First Team All-America
G – Sherron Collins – Kansas
G – Willie Warren – Oklahoma
F – Patrick Patterson – Kentucky
F – Tyler Smith – Tennessee
C – Luke Harangody – Notre Dame
Second Team All-America
G – John Wall – Kentucky
G – Patrick Christopher – California
F – Damion James – Texas
F – Ed Davis – North Carolina
C – Cole Aldrich – Kansas
Third Team All-America
G – Kalin Lucas – Michigan State
G – Scottie Reynolds – Villanova
F – Devin Ebanks – West Virginia
F – Greg Monroe – Georgetown
C – Craig Brackins – Iowa State
Player of the Year – Luke Harangody – Notre Dame
Others have more talent but Harangody will have to carry the Irish on his back. Collins and Patterson have a lot more help.
Coach of the Year – Roy Williams – North Carolina
He has a very good chance at returning to the Final Four with only one returning starter and questions at point guard. The other candidates (Calipari, Self, Lucas) have more proven talent on board.
The NCAA Field of 65
Kansas (Big 12), Michigan State (Big Ten), North Carolina (ACC), Villanova (Big East), Kentucky (SEC), California (Pac-10), Dayton (Atlantic-10), Northern Iowa (Missouri Valley), Siena (MAAC), Butler (Horizon), Brigham Young (Mountain West), Tulsa (Conference USA), Cornell (Ivy), Utah State (WAC), Portland (West Coast), Western Kentucky (Sun Belt), Oakland (Mid-Continent), Jackson State (SWAC), Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (Southland), Appalachian State (Southern), Holy Cross (Patriot), Morehead State (Ohio Valley), Sacred Heart (Northeast), Morgan State(MEAC), Akron (Mid-American), Old Dominion (CAA), Long Beach State (Big West), Radford (Big South), Weber State (Big Sky), Jacksonville (Atlantic Sun), Boston U. (America East).
Boston U. takes over for Binghamton in the America East as the Bearcats have imploded under suspensions and recruiting violations. Sacred Heart has a great chance at getting its first NCAA bid.
At Large Bids
Texas, Oklahoma, Texas A&M, Oklahoma State, Kansas State (Big 12)
Purdue, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio State, Illinois, Wisconsin (Big Ten)
Georgia Tech, Duke, Maryland, Clemson, Florida State, Wake Forest (ACC)
Louisville, West Virginia, UConn, Syracuse, Notre Dame (Big East)
Tennessee, Mississippi State, South Carolina, Vanderbilt, Ole Miss (SEC)
Washington, UCLA, Arizona State, Oregon State (Pac-10)
Memphis (Conference USA), UNLV (Mountain West), Xavier (Atlantic-10)
Missouri, Marquette, Niagara and Creighton are the last four out.
Five teams that will return to prominence:
Kentucky – They boast the best recruiting class in the nation, not just because of their talent but because of their ability to fit new coach John Calipari’s dribble-drive offense. Last season’s “disaster” (let’s face it, a lot of schools would love to consider 22-14 a bad season) should be a memory by January. The only bad news is that most of this team won’t be back to do it again in 2010-11.
Georgia Tech – Believe it or not the Jackets were in the national championship game as recently as 2004. So what the heck happened? Despite boasting four double-digit scorers it was a 12-19 wreck in 2008-09 thanks to an ungodly amount of turnovers and porous defense. Thanks to a renewed commitment to defense and the services of super-frosh Derrick Favors things should perk up again down in the Dirty South.
Vanderbilt – Part of the ‘Dores failings last season had to with the overall weakness of their conference, which had its worst season in recent memory. But the fact they had three more turnovers a game than assists didn’t help their cause. They are also hoping for an injury-free season in Nashville. If that happens and they take care of the ball Vandy should return to the Dance and possibly make the second round.
Kansas State – These Wildcats have only been to the Dance once since 1996 and many college hoops insiders thought that was mostly due to Bob Huggins and Michael Beasley’s cameo appearance. After that duo left in a cloud of smoke Manhattan would go back to its usual routine of mid-pack Big 12 finishes. Not necessarily. Frank Martin proved he could recruit just as well as Huggie Bear and is actually building a program that should ensure success for several years.
Oregon State – Remember when INXS and Depeche Mode were popular? That was the last time the Beavers were NCAA Tournament regulars. Since Gary Payton left town most of their Pac-10 brethren regarded them as the automatic “W”. But Craig Robinson installed the Princeton offense and previously moribund center Roeland Schaftenaar took to it like Payton took to a microphone. This season you can expect Corvallis to celebrate when their school’s name is called on Selection Sunday.
Five teams that will cede the spotlight:
Gonzaga – It’s been a great run for the Zags since they exploded onto the scene as a Cinderella in 1999. But the losses are just too much to overcome this season. Matt Bouldin will compete for WCC Player of the Year and Steven Gray will also provide scoring but there’s just not enough up front for the first time in over a decade.
Pitt – Florida and Ohio State were the last 1-seeds to miss the dance the next season. Pitt will likely be the next as they have the same issues as Gonzaga. Several quality reserves are capable of assuming starting roles but they’re all guards. This means unproven freshmen and little-used bench players have to go against some mammoth front-line studs in the Big East.
Marquette – Jerel McNeal. Wesley Matthews. Dominic James. Those three made Buzz Williams’ first year at Marquette a lot easier. Now the work begins as he tries to replace them with a mix of junior college players and touted freshmen. Don’t expect the Golden Eagles to be gone for long but this season looks like a bit of a wash.
Missouri – The Tigers actually didn’t lose as much as the previous three squads on this list. They just happen to play in a conference that is loaded for bear. Leo Lyons, Matt Lawrence and DeMarre Carroll’s abscences will be just enough for Mizzou to finish just out of Dance consideration.
LSU – They were the best team in the SEC last season, which isn’t saying much considering their reward was an 8-9 game in the Tournament. In addition to losing most of their talent the Bayou Bengals have to contend with a much-improved conference. Tasmin Mitchell could lead the SEC in scoring but his team will likely have a losing record.