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DICK'S PICKS FOR 2020-2021 SEASON

 

2020 - 2021 Season

March 15th, 2021

 

  1. Gonzaga
  2. Illinois
  3. Houston
  4. Alabama
  5. Baylor
  6. Michigan
  7. Ohio State
  8. Texas
  9. Oklahoma State
  10. Iowa
  11. Kansas
  12. Arkansas
  13. West Virginia
  14. Virginia
  15. Virginia Tech
  16. Georgia Tech
  17. Tennessee
  18. Texas Tech
  19. Villanova
  20. Florida State
  21. San Diego State
  22. Loyola-Chicago
  23. Purdue
  24. Creighton
  25. Oregon

Dick Vitale's View

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.

Weekly Awards

Week of April 12th, 2021

PTP’ER OF THE WEEK: Joe Musgrove
TEAM OF THE WEEK: Baylor basketball
SHOCK OF THE WEEK: Red Wings over Hurricanes
STOCK UP: Hideki Matsuyama
STOCK DOWN: Oklahoma City Thunder

This and That

Week of April 12th, 2021

 
Each week I’ll write about the world of sports:
  • Congratulations to Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama. He held on to win by one stroke at Augusta.
  • UCLA gave coach Mick Cronin an extension he deserved. The March Madness run ⁩is only the beginning . Speaking with ⁦Rock Pitino, who had Mick as an assistant, and he said that he is not surprised by his success. ⁦
  • Things happening in a positive way for Indiana basketball as Mike Woodson made a great hire in getting Dane Fife to return to Bloomington. Also learned veteran Race Thompson took his name out of the transfer portal and will return as a Hoosier!
  • Coaches are reshaping their rosters through the transfer portal. Kevin Willard has added help at Seton Hall with three new transfers in Kadary Richmond from Syracuse, Jamir Harris, a scorer from American and Alex Yetna, a rebounder from South Florida. Teams are searching for experience that will give them instant help.
  • I was saddened to learn of the passing of ⁦Detroit Pistons team Dr. Ben Paolucci as he loved the Pistons. It was a pleasure to work with such a caring man. My heart goes out to his family and friends. May he RIP.

Quote of the Week

“The Gonzaga-UCLA game was as good S it gets "

-Dick Vitale