Perhaps the biggest reason that this season is interesting for those that love college hoops — and the main reason that this is a year where the casual fans may end up missing more of the regular season than usual — is that there really isn’t any greatness in the college game this year.
Indiana and Duke are the two best teams in the country, but neither of them are on the same level as last season’s Kentucky team. That group had five first round draft picks on the roster. Last year’s North Carolina team had four. Depending on how the collegiate careers of guys like Victor Oladipo and Rasheed Sulaimon play out, the Hoosiers and the Blue Devils may end up having two first round picks. Combined.
And there’s no guarantee that those two players — Mason Plumlee and Cody Zeller, who may end up going head-to-head for National Player of the Year over the course of the next four months — will end up being stars at the next level, either.
In fact, in addition to there not being any great teams in college hoops this year, there aren’t that many great NBA prospects, either.
Which is why it’s the perfect season for the mid-major ranks to be as strong as they have been in a long time. Take, for example, next week’s matchup between Lehigh and North Texas, which features potential first round picks Tony Mitchell and CJ McCollum:
45 credential requests (from 26 different NBA teams) for next Thursday's game between Lehigh & North Texas - McCollum & Mitchell.—
Nicole Auerbach (@NicoleAuerbach) December 11, 2012
45 NBA scouts to see North Texas and Lehigh!!!
That number is insane, as anything over 30 is generally considered a large amount of scouts, even when it’s teams like Kentucky or North Carolina playing.
But hey, this is a chance to see two NBA players that won’t see much NBA caliber competition over the next three months play against each other in the same locale.