News & ToursMay 12, 2009

Men's preseason conference picks revisited

OK, having done fairly well with the women's picks, here's a look at how my fortune-telling went on the men's side.__

ACC

Predicted champion: __Clemson (Georgia Tech)

Predicted player of the year: Kyle Stanley, Clemson (Matt Hill, N.C. State)

Predicted freshman of the year: Jacob Berger, Clemson (Brooks Koepka, Florida State)

NCAA Regional bound: Clemson, Florida State, Georgia Tech, North Carolina, Wake Forest, Duke, N.C. State (Missed Virginia and Virginia Tech)

Team on the rise: North Carolina (Failed to post a .500 record)

Biggest question mark: Georgia Tech (Won the team title)

Wouldn't surprise me to see: Florida State's Drew Kittleson, runner-up at last month's U.S. Amateur, use the confidence built at Pinehurst No. 2 to win at least one tournament this fall and become an all-ACC selection by year's end. (While he didn't win a fall event, he did earn all-ACC honors.)

Would shock me to see: The Seminoles fail to bounce back after winning their first ACC title last year, only to miss out on advancing to national, and be a top-10 program again this season. (Never cracked the top 10 this season.)

__SEC

Predicted champion:__ Georgia

Predicted player of the year: Billy Horschel, Florida

Predicted freshman of the year: Bud Cauley, Alabama

NCAA Regional bound: Georgia, Florida, Alabama, South Carolina, Tennessee, LSU, Auburn, Mississippi State, Mississippi (Missed Kentucky, Vanderbilt and Arkansas)

Team on the rise: South Carolina (Gamecocks won four times this year and had seven top-fives.)

Biggest question mark: Alabama (Playing three or more freshmen each event, had a win but only four top-fives in nine events; sixth at SECs)

Wouldn't surprise me to see: As many as five Georgia players earn All-American honors of some kind. (Jury's still out)

Would shock me to see: Fewer than three Georgia players earn All-American honors of some kind. (Ditto.)

__Big 12

Predicted champion:__ Oklahoma State

Predicted player of the year: Rickie Fowler, Oklahoma State (Morgan Hoffmann, Oklahoma State)

Predicted freshman of the year: Peter Uihlein, Oklahoma State (Morgan Hoffmann, Oklahoma State)

NCAA Regional bound: Oklahoma State, Texas A&M, Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Baylor, Colorado (Missed Kansas State)

Team on the rise: Texas (Two wins and five top-10s, but eighth at Big 12s)

Biggest question mark: Texas A&M (Three wins and six top-fives; third at Big 12s)

Wouldn't surprise me to see:Oklahoma State senior Trent Leon, a two-time All-American and member of the 2006 NCAA Championship team, lose his spot in starting line-up given how strong the incoming freshmen class is in Stillwater, and the improvement by those already on the roster. (Leon had solid senior year and traveled to all but one event.)

Would shock me to see: Texas A&M senior Bronson Burgoon not return to the All-American form he showed in 2006-07. (One win, three top-fives and a 72.38 average.)

__Big Ten

Predicted champion:__ Indiana (Illinois)

Predicted player of the year: Jorge Campillo, Indiana

Predicted freshman of the year: Luke Guthrie, Illinois (Eric Chun, Northwestern)

NCAA Regional bound: Indiana, Illinois, Michigan State, Minnesota, Purdue, Michigan (Missed Ohio State and Penn State)

Team on the rise: Illinois (Seven wins, including first Big Ten title in 21 years)

Biggest question mark: Michigan State (Finished last at Big Tens)

Wouldn't surprise me to see: Campillo become the third IU player in 11 years to repeat as the conference's POY ... he's that good.

Would shock me to see: The conferences' coaches fail to honor the retiring Jim Brown, Ohio State's coach the past starting his 36th and final year with the Buckeyes, with some kind of special tribute at the Big Ten Championship--perhaps name the coach-of-the-year award in his honor. (Still time for this one to play out.)

__Pac-10

Predicted champion:__Stanford (Washington)

Predicted player of the year: Sihwan Kim, Stanford (Nick Taylor, Washington; Matt Giles, USC)

Predicted freshman of the year: Bjorn Akesson, Arizona State (Gregor Main, UCLA)

NCAA Regional bound: Stanford, UCLA, USC, Arizona State, Washington, Oregon, Arizona, California

Team on the rise: Stanford ... a healthy Joseph Bramlett makes strong team even stronger (Bramlett got injuried again this past spring)

Biggest question mark: Arizona ... have talent, but do they have a legit No. 1 player?

Wouldn't surprise me to see: Five golfers from the conference—Stanford's Kim, USC's Jamie Lovemark, UCLA's Erik Flores, Washington's Nick Taylor and Arizona State's Jesper Kennegard—play well enough to earn first-team All-American honors. (this one's going to be a stretch.)

Would shock me to see: Arizona, the most high profile victim of the ".500 rule" a year ago, fail to have a winning record and advance to NCAA Regionals. (Wildcats were on the right side of .500 this year and made it to regionals.)

__Mountain West

Predicted champion:__ UNLV (TCU)

Predicted player of the year: Eddie Olson, UNLV (Steve Saunders, New Mexico)

Predicted freshman of the year: James Erkenbeck, New Mexico (Zahkai Brown, Colorado State)

NCAA Regional bound: UNLV, Colorado State, TCU, San Diego State, BYU (Missed New Mexico)

Team on the rise: Colorado State ... Last year's conference title seem out of nowhere; won't be the case this year if the Rams repeat. (Team won five tournaments.)

Biggest question mark: UNLV ... All-American Seung-su Han decides not to turn pro, but will play in Q school this fall. (Rebels lost Han during winter break)

Wouldn't surprise me to see: San Diego State remain competitive despite the loss of departing senior Aaron Goldberg, arguably the best player in school history. (Lost conference title in playoff.)

Would shock me to see: A repeat of Cinderalla story from last year's MWC Championship, where a team ranked sixth in the conference entering the tournament (Colorado State) took home the title. (This year's contenders were all known commodities.)

__Conference USA

Predicted champion:__ UAB (UCF)

Predicted player of the year: Zach Sucher, UAB (Blayne Barber, UCF)

Predicted freshman of the year: Stephen Carney, Tulsa (Blayne Barber, UCF)

NCAA Regional bound: UAB, SMU, UCF, Tulsa, Memphis

Team on the rise: SMU ... Have lots of talent; if they get more consistent, watch out. (Didn't get more consistent)

Biggest question mark: Tulsa ... Took their lumps last year but did the young guys really gain enough experience? (Got regional bid but finished outside top-five more than they did inside.)

Wouldn't surprise me to see: The ".500 rule" keep one or two schools from getting regional berths. (UAB is the victim.)

Would shock me to see: Anyone other than Sucher win POY honors here ... he's head and shoulders above the competition. (Barber pulls off the upset.)

__Atlantic 10 Conference

Predicted champion:__ Charlotte

Predicted player of the year: Corey Nagy, Charlotte (No award given out.)

Predicted freshman of the year: Paul Ferrier, Charlotte (Sebastian MacLean, Xavier)

NCAA Regional bound: Charlotte

__Atlantic Sun Conference

Predicted champion:__ East Tennessee State (Campbell)

Predicted player of the year: Rhys Enoch, East Tennessee State (Award not handed out yet)

Predicted freshman of the year: Mitch Gray, Campbell (Award not handed out yet)

NCAA Regional bound: East Tennessee State, North Florida (Missed Campbell)

__Big East Conference

Predicted champion:__ Marquette (Louisville)

Predicted player of the year: Mike Van Sickle, Marquette

Predicted freshman of the year: Chris Walker, Notre Dame (Riley Wheeldon, Louisville)

NCAA Regional bound:Marquette, Notre Dame, Louisville

__Big West Conference

Predicted champion:__ UC Irvine (UC Davis)

Predicted player of the year: John Chin, UC Irvine

Predicted freshman of the year: Michael Im, UC Irvine (Kevin Lim, Long Beach State; Roberti Franciani, UC Irvine)

NCAA Regional bound: UC Irvine, UC Davis

__Mid-American Conference

Predicted champion:__ Kent State

Predicted player of the year: John Hahn, Kent State

Predicted freshman of the year: Matt Fuller, Toledo (Mackenzie Hughes, Kent State)

NCAA Regional bound:Kent State, Eastern Michigan

__

Southern Conference

Predicted champion:__ Chattanooga

Predicted player of the year: Jonathan Hodge, Chattanooga (Logan Blondell, Ga. Southern)

Predicted freshman of the year: Sean Brannan, Georgia Southern (Stephan Jaeger, Chattanooga)

NCAA Regional bound: Chattanooga, College of Charleston, Georgia Southern

__Sun Belt Conference

Predicted champion:__ Middle Tennessee State

Predicted player of the year: Brent Long, Western Kentucky (Award not handed out yet)

Predicted freshman of the year: Troy Anderson, Denver (Award not handed out yet)

NCAA Regional bound: Middle Tennessee State, Denver, Western Kentucky

__West Coast Conference

Predicted champion:__ Pepperdine (San Francisco)

Predicted player of the year: Andrew Putnam, Pepperdine

Predicted freshman of the year: Alex Ching, San Diego

NCAA Regional bound: Pepperdine, San Diego, Loyola Marymount, St. Mary's (Calif.) (Missed San Francisco)

__Western Athletic Conference

Predicted champion:__ Fresno State (New Mexico State)

Predicted player of the year: Grant Doverspike, Fresno State

Predicted freshman of the year: Gaston De La Torre, New Mexico State (Jarred Bossio, Idaho)

NCAA Regional bound: Fresno State, New Mexico State

__TOTALS

Team champions:6 corrent, 10 wrong—37.5% success rate

POY: 8 correct, 6 wrong—57% success rate

Top Freshman: __2 correct, 12 wrong—14.2% success rate

__Team on the rise:3 correct, 4 wrong—42.8% success rate

Question marks: __5 correct, 2 wrong—71.4% success rate

__Wouldn't surprise me:__4 correct, 2 wrong—66.7% success rate

__Would shock me:3 correct, 3 wrong—50% success rate

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