2012 Maui Invitational Preview and Predictions

maui invitational logo

As much as Feast Week is about stuffing your face with turkey, stuffing, and mashed potatoes; it’s also about sweet college basketball tournaments like the Maui Invitational.  This field is not as stacked as a year ago when Duke needed a pair of Tyler Thornton “Onions” three pointers to beat Kansas in the title game.  Nevertheless here are my predictions from a field which includes North Carolina, Texas, Marquette, Illinois, and Butler.

Here is the link to the official 2012 Maui Invitational bracket.

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#15 North Carolina Tar Heels: College Basketball 111 in 111

tar heel cheerleaders

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 North Carolina Tar Heels never rebuild, they reload.  Despite losing four starters who were all first round picks in the 2012 NBA Draft, UNC has a talented squad but there are some questions marks.

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NBA Draft stock report: Duke vs. North Carolina edition

austin rivers duke

Duke’s comeback at North Carolina Wednesday night capped off by a game-winning, buzzer-beating three-pointer by Austin Rivers added another chapter to one of the greatest rivalries in all of sports.  Several likely NBA Draft first round picks were on display in Chapel Hill.  Let’s check in to see which Blue Devils and Tar Heels helped or hurt their NBA Draft Stock.

Here’s a look at The Sports Bank’s 2012 NBA Mock Draft and our insanely early 2013 NBA Mock Draft.

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College Basketball: The Week Ahead (12/20/11)

Missouri cheerleaders

College Hoops 101 has undergone a facelift.  My weekly breakdown of the past week in college basketball and look ahead will now be split into two parts.  (Click here for a look at the past week.)  This week’s edition of the “The Week Ahead” looks at the best games of the up-coming week including a preview of the annual Braggin’ Rights game between Missouri and Illinois, and why Xavier will be upset in the opening round of the Diamond Head Classic.

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Big Ten/ACC Challenge Preview and Predictions

big ten/acc challenge

The twelve-game Big Ten/ACC Challenge tips off Tuesday night with the headliner being a battle of top three teams as #3 Duke visits #2 Ohio State.  After losing the first ten challenges, The Big Ten looks for their third straight win in this battle of power conferences.  To be completely blunt; they should have zero problem doing so as the Big Ten has far more depth then the ACC.

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President Obama’s Carrier Classic Pregame Speech (Video)

barack obama basketball

As you know, President Barack Obama is a huge college basketball fan. (He’s also the most impressive of my 619 Twitter followers by the way) On Veteran’s Day, the Commander-in-Chief addressed the crowd of 8,100 who took in the Michigan State Spartans vs North Carolina Tar Heels game, the first to ever be played on an aircraft carrier.

And not just any carrier, the same exact one that launched the strike which captured and killed Osama bin Laden.

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Carrier Classic: ’09 National Championship Rematch Reaches New Heights

For the Michigan State basketball team, the tests that the players take in the classroom are probably a breeze compared to the tests Tom Izzo gives them.

How’s this for a multiple-choice question? To open your season you will:

a)  Face a  #1 ranked UNC squad

b)  Face a top-ten Duke team at Madison Square Garden

c)   Face a Gonzaga team in a game that has packed much more meaning in the past few years on the ‘Zags’ home court.

d)   Face a Florida State team that did maximum damage in the ACC last season

e)   All of the above

If you guessed E, you’re correct and you probably already know that a heavy-hitting schedule for Tom Izzo’s team isn’t even a surprise anymore. It’s expected. The words “cupcake schedule” don’t fly in East Lansing.

But opening on this tough tear may be just the swift kick-start that puts a little hair on the chests of this young remodeled team of Spartans players.

But this year, even Tom Izzo has outdone himself. [Read more…]

North Carolina Ties All-Time Record; #1 in AP Poll for 8th Time

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With the release of today’s college hoops AP preseason poll, the North Carolina Tar Heels further cemented themselves as one of college basketball’s most storied programs.

The Tar Heels, returning all five starters from last season’s Elite 8 team, were the landslide #1 (62/65 votes) in the Associated Press’ preseason poll. It’s the eighth time they have been #1 with a bullet since the poll started in 1961-62.

You can compare this poll versus our poll, which we initially released the day after the 2011 National Title game.

And the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll

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North Carolina #1, Kentucky #2 in College Hoops Preseason Coaches Poll

North Carolina cheerleaders

The North Carolina Tar Heels claimed 30 of 31 first-place votes to earn the top spot in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches preseason poll. The Kentucky Wildcats received the other first place vote and start the college basketball season ranked second with Ohio State Buckeyes, Connecticut and Syracuse rounding out the top five. The Duke Blue Devils are sixth, followed by Vanderbilt, Louisville, Memphis and Florida.

You can compare this poll versus our poll, which we initially released the day after the 2011 National Title game.

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