Predicting the Most Physical Teams for the 2013-14 College Basketball Season
College basketball teams that consistently have the most success play a physical brand of ball.
They get up on their opponents on defense, impose their will on offense and forcefully go to the boards on both ends of the court.
Here are the 10 most physical teams in college basketball for the 2013-14 season.
It is not a coincidence that the teams that are listed here are also some of the same teams that will be listed in upcoming preseason polls and rankings.
8. Tennessee Volunteers
These low-post monsters can punish even the most physical teams that they will go up against in 2013-14.
Getting them to join forces will be the key to whether the Vols make a serious run at Kentucky and Florida for the SEC title.
Stokes was a second team All-SEC selection last season.
Before sitting out last year with a knee injury, Maymon was a 2011-12 second team All-SEC selection.
Since Vols head coach Cuonzo Martin likes his teams to be in assault-mode on the defensive end, unleashing Stokes and Maymon down low will make it rough for their opponents to get much done in the lane.
7. Syracuse Orange
As Syracuse’s switches to the ACC, we will not see a change in their tough-as-nails style of play.
While some teams that primarily play a zone defense can become a little passive on that end of the court, the Orange are constantly in attack-mode.
They look to forcefully trap their opponents and create as many turnovers as possible.
Head coach Jim Boeheim recruits players who are ready to bring intensity and play physically…or they don’t play.
C.J. Fair returns for his senior season with the goal of proving that he has not reached his potential.
6. Louisville Cardinals
Over the years, Rick Pitino’s teams have been characterized as aggressive and gritty, ready to contest anything and everybody they encounter.
Louisville’s national championship team last year didn’t always win pretty, but they knew how to deal with adversity and fight through tough times.
This season’s Cardinals fit this description to a T. What their frontcourt may lack in length, they certainly make up for it with courage and resolve.
At 6’6”, Chane Behanan could be the strongest power forward in college basketball. He brings a blue collar approach to his game and always responds with bold determination.
Wayne Blackshear has fought through injuries to be able to contribute towards a Final Four appearance as a freshman and last year’s national title as a sophomore.
5. Kansas Jayhawks
Don’t expect a lot of drop off this coming season, even though Kansas has turned over its entire starting lineup.
Head coach Bill Self reeled in an impressive collection of players who could automatically develop into one of the best defensive units in the country.
Self’s teams consistently apply pressure on the ball and work hard on the glass. This squad will be no different.
4. Arizona Wildcats
The sky is the limit for Sean Miller’s young Arizona Wildcats.
Because of his frontcourt’s enormous size and outstanding skills, they will be nearly impossible to contain.
Fresh off of his impressive run of all-star game and international competition successes, incoming combo forward Aaron Gordon will spearhead U of A’s potent attack. VCU’s head coach Shaka Smart calls Gordon “the best pressing forward I have seen,” via ESPN's Andy Katz.
Because of his versatility and tenacity, McDonald’s All-American SF Rondae Hollis-Jefferson will be hard to keep off the court.
3. Michigan State Spartans
Teams know that when they face Michigan State, they better be ready to go to war.
Head coach Tom Izzo’s teams are physically strong and mentally resilient.
It seems like he always has a post player like Adreian Payne, who is a heavy-duty defender and rebounder, as well as a dangerous offensive weapon.
Even the Spartans’ guards are tenacious. Keith Appling and Gary Harris are not only MSU’s top scorers, but they are two tough customers. Both of them have performed well while working through various injuries.
Rising junior wing Branden Dawson fears no one, and has a great instinct for hauling in boards and getting in opponents’ passing lanes.
2. Florida Gators
Any team that starts with Patric Young patrolling the middle is going to be brutal.
Depending on the lineup that Florida head coach Billy Donovan rolls with this season, the Gators could be absolutely terrifying from a physical standpoint.
Though he will not be eligible until December, freshman phenom Chris Walker is lean and mean.
If Will Yeguete comes back 100 percent, forget about it.
This Florida team is loaded, and will be able to get after any team on their schedule.
Mark your calendars for February 15 and March 8. These are the regular season battles between Kentucky and Florida.
1. Kentucky Wildcats
On paper, the 2013-14 Kentucky Wildcats will be one of the most physically intimidating college basketball teams in a very long time.
Head coach John Calipari’s roster is so incredibly packed with size, length and athleticism, it is almost unfair.
The fact that the Cats can only put five of their stars on the court at one time makes it the slightest bit reasonable.
Freshman power forward Julius Randle is huge and talented. He could be one of the most dominant players in college hoops right off the bat this season.
Though Alex Poythress did not have an illustrious first year at Kentucky, the rising sophomore brings tons of physicality to the wing.
Even the Cats' guards can overpower just about anyone that they face. The Harrison twins and James Young will use their size and skills in the backcourt to be nearly unstoppable.
The biggest challenge for Calipari is to get all of this talent working together on a consistent basis on both ends of the court.
If he is successful, the Cats have to be considered the favorites to cut down the nets in North Texas in April.
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