Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Juvonte Reddic is Kerry's pick for best mid-major player. He also sees the Rams as a dark horse to get to No. 1 in the polls.
Will Andrew Wiggins Live Up to the Hype?
I sure hope so.
Save the skepticism for whether or not he'll be able to compete with LeBron James or Kevin Durant in the NBA within the next few years. As far as his one-year college career is concerned, I'm a believer.
At this point, I think he might actually be underrated. Many months of endless hype has pushed public opinion to a state of "Come on, he can't really be that good, can he?" And when he is, we will all be amazed.
Who's Better: Big Ten or ACC?
Depends on how far Indiana falls and how well Pitt and Notre Dame adjust to life in the ACC. Arguing over whether Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State are better than Duke, North Carolina and Syracuse is an exercise in futility.
The unbalanced size of the conferences doesn't help solidify the debate. I would take the ACC's top seven schools over the Big Ten's top seven schools, but I also think the ACC has a lot of extra cannon fodder at the bottom of the conference.
How's this for an answer? If I had to choose one conference from which to watch every regular season game, I would pick the Big Ten. But if I had to pick which conference is more likely to win the National Championship, I would pick the ACC.
How Many Teams Will Rank No. 1? Who Will They Be?
Can I plead the fifth until after the Champions Classic?
I'll say five. Kentucky, Michigan State, Louisville, Arizona and whoever wins between Duke and Kansas on November 12. I'll also nominate VCU as a dark horse candidate under the same rationale which saw Gonzaga get a No. 1 seed in last year's tournament. Depending on how well the Rams get through the first six games of their season, I could see them winning 28 or more regular season games. And with a ranking system that rewards you for simply not losing while other teams do, a long winning streak could be all it takes.
Best Mid-Major Star?
Juvonte Reddic, VCU. Without Troy Daniels attempting 308 three-pointers this season, VCU will pound it down low to Reddic more often than it did last year when he averaged 14.6 points and 8.1 rebounds. The senior from Winston-Salem has great hands and can stuff the stat sheet in every category.
Player of the Year?
Russ Smith, Louisville. Everyone assumed Russdiculous would leave for the professional circuit after winning a championship in his junior year, but the negative things that NBA scouts and wannabe NBA scouts on Twitter were saying about the flaws in his game drove him to come back for one more year. The whole thing has almost a "Michael Jordan getting cut from his high school varsity team" feel to it.
Most Disappointing Team?
Michigan. Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr. are gone, and no one seems to actually know how badly Mitch McGary's back is ailing him. No disrespect to Glenn Robinson III or Nik Stauskas, but I have to question whether the voters putting Michigan in the Top 10 recognize that those two guys will have to carry the team at various points throughout the year.
NCAA Tournament Sleeper?
Sleeper to make the Final Four: Southern Miss. At long last, Memphis is no longer in Conference USA, but that hardly means the conference is suddenly sending a hapless auto bid to the slaughter. Led by Jerrold Brooks and Neil Watson, the Golden Eagles should be tough to beat. And in case you aren't already pulling for Southern Miss, imagine the high comedy of hearing announcers pronounce Ude Ifeanyichukwa's name.
Sleeper to win one game: Chicago State. The Cougars probably won't even make the tournament, but if they get there, they'll have nine seniors who would love nothing more than to make history by being the first No. 16 seed to beat a No. 1 seed.
Oklahoma State. The Cowboys had six players who scored at least 100 points last year, and all six of those players are one year older, one year wiser and one year more determined to cut down the nets. In what figures to be a regular season devoted to the successes of freshmen, my championship money (at 35/1 odds, nonetheless) is on a team full of players that have actually competed at this level before.