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2012-2013 College Basketball Preview Part II/Top 25

By: Jeff Meadows


Yes it's that time of year when the weather turns from cool to cold as the leaves on all trees that were brown began falling to the ground as college basketball teams across the country gear up for a heavily anticipated "action-packed" and "excitement guaranteed" 2012-2013 season. At the beginning of each season all college basketball fans find themselves asking this question "Is there parity throughout college basketball"? or "Will the power conferences rule"? Each year the answer to that question seems change as the so called small schools or mid majors if you will, continue to pull of major upsets each year some upsets bigger than others as teams like Butler, VCU, Siena, St. Mary's, Southern Illinois, Southern Miss and host of other small schools have pulled off the unthinkable or will this be the year of the big schools or "Super Powers" such as UNC, DUKE, Kentucky, Louisville, Kansas, Syracuse, Michigan St., Indiana to regain control of things? Be sure to view our "Parting Thoughts" segment at the end of this article and believe me, you don't want to miss it!

Now that we've given you out breakdown of the top 10 conferences in college basketball, let's take a look at what you've all been waiting for, HoopsReport's 2012-2013 college basketball preseason top 25, enjoy.

1. Indiana - The Hoosiers have a player who could possibly be one of the top 5 picks in the 2013 NBA draft in Cody Zeller and experienced some good fortune last year. Add top freshman Kevin "Yogi" Ferrell, sharpshooter Jordan Hulls and freakish athlete Victor Oladipo and they should be able to build on last years success.

2. Kentucky - Four top rated recruits Willie Cauley, Archie Goodwin, Alex Poythress and Nerlens Noel and a solid three point shooting transfer Ryan Harrow could spell R-E-P-E-A-T. The only reason they're not number 1 is they have no returning starters, but Coach Cal will have these youngsters playing with confidence.

3. Louisville - One of the best defensive teams in the country and Pitino at the controls should put this team in the Final 4. Tough guards Peyton Siva, Russ Smith and shot swatter Gorgui Dieng are the top players returning to this deep roster that's out to prove that last years Final 4 appearance wasn't by chance.

4. Michigan - Two top guards Tim Hardaway Jr., Trey Burke top freshman recruits led by Glen Robinson III and underrated coach John Beilein who has been a winner everywhere he's coached has the Wolverines in the thick of it all.
5. Kansas - Blue chip freshman Perry Ellis will lead the Jayhawks despite their lack of a dependable ball handler. They'll look to Elijah Johnson to run the team and shot blocking 7 footer Jeff Withey to protect the basket and control the boards.

6. Syracuse - In their last season in the Big East before heading to the ACC this talented Orangemen team looks to go out with a bang. Brandon Triche, Rakeem Christmas are key returning starters and freshman DaJuan Coleman should contribute. Look for CJ Fair to have a breakout season. Never count out the 2-3 zone.

7. Ohio State - This Buckeye team can potentially be as good as last years Final 4 team, inexperience might be their only weakness. They return 3 starters and 3 sophomores from the previous years strong recruiting class. Keep an eye on Deshaun Thomas who will be depended on heavily to score.

8. Florida - A top notch backcourt, strong frontcourt play, and two 4 star signees have the Gators ready to take a bite out of their competition. Last years leading scorer Kenny Boynton will provide instant offense Mike Rosario, Will Yeguete, Bill Murphy and freshman Braxton Ogbueze will offer stability. Watch out for these Gators.

9. Arizona - A top freshman recruitment class led by Gabe York, transfer Mark Lyons, and the versatility of Solomon Hill will make the Wildcats tough. Another key could be the play of Kevin Parrom who should be 100% this season. Look for freshman bigs to make an immediate impact.

10. North Carolina State - With four of their leading scorers back the Wolf pack looks advance pass last years Sweet 16 appearance and win an ACC title on the way. Not only do Lorenzo Brown, CJ Leslie, Scott Wood and Richard Howell score they're tough on the boards. Heralded freshman Rodney Purvis will contribute early.

11. Duke - Scoring, rebounding and two top recruits Amile Jefferson and Rasheed Sulaimon will keep the Blue Devils as one of the top teams in the country again. Seth Curry and Mason Plumlee also return and are proven contributors. Coach K has the tools for another productive season.

12. UCLA - They're back and although there are some questions about the eligibility of two of their top recruits, the Bruins are ready to get it done. Kyle Anderson and Shabazz Muhammad are the goods, the Wear twins are double double threats and NC transfer Larry Drew is eligible. Jordan Adams and Tony Parker will also be in the mix. Look for the Bruins to contend.

13. North Carolina - Another strong recruiting class featuring Joel James and Brice Johnson and James McAdoo showed promise last year. Combined with Dexter Strickland and Leslie McDonald's return from injuries, returning starter Reggie Bullock and big time freshman Marcus Paige the Tar Heels backcourt will be deep and competitive.

14. Michigan State - Three returning starters Keith Appling, Branden Dawson and Adreian Payne are young but tested. Freshman Gary Harris is a stud and will play along with fellow freshman Matt Costello who can shoot it. The Spartans have a good mix of versatility and size and will be dangerous when they mesh.

15. Memphis - Talented guards Chris Crawford and Joe Jackson lead four returning starters on this talented and well seasoned Tiger team. Other starters rugged Tariq Black, Ferrakohn Hall and McDonalds All American Shaq Goodwin will also impress. Adonis Thomas returning from ankle surgery is the one to watch and will be depended on to score.

16. Missouri - Out to prove that last years early NCAA exit was a fluke the Tiger have plenty ammo. Transfers Keion Bell, Jabari Brown, Alex Oriakhi and Ernest Ross will combine with lone returning starter Phil Pressey, Big 12 sixth man of the year Mike Dixon and Laurence Bowers, who's returning from an injury, form an experienced squad poised to get it done.

17. Baylor - The strong backcourt tandem of speedy Pierre Jackson and sharpshooter Brady Heslip, both returning starters, along with defensive ace AJ Walton will keep the Bears in contention. Talented freshmen Isaiah Austin and Ricardo Gathers figure to get their feet wet early and provide frontcourt stability. Look for the Bears to be a factor.

18. UNLV - A Big Time recruiting class, lightning quick Anthony Marshall and double double machine Mike Moser makes the Running Rebels a team watch. Top prospects Anthony Bennett, Katin Reinhardt, Savon Goodman transfers Khem Birch and Bryce Jones are all expected to make strong contribution. This team has the depth that would have Coach Tark ready to consider coaching again.

19. Creighton - With four returning starters from a team that won 29 games the Blue Jays look to forward to a very promising season. All American Doug McDermott, Greg Echenique, Jahenns Manigtat and Grant Gibbs have the experience and continuity to make good things happen in Omaha Nebraska.

20. San Diego State - The strong backcourt of Mountain West player of the year Jamaal Franklin, Chase Tarpley, Xavier Thames, and James Rahon are going to give opposing coaches fits. Talented athletic freshman Winston Sheppard comes in highly regarded but what's going to make this team special are transfers James Johnson, JJ O'Brien, and Dwayne Polee. The Aztecs are looking very promising in and out of their division.

21. Wisconsin - Four returning starters Josh Gasser, Ryan Evans, Mike Bruesewitz and Jared Berggren look to continue their success in the Big Ten. Boasting a strong backcourt, bruising improving bigs and the addition of blue chip freshman Sam Dekker the Badgers will do more than hold their own.

22. Gonzaga - Look for the Bulldogs to regain their season title behind the play of their tough backcourt play of Gary Bell, Kevin Pangos, and David Stockton. They should receive help from Elias Harris and have bulk inside. Freshman Przemek Karnowski, the MVP of the 18 and under European Championships, could be the key to their season.

23. Cincinnati - The Bearcats will be tough again this year. Sean Kilpatrick, Jaquon Parker and Cashmere Wright are returning starters that are talented and experienced. The Bearcats will also depend on spot starter Justin Jackson and look for Jermaine Sanders and redshirt freshman Shaquille Thomas to be in the rotation.

24. Florida State - The Seminoles return one starter, Michael Snaer, from a team the won the ACC tourney but they do have experience. Ian Miller and Okaro White both played significant minutes last year and will contribute. Terrance Shannon was injured last year but will be counted on to carry some of the scoring load .

25. New Mexico - The Lobos experienced success last season and look to enhance on it. Three starters Hugh Greenwood, Kendall Williams, and Tony Snell return as well as Alex Kirk who sat out last season due to injury. Athletic freshman Nick Banyard figures to crack the rotation and the bench is experienced. Look for Tony Snell to have a breakout season.

At the top of the article I asked the question: if there would be parity for all or would the big schools have there way? below is the answer to that question, enjoy!
The NCAA Tournament AKA: "March Madness" always creates such a buzz or a basketball frenzy world wide for many reasons as college basketball fans celebrate their favorite school/teams successful season. One of the main reasons why the NCAA Tournament is such a big deal is because unlike most tournaments in sports the little guy or the smaller schools get an opportunity to win the championship just as we'll as the big schools which just about always guarantees lots of suspense for all to watch live on center stage. For the masses, it's the thought of the little guy pulling off the unthinkable by upsetting the big boys which has kind of sort of been the theme the last few years in the NCAA Tournament as teams like VCU, Butler, St. Joseph's etc. but this year i have a gut feeling that at the end of the day, the big schools will be wreaking the most havoc in the end. For instance, Indiana has been on a hiatus for quite sometime but now they are back and back in a major way and so is Michigan, Louisville, Michigan St., UCLA, Arizona, Syracuse etc. for those of you who may ask "Why has the college basketball pendulum shifted back to yester year"? well there are a number of reasons but it doesn't mean that the so called "Mid Major's" are finished, it's just that the game as a whole is forever changing and will forever evolve which basically means that the game has to eventually come back to it's roots which is why the answer to the question at the top of the article is "The more things change the more they stay the same".

Follow Gary Sims @geesims

POSTED: 11-8-2012