ESPN
ESPN

DICK'S PICKS

 

2019 - 2020 Season

November 11, 2019

 

1-Kentucky

2-Duke

3-Louisville

4-Michigan State

5-Kansas

6-Gonzaga

7-North Carolina

8-Virginia

9-Maryland

10-Memphis

11-Villanova

12-Arizona

13-Texas Tech

14-Ohio State

15-Florida

16-Seton Hall

17-Auburn

18-Oregon

19-LSU

20-Washington

21-Xavier

22-Colorado

23-Utah State

24-St. Mary’s

25-Marquette

 

November 4, 2019

One of the things that excites me about each new college basketball season is the arguments about the creme de la creme. Who is the best of the best?

There are always debates, like who is the preseason Player of the Year, the premiere diaper dandy, or the best conference in America?

I love these discussions and have strong opinions. It is never easy to do this and I’m sure fans of several conference will disagree with my choices.

Do you rank a conference based on the top teams? Do you go from top to bottom to determine strength? Do you evaluate the conference’s star power? It is a combination of factors which leads to great conversations, baby! Remember, this is a preseason evaluation. As the year goes on, we will get a true indication of how teams progress. There will be shocks, players coming from nowhere who become PTP’ers, prime time players.

In reality, the true evaluation of conferences come in the postseason. You take all the facts together and analyze the strengths and weaknesses.

Let’s have some fun as I give you my thoughts on the top 10 conference in America, with a breakdown of each one.

  1. ACC

Vitale’s PTP’er: Jordan Nwora, Louisville

Vitale’s Diaper Dandy: Cole Anthony, North Carolina

Vitale’s Game to Circle: Duke at North Carolina, Feb. 8

What I’m watching: This conference has four of the top 11 teams in the ACC preseason poll. Duke and North Carolina always get the spotlight, but keep an eye on a talented Louisville team. Chris Mack has done a great job rebuilding and this team is loaded and deep. You know a league is strong and deep when Syracuse is picked eighth in the league preseason poll.

  1. SEC

Vitale’s PTP’er: Kerry Blackshear, Florida

Vitale’s Diaper Dandy: Anthony Edwards, Georgia

Vitale’s Game to Circle: Kentucky at Florida, Mar. 7

What I’m watching: With the addition of transfer Kerry Blackshear, Florida will challenge Kentucky in the SEC race. The ‘Cats have reloaded with Khalil Whitney and Tyrese Maxey. How will Tennessee fare without Grant Williams and Admiral Schofield? Auburn should be tough again with good size up front. Georgia will be improved under Tom Crean as diaper dandy Anthony Edwards shine. Mississippi has a pair of veteran stars and could compete as well.

  1. Big Ten

Vitale’s PTP’er: Cassius Winston, Michigan State

Vitale’s Diaper Dandy: Rocket Watts, Michigan State

Vitale’s Game to Circle: Michigan State at Maryland, Feb. 29

What I’m watching: While the Spartans are preseason #1, Maryland will be on Michigan State’s heels. Anthony Cowan will have a solid season. This league is deep with eight contenders for NCAA bids. Illinois will be much improved. Purdue will be solid despite losing Carsen Edwards. Wisconsin will be fine despite losing Ethan Happ. Penn State could break through with a lot of experience returning.

  1. Big 12

Vitale’s PTP’er: Uduoka Azubuike, Kansas

Vitale’s Diaper Dandy: Jahmius Ramsey, Texas Tech

Vitale’s Game to Circle: Kansas at Baylor, Feb. 22

What I’m watching: Texas Tech lost a lot of talent from last year’s Final Four team. Can they rebuild and contend again? Kansas fell from the top spot in the league standings and is hungry to return to the top. Azuibuike’s return, along with Devon Dotson makes them the favorites. Baylor will be tough with Tristan Clark returning from an injury-plagues season.

  1. Big East

Vitale’s PTP’er: Myles Powell, Seton Hall

Vitale’s Diaper Dandy: Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, Villanova

Vitale’s Game to Circle: Villanova at Seton Hall, Mar. 4

What I’m watching: After earning just four NCAA bids last year, this league will be a lot stronger. While many have Seton Hall and Villanova battling for league supremacy, keep an eye on a dangerous Xavier team with Naji Marshall leading the way. Marquette returns Markus Howard, and Georgetown, Providence and Creighton can all make noise.

  1. AAC

Vitale’s PTP’er: Jarron Cumberlad, Cincinnati

Vitale’s Diaper Dandy: James Wiseman, Memphis

Vitale’s Game to Circle: Memphis at Houston, Mar. 8

What I’m watching: Penny Hardaway’s young Memphis team has created a buzz with Wiseman and Precious Achiuwa. Houston will be right up there with Quentin Grimes, the transfer from Kansas, declared eligible. Cincinnati will be in the mix under first-year coach John Brannen as Mick Cronin left for the UCLA job. South Florida has a lot of returning talent and could surprise.

  1. Pac-12

Vitale’s PTP’er: McKinley Wright, Colorado

Vitale’s Diaper Dandy: Nico Mannion, Arizona

Vitale’s Game to Circle: Oregon at Arizona, Feb. 22

What I’m watching: The league will bounce back. Arizona has reloaded with several diaper dandies, including starters Nico Mannion and Josh Green, plus transfers Max Hazzard and Jermarl Baker. Washington has top-flight diaper dandy Isaiah Stewart. Oregon has Peyton Pritchard back and will contend. All eyes will be on Mick Cronin at UCLA. USC added a pair of diaper dandies and could surprise.

  1. WCC

Vitale’s PTP’er: Jordan Ford, St. Mary's

Vitale’s Diaper Dandy: Anton Watson, Gonzaga

Vitale’s Game to Circle: Gonzaga at St, Mary’s, Feb. 8

What I’m watching: Once again, it is a two-team race between favorite Gonzaga and St. Mary’s. The Zags may be a little bit deeper, though Killian Tillie is already hurt again. This is a league with a lot of individual talent that does not get enough national respect. BYU’s Yoeli Childs is a star. Ford is an outstanding all-around players. Charles Minlend of San Francisco is worthy of praise. The Gaels and Zags battle for #1.

  1. A-10

Vitale’s PTP’er: Kellan Grady, Davidson

Vitale’s Diaper Dandy: Jameer Nelson Jr., George Washington

Vitale’s Game to Circle: Davidson at VCU, Feb. 7

What I’m watching: Davidson and VCU are the favorites in the league. Both have experienced starters returning and that makes a difference. Kellan Grady should average 20 ppg. this season. A dangerous sleeper is Dayton, which returns forward Obi Toppin, last season’s A-10 Freshman of the Year.

  1. Mountain West

Vitale’s PTP’er: Sam Merrill, Utah State

Vitale’s Diaper Dandy: KJ Hymes, Nevada

Vitale’s Game to Circle: Utah State at San Diego State, Feb. 1

What I’m watching: Utah State is the clear-cut favorite and Craig Smith’s team could go to the Sweet 16. Sam Merrill is on numerous All-America lists and he can flat-out shoot the rock. San Diego State, Nevada, Boise State and Fresno State figure to be competitive but are probably shooting for second in the conference standings. Keep an eye on Steve Alford in his first season at Nevada.

Week of November 11, 2019

 

Each week I’ll write about the world of sports:

*Joe Burrow was brilliant and LSU got a huge win at Alabama. Can the Tide bounce back and get into the playoff picture?

*Minnesota remained unbeaten with a great victory over Penn State. A salute to coach PJ Fleck, who has done a remarkable job.

*A four-game suspension is too severe involving Ohio State star Chase Young. He paid back a loan and it played zero role in his recruitment. Come on NCAA, do what is right and allow Chase back NOW!

*Tough defense by Duke helped to create 28 turnovers, which was a major reason why Duke won 68-66 over Kansas. Remember this was game 1 and the Jayhawks will definitely improve in that area. Amazing that the Jayhawks were in the game despite the lack of offensive efficiency.

*Wow, hard to believe with shot clock and three-point shot that Virginia held a power five conference team a la Syracuse at home to 34 points. Players move on, but the system of Tony Bennett remains and that just means SUCCESS!

*The Ravens have had a super season and Lamar Jackson is a legit MVP candidate. Not a surprise he Ravens beat up the winless Bengals.

Week of November 11, 2019

 

Up

LSU won at Alabama.

Minnesota remained unbeaten by knocking off Penn State.

The Packers got past the Panthers.

The Steelers edged the Rams.

The Ravens blew out the winless Bengals.

Baylor rallied to beat TCU.

Ohio State destroyed Maryland.

Damian Lillard had a 60-point game but the Blazers lost.

Duke knocked off Kansas.

Kentucky upset Michigan State.

The Raiders moved to 5-4.

Minnesota gave football coach PJ Fleck a seven-year extension.

The Cardinals gave manager Mike Schildt a new three-year deal.

Northeastern’s Jordan Roland 81 points in first two games. Had 44 in win over Harvard.

 

Down

Arkansas fired football coach Chad Morris.

The Saints lost to the Falcons.

The Giants lost to the Jets.

The Colts lost to the Dolphins.

Florida hoops was held to 51 by Florida State.

Gordon Hayward suffered a broken hand.

Kyle Lowery suffered  a fractured thumb.

Ohio State’s Chase Young sat out the Maryland game due to possible NCAA violation.

Northwestern football fell to 1-8.

Pittsburgh hoops lost to Nicholls State.

Washington State and Michigan State football both fell to 4-5.

Hawks star John Collins suspended 25 games

Dolphins RB Mark Walton suspended four games.

Cam Newton is out for the rest of the season.

DeSean Jackson suffered a torn abdominal muscle.

Browns S Jermaine Whitehead waived after twitter rant.

Alabama hoops lost to Penn.

Nebraska hoops lost to UC-Riverside and Southern Utah.

More Articles ...

  1. Weekly Awards

Quote of the Week

"Party big time in the Twin Cities. A tip of the hat to the Golden Gophers with a superb 31-26 W over Penn State. The Gophers are for real!”

-Dick Vitale