Tuesday, June 29, 2010

College Basketball: Five Teams with Something To Prove in 2010

Last College Basketball season was anything but predictable. Butler started the year off inside the Top 25 but seriously, nobody gave it a chance to even compete in the National Championship.

Everybody thought that Kansas, Kentucky, or maybe even Texas could be the teams competing for a National Championship, but each team failed to make it as far as the Final Four, some the Elite Eight, or some were out in the second round.
This year I think it'll be no different. There will be the projected picks that don't make it to the Championship game but still improve their team’s identity. The teams that made the most significant moves this college basketball offseason should be the ones on top.
However there are always those teams that need improvement. Those teams that have had bad seasons and everyone are counting them off. Or possibly in most scenarios, they’ve lost a player or players to the NBA draft and left a huge hole for improvement. In no particular order, here are the teams that have something to prove next season.
Duke Blue Devils

The Duke Blue Devils will most likely go into the college basketball season with the No. 1 ranking. Their team has repeat written all over it. With Nolan Smith and Kyle Singler as the returning stars from last year, Coach K brought in Kyrie Irving and Seth Curry also to help out the cause for a repeat.
This team is set and should not have a problem this upcoming basketball season. That still doesn't mean they do not have anything to prove.
The Blue Devils have that No. 1 tag on them at the beginning of the season. Many teams like to give their all when playing a team of their caliber to possibly be hoisted into the nation’s spotlight.
Last year they had a defensive presence in Zoubek and consistent three-point shooting from the point guard position with Jon Scheyer. The real question will be how much will they miss both of these contributions?
Kentucky Wildcats

Just last year Kentucky had the best freshman class anybody had seen in a long time.

This year, each one of them is gone and on to the NBA Draft. They left a huge but manageable problem for Coach Calipari. Calipari didn't get the recruiting class everybody envisioned but he did nab some key recruits that will help out his cause this year.
Coming from a Calipari team, you wouldn't think they had anything to prove. However, not many people are giving them a chance since their prospective starting five is all freshmen.
Kentucky has to come in and show the basketball world that they're ready for the challenges; freshmen or not.

Kansas Jayhawks 

Okay consider this: The Jayhawks were the No. 1 overall squad last year mostly due to the All-Americans Cole Aldrich and Sherron Collins. And you cannot forget about the X-factor Xavier Henry.
Now each of them is gone and to fill some needs they added No. 1 overall player Josh Selby.

With a relatively weaker recruiting class, considering what Kansas lost, the Jayhawks now have to prove that they're once again a great squad.
Oh yeah, Josh Selby also broke his hand.
Ohio State Buckeyes' 

Losing the No. 1 player isn't easy, just ask Ohio State. This year when the Buckeyes lost Evan Turner, they were horrible. They went to 0-2 in the conference, and you could tell they needed Evan Turner bad.
Well this year they have permanently lost him. He is gone to the NBA and now the Buckeyes have huge shoes to fill.
Evan Turner was Mr. Everything for the Buckeyes and that kind of contribution is rare to have in the college game.
The recruiting class they have put together and the nucleus of players that has returned lead me to think that the Buckeyes could be Top 10 material this year.
However, they still have to prove to the world that they can do without Evan Turner.

North Carolina Tarheels 

Did anybody expect such a poor season from North Carolina this year? Neither did I. But as the next season approaches, I'm getting a better feeling about the Tar Heels.
Before the twins decided to transfer, they were Top 10 material. However afterward I now push them slightly out. The twins weren't a big loss but it says something about the depth North Carolina has.
Now with Harrison Barnes and Larry Drew II, the Tar Heels have to prove that last season is behind them and they can overcome the adversity that is upon them. Everybody is expecting the Tar Heels to improve from last season, but many are expecting a Carmelo Anthony-like performance out of Harrison Barnes and he needs to prove himself worthy.
Written by DeAnte Mitchell

(This article is also featured/linked on CBSsports.com)

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