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Rivals tells us all we need to know about college basketball

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It’s that time of the year, the time for predictions from experts and for the future to be told as it relates to the college basketball season. Rivals got in on the fun, asking their roundtable to predict who would win each of the major conferences. Here’s a rundown of how the experts see the SEC season shaking out:

David Fox:

In the SEC, I still see Kentucky as winning that league. Florida is probably the biggest challenger, but this is the same team that lost to Kentucky twice and was bounced from the first round of the NCAA tournament.

Mike Huguenin:

In the SEC, I think Florida’s frontcourt provides the difference, with the Gators edging Kentucky for the crown.

Jason King:

Even if Enes Kanter is cleared to play at Kentucky, I think Florida is the clear-cut favorite to win the SEC.

Steve Megargee:

I’m going to gamble that the NCAA allows Kansas’ Josh Selby and Kentucky’s Enes Kanter to play the majority of their teams’ conference schedules, which would give Kansas the edge in the Big 12 and Kentucky the advantage in the SEC.

But Rivals isn’t just in the business of soothsaying. They also address some of the major issues in college basketball, and that’s just what Jerry Meyer did in his weekly mailbag. Meyer offers up a bit of a counterpoint to the idea of eliminating the July recruiting period, which was voted on unanimously by conference commissioners recently and has been a talking point of Coach Cal for some time. He believes that, while the purpose of eliminating July evaluation is to lessen the hold that summer teams have on the recruiting process, quite the opposite will happen as coaches must then rely on the evaluations of travel coaches even more instead of being able to scout big-time prospects head-to-head themselves. Here’s his full take on how to improve the system:

What would your solution be to getting all of the top talent to one event at the end of the July recruiting period?

– Emory from Atlanta

Funny you ask an intriguing question about making July better when the conference commissioners are trying to eliminate the July evaluation period entirely.

I assume the theory is that eliminating the July evaluation period will somehow weaken the power of travel team coaches and somehow clean up the recruiting process. In fact the opposite is true.

Preventing coaches from evaluating prospects going head-to-head against other prospects only empowers the travel team coaches. Coaches have to lean on them more for evaluations on prospects and advice on whom to recruit.

Keeping the coaches from watching travel team tournaments will not eliminate these tournaments. The NCAA already tried this with the month of April, and it has not reduced the number of tournaments or the amount of prospect participation a bit.

All it has done is allow middle man/travel team coach/scout to be the evaluators for the coaches.

A rich-get-richer and poor-get-poorer scenario will also occur with the reduction of coaches’ access to travel team tournaments. Some programs can afford to travel around the country and evaluate one prospect at a time on a given day at his high school. A lot of schools don’t have the budget for this.

Not allowing coaches to watch the prospects go head-to-head will also create more recruiting mistakes and potentially more transfers.

Cleaning up recruiting isn’t a bad idea, but it looks as if the NCAA is lost on how to attack it. So how about a proactive response related to your question?

Why doesn’t the NCAA somehow organize a travel team circuit with the help of the shoe companies? Cover expenses and no more for a designated number of prospects per team with coaches who qualify under some sort of certification program.

Then coaches and scouts alike could see the top prospects play against each other under the watchful eye of the NCAA. Better evaluations and less cheating could certainly be the result.

Now you’ve got so much knowledge it hurts. Take an Advil and come back in a little while to check the broadcast info for tonight’s UK-Georgia football showdown.

Article written by Hunter Campbell

I used to write here.