This is my favorite time of year by far, I love College Basketball. Throughout the season I am planning on posting like I do with College Football and covering the Tournament according to Joe Lunardis Bracketology which is usually updated weekly talking about bubble teams and teams I expect to make the Tournament as well as other ideas I stumble upon when doing research.
Below are Season previews by Power Conferences along with other which is all other conferences. Plus the Preseason AP Top 25
The Syracuse Orange gave us madness in March making it all the way to the final four out of nowhere. Next year I see The Orange as an NCAA Tournament bubble team because of their stud player Tyler Lydon. So what does the rest of the ACC have in store this year? Duke is the #1 team in the Nation to start the year returning Grayson Allen and adding key freshman assets. I see Duke and North Carolina being on their own island in this conference. Other teams to watch include Virginia who I believe is going to fall off this year simply because of the seniors they lost, but they still have London Perrantes who will be the leader. There is a lot of hype around The Florida State Seminoles this year because of Mister Bacon, as well as NC State because of Dennis Smith. Outside of those teams we really do not know much about any other teams we are just going to have to wait and see. However, I will give my favorites to at least make the Tournament or just outside of it. I believe Miami, Louisville, Notre Dame, Pitt, NC State and Virginia Tech will all make it or be close to it, as well as the teams I mentioned above.
If you do not know Kansas’s Josh Jackson yet, get to know him because this guy is going to be a fantastic player and is projected the #1 pick in next year’s NBA Draft. Throw Jackson on a team with Frank Mason, Devonte Graham, Malik Newman, Carlton Bragg, Tyler Self, and Landen Lucas and they without a doubt should win the BIG 12 outright. However, Oklahoma will make a lot of noise even though losing Buddy Hield hurts, they returned good players in Dante Buford, Christian James, and Jordan Woodard. Iowa State will hang around being led by Monte Morris, who is my sleeper for the player of the year. Texas, West Virginia, and Baylor are all pretty iffy this year, but we will see.
The National Champs are going to pick up the season right where they left off. Villanova lost Ryan Arcidiacono, but returned Josh Hart and Kris Jenkins. I believe Nova is the favorite. However, Xavier is not far behind returning Edmond Sumner and Trevon Bluiett. Also, look out for a Creighton team who is very good to contend, along with Seton Hall, Butler, Georgetown, and Providence. I believe just like last year The Big East will be one of the most competitive conferences if not the most competitive.
Right now I do not see a clear favorite in this conference. Wisconsin returned a lot of players, MSU has freshman talent, Indiana has Thomas Bryant and Maryland has Melo Trimble. Those are the top 4 teams to me. Purdue, Iowa, Michigan, Ohio State, and even Illinois can easily step into that top 4. After that this conference falls way off. This conference has the most talent to me, but it is a matter of who is going use their talent to be successful and make a deep tournament run.
To me in this conference we are going to see the closest battle for first. Oregon returned Dillion Brooks, Chris Boucher and Dylan Ennis from their Elite 8 run. Arizona returned Parker Jackson Cartwright and recruited some phenomenal freshman. These two are going to go at, may the better team win. Outside of Oregon and Zona is UCLA who has a stud named Lonzo Ball and yes he can ball along with senior leadership from Bryce Alford. Cal gets Ivan Rabb back who has a ton of potential playing alongside Jabari Bird. Also, Utah will find a way to remain in the conversation. Washington could be a new team to talk about in the mix because of their best player Markelle Fultz.
Kentucky once again is the obvious favorite in this conference. Calpari says that this is one of his favorite freshman classes to ever come through, so as a viewer I am excited to sit back and watch. Personally I believe this conference is getting worse and worse. Right now LSU returning Antonio Blackney and adding Brandon Sampson is a contender along with Texas A/M, Arkansas, Florida and Vandy. Everyone else has a lot to prove, so we will have to wait and see.
Rhode Island is the top team to fit into the other conference category. EC Matthews is a monster and he should lead URI to the tournament. Dayton returned Scoochie Smith, so they have the power to shut down RIU in the A10 along with VCU with Mo Alie-Cox and Davidson with Jack Gibbs. SMU, Temple, Cincy, Houston, Uconn, and Memphis are all capable of making noise out of the AAC. Alec Peters will pick Valpo back up where they left off last year. Of course Wichita State will be in tournament talks along with Northern Iowa. Boise State and San Diego State will battle it out in the Mountain West looking for a tournament berth. Chattanooga is just a good as they were last year, so they are an early upset pick favorite. Plus, Stephan F Austin who finished undefeated in the Southland Conference last year have proved they are a team to deal with. Gonzaga, St Marys, and BYU will once again be fun to watch in the WCC we will see what they can bring to the table when the season starts.
Preseason AP Top 25
- St Marys
- West Virginia
- Rhode Island
- Iowa State
Receiving Votes: Cincy,Dayton, FSU, Cal, SDSU, MIami, NC State, Butler, Wichita State, OSU, Virginia Tech, Florida, Texas A/M, Miss State, Oklahoma, Colorado, Michigan, Monmouth, Notre Dame, Washington, Seton Hall, Princeton, Ohio, Vandy, Harvard.