1. LSU’s success in basketball has almost always revolved around mining the top talent in Louisiana. When the Tigers land an elite in-state product, it usually translates into a successful run in the SEC and in the NCAA tournament (see 2006 Final Four). I talked with new Tigers coach Johnny Jones about this last week in Hoover, Ala., at SEC media day. A week later, he landed Baton Rouge’s Jarrell Martin. For teams in the deep South in the SEC like LSU, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Alabama and Auburn, getting the top talent in their respective states has proven to be a must to compete against the conference's upper echelon. If Martin lives up to his high school hype, the Tigers should climb back toward relevance again.
2. Michigan coach John Beilein suspended Trey Burke for one game. But the symbolism of the suspension will haunt Burke and the Wolverines. Burke was named first-team AP All-America prior to being disciplined. Now, the point guard will start the season with a stigma attached to him. The Wolverines lost leadership in Zach Novak, Stu Douglass and Evan Smotrycz. Tim Hardaway Jr., can lead this team but he needs to be able to trust Burke as his wingmate. Burke let his teammates and the Wolverines staff down with actions that led to his suspension. He needs to be a model citizen from this point forward, not just for the Wolverines’ success, but also if he wants to convince others he is worthy of national honors.
3. The Pac-12 media picked Colorado sixth in the preseason poll. I’m all in with the Buffaloes -- I don’t see it. If there is one team out West that will surprise preseason prognosticators, it is Colorado. The Buffs were no fluke last season in winning the Pac-12 tournament and then beating UNLV in the NCAA tournament. The backcourt of Askia Booker and Spencer Dinwiddie can hold its own with any in the conference. Andre Roberson will anchor the frontcourt. And two freshmen -- Josh Scott and Xavier Johnson -- will have a major impact. Tad Boyle has Boulder believing in basketball again, making playing at altitude a significant advantage for the Buffs. Arizona is a sure thing at the top of the league. But there are questions after the Wildcats with the teams ahead of CU in UCLA, Cal, Stanford and Washington -- enough that I’m not buying Colorado in sixth place and out of the NCAA discussion.