College football season is winding down, but basketball season is just warming up! For those who love the fast break, the alley-oop or Jim Boeheim's 2-3 zone, this new series is for you. Enthusiasts of baggy shorts, rec specs, and March Madness, come on in.
From Kalin Lucas to Patrick Patterson and everything in between, we hope you join us for the most magical time of the year—college hoops season.
Look for a new column every Sunday (or so) throughout the college basketball season.
Random thoughts after the first few games of the season
* I grew up in Lexington during the Rick Pitino era. I've been a fan for two National Titles, Jamal Mashburn, Tony Delk, Chuck Hayes, Patrick Sparks, and the tail end of the failed experiment that was Eddie Sutton. Kentucky has never made me sadder than they have since Tubby Smith was ushered out. Gardner-Webb and now VMI...
* Michigan State was up by 25 at halftime, and Tom Izzo was unhappy. I love this basketball program. If my Spartans don't contend for a National Title this season, Izzo is doing something seriously wrong. These guys are built to make noise in March.
* I've only seen part of one Wisconsin game, and I've already gotten mad at Bo Ryan. I don't care how good his teams have been—I think he's obnoxious.
* As soon as Indiana plays somebody capable of making an easy layup, they're probably going to get run out of the gym. Northwestern State shot themselves in the foot there.
* Why was UCLA looking past Miami (OH) to Michigan? Neither team is any good. Waste all the time you want trying to convince me that Manny Harris is the front-runner for Big Ten POY. Michigan will continue to be the third- or fourth-best basketball team in the state of Michigan.
* My nightmare matchup is happening on Dec. 6 in Ann Arbor, when Duke pays Michigan a visit. I can't root against both teams. Has a basketball game ever ended in a tie?
* Ed Hightower is the worst referee in the nation. You heard it here first.
* The Big Ten network is just as bad broadcasting basketball as they are football. I'm glad I waited a year for Comcast to pick this garbage up.
The 10 best teams in the country, according to me
1. North Carolina: This team runs deep, and Tyler Hansbrough will never be outhustled.
2. Louisville: A Rick Pitino team will never be outconditioned.
3. Michigan State: A Tom Izzo team will never be outintensed (good thing this isn't Scrabble.)
4. Duke: A Mike Krzyzewski team will never be out-McDonald's HS All-Americaned.
5. UCLA: The Bruins will never be outhistoried.
6. Notre Dame: I think they'll be the surprise Big East champs.
7. UConn: Two straight postseason disappointments equal a No. 2 preseason ranking? Really?
8. Gonzaga: The Zags are well beyond the point where they'll surprise people, but they're a very good team.
9. Pittsburgh: Always overrated in the preseason polls. Always.
10. Texas: They'll probably miss D.J. Augustin.
Joe Guarr's preseason All-Americans
F Luke Harangody, F Tyler Hansbrough, F Raymar Morgan, G Darren Collison, G Stephen Curry
C Hasheem Thabeet, F Patrick Patterson, G Kalin Lucas, G Manny Harris, G Jonny Flynn
Games to look forward to
This season has a lot of marquee matchups that are sure to glue you to your TV. This is just a sampling of what's on tap for the 2008-2009 season.
The Old Spice Classic in Orlando
All this field has to offer is Michigan State, Maryland, Georgetown, Tennessee, and Gonzaga. If you're looking for something to do over the Thanksgiving holiday, I would strongly recommend watching these heavyweights duke it out.
Michigan State vs. North Carolina at Ford Field
Could this possibly be a preview of the title game in 2009? This could be the best non-conference game of them all.
Michigan State vs. Texas, UCLA vs. Texas
These games were great last season, and there's no reason to believe that will change this season.
Duke vs. UCLA (potentially)
These two should meet in Madison Square Garden in the championship game of the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic.
Duke vs. North Carolina
This is always a great game, even when one team is having a down year. Neither team will be having a down year this season.
The Big East tournament
Louisville, Georgetown, Pitt, Villanova, Marquette, Notre Dame, Syracuse, and UConn, oh my! The Big East tourney always pits some of college basketball's best against each other on basketball's biggest stage.
Be sure to tune in next week. As the season develops, so will this column. I'm foreseeing weekly Top 25 rankings, an interactive mailbag, and in-depth game reviews. Hope you enjoyed the inaugural edition of "College Basketball Musings and Notes."