On to the third of our 2012-13 college basketball preview magazines. We'll spend the money on all of them so that you can spend your money on just the best. We've already covered Athlon Sports and Lindy's Sports reviews, so make sure you check those out if you haven't picked up a guide yet. Today it's the Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook, which bills itself as the "most comprehensive college basketball publication on the market." We'll see about that.
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Cover: Features their picks for 1st Team All-Americans: Cody Zeller (Indiana), Deshaun Thomas (Ohio State), Peyton Siva (Louisville), Doug McDermott (Creighton), and Michael Snaer (Florida State).
There are none. And this is one of the things which separates this guide from the rest. There are a few bookkeeping pages in the beginning (pages 1-5) which have the Letter from the Editor, the list of contributors, the index, the All-American Teams and a page which shows the top-25. After that, it's all reviews. There aren't any lists. There aren't any interviews. There's no recruiting information. There's no fluff. In other words – everything you can find ad nauseum on the web (and for free), is left out of the guide. There aren't even any pictures.
Previews: There are basically three levels of coverage. The teams in the top-25 all get about three pages. The high and upper-mids all get 1+ pages, and the smallest schools get about 3/4 of a page. But keep in mind that there aren't any pictures. There aren't any call-out boxes. It's just solid information. You want a hundred words on Michigan's Eso Akunne (who?), you got it, along with a quote from Coach Beilein about how Eso's surgery went.
This guide is remarkable in its depth. It truly is the most comprehensive guide on the market, and it's not even close. I keep mine on my desk or on my couch, and as I flip through games during the regular season then I read about the teams or players with which I'm not that familiar. It really enhances the experience.
This isn't to say the guide is perfect. It definitely contains mistakes – Andy Enfield, for example, is still listed as an assistant coach at FSU even though he's entering his 2nd season as head coach at Florida Gulf Coast. It would be nice if they clear these things up.
You should buy it right now. Yes, it costs more, but like shoes and peanut butter, certain things require that you spend more money on them. The other guides I've looked at are slick, but they aren't necessarily helpful. I buy them because I'm a hoops junky, but this is the one, at least of the reviews I've covered.