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Thursday, November 13, 2008
Updated: November 17, 8:06 PM ET
The only Top 25 you'll ever need

By DJ Gallo
Page 2

Are you are at work right now? Finishing up a project for the boss? Well, send it in, big fella! It's time for more important things, like reading this preview of the preseason college basketball Top 25.

1. North Carolina -- The Tar Heels are the unanimous preseason No. 1. And deservedly so -- they return eight of their top 10 scorers from last year's 36-3 team. Of course, they also return eight of their worst 10 defensive players.

Hasheem Thabeet
No word on whether or not the club Thabeet was referring to was a book club.

2. UConn -- Junior center Hasheem Thabeet caused a mini-uproar recently when he described Luke Harangody to ESPN The Magazine as "not tough" and said of Tyler Hansbrough: "I don't see nothing." Of course, in the same article he said that in his free time he likes to "go to clubs in Hartford or in New York." Ha! Clubs in Hartford. Good one. See, everyone -- Hasheem Thabeet is a jokester! So take his trash talk with a grain of salt.

3. Louisville -- Rick Pitino has had plenty of talent in recent years, he just hasn't done much with it. Maybe he needs to hire this Louisville restaurateur to help him come up with creative ways to mask his failings.

4. UCLA -- Ben Howland's style produces consistent winners, but after three consecutive trips to the Final Four without a title, some Bruins fans are worried that he is too conservative to win it all. And things will only get worse if this starts appearing on the SAT tests of prospective recruits: Ben Howland : NCAA title :: Ron Paul : presidency.

5. Pitt -- Pitt could win it all this year. But the naysayers say, in addition to saying "nay," of course, that Pitt doesn't have enough height to win it all. I disagree. Look at all the winning the Globetrotters have done, and they haven't had a true big man in years.

6. Michigan State -- Tom Izzo wants star forward Raymar Morgan to rebound more. But maybe Izzo should leave his best player alone and tell his other players to stop missing so many shots.

7. Texas -- The deeper 3-point line shouldn't have much effect on marksmen like A.J. Abrams. If Dan Cortese was comfortable with the 50-point Rock 'N' Jock, guys like Abrams should be fine from 20 feet, 9 inches.

8. Duke -- In his last season at Duke, Greg Paulus is no longer a starter. Which is weird, because most Mike Krzyzewski players are relegated to the bench after leaving Duke.

Luke Harangody
It's a 24-7 scraptacular when Luke is around.

9. Notre Dame -- There are those who say Luke Harangody is even scrappier than Tyler Hansbrough. And wait until next season when Harangody teams with Mississippi State transfer Ben Hansbrough. Mike Brey might base his entire offense off purposely creating loose balls.

10. Gonzaga -- How much longer is Mark Few going to keep plodding away at perennial Top 25 Gonzaga when he could have his pick of jobs from lousy programs that compete in prestigious major conferences? The man is insane! He is a crazy person!

11. Purdue -- Sophomore forward Robbie Hummel is the Big Ten preseason Player of the Year. While many people have never heard of him, my grandmother has been collecting figurines of this kid for years.

12. Oklahoma -- Standout power forward Blake Griffin was home-schooled until the eighth grade, but that didn't slow his basketball development. Averaging 40 points per game early in your career against your little sister can do wonders for your confidence.

13. Memphis -- Don't think Memphis plays a tough schedule? Well, that doesn't say much about you, since the Tigers are scheduled to play your rec team next week.

14. Tennessee -- How much has Bruce Pearl changed the culture at Tennessee since taking over three years ago? This guy is out of a job. This guy is not.

James Harden
James would like to thank Lute Olson for making this year possible.

15. Arizona State -- James Harden gave a big boost to Arizona State's program this offseason by announcing he would stick around for his sophomore year. Also giving a big boost to Arizona State's program this offseason? The existence of Arizona's program.

16. Marquette -- Tom Crean has been replaced by Buzz Williams. Why does he go by "Buzz"? I have no idea. He does, however, sport a buzz cut. And if that's the reason, I wholeheartedly support this nickname approach becoming a trend in college basketball. I would love to watch an NCAA tournament final between Baldy Howland and Possible Toupee Krzyzewski.

17. Miami -- In just four seasons at the helm, Frank Haith has taken Miami from doormat to the Top 25. If only he knew something about football he might really be appreciated at The U.

18. USC -- Super freshman DeMar DeRozan has big shoes to fill with O.J. Mayo's departure. Hopefully DeRozan's shoes won't be as expensive as the ones Mayo had.

19. Florida -- After back-to-back national titles, Florida made it only to the NIT Final Four last season. If that regression continues, the Gators will soon end their season with a loss in the University of Florida Co-Ed Intramural Basketball Tournament.

20. Davidson -- Stephen Curry looks like the kid next door. Only he doesn't break your window with a ball hit over the fence. He breaks your bracket.

21. Wake Forest -- The Demon Deacons will be led by freshman forward Al-Farouq Aminu. "Al-Farouq" means "the chief has arrived." I'm not sure what "Aminu" means, but it's probably: "and he'll be here for a year and then go to the NBA."

22. Georgetown -- Freshman Greg Monroe is the latest in the long line of talented big men to enroll at Georgetown. I wonder why so many tall guys are interested in law degrees?

23. Villanova -- Villanova is the last of seven Big East teams in the Top 25. Ten teams from the conference are expected to make the NCAA tournament. So let's update the list of postseason tournaments from least prestigious to most:

Sherron Collins
Collins will proudly lead the "Hey, remember last year?" tour for the Jayhawks.

3. NIT
2. NCAA tournament
1. Big East tournament

24. Kansas -- Don't worry about the defending champ having trouble replacing stars like Mario Chalmers and Darrell Arthur. Bill Self probably has some great prospects hiding in the bathroom.

25. Wisconsin -- Gus Johnson is announcing games for the Big Ten Network this season. Clearly, he couldn't pass up the challenge of trying to make Wisconsin games seem exciting.

DJ Gallo is the founder and sole writer of the sports satire site SportsPickle.com. He also is a regular contributor to ESPN The Magazine and has written for The Onion and Cracked. His first book, "SportsPickle Presents: The View from the Upper Deck," is on sale now.