My Pre-season 2009 Final Four picks went an amazing 3 for 4 while my 2010 Preseason Final Four picks brought me down to earth with a 1-3 performance. The 2011 Final Four will be down south in Houston and many teams will have great looks at an appearance.
I will start with likely favorites that will not make it to Houston next year:
Kansas- Sherron Collins and Cole Aldrich are gone, expect a solid rebuilding year that will yield a sweet sixteen appearance at best.
Kentucky-If Wall and Cousins stay not only will I be surprised, I will rewrite this article. Assuming they both leave to get paid, Kentucky will have no chance of getting to the Final Four after a disappointing season with all of the talent in the world.
Duke– Scheyer and Zoubek are key players, and replacing them will not be easy. It will take a better coached season than 2009-2010 to get the Blue Devils anywhere near Houston in 2011.
FINAL FOUR TEAMS 2011:
Michigan State– Michigan State will be twice the team they were during their 2010 run with Izzo’s best recruiting class at MSU. Raymar Morgan is the only player of note leaving the team, meaning Lucas, Summers, Lucious, Chris Allen, Delvon Roe, and others will be back and an All-American guard (Keith Appling) and several other highly touted recruits will all contribute for the Spartans. Izzo will have a fun year leading the Spartans to their 3rd straight Final Four.
Purdue- Purdue is back in the hunt for the Final Four with the recent NBA Draft entry removal of E’Twaun Moore and JuJuan Johnson. Robbie Hummel now has his supporting cast back and possibly the starting team in the nation. Depth will still be an issue, but this team has what is takes to contend for a title and make it to the Final Four.
Duke- With Singler returning, Duke is now back in the hunt for a Final Four. I still like Illinois as a sleeper who I removed to put Duke into this slot. Duke has a balanced recruiting class coming in and a solid team to work with, which is all Coach K needs to make a deep NCAA Tournament Run.
North Carolina- Harrison Barnes and Reggie Bullock (both top 10 recruits) will make a huge difference for the Tar Heels after a horrible 2009-2010 season. John Hensen and Tyler Zeller will combine with other young talent to make another Roy Williams Final Four run.
NATIONAL CHAMPION: Michigan State
Their combination of supreme coaching, talent, and vast experience will pay huge dividends and lead to a National Championship for the Spartans.
Recently Removed: West Virginia has been removed from the Final Four list. Ebanks staying in the draft and other holes will prevent the Mountaineers from returning to the Final Four.
Others I like: Kansas State, Syracuse, Ohio State, Pittsburgh, Baylor, Florida, Illinois
EARLY Preseason Top 25 2010-2011 Mens Basketball Rankings