The American is going to be a very top heavy basketball league. Louisville, Memphis and Connecticut are all going to be preseason top 25 teams. Cincinnati is going to have to earn a ranking. That's something most of us believe and that's certainly what the people at CBS believe. They rolled out their American preview on Monday.
CBS' group of writers picked Cincinnati to finish 4th. This was their reasoning:
Evidence of the quality of guards in this league is the fact that I couldn't find a place for Sean Kilpatrick on the all-conference team even though he averaged 17.0 points and 5.2 rebounds last season while leading the Bearcats to the NCAA tournament. For that, Cincinnati fans, I apologize. And I'm well aware that decision could look like a foolish decision come March, especially if UC finishes higher than projected here. But let's not forget that Kilpatrick is the Bearcats' only returning double-digit scorer. So it'll be interesting to see which players fill that void.
They left Kilpatrick off the all conference team? Who is on it?
G:Joe Jackson (Memphis)
G:Shabazz Napier (Connecticut)
G:Russ Smith (Louisville)
F:Chane Behanan (Louisville)
F:Montrezl Harrel (Louisville)
Russ Smith is the player of the year, so he would make it. Shabazz is very good. Joe Jackson is the guy I have the issue with. He was a top 20 recruit in 2010. He's had 1 season with a better offensive rating than Kilpatrick. It just so happened to be last season, when he outperformed SK 112-108. A season in which he attempted shots on a career low 19.2% of possessions. He did shoot 51%, which is very good. He was a worse foul shooter than SK. Jackson attempted 85 three pointers all year, SK made 82. Jackson shot 44% though. Jackson averaged more rebounds/assist than Kilpatrick at 8 to 7, but I do admit to a very strong bias. Obviously I love Sean Kilpatrick. I also think Joe Jackson is one of the most overrated players in the country. He is very good, but I think his McDonald's AA status gets him a break.
Back to the standings. Out of the 6 CBS analysts, only the handsome and talented Matt Norlander had UC in the top 3. He ranked UC 3rd and UConn 4th. Everyone else had UC 4th.
It seems to me that UC is going to be the team not mentioned in terms of winning the league. That's fine. The great thing about this league is that we see everyone twice. The Bearcats and Sean Kilpatrick will get their chance to show the world. That's one of the great things about sports. Can't wait for the season to start.