This morining, The Hoops Report asks, "Is it too early to predict the 2010 Final Four?" Well, since we don't even know who will be playing for many top teams right now due to draft ambitions, I'm thinking, "probably." But what the heck, let's play along for the nonce. His picks are:
Kansas. It's easy to see why with the entire roster plus the Henrys back from a Sweet 16 appearance this year.
Duke. Yes, they will be very good, and if they were to somehow land John Wall, no doubt they belong here. But I really think the loss of Henderson will be felt much more than the author thinks.
Kentucky. His choice of Kentucky is predicated mostly on the return of both Patrick Patterson and Jodie Meeks, and I think that is right.
Texas. Again, Texas is largely predicated on what Damien James does during his flirtation with the NBA.
Washington is the first Pac-10 entry. The Huskies bring in some top talent along with key returning players.
California is next. California made a little noise in mid season but fell back. Next year they could stick.
North Carolina. This is very obvious. Quality recruits and returning players.
Clemson. Many good players returning.
Wake Forest's membership in this club is dependent upon Jeff Teague.
Xavier. I doubt this one due to the coaching change, but the talent is there.
Villanova. Definitely a contender, especially if Reynolds returns.
Michigan State. Probably would be the favorite along with Kansas and UNC if I were ranking them.
And now, the news.
Kentucky Basketball News
UK plays UConn next year in the SEC/Big-East invitational. As Dick Weiss says, it sounds delicious.
- Calipari's assistants get academic incentives. It's really nice to see that UK's APR score was in the top ten. It is disappointing that the basketball team was the only UK team to make the APR top ten.
- Stone Cold Sports has a debate about the same question so many other sportswriters have raised -- how long will it be before UK draws an NCAA investigation under Calipari? I find it interesting that Joe Dwyer thinks that the Kentucky fans and program will make sure that Calipari does not go off the reservation. I think he has a point.
- The Henry's putative decision to go to KU has affected several recruiting situations. Jerry Meyer of Rivals runs them down. Especially interesting is Meyer's comment that Coach Cal may snatch up one of Louisville's prime targets, Marquis Teague.
- [UPDATE 1] Henrys officially commit to Kansas.
- [UPDATE 1] Check out this poll.
- [UPDATE 1] Now we know why John Wall won't go to the NBA -- he promised his dad before he died that he wouldn't go straight from high school to the Association.
- [UPDATE 1] John Wall is above average. Video included. Plus, more from John Clay -- Wall says he is pretty close to making the call.
- [UPDATE 1] Memphis signee Darnell Dodson likely to follow Calipari to Kentucky
- [UPDATE 1] Some situational statistics on power forwards from Draft Express. Patrick Patterson converts 73% of his opportunities around the basket.
- [UPDATE 1] Hypocritical U of L fans?
Kentucky Football News
The Bulldogs Blog has an excellent interview with Chip Cosby of the Herald-Leader discussing the status of the UK football team. This is a must-read with a ton of great insights.
- Aaron Boyd depends on his older brother Shane for advice and help. I can understand why Aaron feels a bit disappointed in last year, and I think given the setback with mononucleosis, many of our fans were surprisingly harsh in their criticism. I look for Aaron to make a real impact this year.
- Myron Pryor is ready to bring the heat.
- Mike Hartline finishes spring as the clear starting quarterback. He will have even more comp this fall when the two highly touted freshmen, Newton and Mossakowski, arrive on campus.
Other Kentucky Sports News
#12 UK faces Arkansas in the first round of the SEC tennis tournament today.
Freshman pitcher Rachel Riley pitches a shutout in softball against EKU.
- Bat Cats drop another game, this time to Evansville. Kentucky travels to Tuscaloosa this weekend for a series with the Tide.
NCAA Sports News
- Tyler Smith takes the expected step of making himself available for the NBA draft.
- Louisville loses a committed recruit to -- Europe? Man, the Cards are just having all kinds of fun this off-season.
- [UPDATE 1] Nolan Dennis decides on Baylor.
- [UPDATE 1] Ty Lawson and Wayne Ellington will announce this afternoon if they will return for their senior season at UNC.
Other News of Interest
- The Herald-Leader finally weighs in on Pitino, and it's John Clay.
- Eight entered for the Derby Trial. Derby day is rapidly approaching.
- The blonde and the damage done. I could write a 2000-word essay ripping Billy Reed's comments, but I don't have the desire to dedicate one microsecond to that douche.
- Good question.