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America’s Got Guard Play

There is an old college hoops aphorism that says the national title is won by the team with the best backcourt. It would be tough to argue that this wasn’t the case the past two seasons (UNC and Kansas in 2009 and 2008, respectively) or that it won’t be again this year.

We take our first crack at NCAA basketball unit rankings with our preseason top 10 backcourts.

1. Kansas
The Jayhawks combination of national title winning PG Sherron Collins, athletic scorer Tyshawn Taylor, 3-point specialist Brady Morningstar and McDonald’s All-American Xavier Henry give it enough talent to potentially win every game on its schedule.

2. California
Jerome Randle, Patrick Christopher and Theo Robertson form the best returning three guard rotation in the country. Remember these names come March.

3. Michigan State
The Spartans are most critics’ pick for best backcourt, due to the returning nucleus of PG Kalin Lucas and athletic defender Durrell Summers (you probably remember his dunk on Stanley Robinson of UConn in the Final Four). Chris Allen and Korie Lucious can stroke it from deep.

4. Texas
Not too many folks are talking about this team in terms of backcourt depth, due to the loss of leading scorer A.J. Abrams. But there might be no deeper guard rotation than what the ‘Horns boast with Florida transfer Jai Lucas, PG Dogus Balbay, three-year starter Justin Mason and consensus top 5 recruit Avery Bradley.

5. Ole Miss
This may be the best backcourt in school history. PG Chris Warren averaged 20 points per contest and SG Terrico White was the freshman of the year in the SEC. Throw in double digit scorer Eniel Polynice and downtown shooters Zach Graham and Trevor Gaskins and there are few holes at the guard position for the Rebs.

6. Ohio State
It starts and ends with 6’7 table setter Evan Turner, a poor man’s Magic Johnson with nothing poor about his game. His ability to get the rock to marksmen William Buford and Jon Diebler give the Buckeyes one of the best outside shooting teams in America.

7. Villanova
The top weakness here may be that this rotation has too many options. Floor leader Scottie Reynolds leads a cast of four returning guards who logged major PT in last year’s Final Four trip. This crew will be supplemented immediately by blue chip Maalik Wayns.

8. Dayton
Beware of experienced backcourts in the big dance. Dayton brings back four senior guards from a 27-win tourney team, including do-it-all SG Marcus Washington and the highly unselfish London Warren. This is a big-time sleeper.

9. Maryland
With the ACC’s best backcourt, Maryland figures to get back to conference prominence. They are led by 18-points per game scorer Greivis Vasquez and several other standouts, including Adrian Bowie, Eric Hayes and Landon Milbourne.

10. Oklahoma
Willie Warren might have the best NBA profile of any 2-guard in college. He possesses a sick jumper and the ability to elevate. He’ll be aided by athletic wing Tony Crocker, long range bomber Cade Davis and incoming prep superstar Tommy Mason-Griffin.

Just Missed the Cut
UConn, Washington, Mississippi State, Duke, Tennessee and Kentucky.

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Time to put Texas A&M to bed and get tuned up for a high seed in the big dance.
Epic collapse by UK tonight. Still something not right with this team.
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