In Clark Kellogg's opinion, there's no point in guessing how incoming freshman might perform at the college level.

While it's fun to wonder, the expectations are unfair to those athletes. And, many times, that speculation is off.

"As much as I've read about them and heard of them, I usually haven't seen [those freshman] much in high school," Kellogg says. "Even if I had, I reserve judgment until I see them in the college environment.

"I try to give the freshman a few games to evaluate and see whether they will live up to their hype. Some will live up to it, others will exceed it, and some will fall short."

Along those same lines, Kellogg isn't a fan of preseason rankings. With so many unknowns, the CBS commentator thinks it's better to let the season play out for four to six weeks, so that a fair judgment of teams being made.


Kellogg's views are uncommon in an era where offseason speculation has become a legitimate hobby for sports fans. And in college basketball, where freshmen factor into the national title race almost every year, Kellogg enters each season with only the most fundamental of preconceptions.

Based on its returning squads, Wisconsin and Kentucky rank highly in Kellogg's mind as teams that have a shot at the national title. Both have experienced upperclassmen, proven coaches and experience in the NCAA tournament.

But Kentucky also boasts an acclaimed freshman class, arguably the best in the country. When you factor in those expectations, along with coach John Calipari's plans to play two five-man units separately, Kentucky becomes one of the country's most intriguing teams.

"Will [the Wildcats] stay with this platoon system that they’re trying to employ?" Kellogg says. "Because of how unique it is, because of Calipari, because it's Kentucky, they might have more legs to stay with [the rotation] than another team.

"Because it’s so against the grain, I think it could be one of the stories that keeps our attention."

Wisconsin's big disadvantage, meanwhile, is that a strong returning roster hasn't been bolstered with any notable freshman additions.

Kellogg, who also serves as an advisory board member for the Capital One Cup, places a premium on experience in college basketball -- particularly once the single-elimination tournament hits. For that reason, he already has a few Cinderella-type programs on his radar.

"[Harvard] under Tommy Amaker, in the last few years, has won a second-round tournament game," Kellogg says. "They have that experience. [A lot of] those guys have returned.

"VCU is another one of those teams. ... After its run to the Final Four a few years back, [the program] has still been successful, but it might be primed and poised to go a little further. The weight of expectations can be burdensome, and I think [VCU] felt that for a while."

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