Kenny Boynton and Erving Walker make up Florida’s formidable back court. Both are capable of handling the ball in the open court and making decision on the fly. Boynton and Walker combined to average almost two and a half steals per game last year. They will need to improve their accuracy from long range…
Isaiah Thomas can score in bunches the 5’9″ guard led Washington with 65 three-pointers. The native of Tacoma, Washington can put the ball on the deck and create shots for himself. He will need to improve on his 33 percent accuracy from long range if the Huskies are to be successful.
No longer is the Big 12 the conference dominated by Kansas and Texas with every other team happy to get the table scraps left over by the Jayhawks and Longhorns. While KU and Texas still will have a say in the conference champion, Baylor, along with others, have acquired a voice.
Fran Dunphy has taken the Cherry and White to the dance the last three years. Each time the clock struck midnight before Temple found their stride. Dunphy’s 2010-11 Owls seem destined for another trip to the tournament. This time the fifth-year coach will have all the ingredients possible for a run.
D.J Gay and Chase Tapley provide the Aztecs with two ballhandlers capable of breaking down defenses. Gay led the way with 108 assists, and Tapley followed with 72. Gay’s 61 3-pointers paced the Aztecs lon-range attack. Tapley knocked down 35 from behind the arc.
Robert Sacre (7′), Elias Harris (6’7″), Kelly Olnyk (7′), Mangisto Arop (6’7″) and Sam Dower (6’9″) give the Bulldogs plenty of size around the basket. The Zags rebound margin of 4.5 was good for 39th in the land last year. With another year of experience the front line has the potential to dominate.
The Flyers’ 12 losses all came by single digits. In the end, Brian Gregory’s crew proved their worth with an NIT Championship that included wins over UNC, Mississippi, Illinois and Cincinnati. Two years ago, Dayton trimmed West Virginia to open the NCAA Tournament. Chris Wright, Chris Johnson, Paul Williams, Luke Fabrizius and Devin Searcy all logged double digit minutes per game for the Flyers that year.
Stat of Identity: 79.3 points per game (15th in the nation). Kentucky finished less than that total in six of their final eight games a season ago. The Wildcats want to dictate tempo and create as many possessions as possible. In other words, they don’t know many shots they don’t like.
Where will they need to improve? Believe it or not, defense. The Buckeyes allowed 41 percent from the field last year, but a stunning 33 percent from long range. That was good for 151st in the country. That is hard to believe coming from a school in the rough and tumble Big Ten.
Late last season, the Hokies strung together five consecutive wins in the ACC capping it off by trimming then #25 Wake Forest. V-Tech looked prime for a spot in The Dance until a three-game swoon and a first round exit in the conference tournament doomed their hopes.