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It’s Almost Time!

October 16, 2012

Only weeks away from the tipoff to the 2012-13 college basketball season.

Lots of speculation about life at the top after 2012 national champ Kentucky sent just about their entire team to the NBA. One big question is whether Kentucky can reload and repeat. Coach Calimari once again recruited a bunch of top players but it remains to be seen if this group can make as quick a transition to d-1 hoops as last years Wildcats.

Traditional powers like Duke and North Carolina are expected to fall a little after losing players to the NBA. UCONN is on probation and ineligible for the tournament. UCLA recruited 3 of the top 10 prep players but have eligibility issues. Indiana returns a ton and are considered by many to be the cream of the crop.

Locally we saw an incredible spike in the quality of college basketball in 2011-12. Two Colorado team’s qualified for the NCAA Tourney (CU and CSU) and Denver was probably an injury away from qualifying. CU brings in a deep and talented freshman class to go with three returning underclassmen. CSU returns a ton and had added a couple of high profile players. Denver returns their key core players. Air Force returns their entire starting lineup. Wyoming and UNC are in the midst of some major rebuilding.

The Mountain West will in all likelihood continue on an upward trajectory in 2012-13. Lots of high profile transfers from high major programs will become eligible this season at UNLV, SDSU, and CSU. Lots of returning talent at New Mexico and a lot of starters back at Air Force, Boise State, and Wyoming. WAC regular season champ Nevada joins the mix this year as does rebuilding Fresno State. TCU has left for the greener pastures of the Big 12. What was a 4-bid league last season looks to be at least that this season. And the best conference in the West in 2011-12 should continue that way this season as the PAC-12 starts to recover from the abyss of the previous season.

Over the next few weeks I will preview each team in the Mountain West. I hesitate to make Pre-season predictions before any games are played. The beauty of college basketball is that is changes every year. Lots of new players which means new chemistry has to be developed. I’ll probably make some picks but you can bet that I’ll be about as wrong as ESPNs Joe Lunardi. Well, maybe not THAT bad.

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