By this time all of us who love basketball have had every Tom, Dick and Harry try to fill our feeble brains with preseason facts, figures and guesses how our favorite teams will stack up this coming season.
I have read every pre-season publication on the market and I can recommend USA Todayâ€™s fact-filled $4.50 magazine that will answer just about any question you want answered.
Hereâ€™s how the major conferences stack up:
- The Big 10 leads all conferences with five teams in the top 25. The Big 10â€™sÂ bestÂ are No. 1 Indiana, No. 4 Ohio State, No. 5 Michigan, No. 14 Michigan State and No. 21 Wisconsin.
- The Atlantic Coast has four teams in the top 25: 6. North Carolina State, 8. Duke, 12. North Carolina and Florida State, tied with Texas for 24th.
- Big East, Southeastern and Big 12 tied for fourth with three top 25 teams each: Big East has Louisville No. 2, Syracuse No. 9 and Notre Dame No. 23. In the SEC, itâ€™s No. 3 Kentucky, No. 10 Florida and No. 17 Missouri. The Big 12 has No. 7 Kansas, No. 18Â Baylor and Texas, tied withÂ Florida State for 24th.
- Pacific 10 has No. 11 Arizona and No. 13 UCLA.
- Conferences with one top 25 team each:
Missouri Valley (No. 15 Creighton), West Coast (No. 20 Gonzaga) and C-USA (No. 16 Memphis).
Which team will win the big championship trophy? The magazine says:
Rick Pitinoâ€™s Cardinals will beat Indiana in the title game.
Kentucky will defeat Lehigh and Ohio before losing to UNLV. For the record, I donâ€™t believe that for one minute. By tournament time, the young Cats will be ready to oust the Vegas team and go on to the Final Four.
The voting coaches
Thirty-one head coaches who are members of the USA Todayâ€™s Division 1 will vote weekly for the top teams. Frankly there arenâ€™t as many heavyweightÂ coaches as there usually are. Syracuseâ€™s Jim Boeheim is the top name voter.
Herb Sendek, a former UK assistant, is one of the voters. Heâ€™s the head man at Arizona State. Georgiaâ€™s Mark Fox votes for the SEC.
Big local sponsors
If you are enjoying watching more sports than ever, say thanks to Louisville companies that are big-time with the tube:
Brown-Forman and its oodles of brands, KFC and its myriad of companies, and Papa Johnâ€™s Pizza.
The real Papa John, Mr. John Schnatter, obviously got to the biggest name of all the pro quarterbacks first and exclusively. He does his own ads with Peyton Manning and they are classy and funny.