Breaking down the AP Pre-Season Poll: #s 11-15

Continuing our look at the Associated Press pre-season poll. In the past week I have reviewed 1-5 and 6-10 (and Rey thought he was the only writer who shamelessly linked his own stuff)

images24Five starters return from a Boilermaker squad that went 25-9 last year. But the sophomore jinx watch is on high alert in West Lafayette.

Second year coach, Matt Painter, will look to improve on Purdue’s second round exit in the NCAA tournament. After taking over from the legendary Gene Keady, Painter seemed to provide a shot of adrenaline into the Boilermaker program. Now he has to prove his ability to sustain that success.
Painter won’t be the only sophomore Boilermaker. 6’8” Robbie Hummel will be out to prove last year wasn’t a fluke. As a freshman the native of Valparaiso, Indiana averaged 11 points and six rebounds to go with a pair of assists per game.

Hummel is joined by Nemanja Calasan in the front court. The junior college transfer will also be making his second tour through the Big Ten.

As a frosh E’Twaun Moore led the Boilermakers in scoring – the first time a rookie had done so in Purdue history. Moore also finished second in team rebounding and assists. He’ll be joined in the back court by Keaton Grant and Chris Kramer.

Senior guard, Marcus Green, and 6’10” sophomore, Jajuan Johnson will log valuable minutes coming off the bench.

images25Jeff Capel enters his third season at the helm in Stillwater after leading the Virginia Commonwealth program for two years. The Duke grad has proven that Xs and Os are more important to him than text messaging was to his predecessor.  The Sooners collapsed in the second round of the 2008 NCAAs when they lost to L’ville by 30, but senior, Austin Johnson and junior, Tony Crocker, return in the back court. The two combined for an average of 23 points in every Sooner victory last year. Tellingly that number dropped to 12 points when Oklahoma lost. The vets will be joined by frosh phenom, Willie Warren – the highest rated recruit in school history.

Brothers, Blake and Taylor Griffin, will start in the front court. Blake Griffin surprised everyone when he chose to remain in school although he was forecasted to go as a lottery pick. He had 10 double-doubles last year. Taylor Griffin, the elder of the two, is not as talented but provides muscle under the boards.

Juan Patillo and Ryan Wright will come off the bench. Patillo is a junior college transfer, and Wright left UCLA to play for the Sooners.

images28Seniors, Antonio Anderson and Robert Dozier, return from last year’s national finalist. Dozier considered the NBA draft but thought better of it and will need to improve on his nine points and six rebounds per game. Anderson tied for the team lead in steals last year with 49. Anderson scored in double figures 16 times last year including 51 trifectas.

Anderson will be joined in the back court by freshman, Tyreke Evans and junior, Willie Kemp. After last year’s success of Derrick Rose, Evans will have a large size pair of Converse to fill as he steps in at point.

6’10” junior, Shawn Taggart, will join Dozier in the front court.

John Calipari will go nine deep with Doneal Mack, Jeff Robinson, Roburt Sallie, and Wesley Witherspoon all getting significant minutes.

images29Running the 4 x 100 for Bruce Pearl’s Tennessee Volunteers will be juniors, Bobby Maze, J.P. Prince, Wayne Chism, and Tyler Smith. Freshman, Scotty Hopson will run the 100m.

Pearl’s squad will press and trap to exhaustion creating as many possession and turnovers as possible. Last year the Vols strung together a bunch of wins early before fading late in the season. This year they have quite the challenging pre-conference schedule with Siena on 11/27, Temple (Yo Rey!) on 12/13, Marquette three days later before showdowns with Kansas and Gonzaga in the New Year. The Vols are the highest ranked SEC team, and Florida is the only other team from the conference in the top 25.

Pearl will go nine-deep (and he’ll have to as his kids will play 94 feet every night) using Brian Williams, Cameron Tatum, Josh Tabb, and Emmanuel Negedu.

images30Herb Sendek’s Sun Devils return four guards – juniors, Derek Glasser and Jerren Shipp along with sophomores Ty Abbott and Rihards Kuksiks. Glasser will run the point while Abbott and Kuksiks will spot up behind the arc. Shipp – brother of UCLA’s Josh- averaged 25 minutes per game off the bench last year.

Jeff Pendergraph and James Harden will start in the front court. Pendergraph led the team in rebounding last year and was second in scoring.

Duke transfer, Eric Boateng, will be a role player in Sendek’s front court. 6’7” freshman, Johnny Coy, will see his share of minutes in his first Pac-10 season.

9 Responses to "Breaking down the AP Pre-Season Poll: #s 11-15"

  1. crossword pete   November 13, 2008 at 8:42 pm

    Casey you know TOO much. That level of knowledge is scary, but impressive!

  2. Casey   November 13, 2008 at 9:30 pm

    pete – you are not the only one adept at research. 🙂

  3. crossword pete   November 13, 2008 at 10:44 pm

    apparently not

  4. Rey   November 15, 2008 at 12:27 pm

    I have zero faith in Tyreke Evans. People are going to see this year just how important CDRoberts was to that Memphis team last year. Honestly, if Memphis had a slightly stronger non-conf. schedule they could drop from the top 25. Georgetown, Syracuse, Gonzaga, and UT only threats.

    Billy Gillespie might need to put up a large electric fence on his property in Kentucky. Gardner-Webb last year and now VMI goes into Rupp arena and puts up 111. Virginia…Military…Institute. 111 points. No way – absolutely no way – this guy is in Lexington much longer.

  5. Rey   November 15, 2008 at 12:30 pm

    I didn’t think Bruce Pearl had the personnel to uphold a Pitino style of play last year, 92 feet a game. I love this guy anyway and hope his recuiting class mirrors his aspirations for that style of play. 12/13 is @Temple on a Saturday. I might be making the trip up to Philly for that one.

  6. Casey   November 15, 2008 at 12:48 pm

    Do you think Gillespie wishes he’d stayed in College Station?

    I like Pearl’s enthusiasm – his joe college persona (it seems genuine) – just not sold on his coaching. Saying that the Volunteers had the worst half-court offense in D1A would be a compliment. I watched them four times last year and saw zero evidence of a half-court set. If they can’t score with a steal and a conversion, they are challenged.

  7. Rey   November 15, 2008 at 1:06 pm

    You’re right. UTs offense is all based around a turnover. If that doesn’t happen, 7 seconds or less baby! That’s probably where he is struggling with the team’s identity. He has these horses that are long, athletic, and can cover a lot of land. Prince was so wild and out of control, but look at what Pearl’s losing defensively if he doesn’t play him. I don’t think Pearl is mixing the right half court sets with the style of play he wants on the defensive end. He ran flex cuts to death last year, often Prince being the man coming off the screen and a sloppy alley was thrown. If that didn’t work, they looked for Lofton and hoped for a 3 or offensive rebound.

    Flex is such a stagnant half court set and did not work last year for them. Pearl needs to get up with Roy in Chapel Hill after this season and talk some offense.

  8. Rey   November 15, 2008 at 1:09 pm

    I don’t blame Gillespie for taking the job. Remember – he was Kentucky’s third choice. I knew he was going to be out of his league. The year he was so successful with A&M, he was playing in a mediocre Big Ten (Ok State and Texas were good but inconsistent as heck) and he had a rarity in college hoopes now-a-days . . . an older, experienced PG in Acie Law III.

  9. Casey   November 15, 2008 at 3:28 pm

    Gillespie is just another one of these guys who is not in touch with his own situation. A little bit of winning at A&M and it is time to move on? Rey – like you said – the Big 12 was kinda average that year and Acie Law was a huge help. Do you think it crossed Gillespie’s mind – hey if Donovan didn’t take this job, maybe I’m not ready either.

    Beyond that – what is wrong with staying in College Station? Look at Donovan. Before his arrival in Gainesville, the Gators had never known the Final Four. Now he’s been there four times. Yeah, he flirted with the NBA, but came to his senses.

    It’s kinda like Chris Petersen from Boise St. taking the ND job. Yeah the Broncos have done well and have a great scheme. People in Boise love the guy, but they don’t expect to win. Put Petersen in South Bend and everything changes.

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