NCAA Basketball: 20 Reasons We Can’t Wait for the 2011-12 Season

James EvensCorrespondent IJune 16, 2011

NCAA Basketball: 20 Reasons We Can’t Wait for the 2011-12 Season

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    HOUSTON, TX - APRIL 04:  Head coach Jim Calhoun of the Connecticut Huskies looks on from the sidelines 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,
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    College basketball is just around the corner, believe it or not, as November will be here before we know it. This season, just like every other season, will be exciting as usual.

    If you need some help getting pumped up for the season, I have compiled a list of the top 20 reasons we are excited about college hoops this season. 

     

    James Evens serves as a National Featured Columnist for college football and basketball, as well as the FC for the Purdue Boilermakers. Follow him on Twitter or like him on Facebook.  

Wide Open Field

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    HOUSTON, TX - APRIL 04:  Athletic director Gene Smith of the Ohio State Buckeyes stands with head coach Jim Calhoun of the Connecticut Huskies as the Huskies celebrate with his team and the trophy after defeating the Butler Bulldogs to win the National Ch
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Who knows what will happen this season? That is what makes college basketball so exciting.

    We sort of have an idea who is going to be at the top, but in reality, we don't know.

    This season is going to be more open than in years past, and come March, anything can happen.

Underdogs

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    HOUSTON, TX - APRIL 02:  Head coach Shaka Smart of the Virginia Commonwealth Rams reacts from the sidelines against the Butler Bulldogs during the National Semifinal game of the 2011 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship at Reliant Stadium on Apri
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    Of course we want to root for the underdogs again, but who will they be? No one knows.

    I would say that a lot of people would guess Butler, but without Mack or Howard, who knows what could happen there.

    Really, no one knows who they will be, but rest assured, there will be one or two. 

No Lock-out

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    CHICAGO, IL - MARCH 20:  Head coach Matt Painter of the Purdue Boilermakers reacts in the game against the Virginia Commonwealth Rams during the third round of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at the United Center on March 20, 2011 in Chicago, Il
    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    One great thing about college athletics is the fact we don't have to worry about lock-outs. 

The One and Done Wasn't Popular Last Season

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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

    This is one thing I am very excited for and could make this year amazing. The top freshman in the nation, including Jared Sullinger and Harrison Barnes, decided to stay another year.

    This is going to make for a great season of college basketball. 

Young Talent

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    DENVER, CO - MARCH 17:  Head coach Steve Lavin of the St. John's Red Storm gestures from the bench against the Gonzaga Bulldogs during the second round of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at Pepsi Center on March 17, 2011 in Denver, Colorado.  (P
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    This season's recruiting classes are great again, and it should be very interesting to watch these young talented players develop.

    A few teams to watch to see these young players are Kentucky and St. John's, who have two of the best classes in the nation this year. 

Can UConn Repeat?

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    NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 13:  Kemba Walker, guard for the Connecticut Huskies throws out the first pitch before the game between the New York Yankees and the Baltimore Orioles at Yankee Stadium on April 13, 2011 in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo
    Chris Trotman/Getty Images

    Can UConn repeat as national champions? They have a good class coming in but are losing the life of their team in Walker.

    This could be an interesting year to see what happens. 

It's the Best Time of the Year

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    HOUSTON, TX - APRIL 04:  Shabazz Napier #13 of the Connecticut Huskies with the ball against the Butler Bulldogs in the National Championship Game of the 2011 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament at Reliant Stadium on April 4, 2011 in Houston, Texa
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    What better than a week full of college basketball?

    That's what's unique about the game—you can easily watch three games a night during the week and then watch all day on Saturday.

The Drama

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    INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 11:  Kelsey Barlow #12 of the Purdue Boilermakers attempts a shot against the Michigan State Spartans during the quarterfinals of the 2011 Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament at Conseco Fieldhouse on March 11, 2011 in Indianapolis
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    During the college basketball season, there is always drama—but it's good drama.

    Unlike professional sports, players are well disciplined and don't open their mouths that often.

    It's a nice change of pace to see the drama played out on the court not Twitter. 

No LeBron

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    MIAMI, FL - JUNE 12:  LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat answers questions after the Heat were defeated 105-95 by the Dallas Mavericks in Game Six of the 2011 NBA Finals at American Airlines Arena on June 12, 2011 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expr
    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    Every time I turn on ESPN, all I hear is LeBron this, LeBron that.

    Well, that's the beauty of college basketball: LeBron has nothing to do with it. 

Defense

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    CLEVELAND, OH - MARCH 20: Scoop Jardine #11 of the Syracuse Orange handles the ball against the Marquette Golden Eagles during the third of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at Quicken Loans Arena on March 20, 2011 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by A
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    After watching the NBA since April, it's time for all of us to get back to watching real defense. This is one of the major reasons I'm excited for the season. 

The Best Conference Is Wide Open

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    NEWARK, NJ - MARCH 25: Brutus the Ohio State Buckeyes mascot walks on the court during the game against the Kentucky Wildcats in the east regional semifinal of the 2011 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at the Prudential Center on March 25, 2011 in Newark,
    Chris Trotman/Getty Images

    After last season, the title for best conference could be anyone.  

    The Big East is obviously the favorite, but in all reality, it could be the Big Ten, the ACC or the Big 12 this season.  

    It's going to be great to watch which conference outshines the others. 

Conference Changes

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    KANSAS CITY, MO - MARCH 09:  Brandon Ubel #13 of the Nebraska Cornhuskers grabs a rebound against the Oklahoma State Cowboys during their first round game in the 2011 Phillips 66 Big 12 Men's Basketball Tournament at Sprint Center on March 9, 2011 in Kans
    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    This could be a big story this season. With a lot of teams swapping conferences this year, it could be interesting to see how it all plays out.

    These new match-ups could create some interesting rivalries as well. 

Indiana Is Rebuilding

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    INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 10:  Head coach Tom Crean of the Indiana Hoosiers reacts as he coaches against the Penn State Nittany Lions during the first round of the 2011 Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament at Conseco Fieldhouse on March 10, 2011 in Indianap
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    This could be a very interesting storyline especially, for the fans in the Midwest. With the incoming recruits coming in for IU it could be really exciting to watch this storyline play out.

    Tom Crean seems to have something going in Indiana, but if can translate it to the court is a whole other question entirely. 

See How the NCAA Violations Play out

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    CHARLOTTE, NC - MARCH 18:  Head coach Bruce Pearl of the Tennessee Volunteers walks off the court after the Volunteers were defeated 75-45 by the Michigan Wolverines during the second round of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at Time Warner Cable
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    The NCAA has been investigating numerous programs as of late, and it will be interesting to see how it turns out for these organizations.  

    Tennessee and UConn are the two programs to really watch this season on this front. 

Purdue's Hummel Makes Return

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    WEST LAFAYETTE, IN - JANUARY 12:  Robbie Hummel #4 of the Purdue Boilermakers runs during the Big Ten game against the Ohio State Buckeyes at Mackey Arena on January 12, 2010 in West Lafayette, Indiana. Ohio State won 70-66.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Im
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    After two ACL injuries, it will be interesting to see how Purdue's Robbie Hummel plays this season.

    Hummel hasn't played since February of 2010 and it will be fun to see how one of the best players in the nation turns out after his surgeries. 

Who Will Be This Season's Surprise?

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    HOUSTON, TX - APRIL 02:  Head coach Shaka Smart of the Virginia Commonwealth Rams reacts from the sidelines against the Butler Bulldogs during the National Semifinal game of the 2011 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship at Reliant Stadium on Apri
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    There is always one team that really sneaks up on people, and it's always an interesting guess to see who it will be. 

    There is really no point in trying to predict this because it could be anyone. Be honest, you had never heard of VCU before. 

Who WIll Retire from Coaching?

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    HOUSTON, TX - APRIL 04:  Head coach Jim Calhoun of the Connecticut Huskies gestures from the sidelines 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,
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Will this be Calhoun's last year? Will it be someone else hanging it up from coaching? Who knows, but it will be a great storyline to watch.

Can Coach K Win Again?

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    CHARLOTTE, NC - MARCH 20:  Head coach Mike Krzyzewski of the Duke Blue Devils reacts while taking on the Michigan Wolverines during the third round of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at Time Warner Cable Arena on March 20, 2011 in Charlotte, Nor
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Of course Duke is going to have a great team, but will they win another title? Krzyzewski is already close to being one of the best coaches of all time, and it will be interesting to see if he can win another title to further solidify himself with his mentor, Bobby Knight. 

Can Izzo Bounce Back?

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    TAMPA, FL - MARCH 17:  Head coach Tom Izzo of the Michigan State Spartans talks with Keith Appling #11 against the UCLA Bruins during the second round of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at St. Pete Times Forum on March 17, 2011 in Tampa, Florida
    J. Meric/Getty Images

    Tom Izzo and Michigan State had a very disappointing year last season. Get excited to watch Izzo try to bounce back and have a great season.

    With Green coming back who knows what can happen: it should be fun to watch though.

Dicky V

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    FORT WORTH, TX - NOVEMBER 07:  Sportscaster Dick Vitale (L) signs fans memorabilia prior to the start of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on November 7, 2010 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo by Todd Warshaw/Getty Images)
    Todd Warshaw/Getty Images

    I mean SERIOUSLY BABY! IT'S DICKY V!