Tuesday, September 18, 2007

2007-2008 Athlon College Basketball Preview Magazine Review

Yes, the first preview magazines have been out for a couple of weeks. I picked up the Athlon Sports 2007-2008 preview from Borders Bookstores. Just like I did last year when I reviewed four of them, I'll be reviewing some of the 2007-2008 magazines, starting with the Athlon!

For reference, this is my 2006-2007 Athlon review. I am using a different format this year. If you want to relive the 2006-2007 NCAA tournament, every game is available on DVD!. And if you prefer a free online previews, check out our gigantic 2007-2008 preview links.

One more thing, plan ahead for the season, what is the best way to record your favorite college basketball games?

And now I am putting on my magazine reviewer hat: Cover price is $6.99 and it says "Display until December 21, 2007" on the front cover. This is a price increase of $1 from last year! The one I got is the west coast bias edition with Stanford's Brook Lopez and Cal's DeVon Hardin. The magazine is 194 pages long and printed in quality glossy paper.

It starts with an editorial from editor Mitchell Light, then the table of contents. An alphabetical team listing is available on page 11 so you can quickly look up any team.

General Interest Stories

  • Ads are not included in the page counts below.
  • 10 things to watch in 2007-08 spotlights, you guessed it, ten things! Included are OJ Mayo, Helen of Troy of the Big Eleven (Eric Gordon), McKillop's Wildcats, Tubby Smith. (4 pages long)
  • Five pages of Hoops Madness, a pot pouri of tidbits and notes, including a Bob Knight quote, a list of 15 emerging college stars, Top 10 players in these four categories (Floor Leaders, Shooters, Slashers, Inside-Out, Post Men), the top 18 transfers, and a list offensively challegned players (they have more game starts than field goals made!).
  • A list of the coaching changes (page 23)
  • A list of the D1 Exempt holiday tournaments (page 27)
  • A three page feature on Young Coaches Stealing the Spotlight featuring among others Billy the Diva, Ben Howling Wolf, JT III, Mark "AASAA?" Turgeon, and Thad Matta.
  • A New Hope, a full page story spotlighting Billy Gillispe and Kentucky. When you are Kentucky, you get a full page to yourself to discuss the coaching change!
  • A long list of 2008 Bob Cousy Award candidates including two players from D2 and D3 each (Spoiler Alert: Greg Paula is included).
  • "The Fix", a two page look on Tulane's 80s scandalous past
  • Full page interviews with three players, Bama's Ron Steele, Huggins's Kansas State's Billy Walker, and Izzo's Drew Neitzel
  • Field of 65 predictions in cascading bracket style (2 pages). I won't reveal their final four, but the two teams they pick for the championships could easily make their own Lord of the Rings movies! Also projected is the post-season NIT field! NIT Love! NITology is picking up momentum!
  • Traditionally preview magazines feature their top 25 or top 40 teams with a capsulte for each team, but not this magazine!
  • Three five-player All American Teams, with a ...psycho predicted as POY (player of the year). Also 25 honorable mentions and six super freshmen.
  • Women's Preview: The preseason top 25 with a paragraph for each team (two pages long), pages 190-191
  • The Back Page (inside back cover) looks at some of the most famous coaching trees, starting with James Naismith and taking stops at Kentucky and North Carolina. Also featured, UCLA, Indiana and Duke.
  • CSS, the Comcast Sports South cable channel took out an ad sdvertising 175+ men's and women's college basketball games in 2007-2008 (page 19)
  • There are no scheduled in this magazine (since it is printed so early)
  • Grade: B++

  • Shop for your favorite college's gear, apparel, licensed products, books and DVDs at Amazon.com!

    Recruiting Coverage
  • Recruiting coverage in the preview is provided by Scout.com. Starting at page 183.
  • Top 100 players of 2007. I won't reveal who they picked #1 but you may have it in your sandwich. I won't reveal the #3 either, but that's all you need according to the Beatles.
  • Top 25 recruiting classes (just a list)
  • Top 101-300 class of 2007 with college of choice listed
  • Top 100 players broken down in Top 20s for each traditional position
  • Top 100 2008 class
  • Top 25 2009 class. I won't do you any favors by revealing the #1 ;-)
  • Top 10 2010 class

    Conference Previews
  • The BCS conferences get a full page conference preview that includes: predicted finish order, 06-07 team standings, Team Recruiting Ranking, All conference first, second and third team, and Player of the Year, Defensive player of the year, Most Underrated and Newcomer of the Year. Conferences with a full page preview: ACC, Big 10, Big 12, Big East, Pac 10 and SEC. If you are keeping count, yes they are the six BCS teams :)
  • The remaining conferences only get an All-Conference team, nothing else!

    2007 NCAA College Basketball Tournament games on DVD!

    Team Previews
  • The BCS teams get a full page preview for each team. Each preview has an intro, frontcourt, backcourt adn final analysis. Rosters with jersey numbers, height/weight, class status, hometown and detailed statistics from 06-07 are inclded. Props to Athlon for this! The incoming players are included at the bottom of the roster and a short paragraph briefly introduces them. Another nice touch by Athlon! Key players gone from 06-07 are also included, as well as how did the team do in the post-season. No coaching records, just a mention of the head coach. A player from the team is usually pictured within the preview.
  • High mid-major teams predicted to get to the post-season (NCAA or NIT) get a half-page review, with a detailed roster, but not as detailed as the BCS teams. For example, four Atlantic 10 teams get half-page previews, while the remaining 10 teams get about 1/6th of a page of full text. Other mid-major conferences receiving half-page reviews for their top teams: The Colonial, Conference USA, the MAC, Missouri Valley, Mountain West, the WAC, and WCC. The only mid-major conference teams receiving full page (instead of half-page) reviews are Memphis and Gonzaga.
  • The mid-majors get just one paragraph instead of a full page. The top teams in the mid-major conferences get longer paragraphs. No rosters, no nothing, but the top players of each time are discussed in the preview.

  • No schedules posted, apart from the exempt holiday season tournaments. This is understandable since the magazine is posted so early.
  • No coaching records or list of assistant coaches
  • Teams from non-BCS conference who are not projected to make the post-season get either one paragraph or 1/6th of a page. Not very mid-major/low-major friendly.
  • Only two pages of women's coverage

    Stand-out features
  • Detailed rosters with jersey numbers (for those following the games on TV), and detailed statistics from 06-07 (points, rebounds, percentages, etc)
  • Nice coverage for all BCS teams, along with Memphis and Gonzaga
  • List of Bob Cousy 2008 award candidates
  • Good recruiting coverage
  • Nice general interest features

    Compared to the other preview magazines
  • Coming later! This is the first preview magazine I got so there's nothing to compare it with :)

    2007 NCAA College Basketball Tournament games on DVD!

  • This is a nice preview magazine for the college basketball fan!
  • Fans of BCS teams will love it
  • Nice set of general interest features
  • If your favorite non-BCS team is projected to make the NCAA or the NIT you get a nice half-page preview with a complete roster. If not, you will be disappointed by the coverage.
  • Which magazine to get? At the time of writing only this one and Lindy's are available. I haven't looked at Lindy's this year, but I do recommend the Athlon assuming you do not object to its shortcomings.

    Get Ready for the 2007-2008 season!
  • Scout the teams by getting 2006-2007 NCAA tournaments on DVD! from Amazon.
  • Shop for your favorite college's gear, apparel, licensed products, books and DVDs at Amazon.com!
  • Also be sure to check out my Gigantic 2007-2008 online preview of links to online previews
  • Get historic and classic college basketball dvds from Amazon!
  • Sprawl on the couch and draw plays like a real coach!.
  • If you liked this review, and you want to see more magazines reviewed, please let me know!
  • If you are a publisher and you want your magazine to be mercilessly reviewed, please let me know!
  • If you are a billionaire and you loved this review, and you want to send me a million dollar check, I'll gladly take it!

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