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ESPN’s Preseason Predictions: How do they hold up at Tourney Time?

ZellerESPN

What we have before us starting today is a unique situation: a largely interest-free March Madness tournament without the depressing spectre of hopelessness that the BCG offered.  We have every reason to believe that next year will be at least just fine, even though this year was disappointing.  I say we enjoy it, and have fun with our picks.

But before we get rolling, let’s take a look back at ESPN The Magazine’s preseason rankings for the 2013 season.  Believe it or not, with a few exceptions, they were actually pretty spot on.  Except on Kentucky, of course.  But we all know that.

1. Indiana (Projected 1, Actual 1) – The Hoosiers more or less lived up to their preseason hype by earning the East’s #1 seed, but behind someone entirely unexpected.  While Zeller and Watford got a lot of love from the Mag in November, the real MVP of this year’s Indiana team has been Victor Oladipo.  One of the nation’s premier defenders developed an aggressive, slashing offensive game that has really opened up for the floor for more stationary players like Hulls, Sheehy, Zeller, and Watford.

2. Louisville (Projected 1, Actual 1) – We know Louisville well. Maybe too well.  We said after last year’s Final Four that they’d be tough, and sure enough, they enter the tournament as the overall #1 seed, and open in Rupp.  There’s very little surprise with the Cardinals: they play tough, super annoying defense, and have super athletic players from 1-19 on the depth chart.

3. Kentucky (Projected 1, Actual NIT) Whoops. Our bad.

4. Michigan (Projected 1, Actual 4) – The Wolverines peaked earlier in the season by reaching a number one ranking, but quickly proceeded to finish the season’s last 12 games with a .500 record.  But the Mag said early on that Trey Burke would be the guy to watch, and the Big Ten Player of the Year hasn’t disappointed so far.

5. Kansas (Projected 2, Actual 1) – The Jayhawks are the first team listed to exceed expectations, if only by a little.  Give credit for that extra boost to Ben McLemore, the emerging freshman who might take the NBA Draft’s number one spot instead of Nerlens Noel.  The rest are solid, but McLemore is the guy responsible for taking a projected 2-seed to a 1-seed.

6. NC State (Projected 2, Actual 8)  – The first really disappointing team, after Kentucky, the Wolfpack have played all season either out of their minds, or completely asleep.  They’ve picked up big wins (Duke), but also stumbled into ten losses.  It’s likely that C.J. Leslie’s lack of improvement has kept N.C. State from the top seed they wanted, as they enter the tournament

7. Ohio State (Projected 2, Actual 2) – This team was all about Deshaun Thomas and Aaron Craft from the start, and after a whole season of play, it’s all about them at the end, too.  Some folks may be afraid of a lack of real depth, but those players on the rotation are solid.  No surprises with Ohio State.

8. Syracuse (Projected 2, Actual 4) – The Orange slipped a little bit, but it might be fair to consider that they also played the nation’s 7th hardest schedule (according to CBS Sports).  Then, they got throttled in the last minutes of their game against Louisville, getting outscored 49-16 over the bulk of the second half.  Forward C.J. Fair, though, plenty nasty to merit at least the 4 seed
9. Duke (Projected 3, Actual 2) – Duke sucks.
10. UCLA (Projected 3, Actual 6) – UCLA had a rough start to the season, but have recovered very well behind the scoring of “Zubaz” Muhammed (because of the jerseys? eh?) and the flourishing of Larry Drew II.  However, the injury to Jordan Adams put a damper on the Bruins hopes, and even more pressure on Muhammed.
And a quick seeding rundown for the remainder of the top 25 (Projected/Actual):
11. Florida (3/3)
12. Michigan State (3/3)
13. North Carolina (4/8)
14. Arizona (4/6)
15. Memphis (4/6)
16. Creighton (4/7)
17. Missouri (5/9)
18. Gonzaga (5/1)
19. UNLV (5/5)
20. San Diego State (5/7)
21. Baylor (6/NIT)
22. Notre Dame (6/7)
23. Wisconsin (6/5)
24. Cincinnati (6/10)
25. Saint Louis (7/4)

Article written by Corey Nichols

27 Comments for ESPN’s Preseason Predictions: How do they hold up at Tourney Time?



  1. Eric K
    9:10 am March 21, 2013 Permalink

    Damn is this all there is to talk about…… WHO CARES? GO CATS!!



  2. ScottDrew'sFranklin
    9:15 am March 21, 2013 Permalink

    Baylor really payed us back this season for beating them last year.



  3. RahRah
    9:15 am March 21, 2013 Permalink

    IF, and only if, the non-big east refs call the games halfway fairly, call the hand-checks, smacking, flopping, wild elbows and pushing off, Louisville will not be a factor for long at all. If the U of L defense gets away with the way they’ve been taught to play and have played all year, I look for a deep run. Ugh. Dirty birds.



  4. Mc
    9:17 am March 21, 2013 Permalink

    Why isn’t Zeller flopping around like he’s been shot in that picture? It looks like there could possibly be contact.



  5. Axe Cop
    9:17 am March 21, 2013 Permalink

    You suck so bad you can’t even keep your font consistent in one post. What is that in the second half, comic sans?



  6. Bluekzu
    9:25 am March 21, 2013 Permalink

    Wow..those candy-striped warm-ups really are unspeakably hard to look at. They’re proud of this why?



  7. Eric K
    9:26 am March 21, 2013 Permalink

    And damn the photo, to have to look at that first thing, zeller is a joke just like his coach, The cheerleader are DOG ugly.. #4 Yea zeller should be flopping…. iu will choke! GO CATS!!



  8. Han
    9:26 am March 21, 2013 Permalink

    At least Baylor backed us up on the underachieving.



  9. bob
    9:27 am March 21, 2013 Permalink

    #1 – You read it AND commented. Quit complaining.



  10. Eric K
    9:32 am March 21, 2013 Permalink

    #9 Didn’t read it, that’s the point…. Soon as i saw espn and the photo, I knew right then it wasn’t worth reading. GO CATS!



  11. Randle
    9:39 am March 21, 2013 Permalink

    Just watched the Randle mixtape again – http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=XtuR-xdFXqo

    The fact that that kid is not the number one player in this class should illustrate to everyone the difference between this year’s class and next.

    My God, Randle is an amazingly polished player already.



  12. Rly?
    9:41 am March 21, 2013 Permalink

    Take this freaking post down. Don’t want to see that ugly goof and most definitely don’t want to ready anything from Corey Nichols.



  13. Eric K
    9:45 am March 21, 2013 Permalink

    #12 Thank you… GO CATS!!



  14. Al B. Frank
    9:46 am March 21, 2013 Permalink

    I thought this was pretty interesting, actually. For those that always say that early season rankings are meaningless, it’s a good counterargument. It seems that the early season rankings were pretty close to how each team ended up… with one glaring exception, of course.



  15. Martin
    9:55 am March 21, 2013 Permalink

    You know I’m actually going to root pretty hard for Louisville. They may not do the same for us, but Kentucky is still Kentucky, and it’s better than Indiana or Duke.



  16. bung
    9:55 am March 21, 2013 Permalink

    iu pics…laetner pics…what up? go cats…



  17. Bomb
    10:12 am March 21, 2013 Permalink

    Why a picture of IU? Corey Nichols sucks so bad. KSR should listen to the readers – get rid of Corey. His posts remind me of a monkey doing monkey business on top of a football.



  18. Fitch Slap
    10:20 am March 21, 2013 Permalink

    Victor Oladipo, quite possibly, is the most overrated player in the nation. Good defender but incredibly limited offensively. Whoever wastes a lottery pick on that joker is crazy. He is a poor man’s DeAndre Liggins.



  19. Matt in Franklin
    10:53 am March 21, 2013 Permalink

    GAYEST PANTS EVER!!!!



  20. Solid
    10:58 am March 21, 2013 Permalink

    all things considered ESPN did a very nice job in the preseason predictions



  21. Solid
    11:01 am March 21, 2013 Permalink

    11 WOWOWOW that highlight reel is sick, can’t wait to see him in rupp



  22. R.G.
    11:07 am March 21, 2013 Permalink

    6. NC State (Projected 2, Actual 8) — The first really disappointing team, after Kentucky, the Wolfpack have played all season either out of their minds, or completely asleep. They’ve picked up big wins (Duke), but also stumbled into ten losses. It’s likely that C.J. Leslie’s lack of improvement has kept N.C. State from the top seed they wanted, as they enter the tournament

    C.J. Leslie would be in the NBA if he had come to Kentucky. May not have belonged there, but that’s where he’d be.



  23. ByronG23
    11:53 am March 21, 2013 Permalink

    Let’s Go Duke!!!!!!!!!!!!!



  24. twnky
    11:55 am March 21, 2013 Permalink

    I hate iu but oladipo is a monster. He should get drafted ahead of zeller



  25. LORI
    12:43 pm March 21, 2013 Permalink

    IU only wins when Zeller is full steam; oladipo is awesome as is Hulls,Watford,Yogi; the team is deep IU all the way! baby!



  26. TylerK
    1:36 pm March 21, 2013 Permalink

    KSR readers are more biased against Corey than Pat Forde is against UK, and that’s saying something…



  27. Fitch Slap
    3:26 pm March 21, 2013 Permalink

    24. A monster… with no left hand. Quite ferocious.