College basketball is right around the corner. Games will be starting before you know it, and practices are just right around the corner.
Here at Roundballchat I will release my top 100 teams for the 2012-13 college basketball season. I will start at 100 and count my way down. I will rank all the 75 programs in the six major conferences, as well as 25 mid majors in my top 100 countdown.
Along with my top 100 countdown I will also feature a ton of previews. Like the top players at each position, All Conference teams, top players by class, top games, previewing the early season tournaments and much more.
Who will put at number 1? Louisville or Indiana or maybe a surprise stay tuned to Roundballchat for the next month to find out.
Coach: Josh Pastner (3 seasons at Memphis 75-19) 2011-12: Record 26-9 overall, 13-3 in Conf. USA (1st)
Starters Returning (4) Joe Jackson, Antonio Barton, Chris Crawford, Tarik Black
Preseason Tournament: Battle 4 Atlantis
Top Non-Conference Games: vs. Ohio, vs. Louisville, at Tennessee
The Tigers and Josh Pastner had an up and down season last year but they finished strong before losing in the 1st round of the NCAA tournament. The Tigers lose leading scorer Will Barton to the draft but they bring back their next four leading scorers. Unlike Memphis teams before this team has ton of experience and upperclassmen. As you would Pastner brings in a couple more talented recruits.
The strength of this Memphis team will be the backcourt. Leading the Tigers here will be point guard Joe Jackson (11 ppg). He does a bit of everything; his really only weakness is shooting the three. He will make this team go with his passing ability. Joining him in the backcourt is Chris Crawford (9.1 ppg). Crawford is by far the best shooter on this Memphis. He is also a great athlete and defender; he led the conference is steal last season. The Tigers will most feature a 3 guard lineup and that starting spot goes to Antonio Barton (6.6 ppg). Barton should score closer to double figures this season with more minutes; he can shoot the three but is most effective in transition. The top option off the bench will likely be D.J. Stephens (2.4 ppg). The rest of the depth is inexperienced but talented. Those players are freshman Damien Wilson and JUCO transfer Geron Johnson.
There is no question if the Tigers want to go deeper in the NCAA tournament they will need more production out of their frontcourt. Leading the way here is center Tarik Black( 10.7 ppg). He gives the Tigers that physical presence in the paint but he needs to rebound better. He is tough around the basket last season he shot 69 % from the field. At the power forward position the likely starter will be Adonis Thomas (8.8 ppg). Thomas was a highly rated recruited last season but he was slowed by injuries. He is a very versatile player that can score inside or out. Thomas is also a great athlete. If the Tigers face a bigger team they might start either Ferrakohn Hall (3.7 ppg) or highly touted freshman Shaq Goodwin. Hall started 20 games a year ago and Goodwin is really athletic but still raw on offense. Also providing depth here is Stan Simpson (1.6 ppg).