Commentary

Top seven frontcourts in the nation

Updated: November 19, 2012, 4:00 PM ET
By Dick Vitale | ESPN.com

As I look across the landscape of college basketball, when I go to the VBDI (Vitale Bald Dome Index), I love to rate the crème de la crème.

One thing that is fun in sports is debating who is best at something. I remember, when I was growing up, the discussion over the best outfielder. Was it Willie Mays, Mickey Mantle or Duke Snider?

In part one of a two-part series, I am going to give you my choices for the best frontcourts in America. I know that there will be some debates over my picks. That is why sports fans are so passionate.

Here we go, baby! My top frontcourts are:

1. Indiana Hoosiers
Cody Zeller was my pick as preseason Player of the Year and he is as good as there is in the middle. Christian Watford is tough on the glass and showed his ability to make the clutch shot last season against Kentucky. Will Sheehey contributes valuable minutes off of the bench and is a good shooter. Jeremy Hollowell has helped out as a diaper dandy. Added depth will come when Derek Elston returns from injury.

2. UCLA Bruins
Now that Shabazz Muhammad is eligible, watch out. Ben Howland gets solid play from the Wear Brothers (Travis and David). Tony Parker will get better and better as a diaper dandy when he gets more playing time. The wild card is Joshua Smith up front. If he was in shape, he would be more impressive. He is not playing half of the game.

[+] EnlargeShabazz Muhammad
AP Photo/Jae C. HongNow that he's eligible to play, Shabazz Muhammad gives UCLA one of the top frontcourts in the nation.

3. Louisville Cardinals
Rick Pitino has a shot-blocker and defensive anchor in Gorgui Dieng. Chane Behanan is a force up front, while Wayne Blackshear is healthy this season.

4. Kentucky Wildcats
I love the potential of this group. They are all young but talented. By the end of the year, the trio of Nerlens Noel, Alex Poythress and Kyle Wiltjer should create problems for people. Noel can block shots inside and will refine his offensive skills. Poythress looked like a veteran crashing the boards against Duke. Wiltjer can step out and hit the trifecta, too.

5. Syracuse Orange
Jim Boeheim has C.J. Fair, Rakeem Christmas, Baye Moussa Keita, DaJuan Coleman and James Southerland. My friends, that is a pretty impressive group!

6. UNLV Rebels
Diaper dandy Anthony Bennett has been making noise. Mike Moser is a double-double man who is among the premier players in America. Add Savon Goodman and Quintrell Thomas and Dave Rice has a solid corps. It will get even better when Pittsburgh transfer Khem Birch is eligible in the second semester.

7. Duke Blue Devils
Duke has a dynamic duo in Mason Plumlee and Ryan Kelly up front. It helps to have veterans to help out. Plumlee is one of the favorites for ACC Player of the Year. Alex Murphy, Josh Hairston and Amile Jefferson will be heard from.

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.