Lindy’s ranks Michigan State as the preseason No. 1


This is the time of year that preview magazines start rolling out, and while much of what is written in these magazines — and our preview series, which we will start rolling out next month — will be proven wrong in the first month of the season, arguing about where a team is ranked or who is a preseason all-american is more fun than anything we’re doing college basketball-related right now.

Lindy’s posted their cover as a teaser for the release of their magazine on Tuesday, and on it, they have listed their preseason top 10.

And it’s sure to create some discussion.

Lindy’s ranks Michigan State as their preseason No. 1 team, followed by Kentucky at No. 2. I love the Spartans this season, and if Adreian Payne can be a presence in the paint, Gary Harris develops like we all expect him too and Keith Appling learns to be a better point guard, Tom Izzo’s club not only could end up winning a national title, but they may also beat Kentucky when they play on November 12th.

But Kentucky this season is much closer to being the Kentucky of 2012 than the Kentucky of 2013. They have seven or eight first round picks on the roster. They have one of the best recruiting classes in the history of college basketball coming in. Lindy’s may end up being the only outlet that doesn’t rank Kentucky No. 1.

To be honest, that’s not the biggest issue I have with their top ten.

First and foremost, North Carolina is ranked fifth in the country despite the fact that they lost Reggie Bullock to the draft, they may lose PJ Hairston for an extended period of time, and are going to be forced to rely on either Marcus Paige at the point or spend another season with a freshman, Nate Britt, running the show. I had UNC outside the top ten with Hairston.

But that’s still not my biggest qualm.

Louisville at No. 7?

I know they lose Peyton Siva and I know they lose Gorgui Dieng, but with Russ Smith and Montrezl Harrell returning as well as another talented recruiting class coming in, I don’t see how the Cardinals, who are coming off of a Final Four and a national title the last two seasons, can be ranked outside the top three.

But see, that’s the beauty of the offseason.

Everyone’s entitled to an opinion.

POSTERIZED: Monmouth bench mob goes insane after huge dunk

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Monmouth has arguably been the most entertaining team in college basketball through the season’s first three weeks.

Let’s start with the obvious: They’re a mid-major outfit with a 5-foot-8 point guard that headlines a talented back court, one good enough to have notched upsets at UCLA and, this week, over No. 17 Notre Dame and USC at the Advocare Invitational in Orlando.

It’s pretty incredible, to be honest. They’ve managed to amass one of college basketball’s best resume despite being a MAAC program with a grand total of four NCAA appearances in their luxurious history.

But what makes this team so much fun isn’t just that they can’t seem to stop beating high-major competition, it’s that, in the process, their bench mob has become one of college basketball’s best.

Want some proof? Watch what happens after this Deon Jones poster dunk:

And here’s the wild part: that wasn’t even close to the best thing the bench did this week.

This was:


But there’s so much more.

Like, for example, the three arrows:

The touchdown pass:

The bench poster:

The heart attack:

They … caught a fish?

And, finally, the ‘OH SHHHHHHHHHHHH’:

Wichita State’s 0-3 week makes chances for at-large bid small

Fred VanVleet
AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki

We’ve reached the nightmare scenario for Wichita State.

Having entered the season as the overwhelming favorite in the Missouri Valley, a top 15 team and a legitimate threat to reach a Final Four, after two weeks, the Shockers are in serious danger of missing out on the NCAA tournament altogether.

That’s not hyperbole, either.

Wichita State fell to 2-4 on the year after getting mollywhopped by Iowa in the 7th-place game of the Advocare Invitational. They ended up in the 7th-place game because they lost to USC and Alabama in the opening two rounds. The Hawkeyes look like the might be able to eke out an at-large berth if things fall the right way for them, but USC and Alabama are projected to finish at or near the bottom of their respective conferences. Even Iowa would do well to finish in the top half of the Big Ten.

Individually, none of those three losses are particularly terrible, and that’s before you factor in that all-american point guard Fred VanVleet sat out the trip to Orlando with a bad hamstring. They were also without back up point guard Landry Shamet in the tournament and it’s unknown when they’ll actually get Anton Grady back to full stretch. That matters to the NCAA tournament selection committee. They’ll factor it in when they determine where the Shockers will be seeded, or if they will even get an invite.

But throw in the loss at Tulsa from the first week of the season, and the Shockers are now 2-4 on the season.

And unlike the rest of the preseason top 25 — unlike the rest of the nation’s high-major programs — Wichita State won’t have a chance to load up on quality wins during league play. The Valley is better than we probably realized (more on that in a second), but it’s not like there are going to be a myriad of top 50 wins for the taking.

Look at Georgetown, for example. They Hoyas went 1-3 in the first week of the season, a stretch that included a home loss to Radford. But they also play in a conference where they’ll get home-and-homes against the likes of Villanova, Butler and Xavier.

The Shockers need to do their damage during the non-conference. They need to get the bulk of their resume put together before Valley play starts. Assuming they do win the rest of their non-league games, we’re not exactly looking at a daunting profile, either. The Shockers still have to visit Saint Louis and Seton Hall and host UNLV, Utah, Nevada and New Mexico State. UNLV and Utah should look like quality wins on Selection Sunday, but the rest of them?

Wichita State is putting themselves in a position where they may end up needing to win the Missouri Valley tournament just to get into the Big Dance, and the problem is that the Valley looks like it is really going to be tough this season. Northern Iowa notched a win over North Carolina already this year. Illinois State gave Maryland a fight and entered the season as a favorite to upset the Shockers. Evansville has two of the league’s five best players in D.J. Balentine and Egidijus Mockevicius.

They’re not waltzing through that conference by any stretch of the imagination.

That’s not exactly what VanVleet and Ron Baker had in mind when they decided to return to Wichita for one final season.