There may be no games being played - at least not on the
court at the moment - but the machinations that make up the money-making
machine that is college basketball run on. So, with an eye on NCAA championship futures betting, here's a quick look at how new
recruits and transfers might make impacts on the upcoming season.
The champs re-load
In a furthering of the trend of our times, national champion
Kentucky just lost the top six in its rotation, five of whom were
underclassman. So, what does a powerhouse like UK do? Just bring in the top
overall recruit of 2012, C Nerlens Noel, and grab three other consensus top-50
choices in F Alex Poythress, G Archie Goodwin and C Willie Cauley. PG Ryan
Harrow, a transfer who was highly regarded as a recruit at North Carolina
State, takes over at the point. The Wildcats just won the national title
starting three freshman and two sophomores, and they'll probably start a similar
combination this year. College basketball odds list Kentucky at +650 to win the NCAA
championship again this season.
Return to glory in
UCLA, listed at +1500 on NCAA championship futures boards, hasn't been the same since those back-to-back
Final Fours of a few years ago. In an attempt to remedy that situation Coach
Howland has landed at least two recruits who should step in and start right
away. Forward Shabazz Muhammad has been compared to Dwyane Wade, and C Tony Parker reminds people of DeJuan Blair. The Bruins also added 6-7 PG
Kyle Anderson, an overall top-fiver, and now get the services of G Larry Drew,
the transfer from Carolina.
In the desert...
At Arizona (+1,500) Coach Miller is showing he can do the
glad-hand thing, bringing in three consensus top-15 recruits in centers Kaleb
Tarczewski and Grant Jerrett and PF Brandon Ashley. That's not to mention G
Gabe York, who as a shooter has been compared to Jimmer Fredette.
Going big in Texas
Texas (+3,000) brings in some size in centers Cameron Ridley
and Prince Ibeh and PF Connor Lammert, plus a quality PG in Javan Felix. They
comprise four pieces of a top-five recruiting class.
Believe in Baylor
Down in Waco Baylor (+2,000) lost three starters and so will
have minutes available down low. Perry Jones III is gone, but the Bears may have
another star on their hands in C Isaiah Austin, No. 3 overall at both
Scout.com and ESPN. Baylor also added PF Ricardo Gathers, a top-40 choice, so
they should again be tough up front.
North Carolina (+1,000) lost four starters, but found four
recruits who should eat many of those minutes up, led by PG Marcus Paige and F
Michigan State (+2,500) added a top-three SG in Gary Harris,
and he should step in and start right away.
North Carolina State (+1,500), with Coach Gottfried working
some magic, may be back among the ranks of the relevant. The Pack, after
reaching the Sweet 16 last year, bring in a top-ten class, led by SG Rodney Purvis, forward TJ Warren and PG
Tyler Lewis. NC State was also expecting some good news from at least one other
Indiana (+500) returns all five starters from a team that
won 27 games last year, and adds a top-10 freshman class. That's why there's a
good chance the Hoosiers will be the pre-season No. 1. Coach Crean has
basically recruited himself an entire new starting five, adding PG Yogi
Ferrell, G Ron Patterson, forwards Jeremy Hollowell and Hanner Mosquera-Perea, and C Peter Jurkin. Indiana will be one of the deepest teams in the country
Its been a while since national light shone on Providence,
but maybe it's time. The Friars have added two top-25 guards in Kris Dunn and
Ricardo Ledo, both local boys who could not only make an impact this season,
but could help reap serious rewards two or three years down the line. It's
always nice having a pair of talented guards start 60-plus games with each
Michigan (+1,500) appears officially back to contender
status under Coach Beilein, adding a top-12 class, led by C Mitch McGary, F
Glenn Robinson and F Nik Stauskas, to a squad that returns its top two scorers
from last year.
Kansas (+1,800) lost double-double machine Thomas Robinson
but adds a couple of top-50 forwards in Perry Ellis and Andrew White.
Syracuse (+1,800) may have some holes to fill but they might
have just the guys to do it in C DaJuan Coleman and F Jerami Grant.
Coming off its worst season in a decade Pittsburgh (+3,000)
added C Steven Adams, a Kiwi who's considered to be the top recruit from
outside the US, and top-five PG James Robinson.
The Transfer Method
Missouri (+8,000) hasn't landed any top recruits from this
year's class, but instead has opted to add talent through transfers. This year
three transfers should make immediate impacts for the Tigers. Forward Alex
Oriakhi averaged 10 points and nine boards a game for the Connecticut team that
won the national title two years ago; Keion Bell put up 19 PPG for Pepperdine a
couple years ago; and Earnest Ross led Auburn with 13 points and seven rebounds
per game two seasons ago.
Fresh off a trip to the Final Four Louisville (+650) now
gets the services of PG Luke Hancock, who averaged 11 points and five assists
for George Mason's tournament team of two years ago. He'll team with Peyton
Siva to form a pretty good backcourt.
Butler (+5,000) missed the tournament last year, so now
they'll try to return with the help of former Arkansas marksman Rotnei Clarke,
who led the Hogs at 15 PPG two years ago, shooting 42 percent from beyond the
And finally, Iowa
State, after making it back to the tournament last year, will start two
transfers this years in former Michigan State guard Korie Lucious and Will
Clyburn, who led Utah with 17 points and eight boards a game two seasons ago.