So often when discussing college basketball do we emphasize the importance of having an sound backcourt. A kid, or kids, that can score and also make teammates better almost always trumps a post player with a soft touch around the bucket.
It makes sense, too. After all, they own the ball more than any other on the court and, because college kids are far more prone to mistakes than their professional counterparts, solid guard play with limited hiccups is often what moves teams along in March.
But the 2011-2012 season may take on a little bit of a different look amongst the top teams.
Last week, Basketball Prospectus' John Gasaway ranked the nation's top 10 frontcourts and backcourts. I'm not here to argue with his rankings (in fact there was very little to argue). Instead the pieces supported an observation I made this spring: That next season's top teams actually have a far better collection of post players than guards, and it will drive the conversation all winter long.
I'm talking specifically about the trio of Kentucky, North Carolina and Ohio State. These teams boast 12 potential first round NBA Draft picks on their roster, eight of which won't spend much time out on the perimeter. Besides the tournaments between 2004-2006, when Emeka Okafor, Sean May, and Joakim Noah were named as Most Outstanding Players, you'd have to go all the way back to 1994 (Arkansas' Corliss Williamson) to find a true back-to-the-basket player that received the award. I have a hunch it will be that type of player next spring.
Sure guys like Marquis Teague and Kendall Marshall will be counted on to ensure their respective team's ships don't sink, but expect these elite teams to out muscle, and certainly out rebound, a number of their opponents next season.
Whether or not it effects these team's place of play and the excitement they bring to my television is to be determined.