#23 Minnesota Golden Gophers: College Basketball 111 in 111

tubby smith minnesota

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.

With Trevor Mbakwe returning from a torn ACL, Tubby Smith boasts his most talented roster since arriving at Minnesota.  Now the question becomes whether or not the Gophers can pull it all together and live up to their preseason Top 25 ranking.

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#26 Wisconsin Badgers: College Basketball 111 in 111

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.

My normal rule is never under any circumstances predict a Bo Ryan-led Wisconsin Badgers team outside of the Top 25 in my preseason rankings.  However, the devastating torn ACL injury suffered by Josh Gasser in the preseason is a massive loss that has me going against my usual instincts.

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#36 Purdue Boilermakers: College Basketball 111 in 111

purdue-basketball

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.

With three of their top four scorers gone from last year, the Purdue Boilermakers are in a bit of a transition year.  In typical Matt Painter fashion though, he will get the most of out his roster and have the Boilers back in the NCAA Tournament.

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#60 Iowa Hawkeyes: College Basketball 111 in 111

iowa cheerleader

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.

Fran McCaffery is very close to helping the Iowa Hawkeyes turn the corner and become a NCAA Tournament caliber team.  The addition of a pair of key freshmen has the Hawkeyes’ future looking rather bright.

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#63 Illinois Fighting Illini: College Basketball 111 in 111

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.

After several years of underachieving, Bruce Weber was shown the door as Illinois Fighting Illini head coach and replaced by Ohio’s John Groce.  There is still decent enough talent left on the Illini roster but can Groce right the ship in his first year in Champaign?

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#72 Northwestern Wildcats: College Basketball 111 in 111

northwestern dance team

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.

The streak continues… The Northwestern Wildcats missed the NCAA Tournament once again last season meaning the program has yet to put on their dancing shoes.  Bill Carmody loses star John Shurna and will likely see their streak go on for another year.

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#102 Penn State Nittany Lions: College Basketball 111 in 111

penn state basketball

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.

While the football program has been at the center of the national media surrounding the Jerry Sandusky scandal and cover up, the Penn State Nittany Lions basketball program remains in the shadows at not-so Happy Valley.  A year after making the NCAA Tournament, PSU returned to their normal home; the cellar of the Big Ten.  Don’t expect much to change this year either.

Click here for The Sports Bank’s Penn State football preview.

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Illini Upset #18 Gonzaga; Illinois is Better than You Think

meyers-leonard-illinois

Even when Illinois is having a down year, or a “rebuilding year,” they still get at least one win in over a ranked team. In 1998-99 and 2007-08 (two college basketball seasons that saw Illinois break the school record for losses) they still beat a couple ranked teams- even if it didn’t happen until the Big Ten Tournament.

It’s a hallmark of where Illinois is as a program, even in lean years they’re serviceable. Most experts expected this season to be a down year in Champaign, and that’s understandable given all the questions marks. However, as today’s solid, comfortable win over a top 20 team shows, the Illini might be a better team than you think they are.

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#3 Ohio State Buckeyes: College Basketball 111 in 111

ohio state buckeyes cheerleaders

Welcome to The Sports Bank’s second annual college basketball season preview series.  Last year we looked at 99 teams in 99 days.  This year, we are being slightly more aggressive and expanding to 111 teams in 111 days.  We will rank the 74 power conference teams and top 37 mid-majors in reverse power ranking order.  We’ll break down rosters, non-conference schedules, and pick a player to watch for each team.

During last season, it seemed very likely that the Ohio State Buckeyes would lose all five starters.  However, Jared Sullinger and William Buford chose to return to school rather than enter the NBA Draft.  Those two will anchor a young, but very talented team that should once again be in national title contention and could possibly be even better than last year’s team that won 34 games.

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2012 Illini Hoops Most Important Player? Meyers Leonard!

meyers leonard illinois

Last night’s 79-51 exhibition rout of Wayne State was expected for most Illini basketball fans. The most important number of the box score is found in the game’s leading scorer, Meyers Leonard. He had 18 points, in just 16 minutes, that’s a great sign for your Illinois Fighting Illini, because they’ll really need Leonard to be good, if they’re going to be good. [Read more…]

#15 Wisconsin Badgers: College Basketball 111 in 111

badgers cheerleaders

Welcome to The Sports Bank’s second annual college basketball season preview series.  Last year we looked at 99 teams in 99 days.  This year, we are being slightly more aggressive and expanding to 111 teams in 111 days.  We will rank the 74 power conference teams and top 37 mid-majors in reverse power ranking order.  We’ll break down rosters, non-conference schedules, and pick a player to watch for each team.

Underestimating Bo Ryan’s ability to coach up his guys is like saying Minka Kelly is ugly; it’s just downright idiotic.  Regardless of who is gone or who is returning, Ryan always has the Wisconsin Badgers competing for a Big Ten title and a threat to make the Sweet 16.  This year will be no different as UW boasts the best point guard in the country; Jordan Taylor.  (Yeah, I said it.)

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#20 Michigan Wolverines: College Basketball 111 in 111

michigan cheerleaders

Welcome to The Sports Bank’s second annual college basketball season preview series.  Last year we looked at 99 teams in 99 days.  This year, we are being slightly more aggressive and expanding to 111 teams in 111 days.  We will rank the 74 power conference teams and top 37 mid-majors in reverse power ranking order.  We’ll break down rosters, non-conference schedules, and pick a player to watch for each team.

After suffering through some growing pains with a very young roster, John Beilein’s Michigan Wolverines matured late in the season nearly knocking off Duke in the third round of the NCAA Tournament.  With everybody but Darius Morris returning, Michigan figures to make some serious noise in the Big Ten this season.

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