It's right there in the thread title...don't like it don't open it. For those Johnny Come-lately types there are a few people on the board who don't hate the Jays and some who even like them (even if they don't admit it!) so general basketball discussion has always been allowed in the Basketball forum. Annual disclaimer out of the way... So, went to the exhibition game the other night v. Winona State (coached by former jay Todd Eisner). Typical exhibition game...not really competitive and hard to say what you really saw. Kind of like the Bethune Cookman game...nothing really bad happened so...SUCCESS! I was going to post that CU has a young team...and they do. They have 7 frosh or sophs. The good news is all those sophomores got some good experience last year. In addition to being young they have 3 guys that are new to the team (one of which is one of the sophomores). Put those two factors together and I think you might have a recipe for some early season struggles. I'll start with the returning guys. Mintz. I've dished out some abuse to the guy over the two years he's been around. That said he LOOKED more the part the other night. Stealing from a poster on another board..."he's more of an offensive PG than a facilitator". And that's ok. Stuck somewhere in between is no good. The kid has always had a nice stroke and he was 4-5 from 3 the other night. I think I can become a fan... Tyshon Alexander. He is CU's next scorer. That's not any kind of revelation. You could see he had that ability last year. With Foster and Thomas gone I think he will seize the opportunity to be that next 18 PPG guy. Shot really well Saturday. Ballock. He'll be a very nice scoring sidekick for Alexander. He'll consistently put 12-20 on the board with the occasional big game. 10 pts, 4 assists, 4 rebounds, 3 steals saturday in 19 min. That's kind of what they need from him. A little bit of everything. Kramplj is back from his 3rd ACL. Didn't look quite as "high flying" as he looked last year. I'm sure there still some mental blocks there. He did have a nice steal/break-away dunk. Fingers crossed for a full, healthy year out of him. He's was off to an amazing start last year. Kaleb Joseph. The transfer from Syracuse that didn't play much last year. I think he was the first off the bench the other night so I was surprised to see that. Played well but was limited as he got dinged some time during the game. Whatever they can get out of him would be great. It's his last hurrah so maybe he's ready to have a year. Jacob Epperson. Didn't get the start but heard it was because he was nicked up a little. Did play though. Still thin. He's probably just one of those guys that will never be really big. He'll be a key cog as the season progresses. NEW GUYS Samson Froling. He was Sam throughout recruiting but apparently goes by Samson now. Has the hair to go with the name. 7', 230 according to the roster. So he's not really "bigger" than Epperson but he carries it better if that makes sense. 4* ESPN/3* 247. Put the ball on the floor from the top of the key and made a nice move to the basket. Nice running hook shot on another. I think he's going to be a very good player. He, Epperson and Karmplj give McDermott options he hasn't had in a while as far as the possibility of "big" line-ups. Options are always good. Marcus Zegarowski. 4* PG on both ESPN and 247. His shot was a little off Saturday. Not sure if that was nerves or something he will have to work on. He will back up Mintz all year I'd suspect. He'll be a good one but it's good that he doesn't HAVE to come in right now and be the man. Christian Bishop. 3* on both ESPN and 247. 8 points, 5 boards. Can't say I really paid enough attention to say much about him. If you take the returning players, Froling and Zegarowski (both those frosh WILL play and play a lot) you've got 8 guys. Not sure how much time Bishop is going to get right out of the gate. Those 8 though...5 guards, 2 centers and 1 center/forward. That leaves room for PT for Bishop (6'7") or Damien Jefferson (6'5" transfer from New Mexico)...another guy I didn't pay much attention to Saturday. Connor Cashaw. Grad transfer from Rice (15ppg). He didn't come here to sit so I'd imagine he's going to push for playing time. CU will need guys to sub for Alexander and Ballock so that's where he and Joseph fit in. It will be interesting to see how Mac juggles playing time. He has options though so there should be strong competition for minutes behind the starting 5 of Mintz, Alexander, Ballock, Kramplj and Froling/Epperson. The pre-season predictions aren't glowing. I think I heard the coaches have them at 9th in the Big East. If last year's frosh developed as you'd hope and Kramplj stays healthy I think they'll beat that rather easily. So...non conference has your usual slate of dreck. But not a lot of it. They also have Ohio State and Gonzaga at home and NU and Oklahoma on the road and a tournament that has Boise, Georgia, Clemson Ill St, The Bonnies and Georgia State...none of whom I know anything about. So they have 6 games you figure they will win for sure. Then Boise to start that tourney. Let's say they go 2-1 in the tourney. 8-1 before talking about the "big 4". Eh..win one of those? 9-4 non-conference? I'd take that right now. I think this is a team, given its youth, that will be significantly better in February than December. The "good news" is this could be a down year for the big east. I haven't really paid much attention to the predictions. Nova is always going to be tough. As is Xavier. Not sure what Butler has. St. John's is SUPPOSED to be loaded but they still have Chris Mullen as coach so I would never buy stock in them. I say they will beat 9th place. But I doubt they can crack the top 5 this particular year. The homer in me says otherwise but I'll go with 6th place. Last year that meant 9-9. I'd take that right now. So...18-13 prior to the Big East Tourney. NIT. Not what you hope for but given the very solid frosh/soph base on this team I'm optimistic going beyond this season. This is likely the year that Tim Miles finally breaks through against Mac. Watson, Palmer, Roby and Copeland form a pretty veteran core that's going to be hard for a young team to beat early on. Just don't run up the score, Tim!