Okay, time to take a spin through the conference schedules and see who has
cojones and who is content to play Elon as often as possible. So of course we start with State and Clemson. State boasts that they have "15 games against teams that participated in last season's NCAA Tournament,"
but...uh....10 are against ACC teams, and one is in the ACC-Big 10/1 Challenge.
In other words, they can't get out of them.
Otherwise, they have Temple, UMass, and Syracuse, a team they should have
beaten last year.
Aside from Elon, the Pack takes on Wofford, Asheville, JMU, and Prairie View.
Why is the glorious tradition of N.C. State being wasted this way?
To Support DBR
Danger, Will Robinson! Charleston Southern.
Clemson has a fraction of State's tradition, and a fraction of their
schedule, too. Patsy patrol: Morris Brown, Wofford, Coastal Carolina, ASU, Elon,
Winthrop, Hartford, and Yale.Â Games they can't avoid: South Carolina and
Penn State, played in the challenge. If they win these games, they only have to
get 7 wins to make the NIT, and Sendek will live to fight another day.
Danger, Will Robinson! Charleston Southern, maybe Winthrop again.
Â Florida State also boasts of many NCAA tourney opponents, but again,
most are from the ACC.
Patsy Patrol: Savannah State, Elon,Â Birmingham Southern, WCU, Cleveland
State, American (should be anyway), Campbell.Â They should be able to beat
Northwestern in the Challenge, but Bill Carmody is not your typical Northwestern
coach. If by some miracle they could beat Florida (let's not forget the Duke
curse here), they could possibly start out 6-0 before meeting Wake.Â They
might be able to go 9-3 or better in the first 12 games.
Danger, Will Robinson! Lots of danger for the 'Noles. Jeff Jones at
American, Virginia Tech, Northwestern.Â But reason for optimism
So how about Tech?
Glad you asked! Patsy Patrol: Florida A&M, Penn (sort of anyway), Wofford,
Indiana University-Purdue University (these guys might beat themselves up), and
Cornell.Â Not too bad.
On the power side of the ledger, a few good teams in the Las Vegas
Invitational, which we're assuming was moved out of the casino ballroom
to....Green Valley High School??? Good grief.Â Syracuse is on the schedule
Wisconsin could be tough, but who knows. That's an ugly transition up there.
Danger, Will Robinson! Davidson. Always smart, always well coached.
Virginia opens the season against Wagner. Memo to Gillen - watch out for
these guys. That's a joke. For those of you who can't remember, Wagner beat Duke
in Cameron at the beginning of the K era.
Patsy Patrol: ETSU, Howard, Grambling.Â UVa gets a pass on playing VMI.
On the beefier side of things, Michigan State - great matchup -Â
Charleston Southern (are they trying to join the league?),Â Missouri,
Auburn, a team they should beat like a rented mule, Georgetown, and possibly
Pretty impressive, actually.
Danger, Will Robinson! Virginia Tech and ETSU.Â Tech has Bobby
Stokes, one of the smarter players in ACC memory, coaching now, and ETSU is a
basketball school despite the somewhat backwater location.Â Every so often
they rise up.
In UNC's case, an interesting year. They can reasonably be expected to be
down, even if only by Smith-like standards. The talent is lacking or
unseasoned.Â Â So we'll see. The schedule has some real highlights.
Patsy Patrol: Hampton, Binghampton, A&T, Texas A&M (we don't care
what anyone says, any team named A&M should never beat an ACC school,
period), Charleston,Â and Ohio. Ohio,Â and Davidson are tough calls.
Ordinarily, yeah patsies. But we'll have to see how UNC is before determining
On the power side? Indiana in the challenge, Kentucky, and UConn. Not as fine
as Virginia's, but a prudent schedule.
Danger, Will Robinson! Ohio. They had a solid year and fired their
coach, who is working for Herb Sendek now.Â We don't know who they have
back, but with a solid nucleus, it could be trouble.Â And Davidson. They're
going to love a crack at UNC, and the coach is Doherty's old high school coach.
Here's the question for Maryland: can they handle being targets? The
backcourt can. How about the rest?
We'll make our first DBR prediction of the year: Arizona beats Maryland in
the Coaches vs. Cancer game. They could lose to either Florida or Temple in the
consolation game, and then the pressure game starts in a big way.
Why do we say Arizona could win? Because. Lute Olson will relish being
underestimated, and the pressure of expectations will make Gary, well, sweat.
Well come on, it's the only word which fits. We're not making fun of him, not
Patsy Patrol: American, Delaware State,Â Monmouth, Norfolk State,
Toughies:Â The Coaches vs. Cancer Field, Illinois (challenge opponent),
Princeton,Â Oklahoma.Â Give Gary credit. This schedule is one
Kevorkian could love.
Danger, Will Robinson! Detroit. This is not a team to take lightly.
Yes, they get the leftovers in Detroit after Michigan State, Michigan, and,
lately, Missouri.Â This is a very tough team, well coached, and dangerous.
Finally, Duke. We know the Duke stuff the best, of course.Â The tough
pre-season with an experienced team - that's what it's always like. So off to
Hawaii and a tough field, with Duke, Kansas, UCLA, South Carolina, Seton Hall,
an always tough Ball State. Seriously. They are a solid program. Kansas, Dave
Odom, and UCLA would all love to smack Duke around.Â Then Iowa in the
challenge, Temple and Michigan at Ann Arbor with Tommy Amaker in charge,
Kentucky in the Meadowlands,Â San Diego State, with Steve Fisher, a rising
program,Â BC at BC, and St. John's in Cameron.
Patsy Patrol: Portland, A&T,...that's about it, really. We don't think
Davidson is a patsy, as we said.Â San Diego State will likely lose, but
they are a fast-improving program.
Danger, Will Robinson! BC. They're still mad about last year, and the
game is in their place, which will be white-hot.