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Maybe It Is Time To Look To College Basketball

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Our nation turns its lonely eyes to you Otto the Orange.
Our nation turns its lonely eyes to you Otto the Orange.

I'm still hoping for an end to this ridiculous lockout business, but in the meantime I'm starting to look into following college basketball a little closer.  I've been a pro-guy for a long time now, without the requisite time to both obsess over the Celtics and follow college basketball with any detail, but my calendar just cleared up through November.

I'm a Syracuse fan, but I'm not going to pretend to know enough to start writing for SBN's Orange blog (Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician).  I'll settle for following my team and looking into who will be the top prospects in next year's draft.

For the latter, you could do worse than to look at Grantland's take on the subject today.  This example is their take on prospect Anthony Davis.

Jay Caspian Kang on Jared Sullinger, Austin Rivers, Harrison Barnes, and the rest of the Preseason All-Americans - Grantland

The NBA graveyard is littered with the corpses of 6-foot-9 superathletes, who, for whatever reason, didn't quite pan out. Anthony Davis has been described with all the words usually reserved for these types of players,2 and while he seems deserving of the accolades, there's no real way to know if he'll be Kevin Durant, Michael Beasely, or, God forbid, Jonathan Bender.

Also, if you need a handy guide on big matchups with potential lottery impact, check out the Painted Area's schedule for November (after the break).

Nov. 15: Kentucky vs. Kansas (at New York), ESPN
A nice early look at Big Blue's annual crop of blue-chip recruits, this year headed by expected lottery picks Davis and Kidd-Gilchrist.

Nov. 15: Florida at Ohio State, ESPN2
Three potential lottery picks in Jared Sullinger, Bradley Beal and Patric Young. Sullinger and Young square off inside, while Beal matches up with Buckeye senior William Buford, a possible second-rounder.

Nov. 22/23: Maui Invitational (Tentative: Duke-Memphis/Kansas-UCLA), ESPN
Of course, the two prospective semifinal matchups are dependent upon those teams winning their quarterfinal games, but any combination of those four teams in the semis or the tournament final should yield a matchup with multiple first-round prospects.

Nov. 29: Duke at Ohio State, ESPN
If you want to see Jared Sullinger in meaningful matchups prior to March Madness, catch him early, for the Big Ten is once again a wasteland for top basketball prospects. No other Big Ten player cracks the Top 40 in either Ford's or Givony's list, continuing a pathetic trend for the conference. The conference's only Top 20 picks since 2008 are Evan Turner and Eric Gordon; Gordon is only non-Buckeye to crack the Top 20 since 2005. Several individual schools and mid-major conferences have a better record than the Big Ten in recent years. Like we said, catch Sullinger early, or you might as well wait until March Madness.

And if polls is your thing, check out the new HoopSpeakU top 25 - here are the top 5 (with a certain Orange colored team in the 4 spot).

HoopSpeakU Top 25: Preseason " HoopSpeakU

1. North Carolina – The Tar Heels return Tyler Zeller, John Henson, Kendall Marshall and potential top-three pick Harrison Barnes from last season’s Elite Eight squad.

2. Kentucky – Freshman Anthony Davis might end up being the best player on a team that has Terrence Jones and Michael Gilchrist.

3. Ohio State – Jared Sullinger is the best player in the Big Ten, but the X-factor on this team will be Aaron Craft and his defense.

4. Syracuse – Familiarity is there as point guard Scoop Jardine, shooting guard Brandon Trische and small forward Kris Joseph have been together for three years now.

5. Connecticut – Kemba Walker is gone, but Jeremy Lamb showed he could be the real deal as he averaged 16.2 points per game and shot 58 percent from the field in last year’s NCAA tournament.

Enjoy.