Experts' picks: Forecasting 2005-06

Updated: November 7, 2005, 8:53 AM ET
ESPN.com

As the season approaches, which teams are the experts picking to reach the Final Four? Which squad is a team on the rise? Who's the best ball handler in the country? And exactly what do they expect from Candace Parker? We grilled our panel -- bracket expert Charlie Creme, columnist Mechelle Voepel and ESPN's Nancy Lieberman and Beth Mowins -- for the answers.

EXPERTS' PICKS
  CHARLIE
CREME
NANCY
LIEBERMAN
BETH
MOWINS
MECHELLE
VOEPEL
Player
of year
S. Augustus
LSU
S. Augustus
LSU
S. Young
Baylor
S. Young
Baylor
No. 2 pick M. Currie
Duke
M. Currie
Duke
S. Augustus
LSU
S. Augustus
LSU
No. 1 team
Team on rise
Team on decline
Best-kept secret S. Doron
Maryland
J. Covington
Louisville
C. Dupree
Temple
K. Smith
Utah
Game
of year
Duke-UNC
Feb. 25,'06
Tenn.-Duke
Jan. 23,'06
Tenn.-Duke
Jan. 23,'06
Tenn.-Duke
Jan. 23,'06
Strongest conference
ACC champ
Big East champ
Big Ten champ
Big 12 champ
Pac-10 champ
SEC champ
Best fans Tennessee New Mexico Connecticut Tennessee
Hardest place to play Rutgers Tennessee New Mexico New Mexico
Best defender J. Davenport
Ohio State
L. Willis
UCLA
S. Hoston
LSU
T. Jackson
Texas
Best shooter M. Bulger
W. Virginia
M. Bulger
W. Virginia
L. Bowen
Mich. St.
S. Augustus
LSU
Best ball
handler
I. Latta
UNC
C. Pondexter
Rutgers
M. Duffy
Notre Dame
E. Grant
Texas Tech
Best passer E. Grant
Texas Tech
E. Grant
Texas Tech
I. Latta
UNC
E. Grant
Texas Tech
Best rebounder K. Smith
DePaul
K. Smith
DePaul
C. Langhorne
Maryland
K. Smith
DePaul
Best post J. Davenport
Ohio State
J. Davenport
Ohio State
S. Young
Baylor
S. Young
Baylor
Final Four Duke
Georgia
Rutgers
Tennessee
Duke
UNC
Ohio State
Tennessee
Connecticut
Duke
Rutgers
Tennessee
Duke
LSU
Tennessee
Texas

Candace Parker will …

Creme: Struggle early, not becoming a difference-maker until late in the season when she is the key to a Tennessee national championship.
Lieberman: Dunk on somebody this year!
Mowins: Dunk more than once.
Voepel: Be as eye-opening on defense as she in on offense. Her wingspan, quickness, leaping ability and strength will be part of what could be a witheringly effective Tennessee team defense.

My bold prediction for this year is …

Creme: Jessica Davenport will block a Candace Parker dunk attempt in an NCAA Tournament game.
Lieberman: Tennessee is going to win its seventh title.
Mowins: Cappie Pondexter and Monique Currie will be rewarded for coming back to school with All-America honors and a trip to the Final Four.
Voepel: Duke will overcome the "reputation" that it has been tagged with -- not coming through in the biggest moments -- and will win the national championship. I expect this could be saved and e-mailed back to me in April from the region of eastern Tennessee or who knows where.