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Finding the good, bad, and funny in an eight-year-old college basketball preview magazine

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With the benefit of extreme hindsight, let’s see what’s inside an eight-year-old Sporting News college basketball preview.

NCAA Championship Game: Michigan State Spartans v North Carolina Tar Heels Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Using hindsight on eight-year old predictions is maybe not the fairest. It can be funny, though.

While cleaning out a drawer recently, I came across a Sporting News 2008-09 college basketball preview magazine. Because it was from that year, I decided against getting rid of it. Instead, let’s use some slightly unfair hindsight and look back at the good, bad, and funny predictions from eight years ago.

Hey, that’s a pretty good top ten. The correct national champion was picked. There are three Final Four teams in the top five. Almost everyone was picking Carolina at the start of the season, so it’s not shocking that it was the Sporting News’ pick, but that’s pretty solid.

In general, everything relating to North Carolina was pretty accurate. They were obviously also the pick to win the ACC. Picked to finish second in the conference that year was, unsurprisingly, Duke. If we go by ACC Tournament seeding, they actually finished third, but they did finish tied for second, so okay.

There is this, though:

Olek Czyz played a combined 19 games in two seasons and then transferred to Nevada in December 2009. Unfortunately, that didn’t end up mattering much that season.

Let’s check in on the NC State section:

“If you believe some N.C. State followers, the root of all evil in last year’s stunning collapse was a freshman who averaged 14.8 points and 8.5 rebounds a game and became a first-round NBA draftee. The loss of J.J. Hickson represents addition by subtraction they say.”

Even in an eight-year-old magazine, State fans get ravaged. Also with some tweaks, that paragraph could easily be inserted in a season preview for next year and no one would notice.

The Big 12 section is headlined “It’s up to Texas to start a conference streak of national titles.” In related news, the Big 12 did not have a streak of national titles, and has not had one in the eight years following the release of this magazine.

In the SEC, it reads “After a down year by its standards, league should return to form.” The SEC got only three tournament teams, of which only one won a game.

Most magazines like this have a section of the top high school prospects, and this one is no exception. Somehow, this one makes literally no mention of John Wall. I know the situation around Wall wasn’t the most straight forward, but that’s weird. It’s especially jarring considering one of the other high school players pictured:

Let’s end with a quote from the Alabama section:

“‘I think we have a chance to be very good this year’ says (Mark) Gottfried, whose team must improve its defense and foul shooting.”

Some things never change.