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Takeaways and observations from the opening weekend of March Madness

The madness is under way and it is as awesome as ever. Nine lower seeded teams won in the first (technically the second) round. Four more upsets occurred en route to the Sweet Sixteen. Here are some takeaways, observations, facts, and figures about the first three rounds of the 2013 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament:

  • A No. 12 seed has defeated a No. 5 seed in 11 of the past 12 seasons and in 22 of the past 24 years. 2013 was no exception; in fact, it was even more extreme than normal. Three No. 12 seeds (Oregon, California, and Ole Miss) pulled off an upset against a No. 5 seed (Oklahoma State, UNLV, and Wisconsin).
  • For the first time ever, a No. 3, No. 4, and No. 5 seed in the same region lost in the round of 64. New Mexico, Kansas State, and Wisconsin were defeated in the West Region.
  • The Mountain West, which was the toughest conference in the country in the regular season according to RPI, has been completely eliminated from the tournament after a 2-5 showing for its five teams that made the tourney.
  • The Pac-12 may have been under-seeded and is getting hot at the right time. Two Pac-12 teams with No. 12 seeds (California and Oregon) defeated No. 5 seeds and the conference put two teams (Arizona and Oregon) in the Sweet Sixteen. Arizona defeated No. 11 seed Belmont by 17 points and No. 14 seed Harvard by 23. Oregon topped No. 5 seed Oklahoma State by 13 points and No. 4 seed Saint Louis by 17.
  • Teams from the state of Florida are 6-0 and all three (No. 2 seed Miami, No. 3 seed Florida, and No. 15 seed Florida Gulf Coast) are in the Sweet Sixteen. Florida and Florida Gulf Coast will face each other on Friday.
  • Big Ten Tournament Champion Wisconsin is the only Big Ten team that did not win a game in the tournament. The conference is 10-3 and has a team in the Sweet Sixteen in each region.
  • For the third year in a row, there was a matchup between a No. 12 seed and No. 13 seed in the round of 32. No. 12 seed Ole Miss and No. 13 seed La Salle faced off in the West Region. Last year it was No. 12 South Florida and No. 13 Ohio that matched up in the Midwest Region and two years ago No. 12 seed Richmond and No. 13 seed Morehead State played in the Southwest Region.
  • No. 13 seed La Salle is doing its best to model itself after 2011 Virginia Commonwealth, who was a No. 11 seed. The Rams played in the First Four before making a Final Four run, where they lost to No. 8 seed Butler. The La Salle Explorers finished tied for third in the A-10, then defeated No. 13 seed Boise State, No. 4 seed Kansas State, and No. 12 seed Ole Miss to reach the Sweet Sixteen. They will face No. 9 seed Wichita State on Thursday.
No. 13 seed La Salle will attempt to follow Virginia Commonwealth's footsteps as a First Four team to make the Final Four. (Image courtesy of www.usatoday.com)
No. 13 seed La Salle will attempt to follow Virginia Commonwealth’s footsteps as a First Four team to make the Final Four. (Image courtesy of http://www.usatoday.com)
  • Only two of the four Naismith Award finalists remain in the tournament–Indiana’s Victor Oladipo and Michigan’s Trey Burke. Georgetown’s Otto Porter Jr. and Creighton’s Doug McDermott did not make it out of the first weekend.
  • The main color of the past nine NCAA Champions was blue. Eight (Duke, La Salle, Arizona, Marquette, Florida Gulf Coast, Florida, Michigan, and Kansas) of the remaining schools have blue as their main color.

Reactions to college basketball conference awards

Where I agree:

  • ACC Coach of the Year-Jim Larrañaga-University of Miami: The U was projected fourth in the ACC preseason coaches poll and the Hurricanes did not receive a single first place vote. Larrañaga led a Miami team with four fifth-year seniors and a flashy sophomore point guard to the school’s first ACC Championship. The Hurricanes were ranked as high as second in the country and will likely be a No. 2 or No. 3 seed in the NCAA Tournament. 
  • Big Ten Player of the Year-Trey Burke-University of Michigan: The Big Ten POY race came down to two players–Burke and Indiana guard Victor Oladipo. There wasn’t a wrong choice but I think that the Michigan sophomore was more deserving. Trey Burke averaged 19.2 points, 3.2 rebounds and 6.8 assists per game this season and had a strong finish to Michigan’s Big Ten schedule by scoring at least 20 points in five of the team’s final six games. He won the game against Michigan State by picking Keith Appling’s pocket in the final 30 seconds and giving Michigan a two-point advantage with a dunk at the other end; he makes Michigan go. While Burke’s efficiency isn’t ideal (20 points on 20 shots and 25 points on 24 shots against Indiana, 19 points on 21 shots against Wisconsin, 19 points on 19 shots against Illinois, etc.), he gets the job done. Both Oladipo and Burke have talented running mates but Indiana has more depth and offensive weapons, including the preseason national player of the year in sophomore center Cody Zeller.
Michigan sophomore point guard Trey Burke sealed a victory for the Wolverines when he stole the ball from Keith Appling on March 3. (Image courtesy of www.freep.com)
Michigan sophomore point guard Trey Burke sealed a victory for the Wolverines when he stole the ball from Keith Appling on March 3. (Image courtesy of http://www.freep.com)
  • Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year-Victor Oladipo-Indiana University: Ohio State point guard Aaron Craft is probably the best on-the-ball defender in the country and he showed the Hoosiers his peskiness on March 5 when he led the Buckeye defensive effort that resulted in 12 Indiana turnovers. However, Oladipo is a more versatile defender. Oladipo can lock down almost any player from a point guard to a power forward. He has had multiple 20+ deflection games this season and has 69 steals (Craft has 60, for a point of comparison). There was no way that Victor Oladipo was going to go home empty handed on both the Big Ten POY and DPOY awards.

Where I disagree:

  • ACC Player of the Year-Erick Green-Virginia Technical Institute: It’s time to dust off the files containing the arguments about whether or not Alex Rodriguez should have won A.L. MVP in 2003 when the Texas Rangers finished 71-91 and were 25 games out of first place in the A.L. West. This is a similar situation in a different sport but this time there is no discussion. This is blatantly wrong. Green’s Hokies finished dead last in the ACC with a 13-18 (4-14) record. Three of Virginia Tech’s conference wins came against the three teams that are immediately ahead of them in the league’s standings–Georgia Tech, Wake Forest and Clemson, whose cumulative record is six games below .500. Yes, Green leads the country in scoring at 25.4 points per game but  VT hasn’t accomplished much this season besides knocking off then-No. 15 Oklahoma State on Dec. 1. What’s wrong with Miami’s Shane Larkin, who led the ACC Champion Hurricanes in points, assists, steals and three-point percentage? What’s wrong with Mason Plumlee, who averaged 17 points and 10 rebounds per game for the No. 2 Blue Devils? The ACC voters were way off in their POY vote. 
  • SEC Player of the Year-Kentavious Caldwell-Pope-University of Georgia: I have a similar beef with the SEC voters that I do with the ACC voters. The Georgia Bulldogs finished 9-9 in the SEC. They tied for eighth place in a power 6 conference that barely has three teams in the current projection of the 68-team NCAA Tournament field that will be released on Sunday. There’s no doubt that Caldwell-Pope is a good player–he is in the top 10 in the SEC in nine of the 13 statistical categories. Plus, he is projected to be a future first round draft pick in the NBA. However, the combination of his occasional struggles with inefficiency and inability to excel against ranked opponents do not make him deserving of the honor. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope had difficulties with inefficiency in the beginning (17 points on 21 shots against Souther Mississippi on 11/15), the middle (16 points on 18 shots against Georgia Tech on 12/4 and 19 points on 19 shots against Ole Miss on 2/16) and the end (14 points on 15 shots against Alabama on 3/9) of the season. Coincidentally, Georgia lost all of those games. Also, Caldwell-Pope scored below his 18 ppg average in all five of UGA’s games against ranked opponents. In fact, he averaged nearly four fewer points. Star players step up in big games instead of backing down. Maybe I should just accept the SEC’s POY award as a sign of how bad the conference is this season but I think that Tennessee’s Jordan McRae was robbed. The Vols tied for fifth in the SEC and are only a win or two from making the tournament. McRae led UT in scoring with a 16.2 points per game average but he averaged over 24 in the team’s final seven games. In that stretch, Tennessee went 6-1, demolished No. 25 Kentucky by 30 points, defeated No. 8 Florida and McRae scored over 34 points on two occasions.

Week 15 NCAA men’s basketball power rankings

During Week 15 of last year’s college basketball season, it was evident that the Kentucky Wildcats were the premier team in college basketball and UK’s freshman center Anthony Davis was the best player in the country. The Wildcats had  a 25-1 record, with their only slip up being a 73-72 loss at Indiana early in December that will forever be remembered for the “Wat Shot.” Kentucky lost only one more game, the SEC Championship, the rest of the season and lived up to expectations by winning last year’s NCAA Tournament.

There is no Kentucky this year. In the past six weeks, the No. 1 team has changed five teams. No one has separated from the pack and any team that enters the top five seems to play hot potato with the No. 1 spot by losing. Last week, four of the top five teams–Indiana, Florida, Michigan and Kansas–in the Associated Press Top 25 Poll lost at least once. Kansas dropped consecutive games for the first time since November 21-22, 2005. Every team in the latest AP Poll has at least two losses, the average number of losses per top 25 team is slightly over four and No. 20 Wisconsin has seven.

So what does it all mean?

A) The NCAA Tournament Selection Committee are going to have a difficult time determining the field of the 68 teams that make it to the Big Dance.

and

B) Once the teams and seeds are finalized, the national championship is truly up for grabs.

Without further adieu, here are my NCAA men’s basketball power rankings for Week 15:

1. Miami Hurricanes (19-3, 10-0)-Miami is the only team in one of the power six conferences to have a perfect conference record. The Hurricanes’ 10-0 record in ACC play has given Miami a two-game cushion over Duke. The Hurricanes have proven that they can run traditional college basketball powerhouses out of the gym as seen by their 27-point win against Duke and 26-point victory over North Carolina.

The Miami Hurricanes are the only team in a power six conference that is undefeated in conference play. (Image courtesy of http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/11/29/3118194/win-signals-progress-for-miami.html)
The Miami Hurricanes are the only team in a power six conference that is undefeated in conference play. (Image courtesy of http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/11/29/3118194/win-signals-progress-for-miami.html)

2. Indiana Hoosiers (21-3, 9-2)-Indiana let an 11-point lead with seven minutes remaining against Illinois slip away, which could been a major concern for the Hoosiers if it wasn’t for IU’s bounce back win at No. 10 Ohio State. The 81-68 victory was Indiana’s first road win over a ranked opponent since 2002 and kept the Hoosiers atop the AP Poll.

3. Michigan Wolverines (21-3, 8-3)-If Ben Brust’s half-court prayer didn’t force overtime in Madison, Wisc. and eventually lead to a Badgers victory, Michigan would likely be No. 1 team in the country. The Big Ten’s abundance of tournament-bound teams has taken its toll on the Wolverines, who are tied for third in the conference with Wisconsin.

4. Duke Blue Devils (21-2, 8-2)-The Blue Devils have finally gotten their feet under them after losing senior forward Ryan Kelly to a foot injury. Duke lost two of its first three games without Kelly but have rattled off five straight wins as the team sits in second place in the ACC.

5. Michigan State (20-4, 9-2)-Don’t look now but the Spartans are tied for first in the Big Ten with Indiana. The Spartans still have to play Michigan twice as well as Indiana, Ohio State and Wisconsin a second time; if Sparty can survive the gauntlet, they have a shot at a No. 1 seed in March.

6. Florida Gators (19-3, 9-1)-The Gators should not be judged too harshly for their 80-69 loss to Arkansas. Every team has off nights and Florida showed that their lone conference loss was a fluke. They returned to their prior form by beating Mississippi State by 25 on Saturday.

7. Gonzaga Bulldogs (23-2, 10-0)-Barring a horrible loss or two, Gonzaga seems destined for a No. 2 seed with an outside chance to be a No. 1 if the teams in front of them don’t finish the regular season on high notes. The Bulldogs are a major question mark because of their weak conference schedule. They aren’t tested on a nightly basis the way that ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12 or Pac-12 teams are. Gonzaga played against three ranked opponents and lost two of those matchups, which could hint at an early exit in the tournament.

8. Syracuse Orange (20-3, 8-2)-If Syracuse can settle senior forward James Southerland’s eligibility issue, then the Orange may be the favorite to win the Big East and ‘Cuse could match last year’s Elite Eight appearance.

9. Kansas Jayhawks (20-4, 8-3)-Last week may have been the darkest period in the history of Kansas basketball with three losses. Texas Christian University’s first Big 12 win, an unexpected 62-55 upset of the Jayhawks, was sandwiched by Kansas losses to unranked Oklahoma State and Oklahoma. With four teams within one game of the conference lead, Kansas doesn’t have any more room for error in a wide open Big 12.

10. Arizona Wildcats (20-3, 8-3)-Arizona was one of the hottest teams in the country and arguably the best team out West early in the season with wins against No. 5 Florida, Miami (Fla.) and No. 17 San Diego State during its 14-0 start. However, the Wildcats have started to show their true colors and fade from the spotlight with losses to unranked Oregon, UCLA and California.

February 2nd Blog: Chicago, General Admission ticket to No. 3 Indiana v. No. 1 Michigan

For the third time in five weeks, I went to Chicago, Ill. and this time it was with the Indiana University Ernie Pyle Scholars. On Thursday night, we networked with alumni and perspective students at Maggiano’s. We visited the Chicago Sun-Times and the Chicago Tribune on Friday. We ended the trip by seeing “Other Desert Cities” at the Goodman Theatre, which was a play that combined three of the things that I hate the most: people arguing politics, comedians who drop f-bombs in every other sentence because they think it makes them funnier, and people who jelly bean their clothing (a.k.a. wearing a monochromatic color scheme; in this case, all of the actors wore all white clothing for the opening scene). The end of the play marked the start of one of the most exciting days of my college experience: No. 3 Indiana hosting No. 1 Michigan on ESPN at Assembly Hall.

11:04 pm CT We leave the Hampton Inn & Suites hotel and board the charter bus. I pull the classic “put my backpack in the seat next to me and pretend to sleep” move in order to get two seats. It works to perfection and I get  the luxury of spreading out for my two hour nap.

11:35 pm CT We passed a McDonald’s in the middle of the freeway outside of Chicago near a toll booth and the United States’ struggles with obesity suddenly make much more sense.

12:00 am CT The bus sings happy birthday for a girl’s 21st birthday, which only livens the older students in the back of the bus and pushes everyone’s sleep schedules back another half an hour due to the noise.

4:23 am ET I wake up as the bus pulls into Bloomington. The volume level of the bus is only a low murmur and it is safe to say that I am clueless as to where we are. As I see the parking lot in front of Assembly Hall, I realize how insane, but commendable, it is for anyone to wait outside in the snow in the wee hours of the morning for ESPN’s College GameDay.

5:15 am ET After unpacking, it’s time for a quick nap before GameDay as the snow continues to fall.

I arrived in B-town with snow accumulating on the ground, which would make waiting in line for a General Admission seat even more challenging.
I arrived in B-town with snow accumulating on the ground, which would make waiting in line for a General Admission seat even more challenging.

6:00/6:05/6:30/6:41/6:59 am ET I wake up five times to my alarm and go back to bed after each time only to extremely regret it later.

11:03 am ET I wake up, this time for good, to realize that I slept through the start of College GameDay and my heart  shatters into a million pieces. I hop on to my laptop and get on Twitter to catch up on all of the clever signs and the cream and crimson-filled student section that I missed.

11:23 am ET My Twitter session is over and I am still trying to figure out what to do with my life. I decide that to redeem myself, I must get in the general admission line by 3 pm.

2:00 pm ET I order a burrito and a bag of Lays for lunch at the Wright Food Court before stopping in the Wright C-Store for a bag of sour gummy bears and a box of junior mints. Nice to meet you Freshman Fifteen!

2:41 pm ET One of my friends and I make the trek across campus to Assembly Hall to wait in the General Admission, where the daunting “pre-line” has formed. The GA line does not start until 3 pm and IU event security personnel defend the parking lot outside of Assembly Hall from the masses of IU students.

Indiana University students with General Admission tickets line up across the street from Assembly Hall in the "pre-line" before the GA line officially starts at 3 pm.
Indiana University students with General Admission tickets line up across the street from Assembly Hall in the “pre-line” before the GA line officially starts at 3 pm.

2:51 pm ET A group of fifteen to twenty kids manage to sneak past security and they make a mad dash to Assembly Hall behind Cook Hall, which is where the IU men and women’s basketball teams train. The students lining East 17th Street follow suit and it’s literally every man/woman for him/herself. With only three security personnel at the GA line, there are close to no rules. Cutting in line is rampant. Students hop fences and pack together in line like sardines even though the doors won’t open until 7:30 pm. We make it reasonably close to the door yet seem so far away, with nearly five hours to kill and a few hundred students in front of us. When the dust settles, no one has any room to move and one IU fan spends five minutes painting the white snow with his regurgitated breakfast of ramen noodles.

Our spot in line earned us 17th row seats after six and a half hours of waiting. I sat in the same row for the Indiana-Wisconsin game after arriving at Assembly Hall only 45 minutes early.
Our spot in line earned us 17th row seats after six and a half hours of waiting. I sat in the same row for the Indiana-Wisconsin game after arriving at Assembly Hall only 45 minutes early.

3:30 pm ET A sneaky Hoosier fan thinks that he can get away with cutting most of the GA line but with the help of two new, whiskey-loving friends we made in line, Leo and Oliver, we call attention to the cutter and the event staff kick him out of the line.

4:45 pm ET IU event security is severely outnumbered but manages to get the students in the GA line to spread out  after nearly an hour of arguing with students who cling to their spots in line as if it is their most prized possession.

Their is no shelter for fans in the GA line. Event staff tell students that they risk their spot in line by going to the bathroom.
Their is no shelter for fans in the GA line. Event staff tell students that they risk their spot in line by leaving to go to the bathroom.

6:32 pm ET ESPN college basketball analyst and former University of Michigan star basketball player Jalen Rose stops by the GA line to greet Indiana fans. He is met with mixed reactions; some ask for pictures with him and his autograph while others heckle him for his Michigan ties.

7:47 pm ET After hours of not feeling my toes and dealing with fans trying to cut the GA line, I make it inside Assembly Hall with my friends. We have 17th row seats that are close enough to see the expressions on the faces of players in their shoot-around and the hosts of ESPN’s College GameDay as they film their pre-game show.

ESPN's College Gameday is filmed with Indiana and Michigan players warming up in the background.
ESPN’s College GameDay pre-game show is filmed with Indiana and Michigan players warming up in the background.

11:08 pm ET Yogi Ferrell’s late free throws seal the deal for the Hoosiers as they knock off a No. 1 team at home for the second year in a row. Indiana wins 81-73 and will likely be No. 1 in next week’s polls after No. 2 Kansas lost earlier in the day to Oklahoma State. (If you watch the video closely, you can see Victor Oladipo doing a windmill dunk as time expires, which he later apologized for in Indiana’s post-game press conference.)

11:10 pm ET Indiana Coach Tom Crean celebrates with IU fans as photographers surround him in Assembly Hall.

Indiana Coach Tom Crean was not taken by surprise with this year's win over the No. 1 team as he was with last year's last second three-point shot by Christian Watford to defeat No. 1 Kentucky. After the post-game handshakes, he acknowledged the crowd and celebrated the victory with Indiana fans.
Indiana Coach Tom Crean was not taken by surprise with this year’s win over the No. 1 team as he was with last year’s last second three-point shot by Christian Watford to defeat No. 1 Kentucky. After the post-game handshakes, he acknowledged the crowd and celebrated the victory with Indiana fans.

The first college basketball stock report of 2013

Conference play is officially underway in most conferences, which means that it’s time to evaluate whether it’s time to buy, sell or hold stock in some of the country’s top college basketball teams.

BUY

Butler

Brad Stevens has the Butler Bulldogs looking up as they head into A-10 play. (Image courtesy of http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1446736-butlers-brad-stevens-the-most-job-secure-coach-in-college-basketball)
Brad Stevens has the Butler Bulldogs looking up as they head into A-10 play. (Image courtesy of http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1446736-butlers-brad-stevens-the-most-job-secure-coach-in-college-basketball)

The Bulldogs’ two losses came in the team’s first five games and since their loss to Illinois, who is currently ranked eleventh, Brad Stevens’ squad has rattled off nine straight victories, including a win over No. 1 Indiana. Butler is playing their trademark tough defense and the Bulldogs have wins over Marquette, North Carolina and Northwestern in addition to knocking off the Hoosiers. Butler is the favorite to win the A-10 and its stock can continue to rise with a good conference record.

VCU

The Rams suffered three early losses to Wichita State, who is likely the second best team in the Missouri Valley, Duke and Missouri. However, VCU rebounded and is 12-3 with favorable chances to win a wide open Atlantic 10.

Minnesota

The Golden Gophers started the season unranked but have won their way to the ninth spot in the rankings. Their lone loss was to Duke, which is certainly nothing to be ashamed of considering the Blue Devils’ success this season. Minnesota is on a nine game win streak and has won six consecutive games by double digits, with the latest being a 76-63 home win against No. 18 Michigan State.

Kansas State

In Bruce Weber’s first year as head coach of the Wildcats, Kansas State is off to an impressive 12-2 record. K-State lost to Michigan and Gonzaga early in the season but have put those behind them with wins over Florida and Oklahoma State. The Wildcats will be in the mix of teams competing for second place in the Big 12 behind Kansas.

Kentucky

UK was way overrated at No. 3 in the preseason but the Wildcats have had time to work out some of their kinks in their non-conference schedule. Ryan Harrow gives them a good option at point guard that they were missing early in the season. They lost to Duke and Louisville, two of the top four teams in the country, and Notre Dame in their first true road test. Many of the growing pains are out of the way and a top three finish in the SEC isn’t out of the question as the will compete with Florida and Missouri for the conference title.

SELL

Ohio State

Brandon Paul and the Fighting Illini handled their business against Ohio State and make basketball fans wonder how good the Buckeyes really are. (Image courtesy of http://www.toledoblade.com/Ohio-State/2013/01/05/No-11-Illinois-rebounds-with-home-win-over-No-8-Buckeyes-74-55.html)
Brandon Paul and the Fighting Illini handled their business against Ohio State and make basketball fans wonder how good the Buckeyes really are. (Image courtesy of http://www.toledoblade.com/Ohio-State/2013/01/05/No-11-Illinois-rebounds-with-home-win-over-No-8-Buckeyes-74-55.html)

The Buckeyes have faced three ranked teams-Duke, Kansas and Illinois-and lost all three games. With six ranked teams in the Big Ten, the Buckeyes will have to win big games, especially on the road, and they haven’t proven that they’re up to the challenge just yet.

Pittsburgh

The Panthers cracked the AP Top 25 with an appearance at No. 24 but it will be short-lived after losing to Cincinnati and Rutgers in their first two Big East games, which makes then tied for last place in the conference. Pittsburgh had two freshmen in the starting lineup, which could make for a slow start to conference play.

Cincinnati

Mick Cronin’s Bearcats reached as high as eighth in the rankings but Cincinnati lost to New Mexico and St. John’s in the team’s last three games. UC has a challenging next matchup when it hosts No. 21 Notre Dame on Monday.

Wisconsin

The Badgers entered the season in the AP Top 25 but fell quickly out of the polls after losses to Florida, Creighton, Virginia and Marquette. Wisconsin plays Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan State, Minnesota and Ohio State in consecutive games in January, which bodes for a difficult month and a bad start to Big Ten play.

HOLD

Duke

The Blue Devils have passed every test that has been thrown at them this season but they can only move down in the rankings from the No. 1 spot. Duke will be expected to win the ACC but North Carolina State, North Carolina or Maryland all have the talent to upset the Blue Devils in conference play.

Arizona

Sean Miller’s Wildcats are the best team out West but San Diego State, Colorado and Utah’s close losses have shown that Arizona is vulnerable and it could suffer its first loss to a PAC-12 opponent this month.

Illinois

The Fighting Illini are a very difficult team to examine. They won by double digits against Butler and on the road against Gonzaga. Then Illinois lost to Missouri and Purdue in a three-game stretch, followed by a dominating win over Ohio State. Illinois is certainly a force to be reckoned with in the Big Ten but their up and down play gives the impression that they will have their share of impressive wins and tough losses this season.

Oklahoma State

The Cowboys blew out North Carolina State early in the season but have lost consecutive games to No. 10 Gonzaga and No. 25 Kansas State, which means that Oklahoma State still has room for improvement in the remainder of the season.

Michigan

The country’s No. 2 team is off to a 15-0 start but it is only a matter of time until the Wolverines lose their first game. The Big Ten schedule for every team is a mine field–one bad step or slip up and Michigan can receive the first blemish on its 2012-13 campaign. However, the Wolverines are one of the best teams in the country and will give Indiana a run for its money to win the Big Ten.

Stay tuned for the next edition of Sports.Eat.Sleep.Repeat.!

Ranking the 6 Power Conferences in College Basketball

The majority of the teams that make the NCAA Tournament every spring are from the Power 6 Conferences: the ACC, Big 12, Big Ten, Big East, Pac-12 and SEC. From year to year, the best college basketball conference varies. With three teams in the top five, the Big Ten takes the crown this year.

Big Ten

Ranked Teams

1. Indiana

4. Ohio State

5. Michigan

14. Michigan State

23. Wisconsin

All-Americans

Trey Burke-Guard-Michigan

DeShaun Thomas-Forward-Ohio State

Cody Zeller-Center-Indiana

The Hoosiers have taken control of the preseason #1 ranking thanks to Cody Zeller and depth unparalleled in the rest of college basketball. Courtesy of http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1319961-big-ten-basketball-predicting-the-2012-13-big-ten-stats-leaders

Big Ten basketball is back. The Indiana Hoosiers are the unanimous preseason number one team with the best player in the country. Ohio State returns junior DeShaun Thomas, who shot 52% from the field last season and doubled his scoring from his freshman year. The Buckeyes also have Aaron Craft, who is arguably the best defender in the country. Only Penn State and Nebraska, which are historically schools focused on their football programs, finished with a record below .500 last season. From top to bottom, the Big Ten has depth in teams and individual players. Minnesota, a middle-of-the-road Big Ten team, has a top prospect in power forward Trevor Mbakwe. Michigan sophomore guard Trey Burke is a preseason All-American in many sports outlets after averaging 14.8 points, 4.6 assists, and 3.5 rebounds as a freshman.

ACC

Ranked Teams

6. North Carolina State

8. Duke

11. North Carolina

25. Florida State

C.J. Leslie leads the Wolfpack to the top ten rankings and NC State is ready for a national championship run. Courtesy of http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/sports/college/mensbasketball/acc/story/2012-04-18/cj-leslie-nc-state/54385466/1.

North Carolina lost four starters and Duke lost two starters to the 2012 NBA Draft, which hurts the strength of the ACC this year. However, North Carolina State is taking over the reigns as a national championship contender because its top four players are returning from last season. C.J. Leslie, Lorenzo Brown, Scott Wood, and Richard Howell all averaged double-digits in scoring last year, when the Wolfpack made a Sweet Sixteen run. They also have the tenth best recruiting class, which is highlighted by shooting guard Rodney Purvis. The bottom of the ACC drops off quickly with teams like Boston College, Georgia Tech, and Wake Forest, which were significantly below last season.

Big East

Ranked Teams

2. Louisville

9. Syracuse

22. Notre Dame

24. Cincinnati

Peyton Siva is an electric guard and the motor behind the Louisville Cardinals. Courtesy of http://www.zimbio.com/pictures/9vA3Yb_luTk/East+Basketball+Tournament+Second+Round/k0L4kz6WMdR/Yancy+Gates.

Louisville was a surprise Final Four team in a region that featured Michigan State and Missouri as the top two teams. The Cardinals return a loaded roster with Russ Smith, Chane Behanan, Peyton Siva, and Gorgui Dieng, which is why they sit at the second spot in the preseason rankings. While Syracuse and Pittsburgh are set to join the ACC in July of 2012, the Big East will still benefit from the Orange’s top ten preseason rank. While ‘Cuse lost Dion Waiters, Kris Joseph, and Fab Melo to the NBA Draft, they bring back Brandon Triche, C.J. Fair, James Southerland, Rakeem Christmas. They also have the fifteenth ranked recruiting class for this year, with forward Jerami Grant, guard Trevor Cooney, and forward DaJuan Coleman. The Notre Dame Fighting Irish, who were ousted in the first round of the NCAA Tournament last season by the upset-minded Xavier Musketeers and Cincinnati Bearcats, led by their talented backcourt of Sean Kilpatrick and Cashmere Wright, are also ranked going into the season. Pittsburgh, Marquette, and Georgetown are all knocking on the door of the top 25.

SEC

Ranked Teams

3. Kentucky

10. Florida

15. Missouri

While the SEC is the perennial powerhouse in college football, it does not have much depth in college basketball. Outside of its top few teams, the conference is dismal. Kentucky is one of the best teams in country once again thanks to the best recruiting class in the nation with four ESPN 100 players. Nerlens Noel, Alex Poythress, Archie Goodwin, and Willie Cauley-Stein are the next class of potential one-and-dones who were recruited by John Calipari. Senior Kenny Boynton will have Florida in the spotlight this season. The newest school to the SEC, Missouri is ranked fifteenth in the preseason. Tennessee received some attention in the preseason rankings but is still far off from cracking the top 25.

Big 12

Ranked Teams

7. Kansas

19. Baylor

Kansas’ Jeff Withey is one of the best centers in college basketball and will be crucial to the Jayhawks’ success this season. Courtesy of http://www.zimbio.com/photos/Jeff+Withey/Ivo+Baltic/Las+Vegas+Invitational+Day+One/h5A83sDt-ft.

Overall, the Big 12 had a successful 2012 NCAA Tournament. Kansas made the National Championship game and Baylor made the Elite Eight. Three of its six teams lost to the eventual champion Kentucky. Former Jayhawks Tyshawn Taylor and Thomas Robinson are now in the NBA, which means that this year’s Kansas squad will rely on Elijah Johnson and Jeff Withey to take them back to the promised land. Baylor will be a prominent team on the national level. Texas, Oklahoma State, and Kansas State all received votes for the AP Top 25 but fell short of being ranked. Having Missouri leave for the SEC will hurt them.

Pac-12

Ranked Teams

12. Arizona

13. UCLA

Shabazz Muhammad is looking to bring back the glory days of UCLA basketball but that may be hard to do if he is only there one year. Courtesy of http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/ncaab-the-dagger/ucla-shabazz-muhammad-miss-2-4-weeks-due-005359555–ncaab.html.

Similarly to the SEC, the Pac-12’s top tier is elite and the rest of the conference struggles greatly. Arizona and UCLA are both bringing in top 25 recruiting classes and Xavier transfer Mark Lyons will certainly bolster the Wildcats’ lineup this season. The Pac-12 is looking to improve upon its overall performance last season, where only Colorado and California made the NCAA Tournament.

Is It Worth Selling Yourself Out In College Football?

It isn’t a new concept for top teams to schedule non-conference games against some of the worst programs. The powerhouses get to run up the score, often in excess of seventy points, in exchange for a couple hundred thousand dollars for the lesser team’s athletic budget.

Savannah State has made the headlines this season for just this. Representing the MEAC, the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, the FCS school is from a conference where the best teams are Bethune-Cookman and Norfolk State. The Tigers are just the kind of team that attracts the top of the AP poll. In their season opener, Savannah State was run off of the field in a 84-0 drubbing against #19 Oklahoma State. It was 35-0 by the end of the first quarter. The Cowboys collected 682 total yards to Savannah State’s 139. In Week 2, the Tigers had it easy. The only lost 55-0 to #5 Florida State. And that was only because the game was called due to bad weather in the middle of the third quarter. Once again, the Tigers were losing by 35 at the end of the first quarter. Savannah State’s offense was pathetic. They accumulated 28 total yards. Antonio Bostick, the quarterback of Savannah State, was 2/15 for 9 yards.

Courtesy of http://msn.foxsports.com/collegefootball/story/oklahoma-state-routs-savannah-state-84-0-with-nine-rushing-touchdowns-090112

Luckily for the sake of Savannah State’s self-confidence, record, and health of their players, they ran the gauntlet with enough players still healthy and with a passion for football that they can field a team for the MEAC portion of their schedule. Savannah State pocketed $860,000 from taking the beatings. Yes, that money can do a lot in terms of scholarships, paying employees’ salaries, and upkeep of the athletic facilities, but the question needs to be asked: Is it really worth it for bad teams to sell themselves?

Yes, college athletics are all about money when you get high enough in the food chain. According to the Atlanta Blackstar, Savannah State’s athletic budget is $5.1 million. The school made almost seventeen percent of its annual budget from its two blowouts. That is the only beneficial or productive aspect of these deals. What else is gained? We find out that the best teams can put up triple-digits of scoring against the worst teams if their starters played for four quarters. After Savannah State lost to Oklahoma State and Florida State, we know that OSU and FSU are really good and Savannah State is really bad. But anyone with limited knowledge of college football could have told you that. There was no reason for those matchups. They are both college football programs but they are on completely different levels. If the AP top 25 is looking for teams they can steamroll, I’ll nominate my alma mater. St. Xavier High School would love an extra eight-hundred grand for scholarships and to be able to expand their athletic facilities. The college teams would destroy St. X and no one would learn anything from the matchup but at least they would get the money. What would make a matchup between Florida State and St. Xavier High School any different than Florida State and Savannah State?

If the best teams want to make it to the BCS National Championship or a good bowl game, schedule respectable teams and beat them. If they are as good as they think, then they shouldn’t have a problem winning their non-conference games.

I have a lot of respect for Michigan and Alabama for arranging a matchup in the opening week of the season. College football fans don’t love the sport and the culture because of 84-0 victories. It is fun to see how many points a team can score in a total mismatch but after the first quarter, the game is essentially over.

If teams really want to go into conference play undefeated, schedule a game against Boise State, BYU, or Cincinnati. An AP top 25 team should have no problem defeating some of the teams from the power six conferences who are on the outside of the rankings. Make the matchup at least somewhat interesting. Not only could a win against a formidable opponent improve a team’s ranking but it could go a long way in a team’s overall resume when it comes down to deciding which teams make which bowl games.

2007 NBA Draft Report Card

As much as it is to give draft grades the night of or the morning after, it is completely conjecture and virtually meaningless. The grader knows how players performed in college or overseas as well as how NBA teams fared in the previous season but it is unrealistic to predict how young players adjust to the new lifestyle in the NBA, whether it’s the hefty contracts, new friends, instant fame, new teammates, or a new coaching style. It is only fair to let some time pass for the players to pan out with their new teams. Five years seems like a good amount of time to make NBA Draft grades and this will hopefully be the first of many retrospective draft grades.

In 2007, it was Greg Oden who went number one overall and ended up only playing eighty-eight games in his NBA career. Kevin Durant was by far the best player taken in ’07 and Marc Gasol was the sleeper of the draft. 2007 may have been the year of the bust-there are only a few All-Star caliber players and an excess of draft picks who only lasted a few years in the NBA, if they even made it past the summer leagues.

Atlanta Hawks- B- –With two of the top eleven picks, Atlanta was in arguably the best position of any team in the league to improve its roster through the draft. Horford started seventy-seven games as a rookie and has averaged nearly fifteen points and ten rebounds per game since then. With the exception of the 2011-2012 season, in which he was limited to only eleven games due to an injury, he played an average of nearly seventy-seven regular season games per season. Horford has been a consistent role player who nearly puts up a double-double on a nightly basis. He panned out to be in the top three of the players classified as “forward/center” from the ’07 draft along with Florida teammate Joakim Noah and Marc Gasol. Acie Law IV on the other hand was a complete bust. Law only played two seasons for Atlanta, in which he averaged 4.2 and 2.9 ppg. He never played more than 56 games in a season and had career averages of 4.2 ppg, 1.2 rpg, and 1.6 apg. Law only scored twenty points or more once in his career, bounced around five different teams, and last played in the NBA in the 2010-2011 season for the Golden State Warriors.

  • Al Horford-3rd-F/C-Florida
  • Acie Law IV-11th (from Indiana Pacers)-G-Texas A&M

Boston Celtics- C- –Given that the Celtics’ two picks (one via a trade with Seattle) were both in the second round, Boston’s draft cannot be judged too harshly. They selected an average bench player in Glen Davis and Pruitt was only in the NBA for two seasons and averaged only two points per game in sixty-two games in that stretch. He played roughly seven minutes per game, which meant that he was on the court during garbage time. While Glen “Big Baby” Davis is the epitome of success in the NBA, he has managed to stay in the league and remain relatively productive. Davis lasted four seasons in Boston and was a member of their NBA Title-winning team in the 07′-08′ season. He has proven to be a 10 ppg and 5 rpg role player over the past two seasons but exceeded those marks with his 19 ppg and 9 rpg in last year’s NBA Playoffs.

  • Gabe Pruitt-32nd-G-Southern California
  • Glen Davis-35th (from Seattle Supersonics via trade)-F-Louisiana State

Brooklyn Nets (then the New Jersey Nets)- D –The Nets’ only draft pick in 2007, Sean Williams, turned out to be a bust. While he is still in the NBA, his number of games played has gone down each season from seventy-three his rookie year to eleven in 2011-2012. Williams was a member of the Nets for three seasons and scored his career high of 22 points in a game while in New Jersey. He was on the Boston Celtics’ roster for last year’s playoffs but played only six minutes in two games. His career averages are 4.2 points per game and 3.4 rebounds per game.

  • Sean Williams-17th-F/C-Boston College
Charlotte Bobcats- B- –Dudley is currently a starter for the Phoenix Suns and averages nine points and four rebounds per game. Davidson never made it beyond the NBA summer leagues.
  • Jared Dudley-22nd (form Toronto Raptors)-F-Boston College
  • Jermareo Davidson-36th (from Minnesota Timberwolves to Golden State Warriors to Charlotte Bobcats via trade)-F-Alabama

Chicago Bulls- A- –Given that two of Chicago’s three draft picks in ’07 were in the final twelve picks, their draft grade should only seriously consider the Bulls’ first pick at ninth overall. It is safe to say that without Joakim Noah’s presence on the Bulls, Chicago would not be one of the NBA’s top teams. He has grown into a forward/center who can average ten points and boards per game and do a little bit of everything. His passion and enthusiasm for the game certainly provide a spark for Chicago. The other center that the Bulls drafted in 2007, Aaron Gray, has not been nearly as productive as Noah in the NBA but he earned the starting position in the Toronto Raptors roster forty times last season. He played a very minor role for Chicago in his two full seasons as a Bull and averages four points and rebounds per game. Curry only played in one NBA game in his career and not only was it not for the Chicago Bulls but he did not accumulate any stats. He played preseason games for Chicago in the 2007-2008 season and one for the Brooklyn Nets last season.

  • Joakim Noah-9th (from New York Knicks)-F/C-Florida
  • Aaron Gray-49th (from Golden State Warriors)-C-Pittsburgh
  • JamesOn Curry-51st (from Denver Nuggets)-G-Oklahoma State

Cleveland Cavaliers- N/A –No draft picks

Dallas Mavericks- F –Even though Reyshawn Terry helped the North Carolina Tar Heels win the national title in 2005, he didn’t accomplish nearly as much at the next level. He played in the summer league after being drafted in 2007 but never made Dallas’ team and was playing in Europe by 2008. Similarly to Terry, Seibutis played on the Mavericks’ summer league team but was out of the NBA by 2008.

  • Reyshawn Terry-44th (from Orlando Magic via trade)-North Carolina
  • Renalidas Seibutis-50th (from Miami Heat)-G-Lithuania

Denver Nuggets- N/A –No draft picks

Detroit Pistons- A- –Detroit made the most of its two first round picks in 2007. With the exception of Sammy Mejia, who was waived from the NBA Development League by October 2007, Detroit’s picks turned out to be solid role players and starters in the NBA. Rodney Stuckey is still on the Pistons and averages fifteen points per game, four assists per game, and three rebounds per game while starting for Detroit. Arron Afflalo played only two seasons as a Piston but developed into a solid guard in Denver. In the past two seasons as a Nugget, Afflalo has averaged 14 ppg, 3 rpg, and 2 apt.

  • Rodney Stuckey-15th (from Orlando Magic)-G-Eastern Washington
  • Arron Afflalo-27th-G-UCLA
  • Sammy Mejia-57th-G-DePaul
Golden State Warriors- B –Wright currently plays for Dallas and averages six points and three rebounds per game. Belinelli is a member of the New Orleans Hornets and scores twelve points per game along with three rebounds per game. Lasme was only in the NBA for two seasons and averaged five points per game.
  • Brandan Wright-8th (from Charlotte Bobcats via trade)-F-North Carolina
  • Marco Belinelli-18th-G-Italy
  • Stephane Lasme-46th (from New Jersey Nets)-F-Massachusetts

Houston Rockets- B+ –Houston’s first two picks in the 2007 draft are now productive bench players in the NBA. Brooks played four seasons in Houston and at his peak in the ’09-’10 season he started all eighty-two regular season games, averaging 19.6 points per game and 5.3 assists per game. During the NBA lockout, Brooks went to China to guarantee that he could play last season. At his best, Carl Landry averaged eighteen points per game and seven rebounds per game for the Sacramento Kings. Landry has settled into his role as a 12 ppg and 5 rpg player. Newley played in the Rockets’ summer league and then went to Europe to work on his game, never actually making it to the NBA.

  • Aaron Brooks-26th-G-Oregon
  • Carl Landry-31st (from Memphis Grizzlies to Seattle Supersonics to Houston Rockets via trade)-F-Purdue
  • Brad Newley-54th (from Cleveland Cavaliers)-G-Australia

Indiana Pacers- F –The Pacers did not have any draft picks in ’07 but did trade for Stanko Barac, who never left Europe for the NBA.

  • Stanko Barac-39th (from Sacramento Kings to Miami Heat to Indiana Pacers via trade)-C-Bosnia

Los Angeles Clippers- C+ –Al Thornton played three seasons as a Clipper and averaged seventeen points per game and five rebounds per game in his second year in the league. He is now with the Golden State Warriors and has cooled off to average 12 ppg and 4 rpg over his career. Jordan has bounced around the NBA and in Europe but has only played in summer league and preseason games in the NBA.

  • Al Thornton-14th-F-Florida State
  • Jared Jordan-45th-G-Marist

Los Angeles Lakers- C –Crittenton played only one season with the Lakers and last played in the NBA in the 2010-2011 season. He averaged five points per game and two rebounds per game in his 113 games in the league. Yue only played one season in the NBA but did win a ring with the Lakers. He only played ten games for Los Angeles and scored only six points in that span. NBA teams always take a risk when taking international players but Marc Gasol may have been the steal of the draft as the 48th selection. He has spent his entire career with the Memphis Grizzlies, averaging 15 ppg, 7 rpg, and 3 apg, and he was named a Western Conference All-Star in 2012.

  • Javaris Crittenton-19th-G-Georgia Tech
  • Sun Yue-40th (from Charlotte Bobcats)-G-China
  • Marc Gasol-48th-C-Spain

Memphis Grizzlies- A –Conley averages twelve points and five assist per game in the NBA and is still the starting point guard for Memphis.

  • Mike Conley, Jr.-4th-G-Ohio State

Miami Heat- C- –The Heat had two draft picks in 2007 but traded both of their selections and acquired Daequan Cook out of Ohio State. He spent three seasons in Miami, averaging roughly seven points per game and two rebounds per game. Cook was on the 2012 Western Conference Champions, the Oklahoma City Thunder, and appeared in sixteen playoff games for OKC.

  • Daequan Cook-21st (from Denver Nuggets to Phildelphia 76’ers to Miami Heat via trade)-G-Ohio State

Milwaukee Bucks- C+ –The Bucks took a leap of faith with the sixth overall pick by taking Yi Jianlian from China. In his rookie and only season in Milwaukee, he averaged 9 ppg and 5 rpg. He is currently a member of the Dallas Mavericks and his minutes per game have decreased to only seven-a major drop from the 32 per game that he was playing as a member of the New Jersey Nets. Ramon Sessions played two seasons in Milwaukee and now plays for the L.A. Lakers as an upgrade from Derek Fisher. His career averages are 11 ppg, 5 apg, and 3 rpg.

  • Yi Jianlian-6th-F-China
  • Ramon Sessions-56th (from Houston Rockets)-G-Nevada

Minnesota Timberwolves- C- –Minnesota drafted a pair of Florida forwards in the 2007 NBA Draft. Brewer spent his first four seasons in Minnesota before going to play in Dallas, then Denver. He has averaged 9 ppg, 3 rpg, and 2 apg in the NBA. Chris Richard was a Timberwolve for two years before playing his final season in the NBA in 2009 as a Chicago Bull. He played in seventy games in his career, averaging two points and three rebounds per game.

  • Corey Brewer-7th-F-Florida
  • Chris Richard-41st (from Philadelphia 76’ers)-F-Florida

New Orleans Hornets- D –Julian Wright played for three seasons as a Hornet and one for the Toronto Raptors. He averaged four points and two rebounds per game and last played in the NBA during the ’10-’11 season. Haluska has only played in NBA preseason games for the Hornets and the Dallas Mavericks.

  • Julian Wright-13th-F-Kansas
  • Adam Haluska-43rd-G-Iowa

New York Knicks- C- –Chandler was a Knick for four seasons and now plays for the Denver Nuggets. His career averages are fourteen points, five rebounds, and two assists per game. Nichols bounced around a handful of teams in the NBA and played very limited minutes for the Chicago Bulls and New York Knicks.

  • Wilson Chandler-23rd (from Chicago Bulls)-F-DePaul
  • Demetris Nichols-53rd (from Chicago Bulls to Portland Trailblazers to New York Knicks via trade)-F-Syracuse

Oklahoma City Thunder (then the Seattle Supersonics)- A+ –Durant was far and away the best player in the 2007 NBA Draft. He won his third straight scoring title in the ’11-’12 season and lead the Thunder to the NBA Finals last year. He is a three-time All-Star, three-time NBA First Team member, and was the NBA Rookie of the Year in 2008. As if getting KD wasn’t enough, Seattle also drafted Jeff Green, who averaged 14 ppg and 6 rpg. He last played in the NBA in the ’10-’11 season for the Boston Celtics.

  • Kevin Durant-2nd-F-Texas
  • Jeff Green-5th (from Boston Celtics via trade)-F-Georgetown

Orlando Magic- F –Rakovic played in the NBA summer league but never made it to the NBA.

  • Milovan Rakovic-60th (from Dallas Mavericks via trade)-F-Serbia

Philadelphia 76’ers- B –Young has spent his entire career as a 76’er. He averages 13 ppg and 5 rpg and is a frequent starter for Philadelphia. Jason Smith played two seasons in Philly before going to New Orleans, where he started 29 times in the ’11-’12 season and he averaged nine points and five rebounds per game. Byars’ first regular season in the NBA was last year for the San Antonio Spurs. Hill played summer league games for the 76’ers but never made it in the NBA.

  • Thaddeus Young-12th-F-Georgia Tech
  • Jason Smith-20th (from Miami Heat via trade)-F/C-Colorado State
  • Derrick Byars-42nd (from Indiana Pacers to Portland Trail Blazers to Philadelphia 76’ers via trade)-G/F-Vanderbilt
  • Herbert Hill-55th (from Utah Jazz via trade)-F/C Providence

Phoenix Suns- D –Tucker was only in the NBA for three seasons and averaged only four points per game. He last played in the 2009-2010 season for Phoenix. Strawberry only played one season in the NBA, in which he averaged two points per game.

  • Alando Tucker-29th-F-Wisconsin
  • D.J. Strawberry-59th-G-Maryland

Portland Trail Blazers- C- –Greg Oden had just finished a fantastic freshman season at Ohio State and was the number one selection in the 2007 NBA Draft. However, injuries prevented him from having the NBA career that seemed so promising. In his two seasons in Portland, he averaged thirteen points and nine rebounds. Rudy Fernandez played three seasons as a Trail Blazer before becoming a member of the Denver Nuggets. Over the course of his career, he has averaged nine points, two rebounds, and two assists per game. Petteri Koponen never played in the NBA. Josh McRoberts is still in the NBA with the L.A. Lakers and has averaged five points and four boards per game. Lastly, Taurean Green only played seventeen games in the NBA, averaging two points per game.

  • Greg Oden-1st-C-Ohio State
  • Rudy Fernandez-24th (from Cleveland Cavaliers to Phoenix Suns to Portland Trail Blazers via trade)-G-Spain
  • Petteri Koponen-30th (from Dallas Mavericks to Philadelphia 76’ers to Portland Trail Blazers via trade)-G-Finland
  • Josh McRoberts-37th-F-Duke
  • Taurean Green-52nd (from Toronto Raptors)-G-Florida

Sacramento Kings- B- –Hawes played for Sacramento for three seasons and is now a member of the 76’ers. He has averaged nine points and six rebounds during his career.

  • Spencer Hawes-10th-C-Washington

San Antonio Spurs- C –Splitter has played the past two seasons in the NBA for the Spurs. He averages seven points and four rebounds per game. Williams was out of the NBA by 2009.

  • Tiago Splitter-28th-F-Brazil
  • Marcus Williams–33rd (from Milwaukee Bucks)-F-Arizona

Toronto Raptors- F –The Raptors did not have any draft picks in ’07 but acquired the rights to Printezis, who never played in the NBA.

  • Giorgos Printezis-58th (from San Antonio Spurs via trade)-F-Greece

Utah Jazz- D –Almond briefly appeared for the Jazz but spent most of his time in the NBA in the D-Leauge. Fesenko played 135 games in the NBA, averaging two points and two rebounds per game.

  • Morris Almond-25th-G-Rice
  • Kyrylo Fesenko-38th (from New York Knicks to Philadelphia 76’ers to Utah Jazz via trade)-C-Ukraine

Washington Wizards- B- –Young has spent most of his time in the NBA with the Wizards and has averaged 12 points per game in the league. Domonic McGuire plays for the Golden State Warriors after three seasons in Washington. He averages three points and four rebounds per game.

  • Nick Young-16th-G/F-USC
  • Domonic McGuire-47th-F-Fresno State