The 2012-13 Season Is Already Making My Brain Hurt

By Steve DiMiceli

If the college basketball offseason wasn't so long and boring, I'd stop making predictions. Honestly, why bother. Preseason Top - 25's are almost always a joke. Most years there are a couple of preseason ranked teams that miss the NCAA tournament by a fairly wide margin. Teams like Murray St come out of nowhere and sometimes, it doesn't matter how much you think a team is losing especially when that school's name begins with an "X."

I could run wild on college basketball surprises but I'll stick to teams Duquesne will face or has faced. We'll begin with one of the them already in the books, Albany. The Great Danes beat the Dukes by 3 at their own arena to begin the season before traveling to Columbus to face the #4 Buckeyes. After hanging tough for the first 16 minutes, tOSU extended the score before half and the final resembled what one might expect. Tonight, they beat Washington in Seattle by a point. Let me set the record straight. Until days before the season started, I thought the season opener was in the bag for the Dukes. "Albany lost too much," I assumed. Man was I wrong and the GD's are off to a nice start.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, Robert Morris has been terrible. They lost their opener to Rider and their first round tilt of the preseason NIT to a wide margin against Lehigh. They mopped the floor with Fordham last night, but clearly this team is missing Lijah Thompson more than I would have expected.

Moving back on the Parkway West and up Forbes, Pitt looks outstanding. I expected them to have another down year but they are clicking and getting performances from everyone in their rotation. The ball movement is a strength and the defense looks like one typical of a Jamie Dixon team. Look for them in the top 25 soon even though I didn't even expect them to dance.

I make a promise to all of you that I will never make the mistake of counting Xavier out no matter how many players they lose. Tu Holloway, Mark Lyons, Kenny Frease, Dez Wells are gone. A huge chunk of their incoming class is ineligible. Yet, they keep on being Xavier almost to the point of annoyance. They're like the final fight scene in a Lethal Weapon movie where the villan keeps coming back to life after he's been shot ten time. No disrespect to Musketeer fans, but this film is one I'd just like to see end until the sequel comes out few years later. I'm sick of seeing X at the top of the conference and in spite of me thinking they could miss Brooklyn, they're going to be in the thick of things at the end of the season.

We'll stay in Ohio for my biggest surprised of the season, Youngstown St who have left GW and Georgia in their Penguiny wake. Aside from the ever exciting Kendrick Perry, YSU is a team where no other other individual every stood out for me in Greentree. I'd notice the occasional nice play here or there, but I didn't see many strong complementary pieces. Damion Eargle who was basically a non factor in the Pro - Am has been very good as have Blake Allen, the second leading scorer from last year and Kamren Berlin.

To get as chiche as possible, that is why they play the games. Honestly, the Dukes are a handful of missed opportunities away from being on the list themselves. Certain opponents look better so far while some look worse. What I do know is that I'm grateful to talk about real results rather than speculate on what is to come. If I had something better to do or write about in the offseason, I'd just not make predictions. Too bad I'm bored, write compulsively and enjoy self critiquing later on.