Associated Content: NCAA Basketball to Watch in 2010-2011
Published April 05, 2010 by:
The 2009-2010 NCAA basketball season is on the way out the door, the nets have been cut, the tears of joy and sadness have flowed, and we won't have to hear the song "One Shining Moment" for another 11 months. So while
we still have your attention why don't we take a quick peek at the top five teams that will be vying for a title next season.
5. North Carolina Tar Heels: The Tar Heels were relegated to the NIT after missing the NCAA tournament this year. Even though they won the championship in 2009, they lost four starters and this year was seen as a rebuilding year. The Tar Heels will lose forward Deon Thompson and guard Marcus Ginyard to graduation. The key is that the Tar Heels have the third best recruiting class coming in, according to Scout.com. This class includes Harrison Barnes a small forward out of Ames, Iowa. Add that to junior Ed Davis and senior Will Graves and the Tar Heels will have enough to contend in today's one and done NCAA.
4. Memphis Tigers: A year after the exit of coach John Calipari the Memphis Tigers bounced back with the best draft class in the nation. This past season was a tough one for Memphis as they failed to make the NCAA tournament and also found out they would need to vacate 38 wins form the 2007-2008 season. Guards Doneal Mack and Willie Kemp will be lost to graduation, but the team's top three leading scorers will return, Elliott Williams, Wesley Witherspoon, and Roburt Sallie. New head coach John Pastner made his mark with this incoming class of recruits. Pastner was able to land 3 of the top 25 players coming out of high school. Guard Will Barton, forward Jalen Kendrick, and point guard Joe Jackson highlight the incoming class. All this should allow Memphis to return to the upper echelon, maybe this time without the scandal.
3. Georgetown Hoyas: After being stunned in the first round of the NCAA tournament by Ohio, 97-83, Georgetown fans are looking for a ray of sunshine. Well here is the biggest sun beam,
the Hoyas will return all their players from this year's squad. The Hoyas landed only one top 50 recruit, power forward Nate Lubick out of Massachusetts, but they didn't need a big recruiting class, because of what they have coming back. Leading scorer Austin Freeman and center Greg Monroe will lead the team through the tough Big East. A number one seed in the 2011 NCAA tournament is my expectation.
2. Michigan State Spartans: Michigan State made an impressive run to the Final Four this season, even after losing leading scorer Kalin Lucas to a ruptured Achilles tendon. The Spartans will lose one player, forward Raymar Morgan to graduation, but that is all. Lucas will be back along with guard Durrell Summers and forward Draymond Green. The Spartans also had the seventh best recruiting class, with the biggest recruit being 6'10'' center Adreian Payne out of Ohio. All this along with one of the best coaches in college basketball, Tom Izzo, and another trip to the Final Four is not out of the question.
1. Pittsburgh Panthers: Although the Panthers were personally responsible for busting my bracket this year, I will bear no ill will and see them as the number one team coming into the 2010-2011 season. Even though this season ended on a sour note, with a second round loss in the NCAA tournament to Xavier, things are looking up for the Panthers. The team stands to lose just one player, Jermaine Brown, so the Panthers didn't need a top level recruiting class. They did land three of the top 100 recruits, led by guard Cameron Wright out of Cleveland. Junior guard Ashton Gibbs will lead the offense along with senior guard Brad Wannamaker. The biggest plus is that the team will be one year further along in their development under Jim Phelan National Coach of the Year Award winner, Jamie Dixon. I believe coach Dixon will break through and win his first national championship next year.
So there you have it, an early look at how I see the 2010-2011 NCAA basketball season shaping up. Now bring on the baseball.