CBS college basketball writer Doug Gottlieb predicts that the Arizona Wildcats will not only make it to the Final Four, but win it all this season. The CBS college basketball staff handed out some preseason picks on Monday, and Sean Miller's team is already getting notice as the season creeps up.
Gottlieb's choice coincided with his prediction that Sean Miller will be named the NCAA Coach of the Year and forward Brandon Ashley will take home the Freshman of the Year honors.
Out of five writers, Gottlieb and UA alum Jeff Goodman selected the Wildcats for their Final Four. Goodman, Gottlieb and Jeff Borzello chose UA to win the Pac-12 while Gary Parrish and Matt Norlander took the UCLA Bruins to come away with the conference.
The CBS crew also had two Wildcats on the list of the NCAA's top 100 players based on how they expect each to fair this season -- in other words, NBA potential is not considered.
What do I think?
The Wildcats have the versatility, size and talent to make it to the Final Four. Miller not only has brought in the talent, but his mentoring through a full season of play has shown to work well when there is legitimate skill. But teams such as Indiana and Kentucky are loaded. Plus, we all know how important luck is in NCAA tournament seeding -- see UA's Sweet 16 run of 2009.
Indiana and Kentucky, might have something to say about UA's ranking if they meet prior to the Final Four.
As for the player rankings, it's interesting to see Lyons placed higher than Hill, no matter where either compares around players from other teams. That's because we already have a sound grasp of where Hill will fit into the fabric of the schemes. He'll be the point forward as usual, though this season he'll likely come in thinner, a better shooter and as a true small forward.
Lyons' place in the offense has yet to be understood outside of the locker room, but there's a good chance he'll be the equivalent of a Momo Jones-like combo point guard who will pick and choose his spots or score; that, or he'll just decide to score.
It is likely, however, that Lyons is considered the more talented of the pair. As I discussed this summer, both will be making their case as NBA draft picks.
What do you think? Is Arizona worthy of a Final Four pick? And do you agree that Lyons should be ranked higher than Hill?