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