"My rule was I wouldn't recruit a kid if he had grass in front of his house.
That's not my world. My world was a cracked sidewalk." —Al McGuire

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Cracked Sidewalks 2009-2010 Predictions

As we have done for the previous few years, here are the Cracked Sidewalks predictions for the season. Want some fun? Check out the picks from previous years.

2006-2007 (Actual record was 24-10 (11-7), and can be found here)

2007-2008 (Actual record was 25-10 (11-7), and can be found here)

2008-2009 (Actual record was 25-10 (13-7), and can be found here)

Onto the 2009-2010 season predictions!

11/17/2009UM-Eastern ShoreWWWWWW
11/24/2009South DakotaWWWWWW
11/26/2009Xavier (Old Spice Classic)LLLLLL
11/27/2009Creighton / Michigan
11/29/2009Bama, Baylor, FSU, or IonaWWLWWW
12/5/2009NC StateWLLWLW
12/12/2009at UW-MadisonLLLLLL
12/19/2009North FloridaWWWWWW
12/29/2009at WVULLLLLL
1/9/2010at VillanovaLLLLLL
1/20/2010at DePaulWWLWWW
1/23/2010at SyracuseLLLLLW
1/30/2010at ConnecticutLLLLLL
2/6/2010at ProvidenceLWLLWW
2/13/2010South FloridaWWWWWW
2/21/2010at CincinnatiLWLLLL
2/24/2010at St. JohnsWLWLLW
2/28/2010at Seton HallLWLLWL
3/6/2010Notre DameWWLWWW


Full Season Wins17181316171816.5

Full Season Losses13121714131213.5

Conference Wins8957997.8

Conference Losses10913119910.2

Some commentary on the selections:

My theory is always that if you have experience (last year), you start hot and teams catch up to you late in the year, and if you have inexperienced talent (like this year), you improve throughout the year. We don’t even have four guards to go two-on-two in practice now, and I don’ t think we will be ready for even NC State, much less the trip to Madison, the Old Spice Tournament or the first four games of the Big East season. If we have a winning record January 10, we are ahead of schedule and could make a late run at the tournament. However, even if we are 8-8 at that point, if the freshmen aren’t getting booed and/or discouraged, I believe we really finish strong with two wins in the Big East tourney to take a 19-13 resume into selection Sunday.

I have no idea how this team will perform. On paper, we’ve got one star (Acker!) and a bunch of guys who might be great, and might be busts. (Ok, Lazar and Butler are pretty good too.) -- Add to that some injuries, and my outlook is grim. Road wins are few and far between in the Big East, and it was tough to mark down even one road-W. Couple that with a ~50/50 win rate at home, and that gets you to a 5-13 Big East whitewash. Hope I’m wrong. I hope they win @DePaul. I hope they can outlast Pitt at the BC. Maybe eek out a win @ Seton Hall, and for the love of god, beat ND on Senior Night. That’d get us to 9-9. Hope against hope.

Like most of the fellow bloggers, I just see the first four games as being too brutal of a hole to overcome. I see MU splitting with Providence and beating DePaul twice, and then taking care of the reasonably close games at home like Pitt and ND. However, this team could easily surprise better or worse than these predictions by a wide range.

The only caveat for me is the final game of the OSC is based on the idea we're playing Iona. If it's anyone else, that should be changed to a loss for me. I may be a bit optimistic, but I think those predicting complete doom (meaning Kevin), are forgetting one that while we may have lost a lot of talent from last year, so did everyone else...and we reloaded a heck of a lot better than some of these other teams. We're not in as bad a shape as people think, especially if we can avoid further injuries. This isn't the deep Big East of last year, and I think our record will reflect that.

This is one tough team to predict. Somehow I have MU finishing with 18 wins and 9-9 in the BIG EAST. While the conference will take a step back from last year's extraordinarily top-heavy group, I think this year the league will be much more balanced until you get to the very bottom (hello DePaul!). With that balance comes greater unpredictability -- still, I can't come up with a scenario where MU finishes better than 9-9 and I see a much greater risk of a downside slide rather than an upside surprise.

Youth is the reason I went with the predictions I did. I also believe we are very thin at guard and have always believed good guards carry you in college basketball. Road victories will be at a premium this year. Like bma, I kept thinking about the BE being down as well. However, I think teams like St. Johns and Seton Hall, with their experience, will be better simply because of the experience and not the talent. My biggest concern for the season is the injury bug since we’re so thin and injuries have followed Crean and Buzz like the plague it seems.

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