Here's Thursday's Dear Gary ...
Dear Gary: Where's the promised list of teams from which you believe the national champion will come?
As I wrote yesterday , my pick is North Carolina.
You know that already.
After that, I like Connecticut because I am a firm believer that the teams with the most talent tend to be in play for national titles, and UConn's talent is undeniable. So let's make UConn No. 2. And after the Huskies, what I'm going to do is simply try to identify teams with at least three future NBA players, because what I told you back in the preseason is that 39 of the past 40 national champions have had at least three players on their roster who have either A) gone on to be selected in the first two rounds of the NBA Draft or B) played in the NBA at some point even though they might've been drafted outside of the first two rounds or actually gone undrafted.
That's a remarkable statistic.
So I ask: Which teams have three future NBA players?
Wake Forest is one.
The Demon Deacons have Jeff Teague, Al-Farouq Aminu and James Johnson.
I'll take them.
Louisville, I think, is another.
The Cards have Terrence Williams, Earl Clark and Samardo Samuels.
I'll take them.
So that gives me four schools -- two each from the ACC and Big East.
Of the remaining schools, how many really have three future NBA players?
Perhaps Gonzaga, but I can't bring myself to count on a team I just watched get run off the court by Memphis.
There are a bunch of schools that have at least two, but I'm not sure there are any more that definitely have three. So after North Carolina, Connecticut, Wake Forest and Louisville, I'll just round out my list of six with Pittsburgh and Oklahoma because I really like the toughness and swagger of the Panthers, and I think Blake Griffin might be dominant enough to pull a Carmelo Anthony.
So here's my list (not necessarily in order):
- North Carolina
- Wake Forest
And if you want a wildcard (i.e., somebody ranked outside the Top 20) I'll go with Syracuse.