Blog Entry Midseason Awards and Predictions

Posted on: January 5, 2012 9:30 am
Edited on: January 5, 2012 11:34 am

If there’s one thing we’ve learned after years of writing about college basketball on the Internet, it’s that people love two things more than seemingly anything else: predictions and awards. Therefore, we’ve combined the two for our midseason awards.

We take a look back at the first two months of what has been a great campaign so far, but we also look ahead to the next two months – and the NCAA tournament. How likely are we to be right? Well, take a look at our Preseason Predictions to get a feel for our collective level of genius (Goodman brings it down, obviously). Let’s get to it.

National Champion

Jeff Goodman: Kentucky. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist gives these guys the toughness, Anthony Davis brings the length, Doron Lamb the perimeter shooting and Marquis Teague will hit his stride come SEC play. I don't care if Terrence Jones is an enigma, as long as he shows up for a couple games in March and April, it'll be enough. 

Gary Parrish: Kentucky. I love talent and nobody has more than Kentucky. They overwhelm you offensively and guard you tremendously. They have shooters and shotblockers and lots and lots of pros. Yes, John Calipari is about to get his first national championship.

Jeff Borzello: North Carolina. Had Anthony Davis not blocked John Henson’s mid-range jumper in the final seconds, would everyone still be picking Kentucky? The Tar Heels have the best frontcourt in the country, and Kendall Marshall is a calming influence come March.

Matt Norlander: Kentucky. It's who I had at the start of the year. My other three colleagues went with North Carolina. I know Goodman's already turned heel and come over to my side.

Final Four

Goodman: Kentucky, North Carolina, Connecticut, Florida

Parrish: Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio State, Connecticut

Borzello: North Carolina, Kentucky, Ohio State, Florida

Norlander: I hate doing this BECAUSE WE HAVE NO BRACKET. So do I pick the four best teams? Because how often does that happen? So ... no? I pick a random team that I'm guessing won't get placed in the same quad as Kentucky? What the hell: Kentucky, Syracuse, UNLV, Wagner. Because I can. And because that Danny Hurley sure does deserve a feature treatment or two.


Goodman: Weber State. These guys have one of the nation's top guards in Damian Lillard -- and have another guy that can light it up from the perimeter in Scott Bamforth. The Wildcats need -- and will get -- forwards Kyle Bullinger and Frank Otis back healthy soon. 

Parrish: Saint Louis. Rick Majerus has a team that guards tough and shoots really well. Nobody will want to play them early in the tournament, I assure you.

Borzello: Creighton. The Bluejays have high-major size with Doug McDermott and Greg Echenique, and a very capable point guard in Antoine Young. They also are one of the best 3-point shooting teams in the country.

Norlander: Iona. The Wall Street Journal's Ben Cohen tweeted at me Wednesday, "Can't wait to pick Iona over Vandy come March." That's so true! 


Goodman: Xavier. Everyone has forgotten about the Musketeers and what they did prior to The Brawl. These guys were 9-0 and will get their swagger back in A-10 play. 

Parrish: Xavier. The Musketeers are unranked and struggling post-brawl. But give it time. This team is still talented. They'll be there in the end.

Borzello: BYU. The 16-point loss to Saint Mary’s to open WCC play certainly didn’t help, but the Cougars have plenty of weapons and can also defend. Matt Carlino has been a key since becoming eligible.

Norlander: Mississippi State. The Bulldogs can make the Final Four but everyone's just waiting for the Renardo Sidney haymaker to come. It won't. MSU is forever enigmatic but really quite loaded. 


Goodman: Indiana. I know the Hoosiers deserve their lofty ranking, but these guys are still more of a fringe Top 25 team than one that belongs in the Top 12. 

Parrish: Syracuse. Yes, the Orange are good. We even have them ranked No. 1. But are they really the nation's best team? I don't think so. So they are, by definition, overrated.

Borzello: Wisconsin. If you trust (and I usually do), one might think the Badgers are the second-best team in the country. They’re not even close. Jordan Taylor has struggled without defenses focusing on Jon Leuer.

Norlander: Florida. The Gators have some nice pieces. I love Voltron in the middle. But they aren't heat-seeking the Final Four, like many are still holding on to. Not a top-10 team. Come at me, UF fans. Wait, first -- look, Kenny Boynton just took an ill-advised 3 walking across the quad!

Player of the Year (so far)

Goodman: KU's Thomas Robinson. The guy brings it each and every night. He's averaging 17.7 points and 12.2 boards per game and already has nine double-doubles. 

Parrish: KU's Thomas Robinson. The 6-foot-9 forward is averaging 17.7 points and 12.2 rebounds per game. He's a dominant player on a nationally relevant team.

Borzello: KU's Thomas Robinson. If Jared Sullinger played every game and Marcus Denmon wasn’t on such a balanced team, I might think differently. Robinson is a dominant force down low, and he doesn’t have much help inside.

Norlander: Creighton's Doug McDermott. His numbers continue to hover well above what Jimmer did last year -- and remember, Jimmer won most of the POY awards.

All-American Team (so far)

Goodman: Thomas Robinson (Kansas), Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (Kentucky), Jared Sullinger (Ohio State), Harrison Barnes (North Carolina), Jeremy Lamb (UConn)

Parrish: I like my All-American teams to be like actual teams with a point guard, two wings and two bigs. So ... Kendall Marshall (North Carolina), Marcus Denmon (Missouri), Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (Kentucky), Thomas Robinson (Kansas), Jared Sullinger (Ohio State)

Borzello: Marcus Denmon (Missouri), Harrison Barnes (North Carolina), Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (Knetucky), Thomas Robinson (Kansas), Jared Sullinger (Ohio State).

Norlander: Doug McDermott (Creighton), Jared Sullinger (Ohio State), Thomas Robinson (Kansas), Marcus Denmon (Missouri), Draymond Green (Michigan State).

Freshman of the Year (so far)

Goodman: UK's Anthony Davis. I'm not going to duplicate and go with Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, even though he's Kentucky's MVP. Davis is the game-changer on the defensive end with his length and shot-blocking ability. 

Parrish: UK's Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. He's the leader of the team I believe will win the national title. He had 24 and 19 in that win over Louisville.

Borzello: UK's Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Kentucky. Been doing Freshman of the Year rankings every week, and Kidd-Gilchrist finally overtook Anthony Davis after the Louisville game. He’s Kentucky’s most important player.

Norlander: I'm offering up IU's Cody Zeller. There's no way Indiana's this good if he's not there. He's one of the most reliable scorers in hoops, and again, only a freshman. A better defense player than people realize, too.

Coach of the Year (so far)

Goodman: Tom Crean. The Hoosiers coach deserves the honor. He's got two huge resume wins - against Kentucky and Ohio State in Bloomington.

Parrish: Steve Prohm. The first-year Murray State coach has the Racers undefeated with a win at Memphis. Put another way, he's still never lost a game as a head coach.

Borzello: Tom Crean. No one thought the Hoosiers were going to make the NCAA tournament, yet they have the most impressive pair of wins in the country, over Kentucky and Ohio State. He’s certainly not on the hot seat anymore.

Norlander: Frank Haith. I gave Indiana love in the category above, so I'll take a turn and make my case for the Missouri coach. He's down to seven scholarship players, the expectations were ankle-level for him ... and the team is undefeated. Can make a Final Four. Dude has to be walking into his home win the confidence of Jay-Z every night because of how he's proved everyone wrong so far.

Biggest Surprise (so far)

Goodman: San Diego State. Steve Fisher lost four starters - including first-rounder Kawhi Leonard. Somewhow, the Aztecs are in the Top 25. I think I need to get back to San Diego -- and soon. 

Parrish: Georgetown. The Hoyas were picked 10th in the Big East. Now they're ranked ninth in the country with wins over Louisville, Memphis (twice) and Alabama.

Borzello: Missouri. Everyone knew the Tigers had talent, but preseason injuries and a new head coach left them as a question mark. Now, they are 14-0 and one of the most dangerous teams in the country.

Norlander: Indiana. If you're telling me you saw this start coming, then I reserve the right to assume your place resembles Kevin Spacey's in "Se7en."

Biggest Disappointment (so far)

Goodman: I was going to go with Gary Parrish, but then I was told we could only go with college basketball teams or players. That makes it awfully difficult, but I'm going with the entire Pac-12. I attended a school in this league - and the entire conference stinks right now. 

Parrish: Pittsburgh. The Panthers were ranked 10th in the preseason. Now they're unranked with losses to four unranked teams -- Long Beach State, Wagner, Notre Dame and Cincinnati.

Borzello: Pittsburgh. The Panthers came into the season as a top-10 team, but have done nothing of note and have lost four games already – to four teams that might not make the NCAA tournament. Jamie Dixon needs to figure something out, and fast.

Norlander: Xavier. Just with everything. Being in the Crosstown Punchout and the fallout since then. X has a Final Four ceiling. Or had. Can they recover and play themselves back into a 5 seed or better?

Photos: US Presswire


Since: Nov 14, 2007
Posted on: January 6, 2012 2:54 pm Midseason Awards and Predictions

I agree 1996 was a great final 4.  As a Miss. State fan, I would also like to exersize some 1996 demons :)

Since: Sep 10, 2011
Posted on: January 6, 2012 1:16 pm Midseason Awards and Predictions

As a Cuse alum and obvious huge fan, could care less about midseason awards and predictions. Everyone has an opinion, but nobody has a crystal ball. I personally would love to see a UK vs. Cuse final just for an opportunity to exorcise those 1996 demons.

In a way, this year's teams remind me alot of those 1996 teams, just from an opposite perspective. Cuse only had 6-7 players that got meaningfull playing time, but had an absolute stud and future NBA player in John Wallace with solid pieces around him. UK was DEEP that year with 10 players that played regularly and just wore you down. Only difference is that 96 UK team was stacked with NBA talent (Antoine Walker, Ron Mercer, Tony Delk, Walter McCarty, Derek Anderson)....just to name a few.

Not sure why some of the UK fans on this board are dissing Cuse so much. Who cares about polls and rankings. March will determine everything. I just hope for a much better final game than last year's yawner!

Since: Aug 20, 2006
Posted on: January 6, 2012 1:12 pm Midseason Awards and Predictions

no they said Syracuse's bench added together doesnt make as much money as Kentucky's starting five.  

Since: Apr 6, 2007
Posted on: January 6, 2012 12:11 pm Midseason Awards and Predictions

Did you just say Syracuse's bench is better than KY's starting 5?

That statement alone should ban you from posting on this site ever again. What an idiot!

Since: Dec 20, 2009
Posted on: January 6, 2012 11:50 am Midseason Awards and Predictions

Interesting there is not even a mention of 14-0 Baylor in this entire article - the team, top players, the coach.  They are the only team to beat 5 top 50 RPI teams.  4 of them on the road or neutral courts.  I know the analysts were snake bit last year w/ their projections of Baylor, but this year's team is the real deal. 

Since: Aug 1, 2007
Posted on: January 6, 2012 11:50 am Midseason Awards and Predictions

First off, a discalaimer from me, I am indeed a big Syracuse fan. OK, that being said, C'mon, all these "experts" and Syracuse isn't in the mix as contending for the final 4? Myself, I would go with Kentucky as the champs, Ohio State and maybe North Carolina but SU should certainly be in the final four discussion. Quality wins, tough conference, proven coach, outstanding defense, great team chemistry and depth like no other. I have no problem with the comment about them being overrated because they are ranked #1 yet that person does not believe they truly are the best (as stated, nor do I) but to ignore them, for so many to ignore them, that's a bit of a shame.

Since: Nov 8, 2007
Posted on: January 6, 2012 11:38 am Midseason Awards and Predictions

BUMS they pay these guys to write thats funny. I know Im a SU fan but out of 4 guys none of them have them going to the final 4 please. It will take a little while but I give it a month before all of them are jumping on SU coat tails. Remember what you said and please take some responsibility when you find out how poor of sports writers you really are.

PS Has anyone heard of any charges yet in the fine case? I think not but you had him guilty  again bums the whole lot of you.

Since: Oct 24, 2009
Posted on: January 6, 2012 11:31 am Midseason Awards and Predictions

If Tom Crean isn't the coach of the year, someone needs to lose their job!!!

Since: Mar 11, 2007
Posted on: January 6, 2012 11:23 am Midseason Awards and Predictions

It's too bad that these so called college basketball experts dnn't watch Hoya basketball more often.  Worse, it's unforgivable that they didn't do their homework enough to know that Jason Clark, Hollis Thompson and Henry Sims were ALL hightly-touted hish school players.  Extremely high. Sims was the best player in Baltimore; Jason Clark was a 4-star recruit as was Hollis Thompson. If these so-called basketball experts had done their homework, they would've realized (and not looked stupid) that these players are playing up to their levels.  Clark was a force last year too, which makes it even doubly bad because he didn't sneak up on anyone. 

Totally pathetic.  Follow Hoya basketball and their recruiting. Cuz apparently you all (college basketball experts) didn' tdo it.

Since: Nov 28, 2011
Posted on: January 6, 2012 10:59 am Midseason Awards and Predictions

Rapier hit it on the head about coach B. To hold your team together during the turmoil in Syracuse has to be one of the best coaching runs in recent memory. Not to mention the fact that the 2-3 is working to perfection. (although Providence put a dent in it). On a team void of true superstars, the players look to their coach for direction and leadership more than most "elite" teams. This may be coach B's best performance yet.

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