Predicting NCAA Tourney Bids for Each Major Conference
Although the 2012-13 college basketball season hasn't even started yet, let's take a look at predictions for NCAA tournament bids for each major conference.
Keep in mind that anything can happen in a season, like injuries, suspensions, breakout seasons and etc., so these are obviously just predictions.
For the purposes of this article, we will only be looking at the SEC, Big East, ACC, Big Ten, Pac 12 and Big 12 conferences.
Scott Rovak-US PRESSWIRE
Here are the teams that will make the tournament field out of the ACC. North Carolina State, North Carolina, Duke, Florida State and Miami.
North Carolina State will likely enter the 2012 season in the Top 10, thanks to Lorenzo Brown and C.J. Leslie sticking around for another season. The Wolfpack will challenge the big dogs in the conference this year and will make a lot of noise this season. Keep in mind that NC State did make the Sweet 16 last season.
North Carolina will have a completely different looking team than it did last year as a result of most of its starting five going to the NBA. However, Dexter Strickland and Leslie McDonald will both be back from similar injuries, and James Michael McAdoo will be one of the best players in the entire conference.
Duke may be losing Austin Rivers, but it will still have Seth Curry, Mason Plumlee and Ryan Kelly. The Blue Devils will have a very deep team this year, but can they compete with the Wolfpack for the conference title? We will have to wait and see, but this team should be a lock to make the Big Dance.
As long as Florida State has Michael Snaer, it will be able to win some games. The Seminoles lost a lot of players over the offseason, but the ACC won't be the greatest conference in the world this season, which should result in more wins for Florida State.
Miami will have some true veterans for its team this season, with Kenny Kadji, Durand Scott and Reggie Johnson returning. If Johnson can make the leap that people have been counting on, this could be a very dangerous team next season.
Prediction: Five Teams
Bob Donnan-US PRESSWIRE
The Big East may seem to be falling apart, with Syracuse and Notre Dame leaving in the future, but the conference will still be one of the best in college basketball this season. Expect the Big East to snag seven bids in the NCAA tournament.
Cincinnati surprised most last season by making it all the way to the Sweet 16. Well, the Bearcats will return its backcourt from last year, which is a huge plus for this up-and-coming team.
Georgetown will be a very young team this year, with a lot of freshman and sophomores. Otto Porter had a pretty good first season with the Hoyas, averaging 9.7 points per game and 6.8 rebounds per game. Look for a monster year out of Porter.
Louisville will only be ranked in the Top Three to start the 2012-13 college basketball season. Don't be surprised if they enter the season as the No. 1 team. Peyton Siva will be back, along with most of Louisville's team from last year. This will likely be the best defensive team in the country.
Marquette lost its two best players in the offseason, but the next best four will be back. Vander Blue will most likely lead this team all season long, thanks to Jae Crowder and Darius Johnson-Odom no longer being on the team.
Notre Dame has been in the news quite a bit lately, thanks to the Fighting Irish deciding to join the ACC. Well, Notre Dame will be in the Big East this season, which means Jack Cooley is going to wreak havoc all over the conference.
Pittsburgh had an absolutely horrible season last year, finishing off at 17-16 on the year. For what it's worth, the Panthers did manage to win the CBI tournament though. Coming off of some momentum from last season, and picking up some pretty good recruits, Pittsburgh should make it into the NCAA tournament.
Syracuse is another team that is leaving the Big East. The Orange were the best team for a good portion of last season, but they are losing a lot of their players. However, Brandon Triche will be back and Michael Carter-Williams will finally get some playing time. Carter-Williams will likely be the best player on this very balanced team.
Prediction: Seven Teams
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Going into the season, the Big Ten Conference will likely be the conference in all of college basketball, thanks to its Top Four teams. This conference will be a bloodbath all season long, and will be very hard to predict on who will take the regular season title.
Indiana has a chance to enter the season as the No. 1 team in the nation. The Hoosiers will be early favorites to win the Big Ten, thanks to Cody Zeller returning to the team. Indiana has a great player at every position and a pretty solid bench to go along with that.
Luckily for Michigan, it will have Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr. returning to the team. These two players alone are capable of taking the Wolverines to the promise land this year.
Michigan State may be losing its best player in Draymond Green, but you can't feel too bad for the Spartans, since they will have Keith Appling, Branden Dawson and Derrick Nix. The Spartans will once again compete for a Big Ten title.
Rodney Williams and Trevor Mbakwe will be leading Minnesota all season long. Although Mbakwe will be entering his sixth year of eligibility, he should be one of the best players in the conference. The Gophers are certainly not a lock to dance this year, but they should have their dancing shoes ready just in case.
The Ohio State Buckeyes will once again have a team that will compete for the Big Ten title, despite losing Jared Sullinger and William Buford. Ohio State will be led by its tenacious D. Aaron Craft and Deshaun Thomas will play huge roles for this very good team.
Wisconsin made it to the Sweet 16 last year, but it will be without its best player in Jordan Taylor, since he was a senior last year and all. However, a good portion of last year's team will be back, along with Jared Berggren and Ryan Evans. This may not be the most lethal scoring team in the Big Ten, but it certainly gets the job done.
Prediction: Six Teams
Nelson Chenault-US PRESSWIRE
Unfortunately for the Big 12, it will be without Missouri and Texas A&M in the upcoming season, and forever for that matter. Both teams will be apart of the SEC as of the 2012-13 college basketball season.
Baylor may be losing Perry Jones III and both Quincy's, but it will be just as talented this year. Pierre Jackson will be the man for Baylor this season. He did have the most points for the team last year, with 13.8 points per game. Thanks to some very good recruits in the offseason, Baylor will not skip a beat this year.
Iowa State has the chance to make the NCAA tournament for its second-straight season. The Cyclones will be returning a bunch of players. Not to mention, they also got a really solid recruit in Georges Niang, and also picked up some really good transfer players.
The Kansas Jayhawks may have lost Thomas Robinson and Tyshawn Taylor to the NBA, but this is the Kansas Jayhawks we are talking about. Someone will step up, like always, and Kansas will most likely take the Big 12. Ben McLemore seems to be the guy that will lead Kansas to its ninth-straight Big 12 title.
Bruce Weber will be taking over as the head coach for Kansas State. Luckily, for Weber, the Wildcats will pretty much have everyone back from last season.
Texas will have a very talented group of sophomores on its team this year, along with some very highly rated recruits. Myck Kabongo is probably the best player on this team, and he should improve his game tremendously in the upcoming season.
Prediction: Five Teams
Brian Spurlock-US PRESSWIRE
The Pac-12 was quite the disappointment last season. It seemed like no one wanted to dance out of this conference, until Colorado wound up winning the conference tournament. The Pac-12 should be better than it was last season, but don't expect too much out of this conference just yet.
Arizona has tremendous talent on its team in Nick Johnson, Gabe York and Mark Lyons. Lyons played for Xavier his first three seasons, but will finish off his college career in Arizona. However, you can't forget the fact that Arizona had one of the best recruiting classes in the nation. This team is talented enough to compete for a national title, but they have not been playing up to expectations in the past couple of seasons.
California's Allen Crabbe and Justin Cobbs both had great seasons last year. If both players can pick up where they left off last season, expect the Bears to challenge for the Pac-12 title.
Prediction: Three Teams
Dak Dillon-US PRESSWIRE
The SEC will have a lot more depth than it has in recent years, thanks to Missouri and Texas A&M joining the conference.
The Florida Gators will enter the season as a Top 10 team, thanks to Kenny Boynton and Patric Young returning to the team. Boynton is one of the best shooting guards in the nation because of his elite scoring, and Young will be a lottery pick in the NBA draft when he chooses to leave the Gators. However, Florida will also have many other returning players, which will result in the most depth in the SEC. Look out for this team all season long.
The Kentucky Wildcats will once again have one of the best teams in the nation. John Calipari managed to put together one of the best recruiting classes once again, including the No. 1 recruit in the nation in Nerlens Noel.
Missouri was one of the most lethal teams from behind the arc last season. As a result, the Tigers entered the NCAA tournament as a No. 2 seed, but were hugely upset in the first round. Well, the only key returning players from last year's team will be Phil Pressey and Michael Dixon. However, Missouri picked up a couple of great transfers in Alex Oriakhi, Jabari Brown, Keion Bell and Earnest Ross.
Ole Miss will be lead by Murphy Holloway, but the Rebels will also return Jarvis Summers, Nick Williams and Reginald Buckner. However, Holloway and the rest of Ole Miss need to step up their game if they plan on bettering their season from last year.
Tennessee quietly earned the No. 2 seed in the SEC tournament last year. However, there will be nothing quiet about this team in the 2012-13 college basketball season. With most of the team returning from last season, you can bet that the Volunteers will challenge for a title in the conference.
Prediction: Five Teams
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