Are the experts right?

While ESPN's Andy Katz may be one of NCAA basketball's most talented analysts, how accurate are his preseason rankings? Aggie Websider's Dallas Shipp takes a look at his picks last year to see just how well he knows his hoops and what it means for the Aggies.

On Monday, ESPN's Andy Katz released his latest Top-25 preseason college basketball projections for the 2007-08 year. His first set of projections were practically posted on ESPN.com before Florida could finish cutting down the nets. But what do they mean? Can the rankings be accurate so far in advance?

If his predictions from this time last year are any indication, yes. And no.

Last year, Katz picked Florida as his No. 1 team and predicted that they'd repeat as national champions. They did.

He also picked Kansas as his No. 2 team, and although they were knocked out of the tournament in the Elite 8, they finished the year ranked No. 2 in both polls.

But that's not all. Katz also had 10 of this year's Sweet 16 teams (including Texas A&M @ No. 18) in his pre-season Top-25 last year (11 if you count Southern Illinois in his "mid majors that could jump into the Top-25" category). Seven of this year's Elite 8 teams were in his Top-13, and three of this year's Final Four teams were in his Top-6 last April.

Eight of Katz' Top-10 from a year ago finished the season in the Top-15 in at least one poll and 10 of Katz' Top-13 picks finished the season ranked in at least one poll.

But once you get to his second tier of rankings, things get a little hazy. Only four of Katz' lower 12 picks finished the season ranked in at least one poll. Eight of the teams who finished the season ranked No. 15-25 in at least one poll were not in Katz' projected Top-25 last April.

So what does all of that mean for this year's predictions?

Well, for starters, if recent history is any indication, and if you're pulling for one of his Top-10 teams (Memphis, North Carolina, Kansas, Georgetown, Washington State, UCLA, Louisville Tennessee, Indiana, Michigan State) you've got a pretty good shot of seeing your team make a deep run into the NCAA tournament. It also means that if you're in Vegas between now and then and can get good odds on Memphis, North Carolina and Kansas winning it all, it might not be a bad bet.

For the Aggies, it means that they are pretty much in the same spot they were a year ago according to Katz, down just two spots to No. 20 and projected as a fringe Sweet 16 team that would be a tough out when March rolls around. If Katz is correct with that prediction, most A&M fans would probably rejoice, especially after losing a leader like Acie Law.

For teams like Texas, which failed to receive any mention in Katz' Top-25 or "Teams Missing The Cut" it's not a good sign. Nine of the teams who finished the year ranked in the Top-10 were in Katz' pre-season Top-25 last year. That doesn't mean that Texas can't have a great year, but it definitely won't increase the Longhorns' odds in Vegas.

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