Vol. 53, No. 1 November 2015 .pdf version
INSIDE THIS ISSUE ...
Pat Forde: Award honors best of college hoops
Joe Mitch: No better time to be a USBWA member
Ed Graney: Taking back MW all-conference teams
USBWA creates Dean Smith Award to honor his spirit
Victoria Lyons wins USBWA scholarship
Maryland, UConn top USBWA preseason polls

Men: USBWA poll foreshadows tight races

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Maryland and Providence's Kris Dunn held slight edges in the USBWA's annual preseason poll.

The Terrapins received eight of a possible 15 first-place votes from USBWA officers and board members.

Second-place North Carolina received four first-place votes and finished only 13 points behind the Terps. Third-place Kentucky received three first-place votes and finished 15 points behind.

Dunn earned four votes as the preseason favorite to win the most votes as preseason co-favorites to win the Oscar Robertson Trophy, given to the nation's top player.

Marcus Paige of North Carolina received three votes, and Buddy Hield of Oklahoma and Georges Niang of Iowa State both received two votes.

Four other players Malcolm Brogdon of Virginia, Ben Simmons of LSU, Melo Trimble of Maryland and Kyle Wiltjer of Gonzaga each received one vote.

Simmons received all but three votes for Wayman Tisdale Award, given to the nation's top freshman.

Others to receive votes were Skal Labissiere and Jamal Murray of Kentucky and Diamond Stone of Maryland.

The rest of the top 10 included, in order: Virginia, Kansas, Duke, Wichita State, Iowa State, Gonzaga and Villanova.

The rest of the top 20 included: Oklahoma, Arizona, Indiana, California, Michigan State, Utah, LSU, Purdue, Vanderbilt and SMU.

Rounding out the top 27 are Connecticut, Butler, Michigan, Oregon and Wisconsin.

Other teams receiving votes included: Baylor (37), Notre Dame (37), Louisville (30), Texas A&M (23), Cincinnati (22), West Virginia (18), NC State (14), Georgetown (13), Florida State (11), Syracuse (10), Xavier (10), Miami (8), Texas (3), Iowa (2), Boise State (1), Davidson (1) and UCLA (1).

Men's Preseason Top 25: 1. Maryland (8), 360; 2. North Carolina (4), 347; 3. Kentucky (3), 345; 4. Virginia, 333; 5. Kansas, 316; 6. Duke, 296; 7. Wichita State, 249; 8. Iowa State, 242; 9. Gonzaga, 226; 10. Villanova, 225; 11. Oklahoma, 224; 12. Arizona, 215; 13. Indiana, 210; 14. California, 190; 15. Michigan State, 159; 16. Utah, 96; 17. LSU, 81; 18. Purdue, 72; t19. SMU, 69; t19. Vanderbilt, 69; 21. Connecticut, 59; 22. Butler, 58; 23. Michigan, 55; 24. Oregon, 49; 25. Wisconsin, 41.

Women: UConn, Stewart figure to four-peat in women's hoops

By MEL GREENBERG

Bankers Life Fieldhouse is an appropriate place for the Women's Final Four to be held in Indianapolis in April because the money team of the sport is expected to land there carrying away all the hardware again.

Furthermore to celebrate the Olympics year of 2016, the Division II and Division III title games will also be played there in a doubleheader.

Much of the early part of the season will be made of quarters not the kind that jingle but the new format in which the rest of women's basketball joins the WNBA in switching from halves to quarters.

As for that money team, that would be the squad that has headlined this preview in recent seasons at the University of Connecticut, which is targeting an unprecedented fourth straight title.

Though this prediction might seem to be getting old, at least there's a new angle each time out in Hall of Fame and women's Olympic coach Geno Auriemma having moved past the legendary former Tennessee coach Pat Summitt for the women's record with nine titles, then last season tying the Wizard of Westwood John Wooden at UCLA with the combined gender total of 10.

This time around, Auriemma looks to top Wooden along with the gaining the four-peat and, if achieved, the Huskies would tie UCLA in teams of total program championships at 11.

If there are any threats to UConn, they would be coming from Dawn Staley's South Carolina squad and Notre Dame's Muffet McGraw's Irish group and possibly from an oldie rival in the past in Tennessee, where Holly Warlick now has enough talent to possibly hook up with UConn for all the gems.

As for individual repeats, UConn's Breanna Stewart goes into the season as the prohibitive favorite to take player of the year honors again and, if anointed by the USBWA membership, she would be the first to pull a three-peat.

And if there is a challenge to be made it could from her own teammate, considering that sophomore Kia Nurse, a nice of former NFL quarterback Donovan McNabb, led the Canadian National Squad over Stewart's USA bunch for the gold medal in the Pan American Games last summer.

Yes, to continue with our theme, the rich keep getting richer in the state of Connecticut.

Some other players to keep an eye on are USBWA reigning freshman of the year in Kelsey Mitchell at Ohio State, North Carolina transfer Diamond DeShields and sister redshirt Mercedes Russell at Tennessee, the South Carolina duo of Tiffany Mitchell and A'Ja Wilson, Notre Dame's Brianna Turner, Baylor's Nina Davis, and George Washington's Jonquel Jones, who all comprise just the tip of the iceberg in a season ahead loaded with talent in women's collegiate basketball.

That being said, here is a preseason Top 25 just to get USBWA women's activity underway in a season that will again offer weekly national and freshman awards.

Women's Preseason Top 25: 1. Connecticut; 2. South Carolina; 3. Tennessee; 4. Notre Dame; 5. Ohio State; 6. Baylor; 7. Northwestern; 8. Duke; 9. Maryland; 10. Florida State; 11. Texas; 12. Texas A&M; 13. Louisville; 14. George Washington; 15. South Florida; 16. Arizona State; 17. Oklahoma; 18. Stanford; 19. Kentucky; 20. North Carolina; 21. Rutgers; 22. Oregon State; 23. Chattanooga; 24. Villanova; 25. Princeton.

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