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Who is #2 in NCAA Basketball?


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Fear not, hardwood fans, The Minutes is back to usher in a new season

Forde_Pat_55.jpg By Pat Forde


Updated: November 11, 2008

Who's No. 2?

We all know who's No. 1. That would be North Carolina (2), practically the biggest preseason favorite since John Wooden was re-stocking superstars annually at Westwood. Barack Obama carried Washington, D.C., by a smaller margin than the Tar Heels have carried every preseason poll.

There were 103 first-place votes cast in the combined AP and USA Today Top 25s, and every one of them went Carolina blue. Not even defending champion Florida and its flotilla of draft picks came close to that kind of unanimity in the 2006-07 preseason poll.

So the real question of the preseason is who will rise to give the Tar Heels the biggest challenge.

The leading contenders:

Louisville (3). The Cardinals have a matchup nightmare in Earl Clark, a do-it-all senior in Terrence Williams, a potential star in freshman Samardo Samuels, quality depth and the only coach to take three schools to the Final Four. Championship-caliber point-guard play could be the only hitch.

Duke (4). The Blue Devils have to overcome their recent track record of being ordinary in March, but this team might have the goods to do that -- if it finds someone who can clog the middle defensively and get some rebounds. There are about four candidates (Brian Zoubek, Miles Plumlee, Lance Thomas, Olek Czyz) but none proven.

Connecticut (5). The Huskies have a differentiating defensive option: 7-foot-3 deterrent Hasheem Thabeet, who combines with tenacious forward Jeff Adrien to create a powerhouse interior tandem. There's plenty of talent on the perimeter -- but also enough character questions to make one wonder whether this team can hold it together all season.

Michigan State (6). Tom Izzo is a great coach with a solid nucleus to build this team around in guard Kalin Lucas, forward Raymar Morgan and center Goran Suton. The Minutes caught State's Midnight Madness in person and was wowed by Suton's body transformation. And keep an eye on freshman forward Delvon Roe, who will be a star as soon as his surgically repaired knees allow him to be. The only nagging concern will be perimeter shooting, especially at key moments, now that Drew Neitzel is finally gone after 17 seasons in East Lansing.

UCLA (7). The Minutes is tired of seeing the Bruins make the Final Four only to be routed by an athletically superior and more offensively nimble team. Time to try something more than the pick-and-roll 25 seconds into the shot clock, OK, Ben Howland? However, UCLA's remarkable consistency -- in recruiting and in defensive effort -- keeps it in the nation's elite. The Bruins aren't going away anytime soon.

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Notre dame can beat north carolina but i don tthink they are Number 2

I think they match up well wit them harangody can cover hansbrough and if notre dame 3 shooters can hit those open shots then it wouldnt even be close.


what if UNC's shooters hit 3's as well???


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