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Westsider Rider

Friday, October 27, 2006

We take a break from our normally scheduled programming

to bring you some notes for basketball, college and pro.

Let's start out with college as the first polls are out and to no surprise the defending National Champion Florida Gators are the preseason #1 team. What is surprising, IMO, is the fact that the runner up UCLA Bruins are at #6. At worst I saw them being #3 behind North Carolina but it doesn't matter too much since it is only the preseason rankings. I expect the Bruins to be there at the end this year with the only losses being Ryan Hollins and Jordan Farmar. Darren Collison is a very good PG who should get the job done, Arron Afflalo returns and Josh Shipp will be back from injury. Throw in the Cameroon Crazies, Alfred Aboya and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute and I don't see many teams better than the Bruins, much less 5.

Also interesting note on the poll, Michigan got more votes than Michigan State.

The public will get a first view of the Michigan basketball team this weekend with the Maize and Blue scrimmage after the football game. Ekpe Udoh has been impressive according to early reports and I am definitely excited to see this team in action. I've been saying this year is our year to return every year since 2000 but damn it, it really has to be this time. I expect a return to the NCAA's and nothing less this year.

Onto the NBA where the Lakers have finished 4-4 in the preseason and the worse news is that Kobe Bryant may not be ready to go for the season opener as initially expected. On the radio this morning I heard he was "questionable to doubtful" which would really suck since I am going to the season opener next Tuesday against the Suns. But there's no need to rush him back early and have him mess up his knee again because without him, well you know what the Lakers are without Kobe.

A very pleasant surprise has been the recent play of Andrew Bynum who turns 19 today. Bynum finished with 23 points on 9 of 12 shooting along with 7 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 blocks. This comes off his 16 point, 9 rebound performance on Sunday against Phoenix so it looks like Bynum will be a solid contributor this season, I hope. He will have to be at the beginning at least since Kwame Brown and Chris Mihm will not be ready to go. I've picked him up in all my fantasy leagues and you should too if he's available at least for the first few weeks because he will put up some numbers while the other Lakers centers are out.


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