Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Time for Tipoff

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Time for Tipoff

Article excerpt

The curtain goes up tonight on the college basketball season. Expect a lot of the major powers to feast on cream puff opponents between now and the start of conference play.

But before the curtain comes down after a national champion is crowned in early April, there should be enough games for Dick Vitale to get over-excited about and for Bill Raftery to come up with a couple of more signature calls.

Here's a primer on what you can expect:

Top teams

Indiana, Louisville, Kentucky, North Carolina State

Teams on the rise

UCLA, Creighton, Tennessee, VCU

All-American

Doug McDermott, Jr., F, Creighton; Mike Moser, Jr., F, UNLV; Cody Zeller, So., C, Indiana; Isaiah Canaan, Sr. G, Murray State; Phil Pressey, Jr., G, Missouri

Top freshmen

Shabazz Muhammad, UCLA: One of the best players in the country, provided the NCAA, which is still looking into his recruitment, lets him play. A gifted 6-foot-6 swingman.

Steven Adams, Pittsburgh: The skinny 7-footer from New Zealand is the highest-rated recruit to ever sign with the Panthers. He might want to put some beef on his 235-pound frame.

Kyle Anderson, UCLA: The 6-8 point guard from Fairview rarely lost at Paterson Catholic and St. Anthony. He and Muhammad will make sure the Bruins rarely lose this season.

Nerlens Noel, Kentucky: Goodbye Anthony Davis, hello Noel, another freshman center with NBA-like talents. John Calipari has another five-star freshmen group that's capable of going all the way.

Isaiah Austin, Baylor: Another 7-footer who will step in right away. The Arlington, Texas, native is so skilled he's expected to jump to the NBA after only one season in Waco.

Pressure is on

Indiana: Hoosiers fans are thinking national championship again. Anything else and they'll go back to remembering the good old days of surly and highly successful Bob Knight.

Louisville: Losing to eventual champion and in-state rival Kentucky in last year's Final Four was not enough for the Cardinals' faithful. Now they want to succeed Kentucky as the national champion.

North Carolina State: The Wolfpack are the preseason favorite in the ACC, the same conference that Duke and North Carolina have dominated in recent years. …

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