Some preseason love for Miller’s Cats

Perhaps lost in the all the October upsets of college football, the hype
machine that is the NFL and the drama of the MLB playoffs is the
reality that it’s only five weeks until college basketball tips off. And
with tip-off approaching at a how’d-that-happen rate, CBS Sports’
experts this week provided all
their predictions
for the upcoming
season.

It’s early, of course, and everything depends
on the bracket and so on and so forth, but there’s one prediction among
the many that stands out from a local-interest perspective: Doug
Gottlieb is picking Arizona to win the national title.

UA had gotten some top-10 love this offseason but
hadn’t — at least to our knowledge — been the subject of any serious
national-championship discussion prior to Gottlieb’s pick, which
features only a logo and no contextual explanation. And it would appear
that his peers aren’t totally sold on the Wildcats, who don’t appear in
any of the other experts’ Final Four projections and are only picked to
win the Pac-12 by three of the five (UCLA gets the other two votes). So
it’s not as if there’s been a sea change in national opinion regarding
UA.

But it’s worth noting that not a single team
appears in all five Final Four outlooks — preseason No. 1 Indiana makes
four appearances — and even perennial favorite Kentucky shows up only
once, so there’s certainly no consensus about which teams comprise the
elite tier this year. Further proof: All five experts foresee a
different national champion, with Arizona, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisville
and Missouri getting one vote each.

So while UA
might not be a favorite and thus might be somewhat of a surprise pick,
it’s a defensible pick (and perhaps an optimism-generating one in
Tucson) considering that there appears to be no true favorite at
all.

— Matt
Swartz