicken to offer you a $1-billion prize for getting it right!

    Step right up…

  • Kentucky Kansas Arizona North Carolina Wisconsin Gonzaga Villanova Oklahoma Duke Wichita St. Virginia San Diego St Texas Iowa St SMU VCU Ohio St. Michigan Utah Georgetown NC. St.

  • Kansas, Wisconsin, everyone else

  • @wissoxfan83 Or, in my case, Kansas and everyone else. Lol.

  • Or we could say anyone but Kentucky and misery

  • OK Dragon, I should play along. On paper Kentucky is best. Wisconsin, KU, Duke, Arizona, Zaga, Michigan State, Wichita, Florida, UNC, Wake (homer pick), Virginia, Louisville, UConn, 'Cuse, OhioSU, Marquette, Texas, Iowa St, Sooner Boomer, Okie Dokie St, KState, SDSU, Stanford (they beat us, they’ve got to be ranked, right?)

  • On paper Kentucky has the biggest collection of talent ever assembled by one college team. They have height, talent, skill at all positions and enough depth to assemble two top teams. The question is will the they gel into one cohesive unit that will run the table or will lack of playing time and preferential treatment develop enough holes that will affect team chemistry and the end product be less than the sum of its parts? I don’t believe the squid will let it get to that point but in his quest to please most he might end up with a team, that by virtue of its raw talent alone can still beat most other teams, but not quite the team it potentially could be.

    As far as KU, I believe they have top shelf talent and could develop into an outstanding team or it might falter like last year’s team. I believe that Coach Self is too good of a coach to let that happen two years in a row. Talent-wise we are comparable to the '08 team but the '08 team had the edge in experience and swagger; they believed they could play with anyone and it served them well in their run to the Championship; We have yet to see similar swagger, cockiness, braggadocio, self-confidence or whatever you want to call it from this team quite yet.

  • @JayHawkFanToo just read this, cause problems?

    @AdamZagoria: NBA scout: “I think Tyler Ulis runs their team better than Andrew Harrison does.” More later/tomorrow.

  • And more

    @AdamZagoria: NBA scout also told me he thinks Harrisons and Dakari are 2nd-round picks, but can help themselves this season.

  • Final 4 - Wisconsin, Kansas, Arizona, Kentucky

  • I’m so tired of hearing about Kentucky and college basketball hasn’t even started! It is going to be a long season of listening to comments on their “10 NBA ready” player roster. All they can do is underachieve just like last year. They go to the title and that is still a disaster since it didn’t go with their preseason 40-0 shirts.

  • @JayHawkFanToo Talent-wise we are comparable to the '07 team.

  • I see the obvious… Kentucky has the most talent, and this year, they have a higher degree of experience.

    There is that possibility that they win it all just by having more talent and by overwhelming their opponents with their size. That would be a horrible thing… if they didn’t even really come together as a team but won by shear talent alone. I can imagine a horribly boring finals game if this happens. To be honest… Cal’s first (and only) NC game was considered boring by everyone that wasn’t a KU or UK fan, largely because UK didn’t play that much like a real team that night.

    The season is long, and anything can happen between now and March. Kentucky will have to survive everyone’s best punch. And though they are deep, Kentucky is still vulnerable to key injuries that could take quite a bit out of this team… like if one or both of the Harrison twins went down.

    I think it will be tough to find any team that can play them force-to-force and win. It will have to be a team that really knows how to play small ball and takes advantage of Kentucky’s size. Yes… that’s right… TAKES ADVANTAGE OF KENTUCKY’S SIZE! Make it work against them. Kentucky will have weaknesses just like everyone else, and I suspect their weakness to largely be lateral issues, especially off the dribble. Young totally rescued them last year in that area. How many times did we see Kentucky’s offense stuck with poor movement and Young rescued the play by taking his man off the dribble?

    I’m doubtful UCONN will be ready this year. It would be great to see Kansas really utilize small ball and win with it but I’m not counting on it. IMO, that would be Self’s greatest accomplishment ever… to teach a very different game than he has ever done before. Have a team focused on guard play! In doing so it would actually help players like Perry and Cliff in the post! '08 turned out that way because our perimeter was stacked! BRush swinging out, Mario, RRob and Sherron. Man… what I’d give to have a perimeter that capable today!

    I like Wisconsin a lot and hope they can form the right kind of chemistry to cause trouble.

    It will feel like everyone is playing Kentucky this year because everyone will be compared to Kentucky and how they match-up. That’s the way it looks on paper, and that’s the way media will be selling it. I’m fine with that. Let Kentucky deal with all the media chaos and let’s just focus on becoming a better team with a humble attitude.

  • @drgnslayr I think Kensucky would be better off if the twins went down. Not everyone will be happy on that team!

  • @Crimsonorblue22

    I think the twins are the key to their success this year. Their size makes them a tough team to shoot over on the perimeter, and also to feed the post against them.

    It gives them the opposite ability on offense. It is easy for them to shoot over defenses, and very easy to pass into the post.

    They play very boring basketball and are not really extremely gifted… it’s their size that makes them lethal and too many teams get intimidated.

    A good small guard with abilities to drive and knowledge of the game can eat their lunch! A guy like that can get both of these guys in foul trouble within just a few minutes.

  • @drgnslayr I think Ulis will eventually start over the Harrison pt.

  • @Crimsonorblue22

    Could be… but will it matter? Did you see where Cal said he is going to run two teams, both playing a half of ball?

  • @drgnslayr And thus you have identified why UK has a chance to implode. You cannot keep 10 high level guys happy. Cal has a huge challenge ahead of him. When the going gets tight, he’s going to play his most trusted grouping. 3-4 guys will be on the short end of the stick.

  • @HighEliteMajor that’s what I was trying to say!

  • 1-KU 2- Wisky 3- Kensucky 4- Dook 5- Louie-ville 6- Florida 7- AZ Mildcats 8-UNC 9- Texas 10- Iowa St.

    You’re kidding me, right? You think I’m going to rank another team ahead of KU? Not on your life…LOL.

  • It is true. 3-4 guys will be upset about their playing time this year at UK. What is scary is last years UK team proved it really does not matter. They did not have a great season, got a terrible seed in the tournament and then based on their overall talent and size they make it all the way to the National Title game. Talent and depth and a little luck is very frightening come March. Kentucky will be in the mix with or without team chemistry. It is just a horrible reality of playing with mostly guys between 6’5 and 7 feet tall that will all be in the NBA.

  • @ParisHawk

    Talent does not change so the '07-08 teams had similar talent (lost Wright and gained Aldrich) but the main difference was the experience, as I noted in my post.

  • @JayHawkFanToo Question on Kensucky for you: Calimari has said he’s going to give Poythress a whirl at the 3 - surely Poythress would have pure hell matching up with Oubre, but, could we see a lineup where Selden runs the point, and Perry plays the 3 in that game?

  • I don’t have any sense about any teams right now, another reason I don’t like preseason polls in any way.

    With that said the end of the season is even in murkier water.

    There will be a surprise team that comes out of the shows and makes the top 10 before the Dance. There will be more than one flop of a team that is in the top 10 early or top 15 and barely make the NIT.

    That I know cause that’s every season.

    I predict that Cal and Self with have some slight handed comments about each others programs after their game in Indy.

    That Duke will get overhyped all season thanks to ESPN’s outpouring love affection for Coach K.

    That the Big10 will somehow think they are the toughest conference to play in.

    Over/Under for the times Coach Self is questioned about his coaching moves this season on this board alone will be 2,500. Place your bets gentlemen.

  • @KUSTEVE I think you asked this on another thread in a response to something I posted. I think we could as Self has mentioned it as a possibility. I don’t really like the idea that much personally. Selden is big and strong and that is great but he is not a pure PG. To me we need our best ball handlers at the 1 in this game and that should be Frank and CF and Graham.

  • @joeloveshawks I never said you weren’t right, and I think you will be proven right. The best way to beat the Mildcats would be with a smaller lineup. The hitch in my theory is they would simply foul out our big guys, and we wouldn’t have a ball handling advantage, either. It is a daunting task playing a team that could beat several NBA teams, which is why I am throwing out of the box options.


    Hell yes, Self is going to match-up with whatever is thrown at him; that’s what this team offers him the chance to do.

    But match-up has two meanings.

    The one that first comes to mind to most fans is matching up as much as possible proportionally.

    If they go big at a position, we go as big, or bigger.

    If they go small at a position, we go as small, or smaller.

    But there is a second meaning of match-up. Maybe meaning is not even the correct term. Maybe it is “approach” to matching up.

    The second approach is: turn whatever they do against them. It usually involves going inversely proportional to what the opponent does.

    If the opponent goes big at a position, you go small to create and thus exploit a quickness advantage.

    If the opponent goes small at a position to try to create a quickness advantage, if you have a bigger guy, you substitute him, tell him to sag off, and then use his greater height to counteract the quickness advantage created and exploit the shortness inside.

    Whether you counter in proportion, or in inverse proportion, depends on who you see when you look down your bench.

    Substitution tactics can get complicated. You might go proportionally at one position because you have that guy on the bench. At another position, you might opt to substitute with inverse proportionality, because of who you have on the bench.

    And substituting in either of those tactical ways has also to square with the larger strategy of how the team can be expected to perform as a unit with those resulting tactical substitutions.

    One of Self’s greatest gifts appears to me to be his ability to square his tactical substitutions with team strategy in real time about as well as any coach around. Whenever you see him substitute, I often see a situation where he might do better subbing another guy on the bench in terms of 1 on 1 match up considerations. But then when I stop and think about the effect on the entire team in the given circumstance, I usually decide Self made the best choice for a sub. And, of course, he is doing it in real time down on the court and I am getting a minute or two after the fact to reflect and analyze that he does not get. He has to be thinking ahead of the action, not after the action. And so I have great respect for him making the right decision ahead of time.

    This particular team has a ton of flaws IMHO. I really don’t think anyone but Self would have a prayer of turning it into much of a team this season. But but the diversity of the chess pieces is one strength of this team. And Self is the ideal kind of coach to be able to use that diversity of abilities to cobble some kind of a surprisingly good team together. If Scott Drew had this KU team, I would guess it would finish around .500. But Self is a master of fitting pieces together in grand strategy for a season, in strategy for a game, and in tactical moves that serve the game strategy well, so he may make a very good team eventually.

    No coach is good at everything. Self is apparently not,say, as swift as Larry Brown, at improvising plays for given situations in the moment. But Self has seemed to get better at that sort of thing over the years.

    But at “defining who we are” up front, i.e., the grand strategy, and at moving the team game to game toward the grand strategy via strategy, i.e., keeping the rotation in individual games in continual bias toward that grand strategy, and in finding tactical responses to individual situations that put the unique talents of particular players into service of the game strategy and season grand strategy, he is pretty tough to beat.

  • @KUSTEVE I thought about that.

  • @HighEliteMajor

    “You cannot keep 10 high level guys happy. Cal has a huge challenge ahead of him.”

    I see it as the same challenge you see it.

    I’d normally say he has no chance of making this work. Cal may not be a great x’s and o’s coach but he seems to be pretty good at building relationships with his players. I didn’t hear a lot of screaming last year from his bench about PT. I still don’t see how he was able to keep Lee on the bench almost the entire year then unleash him at the end. That kid should have been playing 35mpg somewhere else.

    Cal’s true talent is his ability to keep guys satisfied with the situation.

    I’m still skeptical, but if there is someone who can make it work out it will be Cal.

    I hope he does try it and he goes with this strategy all year long. It will be a great experimentation and will definitely play a part in Cal’s future ability to fill his scholarship with all top tier talent.

    I watched most of Kentucky’s games last year, and they really were not a fun team to watch. Cal does have a concept of replacing vital parts of a winning strategy by over-stacking the deck with talent. I think everyone should be against this because it takes college basketball in a bad direction… only focusing on stacking the deck and losing perspective on the most important factors in the game… team concept… etc.

  • @jaybate-1.0 I did hear Self say he’d probably go w/9 man rotation, but that rotation would probably change according to match ups

  • @jaybate-1.0 Defensively, Selden can match up very well with either of the Bobsey Twins. Oubre would be a poor match up for Poythress, as Kelly is quicker, faster, and doesn’t give up too much muscle, even though Poythress is quite athletic. Frank going against a Bobsey Twin? I just don’t see how Frank will be able to defend that much size. Maybe Graham could do better. Perry will have problems scoring against their length, and Cliffie will be a candidate for foul trouble. My thought was if we moved Selden to the point, then we could have Oubre ( who is a good perimeter shooter) at the 2, then slide Perry to the 3 against Poythress. Poythress, to me, is actually a 4, hiding out as a 3 to make room for Calimari’s playing time promises. Then, we’d have Cliffie as a 4, and a combo of Lucas and Mick at the 5. Jamari could back up Perry at the 3. Wild speculation, I admit, but it keeps things interesting for me…lol.

  • @KUSTEVE I think we will see some crazy combos this year! That’s what makes this years team exciting!! Lots of different ways to beat a team, hopefully coach will try a few.

  • @Crimsonorblue22 This team reminds me of the 2007 team. lots of different parts, lots of weapons.

  • @drgnslayr

    As long as Cal’s guys keep getting drafted high without having to substantially improve their games in their one, or two, years at UK, then human nature being what it is, everyone is going to be happy playing half a game and not practicing very hard the rest of the time.

    Think about the message Andrew Wiggins’ season sends. A great talent can play it close to the vest for an entire season, hardly breaking a sweat some games, and score 4 points on an inferior NCAA tournament opponent and lose, and STILL be drafted NUMBER 1.

    We are through the looking glass here about PT.

    PT means nothing as a reward to players being told not to get injured in their one season of college ball, and to incur as little wear and tear in college as possible. The fewer the minutes played, the less chance of injury and the less wear and tear occurs.

    Literally, we may be approaching the point where Cal is able to tell guys: “Look, we’ve got ten Mickey D’s if you sign; that means no one has to play more than 20 minutes a game. Heck, against the cream puffs, you may not have to play more than 10 minutes the entire game. You never have to practice long and hard either. Come to UK and save the wear and tear. And only an absolutely freak injury is a risk here. We never ask you to play to your ceiling. Here, your draft rank is already secured regardless of how little you play.”

    Scary, Orwellian Basketball world, but that seems to me where this is headed in the long run in D1 with the OADs.


    “I just don’t see how Frank will be able to defend that much size.”

    Calipari is hoping every team they play has that mindset.

    Frank should easily be able to defend either twin. He just has to focus in the x-axis.

    Here is the way Frank defends against the twins:

    1. First and foremost, stick to his guy like glue. Fight through screens. Be a mole and go low through those screens. Someone will extend a leg and they will get called for the foul. Deny his guy the ball.

    2. When his guy does have the ball, stick to him like glue. 96% of the game is played in Frank’s territory. Don’t let his guy have a free path bringing the ball up to shoot. Contest that space before he gets the ball over his head and out of reach. Very few players in the world can hit shots when that space is challenged. Only a few NBA guys can do it, then you have players like Ray Allen that has mastered his mechanics of getting the shot up so quick that he beats defenders timing of challenging that space. Neither twin possesses any kind of real shooting talent and are about as far away from being gifted like Ray Allen as I am.

    3. Hedge, hedge, hedge. Study scouting tape and learn how to hedge against the drive and also in passing lanes.

    4. Challenge the dribble. All little guys should be excellent at challenging their opponent’s dribble. Frank should be poking in and disrupting his dribble, enough to throw him off on driving, passing and shooting.

    If Frank does all that, we should invite either twin to take the shot on Frank, because it is unlikely either will shoot over 30%!

  • @jaybate-1.0 the twins have dropped in ranking, if they don’t get better they will be there again or play overseas.

  • @KUSTEVE I like your theory on the starting lineup against Kentucky.

    What is more important than size is the x axis, which we have been discussing a lot lately. I want to see how aggressively the guards play and if they have improved their lateral quickness and defending the dribble drive.

  • @drgnslayr I’m having flashbacks of Aaron Bobsey hitting 3’s over Boatright, Napier, and Van Fleet, among others in their NCAA run last year…

  • @KUSTEVE I think the shots you are referring to were some very fortunate three pointers at the end of the game. It was only during their run that they played decently. During the regular season, they played pretty poorly.


    I am with you completely on that wild speculation. Don’t even think it is wild.

    It all depends on what Self is forced into.

    Self tries to start playing the team that he wants to play in March, as he says, the team he thinks has the best chance in March.

    But the minute that team encounters difficulties in any given game, he looks down the bench and either goes proportional, inverse proportional,or some combination, to try to get the game going back in his favor.

    I believe he will resort to exactly the line up you are talking about if they starting team struggles badly versus UK. There would be no reason not to.

    So: why doesn’t Self start out with that team?

    Because Self wants a team for March that he can substitute to perpetuate when it is doing well. Frankly, Self has no substitutes that can keep the team you propose going when it is doing well; that team is a team designed to solve a situational problem, and buy one enough lead, or stay in a game long enough, to then return to the long term team identity.

    This is the theme and variations approach to team building.

    You scheme a team with a theme that works most of the time that you vary with “variations” to get it through anomalous situations. UK is an anomaly that this KU team will meet twice if it is lucky. Once in a few weeks in Indy, and once in the national finals.

    But this line up you propose, and that I strongly advocate, too, is not something Self can build on as a theme, because he lacks backups with the same physical and skill attributes. And that is needed over the course of a long season.

    But if Self actually had two Seldens, unlike HEM and slayr, I am pretty confident you would see Selden starting at the 1 from the get go, even though he would not be a great assist man at the point. He just gives you such massive MUA in all other aspects of the 1 that of course you would start him their if his back up could sustain the scheme.

    What you don’t want game in and game out is to have to constantly pingpong back and forth between different kinds of games when your starting team is doing well. You want to keep whatever works going.


    I hear you… but none of those guys played him right at the end (in the games where he got lucky with the shot).

    With a slight tweak in Van Fleet’s game, WSU would have crushed Kentucky. Aaron is not a good shooter and he does not have solid mechanics in his shot, definitely not super quick in his release.

    If the defenders were worried about fouling, they could have used an upward swipe at the ball on his shot. That works wonders and it is rare to foul. D1 refs don’t even know what to think because they never see it. College players all go for that upper extension on shot defense… the thing that usually draws fouls.

  • @drgnslayr Excellent post regarding the things that Frank must do. I watched a little bit of the title game last night on YouTube and noticed how aggressively Napier and Boatright played on defense.

    This all pertains to the weaknesses that Kentucky has, which is weak ball handling.

  • @jaybate-1.0

    “What you don’t want game in and game out is to have to constantly pingpong back and forth between different kinds of games when your starting team is doing well. You want to keep whatever works going.”

    Please… please… shush! Cal may be reading this.

    The best strategy is to have two separate teams… it’s obvious… everyone knows that! 😉

  • @DinarHawk

    Bingo! They are soooo beatable! Teams just have to get over the intimidation factor and have the right game plan and feel confident!

  • @drgnslayr Cal most definitely has a coaching challenge with how to manage two different teams. I personally would advise against that strategy.

  • @DinarHawk

    I heavily advise he use it! 😉

    Better for everyone! (accept maybe, Kentucky)

  • @drgnslayr I agree!

  • @Crimsonorblue22

    Remember how Wiggins supposedly dropped in ranking? 🙂

    Unless the UK twins have just been overhyped all along, Cal will give each one a cream puff game with a bunch of FGAs, just the way Self did for Wiggins versus WVU, and their stock will begin to rise again.

    If you are going to continue to receive OADs, it appears you have to contribute to hyping them by giving them one or two showcase games a season (meaningless games they are sure to hang marketable numbers in). And that is all the media needs to run the hype machine with. This is all illusion. Its all magic like in Hollywood. The OADs have real talent. But the display and marketing of it is largely illusion in the D1 season each OAD player plays in my opinion.

    Some day, I wonder if there will just be a schedule distributed by the shoecos to the networks and the coaches, and the schedule will indicate which OADs are to have their show case “big” games in before the season even starts.

    Are we moving toward the All Star Wrestling-ization of certain games of college basketball? I am shocked to think that may actually be on the horizon.

    Maybe they will be called OAD Show Case Games among insiders, or maybe something more pithy like “star turns”?

    Hype changes everything.

    Hype is the new currency.

    Hype is the new reality.

    One you get to the NBA it is still about how good you are, or can become.

    But for the OADs in D1, what they actually do on the floor appears less and less significant.

    Its just as easy to hype a guy with one 40 point game in a meaningless situation, playing 20mpg, as it is to hype a guy with a 40 point game in a meaningless situation, playing 35 minutes. I mean, all you have to do is call more fouls on his made baskets to get him his 40 point game in 20 minutes, right?

  • @drgnslayr


  • @HighEliteMajor

    “You cannot keep 10 high level guys happy.”

    Oh so true… but Cal has strange abilities. So maybe he does.

    Even if he does, he’ll have other challenges… the most being the Big Blue Nation not accepting defeat. He’ll have absolutely no excuses this year for not winning EVERY SINGLE GAME! He has a majority of the top tier players, most with experience now. He really can’t stack the deck any more than this year. He really has it all.

    hahahaha… or so he thinks!

    If Kentucky drops some games then the BBN will challenge his x’s and o’s (as they should) and Cal will make an amateurish defense of what he is doing. This is where it gets to be reallll funnn… and I can see myself going over to their sites just to read it if they hit a losing streak.

    I wonder if Cal is closing in on perfection yet? I think there are still plenty of those tshirts available on the sales rack.


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