A very talented freshman class hits arenas in a few weeks when the 2013-14 college basketball season gets underway, and you know what that means.
College hoops is just around the corner, and SBR is looking
at the top freshmen for the coming season and how they are playing a role in
the NCAA odds.
If your first thought was Dick Vitale is going to have
plenty of opportunities to talk about diaper dandies, may I suggest using the
MUTE button more often when tuning into broadcasts? Not only do you not hear Vitale's overused
clichés, you'll be surprised how much more you'll pick up watching the games
without all the nonsense clogging your ears.
What it really means is we only have one season to watch
some of these kids before they bolt for a big payday in the pros. The 2013-14 college basketball betting
campaign officially tips Nov. 6 when Coppin
State visits California for the first matchup of Division
I teams. In all, 351 schools will
compete for the Men's Basketball Championship, 350 of those also vying for
conference crowns with New Jersey Tech the lone independent. Playing a key role in the college basketball
futures odds is a deep 1st-year group of players, some of whom will be called
next June in the NBA draft.
KU's Wiggins A
Definite One & Done
The NBA's top pick in 2014 just may be Kansas Jayhawks frosh
Andrew Wiggins. The son of a former
1st-round pick, Wiggins is one of the most-talked about and hyped players to
come along in quite a while, good enough to have already found himself on an SI
The hype and expectations could be tough to live up to, but
NCAA futures odds have Wiggins and the Wildcats good enough to warrant 5/1 on
the list, second only to Kentucky
(3/1). Kansas is also the strongest favorite to win
a conference title with 4/5 odds in the Big 12.
Wiggins will need to have a big season for the Wildcats to
succeed after Bill Self lost his top five scorers from a year ago. Two more freshmen are expected to see a lot
action alongside Wiggins, Wayne Selden and Joel Embiid, and it's the 7-foot Embiid
who might be the most important of the three trying to step in immediately for
Also, check out Joe Feda's Impact Rookies article to continue on the Freshamn topic~
Oops! Calipari Does
No mention of a great recruiting class would be complete
without John Calipari and Kentucky. These Wildcats lost five of their top six
players, but brought in six new youngsters that Coach Cal's biggest problem
might be finding enough minutes for each.
The new class features backcourt twins Aaron and Andrew
Harrison, and that haul alone was probably enough to make UK the favorite
to win it all. Kentucky also landed forwards Julius Randle
and Marcus Lee, guard James Young and center Dakari Johnson on a team that
retained key sophomore big men Willie Cauley-Stein and Alex Poythress.
Andrew Harrison is the most polished player of the group,
but not a sure thing to leave after one year. There's a chance Calipari could have most if not all back to begin the
Parker Leads Best Of
While this is a great freshman class, Wiggins might be the
only lock for the One & Done list. Duke's Jabari Parker was right there with the Harrison
Brothers on many recruiting lists the past few years, and his decision to head
to Durham has
the Blue Devils 8/1 on the NCAA futures odds for our college basketball picks. Parker will get a chance to star early, but this is a small Duke team if
Marshall Plumlee can't contribute quality minutes.
Speaking of Jabari, that season opener mentioned earlier has
another stud frosh by that name in Cal's
Jabari Bird. Like Jabari Parker back
east on Tobacco Road, Jabari Bird might be content with staying on for his
sophomore season. The Golden Bears are
8/1 picks in Pac-12 basketball futures, fifth behind Arizona
(7/4), Colorado (3/1), UCLA (7/2) and Oregon (5/1).
Memphis and Syracuse are two teams that intrigue me right
now. Both schools are embarking on new
conference missions, boldly going where no Wildcats or Orange have gone before. We know the two coaches, Syracuse's
Jim Boeheim and Josh Pastner of Memphis,
want to make an immediate impact, and they each have a freshman star to help.
Tyler Innis should get immediate minutes in the backcourt
for Syracuse, 20/1 for the national title and
5/2 behind Duke to take the ACC in the Orange's
inaugural slate. Memphis is fetching a $12 price on the
college basketball odds board, and the Tigers have Austin Nichols joining a
team that returns Joe Jackson, Chris Crawford and Geron Johnson. Another Memphis freshman that we need to
watch is Kuran Iverson, who could prove as troublesome off the court as his
cousin Allen Iverson.
Check back starting tomorrow for first-looks at a few of the
early NCAA tournaments.