With the release of the basketball schedule yesterday, it seems appropriate that we take a look at some of the teams on the slate for the Cats this season. Here’s a quick bit about each of the Cats’ major non-conference opponents, including those we may play in Maui. Enjoy.
Louisville – The Cards will be awful this year. Just terrible. They’re probably the worst of the bunch on this list. They’re void of talent, meaningful experience and sexual stamina, and ending 2010 by breaking in their new arena with a blowout may just be the best New Year’s present ever.
North Carolina – After an awful campaign last season, Ol’ Roy and the diet blues should be much improved this year. Harrison Barnes is an immediate impact player, arguably the best of the incoming class. As long as they can get some kind of production from the point guard slot, Carolina will be a tough out when the Cats visit Chapel Hill.
Indiana – They had very little last year and added virtually nothing via recruiting. And yet, with scorer Maurice Creek coming back from injury, I still think they’ll be better than Louisville.
Notre Dame – They lost Frankenstein’s monster, leaving former prep school standout Tyrone Nash as the only player with significant experience in the paint, and he won’t be getting much help since their recruiting class is all perimeter-oriented. Senior Tim Abromaitis broke out last season while Harangody was injured, and will be relied on heavily this season with him gone for good. Mike Brey usually finds a way to make the Irish decent, but this season could be a bit of a rebuilding year for the Irish.
The Maui Crowd
Michigan State – Lost Raymar Morgan but add a strong recruiting class headlined by big man Adreian Payne. Otherwise, they’re bringing back everyone else of consequence from last year’s Final Four run. Kalin Lucas also will be back for his senior year after opting against the NBA draft as a result of his achilles injury. We can only see them in the finals in Maui, and if we finish off the championship with a win over Sparty, it will be a rÃ©sumÃ© win to say the least.
Washington – Ah the Huskies. They lose only star Quincy Pondexter from last year’s Sweet-16 run, but should be able to replace his production with a pair of star freshmen, Enes Kanter and Terrence Jones. Seriously, even without Kanter and Jones they bring in a solid recruiting class and will be very competitive if we see them in Maui. A lot more competitive than when they cross our path on the recruiting trail, at least.
UConn – Kemba Walker and Alex Oriakhi make for a good inside-out duo, but past those two the Huskies are a little thin on talent. They bring in help on the perimeter, but will struggle in the paint unless Ater Majok happens to steal a pair of Michael Jordan’s old shoes from Lil Bow Wow before the season starts. They can be a tournament team, but last year’s squad was more talented and still ended up in the NIT.
Wichita State – I know nothing of them. If we meet them in the finals in Maui, we must crush them.
Virginia – The Cavs’ only star player from last year, Sylven Landesberg, took his talents to Israel instead of returning for his junior year. Something tells me losing a guy that averaged 17 points/game from a team that lost 10 of 11 to end last year doesn’t mean they’re going to be greatly improved. Of course, Tony Bennett runs some version of the four-corners paint-dry offense, so maybe the plan is to bore us all into submission. I doubt it works.
Oklahoma – Willie Warren, Tiny Gallon, and Tommy Mason-Griffin represented the bulk of the talent for last year’s Sooners. They also all left for the NBA draft, and were replaced with an array of two- and three-star recruits. Chances are good that if Jeff Capel couldn’t take last year’s crew to the NCAA tournament, this version won’t fare much better.
So there you have it. A little primer for the big-time teams Kentucky will square off against this season. And Louisville. Have a great Friday night folks.