Commentary

Top seven backcourts in the nation

Updated: November 24, 2012, 9:37 AM ET
By Dick Vitale | ESPN.com

In the second of a two-part series, I am going to go out on a limb and give you my thoughts on the best of the best backcourts in college basketball. Of course, as the season goes on, some may disagree and others may prove to be better. Only time will tell, my friends.

In college basketball today, you have to have good offensive flow and defensive pressure to win efficiently. You must have a solid tandem in the backcourt.

Here we go, my top backcourts:

1. North Carolina State Wolfpack
I love the combination of Lorenzo Brown, who led the ACC in steals last year, swingman and outside scoring threat Scott Wood and diaper dandy Rodney Purvis. The Wolfpack is also getting contributions from freshman Tyler Lewis. I can see coach Mark Gottfried -- a former point guard himself -- smiling about that backcourt!

[+] EnlargeMichael Dixon, Phil Pressey
Dak Dillon/US PresswireWith Michael Dixon, No. 11, and Phil Pressey, Missouri should have the guard play it needs to contend for an SEC title.

2. Louisville Cardinals
Peyton Siva knows how to win. He can penetrate and drive, plays on the defensive end and is as good a point guard as you can find. Then look at Russ Smith, who can flat-out score and got off to a fast start this season. Luke Hancock, the 6-6 transfer from George Mason is also a positive factor while Kevin Ware has a bigger role off the bench this season.

3. Missouri Tigers
Frank Haith has great depth. Start off with junior Phil Pressey, who was picked as SEC preseason Player of the Year by the league's media. He can distribute the ball and has a certain toughness about him. Pressey is already closing in on the school records for assists and steals and shines on both ends of the court. Transfers Earnest Ross from Auburn and Keion Bell from Pepperdine are proving themselves early on. Bell is a very capable scoring threat. This group will get better when Michael Dixon Jr. returns from a suspension and Jabari Brown, a transfer from Oregon, becomes eligible in the second semester.

4. Michigan Wolverines
Trey Burke is one of the best in the nation. He is a tremendous creator who can get his own shot. Tim Hardaway Jr. has been more consistent with the jump shot. Nik Stauskas has been providing a spark from long range. The diaper dandy from Canada was red hot early in the campaign. Matt Vogrich is also logging quality minutes off the bench.

5. Gonzaga Bulldogs
I love the super sophs as Kevin Pangos made nine trifectas in a game last season. He is from Canada and learning from Steve Nash helped. Gary Bell Jr. can also shoot from long distance. Then throw in David Stockton, whose dad was Hall of Famer John Stockton. Mark Few is smiling about this unit.

6. Syracuse Orange
Michael Carter-Williams did not get as much playing time last year, but he is developing into a flat-out star now. Brandon Triche is a solid, steady veteran.

7. Ohio State Buckeyes
I like the group as Aaron Craft is such a leader and so tough defensively. He is also a great passer and has great hands. Lenzelle Smith Jr. can also defend and make the three. Shannon Scott will get better and better with more experience; his dad, Charlie Scott, was a fierce competitor and outstanding player at North Carolina.

Click here for Part 1 (Frontcourts) »

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.