Rick Bozich picks his top players, freshmen and coaches in the AAC, SEC and Big Ten.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – You don't need more evidence that form has collapsed during this college basketball season. But I have plenty.
In fact, I have quite a bit.
Remember all that pre-season information that everybody pumps out in October? I have a bad habit of collecting and then saving it. The Monday Rewind is the perfect place to dump it on the kitchen table.
There's some good stuff here. There was no hint that Cincinnati could win a share of the American Athletic Conference regular season title. There was no mention of Florida's Casey Prather as one of the best players in the Southeastern Conference. Nebraska was buried at the absolute bottom of the Big Ten.
I checked the pre-season all-conference teams for the AAC, SEC and Big Ten. Nobody did better than three of five.
Player of the Year picks in those three leagues? Two whiffs.
Consider it all a warning to stop worrying about the pre-season predictions – and as a reminder that predictions for the NCAA Tournament will likely be just as unreliable as the predictions that were filed before the regular season five months ago.
AMERICAN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE
How They Were Supposed To Finish: 1. Louisville; 2. UConn; 3. Memphis; 4. Cincinnati; 5. Temple. (Coaches' poll.)
How They Actually Finished: 1. Cincinnati, Louisville (tie); 3. SMU, Memphis, UConn (tie).
Biggest Overachiever: Cincinnati, picked to finish fourth, finished tied for first. I hope one of these years UC fans embrace the program the way they did when Bob Huggins was around.
Biggest Underachiever: Temple, picked to finish fifth, finished eighth. A rare misfire by Fran Dunphy, a superb coach.
Pre-Season All-League Team: Sean Kilpatrick, Cincinnati; Russ Smith, Chane Behanan, Louisville; Shabazz Napier, UConn; Joe Jackson, Memphis. (Coaches' vote.)
My All-League Team: Smith and Montrezl Harrell, Louisville; Kilpatrick and Justin Jackson Cincinnati, Napier, UConn.
Ken Pomeroy All-League Team: Smith, Louisville; Kilpatrick, Cincinnati; Napier, UConn; Harrell, Louisville, Markus Kennedy, SMU.
Mr. Overlooked: Nic Moore, SMU. In a league with Smith, Kilpatrick and Napier, it's tough for another guard to earn any love. But Moore made SMU go, ranking in the Top 15 in the league in scoring and top five in assists.
Pre-Season Player of the Year: Smith, Louisville. (Coaches' vote.)
My Player of the Year: Smith, Louisville and Kilpatrick, Cincinnati, tie. Impossible to separate those two.
Ken Pomeroy Player of the Year: Smith, Louisville. Evidently, Ken Pomeroy didn't think it was that impossible.
My Coach of the Year: Mick Cronin, Cincinnati. Cronin, Billy Donovan, Frank Vogel, Richard Pitino. Not a bad year for former Pitino assistants.
My Freshman of the Year: Chris Perry, USF. Not a great year for AAC rookies.
How They Were Supposed To Finish: 1. Kentucky; 2. Florida; 3. Tennessee; 4. LSU; 5. Missouri (Media poll.)
How They Actually Finished: 1. Florida; 2. Kentucky, Georgia (tied); 4. Tennessee; 5. Arkansas.
Biggest Overachiever: Georgia, finished tied for second after being picked to finish 11th in pre-season media poll and going 6-6 outside the SEC. I've stopped hearing those stories that Ben Howland will be the next Georgia coach.
Biggest Underachiever: Kentucky, lost six SEC games. That's double or maybe triple the number the Wildcats were expected to lose. That 12-6 record was borrowed from 2013.
Pre-Season All-League Team: Trevor Releford, Alabama; Julius Randle, Kentucky; Marshall Henderson, Ole Miss; Johnny O'Bryant, LSU; Jordan McCrae, Tennessee. (Media vote.)
Ken Pomeroy All-League Team: McRae, Tennessee; Prather, Florida; Jarnell Stokes, Tennessee; Randle, Kentucky; Patric Young, Florida. Two Gators and two Vols? Imagine.
Mr. Overlooked: Scottie Wilbekin, Florida. Made big shots. Handled tough defensive assignments. Directed an unbeaten club.
Pre-Season Player of the Year: Randle, Kentucky (Media vote.)
My Player of the Year: Prather, Florida.
Ken Pomeroy Player of the Year: McRae, Tennessee.
My Coach of the Year: Billy Donovan, Florida. That's 18-0 without Joakim Noah, Al Horford or Corey Brewer. Sorry, Gregg Marshall. Donovan is also my national coach of the year.
My Freshman of the Year: Julius Randle, Kentucky with less debate than expected.
BIG TEN CONFERENCE
How They Were Supposed To Finish: 1. Michigan State; 2. Michigan; 3. Ohio State; 4. Wisconsin; 5. Iowa. (Media vote.)
How They Actually Finished: 1. Michigan; 2. Wisconsin; 3. Michigan State; 4. Nebraska; 5. Ohio State.
Biggest Overachiever: Nebraska, finished fourth after being picked to finish 12th. (Warning: Although the Huskers won 11 of their last 14 Big Ten games, they likely won seven of those games against teams that won't make the NCAA Tournament. Nebraska didn't have to play at Wisconsin or Minnesota.)
Biggest Underachiever: Purdue, picked to finish seventh, finished 12th. Even Matt Painter ripped the job that Matt Painter did this season.
Pre-Season All-League Team: Gary Harris, Adreian Payne Michigan State; Mitch McGary, Glenn Robinson III, Michigan; Aaron Craft, Wisconsin; Tim Frazier, Penn State. (Coaches' vote for six players.)
My All-League Team: Nik Stauskas, Michigan; Frank Kaminsky, Wisconsin; Terran Petteway, Nebraska; Harris, Michigan State; Roy Devyn Marble, Iowa