Tag Archive: Austin Rivers



The first State Farm Champions Classic has been filled with emotion and excitement. The first game ended with Coach Krzyzewski’s Duke Blue Devils finishing off the Michigan State Spartans 74-69.  This game was significant in more ways than just one. Not only did this game start  the 3 year 4 team rotation that will be known as the State Farm Champions Classic but, it also set a new all-time record. As many of you know already Coach K has set the coaches win record surpassing Bob Knight with 903 career wins.

In my opinion Michigan State played a much better game than expected.  They really made the game exciting and Coach K’s victory that much more special.  Bob Knight and Jay Bilas were  in attendance at the game as commentators.  Coach K played his college ball under Bob Knight and coached Jay Bilas during Bilas’ college playing days.

As I sit here typing up this post the Kentucky/Kansas game is taking place and Kansas looks awful. Currently losing 48-37 with 12:55 left to go in the second half.  As I watch this game I think of what’s on the line for each team that is participating in this event.

Duke:

Duke seems to be the only team expected to give North Carolina a challenge. Well, at least everyone I’ve talked to thinks so.  Yes, North Carolina is going to be tough to beat but, so is Duke.  Duke has a lot of experience coming back and even though they lost some very very valuable and important assets from last season Duke brought in Austin Rivers, the highly talented freshman recruit and others.  It’s still very early on in the season and I expect freshman for any team to struggle a bit, which was Rivers’ case tonight against Michigan State. With Coach K in charge and the return of many talented players I look for Duke to make a Final Four appearance this season.

Michigan State:

This is undoubtedly a big ole question mark of a season for the Spartans and their loyal fans.  So far, they’re 0-2 but, they’ve played both North Carolina (Carrier Classic) and Duke.  Two extremely solid and talented teams.  Not the typical start of the season as most teams around the same caliber as Michigan State have played scrub teams.  It’s tough to say how well the Spartans will do this year but I think their fortunes will be much better than what I previously thought.  With two good showings this early in the season against top notch opponents I see this Spartan team to hit it’s stride right around Big Ten Tournament play and surprise some teams.

Kentucky: 

Kentucky is completely dominating this Jayhawks team. This team is very intense and solid. Though they started out a little sloppy and seemed to be overly selfish in the first half they’ve come out in this second half and have played exemplary team basketball. They’ve began sharing the ball and getting the KU defenders out of place and most importantly have hit their open shots that they’ve earned.  On the defensive end on the floor they’ve played outstanding team defense! If a KU ball handler gets by his defender he’s almost immediately cut off by help side D.  I think this is good news and will just keep UK fans running their mouth about how awesome UK is.  Little do they know, Calipari will have screwed them over like he did Memphis when the NCAA finds out he cheated…..again.  Overall? Should be a solid season for UK but I see Vanderbilt surprising this team and making the SEC interesting.

Kansas:

Simply looks terrible. Not the KU team fans are used to seeing in Lawrence.  If Kansas can’t find a few more options to lean on throughout the season it’ll be a long season for KU fans.  If Elijah Johnson continues to believe he needs to be the leading scorer, assist man, and the team KU could be in trouble.  Let’s hope they learn from this loss and can turn it up a ton of notches and compete in the Big XII.  If not, Baylor just may run away with it this season on the Big XII.

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After hearing about early declarations to the NBA draft and who will be staying in college for at least one more year I think I have  a pretty solid grip on who should be in the top 5 for the preseason.  And here they are:

North Carolina looks forward to a promising season bringing a top recruiting class and returning class

1)  North Carolina. The Tar heels may not have one of most dominating recruiting classes but they have a very solid recruiting class including 2 top 100 ESPNU recruits.  What’s more impressive for the Tar heels are the players returning.  After winning the regular season ACC Title and an Elite 8 appearance the Tar Heels will return their top 3 scorers AND rebounders from that squad.  Also, they return all 5 of their starters.  Tyler Zeller, John Henson, and Kendall Marshall all decided to return to North Carolina. This is said to have influenced Harrison Barnes decision to stay as well.  I won’t talk too much about North Carolina’s two McDonald’s All Americans they have coming in.  These two kids will supplement a well experienced and tough squad.  I like North Carolina’s chances this coming season.

2)  Ohio State.  I like the Buckeyes here because they have some young talent coming back in Deshaun Thomas and Jared Sullinger.  They also have Aaron Craft coming back, who ran the point for the Buckeyes for most of last season, also a freshman (going to be a sophomore).  Even though they’re losing some senior leadership in David Lighty, Dallas Lauderdale, and Jon Diebler they have William Bufford to step up and take on the leadership role.  They also have a very solid recruiting class coming in including 4 ESPNU top 100 recruits, 2 of which are McDonald’s All Americans.  I look for the Buckeyes to reload and pick up where they left off and can see them possibly winning 30 games for the second straight season in a row.

3)  Kentucky.  The decision hasn’t been made quite yet on whether or not Brandon Knight and Terrence Jones will return to the Wildcats squad. Doron Lamb has also stated that he’ll be back for his sophomore season.  As of right now they have the top recruiting class according to ESPNU signing 4 top 100 recruits.  All of which are McDonald’s All Americans.  John Calipari seems to reload every season with an outstanding recruiting class, which I find a little questionable.  However, Kentucky is my favorite to win the SEC this coming season and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them make another run to the Final Four.

4)  Texas.  With Jordan Hamilton and Tristan Thompson making the decision to come back Texas is going to be tough to beat.  Not to mention the return of J’Covan Brown (possibly the best 6th man of the past season) who can score lights out when on.  Texas also has the 5th best recruiting class according to ESPNU.  They have one McDonald’s All American joining there already tough squad.  I have a feeling with all the Kansas Jayhawks players leaving early Texas is the favorite in the Big 12.  I can also see Texas making a run to the National Championship game.

5)  Duke.  Even though the Blue Devils are losing Kyrie Irving, Nolan Smith, and Kyle Singler I feel the Blue Devils will be just fine.  They still have Mason Plumlee, Andre Dawkins, and Seth Curry coming back.  I can’t forget to mention Duke’s incredible recruiting class.  They have the 3rd best recruiting class according to ESPNU.  They’re bringing 5 top 100 high school recruits.  Including Austin Rivers and Mason Plumlee’s little brother, Marshall Plumlee (both are McDonald’s All Americans).  4 of Duke’s recruits are McDonald’s All Americans.  Here’s my equation that will produce Duke’s success for next season:

  • Incoming Talent (Recruits) + Returning Talent (Mason, Andre, and Seth) + Top 5 best all time coaches in the game (Coach Mike Krzyzewski) = Contender for ACC Title and Final Four appearance

I know that equation is pretty intense but it’s the most accurate and accepted equation amongst basketball fans, coaches, players, and so called experts.  I came up with it myself just so you all know.

These are my top 5 preseason picks for the upcoming 2011-2012 season.  Soon I will have up my 6-10 followed by my 11-25 preseason picks.  Hope you all enjoyed reading and I thank you for stopping by. Also, I’m interested in hearing your thoughts on preseason picks!