Basketball: Too early for hoops predictions?

Basketball practice doesn’t begin for another month, but Athlon Sports magazine has hit the shelves and offers its picks for the upcoming season.

Athlon predicts Duke will beat Purdue in the national championship game, with Kansas and Michigan State also advancing to the Final Four. No Pac-10 team will reach the Sweet 16, the magazine says.

Defending Pac-10 champion Cal is picked to finish sixth this season, and junior guard Jorge Gutierrez was tabbed as the league’s top defensive player.

The league’s entire order of finish, according to Athlon: 1. Washington; 2. Arizona; 3. UCLA; 4. Arizona State; 5. Washington State; 6. Cal; 7. Oregon State; 8. Stanford; 9. USC; 10. Oregon.

(Note: I contributed preview stories on Cal and Stanford — and the Big West Conference — but had no hand in making the magazine’s Pac-10 predictions).

My early view of things: The top three or four seem about right, Cal could be a spot or so higher, WSU a spot or two lower, and I’d never pick USC as low as ninth.

Jeff Faraudo

  • rollonubears

    yes. too early.

  • uh oh.

    No. Never too early.
    Bring it on, JF!!!
    I want to know all about our news kids – what kind of rotation it might be looking like. It’s so much fun to get a new group of kids out there, when I go watch early games I try to spot who I think will start where and who might be able to do what, both this season and further on down the road.

    I mean, heck, to start the season I gotta assume that Kamp and Gutierrez are starters, right? Kamp at the 4, and Gut’s gotta be the point, even though he’s not a penetrate and dish kind of guy.

    At the 5, you have to assume that MSF will again beat out Max to start each game, and that those are your only two centers.

    Bak and newbie Solomon will back up Kamp at the 4.

    Then it gets interesting with the 2 and 3 positions, and the backup at point. Those are going to be well contested slots and will be a lot of fun to discover who can play where.

    Does Allen Crabbe play the 2 or the 3?
    How good is Murray Emerson? Is he a point? A slasher? What?
    Rossi can apparently shoot – is he athletic enough to play the 3 from the get go? Strong enough? I’m guessing not. And Gary Franklin Jr… good enough gets tons of playing time?

    Maybe Brandon Smith gets to start at the 1, as the incumbent, and Gut slides to the 2, and Crabbe takes the 3 spot. But I have to think, based on what I saw last year, that Smith will quickly get beat out and then you have a jumble for who plays point, Gut or Franklin or Emerson, and depending on how that goes it affects who plays 2 (Gut or Crabbe or Emerson?) and depending on how that goes it affects who plays the 3 (Crabbe or Rossi?).

    I’ll go with an initial 11 man rotation of:

    Franklin – Smith
    Gut – Emerson
    Crabbe – Rossi
    Kamp – Bak – Solomon
    MSF – Max

  • Bears

    Is Max back in school.
    Does anyone RS this year?
    Any injuries going into camp?
    Harper Kamp still looking strong?

  • zip

    oops PAc-10 predictions can never be toooo early.. GO CATS..they will surprise alot of people. Especially the prejudice back east press. Plus Puke will not make the Final 4.

  • Jeff Faraudo

    Uh Oh,

    On your early prediction of a lineup, I’d say Gutierrez will get the first shot at PG. He wants to play the position and Monty feels he owes him the chance. Ultimately, I think they’d prefer Jorge off the ball so he can save some of his energy for defense. A lot will depend on how quickly someone else emerges at the point — whether that’s Smith or Franklin or Murray. But Smith didn’t often impress last season, and it’s hard to imagine Monty handing the PG reins to a true freshman. The Bears also need to get scoring from the perimeter, and a Smith-Gutierrez pairing doesn’t offer much of that. Figure Crabbe will start at one of the wing positions. Kamp and MSF at the two posts.

  • uh oh.

    Okay, then, JF:
    We are basically of the exact same opinion. We’ll go with a starting lineup of:
    1) Gut
    2) Franklin or Emerson or Crabbe
    3) Crabbe or Rossi
    4) Kamp
    5) MSF

    I’ll be watching how the foursome freshmen of Franklin-Emerson-Crabbe-Rossi battle it out for what I see as 2 starting spots immediately, and overall playing time throughout this season. Will be fun to watch Monty mold, mix, and match his players’ abilities.

    And let’s not forget watching Bak and Solomon as they strengthen up and prepare to contribute, some this year but more significantly down the road.

    And I’m waiting and watching every day to see if news of that (quality, please) BIG recruit(s!) ever comes thru.