In the midst of both extremely popular football seasons, fans of those lesser successful teams want and need something good to look forward to. Yeah, you can start to get excited for next season’s football team with the likes of a second year Teddy Bridgewater working with a second year DeVante Parker and Eli Rogers (possibly in the Big 12), but I on the other hand am ready for the round ball to resurrect the red reign.
The Cards, pre-season ranked 9th in the country, kick off the first practice of the 2011-2012 basketball season with an intrasquad scrimmage at the KFC Yum Center this Friday at 7 p.m. With the depth available on this team, the intrasquad scrimmage may be one of the most competitive games of the year. The Cards easily field two possible division-one starting line-ups, and if you were to truly break down the roster, you could argue that a competitive third team could be formulated. We may even be able to rest our “starters” if we end up joining the Big 12 or even the SEC with all of this football forced realignment. I’m pretty sure our third team could beat 50% of the teams in both of those conferences.
The explosive point guard, Peyton Siva, recently named to the John R. Wooden Award pre-season watch list, has the ability to take the college basketball scene by storm. That said, whichever side (red or white) gets the luxury of having Siva dishing dimes on their team will have a slight advantage, but other than that the level of play is rather linear at an extremely high level. We have a long, athletic team that can speed teams up and will wreak havoc on defenses for the full length of the court. Oh yeah, we can shoot the rock pretty well too.
The big question mark for head coach Rick Pitino and the coaching staff still revolves around the center position, but only if Gorgui Dieng gets into foul trouble. It will be interesting to see how the depth chart will shake out after Dieng, and it is likely the early favorite will be starting against the Senegal native Friday night. If it is Zach Price that gets the nod, it will be interesting to see the growth he has made in the past couple of months. In order for the Cards to make a deep, successful run into March, the big guys will have to hold their own in the crumbling year of the Big East.
That’s right….It’s time to start embracing the last true Big East season (at least as a mega basketball conference). With major teams leaving the conference, this could be the last time that Cards fans get the annual tastes of fellow basketball royalties like Syracuse, Pittsburgh, Georgetown, UConn, St. Johns, and Villanova (depending on what happens with the conference…). I know I’ll be missing those instant classic games when we are busting up donkeys like Texas Tech or South Carolina if we change conferences.