I knew something would fall through the cracks this week -- and it was my sincere (if shallow!) attempt to preview the upcoming college basketball season.
You wouldn't think that I was the former college basketball editor at ESPN.com. Or that college hoops remains -- along with college football -- my favorite sport.
So let's get to the big question: Will Northwestern finally -- FINALLY -- make the NCAA Tournament?
(Wait: That's what everyone wants to know, right? Oh. Well, if you care, my prediction is like Lunardi's: They are the last at-large team in...earning them one of the new at-large play-in spots...and they are eliminated even before the Tournament "really" starts. Seems obvious.)
No, the big question is: Will Duke repeat? Start with this: This year's team is better than last year's team, although they will miss Brian Zoubek. A lot. When it matters.
Last year's team enjoyed a fairly friction-less run through the NCAA Tournament -- then ruined everything by not losing to Butler.
(Hayward's heart-stopping shot at the end remains one of the Top 5 indelible images of 2010, along with the Saints' onside kick, LeBron's awkward moment of Decision, the first goal by South Africa of the World Cup and... well, I'll figure that out next month.)
This year, Duke is good enough to get back to the Final Four -- although there's always the chance they'll choke on their own expectations, as they had a habit of doing for a while before this past March -- but they won't be so lucky as to avoid Michigan State this time.
Your champ: Michigan State. The rest of your Final Four: Duke, Syracuse and -- hmm -- Illinois.
Would love to hear the teams you think are going to make noise in March -- and your pick of champ. Duke or the Field? (And if you're taking the field, declare your champ.)