While sitting in sunny Florida, I was thinking about some of the top storylines to follow for the 2009-10 season.
1. How will Rick Pitino be treated as he travels the nation?
2. Down at Georgetown, how will Greg Monroe develop?
3. How will the new style of play affect Virginia?
4. Will Derrick Favors be the answer for Georgia Tech?
5. How will Arizona fare under Sean Miller?
6. How will the new-look UCLA Bruins look?
7. Down in North Carolina, how will the defending champions fare?
Louisville's coach already has been dealing with the explosive story stemming from a sexual encounter six years ago with a woman who's charged with trying to extort millions from him. Any time you combine alcohol, sex and abortion, it leads to controversy. It will be interesting to see how the crowds react as his Cardinals travel the country. It will not be easy.
Will he become the dominant performer, as projected when he was leaving high school? He has the potential to carry the Hoyas à la the days of Patrick Ewing, Alonzo Mourning & Co. Will he be able to peak in that class? Only time will tell for the super soph.
New coach Tony Bennett, not the guy who sang "I Left My Heart in San Francisco," but the ex-Washington State coach, takes over in Charlottesville. He did a great job in Pullman, and it will be interesting to see how he fits into the ACC family. The bottom line is, if he wins, his style of play will become immaterial.
Coach Paul Hewitt hopes his diaper dandy will help lead the Yellow Jackets to a turnaround. I can't wait to see him in action. Hopefully he will excite both the scribes and fans down in Atlanta. Every indication is Favors is legitimate.
It will be fun to watch the Wildcats. This program is rebuilding and gaining stability after a few years on shaky ground. It put together an amazing run during the height of the Lute Olson era and continued to do well the past few years, but Miller hopes to return Arizona to contender status in the Pac-10.
With Darren Collison and Jrue Holliday gone, Ben Howland will have a new backcourt. The Pac-10 will not be as strong as it has been in the past, and that will open the door for several teams. Howland is a master motivator whose team still could compete. It will be a relatively young nucleus with lots of talent.
The uniforms are the same, and the coach on the sideline is still Roy Williams. There will be solid play, but the personnel will be different. One thing about the Tar Heels: They don't rebuild, they reload. There will be a dynamite incoming class. They lost a lot of production from vital parts who won a national title: Tyler Hansbrough, Ty Lawson, Wayne Ellington and Danny Green. It is time for others such as Ed Davis to step up in the frontcourt. Never take the Tar Heels lightly.
There you have it. Those are just a few of the storylines to watch during the coming campaign.