Thursday, November 27th, 2014

Old Spice Classic Preview and Predictions

Published on November 22, 2012 by Scott Shirley   ·   No Comments

It’s that time of year again for the early season tournament. This is the best time of the year besides March for college basketball. Check out some of my team previews and who I predict to win the tournament below.

Predictions

West Virginia over Marist

Davidson over Vanderbilt

Oklahoma over UTEP

Gonzaga over Clemson

2nd Round

Davidson over West Virginia

Gonzaga over Oklahoma

Championship

Gonzaga over Davidson

Team Previews

Vanderbilt

Coach: Kevin Stallings (13 seasons at Vanderbilt 261-159) Overall 384-159, 19 years

2011-12: Record 25-11 overall, 10-6 in SEC ( Tie 2th)

Starters Returning (0)

Preseason Tournament: Old Spice Classic

Top Non-Conference Games: vs. Villanova, vs. Butler, at Oregon

Transfer In: Eric McClellan (Tulsa)

Early departure: John Jenkins

No team in the country probably loses what Vanderbilt lost from last season. Gone is there 5 starters and there top bench player from last year’s team. They lose 92 % of their scoring. Three of those players where NBA draft picks. The good news the Commodores have a lot of younger talent but there are just unproven at the moment. This year is no question a rebuilding season but a team with only 2 juniors the future could be bright.

Power forward Rod Odom (2.4 ppg) is Vanderbilt’s most experienced player with 60 career games. He will have to be much more than a role player this season. Joining Odom in the frontcourt is Josh Henderson (2.6 ppg). He redshirted his first year and missed most of last season with an injury. Providing depth here will be Shelby Moats (.5 ppg) and James Siakam (.5 ppg). Moats is a very good shooter. As you see the Commodore don’t have much depth here.

Vanderbilt has some talent here in the backcourt. Leading the way will be Kedren Johnson (3.1 ppg). Johnson is the former Mr. Basketball of Tennessee, who should excel with an expanded role. Joining Johnson in the backcourt is Dai- Jon Parker (1.7 ppg). Like Johnson Parker should excel with an expanded role, he is already an excellent defender. Providing depth here will be Kyle Fuller (.9 ppg). Battling for time and a starting job at the 3 position will be between three freshman Sheldon Jeter, A.J. Astroth, and Kevin Bright.

Gonzaga

Coach: Mark Few (13 seasons at Gonzaga 342-90)

2011-12: Record 26-7 overall, 13-3 in WCCC (2nd)

Starters Returning (4) Kevin Pangos, Gary Bell Jr., Guy Landry Edi, Elias Harris

Preseason Tournament: Old Spice Classic

Top Non-Conference Games: vs. Illinois, vs. Kansas State, vs. Baylor, at Oklahoma State, at Butler

Transfer In: Gerard Coleman (Providence)

Gonzaga should not be considered a mid-major they are in the preseason top 25 almost every year. They have made 14 straight NCAA appearances, not a lot of programs can say that. Last year was the first time in 15 seasons the Zags did win the conference regular season or conference championship. Gonzaga losses center Robert Sacre but they bring back 4 starters.

The strength of this team will be the backcourt were two double digit scorers return. Leading the way will be point guard Kevin Pangos (13.6ppg). Pangos scored 33 points in his first start and never looked back. He led Gonzaga in points, assists and steals. He also knocked down 79 three pointers Joining him in the backcourt is Gary Bell Jr. (10.4 ppg). Bell is a very versatile and efficient scorer. He made 52% of his three pointers in WCC play. Both players were freshman last season so they should only get better. The top two options off the bench will be David Stockton (3.7 ppg) and Michael Hart (1.8 ppg). Stockton is a great backup point guard and Hart is a good defender. Also providing depth is Kyle Dranginis and Drew Barham.

Leading the Zags in the frontcourt is Elias Harris (13.1 ppg), who turned down the NBA. Harris is very athletic and is a versatile scorer than can score in the paint and shot the three. His biggest strength is his rebounding ability; he is the returning leading rebounder in the conference. At center will be Sam Dower (8.3 ppg). With starters minutes he should score in double figures this season, that his strength scoring the ball. Starting at the small forward position will be Guy Landry Edi (5.5 ppg). He is not a shooter but he is a very tough athletic player on the wing. The top man off the bench will be Kelly Olynyk . He redshirted last year but he averaged 5.8 points pg in 2010. Also providing depth will be the intriguing Przemek Karnowski. He is from Poland and is still learning the game.

Clemson

Coach: Brad Bronwell (2 seasons at Clemson 38-27) Overall 205-112, 10 years

2011-12: Record 16-15 overall, 8-8 in ACC ( 7th)

Starters Returning (2) Milton Jennings, Devin Booker

Preseason Tournament: Old Spice Classic

Top Non-Conference Games: vs. Purdue, at South Carolina, vs. Arizona

Transfer In : Damarcus Harrison (eligible right away)

Last season was the first time in 5 years that the Clemson basketball team didn’t make the NCAA tournament. Now the Tigers lose 3 of their top 5 scorers from last year’s team. The good news the Tigers return their starting frontcourt, they also bring in a solid freshman class of 5 players. The bad news 11 of the 13 players on the roster are either freshman or sophomores.

Leading the way for Clemson in the frontcourt will be center Devin Booker (10.5 ppg). Booker is a very strong physical player in the middle for the Tigers. He needs to improve away from the basket. Joining him up front will be Milton Jennings (9.7 ppg). Jennings was one of the biggest recruits Clemson has got in years but so far he hasn’t really lived up to the hype, he will have one more shot to. Manning the small forward position will be K.J. McDaniels. He led the team in points and blocks per minute last season. The top option off the bench will be Bernard Sullivan (1.4 ppg). Three freshman will also get a look in Landy Nnoko, Josh Smith, and Jared Blossomgame. Blossomgame has the best chance to receive the most playing time.

The two projected starters in the backcourt were reverse last season but they do have playing experience. The point guard duties will be handled by Rod Hall(3.8 ppg). He will need more consistency this season. At shooting guard will be T.J. Sapp (3.6 ppg), he started off hot last season but his production faded as the year went on. Still, he will probably be the team’s best three point shooter. The top two options off the bench will be BYU transfer Damarucs Harrison and Devin Coleman (2.6 ppg). Also providing depth will be two freshman point guards in Adonis Filer and Jordan Roper.

Davidson

Coach: Bob McKillop (23 seasons at Davidson 426-261)

2011-12: Record 25-8 overall, 16-2 in Southern (1st)

Starters Returning (5) De’Mon Brooks, Jake Cohen, Nik Cochran, JP Kuhlman, Tom Droney

Preseason Tournament: Old Spice Classic

Top Non-Conference Games: New Mexico,

Davidson and head coach Bob McKillop are returning all 5 starters from last year’s 25 win team. In all they return their top 8 scorers. If Davidson wins 25 games plus again that gives them 5 out of 7 years with at least 25 wins. The Bobcats gave final four finalist Louisville a run for their money in the NCAA tournament last season.

Leading the Bobcats will be Co- Southern Conference player of the year power forward De’ Mon Brooks (15.7 ppg). Brooks also led Davidson in rebounding and shot 53 % from the field. Joining him in the frontcourt is Jake Cohen (14.3 ppg). He is a very versatile scorer that can score both inside and outside. He split conference of the years honors with Brooks. Look for Chris Czerapowicz (10.1 ppg) to get the time at small forward. He made the most three pointers on the team last year. The top option off the bench will be Clint Mann (5.7 ppg). Also providing depth will be Youssef Mejir (.2 ppg), Ali Mackay (.4 ppg), and freshman Jake Belford and Connor Perkey. Belford is the player to watch here.

Leading the way for Davidson in the backcourt is guard Nick Cochran (10.9 ppg). He led the team in assists last season. Joining him the backcourt is JP Kuhlman (10.8 ppg). Kuhlman can do a little bit of everything. Tom Droney (3.8 ppg) will be the top option off the bench but don’t be shocked to see him start some games. All three of these guards are very versatile as they can play the point and shot the three. Providing depth will be Tyler Kalinoski (4.7 ppg), Clay Tormey (.4 ppg), Mason Archie (.9ppg) and freshman Jordan Barham.

Oklahoma

Coach: Lon Kruger (1 season at Oklahoma 15-16) Overall 494-320, 26 years

2011-12: Record 15-16 overall, 5-13 in Big 12 ( Tie 8th)

Starters Returning (5) Sam Grooms, Steven Pledger, Andrew Fitzgerald, Cameron Clark, Romero Osby

Preseason Tournament: Old Spice Classic

Top Non-Conference Games: at. Arkansas, vs. Texas A&M, vs. Ohio

Transfer Out: Calvin Newell (UCF), Carl Blair (Prairie View A&M)

Transfer In : Ryan Spangler (Gonzaga)

Sat Out: Amath M’Baye (Wyoming)

Lon Kruger got off to a hot start at Oklahoma but the Sooner really struggled in Big 12 play. Now on to this season the Sooners return pretty much everyone from last year team including all 5 starters. The bad news this same group of players just got 5 wins in the Big 12 but this season is a new and they will have plenty of experience and they should be hungry to get Sooners back to having winning seasons.

Leading the Sooners will be shooting guard Steven Pledger (16.2 ppg). He is the returning leading scorer in the Big 12 and ranked 4th in three point shooting last year. Joining him the backcourt at point guard will be Sam Grooms (6.7 ppg). Grooms had the best assist to turnover ratio in the Big 12 last season. He will need to score more this season. Depth could be concern here as all the players here are inexperienced freshman. Those freshmen are Je’Lon Horbeak, Buddy Hield, and Isaiah Cousins. Horbeak is the best talent here.

Leading the way in the frontcourt are Andrew Fitzgerald (12.1 ppg) and Romero Osby (12.9 ppg). The two combined to average 25 points and 12 rebound per game. They are both a little bit undersized, but they are still very physical and won’t back down. Osby can score away from the basket. The top options off the bench will be Tyler Neal (4 ppg), Casey Arent(1.2 ppg) and Amath M’ Baye. M’ Baye averaged 12 ppg at Wyoming as a sophomore. Also providing depth here will be D.J. Bennett and freshman C.J. Cole. Manning the small forward position will be Cameron Clark (8.5 ppg). The formerly highly ranked recruit finally showed some of his potential last season.

West Virginia

Coach: Bob Huggins (5 seasons at West Virginia 120-59) Overall 710-267, 30 years

2011-12: Record 19-14 overall, 9-9 in Big East (8th)

Starters Returning (2) Jabarie Hinds, Deriz Killcli,

Preseason Tournament: Old Spice Classic

Top Non-Conference Games: at Gonzaga, vs. Marshall, vs. Virginia Tech, vs. Michigan, at Purdue

Transfer Out: Tommie McCune (Northern Illinois), Pat Forsythe (Akron)

Transfer In: Matt Humpfrey (West Virginia-eligible right away)

Sat Out: Aaric Murray (La Salle), Juwan Staten (Dayton)

Yes, the Mountaineers are no longer in the Big East and are now in the Big 12. West Virginia and head coach Bob Huggins made the NCAA tournament for the 5 straight year but where blow out in the 1st round. West Virginia losses their top 2 players from last season but they bring in 3 very highly transfers. 2 of those players sat out last season. They all return a very strong sophomore class.

The Mountaineers should have one of top frontcourts in the Big 12. At center will be Denriz Killcli (10.7 ppg). Killcli is the retuning rebounder and scorer for West Virginia. He is a very physical center that has a ton of post moves. Joining him in the frontcourt is La Salle transfer Aaric Murray. In his last season at La Salle he averaged 15.2 points, 7.7 rebounds and 2.3 blocks. Murray is also a pretty solid outside shooter. The Mountaineers will have solid depth here. Providing that depth will be Kevin Noreen (2.2 ppg), Keaton Miles (1.4 ppg), Dominique Rutledge (2 ppg), and Volodymyr Gerun. All these players are better rebounders than scores.

Leading the way for the Mountaineers in the backcourt is point guard Jabarie Hinds (7.4 ppg). Hinds led West Virginia last season in assists as a freshman. Look for him to be more consistent this season. Joining him in the backcourt will be Dayton transfer Juwan Staten. Staten averaged 8.5 ppg as a freshman at Dayton. Staten excels at attacking the rim with his athletic ability. Boston College transfer Matt Humphrey will likely start at the 3 spot for WVU. He averaged 10.3 points last season at BC. He will be by far West Virginia best outside shooter. West Virginia really doesn’t have many three point shooters. WVU has solid depth here led by Gary Browne (6.5 ppg) and Aaron Brown (4.2 ppg). Also providing depth is freshman Terry Henderson and Eron Harris.

 

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