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DICK'S PICKS

 

2019 - 2020 Season

March 9, 2020

 

1-Kansas

2-Dayton

3-Gonzaga

4-Baylor

5-Florida St

6-San Diego State

7-BYU

8-Kentucky

9-Duke

10-Maryland

11-Oregon

12-Creighton

13-Louisville

14-Villanova

15-Virginia

16-Michigan State

17-Seton Hall

18-Auburn

19-Wisconsin

20-Ohio State

21-Stephen F. Austin

22-East Tennessee State

23-Illinois

24-Iowa

25-Richmond

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 June 1st, 2020

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

*The  2020-21 season of ⁦Iowa hoops will be determined by the decision of ⁦Luka Garza. He’s unsure if he'll stay in the NBA draft or return to Iowa.

*I don’t think Gerrit Cole will miss on paying his bills if he gets the lower salary. I just hope baseball comes back as my Rayscould be the best in the AL East.

*Sonny Vaccaro has never received the credit and dollars he deserves for putting his neck on the line to get Nike

 to sign Michael Jordan before he starred in the NBA.

*So sad to hear of the passing of Chris Dufresne, who was a 40-year guy with the LA Times. Over the years, I had several chats with him about hoops. Yes, he was a legend in football. Chris had strong opinions but always great integrity and was so fair. Please RIP.

*This is an ugly soap opera for ⁦Kansas athletics as they should have just paid off Dave Beaty, the ex-football coach, after firing him instead  of embarrassing the school.

*Great news for ⁦UCLLA, having Johnny Juzang eligible as he will help Mick Cronin. 

Week of June 1st, 2020

 

Up

The Panthers signed CB Eli Apple.

Arizona hired Jason Terry as an assistant coach.

Georgia signed former USC QB JT Daniels.

Chase Elliott won a race in Charlotte.

Gilbert Burns beat Tyron Woodley in a UFC battle.

Down

The 2020 Basketball Hall of Fame induction was cancelled.

The 2020 Boston Marathon was cancelled.

Hundreds of minor leaguers cut.

LJ Figueroa of St. John’s entered the transfer portal.

The College Football Hall of Fame was damaged.

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“We need to take this Coronavirus seriously. Listen to the experts."

-Dick Vitale