I am no Andy Katz or Jay Bilas, but I do love me some college basketball. With Sundayï¿½s deadline for underclassman to declare for the NBA draft passing, let me give you my pre-preseason top 5.
1. North Carolina ï¿½ The good news for the Tar Heels is that first team All-American Tyler Hansbrough is back. I pretty much expect Danny Green to withdraw his name as an early entry candidate. Even if Wayne Ellington and Ty Lawson stay in the draft the Tar Heels still are loaded all around. Deon Thompson, Marcus Ginyard, and a healthy Bobby Frasor should solidify the starting five. Roy Williams recruiting another Top 10 class led by Ed Davis have the Tar Heels headed to another Final Four.
2. UCONN ï¿½ Hasheem Thabeet staying for his junior year should put the Huskies in a strong position to make a run at a third national title under Jim Calhoun. If one point guard leaves (Doug Wiggins transferring), you replace him with McDonaldï¿½s All American Kemba Walker. With all five starters returning, two top 20 recruits coming in with Walker and Ater Majok; you get the favorites to win the very tough Big East.
3. UCLA ï¿½ Losing Kevin Love was a given, but having Darren Collison come back is huge. Most thought he would run the NBA as a surefire first round selection. Josh Shipp and Mbah a Moute are just testing the waters and should be back to Westwood. Put them together with top 3 recruit Jrue Holiday, Michael Roll and Alfred Aboya; we are looking at the Bruins returning yet again to another final four.
4. Notre Dame ï¿½ The Big East is stacked with powerhouse teams and this is just another example. The Irish return everyone except Rob Kurz. That means Big East POY Luke Harangody and the starting backcourt of Tory Jackson and Kyle McAlarney are back. Basically six of the top seven scorers with the second best record in the Big East are in South Bend ready to make a run to Ford Field.
5, Duke- The team that everyone loves to hate only loses DeMarcus Nelson. That means John Scheyer should move into the starting lineup. With Elliot Williams, you get a slashing lefty that basically replaces what Nelson did. The only thing I can knock this team for is failing to recruit a powerful low post presence, which means again that this Duke team will remain a perimeter team that will live by the 3 and die by the 3.
Best of the rest: Georgetown, Michigan St, Louisville, Purdue, Texas, Tennessee, Gonzaga, USC, Pittsburgh, Arizona St., Wisconsin, Florida, Villanova