2009-10 College Basketball Predictions
by Trevor Whenham - 11/13/2009
The college basketball season is underway, and I couldn't be happier. The best part of the sport is that the season has so many distinct parts to the season - early games, fall tournaments, tough non-conference contests, the conference season, conference tournaments, and the NCAA Tournament. Each one has a distinctly different look and feel, and each is entertaining in its own way. As we get ready for the long, glorious season, here are five college basketball predictions that I feel pretty good about (NCAA Championship futures odds are from Bodog):
Arizona (40/1) - The Wildcats have played in 25 consecutive NCAA Tournaments - the longest current streak and second longest ever. Changes have put that streak in jeopardy, but I don't think that it will end this year. There are a few reasons I am optimistic. First, after a couple of years of coaching turmoil the team has a hopefully long-term solution, and a good one. Sean Miller did a great job at Xavier, and he's an extremely good coach. He has three returning starters to help him adjust, including one, Nic Wise, who is a senior and a star. Helping Wise out will be a surprisingly strong recruiting class for a new coach - five players, including at least two who should be immediate contributors. Arizona has lost their way the last few years, but they have still made the tournament. A new coach and a new direction means that they will make it there again.
Gonzaga (70/1) - The Zags are still likely to win the WCC because they are so far ahead of everyone else, but this is not going to be the same, nationally-dangerous team that we have become so used to seeing that we are numb to it. They lost five seniors, and Austin Daye left early. That means that they have just one returning starter - Matt Bouldin. He's a very solid player, but not one to build a team around. The success of this team will require the rest of the roster to really take a big step forward. Steven Gray, a junior, was useful off the bench but now needs to be a starter and a leader. Sophomore point guard Demetri Goodson didn't see much time last year behind Jeremy Pargo but now he needs to hit the ground running. Center will be manned by two seven-plus feet monsters, but both are definitely projects. Beyond that, they need a lot of freshmen and even walk-ons to step up. Gonzaga is a tournament team that wouldn't be if they played in a real conference.
Kansas (7/2) - They are favored to win the NCAA championship, but it's just not going to happen. It's obvious why they are the preseason No. 1 - they have five returning starters and a strong recruiting class behind them. They will be strong, but just not as strong as they would need to be to justify this price, or ultimately to win it all. The five starters they return weren't quite good enough last year, and I'm not convinced that they will be again. The backcourt is exceptional, but the front court has a few more questions. Freshman Xavier Henry is looked at as a megastar, and he clearly has the physical tools to be, but Bill Self doesn't have a pile of experience with one-and-done types, and could be challenged by handling Henry and his massive ego. Their incredible depth won't make it any easier. There are a lot of guys that will want and need playing time, and they will have combined needs that will be more minutes than are available. If he can find a way to balance it all then this team could be potent. I'm willing to bet that it won't happen seamlessly, though.
Kentucky (5/1) - The Wildcats aren't winning the national championship, either. Or, at the very least, their chances of winning it are far less than these odds indicate. Don't get me wrong - John Calipari is among my very favorite coaches in the country, and he is going to bring multiple titles to Kentucky if he can stay out of trouble. The task he faces this year, though, is massive. Last year's best player is in the NBA. The three returning starters have to adjust to a new and entirely different offensive system. A ridiculously strong recruiting class will join them, and will all contribute immediately. To go deep, though, this team will have to have it's returning players adjust to a new system and their new players embrace that system and adjust to the demands of college play. It has taken immensely talented players like Tyreke Evans and Derrick Rose a few months to adjust to the Calipari way, and they had experienced players around to help them. John Wall and the rest won't have that, so it won't be seamless.
Purdue (22/1) - The Boilermakers are perhaps the best futures odds value on the board. The team returns all five of their starters, including a couple that have the chance to be nationally elite this year. Robbie Hummel had his season hampered last year by a back injury, but he's healthy this year and that will be bad news for the opposition. Purdue will be seasoned by playing in a very tough Big Ten and that will test them and help them to address any shortcomings they may have. If they can make it as far as the Final Four they'll have home court advantage - it's in Indianapolis this year. Purdue isn't my first choice to win it all, but I would have their odds in high single digits instead of where it is.
Most Recent College Basketball Handicapping
- College Basketball National Championship Odds and Expert Analysis and Predictions
- 2021 ACC Tournament Predictions and Betting Odds
- Weekend College Basketball Primer
- 2021 NCAA Tournament Projections and Predictions
- Non Conference College Basketball Betting Loophole
- 2020 Big Ten Basketball Predictions
- 2020 ACC Basketball Predictions
- 2020 Big East Basketball Predictions
- 2020 Big 12 Basketball Predictions
- Doc's Sports 49th year 3 for 1 anniversary college basketball picks special offer