Associated Content: Top 2010-2011 NCAA Men's Basketball Teams: Duke, Michigan State, North Carolina, Butler, Memphis
Published April 05, 2010 by:
This year's NCAA tournament was unreal. With upsets and cinderella stories, it was a college basketball fan's dream. Now that it is (nearly) over, everyone is looking forward
to next year's season. There are plenty of teams that will have all the talent they need to win the championship in 2011; consistent play will determine who wins it all. Duke was the only No. 1 seed to make it to the Final Four this year, and this was due to their ability to play with the same attitude and consistency every game.
Here's a look at some early favorites for the 2010-2011 NCAA season:
Duke Blue Devils -- Duke will be in good shape next year. The Blue Devils will be losing Jon Scheyer, Brian Zoubek and Lance Thomas, but they will be adding Kyrie Irving (#9 best prospect in nation), Joshua Hariston (#49 best prospect in the nation) and Seth Curry (Stephen Curry's younger brother) to their roster. They will have an excellent defensive team. They have arguably the best returning team in the nation, and they will be No. 1 in the AP rankings for much of the year.
Michigan State Spartans -- The Spartans will make another run at the NCAA championship next year. They will only lose Raymar Morgan and will bring in Adreian Payne (#20 best prospect in the nation), and Keith Appling (#34 best prospect in the nation). They also will have a healthy Ken Lucas, who went down during the NCAA tournament in 2010. Lucas is the leader of this team and, with him healthy, they will be one of the top teams all year long. I believe they will make a push late in the NCAA tournament and may be playing for the title in April 2011.
North Carolina Tar Heels -- North Carolina will play its way back into the NCAA tournament and may make a run at the Final Four. The Heels lose Deon Thompson, but they will add Harrison Barnes (#2 best prospect in the nation), Reggie Bullock (#10 best prospect in the nation), and Kendall Marshall (#32 best prospect in the nation). If Ed Davis returns, they will be one of the best teams in the nation. Barnes should prove to be a superstar and may be the top pick in next year's draft. The Tar Heels will be an excellent scoring team but will also be solid on defense.
Butler Bulldogs -- Butler is starting to become a household name. Gordon Hayward has become a superstar, and he should return for a huge year. Butler didn't sign any top 150 recruits this year, but the team may get more commitments after the season. They will add Khyle Marshall and Eric Fromm to the team, but Gordon Hayward and Shelvin Mack are the biggest reason they will be good. The team should excel on defense again, and I would be shocked if a healthy Butler team did not at least advance to the Sweet 16 in the 2011 NCAA tournament.
Memphis Tigers -- Memphis will have a team similar to the 2010 Kentucky Wildcats. The Tigers will have many young, inexperienced players who will have to use talent alone to succeed. They will lose Doneal Mack and Willie Kemp, but the Tigers will add Jelan Kendrick (#8 best prospect in the nation), Will Barton (#11 best prospect in the nation), Joe Jackson (#12 best prospect in the nation), Tarik Black (#47 best prospect in the nation) and Chris Crawford (#66 best prospect in the nation) to their 2011 squad. These players will join a great team that will include 2010 starters Wesley Witherspoon and Roburt Sallie, who are tremendous three-point shooters. Memphis should be a great defensive team in 2011, and they will contend for a title. With more experience than this year's Kentucky team, they will have a huge chance of going far in March.
Sources: Daniel Evans & Blake Hofstad, "2010-2011 Way Too Early College Basketball Top 50", Online Sports Fanatic