Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Gators win, next year approaches!

My stupid-off-the-cuff preview shoulda stopped after I wrote "Florida's the best team." I don't why I thought they'd miss any threes, but that was clearly wishful thinking on my part.

Congrats to Gators! Enjoy your time in the NBA, gang (except you, Humpty- maybe there's a spot for you in the Icelandic League alongside AJ Moye?).

A number of early previews are out for next year, and IU places in all of them:

#12- Andy Katz's top 25
#14- Gary Parish's top 26
#10- Luke Winn's top 10
#15- Jon Wilner of San Jose Mercury News

It's of course way too early to guess until we know who all is going pro, but I do like the respect that IU's getting.

Xavier Keeling announced that he is going to transfer from IU, which makes more sense than Joey Shaw's possible transfer, but it has cleared room for a top Juco prospect big man to commit (6-8 DeAndre Thomas, ranked somewhere in the JC top 20), and that gives IU a little DJ White-going-pro insurance. I'm still guessing that DJ uses the process to get advice, but doesn't actually go. It's too bad that we're losing Keeling, I thought he'd probably redshirt next season and come back as more of 3-spot forward. I suspect he's going back to the man he committed to, Mike Davis, and I wouldn't be surprised if Keeling's a star player in a couple of years down at UAB.

I still kinda hope that Joey doesn't transfer, but if he doesn't, he has to patient over the next year (Ratliff, Gordon, & Ellis aren't going to leave much PT open), learn to play defense (such ability!) and not turn the ball over. But I do think that Shaw should be a starter the season after that.

Power conference finishes:
SEC (11-4)
Pac-10 (10-6)
Big Ten (9-6)
Big XII (6-4)
Big East (7-6)
ACC (7-7)

So the Big Ten did pretty well. Some might say that was largely due to OSU, but if you take everyone's top finisher away, here is what you get:
SEC (5-4)
Pac-10 (6-5)
Big XII (3-3)
Big Ten (4-5)
Big East (3-5)
ACC (4-6)

Not much different. I think the SEC was surprisingly good again, but the Big Ten did as well as anyone, and maybe can start shaking some of that anti-Big Ten-bias but turning up the tempo a little. It'll be easier with the great new coaches (Tubby, Beilien, and Lickliter) and the multiple awesome recruiting classes coming in, giving these teams some depth.

Also, I would say Greg Oden's gone to the NBA, but Conley's making noises about coming back. It'd be great for the conference, and instantly put OSU nose-and-nose with Indiana and Michigan State for early conference favorite, if Tom Izzo avoids Kentucky and DJ returns, of course.

Big Ten's NBA Watch:
1. Mike Conley (should go, may not)
2. DJ White (should test)
3. Tyler Smith, Iowa (50-50)
4. Daequan Cook (could test)
5. Geary Claxton, Penn State (shouldn't go)


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