Articles By Athlon Sports

All taxonomy terms: ACC, Duke Blue Devils, College Basketball, News
Path: /college-basketball/college-basketball-2013-14-duke-preview
Body:


This preview and more on Duke and the ACC are available in the Athlon Sports 2013-14 College Basketball Preseason Annual. The magazine is available online or on newsstands everywhere.

No. 3 Duke Facts & Figures
Last season: 30-6 (14-4 ACC)
Postseason: NCAA Elite Eight
Coach: Mike Krzyzewski (884-238 at Duke)
ACC projection: First
Postseason projection: NCAA Final Four
Saying goodbye to a trio of accomplished seniors — each a double-figure scorer and all-conference performer — would tend to cause panic at most programs. That, however, is not the case at Duke, where coach Mike Krzyzewski will use a more athletic lineup to keep the Blue Devils among the elite in college basketball.

“Our team is going to be built around versatility — guys in multiple positions, probably more pressing and up and down,” Krzyzewski says. “Not that we haven’t gone up and down, but we haven’t created action with our defense. Although we were a very good defensive team (last season), we will try to create action defensively (this season).”

Don’t expect Krzyzewski to talk about small forwards, power forwards and centers — or their accompanying numbers (3, 4, 5).

“It’s just going to be the next player,” Krzyzewski said. “Versatility will be the key phrase.”

Frontcourt

Last year, Duke’s front line featured a true center (Mason Plumlee) and a stretch-4 (Ryan Kelly). This year, the key pieces will be a pair of 6-8 small forwards — Rodney Hood and Jabari Parker — who will be asked to do a little bit of everything.  

Hood, a transfer from Mississippi State, averaged 10.3 points two years ago for the Bulldogs. The former 5-star recruit was one of 16 finalists for Team USA over the summer, but an Achilles injury prevented him from making the trip to Russia for the World University Games.  

Parker arrives in Durham as one of the most celebrated recruits in the nation. The Chicago native is a matchup nightmare due to his versatility, and he is known for his unselfish play and high basketball IQ. At 235 pounds, Parker is about 20 pounds heavier than Hood, but that doesn’t mean he will be playing the role of a traditional power forward. Parker and Hood will be used as interchangeable parts.

“It’s going to be exciting,” Hood says. “We are going to have mismatch problems all over the court. We are going to pressure the ball more. We have a lot more weapons.”

Sophomore Amile Jefferson spent the offseason adding bulk to his 6-9 frame. His 7-1 wingspan is a weapon he uses to get in the passing lanes and rebound outside of his area.

Josh Hairston, a rugged 6-8 forward, is a savvy senior who averaged a career-high 12.7 minutes per game last season. A pair of redshirt sophomores — athletic 6-9 Alex Murphy and 7-foot center Marshall Plumlee – will be counted on for quality minutes off the bench.

Freshman small forward Semi Ojeleye is a solid rebounder who can shoot the ball from 3-point range.

2013-14 Conference Previews
ACC | American | Big 12 | Big East
Big Ten | Mountain West | Pac-12 | SEC


Backcourt

Duke is blessed with a group of experienced ball-handlers to run its up-tempo attack.

Quinn Cook thrived in his first season as the starting point guard, averaging 11.7 points and 5.3 assists per game. Cook improved his 3-point shooting from 25.0 percent as a freshman to 39.3 as a sophomore. He scored 15 points or more 12 times last season but struggled offensively down the stretch, averaging 6.4 points and shooting 26.2 percent from the field over the final five games.

Rasheed Sulaimon was an instant contributor as a freshman, thanks to his ability to get to the basket and shoot from long range. He averaged 11.6 points, a number that could increase significantly as a sophomore.

Tyler Thornton, a hard-nose defender, is considered the team’s vocal leader. He’s shown the ability to hit an open jumper and can be trusted to run the point as well. Andre Dawkins, a key reserve on Duke’s 2010 national championship team, sat out last season as a redshirt. He is a career 40.1 percent 3-point shooter. Freshman Matt Jones might have a tough time finding significant playing time.

Newcomers

The focus will be on 6-8 forward Jabari Parker, whose athleticism and scoring ability already have him projected as a top-five pick in next summer’s NBA Draft. The other freshmen, 6-7 forward Semi Ojeleye and 6-4 guard Matt Jones, also bring athleticism but will have to prove they can score at this level. Forward Rodney Hood, who sat out last year after transferring from Mississippi State, will start  from Day 1 and be a significant contributor. Senior guard Andre Dawkins, known for his perimeter scoring, is back after sitting out last season.

Final Analysis
Factoid: 30. Duke has won at least 30 games in 10 of the last 16 seasons. The Blue Devils won 30 or more “only” three times in Mike Krzyzewski’s first 17 seasons.


On paper, Duke has only one weakness — a lack of a true post presence. Krzyzewski plans to mask that deficiency by playing a more up-tempo game that will start with pressure defense. The roster, deep and athletic, is built to run.

The Blue Devils are the class of a new-look ACC that now includes Syracuse, Pittsburgh and Notre Dame. If Sulaimon, as expected, takes the next step and Parker and Hood play up to their potential in the frontcourt, Duke will be in the mix for the fifth national title of the Krzyzewski era.

Teaser:
College Basketball: 2013-14 Duke Preview
Post date: Wednesday, November 6, 2013 - 07:00
Path: /college-basketball/college-basketball-2013-14-michigan-state-preview
Body:


This preview and more on Michigan State and the Big Ten are available in the Athlon Sports 2013-14 College Basketball Preseason Annual. The magazine is available online or on newsstands everywhere.

No. 4 Michigan State Facts & Figures
Last season: 27-9 (13-5 Big Ten)
Postseason: NCAA Sweet 16
Coach: Tom Izzo (439-178 at Michigan State)
Big Ten projection: First
Postseason projection: NCAA Final Four
There have been years when Tom Izzo went into a season believing his team was not as good as its preseason hype. This is not one of those years.

“Some years you are maybe not quite as good as the top-10, 12 or 15 that we have been, but the program gets rated that high on perception,” Izzo says. “This year I think the team gets rated on its own merit, and it deserves to be up there. I expect us to be good most years, and this year we have a chance to be real good.”

The Spartans are nicely outfitted to add to Izzo’s collection of banners in the Breslin Center rafters, which includes seven Big Ten titles and six Final Fours.

“We have some depth. We have some shooters. We have some athletes. We have some size, and we have guys who have been there, done that, and played in big games, and that’s critical,” Izzo says. “We have a good team, and whether it will be a great team will depend on injuries and leadership. But with Adreian Payne and Gary Harris coming back, we have put ourselves in a chance to do big things.”

Izzo seems a little more confident than usual. The Big Ten and nation would be wise to take notice.

Frontcourt

Payne turned down possible first-round NBA Draft status to return for his senior year and chase championships. He has blossomed into a fine long-range shooter as a pick-and-pop power forward (38 percent from deep) and an explosive finisher. He is the Big Ten’s leading returning rebounder.

Sophomore Matt Costello is ready to prove he can hang as a role-playing Big Ten center. He waited his turn behind Payne and Derrick Nix and will now bring his solid low-post package, good athleticism and a functional frame to the lane. Big junior Alex Gauna offers size and a nice, confident shot release. Freshman Gavin Schilling impressed teammates with his rebounding during the summer.

2013-14 Conference Previews
ACC | American | Big 12 | Big East
Big Ten | Mountain West | Pac-12 | SEC


Backcourt

Harris was the Big Ten Freshman of the Year in 2013 but will be a bigger, better all-around player this season. Widely regarded as a probable NBA Lottery pick whenever he opts to turn pro, Harris will be stronger to the hole as a sophomore, having added a noticeable layer of muscle to what was already a mature physique.

Harris was slowed by shoulder issues for the last half of his freshman year but still shot a sparkling 41 percent from long range. The shoulder problems limited him on the glass and on the break. Now, Izzo is expecting Harris to become one of the best rebounding guards he has ever coached, and one of his better defenders.

Senior point guard Keith Appling led Michigan State in scoring a year ago and now needs to be the leader in the locker room. His decision-making improved as a junior. If he can dial in his sporadic perimeter shooting, he might provide the final element needed to make the Spartans a threat to win Izzo’s second national title..

Izzo wants Branden Dawson at the 3 this year. The thick, athletic junior is back to full horsepower for the first time in 18 months, following recovery from a freshman knee injury. Dawson is not much of a shooter, but he can play small forward with physicality.

Valuable sophomore Denzel Valentine is a good rebounder and tremendous passer with nice size at the wing. Fully healthy for the first time as a collegian, quick Travis Trice offers quality shooting range and true combo guard skills off the bench. Junior Russell Byrd hasn’t lived up to his promise as a wing sniper.

Newcomers

After losing to Duke in the Jabari Parker chase, the Spartans signed rugged 6-9 power forward Gavin Schilling and 6-4 wing Alvin Ellis. Ellis, a former Minnesota verbal, may need a redshirt year to gain strength. Skill-wise, he is comparable to outgoing Spartan transfer Brandan Kearney. Schilling is young for his class, improving steadily and could earn a role off the bench.

Final Analysis
Factoid: 0. No player who has signed with Tom Izzo as a four-year recruit and finished his senior season at Michigan State has missed out on the Final Four.


With NBA talent inside and out, a senior point guard, excellent shooting at the 2 and the 4, and solid skill and size off the bench, Michigan State heads into the season nicely equipped. The Spartans should be better and much healthier than last year’s team, which finished a game out of first place in the Big Ten and advanced to its second straight Sweet 16. Meanwhile, you know the Spartans will defend and rebound.

“We had our best summer ever, by far, in terms of getting guys healthy and staying healthy,” Izzo says. “Guys are driven to make amends.”
 

2013-14 Preseason Top 25
1. Kentucky
2. Louisville
3. Duke
4. Michigan State
5. Kansas
6. Arizona
7. Florida
8. Oklahoma State

9. Syracuse
10. North Carolina
11. Ohio State
12. Michigan

13. Marquette
14. New Mexico
15. Notre Dame
16. Creighton
17. Tennessee
18. VCU
19. UNLV
20. Memphis
21. Connecticut
22. Wisconsin
23. UCLA
24. Baylor
25. Wichita State

 

Teaser:
College Basketball: 2013-14 Michigan State Preview
Post date: Wednesday, November 6, 2013 - 07:00
All taxonomy terms: Golf, Overtime, News
Path: /overtime/tiger-woods-just-hit-golf-ball-europe-asia-video
Body:
Tiger Woods was positioned on a platform on the Bosphorus Bridge in Istanbul on Tuesday and hit a drive from Europe to Asia. Why? We're guessing it was to promote the Turkish Airlines Open this week. The publicity stunt required shutting down three lanes of traffic on the bridge. We're sure motorists were thrilled. According to reports, Woods' appearance fee for the upcoming tournament is $3 million. 

Teaser:
Tiger Woods was positioned on a platform on the Bosphorus Bridge in Istanbul on Tuesday and hit a drive from Europe to Asia.
Post date: Tuesday, November 5, 2013 - 18:50
Path: /nfl/2013-nfl-picks-every-game-week-10
Body:

A quick look at every game on the NFL schedule for Week 10, along with the consensus picks of Athlon Sports' editors.

Redskins (3-5) at Vikings (1-7)
Washington is 1–3 on the road this season. But the losses have come at Green Bay (38–20), at Dallas (31–16) and at Denver (45–21). Redskins by 1

Eagles (4-5) at Packers (5-3)
Philly’s Nick Foles just threw seven TDs; Green Bay’s Seneca Wallace has six career wins. Packers by 3

Jaguars (0-8) at Titans (4-4)
Third-year Tennessee coach Mike Munchak has two black-eye losses — to then-winless Indy in Week 15 of 2011 and to then-one-win J-Ville in Week 12 last season. Titans by 12

Bills (3-6) at Steelers (2-6)
Blitz-burgh’s defense has allowed 34-plus points in three games for the first time since 1989. Steelers by 3

Raiders (3-5) at Giants (2-6)
Terrelle Pryor (knee), Darren McFadden (hamstring) limp from Black Hole to play Big Blue. Giants by 5

Rams (3-6) at Colts (6-2)
Andrew Luck carries a 10–2 record at home in Lucas Oil Stadium against a Rams team that is 4–7–1 on the road under coach Jeff Fisher. Colts by 8

Seahawks (8-1) at Falcons (2-6)
This is a rematch of a 30–28 Atlanta win over Seattle in last year’s NFC Divisional Playoffs. Seahawks by 8

Bengals (6-3) at Ravens (3-5)
Andy Dalton is 1–3 against Baltimore, with his only win coming in a meaningless Week 17 game last season, after the Ravens had already clinched the AFC North division crown. Bengals by 2

Lions (5-3) at Bears (5-3)
Detroit knocked off Chicago, 40–32, in Week 4. The Lions scored 27 second-quarter points — including three TDs in under four minutes — in their first win over the Bears since Oct. 2011. Lions by 4

Panthers (5-3) at 49ers (6-2)
This dual-threat showdown of Cam Newton and Colin Kaepernick just might be the most athletic QB matchup in NFL history. There should be a dunk contest as a tiebreaker, not overtime. 49ers by 4

Texans (2-6) at Cardinals (4-4)
After two tough losses at K.C. and to Indy, the legend of Case Keenum continues to grow. Cardinals by 2

Broncos (7-1) at Chargers (4-4)
Peyton Manning had no trouble with the Bolts last season, tossing six TDs and two INTs over the course of two victories. Historically, Manning has had his issues with San Diego — throwing a career-worst six INTs in a 2007 loss and going 0–2 against the Chargers in the playoffs. Broncos by 7

Cowboys (5-4) at Saints (6-2)
Sean Payton was Tony Romo’s QB coach from 2003-05. Will student become teacher in NOLA? Saints by 6

Dolphins (4-4) at Buccaneers (0-8)
There is a dark cloud over the Sunshine State’s NFL franchises. The trio — Fins, Bucs and Jags — are a combined 4–20, with two winless squads and an ongoing bullying investigation. Dolphins by 4
 

Teaser:
A preview and prediction of every game on the NFL schedule in Week 10.
Post date: Tuesday, November 5, 2013 - 18:17
Path: /nfl/prime-time-players-week-9
Body:

Tom Brady, QB, Patriots
Just when it seemed as if Tom Terrific had hit rock bottom — with Halloween photos of him dressed as the Wizard of Oz’s Cowardly Lion circulating the internet — Brady rediscovered the heart he’s had all along. The three-time Super Bowl champion completed 23-of-33 passes (69.7 percent) for 432 yards, four TDs and zero INTs for a 151.8 passer rating during a 55–31 statement victory over the Steelers. New England’s 55 points were the most scored by a team this season as well as the most ever scored against Pittsburgh’s defense.

Nick Foles, QB, Eagles
Philadelphia’s second-year phenom joined gridiron immortals Sid Luckman, Adrian Burk, George Blanda, Y.A. Tittle, Joe Kapp and Peyton Manning, as only the seventh player in league history to throw seven TD passes in a single game. Foles completed 22-of-28 passes (78.6 percent) for 406 yards, seven scoring strikes and zero picks for a 158.3 passer rating during a 49–20 win at Oakland. Wide receivers Riley Cooper (three TDs) and DeSean Jackson, tight ends Brent Celek and Zach Ertz, and running back LeSean McCoy all found paydirt in the record-tying blowout victory. Foles, who was a third-round pick out of Arizona, has now thrown for 1,028 yards, 13 TDs and zero INTs for a 127.4 passer rating in limited action.

Dustin Colquitt, P, Chiefs
With Kansas City’s offense struggling to gain just 210 total yards, the Chiefs’ defense and special teams stepped up to help K.C. improve to an unbeaten 9–0 following a 23–13 win on the road at Buffalo. Colquitt kept field position in Kansas City’s favor, with six punts for 317 yards, including a 59-yard boot and four punts downed inside the 20-yard-line. Colquitt’s contribution was less obvious than the Chiefs D, which scored on a 100-yard pick-six by corner Sean Smith and an 11-yard fumble recovery by linebacker Tamba Hali.

Cameron Wake, DE, Dolphins
Days before Miami was rocked with verbal abuse allegations made by Jonathan Martin against fellow O-lineman Richie Incognito, the Dolphins’ D-lineman was physically abusing the Bengals during a 22–20 thrilling Thursday night overtime victory. Wake notched a season-high three sacks for 23 lost yards, along with one forced fumble and one fumble recovery. Wake’s final sack of Cincinnati’s Andy Dalton sealed the Miami win with a safety with just 6:38 remaining in overtime. The walk-off sack was just the third overtime-ending safety in NFL history.
 

Teaser:
The best performances in the NFL from Week 9.
Post date: Tuesday, November 5, 2013 - 17:12
Path: /college-basketball/college-basketball-2013-14-kansas-preview
Body:


This preview and more on Kansas and the Big 12 are available in the Athlon Sports 2013-14 College Basketball Preseason Annual. The magazine is available online or on newsstands everywhere.

No. 5 Kansas Facts & Figures
Last season: 31-6 (14-4 Big 12)
Postseason: NCAA Sweet 16
Coach: Bill Self (300-59 at Kansas)
Big 12 projection: First
Postseason projection: NCAA Elite Eight
Kansas is the favorite to win the Big 12 title for the 10th consecutive year — but back in March and April, that wasn’t the case.

Four senior starters from last season’s Sweet 16 squad were gone, and leading scorer Ben McLemore had bolted early for the NBA. When analysts predicted Oklahoma State would knock the Jayhawks from their perch atop the conference standings in 2013-14, no one argued.

At least not until Andrew Wiggins picked up a pen.

On May 14 — in the few shorts seconds it took him to scribble his name on a National Letter of Intent — Wiggins turned a fringe-top 25 team into a Big 12 and NCAA title contender. Kansas has always been able to lure high-profile recruits to its storied program, but never have the Jayhawks inked a player with as much hype as Wiggins, the nation’s No. 1-ranked prospect.

“We were going to have a good team no matter what,” coach Bill Self says. “But Andrew gives us a chance to be special.”

Frontcourt

Wiggins wasn’t the only late addition that caused a buzz among Jayhawks fans last spring. After playing his first three seasons at Memphis, power forward Tarik Black decided to spend his final year of eligibility elsewhere. The 6-9, 262-pound Black averaged 8.1 points last season and 10.7 points as a sophomore, but Self doesn’t believe he’s come anywhere close to reaching his potential. Black is the physical, rugged type of player that Self loves, and his age and experience will be huge for a Kansas team that will be among the youngest in the country.

While Black will provide the muscle in the paint, look for sophomore Perry Ellis to account for a bulk of the scoring. Ellis was a role player for most of his freshman year before making huge strides near the end of the season. Ellis’ confidence has grown even more during the offseason. And it certainly helps that he’s been able to compete in practice with newcomers such as Black, Joel Embiid and Landen Lucas and returning backup Jamari Traylor.

Embiid may have the highest upside of any player on Kansas’ roster. The 7-0 Cameroonian has been playing the game for only a few years, but his eagerness to learn and his natural athletic ability lead many to believe he could be a top NBA prospect after just one college season. Self is also extremely high on Lucas, who has been one of Kansas’ top players in offseason workouts after redshirting last season.

2013-14 Conference Previews
ACC | American | Big 12 | Big East
Big Ten | Mountain West | Pac-12 | SEC


Backcourt

No player will be under as big a spotlight this season as Wiggins, a swingman who may be the best player the college game has seen since Kevin Durant. There simply isn’t much the 6-8 Wiggins can’t do. He’s skilled enough, big enough and long enough to play the 2, 3 and 4 positions. And athletically, he’s as elite as they come. One minute he’s swishing a heavily guarded 3-pointer or pull-up jumper, and the next he’s exploding past a defender and dunking while absorbing contact.

Joining Wiggins in the backcourt will be freshman Wayne Selden, a McDonald’s All-American who has been referred to as a “power guard.” Self loves the 6-5 Selden for his toughness, his knack for getting to the basket and ability to make shots.

Perhaps the only question mark for the Jayhawks comes at the most important position on the court: point guard. Naadir Tharpe averaged 19 minutes per game as a backup last season and has been praised for his leadership. Tharpe, though, is far from an all-conference-caliber guard, and Self is high on incoming freshman Frank Mason, who spent last season at a prep school after failing to qualify out of high school.

Newcomers

Andrew Wiggins, the likely No. 1 pick in next summer’s NBA Draft, is arguably the highest-profile recruit in school history. Wayne Selden will be virtually impossible to keep off the court because of his toughness and ability to play multiple positions. Brannen Greene and Conner Frankamp are deadly from beyond the arc. Joel Embiid is a tremendous shot-blocker and rebounder who could blossom into one of the country’s top big men. Tarik Black is a bruiser who adds a manly presence to an otherwise youthful squad.

Final Analysis
Factoid: 1. Kansas has been a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament five out of the last seven years. The Jayhawks have also finished No. 1 in the Big 12 nine straight seasons.


As is the case every season, expect the Jayhawks to be in the hunt for the NCAA title. Granted, things may be a bit rocky at times for a squad that will likely have five freshmen in its eight-man rotation. With games against Duke, Colorado, Florida, New Mexico and Georgetown, Kansas’ non-conference slate is as difficult as its ever been under Self, who is cautioning folks to be patient. That’s a lot to ask of Kansas fans, who know good and well that with Wiggins, anything is possible.
 

2013-14 Preseason Top 25
5. Kansas
6. Arizona
7. Florida
8. Oklahoma State

9. Syracuse
10. North Carolina
11. Ohio State
12. Michigan

13. Marquette
14. New Mexico
15. Notre Dame
16. Creighton
17. Tennessee
18. VCU
19. UNLV
20. Memphis
21. Connecticut
22. Wisconsin
23. UCLA
24. Baylor
25. Wichita State

 

Teaser:
College Basketball: 2013-14 Kansas Preview
Post date: Tuesday, November 5, 2013 - 07:00
All taxonomy terms: Florida Gators, SEC, College Basketball, News
Path: /college-basketball/college-basketball-2013-14-florida-preview
Body:


This preview and more on Florida and the SEC are available in the Athlon Sports 2013-14 College Basketball Preseason Annual. The magazine is available online or on newsstands everywhere.

No. 7 Florida Facts & Figures
Last season: 29-8 (14-4 SEC)
Postseason: NCAA Elite Eight
Coach: Billy Donovan (415-166)
SEC projection: Second
Postseason projection: NCAA Elite Eight
Florida coach Billy Donovan has had to reinvent his team during the middle of the past two seasons because of injuries. Because of a lack of depth, guys played out of position, rotations changed, and minutes increased significantly. Despite that, the Gators still managed to come within one game of reaching the Final Four in 2013.

Donovan hopes he won’t have to improvise as much in 2013-14, but the season is off to an inauspicious start. Will Yeguete, whose injuries necessitated Donovan changing lineups on the fly, missed the start of practice while recovering from knee surgery. Eli Carter, a heralded Rutgers transfer, was declared eligible to play this season, but he’s still rehabbing from a broken leg. And point guard Scottie Wilbekin only recently returned from a suspension.

That said, with the addition of two transfers and the return of senior Patric Young, the Gators’ frontcourt is stocked more than it has been in years. That’s a big reason why Florida is among a handful of contenders for the national championship.

Dorian Finney-Smith, a 6-8 redshirt sophomore forward, and Damontre Harris, a 6-10 redshirt junior forward/center, sat out last season after transferring from Virginia Tech and South Carolina, respectively. Along with Young, senior forward Casey Prather and Yeguete, the Gators now have a frontcourt full of big, athletic and physical players.

Finney-Smith, who some inside the program say would have been the Gators’ best overall player last season, started 30 games for Virginia Tech in 2011-12 and earned ACC All-Freshman honors after averaging 6.3 points and 7.0 rebounds per game. He’s a slasher in the mold of former UF standout Corey Brewer, but with better size.

Harris spent two years at South Carolina and was named to the league’s All-Defensive Team after the 2011-12 season. He also averaged 6.8 points and 5.5 rebounds per game and had 71 blocks.

Though those two are big additions, Donovan hopes people temper their expectations about how dominant UF’s frontcourt could be.

“When guys transfer and people are sitting out, the legend of those guys grows to an enormity and size that is probably not really reality,” Donovan says. “(But) those guys are good players. There’s no question they can help us.”

Frontcourt

Harris and Finney-Smith join a solid group that is a little offensively challenged. The 6-9, 240-pound Young has averaged 10.2 points and 6.4 rebounds in his two seasons as a starter. He has been inconsistent around the basket and hasn’t developed a jump shot to complement his post moves.

The 6-8 Yeguete is UF’s best interior defender and the key man at the top of the full-court press, but has averaged just 3.7 points per game in his career. He has missed a combined 17 games the last two seasons because of knee and foot injuries. The 6-6 Prather is coming off a career year (6.2 ppg, 3.7 rpg) despite having to play in the post because of Yeguete’s knee injury, but he’s a slasher without a jump shot.

2013-14 Conference Previews
ACC | American | Big 12 | Big East
Big Ten | Mountain West | Pac-12 | SEC


Backcourt

There’s a big question mark at point guard as Wilbekin is just leaving Donovan’s dog house. Aside from Wilbekin, freshman Kasey Hill is the only point guard on the roster. Hill is a smooth playmaker who changes speed well and gives the Gators more offense at the position than Wilbekin. However, Wilbekin was the Gators’ top perimeter defender.

Not having Wilbekin leaves sophomore Michael Frazier as the only guard with significant SEC experience. The 6-4 Frazier, who helped the United States win the gold medal in the under-19 age group at the FIBA World Championships this summer, played in 36 games last season and was named to the SEC All-Freshman Team after shooting 46.8 percent from 3-point range.

Sophomores Dillon Graham and DeVon Walker averaged 3.5 and 4.0 minutes per game, respectively, last season and will continue to be role players in 2013-14.

Newcomers

Kasey Hill is going to play a lot even if he doesn’t have to start because of Scottie Wilbekin’s suspension. Dorian Finney-Smith should start and has the ability to average a double-double. Damontre Harris is a defensive whiz who will eat into Patric Young’s minutes, which will help with Young’s fatigue issues.

Final analysis
Factoid: 3. Florida is the only school in the country that has made the Elite Eight the last three seasons. UF has made six trips to the Elite Eight since 2000.


This is one of Donovan’s deepest and most athletic teams. The Gators will be able to run with anyone in the country and can create havoc with their press because of their length. The wild card is when, or if, Wilbekin returns. If he does, UF is even better defensively and the offense is in the hands of a player with three years of experience in the SEC. If not, the Gators’ offense will depend on how quickly Hill adjusts to the college game.
 

2013-14 Preseason Top 25
5. Kansas
6. Arizona
7. Florida
8. Oklahoma State

9. Syracuse
10. North Carolina
11. Ohio State
12. Michigan

13. Marquette
14. New Mexico
15. Notre Dame
16. Creighton
17. Tennessee
18. VCU
19. UNLV
20. Memphis
21. Connecticut
22. Wisconsin
23. UCLA
24. Baylor
25. Wichita State

 

Teaser:
College Basketball: 2013-14 Florida Preview
Post date: Tuesday, November 5, 2013 - 07:00
Path: /college-basketball/college-basketball-2013-14-arizona-preview
Body:


This preview and more on Arizona and the Pac-12 are available in the Athlon Sports 2013-14 College Basketball Preseason Annual. The magazine is available online or on newsstands everywhere.

No. 6 Arizona Facts & Figures
Last season: 27-8 (12-6 Pac-12)
Postseason: NCAA Sweet 16
Coach: Sean Miller (96-43 at Arizona)
Pac-12 projection: First
Postseason projection: NCAA Elite Eight
A month after Sean Miller paid a $25,000 fine for confronting officials during the Pac-12 Tournament, league commissioner Larry Scott offered to repay the money if Miller apologized and displayed proper contrition.

Miller told them to keep the money.

“We’re moving on,” says Arizona’s coach. “We’ve got better things ahead of us.”

That’s the working description of Arizona basketball. Somehow, after losing All-Pac-12 seniors Solomon Hill and Mark Lyons, after watching in dismay as coveted prospects Grant Jerrett and Angelo Chol left school, Miller believes the Wildcats can improve on a 27-win, Sweet 16 finish.

Even though Arizona has gone to 26 NCAA Tournaments over the last 28 years, the Wildcats have rarely had more talent, top to bottom, on their roster. “Losing what we did would cripple a lot of programs,” Miller says. “But I believe we’ve established ourselves now to the point that we can handle it and move forward.”

The most identifiable player on Miller’s fifth Arizona team is apt to be freshman forward Aaron Gordon, MVP of the McDonald’s All-American Game and, two months later, MVP of USA Basketball’s U19 gold medal championship club.

“One of the reasons I chose Arizona was because I believe we can win the national championship,” says Gordon, a slashing, up-tempo transition player. “It’s all set up to be a great year.”

Frontcourt

Center Kaleb Tarczewski started all 35 games as a freshman, shooting .538 from the field and becoming a physical force near the basket. He is likely to become more of a scoring threat as a sophomore; he averaged 6.6 in his rookie year.

He’ll be joined by sophomore Brandon Ashley, an athletic and versatile 6-8 combo forward with shooting range to 20 feet. Ashley shot .525 as a freshman, starting 22 games, and no longer will have to share time with Jerrett, who opted for the NBA Draft after one season.

Gordon will start at small forward, although he has the size and inside scoring instincts to play closer to the basket. Miller will have another strong option at small forward: Freshman Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, a McDonald’s All-American, projects as a defensive stopper with the versatility to guard opposing players at shooting guard, wing forward and power forward. His shooting touch will need some work, however.

Miller made the frontcourt more formidable when he added junior college big man Matt Korcheck, a spirited rebounder and defensive specialist who sat out the 2012-13 season. He replaces Chol, who transferred to San Diego State in an attempt to get more playing time.

2013-14 Conference Previews
ACC | American | Big 12 | Big East
Big Ten | Mountain West | Pac-12 | SEC


Backcourt

Miller’s new point guard is Duquesne transfer T. J. McConnell, who was the 2011 Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Year and a year later finished third in the NCAA in steals. He also shot .417 from 3-point range and enters the year as the acknowledged team leader.

“He’ll be their heart and soul,” says Hill, who was the UA’s leading player a year ago. “He’ll establish a toughness we haven’t always had.”

Nick Johnson, a two-year starter at shooting guard who averaged 11.5 points as a sophomore, must improve his perimeter shooting to help open the inside for Tarczewski and Ashley. Johnson was tied for third on the club in 3-point baskets last year, with 42. He has been more proficient as a penetrating, drive-to-the-basket player. They need him to do less of that with Gordon around.

The Wildcats have exceptional depth in the backcourt. Senior Jordin Mayes, who can play both positions, has played 102 college games, starting 16 times. Sophomore Gabe York will get an audition as the team’s off-the-bench distance shooting specialist.

Newcomers

As a package, Aaron Gordon, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Elliott Pitts were often ranked at or near the top of the nation’s recruiting classes. Some view Gordon as the leading freshman ever to arrive at Arizona. Hollis-Jefferson has the size, length and defensive mindset that Miller covets.  In a normal recruiting class, Pitts would be a headliner. This year at Arizona he’s No. 3.

Final analysis
Factoid: 96. Arizona has won 96 games in Sean Miller’s four seasons, the most of any Pac-12 team in that period. Miller’s 48–24 Pac-12 record is also the best in the conference.


Arizona is unusually young, expecting to start a freshman, two sophomores and two juniors. Only one senior, Mayes, figures to make the eight- or nine-man rotation.

Nevertheless, Miller and UA fans see this as Arizona’s best chance to get to the Final Four since 2001 — it was agonizingly close in 2003, 2005 and 2011 — because Tarczewski and Gordon are viewed as likely entrees to the NBA Draft in June 2014.

Miller has established himself as a recruiter of impact. This shouldn’t be a now-or-never season for the Wildcats, but anything short of a league title and deep run into the NCAA Tournament would be disappointing.
 

2013-14 Preseason Top 25
5. Kansas
6. Arizona
7. Florida
8. Oklahoma State

9. Syracuse
10. North Carolina
11. Ohio State
12. Michigan

13. Marquette
14. New Mexico
15. Notre Dame
16. Creighton
17. Tennessee
18. VCU
19. UNLV
20. Memphis
21. Connecticut
22. Wisconsin
23. UCLA
24. Baylor
25. Wichita State

 

 

Teaser:
College Basketball: 2013-14 Arizona Basketball Preview
Post date: Tuesday, November 5, 2013 - 07:00
All taxonomy terms: College Basketball, News
Path: /college-basketball/college-basketball-2013-14-oklahoma-state-preview
Body:


This preview and more on Oklahoma State and the Big 12 are available in the Athlon Sports 2013-14 College Basketball Preseason Annual. The magazine is available online or on newsstands everywhere.

No. 8 Oklahoma State Facts & Figures
Last season: 24-9 (13-5 Big 12)
Postseason: NCAA Round of 64
Coach: Travis Ford (104-64 at Oklahoma State)
Big 12 projection: Second
Postseason projection: NCAA Elite Eight
Marcus Smart, Markel Brown and Le’Bryan Nash stood together before a packed and energized Oklahoma State Student Union in April, pledging another year to the program.

And in turn, propping up the Cowboys for a run at a potential special season.

In Smart, Brown and Nash, the Cowboys boast the top three returning scorers in the Big 12 and a trio of likely NBA Draft picks.

And there’s more — much more — with Mike Cobbins, Brian Williams and Kamari Murphy all owning significant starting experience and Phil Forte back as the team’s top 3-point shooter and a sniper off the bench.

At this level, OSU projects as one of the Big 12 favorites and a squad capable of a long NCAA Tournament run.

“I think the ceiling on this team is really high,” Smart said. “We’ve got a lot of talent. A lot of experience. And we’re hungry.”

Related: Q&A with Oklahoma State's Marcus Smart

Frontcourt

The Cowboys lack bulk inside, yet can create problems with an athletic array of forwards, led by Cobbins and Murphy, and also Nash, who splits his time playing inside and out depending on the matchup. Since they want to push the pace and run — and so few teams boast legitimate true big men anyway — the Pokes’ collection of forwards is a better fit.

Cobbins led OSU in rebounding and blocked shots a year ago, taking over as the starter down the stretch in the Big 12. A high-percentage shooter who has worked at adding a reliable baby hook to his arsenal, Cobbins’ continued development has elevated his status as a scoring threat.

Murphy was forced into duty as a true freshman early last season due to injuries, and he responded well. Following a mid-season slump, he bounced back to provide quality depth, and he gives OSU its most physical inside presence.

Nash is most effective in the frontcourt on the offensive end, where his ability to slash and score at the rim gives defenders fits. After envisioning himself as a perimeter player early in his career, Nash now embraces his work in the post.

There’s hope that junior college transfer Gary Gaskins, another athletic big man at 6-10, can provide help off the bench. Marek Soucek, a 7-footer who is the Cowboys’ thickest post player, is finally adapting to the American game in his junior year, after arriving from the Czech Republic.

2013-14 Conference Previews
ACC | American | Big 12 | Big East
Big Ten | Mountain West | Pac-12 | SEC


Backcourt

Smart’s return, after he was projected near the top of the NBA Draft, stunned those outside and inside the program alike. The Big 12 Player of the Year as a freshman, he changed the culture of the program with his unselfishness and competitiveness. He ranked among the conference’s top five in scoring and assists and led the league in steals, leading OSU’s charge back to the NCAA Tournament after a two-year absence.

And he’s back to do it all, and more, again.

“You only get to be a college player for so long,” Smart says. “I love these guys, and I love this program and I’m excited about what we can do together.”

Brown took a major step in his third year, becoming a consistent and versatile scorer after previously being known strictly as a dunker.

Forte surpassed expectations, getting major minutes and giving the Cowboys a fourth double-digit scorer, as well as an outside threat capable of extending defenses. Williams, a lockdown defender, missed the first half of the season after shattering his wrist, then returned to play a limited role. Healthy again, he should be a major addition on the defensive end, but also as an explosive scorer.

Stevie Clark, a 4-star recruit, will spell Smart at the point and give the Cowboys another major offensive threat. Jeffrey Carroll, another freshman scorer, is trying to fight through the logjam at guard and find a role.

Newcomers

Stevie Clark ranks fifth in Oklahoma career high school scoring with 3,312 career points. Offsetting a slight build, 6-10 junior college addition Gary Gaskins is an explosive leaper who could help on the defensive end. Jeffrey Carroll and Leyton Hammonds are Texas prep stars who could find minutes hard to come by, with redshirt seasons possible.

Final Analysis
Factoid: 94. The Cowboys return 94 percent of their point production from a year ago, including their top six scorers and four players who averaged double figures.

Smart sparked an OSU resurgence last season, putting the program back on the map. His return to lead a veteran and talented squad warrants national attention.

The Cowboys will have to manage rising expectations, deal with a challenging schedule and find minutes for a potentially deep rotation. But there’s motivation, too, after underrated Oregon sent OSU packing with a quick exit from last year’s postseason.

“We have unfinished business,” Brown says.
 

2013-14 Preseason Top 25
5. Kansas
6. Arizona
7. Florida
8. Oklahoma State

9. Syracuse
10. North Carolina
11. Ohio State
12. Michigan

13. Marquette
14. New Mexico
15. Notre Dame
16. Creighton
17. Tennessee
18. VCU
19. UNLV
20. Memphis
21. Connecticut
22. Wisconsin
23. UCLA
24. Baylor
25. Wichita State

 

Teaser:
College Basketball: 2013-14 Oklahoma State Preview
Post date: Tuesday, November 5, 2013 - 07:00
Path: /college-basketball/college-basketball-qa-oklahoma-states-marcus-smart
Body:


This Q&A and more on Oklahoma State and the Big 12 are available in the Athlon Sports 2013-14 College Basketball Preseason Annual. The magazine is available online or on newsstands everywhere.
Marcus Smart stunned the basketball world when he announced he would return for another season with Oklahoma State, delaying a jump to the NBA even as he was projected as a top-five pick. For the reigning Big 12 Player of the Year, there was unfinished business on the court, after last season ended in disappointment. And there was unfinished business off the court, where following a tumultuous first 17 years of his life, he enjoyed just being a college kid. Now Smart is focused on one more year as a Cowboy — and all that it could bring.

His Oklahoma State team checked in at No. 8 in our countdown.

You decided to forego the NBA Draft. Did you ever expect so many people to weigh in with opinions on your decision?

The society we live in, people are always worried about what other people are doing. Why they did it. What made them do it. That’s just the world we live in, especially with social media and everything. I wasn’t really surprised. But at the same time, it is my business, my decision — not their’s — so it doesn’t matter what they think. Not trying to disrespect anyone, everyone has a right to their opinion. At the same time, it’s my life.

Any regrets?

None at all.

After some people weighed in, criticizing your decision and saying you’d be picked lower in a better draft class, you took offense to it. Talk about your response to those doubts of you and your game.

The morning I announced I was coming back, we actually watched ESPN and Skip (Bayless) and Stephen A. (Smith) were going at it. Skip made some comments that pretty much said he didn’t think I could play with this year’s draft class. My whole life I’ve been told I couldn’t do this or I couldn’t do that. It’s a motivator. For him to say that, I felt a little disrespected. All respect to him, but I didn’t agree with what he said. I know coming in here, nobody thought I’d accomplish all that I did my first year. Like I said, it all comes down to how bad you want it and how hard you work. I bet on myself. I know what I can do. I believe in my ability. And I’m a competitor. I’ll do whatever I can to help this team win.

Talking about this team, what do you like about this team’s collection of players?

The chemistry of this team. We were a tight team last year, but this year, more than ever, we’re tighter. And that’s going to go a long way. We’re just as experienced. We have depth, a lot of veteran guys on this team who knows what it takes. That’s always good. I just like the way we connect with each other.

What is the ceiling on this team?

There is none, none at all. It all comes down to us. No excuses. We have everyone back. It all comes down to how the dice rolls and how we make the dice roll. It’s up to us. We control our own destiny.

What is your favorite enemy arena in the Big 12?

Kansas, Allen Fieldhouse. Being good friends with Phil (Forte) and his dad being an alum who played football at KU, that’s all we used to hear –— stories about KU. Basketball. Football. We grew up watching Kansas and hearing the stories about how historic it is and about the major tradition there and how intense it is, and how hard it is to win there. And everybody knows that, it’s one of the hardest places in the country to go win. And it’s one of the great atmospheres.

What’s your least favorite arena?

Texas Tech, just because of the atmosphere. It’s a nice coliseum to play in. It’s huge. It looks beautiful, but the atmosphere just isn’t there.

Who is the toughest guy in the Big 12 to defend?

I’d probably say Andrew Wiggins at Kansas. I’m sure I’ll end up on him some. That’s going to be a tough matchup for anybody to guard him. He’s a great player. He’s a big-time player.

Who’s the toughest guy in the Big 12 to score on?

Isaiah Austin. His length. He’s a great shot blocker. I know he blocked like six or seven shots a game. And that’s a big. He changes shots for his team. And it’s tough to score on him.

What other coach in the Big 12 could you see yourself playing for?

Bill Self. He’s a great coach. Everybody knows his track record, all that he’s instilled into that program. He knows what he’s doing and he does it well.

Your rise from a dangerous upbringing has become a national story, with details of how you survived in a rugged south Dallas neighborhood, eventually moving across town to blossom and become a big-time recruit. What kind of stuff did you see?

I saw my friends doing all kinds of drugs. Snorting. Smoking. I didn’t even know what it was. Psycho-type stuff. I’ve seen people get jumped and beaten … shot. I’ve seen police chases every day. I’ve seen gang members drive through apartments, while little kids are in the street, don’t give a care; little kids getting hit by cars. I saw my brother sell (drugs) to one of my friends.

How influential was your mother, Camellia, who moved the family out of those surroundings, in not only allowing you to have a basketball future, but in possibly saving your life?

I thank God every day for giving my mom the strength and the confidence to move us. To just drop everything — that’s where all my family was – to go to this place where we had no idea who anybody was or what to expect …  she took a chance. That was a great chance she took.

And still, you believe that those early life lessons were good for you?

God does everything for a reason. He doesn’t bring us this far to leave us. For me to go through that, it was what he planned, in order to get me somewhere better and to do something better with my life. That’s exactly the way he planned it. And it worked out the way he wanted it. I definitely think that was a blessing.

Clearly, it’s working out the way you wanted it, too?

Now, I’m a D-I college basketball player at Oklahoma State. I’m living the life that most kids would chop off their right arm for, a paid scholarship to go to college for free. Kids’ parents are out here struggling to get them to college, my mom doesn’t pay anything. It’s a blessing. I thank God every day. I’m doing something productive with my life. My mom, she’s great. She’s really one of my heroes.

What did you learn from your latest international experience, playing on the gold medal Team USA U19 squad in the Czech Republic?

I learned how to be a little more elusive and tricky coming off ball screens and getting in the paint; making better decisions.

What was your reaction when you learned you were one of two college players invited to the Team USA Mini-Camp in Las Vegas, alongside a bunch of NBA pros?

I was ecstatic. It’s a prestigious event to be a part of. And to be one of two college players to go, and not any of the college players drafted this year, it’s an honor indeed to have on my track record as an individual, and for Oklahoma State. I got to go out there and represent my school and my family. I’m blessed. I thank God for giving me the opportunity for being there.

Having experienced a year of college basketball, how much better can you be as a sophomore?

There are no limitations. I’ve just got to work at it and want it. That’s with anybody though; anybody in college basketball. It’s all about how hard you work. I think I can become a pretty good player if I just stay focused, keep my eyes on the right things work hard. I don’t have to wonder what I’m in for any more, like a lot of incoming freshmen. I’ve been through it a year. I’ve been put in the fire in tough games. So I’m used to it and I know what to expect. So nothing will come as a surprise for me.

Teaser:
College Basketball: Q&A with Oklahoma State's Marcus Smart
Post date: Tuesday, November 5, 2013 - 07:00
All taxonomy terms: Funny, Overtime
Path: /overtime/florida-gators-fan-gets-pranks-peanuts-his-head
Body:
During this weekend's Georgia-Florida matchup, the cameras caught this poor fan getting a head full of peanut shells. We approve. 

Teaser:
During this weekend's Georgia-Florida matchup, the cameras caught this poor fan getting a head full of peanut shells. We approve.
Post date: Monday, November 4, 2013 - 08:30
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Legends Poll
Path: /college-football/2013-legends-poll-top-25-college-football-week-10
Body:
It seems every team is gunning for top-ranked Alabama, and Florida State once again proved it belongs among the top contenders after another dominating performance against a top 10 opponent. 
 
No. 3 Florida State dismantled Miami (FL) in Tallahassee Saturday night in front of a record crowd, 41-14, sending the Hurricanes tumbling eight spots to No. 15 in the Legends Poll.
 
Alabama and No. 2 Oregon were idle over the weekend. But Oregon has its chance to make a statement in front of the nation next Thursday night when it takes on No. 6 Stanford.
 
Besides Miami, there were no other changes in the top 14 positions in the Legends poll.
 
No. 4 Ohio State continued its dominant play against inferior opponents behind the sterling play of Braxton Miller in their 56-0 win over Purdue, and No. 17 Michigan State stepped forward as the toughest possible opponent for the Buckeyes. Michigan State took care of in-state rival Michigan on Saturday, knocking the Wolverines out of the Legends Poll.
 
Georgia and Arizona State moved back into the top 25 at No. 24 and No. 25 respectively.
 
Oregon State was the other team to drop out of the rankings.
 
To see the individual votes by coach, visit the Legends Poll
 
THE LEGENDS POLL TOP 25
RKTEAMRECORDPOINTSPV RK
1AlabamaAlabama (15)8-03991
2OregonOregon (1)8-03822
3Florida StateFlorida State8-03713
4Ohio StateOhio State9-03524
5BaylorBaylor7-03325
6StanfordStanford7-13246
7ClemsonClemson8-12888
8AuburnAuburn8-12829
9MissouriMissouri8-128111
10OklahomaOklahoma7-124210
11LSULSU7-223812
12Texas A&MTexas A&M7-222613
13South CarolinaSouth Carolina7-221015
14Oklahoma StateOklahoma State7-118817
15Miami (FL)Miami (FL)7-11767
16LouisvilleLouisville7-114816
17Michigan StateMichigan State8-112222
18UCLAUCLA6-210820
19WisconsinWisconsin6-210719
20Fresno StateFresno State8-010518
21Texas TechTexas Tech7-28914
22Northern IllinoisNorthern Illinois9-07521
23UCFUCF6-16724
24GeorgiaGeorgia5-331-
25Arizona StateArizona State6-225-
 

* The Legends Poll voting process is exactly what the BCS is trying to create and Athlon will bring it to you as the de facto Selection Committee for fans to follow over the next two seasons, allowing you to see how the Selection Committee will operate from 2014 onward. You can see the entire Poll at www.legendschannel.com.

Teaser:
2013 The Legends Poll Top 25: College Football Week 10
Post date: Monday, November 4, 2013 - 07:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football
Path: /college-football/golden-arm-performances-week-10
Body:

Transamerica is a proud sponsor of the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award. The award is presented each year by the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Education Foundation to the nation’s top college quarterback based on character, citizenship, scholastic achievement, leadership qualities, and athletic accomplishments. Candidates must be a graduating senior or fourth-year junior on schedule to graduate with their class. As a leading financial services company, Transamerica takes pride in being there for those moments when our customers say, “It’s real now.” Moments like the birth of a new baby, the opening of a new business, college acceptance, retirement, and other key milestones. By showing our support for the young men on the Top 30 watch list, we look forward to seeing them thrill fans around the country and experience moments during the season and beyond when they say, “It’s real now.”

Taylor Kelly1. Taylor Kelly, Arizona State

Taylor Kelly got an early start among the Golden Arm Award candidates this week with a big Thursday night performance against Washington State. On Halloween night Kelly had a whole bag of tricks for the Cougars, running for two touchdowns in the first quarter, then throwing four more before halftime to build a 42-14 lead. One more touchdown pass in the third quarter gave Kelly seven total touchdowns as the Sun Devils picked up a 55-21 victory and held on to their top spot in the Pac 12 South Division. Kelly passed for 275 yards and rushed for 66 yards on the night and this was the third straight game Kelly passed and rushed for a touchdown in the same game.
 
2. Tajh Boyd, Clemson
Clemson wasted little time in getting on the scoreboard on the road at Virginia. Tajh Boyd tossed the first of three touchdowns when he completed a 33-yard pass to Sammy Watkins just 87 seconds into the game. The two would connect on a 96-yard touchdown play early in the third quarter as well as Boyd put together a 300-yard day with 377 passing yards while completing 24 of 20 attempts. This marked Boyd’s second straight 300-yard game in a row and fifth this season. Boyd also notched a rushing touchdown from one yard out late in the first half to give Clemson a 35-7 halftime lead.
 
3. Derek Carr, Fresno State
Fresno State kept their BCS dreams alive late Saturday night with a home win over Nevada. The formula for a win was similar to what it has been all year, with Derek Carr throwing for 487 yards and three touchdowns, including a 32-yard pass to Josh Harper early in the fourth quarter to help the Bulldogs start to pull away from their Mountain West Conference foe. This was the fifth time Carr has thrown for at least 400 yards in a game this season and was his third straight without an interception.
 
4. Jordan Lynch, Northern Illinois
Northern Illinois had no problems taking care of Massachusetts on the road. As usual, Jordan Lynch carried the offense to a big game. Lynch completed 10 of 13 passes for 160 yards and a touchdown but once again did most of his damage on the ground. The Huskies quarterback led the team with 119 yards and a new career high four touchdowns before getting an extended rest in the second half. This marked the fourth time Lynch has rushed for 100 yards in a game and the fourth straight game Lynch rushed for a touchdown.
 
5. Connor Shaw, South Carolina
A week after stepping in to lead South Carolina to a rally for a win on the road, Connor Shaw was back at leading the Gamecocks to a win. Though Shaw only completed 10 out of his 20 attempts, four of those went for a touchdown. Shaw returned to the starting line-up after having to come in off the bench last week and he battled admirably against a Mississippi State team that caused some frustration early on. Shaw did toss two of his four touchdowns in the first quarter and his two third quarter touchdown passes put the Gamecocks up 31-10, which was more than enough.
Sponsored by Transamerica
Teaser:
The Golden Arm award is presented to the top senior quarterback by the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Foundation.
Post date: Sunday, November 3, 2013 - 21:22
Path: /college-football/oklahoma-states-chelf-earns-athlon-national-player-week-honors
Body:

By virtue of the process of elimination, Clint Chelf entered the season as one of the most experienced quarterbacks in the Big 12.

After the opener, he also had the least firm grip on his starting job when he was replaced by J.W. Walsh. But in the first week of November, Chelf has Oklahoma State in control of its fate in the Big 12 race.

In his second start since returning to the starting lineup, Chelf accounted for 299 yards of total offense and three total touchdowns in a 52-34 win over Texas Tech to earn Athlon Sports National Player of the Week honors.

In road wins over Iowa State and Texas Tech, Chelf has supervised the first Oklahoma State offense to score 50 points in back-to-back road games. He’s also helped lead the Cowboys to a 7-1 start and a 3-1 start in the Big 12 with games against Texas, Baylor and Oklahoma State his his future.

Athlon Sports Week 10 National Awards

National Offensive Player of the Week: Clint Chelf, Oklahoma State
Chelf may have had the rug pulled out from under him when J.W. Walsh replaced him as the starter in the second game of the season, but the senior is making the most of his return to the lineup. Chelf completed 18 of 34 passes for 211 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions in the road win over Texas Tech. For the second consecutive game, Chelf produced in the run game with 88 yards and two touchdowns on six carries.

Defensive Player of the Week: Garrison Smith, Georgia
Smith, a senior defensive end, had the most productive day of his career in a very important game for the Georgia program. The Atlanta native had nine tackles and was credited with 2.5 sacks (for 12 lost yards) in the Bulldogs’ 23-20 win over Florida — their third straight over their rivals from Gainesville. Georgia held the Gators 319 total yards and allowed only one drive that went for more than 50 yards.

National Freshman of the Week: Tarean Folston, Notre Dame
Folston gave a major lift to a Notre Dame run game that has struggled all season by rushing for 140 yards and the game-winning touchdown on 18 carries against Navy. Folston is only the second Notre Dame tailback to top the 100-yard mark this season. The rookie from Cocoa, Fla., is also the first Notre Dame freshman to rush for 100 yards since 2007.

National Coordinator of Week: Pat Narduzzi, Michigan State
Who else could it be? The No. 1 defense in the nation showed the nation why it might be the only unit in the Big Ten that can stop Ohio State. The Wolverines posted a school-record low of minus-48 yards rushing as Narduzzi dialed up pressure all night long. Michigan State finished with seven sacks, 12 first downs allowed 168 total yards of offense. The 23-point win was the most lopsided victory since 1967 between the two in-state rivals. 

Athlon Sports Week 10 Conference Awards


Three things we learned from Florida State’s rout of Miami, plus all the hits and misses of the Week 10 in Athlon Sports’ Three and Out Recap.
ACC
Offense: Devonta Freeman, Florida State
Defense: Kasim Edebali, Boston College
Freshman: Jeremy Pruitt, Florida State
Coordinator: Tyler Boyd, Pittsburgh

Big 12
Offense: Clint Chelf, Oklahoma State
Defense: Will Clarke, West Virginia
Freshman: Daikiel Shorts, West Virginia
Coordinator: Mike Yurcich, Oklahoma State

Big Ten
Offense: Philip Nelson, Minnesota
Defense: Shilique Calhoun, Michigan State
Freshman: Christian Hackenberg, Penn State
Coordinator: Pat Narduzzi, Michigan State

Pac-12
Offense: Taylor Kelly, Arizona State
Defense: Devon Kennard, USC
Freshman: Scooby Wright, Arizona
Coordinator: Clancy Pedergast, USC

SEC
Offense: Tre Mason, Auburn
Defense: Garrison Smith, Georgia
Freshman: Kelvin Taylor, Florida
Coordinator: Mike Bobo, Georgia

Teaser:
Oklahoma State's Chelf earns Athlon National Player of the Week Honors
Post date: Sunday, November 3, 2013 - 15:55
All taxonomy terms: ACC, Syracuse Orange, College Basketball, News
Path: /college-basketball/college-basketball-2013-14-syracuse-preview
Body:


This preview and more on Syracuse and the ACC are available in the Athlon Sports 2013-14 College Basketball Preseason Annual. The magazine is available online or on newsstands everywhere.

No. 9 Syracuse Facts & Figures
Last season: 30-10 (11-7 Big East)
Postseason: NCAA Final Four
Coach: Jim Boeheim (920-314 at Syracuse)
ACC projection: Second
Postseason projection: NCAA Sweet 16
The Syracuse Orange are coming off a most unlikely trip to the Final Four. It’s still difficult to believe that a team that lost four of its last five regular-season games, including a 61–39 embarrassment at Georgetown in the  finale, somehow found itself playing in the Georgia Dome in Atlanta a month later.

But Syracuse did just that. First, the Orange advanced to the Big East Tournament championship game, a run that included an overtime revenge-flavored win over Georgetown. Then Syracuse made it to the Final Four for the fifth time in school history.

Now, Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim faces a new challenge as he enters his 38th season at the helm at alma mater. Syracuse, a charter member of the Big East Conference, joins the ACC this season.

“It’s a tough league, but we were in a tough league before,’’ Boeheim says. “It’s doesn’t get any tougher, but it’ll be different.’’

Frontcourt

To get right to the point, Syracuse will have one of the best frontcourts in the entire country. While the losses of Carter-Williams, Triche and Southerland are significant, Syracuse fans exhaled a sigh of relief last June when C.J. Fair announced that he would return for his senior season. Fair, a versatile 6-8 forward, led the Orange in both scoring and rebounding last season. He also made 46.9 percent of his 3-point attempts. He will be a candidate for All-America honors and the ACC’s Player of the Year award.

At the other forward spot, expect sophomore Jerami Grant to enjoy a breakout season. Grant, another in Syracuse’s line of long, lean and athletic forwards, averaged just 3.9 points as a freshman. But when offered more playing time due to injuries plus James Southerland’s midseason suspension, Grant responded. In eight games between Jan. 12 and Feb. 13, Grant averaged 8.6 points and 5.4 rebounds.

In the middle, Boeheim has the pleasure and the challenge of sorting through three solid centers. Rakeem Christmas, a 6-9 junior, started all 40 games last season, but Baye Moussa Keita at times was the more reliable player, especially on defense. Meanwhile, Dajuan Coleman was always considered the best offensive player of the three centers, though he struggled as a freshman. Coleman missed several games after mid-season knee surgery and saw only sparse playing time after his return.

Freshmen Tyler Roberson and B.J. Johnson will most likely serve as backups at the forward spots, while fellow first-year player Chinonso Obokoh is a probable redshirt candidate due to the log-jam at center.

2013-14 Conference Previews
ACC | American | Big 12 | Big East
Big Ten | Mountain West | Pac-12 | SEC


Backcourt

Syracuse must totally rebuild its backcourt. Michael Carter-Williams entered the NBA Draft after a sterling sophomore season. He went from being the fourth guard in a three-guard rotation as a freshman to one of the top point guards in the country. But Syracuse also lost Brandon Triche, who started every game of his four-year Syracuse career and was a part of more wins than any player in SU history.

Boeheim will turn to freshman Tyler Ennis to be his starting point guard. Ennis, a native of Ontario, Canada, led St. Benedict’s (N.J.) Prep to the championship game in the National High School Invitational last April. He was the leading scorer at the FIBA Under-19 World Championships in July. Ennis’ backup could be another freshman in Ron Patterson, a former Indiana commit who spent last year at prep school.

There will be a battle between sophomores Michael Gbinije and Trevor Cooney to see who starts at the 2-guard spot. Gbinije sat out last year after transferring from Duke. Cooney endured a rough freshman year, making just 26.7 percent of his 3-point shots.  

Newcomers

Freshman point guard Tyler Ennis and Duke transfer Michael Gbinije could form the Orange’s starting backcourt. Tyler Roberson and B.J. Johnson figure prominently in back-up roles at the forward spots. Ron Patterson, a natural off-guard, might see time as the back-up to Ennis at the point. Chinonso Obokoh, a 6-10 center, enters a crowded position and could redshirt.

Final Analysis
Factoid: 4. Jim Boeheim has taken Syracuse to the Final Four in four consecutive decades, reaching the NCAA’s final weekend in 1987, 1996, 2003 and last season. Only three other coaches can match that feat — Mike Krzyzewski, Dean Smith and Rick Pitino.


Syracuse’s move from the Big East to the ACC doesn’t figure to alter the Orange’s winning ways. Boeheim remains in charge. The forwards are still long and athletic. The guards are big and tall. The zone remains the defense of choice.

Fair is a top-notch talent who gives Syracuse leadership and reliable scoring. The three-player combination at center provides Boeheim will plenty of choices. Grant could be the next big thing. And the early returns on Ennis and Gbinije sound promising. If Boeheim finds answers in the backcourt, the Orange will challenge for the ACC crown in their first year in the league.
 

2013-14 Preseason Top 25
9. Syracuse
10. North Carolina
11. Ohio State
12. Michigan

13. Marquette
14. New Mexico
15. Notre Dame
16. Creighton
17. Tennessee
18. VCU
19. UNLV
20. Memphis
21. Connecticut
22. Wisconsin
23. UCLA
24. Baylor
25. Wichita State

Teaser:
College Basketball: 2013-14 Syracuse Preview
Post date: Friday, November 1, 2013 - 07:00
Path: /college-basketball/college-basketball-2013-14-michigan-preview
Body:


This preview and more on Michigan and the Big Ten are available in the Athlon Sports 2013-14 College Basketball Preseason Annual. The magazine is available online or on newsstands everywhere.

No. 12 Michigan Facts & Figures
Last season: 31-8 (12-6 Big Ten)
Postseason: NCAA runner-up
Coach: John Beilein (122-85 at Michigan)
Big Ten projection: Third
Postseason projection: NCAA Sweet 16
John Beilein sat in the front row of the Barclays Center in late June with a smile on his face. About to begin his seventh season at Michigan, Beilein watched as the two best players he’s ever coached had their names called during the first round of the 2013 NBA Draft.

But now, for Beilein, life without superstar point guard Trey Burke and veteran sharpshooter Tim Hardaway Jr. officially begins. And one season after taking the Wolverines to the national title game for the first time since 1993, the expectations have now been raised.

“That’s part of the business you have to go through right now,” says Beilein. “If you don’t recruit good enough players (you won’t win). If you recruit really good players, they could go pro and you’re back to where you started.”

Michigan lost its two best players to the NBA, but it didn’t lose everything. Expected first-round picks Mitch McGary and Glenn Robinson III shocked many by announcing they’d be back for a sophomore season.

Frontcourt

At 6-10, 255-pounds, McGary was expected to be the Wolverines’ best big man prospect since Chris Webber. And though it took him about five months to figure everything out, he lived up to that billing during a wild NCAA Tournament run that turned him into a legit star. The Indiana native averaged 14.3 points and 10.7 rebounds in the Wolverines’ six NCAA games, highlighted by his 25-point, 14-rebound effort against Kansas.

McGary will anchor Michigan’s front line this season, and he’ll likely do so at multiple positions. Beilein wants McGary to play both power forward and center, and wants to continue expanding his game — as a shooter, as a transition player and a finisher.

Who plays next to him, though, remains a mystery.

If Michigan opts to go big, something Beilein rarely does, McGary will be joined up front by either senior Jordan Morgan or junior Jon Horford — two role players who should see extended time either way next season. Morgan averaged a solid 4.3 rebounds in only 15.9 minutes as a junior.

If the Wolverines go small, Robinson (6-6, 220) will be back at the stretch-4 position, giving Michigan incredible versatility. Robinson has stated he’d like to spend more time at his natural position, small forward, and Beilein says the smooth wing will likely play with the ball in his hands more often this season.

“I don’t know how close I was to leaving, I always wanted to come back here and stay,” Robinson says. “I’m going to have a chance to come in and hopefully be a leader for this team.”

2013-14 Conference Previews
ACC | American | Big 12 | Big East
Big Ten | Mountain West | Pac-12 | SEC


Backcourt

Burke and Hardaway are gone, but Michigan’s cupboard isn’t bare.

Incoming freshman point guard Derrick Walton was the Gatorade Player of the Year in Michigan as a high school senior, and 5-star shooting guard Zak Irvin was Indiana’s Mr. Basketball.

Walton will be joined at the point by tournament sensation Spike Albrecht, but even both players combined will have a tough time replicating what Burke was able to bring to the table.

Walton has been committed to the program since 2011, and he watched Burke’s entire development from afar.

“The coaches always told me to watch Trey, watch the point guard position, because that’s where I’d be playing,” he says. “He said it was a point guard’s dream. He’s right. They let you play. They let you create. But it’s important for me to be my own person, I can’t be somebody else.”

At shooting guard, Michigan has a logjam. Sophomore Nik Stauskas, who shot 44.0 percent from 3-point range, will likely slide down and spend more time at the 2, while improving sophomore Caris LeVert will also compete for minutes.

Newcomers

Michigan’s highly touted class is highlighted by 5-star shooting guard Zak Irvin, who claimed Indiana’s Mr. Basketball last season. The club’s most important newcomer is 4-star point guard Derrick Walton, who is looking to fill Trey Burke’s shoes as the team’s floor leader alongside Spike Albrecht. Power forward Mark Donnal, a 4-star big man with an outside touch, rounds out the class.

Final Analysis
Factoid: 23. Guard Spike Albrecht scored a total of 23 points in Michigan’s two Final Four games. He scored a total of 22 during the 18-game Big Ten season.


Michigan has plenty of work to do without Burke running the show. However, the Wolverines avoided the doomsday scenario when both Robinson and McGary opted to return.

Beilein, who has established himself as one of the elite coaches in the game, has enough talent on his roster to remain in the top tier in the rugged Big Ten. By the time March rolls around, don’t be surprised if Michigan has emerged as a favorite to reach the Final Four for the second straight season.

2013-14 Preseason Top 25
9. Syracuse
10. North Carolina
11. Ohio State
12. Michigan

13. Marquette
14. New Mexico
15. Notre Dame
16. Creighton
17. Tennessee
18. VCU
19. UNLV
20. Memphis
21. Connecticut
22. Wisconsin
23. UCLA
24. Baylor
25. Wichita State

Teaser:
College Basketball: 2013-14 Michigan Preview
Post date: Friday, November 1, 2013 - 07:00
Path: /college-basketball/college-basketball-2013-14-north-carolina-preview
Body:


This preview and more on North Carolina and the ACC are available in the Athlon Sports 2013-14 College Basketball Preseason Annual. The magazine is available online or on newsstands everywhere.

No. 10 North Carolina Facts & Figures
Last season: 25-11 (12-6 ACC)
Postseason: NCAA Elite Eight
Coach: Roy Williams (282-79 at North Carolina)
ACC projection: Third
Postseason projection: NCAA Sweet 16
Roy Williams warned North Carolina fans that they shouldn’t get used to the small lineups that sparked UNC’s surge in the second half of last season. He wasn’t kidding.

The Tar Heels enter 2013-14 with plenty of size up front and paper-thin depth on the perimeter as they try to get back to the Final Four for the first time since 2009. As emphasis on dribble penetration, floor spacing, and 3-point shooting increases nationwide, UNC could be the rare team whose success will depend upon post play.

The Tar Heels have six players who stand 6-8 or taller, and each one has played significant minutes in the past or figures to be in the rotation this season. The backcourt is a different story. With sharpshooter P.J. Hairston (team-high 14.6 points per game last season) suspended during the summer, UNC could begin the season with only two true wings.

The unbalanced personnel figures to create a style of play much different from the one the Tar Heels used a year ago, when they attempted more 3-pointers than any other UNC team under Williams.

Frontcourt

UNC has plenty of big men who could start at schools all over the country. Forward James Michael McAdoo, whose size and athleticism have earned him NBA buzz since high school, is the most accomplished of the group. After a lackluster sophomore season in which he shot just 44.5 percent from the floor, McAdoo increased his offseason work in an effort to improve his free throw shooting (57.8 percent) and overall offensive efficiency.

Also in the mix at forward are Brice Johnson, who showed a knack for scoring as a freshman, and hustle-minded Jackson Simmons. Freshman Isaiah Hicks figures to push for playing time because of his athleticism and ability to run the floor.

UNC has plenty of bulk at center in sophomore Joel James and highly skilled freshman Kennedy Meeks, who is working to improve his conditioning. James never got going as a freshman, but he has the potential to be a major contributor on both ends of the floor. Desmond Hubert, who started 18 games a year ago, will resume his limited role as a defensive specialist.

No UNC frontcourt player is especially suited to playing small forward, but McAdoo, Johnson, and Hicks are athletic enough to masquerade there if the Tar Heels go with a big lineup.

2013-14 Conference Previews
ACC | American | Big 12 | Big East
Big Ten | Mountain West | Pac-12 | SEC


Backcourt

UNC almost had too many wing players a year ago. But with Hairston finding off-court trouble during the summer and Reggie Bullock and Dexter Strickland departing, now the Tar Heels might not have enough. Sophomore J.P. Tokoto, who could move into a starting role, will be counted on to provide more than his trademark awe-inspiring dunks. He is not a proficient outside shooter, but he has the athleticism to become a force on defense.

At the other wing, fifth-year senior Leslie McDonald will have the biggest role of his career. McDonald is somewhat of a designated shooter, having made 37 percent of his 3-point tries over his last two seasons.

Marcus Paige made strides as a freshman starter at the point, becoming a threat from 3-point range as last season progressed. Paige likely will end up playing significant minutes at shooting guard because of UNC’s wing shortage and the arrival of freshman point guard Nate Britt. Britt was an adept passer in high school and will have a chance to earn major minutes if he makes a quick transition to the college game. Luke Davis returns as the third point guard.

Newcomers

Isaiah Hicks and Kennedy Meeks bring different abilities to UNC’s crowded frontcourt. Hicks is athletic and adept at running the floor, although he needs to add strength and back-to-the basket moves. Meeks, meanwhile, is not an elite athlete. He is a good low-post scorer and skilled passer, especially on outlets, with good hands. Nate Britt is a quick floor general with savvy who will get immediate playing time at the point.

Final Analysis
Factoid: 1.6. UNC averaged 1.6 rebounds per game more than its opponents last season, the lowest rebound margin for a Roy Williams-coached team since Williams’ first season at Kansas (1988-89).


Williams is used to juggling players in his up-tempo scheme, but he hasn’t seen a puzzle quite like this one before. The Tar Heels have an imperfect roster in two ways: They are out of balance with their post/perimeter mix, and they lack the proven stud or two that the best Tar Heel teams usually feature.

That said, UNC has enough talent to finish near the top of a new-look ACC that will feature Syracuse, Pittsburgh, and Notre Dame for the first time. The Tar Heels can reach that potential as long as they maintain good health on the perimeter and consistently find ways to impose their will in the big-vs.-small contrast of styles that they will encounter on a nightly basis.

2013-14 Preseason Top 25
9. Syracuse
10. North Carolina
11. Ohio State
12. Michigan

13. Marquette
14. New Mexico
15. Notre Dame
16. Creighton
17. Tennessee
18. VCU
19. UNLV
20. Memphis
21. Connecticut
22. Wisconsin
23. UCLA
24. Baylor
25. Wichita State

Teaser:
College Basketball: 2013-14 North Carolina Preview
Post date: Friday, November 1, 2013 - 07:00
Path: /college-basketball/college-basketball-2013-14-ohio-state-preview
Body:


This preview and more on Ohio State and the Big Ten are available in the Athlon Sports 2013-14 College Basketball Preseason Annual. The magazine is available online or on newsstands everywhere.

No. 11 Ohio State Facts & Figures
Last season: 29-8 (13-5 Big Ten)
Postseason: NCAA Elite Eight
Coach: Thad Matta (250-73 at Ohio State)
Big Ten projection: Second
Postseason projection: NCAA Sweet 16
Unfortunately for Thad Matta, Ohio State’s outlook begins with who is no longer around. That’s because forward Deshaun Thomas and his Big Ten-leading 19.8 points per game are gone, along with the reliable services of post man Evan Ravenel.

Considering that center Amir Williams is far from a finished product and struggles to maintain intensity, the exhausted eligibility of Ravenel is noteworthy.

Thomas, meanwhile, leaves a rather gaping hole. The free-wheeling lefty led the Buckeyes in 29 of their 37 games as a junior last season, and his offensive creativity will be sorely missed.

Now the good news: Matta has the program at an elite level despite having to overcome early NBA defections from the likes of Greg Oden, Mike Conley Jr., Kosta Koufos, Evan Turner and Jared Sullinger over the years, and there is plenty of athleticism and tenacity left on the roster.

Senior Aaron Craft is the catalyst on both ends of the floor and should receive help once again from Shannon Scott, who made major strides last season. Lenzelle Smith Jr. is yet another proven performer at guard.

On the wing, the Buckeyes have three face-up forwards in the 6-7 range in LaQuinton Ross, Sam Thompson and freshman Marc Loving, who all bring an array of gifts to the table.

Frontcourt

Williams represents OSU’s very limited post game, and while he’s the team’s lone shot-eraser, he also isn’t nearly as adept at help defense and shutting down pick-and-roll plays as Ravenel. A big growth year from the 6-11 Williams would be a boon for the Buckeyes, but may not be crucial. Matta is more than willing to play a small lineup this season. Plus, Ohio State is blessed with a lengthy shutdown defender in Thompson and will be able to create mismatches on offense with Ross, who stands a legit 6-8.

Ross shot forward in the 2013 postseason with huge threes and athletic finishes at the basket, causing Arizona coach Sean Miller to label him a “future star.” He could pick up a lot of the scoring load left behind by Thomas. Ross averaged 8.3 points in only 16.9 minutes as a sophomore.

Loving provides even more shooting and versatility and could be an ideal fit as a 4-man in Matta’s system. However, he and Thompson are not polished rebounders. Meanwhile, Trey McDonald, athletic and decently skilled, is still trying to find a spot in Matta’s rotation. He played in only 19 games last season.

2013-14 Conference Previews
ACC | American | Big 12 | Big East
Big Ten | Mountain West | Pac-12 | SEC


Backcourt

Craft has carved out a well-deserved reputation as an elite defender and intense competitor. Now the challenge for Craft is to add onto last season’s averages of 10.0 points and 4.6 assists per game. When asked what new full-time assistant coach and former Duke point guard Greg Paulus might do for the senior, Matta jokes, “Hopefully he can get him to shoot 47 percent from the 3-point line for starters. That would be good.”

The coaches actually would accept Craft simply taking and making a few more important jumpers — like the trey he splashed against Iowa State that put the Buckeyes in the Sweet 16.

Scott is a minimal threat from the perimeter — he hit only 11 3-pointers in ’12-13 — but gives OSU a second ball-handler and another menacing on-ball defender. He’s especially skilled at creating opportunities for others with the shot clock winding down.

The off-guard position is interesting with Smith in the role of steady senior, lanky Amedeo Della Valle capable of providing a spark, and freshman Kameron Williams a potential microwave off the bench.

Newcomers

One of the top forward prospects in the Midwest, Marc Loving earned Ohio’s “Mr. Basketball” and averaged 21.2 points and 8.4 rebounds per game as a prep senior. Still, Loving is a finesse player who will have to adapt to Big Ten physicality. Kameron Williams is a deluxe scorer who can stroke it from deep and already has an effective floater.

Final Analysis
Factoid: 7. Ohio State has had at least one player drafted in each of the last seven years, the longest such streak in the nation.


Matta demands constant effort and smarts on defense, and the results have been borderline spectacular over the years. Ohio State, in fact, has been one of the best teams in the country at defending without fouling, and that needs to be — and should be — a calling card once again.

The offense will jell eventually with Ross poised for a breakout season, and the ball movement leading to shared wealth. Newcomers Loving and Williams should augment nicely.

Rebounding, however, could be at a premium. The Buckeyes will need a collected effort on the backboards if they are to again compete for a Big Ten title.

2013-14 Preseason Top 25
9. Syracuse
10. North Carolina
11. Ohio State
12. Michigan

13. Marquette
14. New Mexico
15. Notre Dame
16. Creighton
17. Tennessee
18. VCU
19. UNLV
20. Memphis
21. Connecticut
22. Wisconsin
23. UCLA
24. Baylor
25. Wichita State

Teaser:
College Basketball: 2013-14 Ohio State Preview
Post date: Friday, November 1, 2013 - 07:00
Path: /overtime/athlon-sports-picks-best-sports-podcasts
Body:

From classic live game broadcasts to sports talk radio, from Vin Scully to Paul Finebaum, the audio presentation is part of the the routine of being a sports fan.

At Athlon Sports, podcasts are among our favorite ways to consume sports media, so much so that we decided to start the Athlon Sports Cover 2 College Football Podcast.

Name a niche and chances are there’s a podcast about it. The barriers of traditional broadcast don’t apply. Want to spend an hour on one team in college football? No problem. Want to veer off from the games of the week into strange detours into food or pop culture? Who’s going to stop you?

The DIY aspect lends itself to spotty audio quality or less-polished hosts, but that’s the beauty of it. All fans with enough passion and basic technical know-how can share their voice and viewpoint with the world.

We asked around the Athlon office and picked some of our favorites in the sports we cover. One caveat: We tried to stick to podcast-first programs. It’s safe to say if you like ESPN Radio or TV programming, you can find it in a podcast format, too.

Athlon Sports’ Top Sports Podcasts

The B.S. Report
One of the longest-standing podcasts in the sports realm, the B.S. Report features all you’d expect from Bill Simmons: Red Sox/Yankees talk, a six-part NBA preview, guessing NFL betting lines with Cousin Sal plus interviews with Chuck Klosterman, Saturday Night Live writer Robert Smigel and other visiting luminaries. Real World/Road Rules Challenge talk has more or less migrated to Grantland Pop Culture. So there’s that.

The Rich Eisen Podcast
Few are more enthusiastic about the podcast format than Eisen. Sure, he gives listeners plenty of football talk — upwards of two and a half hours sometimes. Eisen goes back and forth with co-hosts in addition to interviewing coaches and players around the league. Eisen has also interviewed Kevin Costner, Carrie Underwood, Larry David, Matt Damon and more.

The Solid Verbal
The Solid Verbal is the granddaddy of college football podcasts. Hosts Dan Rubenstein and Ty Hildenbrandt break down each Saturday’s games, preview the week ahead and help college football memes bubble up to the surface. If the phrases “Clemsoning,” “Dr. Bo Wallace” and “Nick Foles in a Losing Effort (plus sound effect)” mean something to you, odds are you’re a Verballer.

The Will Leitch Experience
A new podcast on the block, Deadspin founder and Sports on Earth columnist Will Leitch strives to interview “a different smart person every day.” Cardinals baseball, Illinois basketball and his move deep into the heart of SEC country have shaped the podcasts of late, but no podcast has more interesting media guests than this one.

Eye On College Football
Chip Patterson hosts the three-times-a-week podcast featuring CBSSports.com college football staff, including Dennis Dodd (on the aptly named Doddcast), Jerry Palm, Tom Fornelli and more as they recap each Saturday, talk news and BCS and break down picks of the week.

Eye On College Basketball
The CBSSports.com college basketball podcast returned earlier this week with columnist Gary Parrish moving into the host role. The CBS crew brings knowledge, opinions, banter and tales from the road long before March Madness.


Listen to Athlon Sports writers Braden Gall and David Fox talk Bo Pelini, Oklahoma State-Texas Tech, Miami-Florida State and more Week 10 action in this week's Athlon Sports Cover 2 Podcast.
ESPNU: College Football and ESPNU: College Basketball
Podcasts are generally a DIY format, but ESPN is able to throw its weight around on its podcast. The ESPN name allows football host Ivan Maisel and basketball host Andy Katz to regularly book coach interviews on top of being informative.

Outkick the Podcast
Seven episodes in and Clay Travis has interviewed Joe Namath, Ricky Williams and Phillip Fulmer. The love-him or hate-him host also knows his audience and knows it will go bonkers for an interview with former South Carolina quarterback and off-the-field legend Stephen Garcia.

ESPN Fantasy Focus Baseball
The daily grind of fantasy baseball is tough to navigate sometimes, that’s why Matthew Berry’s and Nate Ravitz’s podcast is the people’s choice.

Effectively Wild
Ben Lindbergh and Sam Miller with Baseball Prospectus know the baseball grind as much as anyone in the podcast or media biz. Like the athletes they cover and analyze (and analyze and analyze), they post a new podcast every day.

The MMQB Podcast and The Stewart Mandel Podcast
From Sports Illustrated land, the MMQB Podcast takes you through the NFL as only Peter King can with oodles of interviews around the sport. Mandel tackles the college football side with his own share of high-profile guests.

The Chrome Horn Podcast and The David Smith Podcast
Athlon Sports contributor Geoffrey Miller covers the weekly goings on all over NASCAR in the Chrome Horn podcast with Nick Bromberg from Yahoo! Sports' From the Marbles blog. David Smith, another Athlon contributor, looks at big-picture racing issues with guests from all over the sport.

The SEC Report and SEC Sports Roundtable
From the folks at Saturday Down South, the SEC Report is — you guessed it — an all-SEC, all the time podcast. With 14 teams and plenty of news from the season to recruiting season, they stay busy. And if you want a podcast that sounds like you dishing with your SEC friends, check out the SEC Sports Roundtable, mainly because it’s a group of friends dishing about the SEC.

Pac-12 Networks Football Podcast
Ex-football coach Rick Neuheisel is broadcasting natural, and he knows his way around the Pac-12 after coaching at UCLA, Washington and Colorado. He’s also a good fit on the podcast with Mike Yam when the program veers into non-football topics.

Teaser:
Athlon Sports Picks the Best Sports Podcasts
Post date: Friday, November 1, 2013 - 07:00
Path: /college-basketball/college-basketball-2013-14-marquette-preview
Body:


This preview and more on Marquette and the Big East are available in the Athlon Sports 2013-14 College Basketball Preseason Annual. The magazine is available online or on newsstands everywhere.

No. 13 Marquette Facts & Figures
Last season: 25-9 (14-4 Big East)
Postseason: NCAA Elite Eight
Coach: Buzz Williams (122-54 at Marquette)
Big East projection: First
Postseason projection: NCAA Sweet 16
With double-digit conference victories in seven of the last eight seasons, the Marquette Golden Eagles were one of the most successful teams in the Big East. Now with the new private-school iteration of the league set to debut for the 2013-14 season, Marquette remains well-positioned to continue its run of success.

This Marquette team, however, could have a very different look. For the first time in well over a decade, the Golden Eagles’ focus figures to shift to the frontcourt. That’s not to suggest they won’t have talent in the backcourt; the key to coach Buzz Williams’ success has always been the steady stream of “switchables” he churns out.

But big men Davante Gardner, Jamil Wilson, Chris Otule and Jameel McKay are going to be leaned upon up front like never before as a revamped group of guards gets up to speed.

If everything comes together as Williams hopes, a Big East title should be well within the Golden Eagles’ grasp.

Frontcourt

It would have seemed far-fetched to have suggested only a couple years ago that MU’s hopes would ever be pinned to the broad shoulders of Gardner. After all, he arrived at MU in 2010 as a 6-8, 300-pound-plus project who didn’t figure to mesh well with Williams’ frenetic style of play — especially on the defensive end. But Gardner showed from early on that his ample backside and craftiness around the basket couldn’t be ignored, and he heads into this season as the league’s reigning Sixth Man of the Year, not to mention MU’s leading returning scorer. Gardner shot a Big East-leading 58.5 percent while coming off the bench in 2012-13, and he attempted 5.0 free throws per game, knocking them down at an 83.5 percent clip.

When Williams needs a defensive presence in the lane, he will turn to the 6-11 Otule, who will be in his sixth season thanks to a medical hardship. He started last season and blocked more than a shot per game while altering quite a few more. He’s also a decent rebounder.

Wilson, who will see most of his minutes at power forward, is actually the Golden Eagles’ leading returning 3-point shooter (.360) and rebounder (4.9 rpg). He also is a great passer for his size and blocked nearly a shot per game.

McKay was a two-time first team NJCAA All-American at Indian Hills (Iowa) Community College in Ottumwa, Iowa. He is a high-energy athlete who should get plenty of minutes right away.

2013-14 Conference Previews
ACC | American | Big 12 | Big East
Big Ten | Mountain West | Pac-12 | SEC


Backcourt

Youth will be served at both guard spots, where it’s likely a true freshman will start at point guard and two others will see big minutes alongside. Duane Wilson will give the Golden Eagles an offensive threat they haven’t had handling the ball in years with an ability to get to the basket, draw fouls and also knock down 3-pointers.

Williams is a big fan of junior Derrick Wilson’s reliability — he committed only 19 turnovers in 457 minutes — but Duane Wilson will be tough to keep off the floor in crunch time because he can create as well as keep defenses honest.

The 6-5 JaJuan Johnson and the 6-4, 230-pound Deonte Burton will give Williams the ability to use different looks at shooting guard and on the wing. Johnson is more of shooter and finisher. Burton’s body should allow him to make the transition to the physical style Williams prefers.

Junior Todd Mayo can be an explosive scorer, but he’s butted heads with Williams at times and his role has diminished.

Newcomers

Jameel McKay, Duane Wilson and Deonte Burton are all Milwaukee natives. While it will undoubtedly be fun for them to play in their hometown, it would also behoove them to try and avoid some of the inherent distractions that comes along with that. All three have the ability to be special players, along with Memphis native Jajuan Johnson. John Dawson will have his work cut out for him to get into the rotation in his first year at MU. The five combine to form Williams’ third top-25 recruiting class in six seasons.

Final Analysis
Factoid: 16-0. Marquette went 16–0 when it made more free throws than its opponent attempted last season. The Golden Eagles averaged 15.7 made free throws per game.


Nine letterwinners return, but there will still be plenty of playing time available for the newcomers. All told, this will be Williams’ biggest, deepest and most athletic group from front to back.

The key will be how quickly Division I neophytes like McKay and Duane Wilson, specifically, can adapt considering how much will be put on them from the outset.

Williams and his players have made a habit of exceeding expectations, using their underdog mentality to reach new heights each season. Now that they will be one of the favorites in the new-look Big East, will the Golden Eagles have what it takes to live up to the hype? History suggest it would be wise not to bet against them.

2013-14 Preseason Top 25
13. Marquette
14. New Mexico
15. Notre Dame
16. Creighton
17. Tennessee
18. VCU
19. UNLV
20. Memphis
21. Connecticut
22. Wisconsin
23. UCLA
24. Baylor
25. Wichita State

Teaser:
College Basketball: 2013-14 Marquette Preview
Post date: Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - 07:00
Path: /college-basketball/college-basketball-2013-14-creighton-preview
Body:


This preview and more on Creighton and the Big East are available in the Athlon Sports 2013-14 College Basketball Preseason Annual. The magazine is available online or on newsstands everywhere.

No. 16 Creighton Facts & Figures
Last season: 28-8 (13-5 Missouri Valley)
Postseason: NCAA Round of 32
Coach: Greg McDermott (80-30 at Creighton)
Big East projection: Second
Postseason projection: NCAA Sweet 16
Creighton fans long dreamed of a Catholic-school basketball league, the rumors of which circulated for years like some sort of mythical treasure. They have football to thank a dream come true.

When the (former) Big East football schools added members such as Tulane and SMU in an attempt to remain relevant, the basketball schools revolted. Seven Catholic schools reformed with the Big East name and kept the tournament in Madison Square Garden. Creighton’s investments and improvements, starting under former coach Dana Altman in 1994, paid off. The Big East wanted the best basketball schools, and Creighton fit, despite a geographic issue. The Bluejays, after 55 largely successful years in the Missouri Valley Conference, are stepping up to play powers such as Georgetown, Marquette and Villanova.

“There’s a huge buzz,” senior forward Doug McDermott says. “It’s always been out there, and then it just happened.”

McDermott, a 6’8” All-American, is responsible for much of that buzz. He turned down NBA possibilities to play his final season in the Big East. In July, the buzz grew when the NCAA gave forward Grant Gibbs, one of the nation’s best passers, a sixth season. The Bluejays enter the Big East as one of the favorites with four starters and three experienced reserves back.

McDermott’s return makes the transition easier. Coach Greg McDermott, his father, knows life in the Big East will test Creighton in ways the MVC did not. Creighton owned the best (or close to it) of everything — tradition, resources, facilities, academics, city — in the Valley. In the Big East, assets such as an NBA-quality arena are not nearly so special. While the Bluejays consistently won in the MVC, they did not dominate. Since 2000, they've won four MVC regular-season titles, sharing two. “We’ve gone from the top of the heap to the middle or near the bottom,” Greg McDermott says.

Frontcourt

For its debut, Creighton will hit teams with a blend of outside shooting and crisp execution that is difficult to defend. It finished second nationally in shooting percentage (50.1 percent) and 3-point shooting (41.4). Doug McDermott (23.2 ppg, 7.7 rpg) is an excellent shooter who hustles his way into easy baskets and scores with a variety of post moves. He improved his dribble game and mid-range shot as a junior, despite defenses designed to stop him. Gibbs (8.5 ppg, 5.8 apg) excels at finding McDermott at his sweet spots and helps run the team from his forward position.

Creighton will miss center Gregory Echenique, whose size enabled him to guard most big men without help. He gave a finesse team a good dose of banging, and his replacements are not nearly as experienced nor physically imposing. Junior Will Artino (3.9 ppg, 2.5 rpg) is the first choice to man the middle.

“He played great basketball for us in February and March,” Greg McDermott says. “His skill level is on the perimeter offensively, and he’s a great passer.”

Sophomore Geoffrey Groselle (7’0”) played in 17 games last season. Forward Ethan Wragge (7.7 ppg, 2.6 rpg) causes mismatches with his 3-point shooting and is strong enough to guard some post players.

“I think we’ve got a group that can really shoot the basketball,” the coach says. “With Doug and Ethan Wragge, it puts a lot of pressure on the defense.”

2013-14 Conference Previews
ACC | American | Big 12 | Big East
Big Ten | Mountain West | Pac-12 | SEC


Backcourt

The backcourt is solid with junior Austin Chatman (7.4 ppg, 4.2 apg) back for a second season as the starter at point. He may struggle defensively with bigger guards, but his quickness makes his him a threat in the open court. Senior Jahenns Manigat (5.9 ppg) started all 36 games last season. In recent seasons, the Bluejays lacked dynamic scoring and quick defenders on the perimeter. The addition of transfers James Milliken and Devin Brooks, both juniors, should help. Brooks can ease the burden on Chatman as the prime ball-handler.
“(Milliken) has a really good feel for the game,” Doug McDermott says. “He doesn’t hunt shots. He’s looking for the post and keeps his eyes up.”

Junior guard Avery Dingman (3.7 ppg) is a career 40.7-percent shooter from behind the arc. Redshirt freshman Isaiah Zierden is also a good shooter.

Newcomers

Creighton went to the junior colleges in an attempt to upgrade its athletic ability in the backcourt. Devin Brooks can push the ball and get it to shooters. He averaged 5.6 assists for Iowa Western Community College, which advanced to the NJCAA National Tournament. Guard James Milliken, from Cowley (Kan.) Community College, averaged 18.5 points and made 42.2 percent of his threes. Coaches will consider redshirting freshman center Zach Hanson.

Final Analysis
Factoid: 25.7. Doug McDermott averaged 25.7 points in nine games vs. teams ranked in the top 50 of the RPI last season. He scored a season-high 41 points in a win over Final-Four bound Wichita State.


Creighton leaves a comfortable home in the MVC for a bigger challenge, one filled with big names and schools with similar resources and history. Few schools will benefit more from the recent wave of conference realignment. There are risks — the Bluejays need to recruit a higher level of athlete, and they are faced with the difficulties of geographic isolation. The return of Doug McDermott and Gibbs should make the first Big East season memorable.

“Every night, we’re going to have to bring it,” Chatman says. “We have a lot of high hopes and aspirations.”

2013-14 Preseason Top 25
13. Marquette
14. New Mexico
15. Notre Dame
16. Creighton
17. Tennessee
18. VCU
19. UNLV
20. Memphis
21. Connecticut
22. Wisconsin
23. UCLA
24. Baylor
25. Wichita State

Teaser:
College Basketball: 2013-14 Creighton Preview
Post date: Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - 07:00
Path: /college-football/college-basketball-2013-14-notre-dame-preview
Body:


This preview and more on Notre Dame and the ACC are available in the Athlon Sports 2013-14 College Basketball Preseason Annual. The magazine is available online or on newsstands everywhere.

No. 15 Notre Dame Facts & Figures
Last season: 25-10 (11-7 Big East)
Postseason: NCAA Round of 64
Coach: Mike Brey (285-142 at Notre Dame)
ACC projection: Fourth
Postseason projection: NCAA Sweet 16
After resisting conference alignment until 1995, Notre Dame became a frontrunner in the Big East, finishing second in 2011 and third in 2012. The Irish landed their fourth straight NCAA Tournament bid in 2013. Now they must adapt to their new surroundings in the venerable Atlantic Coast Conference.

“I like the veteran group that we’ll have taking us into a new league,” says coach Mike Brey, who enters his 14th season with the Irish.

Notre Dame has size and experience up front and a reinforced backcourt.

“People have said we play a little more like the ACC teams, and that’s been an advantage for us in the Big East,” Brey says. “We’re skilled. That second big guy is able to face the bucket. In the ACC, the biggest difference is the second big, or a 4-man who spreads you out and can make a shot. It’s a tricky match-up. We’ve always had the ability to play like that. I’m interested to see what gives.”
 
Frontcourt

The Irish must learn to play without Jack Cooley, who won the league’s most improved player award as a junior, and then claimed first-team All-Big East honors as a senior when he averaged 13.1 points and 10.1 rebounds per game.

“Jack was the ultimate get-a-second-shot guy,” Brey says. “We don’t have an offensive rebounder as good as Jack Cooley.”

Brey will rely upon a trio of 6-10 players — fifth-year seniors Tom Knight and Garrick Sherman and sophomore Zach Auguste — to compensate for the loss of Cooley.

Knight moved into the starting lineup early in the 2013 Big East season when veteran Scott Martin suffered a season-ending knee injury.

“He flat-out saved us,” Brey says. “If Tom Knight doesn’t come to the party, we’re going to the NIT.”

Sherman was inconsistent in his first year of eligibility after transferring from Michigan State, but he was huge down the stretch and in postseason play. Auguste emerged when Sherman struggled.

Pat Connaughton, a 6-5 junior, rebounds well enough to play the 4 spot and carried the Irish from beyond the arc in the Big East Tournament.

2013-14 Conference Previews
ACC | American | Big 12 | Big East
Big Ten | Mountain West | Pac-12 | SEC


Backcourt

The loss of sharpshooters Ben Hansbrough and Tim Abromaitis in recent years took Notre Dame’s outside game down a peg. But the Irish are solid in the backcourt with veteran guards Eric Atkins and Jerian Grant as well as sophomore Cameron Biedscheid, who must improve his defense and outside shooting consistency.

Freshman point guard Demetrius Jackson, a McDonald’s All-American, shooting guard Steve Vasturia and swingman V.J. Beachem provide ample depth.

The Irish now have a backcourt with the athleticism to contend with the ACC’s up-tempo pace.

“I’d like to see a Grant-Atkins-Jackson perimeter,” Brey says. “Can we pressure the ball a little more instead of just playing position defense all the time? I like that look. Notre Dame has never had a perimeter with that kind of a gear.”

Newcomers

Notre Dame’s perimeter play will get a boost with the addition of local standout Demetrius Jackson, sharpshooter Steve Vasturia and athletic swingman V.J. Beachem. Another local product — freshman power forward Austin Torres — may redshirt in 2013-14 but gives the Irish long-term punch up front. A pair of 6-9 sophomores — Eric Katenda and Austin Burgett — could help up front.

Final Analysis
Factoid: 11. Notre Dame enjoyed a winning Big East record in 11 of its final 13 seasons in the league (all under Mike Brey). The Irish did not have a winning conference mark in any of their first five seasons in the Big East.


Despite the loss of Cooley, a double-double machine, the Irish have size up front and a faster-paced backcourt, which takes them into their new conference prepared for a variety of styles.

“The Big East was more brute force,” Brey says. “In the Big East, if they had a wide open 15-footer, they’d still try to come at you and drive it down your throat. In the ACC, guys are going to take (the shot) a little more often. That’s kind of how we played.

“The one thing we hang our hat on is our efficiency on the offensive end. We don’t turn it over, we’re going to get a good shot, and we’re going to control tempo.”

Of concern to Brey is moving from a conference accustomed to getting eight, nine, even 10 teams in the NCAA Tournament. The ACC placed only four teams in the NCAAs a year ago. But Brey’s Irish have a way of adapting to the landscape, which led to an impressive 38–16 mark in their last three seasons in the Big East.

“We had such a consistent and respected identity in the Big East that you’d like to get off to a very good start in the ACC,” Brey says. “We want an NCAA bid in our first year in this new league.”

2013-14 Preseason Top 25
13. Marquette
14. New Mexico
15. Notre Dame
16. Creighton
17. Tennessee
18. VCU
19. UNLV
20. Memphis
21. Connecticut
22. Wisconsin
23. UCLA
24. Baylor
25. Wichita State

Teaser:
College Basketball: 2013-14 Notre Dame Preview
Post date: Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - 07:00
Path: /college-basketball/college-basketball-2013-14-new-mexico-preview
Body:


This preview and more on New Mexico and the Mountain West are available in the Athlon Sports 2013-14 College Basketball Preseason Annual. The magazine is available online or on newsstands everywhere.

No. 14 New Mexico Facts & Figures
Last season: 29-6 (13-3 Mountain West)
Postseason: NCAA Round of 64
Coach: Craig Neal (first season)
Mountain West projection: First
Postseason projection: NCAA Sweet 16
Steve Alford’s swan song at New Mexico will be remembered for his reluctance to eat crow after a dispiriting Round of 64 loss in the NCAA Tournament to Harvard when a charged-up fan base expected the Lobos to cobble together a history-making run at the Sweet 16.

The once-beloved boy wonder blamed everybody else for his team’s meltdown and then authored a stirring escape and landed one of the top jobs in college basketball. Alford bailed for UCLA 10 days after signing a 10-year extension with New Mexico, which included a hefty buyout. He was replaced by longtime assistant Craig Neal, who turned down an opportunity to join his friend in Los Angeles’ shark tank to swim around in Albuquerque’s fishbowl.

The man affectionately nicknamed “Noodles” for his wiry build as a player at Georgia Tech will try to cross off benchmarks left unchecked by his predecessor.

A breathless fan base — which watched the Lobos win the Mountain West Conference regular-season and tournament titles, crack the top 10, get a No. 3 seed and fizzle against a double-digit seed for the second time in six years — wants desperately to believe what Neal told reporters at his introductory news conference: “Steve set the bar really high, and I’m going to jump over it.”

With four of five starters returning from a 29–6 squad, and emboldened by a groundswell of support for its new head coach, New Mexico could finally break through, provided it shores up its offensive deficiencies.

Frontcourt

The early-season emergence of starting forward Cameron Bairstow and center Alex Kirk forced the Lobos to switch from a four-guard lineup to the more traditional three-guard set.  

Kirk, once the biggest question mark because of offseason back surgery two years ago, is now, arguably, the Lobos’ most indispensable player, a point hammered home when the second-team All-MWC big man admitted he was grappling with graduating early and following Alford to UCLA because he wouldn’t have to sit out a year. Kirk averaged 12.1 points and a team-high 8.1 rebounds in 2012-13, and has a feathery outside touch. He also had 63 blocks, a big reason he became only the second Lobo to make the MWC All-defensive team. The 6-9 Bairstow played surprisingly well last season but won’t fly under any team’s radar this year.   

Both Kirk and Bairstow should be confident heading into the 2013-14 season after they played for their respective countries in the World University Games.

Neal will finally have Obij Aget, a 7-foot center originally from Sudan who was a part of the Lobos’ 2012 signing class but never enrolled at New Mexico after tearing his ACL.

2013-14 Conference Previews
ACC | American | Big 12 | Big East
Big Ten | Mountain West | Pac-12 | SEC


Backcourt

Shooting guard Kendall Williams — at times a sturdy pillar, other times a shrinking violet — is the reigning MWC Player of the Year after averaging a team-high 13.3 points, highlighted by a 46-point explosion against Colorado State in which he made a MWC record 10 3-pointers.

New Mexico will rely on Williams more than ever in the absence of 3-point marksman Tony Snell, who left for the NBA after his junior season. Deshawn Delaney, a transfer from Vincennes (Ind.) University, is expected to fill Snell’s spot. Kansas transfer Merv Lindsay gives the Lobos another option on the wing.

Guard Arthur Edwards started 26 games and made 40 percent of his 3-pointers for a Northwest Florida State team that played in its second straight National Junior College Division I championship.    

Gone is Alford’s sharpshooting son, Bryce, who followed his dad to UCLA, but in his place is perhaps a more dynamic newcomer, Cullen Neal. The true freshman could see minutes this year after getting out of his Letter-of-Intent with Saint Mary’s to join forces with father, Craig.

At the helm of it all is heady point guard Hugh Greenwood, the only returning player to start every game last season. The Aussie averaged five rebounds per game and led the team in boards eight times.

Newcomers

Guards Deshawn Delaney and Arthur Edwards will give New Mexico a much-needed perimeter presence. Local product Cullen Neal is a high-energy player, known for riling up opposing fans. Tim Myles played for the same AAU team that produced ex-Lobo Tony Danridge and current Lobo Kendall Williams. Obij Aget was originally a part of New Mexico’s 2012 recruiting class. Merv Lindsay redshirted in 2012-13 after transferring from Kansas.

Final Analysis
Factoid: 9. New Mexico won nine games in league play in 2012-13 in which it failed to shoot better than 40 percent from the field. The Lobos compensated by holding opponents to 39 percent shooting, the second-best defensive number in program history.


Look for the Lobos to transition from being a squad that grinds out low-scoring bloodbaths into a more wide-open, offensively potent ball club under Neal. If Williams can play with more consistency, not only will New Mexico battle for top shelf in the Mountain West, but it also might, for once, be around for the latter stages of March.

*photo courtesy of Karsen King Welch/UNM

2013-14 Preseason Top 25
13. Marquette
14. New Mexico
15. Notre Dame
16. Creighton
17. Tennessee
18. VCU
19. UNLV
20. Memphis
21. Connecticut
22. Wisconsin
23. UCLA
24. Baylor
25. Wichita State

Teaser:
College Basketball: 2013-14 New Mexico Preview
Post date: Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - 07:00
Path: /nfl/2013-nfl-picks-every-game-week-9
Body:

A quick look at every game on the NFL schedule for Week 9, along with the consensus picks of Athlon Sports' editors.

Bengals (6-2) at Dolphins (3-4)
A pair of Texas-born and bred gunslingers go toe-to-toe in South Florida, when Andy Dalton and Ryan Tannehill square off on Thursday. Bengals by 4

Falcons (2-5) at Panthers (4-3)
Cam Newton had arguably his most impressive game as a pro last season against Atlanta, the NFC South division rival that also happens to be the ATL native’s hometown team. Superman threw for 287 yards, two TDs and zero INTs, while rushing for 116 yards and one TD in a 30–20 win at Carolina in Week 14 last year. Panthers by 5

Vikings (1-6) at Cowboys (4-4)
Adrian Peterson’s offensive linemen were gifted snowmobiles by the 2,000-yard MVP runner earlier this week. Now the big fellas will need to clear a path for A.D., a Palestine, Texas, native playing in front of friends and family in Big D. Cowboys by 7

Saints (6-1) at Jets (4-4)
Rob Ryan vs. Rex Ryan will be a Big Apple heavyweight bout just short of King Kong vs. Godzilla. One of Buddy’s boys will leave with dinner table bragging rights. Saints by 8

Titans (3-4) at Rams (3-5)
Why isn’t the Jeff Fisher Bowl in Nashville? Probably because the gravel-voiced, mustachioed coach demanded to have homefield advantage against the Titans-Oilers franchise he coached from 1994-2010. And this time, fans might actually show up in St. Louis — unlike the sparsely populated Monday night game played opposite Game 5 of the World Series. Titans by 4

Chiefs (8-0) at Bills (3-5)
Alex Smith has posted a remarkable 27–5–1 record over the last three seasons. That is serious “game management,” Captain Checkdown. Chiefs by 5

Chargers (4-3) at Redskins (2-5)
San Diego takes the flight from the West Coast for an Eastern Time Zone 1 p.m. kickoff. That’s usually not good for the split stats. But these Bolts have been electric on the East Coast, with wins at Philadelphia and Jacksonville this year. Redskins by 1

Eagles (3-5) at Raiders (3-4)
Chip Kelly has a revolving door at quarterback, with Mike Vick limping to the bench, Nick Foles clearing out the concussion cobwebs and rookie Matt Barkley trying to get up to speed. Meanwhile, the Silver-and-Black feel like its found a star quarterback in Terrelle Pryor — who, come to think of it, would probably be pretty darn good at running Kelly’s spread-option offense. Raiders by 2

Buccaneers (0-7) at Seahawks (7-1)
The Jaguars were unheard of 28-point underdogs on the road against the Broncos in Week 6. The Bucs opened as 16-point underdogs on the road against the Seahawks. That seems low considering Seattle’s average margin of victory at home is 20 points, including a 45–17 win over Jacksonville — Tampa Bay’s misery-loving company in the two-team winless club. Seahawks by 16

Ravens (3-4) at Browns (3-5)
The original Browns return to their original hometown to take on the expansion Browns. In Week 2, the Ravens (a team that moved from Cleveland to Baltimore in 1996) defeated the Browns (a team that rejoined the NFL in 1999), 14–6. Judging from recent history, the timing of this contest couldn’t be worse. Baltimore is 10–1 in games following its bye week since 2002 and 5–0 after a bye under John Harbaugh. Ravens by 3

Steelers (2-5) at Patriots (6-2)
Ben Roethlisberger and Tom Brady have won a combined five Super Bowl rings. There’s no denying their past success. This season? Not so much. Big Ben has eight TDs, seven INTs and just two wins, while Tom Terrific has nine TDs, six INTs and five sub-250-yard games. Patriots by 7

Colts (5-2) at Texans (2-5)
Indy and Houston have squared off twice since the Andrew Luck era began. In those two meetings, each team came away with a 1–1 record and a combined score of 45–45. The tiebreaker this week might not be as evenly matched. The Colts are fresh off a bye week. Last season, Luck took down the Packers in his coming out party after an off week. Meanwhile, the Texans are in the midst of a quarterback crisis, starting Case Keenum over a healthy Matt Schaub. Colts by 4

Bears (4-3) at Packers (5-2)
No need to “Daaa-ble Check,” this Monday night party is definitely in grill class. Da Bears take on Aaron Rodgers and the Pack at Lambeau Field in the 187th meeting in the league’s longest running rivalry. Dating back to 1921, Chicago leads the all-time series against Green Bay, 92–88–6. However, the Cheeseheads from Title Town are currently riding a six-game winning streak over Bill Swerski’s Superfans from the Windy City. Packers by 10

Last week: 11–3 // Season: 76–44
 

Teaser:
A preview and prediction of every game on the NFL schedule in Week 9.
Post date: Tuesday, October 29, 2013 - 21:14
Path: /nfl/2013-midseason-nfl-awards
Body:

The 2013 NFL season has already reached halftime — but not the one Bruno Mars will be performing at during Super Bowl XLVIII in New York. It’s way too early to start engraving the hardware, but after the first four games, these are the playmakers who have distinguished themselves as award-worthy:

Most Valuable Player
Peyton Manning, QB, Broncos

Already a four-time MVP (2003, ’04, ’08, ’09), Manning is in the process of putting together the finest season of his Hall of Fame career. The 16th-year veteran has completed 71.2 percent of his passes for 2,919 yards, 29 TDs and six INTs for a 119.4 passer rating.

Offensive Player of the Year
Calvin Johnson, WR, Lions

Megatron has been destroying defenses this season, with 47 catches for 821 yards and seven TDs through just seven games. Johnson is not quite on pace to break his own single-season receiving yards record (1,964 yards in 2012) but he is on pace for 1,876 yards and 16 TDs.

Defensive Player of the Year
Richard Sherman, CB, Seahawks

The undisputed leader of Seattle’s “Legion of Boom” secondary, Sherman has been talking the talk and walking the walk — with swagger. The 6'3", 195-pounder out of Stanford via Compton has four INTs returned for 124 yards (31.0 ypr) and a 58-yard pick six.

Offensive Rookie of the Year
Eddie Lacy, RB, Packers

It’s a wide open field for Offensive Rookie of the Year. But if Lacy stays healthy and keeps up his recent pace (296 rushing yards and two TDs from Weeks 6-8), he could wrap up the hardware and, more important, give Aaron Rodgers a little help.

Defensive Rookie of the Year
Kiko Alonso, LB, Bills

The No. 46 overall pick out of Oregon has made an immediate splash in the NFL. Alonso has 81 total tackles, four INTs for 38 yards, one sack, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery this season.

Comeback Player of the Year
Alex Smith, QB, Chiefs

The former No. 1 overall draft pick was thrown to the scrap heap by the 49ers in favor of Colin Kaepernick last season. One team’s trash is another team’s treasure. Smith has thrown for 1,795 yards, nine TDs and four INTs for 8–0 Kansas City.

Coach of the Year
Andy Reid, Chiefs

After being booed out of Philadelphia by the Santa-hating masses, Reid put on a big red jacket and took his bag of tricks to Kansas City, where he has the Chiefs poised to go from worst (2–14 in 2012) to first.
 

Teaser:
Post date: Tuesday, October 29, 2013 - 21:04

Pages