By KEVIN McNAMARA
It’s always one of the sweeter days of the late summer.
The sun may still be warm, the golf courses green and the surfers hunting for some rippin’ waves but the promise of cold, winter nights and basketball dreams always hit me every in September. Now I’m the biggest fan of summer there is but I cannot wait to drive by my favorite news stand, Healy’s in Wakefield, before the leaves start to fall.
Yes Healy’s sells some mean cigars and plenty of New York Posts but the magazine collection is top notch. If you New Agers haven’t pleasured yourselves yet with a cigar, a newspaper or a magazine, give it a try. Your grandfather did, after all.
The magazines I get all jazzed up over are the annual sports preview deals. College football in June is cool but nothing like the anticipation of Athlon and Lindy’s and whoever else chases the college basketball game. Way, way back as a youngster I couldn’t wait to steal my Uncle Kenny’s Street & Smith’s annual. When I started to write for the Sporting News and Lindy’s and Athlon as a 20-something I truly couldn’t believe my dumb luck.
Anyways the magazines have hit Healy’s and maybe even your local Shaw’s and Stop-n-Shop. Here’s the quick run-down from the first one out on the racks (Lindy’s):
Big East: 1. Villanova 2. Creighton 3. UConn 4. Seton Hall 5. Providence 6. St. John’s 7. Marquette 8. Xavier 9. Butler 10. Georgetown 11. DePaul.
The Friars at five is about right. First off that will mean an NCAA bid, although the Lindy’s folks have yet to catch on. They slotted only four Big East teams in the Dance. Sorry fellas, that’s probably never going to happen. Villanova is being picked top five (4th in Lindy’s) virtually everywhere. The loss of Saddiq Bey is a huge one, but maybe this is the year for Portsmouth’s Cole Swider to start swishing some threes.
Other Big East observation? The UConn doubters are playing a fool’s game. Yes the American isn’t the Big East but UConn was going to be good this year regardless of its conference. Dan Hurley’s Huskies have depth at the guard spot, promise up front and oodles of athleticism.
Atlantic 10: 1. Richmond 2. Saint Louis 3. St. Bonny 4. Dayton 5. Duquesne 6. Rhode Island 7. Davidson 8. GW 9. UMass 10. George Mason 11. VCU 12. La Salle 13. Saint Joe’s 14. Fordham
I personally like Saint Louis atop this league but the Billikens and Spiders can clearly play with anyone with the bulk of their teams returning and a few sweet newcomers sprinkled in. URI’s standing here is clouded by the fact that the editors did not know that half the team would be cleared for waivers and avoid sitting out the season. I can see the Rams as high as third with their new-found depth and firepower.
Who knows if there will even be an Ivy League season but Lindy’s has Mike martin’s crew picked fourth. That would be reason for celebration on the East Side. Yale is picked to win the Ancient Eight.
People are starting to get the clue that Bryant is rising in the Northeast Conference. Jared Grasso has retooled his roster once again and the Bulldogs are picked to finish sixth. That’s seems a slot or two low to me.
That’s it for the sampler from Lindy’s. I just know Athlon is a week or so away and as the temperatures cool and the beaches empty we’ll be left with plenty of clean Covid tests and the return of college basketball in some odd shape or form.