And it's not going to take too long into the season to get a line on which set of ratings proves to be most perceptive, at least in the short term.
In fact, five days (and nights) of television viewing in November should do the trick.
Be prepared to zero in on your television screen (the bigger the better) on these days, assuming you're not fortunate enough be at any of the respective sites and eye-balling the action in the flesh:
Nov. 17 (or 18): Preseason NIT,
And how about the showdown of sophomore point guards, as Ronald Steele hooks up with Memphis counterpart Darius Washington? It'll be a goody.
Regardless of the outcome of that individual matchup, Mark Gottfried's squad's superior firepower in the post, with returnees Chuck Davis and Jermareo Davidson being joined by McDonald's All-America freshman Richard Hendrix, should able the Crimson Tide to advance to New York City – regardless of where this one is played.
Nov. 21: Guardians Classic semifinals,
The Longhorns were bounced by
The Mountaineers were as difficult to guard as any team in the tournament last March and retain the bulk of their jump-shooting capabilities. That Sweet 16 run wasn't a fluke, folks.
The Hawkeyes appear to be the squad
best equipped to finish ahead of consensus Big Ten favorite
Nov. 22: EA Sports/Maui Invitational
But, for the sake of discussion . .
. Michigan State sophomore playmaker Drew Neitzel will face with Gonzaga's
junior point guard Derek Raivio in a
showdown between the teams' most (nationally) under-appreciated components. Even
if Paul Davis is neutralized by the
Bulldogs' multitude of options in the post, the Spartans' wings – Shannon Brown and Maurice Ager – are going to be nails
for Gonzaga to contain. Of course, the same thing can be said about
We're not going to see the "real"
But we're going with an "upset" winner in this tournament, too.
He's got underrated post players in Kirk Walters and Ivan Radenovic, two probable All-Pac 10 selections in Hassan Adams and Mustafa Shakur, as well as a sophomore – Jawann McClellan – who seems ready to blossom into the team's best perimeter scorer.
But viewing this game will be plenty enticing in that we'll get to see what Bruce Weber is going to surround Dee Brown and James Augustine with for the Illini. And we can see if David Noel and Quentin Thomas, surrounded by a bunch of good freshmen, have the capabilities of helping the Tar Heels finish a lot higher in the ACC standings than some are assuming is possible with so many losses from their national championship season.
Nov. 30: Duke at
The Blue Devils are the consensus preseason No. 1 choice and for about as many reasons as each of us has fingers and thumbs, including returning All-Americas Shelden Williams and J.J. Redick and the presence in a Duke uniform of the best freshman in the country (Josh McRoberts). Having a Hall of Fame coach (Mike Krzyzewski) calling the shots is a bit of a plus, too.
By most accounts, this is a
make-or-break season in terms of Hoosiers' coach Mike Davis' job security in
An April inductee into the USBWA
Hall of Fame, Frank Burlison is Scout.com's National Basketball Expert
and is also a columnist for the