Friday, November 25, 2005

Top 50: Teams 45-41

45. Wisconsin [Big Ten] C 7-0 Brian Butch, PF 6-8 Ray Nixon, SF 6-5 Alando Tucker, SG 6-2 Kammron Taylor, PG 6-2 Michael Flowers~ :

Bench: 6-11 Greg Stiesma*, 6-7 Joe Krabbenhaft*, 6-7 Marcus Landry*, 6-5 DeAaron Williams**, 6-2 Bobby Perry*, 6-10 Ray Chappelle~, 6-7 Kevin Gullikson*~

Coach: Bo Ryan

Indiana Fan’s take:

Coach Ryan may be the most efficient basketball coach working right now, but his work is cut out for him. His best inside player is 6-5, 200 pound scoring guard, no true point guards return, the star recruit, Joe Krabbenhaft, suffered an injury this summer that will hinder his development and integration, and the Badgers lost 4 starters and a back-up center. Despite all of this, Wisconsin should be a major obstacle in any Big Ten road trip, and should squeeze out enough victories to garner a tournament bid. Never ever bet against Coach Ryan, with his teams consistently executing the flex offense and nasty defense. Tucker should be one of the front-runners for Big Ten player of the year as well. Minnesota &, Michigan have the talent and Purdue & Northwestern could surprise for a NCAA berth, but Bo Ryan just flat-out wins, and nothing beats that.

Newcomer to watch: Krabbenhaft is the frosh with the accolades, but Bobby Perry may be much more important to this teams’ success if he can take over the reins of the offense. Otherwise Coach Ryan is stuck with the shoot-first-and-second Taylor or massively inexperienced Flowers.

Top returning players: Tucker (14.7ppg/6.9rpg/1.7apg), Taylor (8.8ppg/2.3rpg/1.6apg), Butch (4.9ppg/3.4rpg)

Major Losses: Mike Wilkinson (14.2ppg/7.3rpg/1.7apg/1spg/1.2bpg), Zach Morley (7ppg/4.6rpg/ 1.7apg/1s), Sharif Chambliss (8.5ppg/2.5rpg/2.8apg)

44. Old Dominion [Colonial]: C 6-9 Alex Loughton, PF 6-7 Arnaud Dahi, SF 6-7 Valdas Vasylius, SG 6-3 Isaiah Hunter, PG 6-0 Drew Williamson:

Bench: 7-3 Sam Harris~, 6-5 Jason Thompson~, 6-6 Jonathan Adams*, 6-4 Brandon Johnson, 6-2 John Morris, 6-1 Brian Henderson, 6-10 Janko Mrksic**, 6-2 Abdi Lidonde**

Coach: Blaine Taylor

Indiana Fan’s Take:

The Monarchs should hold off a strong challenge from conference newcomer Northeastern. Blaine Taylor’s club has better balance and should have the respect of the CAA referees in Northeastern’s inaugural season. Alex Loughton & Isaiah Hunter are a good inside-outside combo, and Williamson is a capable and veteran point. The loss of Kiah Thomas should be easily replaced by their returning guard depth. And if they can start getting regular contributions from the giant Sam Harris, this club will have very little problems sweeping aside all resistance in the Colonial (outside of Northeastern).

Newcomer to watch: Jonathan Adams should get some time spelling the starters at forward, but of greater importance may be the redshirts Mrksic & Lidonde. Besides their unique names, they could be able to translate a year on the bench to a real preparedness to contribute.

Top returning players: Loughton (14.1ppg/8.2rpg/1.6apg), Hunter (13.4ppg/3.2rpg/2.1apg), Dahi (10.4ppg/5.4rpg/1apg), Vasylius (9.2ppg/4rpg), Williamson (6.2ppg/2.9rpg/4.5apg)

Major Losses: Kiah Thomas (8.3ppg/3.4rpg/1.4apg)

43. Kansas [Big 12]: C 6-10 C.J. Giles, PF 6-8 Christian Moody, SF 6-7 Julian Wright*, SG 6-2 Mario Chalmers*, PG 6-1 Russell Robinson:

Bench: 6-11 Sasha Kaun, 6-8 Darnell Jackson, 6-7 Micah Downs*, 6-6 Brandon Rush*, 6-4 Rodrick Stewart**, 5-11 Jeff Hawkins, 6-0 Jeff Case**, 6-2 Nick Bahe~, 6-2 Stephen Vinson~, 6-10 Matt Kleinmann**~

Coach: Bill Self

Indiana Fan's take:

Losing your top four scorers, and six of the top seven, is definite cause for concern. But a pretty good recruiting class (Four freshmen could start, and at least two should) and development of the young big men ought to help. Also available at midseason is USC transfer Rodrick Stewart, who should immediately keep the loss of J.R. Giddens from hurting too much. Kansas will be rebuilding this year, but Bill Self won’t let his team fall out of the NCAA’s. The talent may not entirely pay off this season, but if they stick around, look out next year!

Newcomer to watch: All of them! Seriously, no Kansas team in the modern era has relied so heavily on freshmen since, I dunno, maybe Danny Manning’s first year? But Julian Wright specifically could be just as good as Manning, and Mario Chalmers might be the next Rex Walters.

Top returning players: Moody (5.8ppg/4.7rpg), Robinson (3ppg/1apg), Giles (2.8ppg/2.4rpg/1bpg)

Major Losses: Simien (20.3ppg/11.4rpg/1.4apg), Langford (14.4ppg/4rpg/2.8apg), Miles (9.3ppg/3.5rpg/7.2apg), Giddens (10.1ppg/3.8rpg/1.4apg)

42. Wake Forest [ACC]: C 6-9 Eric Williams, PF 6-9 Chris Ellis, SF 6-7 Cameron Stanley**, SG 6-6 Trent Strickland, PG 6-2 Justin Gray:

Bench: 6-11 Kyle Visser, 6-7 Kevin Swinton*, 6-5 Richard Joyce, 6-3 Harvey Hale*, 6-1 Sharmaine Dukes*, 6-10 David Weaver*, 6-8 John Buck~, 6-2 Brian Jessen~, 6-2 Graeme Keith~

Coach: Skip Prosser

Indiana Fan’s take:

If newcomers Harvey Hale or Sharmaine Dukes are able to take over full-time point guard duties, Skip Prosser’s life will be much easier this year. Justin Gray will do everything he’s asked, but having him run the offense will greatly take away from his effectiveness, as he was a starter at the small forward spot last year. The return of Eric Williams gives the Demon Deacons enough of a punch inside that the surrounding role players should be able succeed, but too much has been lost for this club to be a true contender for anything but a first-round exit this year.

Newcomer to watch: Kevin Swinton might end up starting next to Eric Williams, but what will ease Skip Prosser’s nights the most is if Harvey Hale or Charmaine Dukes can start and let Gray do his damage from the wing.

Top returning players: Williams (16.1ppg/7.7rpg/1.1bpg), Gray (16ppg/2.8rpg/2.2apg)

Major Losses: Chris Paul (16.3ppg/4.5rpg/6.6apg/2.4spg), Taron Downey (9.9ppg/2.5rpg/2.5apg), Jamaal Levy (7.6ppg/6.4rpg/2.2apg)

41. Vanderbilt [SEC] C 6-11 Ted Skuchas, PF 6-9 Julian Terrell, SF 6-7 Derrick Byars**, SG 6-6 Shan Foster, PG 5-11 Mario Moore:

Bench: 6-9 Davis Nwankwo**, 6-9 Alan Metcalfe~, 6-7 DeMarre Carroll, 6-5 Dan Cage, 5-10 Alex Gordon, 6-3 George Drake*, 6-10 Kyle Madsen*, 6-4 Aubrey Hammond~

Coach: Kevin Stallings

Indiana Fan’s take:

Vanderbilt didn’t have great success last year after Matt Freije graduated. And as expected, they were a solid NIT team. My guess is that they’ll move back into the NCAA’s merely by losing less than the rest of the SEC. Virginia transfer Derrick Byars should make them better, and should combine last season’s freshman surprise (Shan Foster) should give senior point guard Mario Moore plenty of assists. Moore has also been a consistent crunch-time performer, nearly doubling his scoring season average in the postseason of the course of his career. However, inside play is something of a concern, as coach Stallings needs Julian Terrell to show more low-block capability.

Newcomer to watch: Derrick Byars. He was a decent player in the ACC, but now he’s needed to take the pressure off of Foster on the wing all the while helping one of the poorer rebounding teams in the SEC (9th) on the boards.

Top returning players: Moore (13.5ppg/3rpg/3.7apg), Foster (9.2ppg/3.1rpg/1.1apg), Terrell (6.8ppg/5.1rpg/1.4pg/1.1bpg), Gordon (6ppg/1.2rpg/1.2apg)

Major Losses: Corey Smith (12ppg/4.2rpg/2.3apg), Davids Przybyszewski (6.4ppg/3.3rpg)


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