- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 18, 2008


“Does anyone want to be on my hands team next week? I’m looking for volunteers.” - Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis after Navy recovered consecutive onside kicks Saturday

TAKE YOUR PICK » Which team will win next week’s Old Spice Classic?

Michigan State — The Spartans are the favorites in Orlando, Fla. No other team on hand can match their combination of depth, balance and experience.

Gonzaga — The Bulldogs return their top four scorers, including a superb backcourt of Jeremy Pargo and Matt Bouldin. This could be Mark Few’s best team.

Tennessee — Much like the Hoyas, the Vols are young with massive upside. Bruce Pearl added seven new players to last season’s SEC powerhouse.

Georgetown — The Hoyas draw the weakest first-round matchup (Wichita State) and could easily make the final if Siena takes out Tennessee. But Georgetown is a young club for this type of environment.

Maryland — If form holds, the Terps would have to oust three ranked teams — No. 5 Michigan State, No. 9 Gonzaga and No. 14 Tennessee — to win the tournament.

Our take — The key game is likely the semifinal played at 5:30 p.m. on Nov. 28. That should find Michigan State battling Gonzaga. The victor is likely to dispatch the Georgetown/Tennessee winner in the championship game. Logic favors the Spartans because Gonzaga’s primary weakness is rebounding and frontcourt muscle — never an issue with Tom Izzo’s teams.


With apologies to Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett and Co., the five best players in the league might be 26 or younger:

1. LeBron James (23), Cleveland — The King is No. 1 — and it’s not even close.

2. Dwight Howard (22), Orlando — No other 20/10 guy gives you 4.2 blocks.

3. Dwyane Wade (26), Miami — Scoring, rebounding and assists all up.

4. Chris Paul (23), New Orleans — Clearly the game’s best point man.

5. Chris Bosh (24), Toronto — Move over Garnett — he’s meaner.

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