College Basketball Yearbook Review: Athlon Sports

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Much like when Owen Wilson exuberantly announces to buddy Vince Vaughn in Wedding Crashers that spring has sprung, we've reached that point in the year where there's real signs of life college basketball is right around the corner. It's so exciting!

The litany of ignominious grade scandals, eligibility rulings and instances of flat out lying - which have all given us pounding headaches - are slowly beginning to find resolution. Frankly, we are so over it.

Now earlier and earlier, it seems as though those attractive looking college basketball annual yearbook's are hitting newsstands, forcing fans to tack on another $7.99 to next week's grocery bill. You must have one of these, you need one of these to supplement your intake of online content, but God Almighty you shouldn't impulsively buy one of these things.

Today we take a look at Athlon's 2010-2011 College Basketball Preview, after the jump.

Pages: 192

Articles:

  • "10 Things to Watch in 2011"
  • "Whatever Happened to the Class of 2005?"
  • "Overachieving and Underachieving Programs of the Past 10 Years"
  • "Up Three…To Foul or Not to Foul?" by Ken Davis
  • "Down But Not Out" (5 National Powers Fighting Their Way Back) by Michael Bradley
  • The Scoop w/ Purdue’s Big Three, Duke’s Nolan Smith, and Kansas State’s Jacob Pullen
  • The Back Page: 19 Quotes from the Wizard of Westwood

First Team All-American

Final Four:

  • Duke (Nat’l Champion)
  • Purdue
  • Michigan State
  • Kansas

Five bold predictions/statements:

  • Sitting squarely on the bubble, Dayton gets an extra home game as part of the inaugural First Four. Their predicted opponent? Northwestern. Who has not been to the NCAA Tournament since…well ever.
  • Just how tough could the SEC East be? We aren't sure yet as each team, sans South Carolina, has a bevy of talent but plenty of questions. But according to Athlon, the division will send five teams to the NCAA Tournament, including the intriguing Georgia Bulldogs led by the aforementioned Thompkins and YouTube sensation Travis Leslie.
  • Looking for another middling BCS-conference team who has a shot this season? Try the Colorado Buffaloes. Led by Alec Burks and Cory Higgins, the Buffs will be dancing for the just the third time since the tournament expanded to 64-teams.
  • He sat out last season, and played at Liberty as a freshman, so it’s a bit surprising to see Duke’s Seth Curry listed as the third-best shooter in the country. Back in 2008-2009, Curry ranked second on the Flames in 3pt-percentage and 12th in the Big South Conference. Ahead of Curry? Noted assassin John Jenkins of Vanderbilt and Arkansas’ Rotnei Clarke.
  • Initially was under the assumption that Athon did not consider freshman for their national and conference first-teams. I was wrong though, as somehow both Duke’s Kyrie Irving and North Carolina’s Harrison Barnes were relegated to the bench for the All ACC team, while Baylor’s Perry Jones and Kansas’ Josh Selby cracked the Big 12’s first five.

Analysis

While Sporting News limits their feature articles, working under the assumption that fans consume the majority of their college basketball coverage on the web, Athlon's annual has plenty of content that's perfect for the avid college basketball fan who forgot about nearly every returning player and major story line over the summer. There's a heavy dose of quick-hitting sections that let you know what transfers matter, what coaches better get their crap together this season or get canned, and top-10 superlatives that remind you who the best shooters, defenders, big men, etc. are.

Since John Ezekowitz of Harvard Sports Analysis covered this with quantifiable data back in August, it's tough to give credence and credibility to Ken Davis’ article on whether or not to foul when up three late in a game. Additionally, it was a bit awkward to see their 2011 NCAA Tournament bracket covered in chalk, but I guess it’s tough to predict that sort of stuff eight months in advance.

Regardless, there's more than $8.00 worth of information here to prepare you for the upcoming season, so absolutely make the purchase if it's staring you down at your local newsstand.

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