What does that mean? Well, for starters that means there is going to be either college football and/or basketball on every damn day of the week! Glorious.
The season kicks off in 2-3 weeks depending on schedules. Yes, that tends to mean weak match ups between D-II schools taking on in-state D-I schools.
1. Purdue- Robbie Hummel will notch top honors
2. MSU-Ranked in the preseason top 10....again. Let's see if Izzo can deliver.
3. UW- Great backcourt, the loss of Butch will be felt inside though.
4. Minnesota- Two more years and MN will be tops in the Big Ten.
5. OSU-BJ Mullins will be fun to watch, still too many ingredients missing.
6. Iowa- Don't know too much about them this year.
7. Illinois-Webber will start the season on the hot seat. This could be his last season here.
8. Michigan- No hope.
9. NW- Big Ten doormat
11. Indiana- Crean has far too many problems, good riddance.
I think that Purdue will make the Final Four. They are returing all 5 starters from a team that surprised the living hell out of the entire conference, and put them back on the map. Great coach and a supporting cast for the Mr. Clutch (Hummel).
Final Four 2009 (impossible to predict with regions)
Purdue - Louisville - Gonzaga - Oklahoma
Petino delivers Louisville a title.
Best conference: Big East...by far. There is not a conference out there that can compete with this top league. From top to bottom, this is THE best league.
Marquette will have a good showing this year, despite my hatred for them. That could very well change though because my beloved Milwaukee Panthers will be slightly above average this season. With Buzz Williams bringing back McNeal, James, and Mathews the Screamin' Eagles will compete with the UCONN's and Louisville's of the Big East. They came very very close to the elite 8 last season. Buzz is a players coach and he recruited all of these players even while Crean was there. Recruits first fell in love with Buzz, then Crean built of that trust.
As for Milwaukee.... I don't know what to say. The Jeter era has been a disappointment for this Panther fan. Yea-yea, he had a one-and-done appearence in the big dance a couple of years back....with Pearl's team. Make no mistake about it, if Jeter doesn't have a better record this season...he will be given his walking papers. I just don't have anything good to say about the guy's coaching skills. He's a nice guy, hell, I would say "hi" to him on my way to class every day. But he hasn't brought in the kind of players they need. A number of them lack character and Jeter has had his hands full with off the court incidents.
Ricky Franklin will head the charge along with a number of juco transfers. Avery Smith will also return after being kicked of the team. Cleveland State is picked to win the Horizon and thankfully Butler will have a down season. I predict a 4th place finish. UWGB second.