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Bold College Basketball Predictions for 2011-2012

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Maybe it's the sun, maybe it's because we're months away from the start of the season so it's OK to sound a little wacky, or maybe I've just drank a ton of of iced tea this month and it's starting to debilitate my thought process.

Regardless, I am ready to start making some weird predictions for the 2011-2012 college basketball season.

Despite being competitive and fun to watch, last season won't be remembered for its abundance of talent.  Fortunately, though, a looming NBA lockout encouraged a number of our game's top players to stick around campus for at least one more season, meaning fans will be treated to a much more polished product beginning this fall.

As I peer in to what's ahead, here are a few bold predictions I'd like to make now, then pretend it was written by someone else later:

  • Renardo Sidney will play an entire season, and be first-team all-SEC - I'm basing this on nothing but a hunch, and the fact that Sidney is a talented dude, he just hasn't had the opportunity (or perhaps desire) to showcase it. But with Dee Bost coming back and a solid recruiting class to help fill roles, Sidney could play the rock down low for Rick Stansbury and help carry this club back to the NCAA Tournament. At some point this prodigy has to work to impress NBA scouts - his sophomore campaign wouldn't be a bad time to start.
  • Scoop Jardine will make a bad decision in a tight game - Oh wait, wrong post. I'm supposed to turn heads here, not state the obvious. Moving on!
  • Boston College will win less than one conference game - It's a harsh statement to make, but it just may happen. Steve Donahue's club is dealing with a somewhat unfathomable roster turnover. Their leading returning scorer (Danny Rubin) brings with him only 4.1 points-per-game even though he started 23 of the 29 games he suited up for, while the rest of the starting five will likely be filled out by newcomers.  The situation stings a bit more for the Superfans when you realize this mess is entirely the result of former coach Al Skinner's inept recruiting abilities. You never root for an overmatched team to lose, but it would be sort of fascinating to see this club drop an Ofer in the ACC.
  • Despite a loaded backcourt, Florida will take a step back next season - Seems difficult to justify, no? Despite losing Chandler Parsons and Vernon Macklin, many are expecting big things for the Gators in 2012, who add freshman Bradley Beal and Rutgers transfer Mike Rosario to an already loaded backcourt. The problem with that backcourt is that Kenny Boynton and Ervin Walker makes even non-Gator fans cringe - specifically their two regional games against BYU and Butler. There's no doubt there will be plenty of talent to win in Gainesville, and maybe even capture an SEC crown, but there may not be enough synthetic leather to go around for this me-first club.
  • Each of the five first-team All-Americans will be a Wildcat, Tar Heel or Buckeye - Unlike last season, there's plenty of eligible suitors for all those post-season awards. But think about it: in the end, it's very likely that any combination of the 10 or so first round draft picks from these three programs will land on the first-team all-american list. Jared Sullinger is a shoe-in. Harrison Barnes is the next likely sure thing, and Terrence Jones, Tyler Zeller and John Henson all should develop in to strong candidates by March. Heck, Kendall Marshall and any of the three UK freshman could also enter into the conversation. College basketball will have much more depth next season, but somehow it could turn into something very top heavy.