Welcome to The Sports Bank’s third annual college basketball season preview series. Two years we looked at 99 teams in 99 days. Last year, we were slightly more aggressive and expanded to 111 teams in 111 days and will do so again as we look ahead to the 2012-2013 season.
We will rank the 75 power conference teams and top 36 mid-majors in reverse power ranking order. We’ll break down rosters, transfers, incoming freshmen, non-conference schedules, and pick a player to watch for each team.
I was planning on the Providence Friars being one of my sleeper teams this season but with the recent ruling that freshman Ricardo Ledo will be ineligible for this season and the injury to fellow newcomer Kris Dunn, Ed Cooley’s team drops several spots.
Last Season: 14th, 4-14 in Big East, 15-17 overall
Predicted Big East Finish: 14th
Projected Depth Chart
F/C: Kadeem Batts (Jr)/Sidiki Johnson (So)
PF: Brice Kofane (So)/Lee Goldsbrough (Jr)
SF: LaDonate Henton (So)
SG: Bryce Cotton (Jr)/Josh Fortune (Fr)
PG: Vincent Council (Sr)/Kris Dunn (Fr)/Ian Baker (Fr)
Gone: SG-Gerard Coleman (transfer-Gonzaga), PF-Ron Giplaye (transfer-East Tennessee State), F/C-Bilal Dixon (transfer-Townson)
By landing two elite recruits, this season was supposed to mark the turnaround of the Friar program. Instead, Ledo was ruled a partial qualifier by the NCAA meaning he will be able to practice with the team this season but not partake in any games. On top of that, his backcourt mate of the future, Kris Dunn has a shoulder injury that could sideline him for the first part of the season. That quickly put a damper on any chance Providence has of being a surprise team in the Big East.
PC still returns some talent in their backcourt though with the team’s top returning scorers, Vincent Council and Bryce Cotton back in the fold. Council was probably one of college basketball’s more underrated players in the country as he finished fourth in the nation in assists and was the only player to average at least 15 points, 7 assists, and 4 rebounds per game. Cotton is a dangerous three-point threat who will see a more prominent role this season due to the transfer of Gerard Coleman. Freshman Ian Baker and Josh Fortune will provide depth at guard.
Like Council, LaDontae Hinton had an extremely underappreciated freshman campaign on the national scene. The versatile lefty averaged 14.3 points and 8.6 rebounds while knocking down 39% of his triple tries. His ability to play either the three or four will also allow Cooley to choose between a smaller, quicker line-up when Dunn returns or a bigger, more physical five on the floor.
The frontcourt was a major weakness for the Friars last season as they couldn’t find consistent production. They did lose a pair of players to transfer in the off-season but do return the physical Kadeem Batts and more athletic Brice Kofane. Lee Goldsbrough barely saw the floor last season but will be the only reserve post player until Arizona transfer Sidiki Johnson becomes eligible after the first semester. Johnson had a very short stint with the Wildcats in which he look extremely lost on the floor before returning to the East Coast. He figures to be a huge part of PC’s future up-front.
Cooley also picked up a pair of transfers in Wake Forest seven-footer Carson Desrosiers and Tyler Harris formerly of N.C. State. Both players will join Ledo on the practice floor this season but must sit out of game action due to NCAA transfer rules.
Providence will be very short-handed early in the season with only eight healthy, eligible scholarship players able to suit up. If they can survive the non-conference season, get Dunn healthy, and have Johnson make a major impact up-front, the Friars could still make some noise in the Big East. However, their once bright optimism for the up-coming season has certainly taken a hit due to Ledo’s ineligibility and Dunn’s injury.
Player to Watch: LaDontae Hinton
The Lansing, Michigan native quickly became one of “my boys” last season. He logged major minutes for the Friars and contributed in practically every area of the game due to his inside/outside ability. I like him so much that I’ve dubbed him a sleeper for the 2013 NBA Draft. I just can’t wait for the rest of the nation to catch on.
Key Non-Conference Games:
11/15 vs. UMass (Puerto Rico Tip-Off)
11/16 vs. N.C. State/Penn State (Puerto Rico Tip-Off)
11/15 vs. Tennessee/UNC-Asheville/Oklahoma State/Akron (Puerto Rico Tip-Off)
12/1 vs. Mississippi State (Big East/SEC Challenge)
12/6 vs. Rhode Island
12/22 at Boston College
OTHER 111 IN 111′S:
#84 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
#85 Oklahoma Sooners
#86 Lehigh Mountain Hawks
#87 Washington State Cougars
#88 Long Beach State 49ers
#89 Belmont Bruins
#90 Vanderbilt Commodores
#91 Dayton Flyers
#92 Houston Cougars
#93 UCF Knights
#94 Old Dominion Monarchs
#95 Oregon Ducks
#96 LSU Tigers
#97 South Carolina Gamecocks
#98 Seton Hall Pirates
#99 Georgia Bulldogs
#100 DePaul Blue Demons
#101 Boston College Eagles
#102 Penn State Nittany Lions
#103 Arizona State Sun Devils
#104 Virginia Tech Hokies
#105 Texas Tech Red Raiders
#106 Auburn Tigers
#107 Wake Forest Demon Deacons
#108 TCU Horned Frogs
#109 Mississippi State Bulldogs
#110 Utah Utes
#111 Nebraska Cornhuskers
David Kay is a senior feature NBA Draft, NBA, and college basketball writer for the Sports Bank. He also heads up the NBA and college basketball material at Walter Football.com and is a former contributor at The Washington Times Communities. David has appeared on numerous national radio programs spanning from Cleveland to New Orleans to Honolulu. He also had the most accurate 2011 NBA Mock Draft and the most accurate 2012 NBA Mock Draft on the internet (Yup, repeat champ… #humblebrag.)