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The Clone Chronicles 2011 NCAA Basketball Preview

Today is opening tip in the world of college basketball. I know people are way deep into the college football season, and while it isn't my primary passion, it is rightfully so. The next 3-4 weeks are going to determine bowl positioning, conference championships, along with who will be playing for the BCS championship.

But, if you are a college basketball fan like myself, you still have a small portion of your heart that is available to be excited for the upcoming season. Tonight there aren't any barnburner of games, but it's the first day of meaningful basketball with the 2k Sports Coaches vs. Cancer. Because I'm a college basketball fan, beyond just rooting for Iowa State, I am going to put together each Sunday/Monday a College Basketball Top 16, starting today.  

But with this post, I want to get into all the national stuff: My Top 25, my preseason All-American Team, quick conference breakdowns in each of the 31 automatic bid conferences, along with projected standings, and who I think will make the dance in each conference (unseeded).  It will probably all be wrong, but I love researching this and talking about this stuff. So if you want a break from football for a little while, hit the jump and let's continue on!

Week 1 Top 16:

Why a Top 16 you ask? Basically because 25 seems like an arbitrary number. With basketball, you're trying to get into the dance, and your ranking doesn't really matter as much as it does with football. For me, it seems like the Sweet 16 has significance in the tournament, and while I'm not projecting the Sweet 16 necessarily. I would just rather deal with a smaller number as the bottom part of the poll fluctuates a ton in reality anyhow.

Ohio State
Kansas State
Michigan State

Also Considered: Virginia Tech, Texas, San Diego State, and Georgetown

Pretty arbitrary at this point. I'm holding off judgement for UNC as I want to see how they actually do. Barnes is obviously a good player, but he's joining a team that was pretty bad by their standards. I also held Purdue out due to Hummel being gone. They are definitely a good team, but maybe not as good as being in the Top 16.

Preseason All-American Team:

I'm just doing the starting 5. I'm not getting into all of the other awards, nor am I going to do multiple teams.

G: Jimmer Fredette, BYU, senior
G: Nolan Smith, Duke, senior
G: Jacob Pullen, Kansas State, senior
F: Kyle Singler, Duke, senior
F: JaJuan Johnson, Purdue, senior

Preseason All Big 12 Team:

I have to echo what the media did. I can't really find a good argument to swap any of the below people out with maybe one exception. I'm not a fan of Dunn at all, but in terms of what he brings and does on the court, I have to include him. I apologize for not being original, but sometimes you have to be smart instead.

G: Jacob Pullen, Kansas State, senior
G: Cory Higgins, Colorado, senior
G: LaceDarius Dunn, Baylor, senior
F: Marcus Morris, Kansas, junior
F: Curtis Kelly, Kansas State, senior

Conference Breakdowns:

I'm going to go conference by conference for the 31 autobid conferences with projected standings. Most of this is gut feel... With the power conferences, I'm going to project the final standings including NCAA berths (underlined) and NIT berths (italicized). With the mid-majors, I am going to list the teams I think will go to the NCAA tournament and NIT. I won't do full blown standings. Remember, the NCAA tournament has expended to 68 teams now, and the NIT has 32 teams.

Big 12
Kansas State, Missouri, Baylor, Kansas, Texas, Texas A&M, Colorado, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Iowa State

Duke, VA Tech, UNC, Florida State, Clemson, Maryland, NC State, Miami, Boston College, Georgia Tech, Virginia, Wake Forest.

Big 10
Ohio State, Michigan State, Illinois, Wisconsin, Purdue, Minnesota, Northwestern, Indiana, Penn State, Iowa, Michigan

Big East
Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Villanova, Georgetown, West Virginia, Louisville, St. John's, Marquette, UConn, Notre Dame, Seton Hall, Providence, Cincinnati, South Florida, Rutgers, DePaul

Pac 10
Washington, Arizona State, Arizona, UCLA, Washington State, Cal, USC, Stanford, Oregon St., Oregon

East: Florida, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, Vanderbilt, South Carolina
West: Mississippi State, Alabama, Mississippi, LSU, Arkansas, Auburn

Mountain West
BYU, San Diego State, UNLV, New Mexico, Colorado State

Atlantic 10
Xavier, Temple, Dayton, Richmond, Duquesne, Rhode Island, SLU

Missouri Valley
Wichita State, Missouri State, UNI, Creighton, Bradley

Memphis, UTEP, Southern Miss, UCF, Tulsa

Butler, Cleveland St

Gonzaga, St. Mary's

Old Dominion, George Mason, VCU

Utah State, New Mexico State

Other One Bid Leagues (All NCAA Tournament):
America East: Boston University  
Atlantic Sun: Belmont
Big Sky: Weber State
Big South: Coastal Carolina
Big West: Pacific
Ivy: Princeton
MAC: Ohio
MAAC: Iona
MEAC: Morgan St
Northeast: Robert Morris
Ohio Valley: Murray State
Patriot: Holy Cross
Southern: Wofford
Southland: Sam Houston State
Summit: Oral Roberts
Sun Belt: Western Kentucky
SWAC: Jackson St              

We'll have to look back and see how I did, but I bet I'll be dead wrong in so many cases!