Daily Word: Who's headed for a drop-off?
Every weekday, Andy Katz leads a panel of our college hoops experts in a discussion of the biggest issues, trends and themes happening in and around college basketball.
1. Of the five players on the preseason All-America list -- Marcus Smart, Doug McDermott, Mitch McGary, Russ Smith and Andrew Wiggins -- who is least likely to be on the list in March?
Andy Katz: Mitch McGary was a bit of a shocker. He was a major factor at times last season. But we don't know how he will handle being more of a focal point. I will be more surprised if he is on the final five in March because a number of other freshmen -- especially Julius Randle -- could make the team.
Dana O'Neil: I'd have to go with McGary, only because his numbers may not compare with the others' stats by season's end. Frankly, I was slightly surprised to see him on the list to begin with. Nothing against his talent, but I still think he has more of a résumé to build to prove his worth.
Eamonn Brennan: McGary was definitely the most surprising inclusion and the trickiest to get one's arms around. He was a hugely touted recruit until his senior season of high school, when he fell off a little bit; he was just OK for the lion's share of his freshman year, all the way through to Michigan's final game of the regular season. The talent, as Associated Press voters clearly saw in the NCAA tournament, is undoubtedly there, but can he do it for five whole months?
2. Which freshman not named Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker or Julius Randle could make at least the second-team All-America list?
Katz: The two best candidates are at Kentucky and Kansas, with James Young and Joel Embiid, respectively. Young could end up being one of the top scorers for the Cats, while Embiid may be an intimidating force. The freshman class could dominate the All-America teams.
O'Neil: I'll say Andrew Harrison. Look at Kentucky's recent history -- every time the Cats are exceptional, they have an exceptional point guard. That job falls to Harrison this season. So for Kentucky to be as good as advertised, Harrison will have to be something special.
Brennan: I'll take a tie between two players you'll see alongside Wiggins and Randle (respectively) this season: Kansas' Wayne Selden and Kentucky's James Young. Selden has often been just as impressive as Wiggins in the early going, and the NBA scouts who have taken up permanent residence in Lexington, Ky., can't stop talking about Young's rare combination of size, athleticism and perimeter touch.
3. In an era when there are few senior stars, who would be on your all-senior team?
Season Of Change
This is the single defining characteristic of [Bill] Self's tenure: He has built lineups in the classical style -- developing players from clueless freshmen into All-American-level veterans while adding a dash of raw talent along the way. Every season, his teams are extremely good because every season there's another guy finally ready to make the most of his shot. Every season, that is, except this one.
They Said It
ESPNU Basketball Podcast
Andy Katz and Seth Greenberg check in with newsmakers from around college basketball.