By Randy Yiadom
Tonight is the night that college basketball fans have been waiting for. We’ve got some of the best pro prospects & teams in the country going at it tonight. As a VCU alum, I always keep tabs on my alma mater for basketball updates. “But this Season right here, right here might be the season ever” (Katt Williams voice). I’ve been waiting for over a decade to watch a crop of potential NBA superstars play on the collegiate level before step into the league. Though I never got to see LeBron vs. Melo in college. I thank the college basketball gods for reimbursing us, with this type of talent exactly a decade later. Prior to the “one and done” rule we saw the talent level go down in college basketball since the top tier highschool prospects were going straight to the draft after graduating high school. Before the NBA enforced the “one and done” rule, basketball enthusiast have always wondered how would KG, Kobe, T-mac, or LeBron have performed on the collegiate level. Could they have won championships as freshmen like Melo? Or been a preseason All American like Harrison Barnes was? We will never know the answer to those questions of but we we can enjoy a new era of elite talent with Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker, Julius Randle and many more prospects in the next few months. Now that I’ve explained to you on why this season is about to be amazing, it’s time to make selections.
First Game: Michigan State vs Kentucky
This game right here is the battle of the elite coaches “The Snake vs. The Proven One”. Though both coaches are good coaches, there is a big philosophical difference between the two. One coach prefers to develop their players, while the other coach just snatches the best talent and leave all the other coaches with the chicken scraps. You really can’t knock the hustle on how Calipari operates but it’s a strong possibility that he has met his match. Izzo will be coaching his most complete roster in a while. But history shows that MSU starts the season off slow whether they are rebuilding or experienced, they usually tend to develop as the season progresses. So don’t be surprised if they get ran off the floor by a bunch of young athletic prospect on UK that probably doesn’t realize the intensity and volume behind these games.
The advantages that play a role for Kentucky is that nobody has tape on this team. Izzo will have to do a lot more adjustments on this team than most. Though you’re able to always point out flaws whether a team wins or loses. It’s better to spot out more flaws of when a team loses, so you are able to exploit the matchups and cater your game plan on how other teams have beat them them in the past. Also, Randle was a low block player in high school now Calipari has him playing from the perimeter. Which creates more of an advantage for Randle because he has the option of shooting, driving or posting up. Watch out for those Harrison twins to have a coming out party on a big stage but today will be the day to see if the wildcats are real. The main test is to see how Kentucky matches up with the elite teams with experience. Though I’m not a fan of moral victories, if Kentucky is to lose in a nail biter, I believe it’s safe to say that there an upper echelon team and if you are to compare this team with the past Calipari teams. You’d have to match them with the rest of the great Calipari squads that were led by Davis, Wall, and Rose. All I know if UK loses in fashion beware of this team in March. Look for MSU to show different matchups, if the game gets close Adrian Payne shall be covering Randle, during crunch time. With the game being played in Chicago and Michigan not being that far they should have the home advantage. Though my gut is telling me to go with the experience squad, I got to roll with UK. Too much depth athleticism and talented veteran leadership off the bench. Kentucky has bullied their way to the mountain top with these top prospects, and you can’t do anything about it until they have been beaten. So you have no choice but to roll with the wildcats.
Second Game: Kansas vs Duke
Let’s keep it real like Faizon Love’s perm on Friday, nobody gives a damn about who wins the game. In fact we wouldn’t care if this game was a draw. All we want to see is two players outduel each other, so we can choose an allegiance on who is better. Will it be #TEAMWIGGINS or #TEAMPARKER? We living in a world where nobody respects what an Analyst on ESPN got to say. Everybody knows that the local OG has been speaking the truth since ’95. Though nobody felt like listening to him, we listen to him because we the people can break it down better than an analyst on first take. I’m rolling with Duke to win this game, a better coach with a better cast surrounding the pure scorer in Parker. But all I want, is to just be a part of history and witness and instant classic, like Bird vs. Magic. Before entering the NBA, if the basketball gods are on our side this is the game we were suppose to witness in 2003-2004 college basketball season (Lebron vs Melo). But we had to EQ it and fast forward it to 2013, which is fine with me. The main objective at hand, with this match is for debates to be sparked and sides to be taken in your local hangout spot, on who will be the better prospect. Get your popcorn ready and your arguments and points in order for deep discussion, because this season will arguably breed the next best generation of NBA superstars.