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Big League Clu previews the college basketball top 10!

So now it begins….Mens college basketball season is almost underway, as the NCAA has just recently announced the pre-season top 25 rankings. I’m sure you die hard college hoops fans were patiently waiting to be the first ones in the building for midnight madness. HOWEVER…due to the impact of Hurricane Sandy, I (along side some of my colleagues) was left in the dark for a little over a week. Now, due to pressed time, I am forced to forego teams #11-25 in my post and shift all of my efforts to the top 10… Don’t worry though, I am sure I will be talking about your favorite schools at some point throughout the basketball season. So lets get started shall we?

#10 Florida Gators

Yeguete will be one of the keys to Florida’s 2012/2013 season. (jgirl4858/flickr)

2011-2012 Record: 26-11 (10-6), lost in Elite 8

Florida rode an inspirational run all they way to the Elite 8 and, even though they lost to Louisville in the last minutes of that game (because they forgot how to make a basket apparently), they built a good foundation for the 2012/2013 season. There are a multitude of reasons why teams should fear the Gators in 2012. The first big reason is Junior Forward Will Yeguete (averaged 6.3 rebounds in 2011), who looks to come back from the broken foot that cut his season short last year. He actually scored 20 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in the exhibition game against Nebraska-Kearney last week. Florida’s main scoring threat is senior Kenny Boynton (shot 40% from 3 point range in 2011/12). Florida’s team is chock full of veteran players, and some young explosive talent, so watch out for Florida this season.

#9 Syracuse Orange

2011-2012 Record: 34-3 (17-1), Big East regular season champions (lost in Elite 8)

Someone’s gonna have to step up… is it CJ Fair? (AP)

You would think that coming off one of their best seasons (record wise) since 2003 (yes ‘Cuse fans it has been 10 years since they won that National championship), that the Orange would be rebuilding in 2012? After all, they did lose their senior leaders in Joseph and Jardine, sophomore swingman Dion Waiters and of course the notorious Fab Melo to the NBA. But guess again, as they did manage to bring back some good underclassmen like Centers Rakeem Christmas and Moussa Baye-Keita and Forward CJ Fair, who is one of the most underrated players in the Big East. They also have new senior leadership. PG Brandon Triche, who had 23 points in the exhibition game vs Bloomsburgh, and Forward James Southerland, who was #1, absolutely clutch during the Orange run in the NCAA tourney and #2, crazy for having that absurd looking getup (check it out here), are both ready to step up an lead. Let’s not forget to mention the fact that ‘Cuse managed to also add a TON of talented freshman, such as guard Trevor Cooney, Forward Jeremi Grant and Center DuJuan Coleman (that’s the son of the former great Syracuse Center Derrick Coleman for those of you who didn’t know). Watch out. Syracuse is going to be a dangerous team in 2012.

#8 Duke Blue Devils

2011-2012 Record: 27-7 (13-3), lost in 1st round)

Can Seth Curry play like Stephen did and lead Duke back to glory? (Blue Devil Nation)

Duke looks to move on from the 2011/12 season, as they wash that awful taste of defeat from that crazy upset loss they suffered against Lehigh in the first round of the NCAA tournament, out of their mouths. At least Coach K had the summer olympics to help ease the pain of that loss a little. Anywho, what can I say about Duke that everyone doesn’t already know? Last season they had four players who averaged over 11 ppg, but on the flip side, apparently nobody remembered how to pass the ball! That is what they need to work on this year, as they ranked 204th in the nation in assists as a team last season. Their main go to guy this year will be senior G Seth Curry (13.2 ppg in 2011), who comes in as one of the pre-season favorites in the ACC. Regardless of how well they can pass the ball, one thing is for sure…the Blue Devils will be at the top of the ACC fighting for another conference title, and of course contending for a national championship.

#7 Kansas Jayhawks

2011-2012 Record: 32-7 (16-2), Big 12 regular season champs (lost in NCAA title game)

If you don’t like Kansas at number six, Jeff Withey will get angry. (Nick Krug)

Kansas is back this season, and it looks as if it might be a rebuilding year for the Jayhawks. They have a lot of questions in their back court, as they lost their biggest players in Thomas Robinson and Tyshawn Taylor to the NBA. They do, however, bring a very experienced group of players back. The only problem is that a lot of these guys were bench players last year! The main player to watch out for will be senior C Jeff Withey (9 ppg, 6.3 rpg), as he will be the anchor underneath the boards that should help keep the Jayhawks in contention in the Big 12 this season.

#6 North Carolina State Wolfpack

2011-2012 Record: 24-13 (9-7), lost in Sweet 16

People might be surprised to see NC State ranked this high, but CJ Leslie isn’t. (Hoop Doctors)

For once there is another team who will contend in ACC not named Duke or UNC… sort of. It’s NC State! Who would have known? Anywho, many of you probably remember the Wolfpack’s run in the NCAA tournament, where they fell just short of reaching the Elite 8 by three points! Well it looks like they’re back with a vengeance and ready to shake things up in the ACC.  The Wolfpack bring back their top four scorers from last season (C.J. Leslie, Lorenzo Brown, Scott Wood & Richard Howell). This is a very experienced group of guys who have played together for a few seasons now, and know how to run the floor in Raleigh. I expect them to be at the top of the rankings for a while.

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About Big League Clu

Clu Haywood leads the league in most offensive categories, including nose hair. When he sneezes, he looks like a party favor. Also, he's been known to hit the ball "too high" and alleges to have illegitimately fathered Jake Tayor's non-existent children. You can also find him on Twitter @bigleagueclu