That’s right, the start of the college hoops season is just one week away and you know what that means: it’s time to unleash the mother effing fury! For the past seven months, I’ve been bottling up a vicious mixture of excitement and rage, just waiting for the moment to release my emotions onto the rest of the world. Well that time has come. Your boy Matty D is back to give you a look at the top teams in the country and to separate the champs from the chumps.
This entire week, I’ll be counting down my top 25 teams in the country and giving you a breakdown of each team so that you too can be prepared for this upcoming season. Chances are I’m going to say some things you don’t like, and chances are I’m going to say some things you may not necessarily believe, but trust me, I will give you my honest opinion every single step of the way.
So, I apologize in advance if I hurt anyone’s feelings, especially the guy who told one of our writers this weekend that Maryland was a lock to win the ACC. Dude, drugs are bad! As much as it may suck, if I don’t hurt people’s feelings, then I’m not speaking the truth. Unfortunately winning isn’t for everyone and the sooner you figure this out, the better off you’ll be. So without further ado, here is my Top 25 teams of the 2009-10 Men’s College Basketball Season.
It’s Kemba Walker’s time to shine and shine he will. Last season, while Kemba showed flashes of brilliance, he was over-shadowed by the likes of A.J. Price and Hasheem Thabeet. This season is a whole new ball game. This is Kemba’s team now and the Huskies success will rest solely on his shoulders. Between Kemba and Jerome Dyson’s “instant recuperative powers,” the guys who used to play second fiddle look like they’re ready to lead UConn this season. Dyson will have no choice but to have a much larger role in the offense and he should thrive. Throw in Stanley Robinson who reminds me of Julius Page circa 2003 the way he’s always looking to cram it on someone, and this team will be one of the best in the Big East.
19. Kansas State
No one wants to talk about Kansas State this year, but I will. A 22-win team from a year ago, they return their top two scorers in Denis Clemente and Jacob Pullen. This is not a team that anyone should sleep on. They also add a top-20 incoming freshman in Wally Judge and a 6-8 big man in UConn transfer Curtis Kelly. Judge is a super athletic high-riser who will see playing time early and often and Kelly is a former New York City standout who never realized his potential at UConn. If he can turn things around he will be huge asset to this team and their potential success. I’m telling you right now, they will be a nuisance to teams like Kansas and Texas when they meet each other and with a cupcake non-conference schedule they should rack up a ton of W’s. You’ve been forewarned.
18. Georgia Tech
For Gani Lawal to withdraw from the NBA Draft and to return for his junior year, he must truly believe that one more year of college ball will really help his draft stock. Because trust me, the other reasons why college is so great are completely non-existent at Georgia Tech. Figure it out for yourself. On the other hand, maybe he’s just excited about the prospect of playing alongside incoming freshman Derrick Favors. The 6-10 freshman, ranked as the No. 1 player in his class by a few outlets, is an absolute animal. He’s an incredible shot blocker, but unlike many other players his size, he can run the floor and has a sweet little touch that allows him to put up big points. He will abuse opponents all season long in the ACC. There really isn’t anyone else as strong as him in the entire conference and they could surprise a lot of people if everything goes right for them. The frontcourt duo of Lawal and Favors should also open up a ton of opportunities for Iman Shumpert, who is another player just waiting to break out. This team is a big time sleeper.
Blah. That’s the best way to describe this team. But, somehow blah gets it done. This year though could be a tough one for the Boilermakers, simply because the rest of the Big Ten is so strong. Don’t get me wrong, they’re still a pretty good team, but I just don’t see them making any serious noise. They do return all five starters and JaJuan Johnson is a beast in the paint. He’ll definitely cause some match-up problems for opposing teams, which will open up shots for guys like Robbie Hummel, E’Twaun Moore and Keaton Grant. And these guys are by no means gun shy when the rock is in their hands. They’ll beat a bunch of teams and cause headaches for just about everyone they play but as far as championships go, don’t get your hopes up.
I promise you that Austin is not writing this. If Greg Monroe can get his sh*t together, he will win Big East Player of the Year. I’m dead serious about this! Think about it. Is it really all that far-fetched to imagine a 20 and 10 year for this guy? I don’t think so. Time will tell if the Hoyas can be considered a contender, but If Monroe can establish himself as the dominant presence he was supposed to be, the sky is the limit for them. He has enough around him in Chris Wright, Austin Freeman and Jason Clark that they could make some noise in the Big East and the NCAA Tournament. The other option is that Monroe will be sucking his thumb on the sideline after getting eaten alive by the Samardo Samuels and Arinze Onuaku’s of the world. Hoya fans better keep their fingers crossed because without Monroe, they can kiss their season goodbye.