CollegeBasketballTalk’s 2012-2013 season previews

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Starting October 1, CollegeBasketballTalk will be showcasing our 2012-2013 college hoops preview package. From Monday through Friday, at 9 a.m. ET and just after lunch, we’ll have something new for you to read (and probably argue about), including our Top 25, conferenced previews and more.

Consider it your essential hoops stop until the season tips off on Nov. 9.

Preseason NCAA tournament bracket projections

Best team in Kentuckiana?
Best team in the Triangle?
Conference champion picks
Surprise All-Americans
Top players most likely to fall short of expectations
Which Top 25 team misses the Big Dance?
Who’s making a surprise Final Four run?


Oct. 1: Must-see non-conference games
Oct. 2: Coaches on the hot seat
Oct. 3: Impact freshmen
Oct. 4: Best dunkers
Oct. 5: Programs on the rise
Oct. 8: All-America teams
Oct. 9: Mid-majors likely to crash the dance
Oct. 10: Mid-major Power Rankings
Oct. 11: Mid-major All-Americans
Oct. 12: All-Name team, All-Name team Part II
Oct. 15: Breakout stars
Oct. 17: Impact transfers
Oct. 19: X-Factors
Oct. 24: Top backcourts
Oct. 25: Top frontcourts
Oct. 29: Top 20 point guards
Oct. 30: Top 20 shooting guards
Oct. 31: Top 20 small forwards
Nov. 1: Top 20 power forwards
Nov. 2: Top 20 centers


Oct. 10: Colonial Athletic
Oct. 11: Conference USA
Oct. 15: Missouri Valley
Oct. 16: Mountain West
Oct. 17: Pac-12
Oct. 18: Atlantic 10
Oct. 19: WCC
Oct. 22: ACC
Oct. 23: Big East
Oct. 24: Big Ten
Oct. 25: Big 12
Oct. 26: SEC
Oct. 29: America East, Atlantic Sun, Big Sky, Big South
Oct. 30: Big West, Great West, Horizon, Ivy
Nov. 1: OVC, Patriot, SoCon, Southland
Nov. 2: Summit, Sun Belt, SWAC, WAC


Oct. 1: Others Receiving Votes
Oct. 1: No. 25 UCLA Bruins
Oct. 2: No. 24 St. Joseph’s Hawks
Oct. 3: No. 23 Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Oct. 4: No. 22 St. Louis Billikens
Oct. 5: No. 21 VCU Rams

Oct. 8: No. 20 North Carolina Tar Heels
Oct. 9: No. 19 Gonzaga Bulldogs
Oct. 10: No. 18 Creighton Bluejays
Oct. 11: No. 17 Arizona Wildcats
Oct. 12: No. 16 Duke Blue Devils

Oct. 15: No. 15 Florida Gators
Oct. 16: No. 14 UNLV Runnin’ Rebels
Oct. 17: No. 13 Memphis Tigers
Oct. 18: No. 12 Michigan State Spartans
Oct. 19: No. 11 San Diego State Aztecs

Oct. 22: No. 10 Baylor Bears
Oct. 23: No. 9 Michigan Wolverines
Oct. 24: No. 8 NC State Wolfpack
Oct. 25: No. 7 Ohio State Buckeyes
Oct. 26: No. 6 Kansas Jayhawks

Oct. 29: No. 5 Missouri Tigers
Oct. 30: No. 4 Syracuse Orange
Oct. 31: No. 3 Kentucky Wildcats
Nov. 1: No. 2 Louisville Cardinals
Nov. 2: No. 1 Indiana Hoosiers

Syracuse upsets No. 18 UConn as Tyler Lydon stars again

St Bonaventure Syracuse Basketball
AP Photo/Heather Ainsworth
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Michael Gbinije and Trevor Cooney combined for 34 points as Syracuse overcame an early 10-point deficit to knock off No. 18 UConn in the semifinals of the Battle 4 Atlantis, 79-76.

The talking point at the end of this game is probably going to end up being UConn’s decision not to foul Syracuse with 36 seconds left on the clock. Trevor Cooney dribbled out the clock and, with six seconds left, missed a 35-foot prayer, the offensive rebound getting corralled by Tyler Roberson, sealing the win.

But that’s not the real story here.

That would be Tyler Lydon, who suddenly looks like he may end up being the difference maker for this Syracuse team.

If you don’t know the name, I don’t blame you. Lydon was a low-end top 100 recruit that had been committed to the Orange for a long time. He’s not exactly a game-changing prospect, but he’s a perfect fit for Syracuse. At 6-foot-9, Lydon has the length to be a shot-blocker in the middle of the 2-3 zone — he entered Thursday averaging 3.3 blocks — but his biggest skill is his ability to shoot the ball from beyond the arc. When he plays the middle of that zone, when he is essentially the five for the Orange, they become incredibly difficult to matchup with defensively.

The question is whether or not he can consistently be that guy on the defensive end of the floor. Against UConn, Lydon had 16 points and 12 boards. Against Charlotte, he finished with 18 points, eight boards and six blocks. But neither the Huskies nor the 49ers have a big front line that crashes the offensive glass.

Lydon is great at using his length to make shots in the lane difficult, but at (a generous) 205 pounds, he may run into trouble against bigger, stronger front court players.

The perfect test?

Texas A&M, who the Orange will play in the title game on Friday.

USC holds on to beat No. 20 Wichita State

Andy Enfield
Associated Press
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With guards Fred VanVleet and Landry Shamet both sidelined due to injury, No. 20 Wichita State arrived at the Advocare Invitational shorthanded. But even with that being the case the highly successful Shockers represented quite the opportunity for USC, and Thursday afternoon the Trojans took advantage.

Despite turning the ball over 23 times Andy Enfield’s team found a way to win, hanging on to beat the Shockers by the final score of 72-69. Freshman forward Bennie Boatwright, a tough matchup for most teams as a 6-foot-10 stretch forward who can score from the perimeter, shot 5-for-9 from three and scored a team-high (and career-high) 22 points.

The tandem of he and junior Nikola Jovanovic, who added 14 points and 11 rebounds, outplayed the Wichita State front court on a day in which the Shockers needed greater contributions from those players. Add in 15 points and four assists from Jordan McLaughlin, ten points off the bench from Katin Reinhardt and a 12-for-23 afternoon from three, and the Trojans were able to do enough to make up for their high turnover count and Wichita State’s 24 points off of turnovers.

Given the absence of VanVleet and Shamet there’s no reason to panic regarding Wichita State. Ron Baker, who was exhausted by the end of the game due to the heavy load he was asked to shoulder, scored a game-high 25 points and the play of freshman Markis McDuffie was a positive to build on.

McDuffie, who entered Thursday’s game without a made field goal in his first two appearances as a Shocker, shot 5-for-9 from the field and contributed 14 points and three rebounds off the bench. With their current perimeter rotation being what it is McDuffie will have opportunities to contribute, and the Shockers will need him to take advantage as they await the returns of VanVleet and Shamet (and the addition of Conner Frankamp).

Doing so will not only help Wichita State in the short term but in the long-term as well, thus giving Gregg Marshall another option to call upon on his bench.

Thursday’s outcome, even with the desire to see more from Anton Grady (eight points, seven rebounds), says more about USC at this point in time than Wichita State. Enfield’s first two seasons at the helm were about amassing the talent needed to compete in the Pac-12 while also gaining valuable (and at times painful) experience. In year three the Trojans hope to take a step forward within the conference, and wins like this one provide evidence of the program’s growth.