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Vol. 51, No. 1 • November 2013 • .pdf version
Kentucky, Smart have slight edges in men's poll
The USBWA expects Kentucky to win the national title and Oklahoma State's Marcus Smart to be the Oscar Robertson Player of the Year Award, but both by the narrowest of honors.
The organization also expects Kansas' Andrew Wiggins to be the runaway winner for the Wayman Tisdale Award, given to the nation's top freshman.
Kentucky finished just eight votes ahead of second-place Louisville and 17 ahead of third-place Michigan State. The Wildcats received six of a possible 17 first-place votes, with the Cardinals and Spartans receiving five apiece and fourth-place Duke picking up another. Kansas rounded out the top five.
The rest of the top 10 included Arizona, Florida, Oklahoma State, Syracuse and Michigan.
Smart edged Creighton's Doug McDermott for the preseason national player of the year honors, with eight votes to McDermott's six. Wiggins received two votes, and Louisville's Russ Smith picked up another.
Wiggins received 14 votes for freshman of the year, with Duke's Jabari Parker receiving two and Kentucky's Julius Randle one.
Smart and McDermott were unanimous picks for the USBWA's preseason All-America team. Wiggins, Smith and Michigan's Mitch McGary rounded out the first team.
Others who received multiple votes included Randle, Parker, Ohio State guard Aaron Craft and Michigan State forward Adreian Payne.
Michigan State was the only team with two vote-getters, with Payne and Gary Harris. Others to receive votes: Arizona State's Jahii Carson, C.J. Fair of Syracuse, Joe Harris of Virginia and Patric Young of Florida.
USBWA Board of Directors' Top 25
Others receiving votes – Virginia 54, Baylor 49, Iowa 34, Indiana 31, Colorado 19, Iowa State 10, Saint Louis 8, Boise State 4, UNLV 4, Harvard 3, La Salle 2, New Mexico State 1.
UConn, Stewart figure to lead way in women's hoops
After returning to the top of the women's basketball world last spring in the NCAA Tournament, Connecticut is likely to stay there, and sophomore Breanna Stewart, who fueled the Huskies' March Madness run, is likely to be national player of the year.
That's the sense of key USBWA members who deal primarily on the women's side of the organization. Since a full equivalent board is still being built here, no formal votes were taken to produce the first USBWA women's outlook, but in listening to the conversation, there seemed to be a strong consensus of who should be in the preseason Top 25, national player and top freshmen mixes.
As to who will land freshman of the year, the competition is a bit wide open, but North Carolina's Diamond DeShields arrives in Chapel Hill as the nation's top recruit.
Stewart had a dazzling finish to her rookie season, but some outstanding seniors could give her more competition than she and her UConn teammates might get in landing what would be an NCAA stand-alone record nine titles in the women's tournament after tying Tennessee with eight in New Orleans.
While UConn is receiving near unanimity as the favorite in all preseason talks, teams that could challenge are Duke, Tennessee, Maryland, Kentucky, Stanford, Notre Dame, Louisville, California and North Carolina to round out a top 10.
Other teams worthy of consideration in a preseason top 25 are, in order, Baylor, Purdue, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Colorado, Penn State, Georgia, Iowa State, LSU, Oklahoma State, Dayton, Vanderbilt, South Carolina, Michigan State and DePaul.
As for player of the year, besides Stewart, some top contenders, who could be considered USBWA preseason All-Americans include Stanford senior Chiney Ogwumike, whose older sister and WNBA star Nneka is a past USBWA All-American; Baylor senior Odyssey Sims, a past USBWA freshman winner; Maryland senior Alyssa Thomas; Duke senior Chelsea Gray; Connecticut junior Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis; and Penn State senior Maggie Lucas.
And at least honorable mention stature should be given to Duke's Elizabeth Williams, Tennessee's Meighan Simmons, Notre Dame's Kayla McBride and UConn's Stefanie Dolson.
Four other prominent freshmen in a field of outstanding collegiate newcomers to go with DeShields are Kentucky's Linnae Harper, UConn lone freshman Saniya Chong, who was last season's Parade Magazine high school player of the year; Duke's Oderah Chidom; and Notre Dame's Taya Reimer.
Honorable mention stature, at least, could go to Tennessee's Mercedes Russell, Georgia Tech's Kaela Davis, Duke's Rebecca Greenwell and Rutgers' Tyler Scaife.
Women's Preseason Top 25
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