After seven and a half months ... the college basketball season starts tonight. A full slate of games are scheduled for ESPN, CBS Sports Channel, etc.
Except for the weather, the next five months are the best. Last year’s season was among the best, ever ending in the best conference tournaments and the best March Madness ... ever.
Why should this year be any different? I see no reason.
Every week, Friday or Saturday or Sunday, I’ll post my Final Four predictions as if the season and tournaments ended that day - who’s the Final Four teams.
Nothing new here.
While I see no reason that Kentucky will lose a game this season, it’s still Kentucky and their roster is full of young, cocky, NBA-bound One-and-Dones, who grace us with their playing time for one year. Actually half a year as Coach Cal will play a full rotation of his talent-heavy roster. It’s expected these superstars in every way except performance on the college court will play twenty minutes a game. There’s only one ball.
While I see no reason that Kentucky will lose a game this season, I saw no reason last year that UConn should win the tournament. They showed me, and a lot of people. What they showed was that ... experience counted more than raw, unproven talent.
For that reason, I predict Wisconsin as this year’s national champion. Almost a full roster from last year’s Final Four team returns. That team was a rebound away from making it to the Final Game. Who’d they lose to? Kentucky. It’s payback time.
The Finals will be between Wisconsin and Duke, you may remember Duke left in the first round to Mercer ... ahem ... and Wisconsin will win. Go Bo. They play each other in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge at Wisconsin. I expect they'll win there as they won the year Duke beat Butler. But this time ... it's Wisconsin winning it all.
I’m sure some team will upset this list. My favorites for this are:
* VCU. With a little offense last year they would have proved very tough. I think they have it this year.
* UNC. If UNC was ever going to step up (okay, Man up) this is the year. Good recruiting, best point guard in the country, Hall of Fame coach, a school whose reputation needs redemption ...
* Wichita State. ‘Play Angry.’ I love that motto. And they have most of last year’s team which was a three-point shot away from making it to the Final Four. Who’d they lose to? Kentucky.
* Villanova. Tough year for them last year. They’ll use that and their new recruits to make a run at the Final Four.