Yes, the college football season has just started, but a trip to the store today reminded me that it is never too early to start hyping college basketball.

The preseason magazines from Athlon and Lindy’s are on the newsstands, and if I had bothered to swing by Barnes & Noble I probably would have found a few more. But after purchasing those two and quickly flipping through the pages, I know I’ll have plenty to keep me busy over the next month since I’m interested in getting caught up on the ACC, Big Ten, SEC and the MVC.

Why? Those are the conferences that ruled my life as a sports journalist for 41 years, and its hard not to maintain at least a passing interest in the various teams I’ve covered through the years.

But for now we’ll keep our focus on the national outlook. Looking at the Top 25 picks for the two magazines shows you there’s plenty of room for debate, which always makes the preseason a little more fun. And don’t forget, none of the magazines picked South Carolina to reach the Final Four a year ago, so take the predictions for what they are worth.

Lindy’s Top 25: 1. Michigan State, 2. Arizona, 3. Wichita State, 4. Duke, 5. Kansas, 6. Kentucky, 7. Villanova, 8. Cincinnati, 9. Louisville, 10. Texas A&M, 11. Southern California, 12. North Carolina, 13. Notre Dame, 14. Saint Mary’s, 15. Northwestern, 16., Miami, 17. Oklahoma, 18. Xavier, 19. Georgia, 20. TCU, 21. Gonzaga, 22. Minnesota, 23. West Virginia, 24. UCLA, 25. Seton Hall.

Athlon’s Top 25: 1. Arizona, 2. Michigan State, 3. Kansas, 4. Duke, 5. Louisville, 6. Kentucky, 7. Southern California, 8. Villanova, 9. Wichita State, 10. West Virginia, 11. North Carolina, 12. Miami, 13. Florida, 14. Texas A&M, 15. Cincinnati, 16. Minnesota, 17. Xavier, 18. Purdue, 19. Gonzaga, 20. Seton Hall, 21. Notre Dame, 22. Saint Mary’s, 23. TCU, 24. Northwestern, 25. Alabama.

Footnote: For my Evansville friends who are interested in how the magazines view the Big Ten hopes of Indiana, Purdue and Illinois, it’s good news for the Boilermakers. Lindy’s picks Purdue fourth behind Michigan State, Northwestern and Minnesota.

But has Illinois and Indiana near the bottom, picked 11th and 12th, respectively.

Athlon has Purdue picked as the Big Ten’s third best team behind Michigan State and Minnesota with Indiana at No. 9 in the league standings and Illinois at No. 11.




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