Commentary

Super six conference predictions

Updated: November 5, 2010, 12:30 AM ET
By Dick Vitale | ESPN.com

All right college basketball fans, we are officially in November now and I can't wait to tip off the season. To help prepare you for the action, I broke down the super six conferences in college hoops, baby!

Here are my picks as we get ready for a super, scintillating and sensational season on the hardwood. Let's go conference by conference:

[+] EnlargeKyle Singler
Andrew Synowiez-US PresswireKyle Singler and the Blue Devils should be taking home another national championship.

ACC

    1. Duke
    2. North Carolina
    3. Virginia Tech
    4. Florida State
    5. Maryland
    6. Miami (Fla.)
    7. NC State
    8. Clemson
    9. Boston College
    10. Georgia Tech
    11. Wake Forest
    12. Virginia


PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Kyle Singler, Duke
CO-DIAPER DANDIES OF THE YEAR: Harrison Barnes, North Carolina and Kyrie Irving, Duke

COMMENTS: Duke will be the team to beat, but the Tar Heels will bounce back and challenge on Tobacco Road. Singler will be happy with his decision to return as the big man on campus. Irving is going to be a special player, attacking the basket and showing his playmaking ability. Virginia Tech has Malcolm Delaney returning as the Hokies try to make it to the Big Dance. Gary Williams lost Greivis Vasquez, but the Terps will be tough. Look for Sidney Lowe and the Wolfpack to step up.


BIG EAST

[+] EnlargeKemba Walker
Rich Kane/Icon SMIConnecticut took a recruiting hit in the offseason, but Kemba Walker is a rising star.
    1. Villanova
    2. Syracuse
    3. Pittsburgh
    4. Georgetown
    5. Louisville
    6. West Virginia
    7. St. John's
    8. Connecticut
    9. Marquette
    10. Notre Dame
    11. Seton Hall
    12. Cincinnati
    13. South Florida
    14. Providence
    15. DePaul
    16. Rutgers
PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Austin Freeman, Georgetown
DIAPER DANDY OF THE YEAR: Fab Melo, Syracuse

COMMENTS: The Big East has three legitimate top 10 teams again between Villanova, Syracuse and Pittsburgh. Jay Wright's team, even without Scottie Reynolds, gets the nod thanks to experience on the perimeter. But Austin Freeman gets the nod as top player and he'll keep the Hoyas in contention. Melo will be one of the premier diaper dandy big men across America. Pittsburgh suffered a blow when Nasir Robinson was injured, but Ashton Gibbs will have a super season for the Panthers. Steve Lavin could get St. John's into contention for an NCAA berth. Lastly, Kemba Walker and the Huskies will fight hard and never be an easy W for the opposition.



[+] EnlargeMichael Thompson
Jonathan Daniel/Getty ImagesCan Michael Thompson lead Northwestern to the Big Dance?

BIG TEN

    1. Michigan State
    2. Ohio State
    3. Purdue
    4. Illinois
    5. Wisconsin
    6. Minnesota
    7. Northwestern
    8. Indiana
    9. Penn State
    10. Michigan
    11. Iowa
PLAYER OF THE YEAR: JaJuan Johnson, Purdue
DIAPER DANDY OF THE YEAR: Jared Sullinger, Ohio State

COMMENTS: Purdue would have been right there with Michigan State until Robbie Hummel's injury. But JaJuan Johnson and E'Twaun Moore combine to form an exceptional inside-outside tandem. The Boilermakers are still a top 15-20 team. The Buckeyes lost Evan Turner but will compete for the conference title and a Final Four berth thanks to the presence of Jared Sullinger, who could be another one-and-done. Keep an eye on the Illini with Demetri McCamey and Mike Davis returning. Bo Ryan's team will scrap and claw and get their share of wins. Is this the year Northwestern finally makes it to the Big Dance? It helps to have John Shurna and Michael Thompson in the lineup.



BIG 12

[+] EnlargeJacob Pullen
Christian Petersen/Getty ImagesJacob Pullen's return puts the Wildcats in a great position.
    1. Kansas State
    2. Texas
    3. Baylor
    4. Missouri
    5. Kansas
    6. Texas A&M
    7. Oklahoma State
    8. Texas Tech
    9. Colorado
    10. Oklahoma
    11. Nebraska
    12. Iowa State
PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Jacob Pullen, Kansas State
DIAPER DANDY OF THE YEAR: Cory Joseph, Texas

COMMENTS: Kansas State is a legitimate Final Four contender with Jacob Pullen, but the loss of point guard Denis Clemente will be a factor. The Wildcats also still have Curtis Kelly, who will be a positive force on the baseline. Texas coach Rick Barnes has a lot of young talent. Cory Joseph will have the ball in his hands while running the offense. Tristan Thompson will have an immediate impact, too. Jordan Hamilton must step up and live up to his potential. If Josh Selby is eligible, Kansas will be higher than this ranking. Baylor's prediction is based on the return of LaceDarius Dunn. Missouri, with Kim English, will also be tough.



[+] EnlargeIsaiah Thomas
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images5-foot-9 junior guard Isaiah Thomas gives Washington an edge in the Pac-10.

PAC-10

    1. Washington
    2. Arizona
    3. UCLA
    4. Washington State
    5. Stanford
    6. USC
    7. Arizona State
    8. California
    9. Oregon State
    10. Oregon
PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Derrick Williams, Arizona
DIAPER DANDY OF THE YEAR: Josh Smith, UCLA

COMMENTS: I give the nod to the Huskies thanks to Isaiah Thomas. Look for Sean Miller and company to bounce back as Derrick Williams leads the way. Josh Smith has worked on his conditioning and will have an immediate impact as a starter up front for Ben Howland's squad. Washington State is a dangerous sleeper with Klay Thompson returning. Johnny Dawkins' Stanford squad is capable of making some noise, too.



SEC

[+] EnlargeKenny Boynton
Jim Brown/US PresswireWith the help of Kenny Boynton, Billy Donovan's Gators look to move back into the national spotlight.
    EAST
    1. Florida
    2. Kentucky
    3. Tennessee
    4. Georgia
    5. Vanderbilt
    6. South Carolina
WEST
    1. Mississippi State
    2. Ole Miss
    3. Arkansas
    4. Alabama
    5. LSU
    6. Auburn
PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Trey Thompkins, Georgia
DIAPER DANDY OF THE YEAR: Brandon Knight, Kentucky

COMMENTS: Look for the Gators to move back into national prominence as Billy the Kid has his nucleus from last season returning. John Calipari's team will reload but Kentucky needs Enes Kanter in the lineup. Knight will be the latest Calipari diaper dandy to make big-time noise out of the blocks. Thompkins is one of the more underrated stars as he can flat-out play. Georgia is going to give plenty of folks trouble. Mississippi State will be tough when Dee Bost returns in the second half of the season.



Now let's take a look at my 2011 Final Four predictions:

FINAL FOUR: Duke, Michigan State, Villanova, Ohio State

NATIONAL CHAMP: Duke
PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Kyle Singler

I think the Dukies will go back-to-back a la 1991 and 1992. Coach K celebrated a FIBA World Championship earlier this year and he will add another NCAA title to his résumé. Singler gets the nod over Pullen and Jimmer Fredette for POY. To the victor goes the spoils, baby!

It should be another great season of college basketball. And remember friends, the name on the front of the jersey is more important than the name on the back.

Dick Vitale

College Basketball analyst
Dick Vitale, college basketball's top analyst and ambassador, joined ESPN during the 1979-80 season. His thorough knowledge of the game is brought forth in an enthusiastic, passionate style. Vitale also contributes columns to ESPN.com.