It’s College Hoops Time Again – What To Watch For

By | November 14, 2013


College basketball officially tipped off last Friday night with a few appealing match-ups amid a sea of one-sided affairs. ESPN also geared up for its annual 24 hours of college hoops, which started at 11 p.m. on Monday. At, we’ve loaded up on snacks and Red Bull to take in all the action.

Last year was an interesting season in college hoops. It seemed like teams were allergic to the No. 1 ranking as it was passed from program to program each week. Eventually, Louisville emerged with their National Championship victory over Michigan.

This year brings with it new faces and storylines. The biggest of which might be the Kentucky Wildcats, who are by no means easing into the new season as they faced off with No. 2-ranked Michigan State on Tuesday night.

Like I said, last year, there simply was not one team that was considered the clear favorite. This year, it’s Kentucky, a program absolutely bloated with blue chip recruits.

The Wildcats feature the likes of young gun Julius Randle, who wasted no time by leading his team in its season opener. The Wildcats roped in six (yes, SIX!) McDonald’s All-Americans. Kentucky was young last year, and it earned them an embarrassing first-round exit in the NIT. But this young team is being hyped as one of the greatest college teams ever assembled. We’ll see how the youth can stand up to the competition.

One thing is for certain – most of these guys are going to the NBA after this year, so the Wildcats need to make it count and enjoy the moment.

Let’s talk conferences. It depends on who you are asking, but college basketball’s top conference is a toss-up between the Big Ten and the ACC.

The Big Ten is always a basketball conference, but with Michigan aiming to return to the National Championship, Michigan State ranked No. 2 and teams like Ohio State, Indiana and Wisconsin in the mix; this will be a fun year.

The ACC will feature a new look having just robbed the Big East of its brightest talent. Syracuse, Pittsburgh and Notre Dame join the ranks of the ACC this year, which probably makes it the most elite conference in college basketball.

As far as exciting freshmen, we already mentioned Randle in Kentucky, but there are some other guys that are poised to take the NCAA by storm. Andrew Wiggins picked Kansas over Kentucky, and will give the Jayhawks a huge boost. The 6-foot-8 winger has drawn comparisons to LeBron James. Need I say any more?

Jabari Parker was toying around with going to Michigan State until he set his sights on Duke. He is another electrifying player that has drawn comparison to LeBron James. Maybe the national media should stop comparing people to LeBron James. It’s losing its meaning.

These rookies join the likes of some of college basketball’s brightest in Russ Smith (Louisville), Mitch McGary (Michigan), Gary Harris (Michigan State), Marcus Smart (Oklahoma State), Doug McDermott (Creighton), Aaron Craft (Ohio State) and C.J. Fair (Syracuse).

College basketball lacked star power last year – that shouldn’t be a problem this season.

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