College Basketball

2011-12 College Basketball: All-Conference Team Projections for the Big Six

Todd HawkinsCorrespondent IJune 14, 2011

2011-12 College Basketball: All-Conference Team Projections for the Big Six

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    NEWARK, NJ - MARCH 25:  Jared Sullinger #0 of the Ohio State Buckeyes goes for a lay up against DeAndre Liggins #34 of the Kentucky Wildcats during the second half of the east regional semifinal of the 2011 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at the Prudenti
    Nick Laham/Getty Images

    When it comes to preseason and postseason all-conference honors, each league does things a bit differently regarding the total amount of all-conference teams selected and the total amount of players selected to each team.

    Taking a deeper look into the bevy of talent within the six power conferences, I've put together five teams per conference: First, Second, Third, Honorable Mention and Freshman.

    I like to get an early gauge on the strength level of each conference in terms of overall talent, now that we're to that point in the offseason where the draft deadline has passed, and teams are wrapping up on recruiting for the upcoming season's roster.

    Keep in mind, selections are based on projected talent and production for the 2011-2012 season, not necessarily a team that could be put together on the court. For example, you may see a team with mostly guards or mostly forwards.

    Here are my all-conference team projections for the ACC, Big 12, Big Ten, Big East, Pac-12 and SEC.

Atlantic Coast Conference

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    CHARLOTTE, NC - MARCH 20:  Harrison Barnes #40 and Kendall Marshall #5 of the North Carolina Tar Heels react in the second half while taking on the Washington Huskies during the third round of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at Time Warner Cable
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    FIRST TEAM

    Harrison Barnes, North Carolina

    Austin Rivers, Duke

    Tyler Zeller, North Carolina

    John Henson, North Carolina

    Kendall Marshall, North Carolina

    SECOND TEAM

    Reggie Johnson, Miami

    James McAdoo, North Carolina

    Durand Scott, Miami

    Mike Scott, Virginia

    Bernard James, Florida State

     

    THIRD TEAM

    Malcolm Grant, Miami

    Travis McKie, Wake Forest

    Mason Plumlee, Duke

    Dorenzo Hudson, Virginia Tech

    C.J. Leslie, North Carolina State

     

    HONORABLE MENTION

    Glen Rice Jr., Georgia Tech

    P.J. Hairston, North Carolina

    Terrell Stoglin, Maryland

    Andre Young, Clemson

    Seth Curry, Duke

    Michael Snaer, Florida State

    Scott Wood, North Carolina State

     

    FRESHMAN TEAM

    Austin Rivers, Duke

    James McAdoo, North Carolina

    P.J. Hairston, North Carolina

    Dorian Finney-Smith, Virginia Tech

    Quinn Cook, Duke

     

    Player of the Year – Harrison Barnes, North Carolina

    Coach of the Year – Roy Williams, North Carolina

    Newcomer of the Year – Brandon Reed, Georgia Tech

    Freshman of the Year – Austin Rivers, Duke

    Most Improved – Michael Snaer, Florida State

    Defensive Player of the Year – Bernard James, Florida State

     

    It's championship or bust in Chapel Hill.

    North Carolina is not only the most talented team in the ACC, but in the country. With four of the top returning players in conference and two of the more heralded freshmen in the 2011 class, expectations for the Heels are as high as they were in the preseason for Williams' 2008-2009 national championship squad.

    Newly acuired head coach Jim Larranaga inherits a strong nucleus at Miami and could have the Canes dancing in his first year at the helm if he can get the players to buy into his system.

    The Austin Rivers era at Duke is right around the corner as Rivals' No. 2 ranked prospect in the country inherits a team that loses Kyle Singler, Nolan Smith and Kyrie Irving.

     

Big East Conference

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    HOUSTON, TX - APRIL 04:  Jeremy Lamb #3 of the Connecticut Huskies dunks the ball against the Butler Bulldogs during the National Championship Game of the 2011 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament at Reliant Stadium on April 4, 2011 in Houston, Tex
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    FIRST TEAM

    Jeremy Lamb, Connecticut

    Ashton Gibbs, Pittsburgh

    Tim Abromaitis, Notre Dame

    Darius Johnson-Odom, Marquette

    Alex Oriakhi, Connecticut

     

    SECOND TEAM

    Kris Joseph, Syracuse

    Jae Crowder, Marquette

    Maalik Wayns, Villanova

    Kevin Jones, West Virginia

    Cleveland Melvin, DePaul

     

    THIRD TEAM

    Peyton Siva, Louisville

    Scoop Jardine, Syracuse

    Yancy Gates, Cincinnati

    Nasir Robinson, Pittsburgh

    Jason Clark, Georgetown

    HONORABLE MENTION

    DeAndre Daniels, Connecticut

    Brandon Triche, Syracuse

    Kyle Kuric, Louisville

    Khem Birch, Pittsburgh

    Hollis Thompson, Georgetown

    Augustus Gilchrist, South Florida

    Gilvydas Biruta, Rutgers

    FRESHMAN TEAM

    DeAndre Daniels, Connecticut

    Khem Birch, Pittsburgh

    Chane Behanan, Louisville

    Rakeem Christmas, Syracuse

    Norvel Pelle, St. John’s

    Player of the Year – Jeremy Lamb, Connecticut

    Coach of the Year – Rick Pitino, Louisville

    Newcomer of the Year – God's Gift Achiuwa, St. John's

    Freshman of the Year – DeAndre Daniels, Connecticut

    Most Improved – Dominic Cheek, Villanova

    Defensive Player of the Year – Alex Oriakhi, Connecticut

    Jeremy Lamb steps out of Kemba Walker's shadow and into the spotlight as the sophomore-to-be wing tries to repeat last season's national title run. With the recent arrival of 6-foot-8 forward DeAndre Daniels, it's certainly not out of question.

    One word comes to mind after scanning through the Big East—Parity.

    The conference looks to be up for grabs this upcoming season and don't be surprised if Connecticut, Louisville, Pittsburgh, Syracuse and Marquette are running neck and neck down the stretch of conference play.

Big Ten Conference

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    CHARLOTTE, NC - MARCH 18:  Tim Hardaway Jr. #10 of the Michigan Wolverines reacts in the second half while taking on the Tennessee Volunteers during the second round of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at Time Warner Cable Arena on March 18, 2011
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    FIRST TEAM

    Jared Sullinger, Ohio State

    Jordan Taylor, Wisconsin

    William Buford, Ohio State

    Trevor Mbakwe, Minnesota

    John Shurna, Northwestern

     

    SECOND TEAM

    Robbie Hummel, Purdue

    Tim Hardaway Jr., Michigan

    Christian Watford, Indiana

    Aaron Craft, Ohio State

    Draymond Green, Michigan State

    THIRD TEAM

    Cody Zeller, Indiana

    Jordan Morgan, Michigan

    Melsahn Basabe, Iowa

    Lewis Jackson, Purdue

    Ralph Sampson III, Minnesota

    HONORABLE MENTION

    Zack Novak, Michigan

    Jorge Brian Diaz, Nebraska

    Keaton Nankivil, Wisconsin

    Branden Dawson, Michigan State

    Jordan Hulls, Indiana

    Brandon Wood, Michigan State

    Drew Crawford, Northwestern

    FRESHMAN TEAM

    Cody Zeller, Indiana

    Branden Dawson, Michigan State

    Mycheal Henry, Illinois

    LaQuinton Ross, Ohio State

    Sam Thompson, Ohio State

    Player of the Year – Jared Sullinger, Ohio State

    Coach of the Year – John Beilein, Michigan

    Newcomer of the Year – Brandon Wood, Michigan State

    Freshman of the Year – Cody Zeller, Indiana

    Most Improved – Deshaun Thomas, Ohio State

    Defensive Player of the Year – Aaron Craft, Ohio State

    Sullinger's surprise return to the Buckeyes makes Ohio State the favorite to sit atop the conference standings. He'll join William Buford to form the Big Ten's most productive scoring tandem with Aaron Craft setting the table.

    Darius Morris keeping his name in the draft delivered a blow to Michigan's high hopes in 2011-12, but don't count out Beilein just yet as he returns the trio of Tim Hardaway Jr., Jordan Morgan and Zack Novak.

    Keep an eye out on Indiana 6-foot-11 incoming freshman power forward Cody Zeller, ranked No. 15 overall in the 2011 class by Rivals and Michigan State transfer guard Brandon Wood, who averaged 16.7 points per game during his junior season for Valparaiso. Both players should make immediate impacts in the Big Ten.

    Keep in mind Nebraska joins the Big Ten at the beginning of July.

     

Big 12 Conference

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    HOUSTON - MARCH 28:  Forward Quincy Acy #4 of the Baylor Bears reacts after making a slam dunk against the Duke Blue Devils during the south regional final of the 2010 NCAA men's basketball tournament at Reliant Stadium on March 28, 2010 in Houston, Texas
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    FIRST TEAM

    Perry Jones, Baylor

    Tyshawn Taylor, Kansas

    Khris Middleton, Texas A&M

    Marcus Denmon, Missouri

    Quincy Miller, Baylor

    SECOND TEAM

    Thomas Robinson, Kansas

    Rodney McGruder, Kansas State

    LeBryan Nash, Oklahoma State

    Quincy Acy, Baylor

    Myck Kabongo, Texas

    THIRD TEAM

    Laurence Bowers, Missouri

    J’Covan Brown, Texas

    Ricardo Ratliffe, Missouri

    David Loubeau, Texas A&M

    Andrew Fitzgerald, Oklahoma

    HONORABLE MENTION

    Scott Christopherson, Iowa State

    Keiton Page, Oklahoma State

    A.J. Walton, Baylor

    Melvin Ejim, Iowa State

    Cameron Clark, Oklahoma

    Anthony Jones, Baylor

    Chris Allen, Iowa State

    FRESHMAN TEAM

    Quincy Miller, Baylor

    LeBryan Nash, Oklahoma State

    Myck Kabongo, Texas

    Ben McLemore, Kansas

    Deuce Bello, Baylor

    Player of the Year – Perry Jones, Baylor

    Coach of the Year – Scott Drew, Baylor

    Newcomer of the Year – Chris Allen, Iowa State

    Freshman of the Year – Quincy Miller, Baylor

    Most Improved – J'Covan Brown, Texas

    Defensive Player of the Year – Laurence Bowers, Missouri

     

    With Kansas and Texas having their rosters revamped due to a handful of early NBA exits, teams like Baylor, Missouri, Texas A&M and Iowa State will look to strike while the iron is hot.

    Baylor received great news when 6-foot-11 forward Perry Jones decided on returning to school and things got even better when highly-rated high school teammates Quincy Miller and Deuce Bello committed to the Bears.

    Miller, ranked No. 7 overall by Rivals, is arguably the most versatile player in the 2011 class and puts Baylor into national title contention.

    Look for Oklahoma State incoming freshman small forward LeBryan Nash and incoming Texas freshman point guard Myck Kabongo to make big splashes in the Big 12.

Pac-12 Conference

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    LAWRENCE, KS - DECEMBER 02:  Reeves Nelson #22 of the UCLA Bruins in action during the game against the Kansas Jayhawks on December 2, 2010 at Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence, Kansas.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    FIRST TEAM

    Reeves Nelson, UCLA

    Jorge Gutierrez, California

    Josh Smith, UCLA

    Allen Crabbe, California

    Trent Lockett, Arizona State

    SECOND TEAM

    Jared Cunningham, Oregon State

    Harper Kamp, California

    Josiah Turner, Arizona

    Abdul Gaddy, Washington

    Faisal Aden, Washington State

    THIRD TEAM

    Solomon Hill, Arizona

    Jio Fontan, USC

    E.J. Singler, Oregon

    Josh Owens, Stanford

    Lazeric Jones, UCLA

    HONORABLE MENTION

    Scott Suggs, Washington

    Nick Johnson, Arizona

    Terrence Ross, Washington

    Kevin Parrom, Arizona

    Carlon Brown, Colorado

    Richard Solomon, California

    Maurice Jones, USC

     

    FRESHMAN TEAM

    Josiah Turner, Arizona

    Nick Johnson, Arizona

    Jabari Brown, Oregon

    Tony Wroten, Washington

    Jahii Carson, Arizona State

    Player of the Year – Reeves Nelson, UCLA

    Coach of the Year – Mike Montgomery, California

    Newcomer of the Year – Carlon Brown, Colorado

    Freshman of the Year – Josiah Turner, Arizona

    Most Improved – Richard Solomon, California

    Defensive Player of the Year – Jorge Gutierrez, California

    The conference endured it's largest draining of talent since 2008 after several underclassmen opted to keep their names in the 2011 draft.

    Pac-12 newcomers Utah and Colorado are likely to finish somewhere around the cellar this upcoming season.

    UCLA, Washington, Arizona and California appear to be the four top teams in conference, but neither one currently stands a cut above the other.

    Cal returns the Pac-12's best wing tandem in Allen Crabbe and Jorge Gutierrez and UCLA returns the best frontcourt tandem in Reeves Nelson and Josh Smith.

    Given the drastic drop-off in talent, the Pac-12 looks up for grabs in 2011-12.

Southeastern Conference

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    LEXINGTON, KY - DECEMBER 22:  Terrence Jones #3 and Doron Lamb #20 of the Kentucky Wildcats celebrate during the game against the Winthrop Eagles on December 22, 2010 in Lexington, Kentucky.  Kentucky won 89-52.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    FIRST TEAM

    John Jenkins, Vanderbilt

    Anthony Davis, Kentucky

    JaMychal Green, Alabama

    Terrence Jones, Kentucky

    Doron Lamb, Kentucky

    SECOND TEAM

    Tony Mitchell, Alabama

    Jeffery Taylor, Vanderbilt

    Marquis Teague, Kentucky

    Festus Ezeli, Vanderbilt

    Dee Bost, Mississippi State

    THIRD TEAM

    Bradley Beal, Florida

    Darius Miller, Kentucky

    Erving Walker, Florida

    Rotnei Clarke, Arkansas

    Renardo Sidney, Mississippi State

    HONORABLE MENTION

    Michael Gilchrist, Kentucky

    Arnett Moultrie, Mississippi State

    Marshawn Powell, Arkansas

    Kenny Boynton, Florida

    Gerald Robinson, Georgia

    Brad Tinsley, Vanderbilt

    Trevor Releford, Alabama

    FRESHMAN TEAM

    Anthony Davis, Kentucky

    Marquis Teague, Kentucky

    Bradley Beal, Florida

    Michael Gilchrist, Kentucky

    Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Georgia

    Player of the Year – John Jenkins, Vanderbilt

    Coach of the Year – John Calipari, Kentucky

    Newcomer of the Year – Arnett Moultrie, Mississippi State

    Freshman of the Year – Anthony Davis, Kentucky

    Most Improved – Patric Young, Florida

    Defensive Player of the Year – Reginald Buckner, Ole Miss

    Kentucky reloads with the No. 1 recruiting class in the country that includes four players in Rivals' top 25, three of whom were in the top 10. And with the return of Terrence Jones and Doron Lamb, the Cats are once again national title contenders.

    Vanderbilt will challenge Kentucky as the Commodores return all five starters from last season, including three of the top players in conference (Jenkins, Taylor and Ezeli).

    Anthony Grant brings in the No. 5 ranked recruiting class to Tuscaloosa, according to Rivals. Alabama returns two of the top forwards in conference (Green, Mitchell) and an emerging point guard (Releford), making the Tide an SEC contender.

    Keep an eye out on UTEP transfer Arnett Moultrie for Mississippi State. The 6-foot-11 power forward could help propel the Bulldogs into the postseason.

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