Commentary

Big 3 college hoops teams

Updated: October 17, 2011, 2:56 PM ET
By Dick Vitale | ESPN.com

I had the real pleasure of participating in an event this past weekend called Shoot Down Cancer at IMG Academy. There were young athletes wearing Shoot Down Cancer t-shirts, making free-throws to raise money in an effort to beat cancer.

I am proud that the event raised over $15,000. It was special to have young people giving back to others. It was also interesting to hear conversations about upcoming teams this season.

There are three Goliaths going forward this season and that is not a surprise. It was take a special effort to put them on the sidelines if they stay healthy. North Carolina, Kentucky and Connecticut are the top of the group.

If Andre Drummond of the Huskies can stay healthy, watch out. If he is half as good as the players down at IMG Academy say he is, wow. They said he is a great offensive player in the post. They rave about his potential in Storss, Connecticut.

There were a lot of positive things said about Ryan Boatwright as well. He has the speed and ability now will he be able to handle the ball. You know he has the coaching in Hall of Famer Jim Calhoun. Can Boatwright be a point guard, getting the ball to Jeremy Lamb and Drummond, instead of playing at shooting guard?

Those three teams are above the others though they are certainly beatable. They are going to be tough with their personnel.

Down at Chapel Hill, that frontcourt is scary to think about. You know big things are expected from Harrison Barnes. John Henson is also going to get better and better. Tyler Zeller is also a force. Then there is the diaper dandy, James McAdoo, who can flat-out play.

Throw in the passing wizardry of Kendall Marshall. One player coming back from injury and should elevate his game is Reggie Bullock. I think his outside shooting will be a major factor as well.

One thing about Hall of Famer Roy Williams --his teams usually respond when they are expected to challenge for the national title. Look back at 2005 (Sean May, Rashard McCants and company) and 2009 (Tyler Hensbrough, Ty Lawson and Wayne Ellington) and those teams delivered. He has the magical touch to get his teams to respond when everyone is gunning for his Heels.

As for Kentucky, you know the team is going to be good based on the way John Calipari talks about his squad. You know that Terrence Jones and Doron Lamb are back, but factor in an incredible recruiting class and Big Blue Nation is smiling. Anthony Davis, Michael Gilchrist, Marques Teague and company will be special. Kentucky doesn't rebuild, it simply reloads.

Now the question is, can anybody beat these top three powers? Ohio State, Syracuse, Vanderbilt and Duke will figure in the equation as well. I can hear them screaming in those places because they will be knocking on the door, baby!

It should be a great season ahead. There will be super storylines. Coach K will pass The General, Robert Montgomery Knight as the top coach in wins in Division I history. There will be some David popping up to test the Goliaths. That is the beauty of college basketball. It is under way following Midnight Madness. With so many quality teams and players, this will be a very special season, baby!

Dick Vitale

College Basketball analyst
Dick Vitale, college basketball's top analyst and ambassador, joined ESPN during the 1979-80 season. His thorough knowledge of the game is brought forth in an enthusiastic, passionate style. Vitale also contributes columns to ESPN.com.