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2004-05 NCAA Basketball Preview

College Basketball: Monday Mailbag


By Joel Welser

December 20th


Joel’s Monday Mailbag


Each Monday, Joel Welser will be bringing you his Monday Mailbag.  If you have a question which you'd like Joel to answer, email  He’ll post and answer as many questions as possible.  Please include your first name and home state when contacting Joel. 


One question each week is chosen as the "Question of the Week", and is answered by a few CHN staffers.  At the end of each Monday Mailbag, Joel presents his "Team of the Week" and his "Thoughts of the Week."  Visit the Mailbag Archive for past installments.



With the 2004-2005 season reasonably underway, please list the top two teams in each major conference with the best chance of getting to The Final Four this season. Also, rank the conferences with highest probability of two teams from the same conference getting to The Final Four.


From John,



ACC – Wake Forest and North Carolina have to be the favorites from the loaded ACC.  Guard play means so much come March.

Big East – Somebody will be upset about who is left out of the Big East.  Syracuse is looking very dangerous and Pittsburgh is undefeated, although they are yet to be tested. 

Big 12 – The Big 12 has an obvious top three as well, but Oklahoma State is looking great for a trip to the Final Four.  The Cowboys have the best senior leadership in the nation.  Kansas has a healthy mix of youth and experience and will be dangerous.

SEC – Kentucky has had some impressive wins already this year.  Alabama and Mississippi State are fighting for the other spot.  I’m more impressed with Bama, but I’d say MSU has a better chance for the Final Four is Gary Ervin can continue to run the show effectively.

Pac 10 – Washington and Arizona are the teams to beat and both have a decent chance at St. Louis if they get hot at the right time.

Big Ten – Obviously Illinois has a great chance of getting to the Final Four.  The other spot in the Big Ten is tougher.  Iowa is probably the second best team in the conference right now and may get second in the conference during the regular season, but a team like Michigan State could have a better chance at making a run in the tournament.


While four or five conferences can have a legitimate shot at getting two teams in the tournament, the ACC has to have the best chance.  It’s not that the ACCs top two teams are necessarily better, but there are so many contenders out of the conference that have viable dreams of St. Louis.



Could we see Kentucky and Louisville meet up again in the NCAA Tournament and could Kentucky look at a repeat of another conference championship?


From Aaron,

Ashland, Kentucky


Kentucky and Louisville both have a chance to make deep runs in March.  The odds of them lining up in the tournament are unlikely, but it would be a great match up, especially after the last second heroics and controversy of their last game. 


The Wildcats could take home a conference championship but they have a better shot at winning the conference tournament, as they did last season.  Kentucky won’t have any problems winning the East again, but they’ll get some tough competition from Mississippi State and Alabama in the West.

Question of the Week

 - The question of the week is answered by multiple CHN staffers -

*Due to the holidays, there is no Question of the Week this week or next*


Have a question?  Email Joel at  We’ll post and answer as many as possible.  Please include your first name and home state.


Joel’s Team of the Week

Gettysburg Bullets

It took until Saturday for a Division III team to knock off a division I team.  The lucky winner was the Bullets from Gettysburg.  The loser?  Navy.  While I normally stick to one of those 326 teams that I follow, I have to give some props to Gettysburg.  I even wanted to go to Gettysburg College for grad school for a few hours, before I was told that they have no grad program and my buzz wore off.  Still a great place to visit if you’re in the neighborhood.  Gettysburg knocked off their first DI team since they beat the Midshipmen in overtime back in 1992.  They are now 8-44 all time against Navy.  The Bullets, a contender in the Centennial Conference, were led by Mike Spadafora’s career-high 26 points.  Spadafora scored 12 of those points in the final 3:30 to clinch Gettysburg’s 75-69 victory.  George Petrie’s squad did it all without the help of their leading scorer David Glaser, who was nursing an injury. 


Joel’s Thoughts of the Week


Why is the only game I was able to watch in high definition this week between Washington State and Portland?  Don’t get me wrong, I’d watch that game in HD or not.  I’m always fascinated to see who takes a shot with more then ten seconds on the shot clock for Washington State.  It usually takes less time for Dick Bennett to bench the poor guy than it did for the player to put up the bad shot.  I’ve also become a big fan of Robbie Cowgill.  The 6-10, 200 pound freshman center probably isn’t 6-10 or 200 pounds.  He doesn’t look close to either of those…and this was in HD.  He looks like he should get dominated underneath, but he doesn’t.  He even manages 5.7 points and 3.1 rebounds per game.  That’s a lot of points for the Cougars.  But the point is I want more HD than WSU and Portland.  I’m sure I missed a big game or two that was on HD, but everything should be on HD.  That will happen someday I’m sure.  Despite my complaints of lack of HD games, I am happy to watch a game like Washington State and Portland.  It shouldn’t all be Duke and North Carolina hogging up the high definition.


Have a question?  Email Joel at  We’ll post and answer as many as possible.  Please include your first name and home state.


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