LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- I'm nearly $30 into my change jar for college basketball preseason magazines, and I finally found a publication that disagreed with the narrative Kentucky AND Louisville will make the NCAA Final Four in Atlanta next April.
Blame Street & Smith's.
Like everybody else, they're on the Michigan State/Tom Izzo bandwagon, making the Spartans their preseason No. 1 pick.
The other three members of the magazine's Final Four?
Make it the three teams that will join the Spartans in the Champions Classic in November -- No. 2 Kansas, No. 3 Kentucky and No. 4 Duke.
Louisville just missed the cut at No. 5.
On to the other news.
Although Street & Smith's picked Louisville No. 5, the magazine also lists the Cards as a sleeper Final Four selection. We need to discuss the definition of "sleeper" because I believe a Final Four sleeper should be ranked no higher than No. 15.
U of L forward Jordan Nwora was named a second-team all-American, ranking behind WKU's Charles Bassey, Washington freshman Isaiah Stewart and Memphis freshman James Wiseman on the first-team frontcourt.
The Cards were picked second in the Atlantic Coast Conference, trailing Duke, but ranked just ahead of North Carolina, Virginia and Florida State.
Nwora was named first-team all-ACC with grad transfer Fresh Kimble and freshman Samuell Williamson picked to the all-newcomer team.
Asked about the outlook for his second U of L team, coach Chris Mack said, "We have a chance to be a terrific team … I would like to think the expectations are certainly higher than they were a year ago."
One surprise: The editors picked five coaches who were the best bets to win their first national title. Mack was not one of the five.
The pressure was put on Mark Few of Gonzaga; Bob Huggins of West Virginia; Dana Altman of Oregon; Leonard Hamilton of Florida State and Tennessee's Rick Barnes.
John Calipari's team remained the gold standard in the Southeastern Conference, picked to finish ahead of Florida, Auburn, Louisiana State and Tennessee.
Likely for the first time in the Calipari Era, no Kentucky players were named to the all-SEC first-team, which featured Kerry Blackshear Jr. of Florida, Anthony Edwards of Georgia, Skylar Mays of Louisiana State, Reggie Perry of Mississippi State and Breein Tyree of Ole Miss.
UK freshman Kahlil Whitney made the all-newcomer team while guards Tyrese Maxey and Ashton Hagans were all-defense players.
Another magazine, another blast of skepticism for Archie Miller's third IU team. The Hoosiers were picked 11th in the Big Ten, ahead of Rutgers, Nebraska and Northwestern.
No Indiana players were selected for the Big Ten all-conference, all-newcomer, all-defense or all-sharpshooter teams. The primary question about IU remains offense. The Hoosiers scrambled to score at times last season. The scramble could be more intense without Juwan Morgan and Romeo Langford.
Street & Smith's made the Hilltoppers three-for-three as the pick to win Conference USA, following the lead of Athlon Sports and Lindy's.
WKU sophomore Charles Bassey was selected a first-team all-American. Bassey made first-team all-CUSA as well as first-team all-defense, while Camron Justice made the all-newcomer team.
Street & Smith's forecasts WKU as one of the best mid-major teams in the country, which is meant as a compliment of the talent Rick Stansbury collected, not a shot at the Hilltoppers as a mid-major program.
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