“The biggest buzz that I can remember before this is the UNLV team with Larry Johnson and Stacey Augmon (that beat Duke 103-73 for the title) in 1990,” he said. “That was bigger. There was no chance they were going to lose.
“Quite frankly I think this Kentucky team is a little better. The way Kentucky plays together, they are probably the most unselfish team I’ve seen in quite some time. They literally have five NBA players on the floor at all times, which is unheard of, but the way they play defense and the way they play together … there’s not one selfish player on the court. … I’d be very, very surprised if they get beat. I have to give (John) Calipari credit. This has been his best coaching job by a mile.”
It’s interesting that Colbert used 1990 UNLV as an example when nearly every college basketball fan and pundit would place the 1991 team as the superior Rebels squad.
But then, the fate of that ’91 squad is pretty well known. I’d say that’s the answer.
The 6-foot-3 guard averaged 10.3 points per game, while shooting 42 percent from three, as a freshman. He, along with Malcolm Hill and Michael Thorne Jr., is one of three returning players who averaged double figures last season.
This could prove to be a make-or-break year for John Groce, who enters his fifth season at the helm. He guided the Illini to an NCAA Tournament in his first season, but hasn’t been back since.
The key for the Illini is health. Abrams gives them experience and leadership, but it won’t be a surprise if there’s some rust in his game after spending the past two seasons on the sideline. Having a healthy Coleman-Lands will help stabilize the backcourt, while Hill, an all-conference caliber forward, and Thorne anchor the frontcourt.
Like Alkins, Jones was a sought-after scorer. The 6-foot-4 two-guard was rated No. 69 overall in the Class of 2016 by Rivals. He picked Indiana over offers from Cal, Cincinnati, Georgetown and more than a dozen other high-major programs.
Jeter, the 6-foot-10, played in a reserve role as a freshman, averaging 1.9 points and 1.9 rebounds per game last season. He will be part of a loaded frontline that includes heralded freshmen Harry Giles and Marques Bolden, as well as redshirt senior Amile Jefferson, who returns to the lineup following a foot injury.
The greatest player in Auburn program history will honored with a statue outside of the team’s home arena.
The university announced that Charles Barkley, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer, will be the fourth athlete to be given a statue, joining Heisman Trophy winners Bo Jackson, Pat Sullivan and Cam Newton.
“It just means a great deal to me,” Barkley said in a statement. “Being a kid from Alabama, going to Auburn. I think everybody knows what Auburn means to me. It’s going to be pretty cool.”
Barkley, currently working as an analyst for TNT, was the SEC Player of the Year in 1984, as well as a second team All-American. He averaged 14.1 points and 9.6 rebounds per game in 84 appearances for the Tigers.