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Tickifieds.com 2011-2012 College Basketball Rankings

Fab Melo of Syracuse University

The Syracuse Orange can be legitimate National Championship contenders if Fab Melo can live up to his enormous potential.

With the NBA Labor dispute threatening professional basketball, fans of the sport across the country are anxiously awaiting the start of the NCAA season.   Although it seems strange talking college hoops in October, Midnight Madness has already officially kicked off the start of the 2011-2012 College Basketball season across many college campuses. These first days of practice typically include a raucous pep rally featuring cheerleaders, loud music, and a slam dunk contest.  While this is mainly a publicity stunt, it also mean teams may officially begin practices for games which begin in early November.  With only a few week left until tip off, we have come up with rankings for the upcoming season.  Below are the Tickifieds.com Preseason Top 25 College Basketball teams.

1.  North Carolina Tarheels

The Tarheels are probably the most talented team in the nation as they will be returning several stars from last season.  Point guard Kendall Marshall should benefit by beginning the season as a starter.  Throw in freshman 5-star prospects James McAdoo and PJ Hairston to the front court and North Carolina could be scary good.

2.  Kentucky Wildcats

Perhaps no one recruited a better freshman class than John Calipari.  The Wildcats will feature four 5-star prospects including Anthony Davis, Mike Gilchrist, Marquis Teague and Kyle Wiltjer. If the fantastic freshman can gel with veterans Terrence Jones and Doron Lamb, the could be one of the best college basketball teams in UK history.  Until we  see them in action, we have to put them at #2.

3.  The Ohio State Buckeyes

College Player of the Year Jared Sullinger will be back for his sophomore year and has the Buckeyes in contention for a national title.  Although Ohio State doesn’t have the depth of UNC or Kentucky, they will be returning Aaron Craft and William Buford to go along with another solid recruiting class.

4.  Syracuse Orange

We are going to go out on a bit of a limb and project Syracuse at #4.  This young and talented team has an impressive backcourt trio with Scoop Jardine, Brandon Triche and Dion Waiters.  If Fab Melo and Freshman Rakeem Christmas develop to their potential they could be real scary.

5.  Duke Blue Devils

The Blue Devils lost a lot of talent from last year but, as usual, have quickly reloaded with incoming freshman Austin Rivers, Seth Curry and Andre Dawkins set to take over.  They may take a while to get things going but there certainly will not be a lack of talent.

6.  Vanderbilt Commodores

After bowing out of the NCAA Tournament in the first round, Vandy will be looking for revenge.  With arguably one of the most experienced teams in the nation the Commodores should be strong with  Jeffery Taylor, John Jenkins and Festus Ezeli all returning.

7.  Memphis Tigers

Memphis made some noise last year but their inexperience showed last season.  With more experience under their belt, Josh Pastner’s squad could finally get to a Final Four with a nice mix of returning players and some exciting freshman.

8.  Louisville Cardinals

Although the Cardinals lost guard Preston Knowles, just about everyone else will be back.  Lousiville will also add 2 top 35 recruits in Chane Behanan and Wayne Blackshear.

9.  Florida Gators

The Gators certainly lost some frontcourt depth from last year but they return 2 of the most unappreciated guards in the country Erving Walker and Kenny Boynton.  If transfer Mike Rosario and 5-star recruit Brad Beal live up to potential, Florida could battle Kentucky and Vanderbilt for the SEC title.

10.  Pittsburgh Panthers

The Panthers are a bit of a sleeper pick but any team with Ashton Gibbs certainly has a shot.  Pittsburgh has solid chemistry with lots of returning players and a very nice recruiting class.  This team could get out of the gates quickly.

The rest of the top 25….

11.  Connecticut Huskies

12. Baylor Bears

13. Kansas Jayhawks

14.  Wisconsin Badgers

15.  Xavier Musketeers

16.  Alabama Crimson Tide

17.  Arizona Wildcats

18. Michigan Wolverines

19.  Texas A&M Aggies

20.  UCLA Bruins

21.  Marquette Golden Eagles

22. Cincinnati Bearcats

23. Gonzaga Bulldogs

24. California Golden Bears

25.  Missouri Tigers

2011 Preseason Big 10 Football Rankings

The 2011 Big 10 Football season promises to be one of the most exciting in recent memory.  The biggest reason for anticipation revolves around the addition of the Nebraska Cornhuskers to the conference.  The former Big 12 football powerhouse should fit in nicely and will form some nice natural rivalries with Wisconsin, Penn State, and The Ohio State University.  This season the Big Ten will bump up to 12 teams.  The 12 teams will be broken into two divisions: The Legends & The Leaders.  The Legends Division will be comprised of Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Nebraska, and Northwesterm.  The Leaders Division will feature Ohio State, Illinois, Indiana, Penn State, Purdue, and Wisconsin.

If that wasn’t enough of a change to build up excitement for the upcoming season, the fact that the race for the Big 10 Championship is probably more wide open that ever certainly will.  Perennial favorite, the Ohio State Buckeyes will likely fall back to the pack this year as they lost head coach Jim Tressel and star quarterback Terrelel Pryor to the “TattooGate” scandal.  The likely fall of the OSU program will open the door for several other strong teams such as the Wisconsin Badgers, Michigan State Spartans, Penn State Nittany Lions, Northwestern Wildcats, and of course, the new addition Nebraska Cornhuskers.  Although there are a lot of question marks and unknowns at this point in the season, below we rank the top Big 10 College Football Programs.

1.  Wisconsin Badgers

The Wisconsin Badgers have been one of the strongest programs in the nation but the perennial BCS title contender Ohio State Buckeyes have always been in the way.  Despite the fact that the Badgers lost quite a bit of top talent, they have plenty of depth, especially on offense,that should be able to step right in. This season should be an opportunity for the Badgers to take control of the control of an unusually weak conference with their strong running game and tough defence.

2. Nebraska Cornhuskers

Although there will likely be some bumps along the way for NU as they adjust to the Big 10, the Huskers defensive prowess should keep them in the mix for the Big 10 title.  If coach Pelini can make some defensive adjustments and Quarterback Taylor Martinez builds upon his success in 2010, the Huskers have a shot at the Big 10 title in their first year and a BCS Bowl game.  The only thing holding them back is a brutal schedule that includes a non-conference game against the Washington Huskies and Wyoming Cowboys, as well as tough road games against Penn State, Michigan, and Wisconsin.

3. The Ohio State Buckeyes

The Ohio State Buckeyes are still extremely deep and talented but its hard to imagine the pressure and scrutiny not getting to them.  New head coach Luke Fickell will have his hands full finding a replacement for Terrelle Pryor and continuing to deal with distracting allegations following TattooGate.    If coach Fickell can take what he learned from Jim Tressell he might be able to minimize the damage and have OSU ready to compete for a title- they certainly have the talent!

4.  Michigan State

The Michigan State Spartans are the Wildcards of the Big 10.  They have the talent and ability to be title contenders but they have plenty of question marks.  Namely, they need continued development and improvement out of Kirk Cousins.  They also need to address who will Eric Gordon and Greg Jones at Linebacker.

5.  Penn State

After a down 2010, the PSU Nittany Lions could take a big step forward.  The question is how big of a step are they able to take.  A lot will be riding on who wins the quarterback competition.

6.  Northwestern

The Northwestern Wildcats always seem to be the underdog in the Big 10.  If Dan Persa continues to build upon his impressive 2010 campaign and the defense improves, NU could shock the Big 10 world.

7. Iowa

After an impressive Insight Bowl win, the Hawkeyes look like they are on the up and up.  However, this isn’t the year for Kirk Ferentz’s squad to put it all together.

8.  Illinois

The Illini will have a lot of rebuilding to do on defense but they look to have found a quarterback in Nathan Scheelhaase.

9. Michigan

New head coach Brady Hoke will have his work cut out for him but if Denard Robinson and spread offense can put it all together the Wolverines could be a dangerous team.

10. Purdue

The Purdue Boilermakers are a sexy pick as a sleeper team in the Big 10 but they still have lots of question marks on defense.

11.  Minnesota

Another new head coach, Jerry Kill will have his work cut out for him.  He does have some talent to work with but it will likely be a few years before this program starts making some noise.

12.  Indiana

Kevin Wilson does have a plan but it will likely be a few years before the Hoosiers are anything but Big 10 bottom feeders.

No matter how these teams end up finishing out the season, there is not doubt 2011 will be an exciting year for Big Ten Football.  For all your college football needs be sure to check out our wide selection of College Football Tickets!