Any time someone is coming up with a list of college basketball writers to follow on Twitter, Andy Glockner's name will inevitably come up. The former Penn football player has covered college basketball for both ESPN and Sports Illustrated and has now lived in Denver for over a year. This allows him to provide a different voice on the Buffs as someone who is an outsider, but is close enough to see them in person as well. Andy was nice enough to let me harrass him about both the Buffs and the Pac-12 (note: all answers from Glockner were emailed to me on November 20th). So as soon as you've made sure that you're following him on Twitter, read on to see what he had to say about the upcoming season.
AllBuffs: As someone who is in the bubble, it's easy for us to believe that the Pac-12 is back on a national level. However, as someone who can provide a dose of reality to the situation, how do you see the P12 performing this year? Is it back to the levels that the conference used to be at or does it still have a way to go?
Andy Glockner: I don't think the Pac-12 is back to its previous heights because there's only one team that looks to be a reasonable Final Four contender. That said, it's bounced back very nicely from the trough of a few years ago. In the preseason, I thought the league could get seven teams into the NCAAs, and that still looks quite possible. It's a very good league, and the prep talent on the West Coast is rising, so this shouldn't be a blip. I like the prognosis for the league going forward.
AB: Everyone knows that Arizona is a potential Final Four team. Who else in the P12 could you see making a bit of noise this March?
AG: I think Oregon has the best potential to make a run. Dana Altman is a terrific coach and he's done an excellent job integrating transfers into their system. Assuming Dom Artis and Ben Carter return and play as expected, they will be a difficult team to handle.
AB: As for CU, what do you think the national perception of the program is? Are they considered up and coming or a bit unproven and still potentially a flash in the plan?
AG: I think nationally, Colorado is considered to be a program on the rise with a very good coach, but one that now needs to take that next step. That means winning national nonconference games and winning NCAA tournament games. There's no doubt support for the program is at an all-time peak, and assuming Tad stays around, there's no reason to think it won't continue to improve, at least to a certain level. Colorado won't ever be Kansas, but it doesn't have to be to be an excellent national program.
AB: Everyone knows about Spencer Dinwiddie. Who is the Buff that you think a lot of people could be talking about this March?
AG: Xavier Johnson is the obvious choice. Big talent, needs to grow into a more expanded leading role as this season moves along.
AB: There's lots of buzz surrounding the visits of Kansas and Arizona and deservedly so as they're big time programs. But what are some of the games on CU's slate that maybe won't get the same hoopla but are equally dangerous or prominent?
AG: UCSB won't be a bargain tomorrow night. That's a very capable team. Same with Harvard, which has a frontcourt that a lot of BCS schools would trade for in a heartbeat. Harvard's not loaded with huge frontcourt players, but they're active and skilled and deep, and the backcourt has two primary ballhandlers and a number of good shooters. Very legit.
Once again, thank you to Andy for taking the time to answer our questions. You can follow him on twitter to keep up to date on his college basketball thoughts.