Matt Norlander’s annual extravaganza of looking at all 353 teams is back for the 2019-20 season
I don’t run from my issues, I embrace them. Yes, I have a problem. Every October, as my family has come to expect and dread, I can’t stop ranking college basketball teams. As in, every single one of them. Three-hundred-and-fifty-freaking-three. I consult the data, check rosters, check in with coaches, rank and re-rank and then re-rank another 50-or-so times. It’s wacko. I love it.
So here I am again for you, college hoops fan, to help guide you along the way of the 2019-20 season. While there are ever-valuable metrics out there that have assorted all 353 teams in college basketball, this is the only place you’ll find all 353 in order based on fallible human research and inner-monologue doubt — with written capsules for each, in an easily readable and reliable location!
And I always take a few chances. With so many teams, accurate predictions for 32 leagues is impossible. So you’ll find a few schools slotted well higher or lower than they’re positioned elsewhere. I spent the past month building this, and since this ranking is already long enough, I won’t waste any more of your time. Enjoy the annual 1-353 rankings, then come find me on Twitter (@MattNorlander) and we’ll chat about it.
|You won’t find anyone with a different team in the preseason No. 1 spot. The Spartans debuted Monday at No. 1 in the AP Top 25 for the first time in program history. Coming off a Final Four showing, the biggest reason for MSU’s positioning above all others is the fact it returns the borderline-consensus preseason pick for national player of the year, Cassius Winston. But the emergence of Xavier Tillman and then growth of Aaron Henry sets up MSU to have as much strength, length, athleticism, veteran savvy and offensive creativity and integrity as any team in America. There is a snag, though: Josh Langford’s foot injuries won’t go away. That’s a major downer; reports say he’s not expected to be back until January at the earliest. Still, the Spartans set up as the best team if/when he’s healthy. Maybe this team doesn’t win a national title, but it’s hard to make a case for any other club to be No. 1 before we tip off the season.|
|The Jayhawks have a big man (Udoka Azubuike) and a point guard (Devon Dotson) who could end up as first- and/or second-team All-Americans. The return/eligibility of Silvio De Sousa is significant, plus there will a sneaky-good addition in Iowa transfer Isaiah Moss, who I think will average nearly 15 points. Ochai Agbaji is the guy who hasn’t received much attention, but I like Kansas at No. 2 because of Agbaji’s breakout potential. A postseason ban could be on the table for 2021 for KU hoops, so I expect this team to be demonstrative and to play without mercy as frequently as their opponents allow.|
|This season’s Kentucky squad isn’t receiving as much prevalent preseason praise as plenty of previous squads under John Calipari, but I love the fact that UK returns two backcourt players, which is obviously uncommon for Cal. Ashton Hagans, maybe a top-10 defender in college hoops, and Immanuel Quickley, who is going to irrefutably be better, give UK good strength and tempo in the backcourt. In comes a firecracker, Tyrese Maxey, who I believe will be the team’s best player. Up front, more experience returns in the form of EJ Montgomery and Nick Richards. Plus, former Bucknell big man Nate Sestina is in the mix and could prove pivotal. Defensively, things look stout. This is not a super-flashy team, but the floor is extremely high for this group and the ceiling is winning the national title.|
|Without Cole Anthony, there would be zero case to have UNC as a top-15 team. Fortunately, Anthony is set to be a volume-heavy player who could well put up a Trae Young-lite stat line for a Heels team that lost its top five scorers from last season, the first time that’s ever happened to a Roy Williams-coached Tar Heels team. Garrison Brooks is the only returning starter, but two transfers, Christian Keeling (Charleston Southern) and Justin Pierce (William & Mary), could keep UNC’s offense from dropping too far off in pace and efficiency. Ultimately, though, it’s all about Anthony, who could be the sport’s most discussed player by mid-January.|
|By belief, and not by contrarian design, you’ll find a number of teams throughout these rankings that are either ranked higher or lower than pretty much anywhere else you look. Maryland’s one of those. I’m still a believer in Anthony Cowan, despite the fact he’s not truly tapped into his potential the past two seasons. Jalen Smith could take a leap so big this season, he winds up playing himself into the 2020 draft’s top 10. In January, freshman big Chol Marial could/should factor in. Defensive stalwart Darryl Morsell returns, too. Terps fans, it’s been a long time since your team was assembled with this much talent and experience. No school in history has been No. 2 in the AP Poll for more weeks (26) and yet never been No. 1 than Maryland. Can this be the year?|
|The Gators got Kerry Blackshear Jr. and set themselves up for a big-time season in Mike White’s fifth season with the program. Blackshear will be set up by Andrew Nembhard, a low-blood-pressure point guard who has length and headiness. Noah Locke and Keyontae Johnson are sophomores, and they’ll be bolstered by a pair of alluring freshmen, Scottie Lewis and Tre Mann. Look for a huge year-over-year jump for UF, which was a No. 10 seed in the 2019 NCAA Tournament. For the first time since Billy Donovan was coaching in Gainesville will square up with Kentucky for the crown of the SEC.|
|Credit to David Teel of the Daily Press for discovering this interesting factoid: Virginia is going to be the first reigning champ in men’s D-I hoops to open the season on the road in 52 years. UVA plays at Syracuse on Nov. 6, and the ACC intra-league matchup is happening as means to bring attention and celebration to the dawning of the ACC Network. Now, UVA at No. 7? Yeah, that feels pretty close to right. Sure, the program is losing three players to early NBA Draft entry for the first time in its history, but this is Virginia and it’s still got arguably the best coach going in the sport. Jay Huff, Kihei Clark, Braxton Key and Mamadi Diakite all return, all players that logged significant minutes a season ago. And until UVA shows it can take a big step back regardless of who’s on the roster, I’ll be ranking the Wahoos in the preseason top 10 every season going forward until they fail to finish as a top-10 team by season’s end.|
|Mark Few has earned the benefit of the doubt; he did around a decade ago. The Zags are a Final Four contender yet again, most notably because Killian Tillie opted to return. Without him, Gonzaga might be borderline top 25, as the Bulldogs have fewer returning minutes than any other team in the CBS Sports Top 25 (and 1). Admon Gilder is the transfer to note in Spokane after a solid stint with Texas A&M. I love this freshman of theirs, Drew Timme, who will rate as a top-15 player in college hoops if he’s there two years from now. Corey Kispert is the breakout name to know. This team will need time to jell and strengthen, but I’d be surprised if Gonzaga wasn’t as good as any No. 2 or No. 3 seed by Selection Sunday.|
|Junior Jordan Nwora was chosen as the ACC Preseason Player of the Year. Here’s what’s crazy: Louisville hasn’t had a player win a postseason POY in its own conference since 1993-94, when the Cards were in the Metro and Clifford Rozier did it. For as talented as Nwora is, Louisville rates as a top-10 team to me because it should have as strong of a seven-man rotation as almost any other team in the top 10. Look for Saint Joseph’s transfer Lamarr Kimble to be the X-factor. Steven Enoch will play off the bench, but I’m not sure that will be the case by league play. He’ll battle with Malik Williams for that spot. Both players give Louisville a needed length presence and plenty of room to grow as high-level rebounders.|
|I actually debated slotting the Blue Devils around No. 13 or 14, but heading into the season it’s hard for me to make a case they can be any lower than No. 10 or 11. Tre Jones will have a lot of responsibility and expectation — he’s merely a sophomore, you know — to guide a freshman-laden team to the top of the ACC. Duke hasn’t finished atop the league standings in a decade, yet was picked to win the ACC yet again. The newbies are Vernon Carey Jr. at C, Matthew Hurt at PF, Cassius Stanley at SG and Wendell Moore at SF. Alex O’Connell, Jack White and Javin DeLaurier will also get minutes. This should be a deeper team, but those freshman pieces look a little incongruent, at least when compared against the teams listed above Duke here. Jones is going to have to be a top-three defender and probably account for 30 points between shots and assists in order to have Duke get a No. 1 seed yet again.|
|Chris Clarke left Virginia Tech and will have a chance to shine playing for Chris Beard, fresh off that national title game loss to Virginia. The Red Raiders have never been in this position before. Last season was the best in school history. TTU isn’t normally given the benefit of the doubt when multiple good players depart. Beard has changed that. It would be a borderline shock of TTU isn’t top-25 material yet again. Davide Moretti’s 92.4% free-throw percentage is highest among all returning players in D-I. Jahmi’us Ramsey’s the freshman to know. Kyler Edwards will be the breakout star. Red Raiders have become must-watch material, which wasn’t true for 98% of their existence.|
|No coach at a new spot inherits a better situation this season than 45-year-old John Brannen, who bumped up from Northern Kentucky to UC after Mick Cronin left his alma mater to take the UCLA job. Brannen will have a potential All-American in senior tweener Jarron Cumberland (18.8 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 3.6 apg, 38.8% 3-point shooting). Cumberland will probably put up gaudy enough stats that, if UC can be a top-15 team (I’m probably higher on Cincinnati than anyone else in national media), he’ll have a chance at national player of the year. The Bearcats should have a nice blend of size, shooting, depth and a jolt from Brannen’s system/style.|
|The Tigers are the most interesting team in college basketball this season. No one really knows how good Penny Hardaway and the No. 1-ranked recruiting class of 2019 will be. Might be a No. 1 seed. Might be a No. 8 seed. I’ll lean closer to the former, but hesitate against crowning this group in advance of seeing them play a game. James Wiseman should be a top-five pick come June, but what of Boogie Ellis, Precious Achiuwa, Damion Baugh and D.J. Jeffries? And do you realize that NINE players on this roster have freshman designation? What a fascinating experiment this will be.|
|I’ll buy Ohio State at a bargain. D.J. Carton could be the most utilized freshman in the Big Ten. Kaleb Wesson is probably the best post player in the league. Luther Muhammad is the best Big Ten guard you don’t know about. Plus, Chris Holtmann’s proven his coaching chops at this point. He’s won 20 or more games six seasons straight despite doing that at three schools and with a lot of unexpected roster issues along the way in most of those seasons. Here, 69% of the team’s minutes return, which is nice. The Buckeyes have potential to boast a top-10 defense in the sport.|
|Here’s the first ‘whoa-whoa-whoa’ ranking. Yes, I have the Providence Freakin’ Friars this high. I think the top of the Big East could wind up being shared by PC, Villanova and Seton Hall. Ed Cooley’s coaching credibility increases by the season, and a season after missing the NCAAs for the first time since 2013, I think PC is going to ricochet right back to national relevancy. Alpha Diallo is a top-50 player in college hoops, and the roster isn’t shy on confidence. UMass grad transfer Luwane Pipkins might be a top-100 player in college basketball, too; he’ll run point, and be a big upgrade after last season. Nate Watson, A.J. Reeves, David Duke and Maliek White fill out a top-six that I think is the best in the Big East.|
|The Ducks, who lured in the No. 4-rated recruiting class of 2019, narrowly edged Colorado and Washington in the Pac-12’s preseason poll, but I think they’ll prove to definitely be better than those two teams. Oregon has one of the three most valuable players in the conference — point guard Payton Pritchard — and will introduce some fascinating new talent. N’Faly Dante (eligibility in question to start the season) is a lengthy freshman center who could become a top-10 player in the league. Fellow frosh C.J. Walker should show tempting flashes. UNLV transfer Shakur Juiston is probably a top-five transfer in the sport this season. The Ducks will be dangerous if their lack of depth isn’t an issue.|
|The Wildcats are going to watch Saddiq Bey pop, Collin Gillespie make the leap, Jermaine Samuels round out into one of the best third options in the Big East — and see Cole Swider emerge as a 3-point threat. VU also has two nice freshman talents in Bryan Antoine and Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, but injury issues with Antoine will force him to miss the start of the season and thus have me slotting Jay Wright’s team behind Providence. Nova landed the No. 5 overall recruiting class, but Wright’s not one to lean so heavily on freshmen.|
|The Boilermakers lose a top-five player in program history in Carsen Edwards, but they return three top-100 players in college basketball: Matt Haarms, Trevion Williams and Nojel Eastern. Plus, an interesting transfer plug-and-play guy in Jahaad Proctor (19.5 ppg at High Point), who will definitely eat up some of those shots Edwards was taking the past two seasons. Purdue should wind up having a deeper roster this season as well. I’d be surprised if Evan Boudreaux and Sasha Stefanovic don’t get a lot of run and keep Purdue’s offense humming. For the second time in his tenure, Matt Painter will have Purdue dancing for a sixth straight season. |
|Going forward, coaches know that getting a team that returns all five starters will be a once-in-a-decade thing, (if THAT) given the prolific number of transfers, the nature of graduation and just how many players are committing to leaving college early to pursue professional opportunities. Davidson’s got all five back this season, though, and I don’t see how anyone can keep a 24-win team from a season ago outside the preseason top 25. A four-guard lineup featuring Kellan Grady (17.3 ppg) and Atlantic 10 Player of the Year Jon Axel Gudmundsson (16.9 ppg, 7.3 rpg). This is Bob McKillop’s 31st season at Davidson. This will be one of the five best teams of his tenure.|
|Unless you’re a Bears fan, you probably don’t realize how good Tristan Clark (14.4 ppg, 72.1 FG%) is. He required knee surgery in January and missed the team’s last 20 games. Baylor’s somehow managed to go 39-29 the past two seasons in spite of losing six players to injury, eligibility or transfer. Scott Drew’s done a great job, and if its health is good all season long, Baylor should be a top-three in the Big 12. Clark will have Jared Butler — No. 99 in our top 101 list; Clark is 19th — plus a key transfer from Auburn, Davion Mitchell. Undersized Mark Vital (14th in OReb%) is one of the best rebounders in college hoops. Baylor’s 11 a.m. local tip on Nov. 5 vs. Central Arkansas will be the first game of the 2019-20 season.|
|Buying a lot of Arizona stock heading into the season. Sean Miller’s program won’t be dinged until 2020-21, and Nico Mannion might be one of the five or six best point guards in the sport this season. Fellow frosh Josh Green, who may well turn into a 2020 first-rounder, is a top-100 player. The addition of UC Irvine grad transfer Max Hazzard makes this team all the more appealing. The only backcourt maybe better than Arizona’s in the Pac-12 is up in Boulder, Colorado. Not Final Four hopefuls, but I expect the Wildcats to easily land a single-digit seed after a season away from the NCAA Tournament.|
|If senior point guard Marcus Evans remains healthy, VCU is going to be back in a spot where it’s vying for top-five seeding, which happened in back-to-back years in 2013 and ’14. The Rams have depth, should be a top-10-level defensive team and will fight with Davidson atop a much improved Atlantic 10. It’s good to see the A-10 back in the mix with one of its three most important programs built to win 25-plus games.|
|The energy still emanating from this photo has me concerned I’ve underrated the Hall and that the Pirates are set to have their best season in 20-plus years. Myles Powell is a preseason NPOY candidate, but SHU has more than just him. Four starters return, and this is one of the tallest teams in college hoops. The Big East is going to be real good this season, kiddos.|
|Sam Merrill’s shooting line last season: 90.6 FT%,52.9 FG%, 36.9 3-pt%. There were only two other players in college hoops who shot at least 89/52/36: Texas Tech’s Davide Moretti and Northeastern’s Jordan Roland. Merrill was the best player in the Mountain West last season, but he’ll have a key component back in power forward Neemias Queta, who was one of the most surprising freshmen last season. Craig Smith has USU nationally relevant — and he’s going to be the coaching face of his conference in only his second season on the job.|
|Since Shaka Smart arrived in Austin, UT has rated 306, 212, 316 and 320 in adjusted tempo, according to KenPom. Just a hunch, but I think the Longhorns force the pace much more this season. Will Baker is the freshman to know; he’s a center who was a four-star recruit, someone who’s likely to be the latest big man to thrive under Smart. Point guard Matt Coleman will start out as the team’s best player, but if it’s Jericho Sims by the time March gets here, I wouldn’t be stunned. Pivotal season ahead for Smart, who knows a strong season will keep him in Austin.|
|Mike Brey isn’t happy with me, as I’m driving the Notre Dame bus and think the Irish will cruise to an NCAA bid. This team was 14-19 last season but it’s the only ACC gang returning all five starters, and as far as I can tell, has three of the 20 best players in the league: John Mooney, Prentiss Hubb, T.J. Gibbs. Rex Pfleuger returns for one more go of it. Sophomore Nate Laszewski is the man in the middle. I’d be stunned if Notre Dame didn’t win 20 games minimum.|
|There’s not many 7-3 guys in college basketball, but Saint Mary’s has one in Aaron Menzies, who will team up with ultra-shifty point guard Jordan Ford to give the Gaels a great shot at making their eighth Big Dance under Randy Bennett. The nonconference schedule looks good enough. And I’m telling you, make the time to watch Ford do his thing. He’s impossible for most defenders to stay in front of.|
|I do worry a bit when I think I’m optimistic on Wisconsin’s big-picture standing in the sport, think about what the team was last season — when it was good, not great — and realize it nevertheless finished 16th at KenPom. But when you lose a top-three player in program history in Ethan Happ, I’ve gotta dock some points. The most tragic story of the offseason was UW assistant Howard Moore losing his wife and daughter and dog in a car accident, while he and his son survived. Moore is taking the season off, and our best is sent to him and his loved ones. D’Mitrik Trice, who has a wonderful feel for the game and gives Wisconsin good long-range variety, should step in as the MVP of the Badgers.|
|The Tigers rated as a top-20 KenPom team for the entirety of 2018-19. With the losses of Jared Harper, Chuma Okeke and Bryce Brown, I have to drop the club. But perhaps this senior season will be a massive one for Austin Wiley, who’s going to team up with Danjel Purifoy to give Auburn one of the stronger frontcourts in the SEC. One lingering Q: will Auburn be hit with a Notice of Allegations at some point this season?|
|The Wolfpack make six teams in my top 30. The ACC has a strong chance to usurp the Big 12 as the best league in college basketball as long as it’s top four teams can land top four seeds and it’s bottom four teams can be in the hunt for the NIT. (Wait, I just remembered NC State scored 24 points in an entire game. At home. In 2019.) OK, so State has Markell Johnson, who I think will be the third-best guard in the conference this season, joined by guards Braxton Beverly, Devon Daniels and Blake Harris. D.J. Funderburk — oh, what a name! — is an important frontcourt piece. He just needs to work on paying parking tickets, evidently.|
|Ninety-five percent of the team’s scoring is back from last season. Credit to Tad Boyle for building such a strong roster and continually cultivating NBA talent. He wants McKinley Wright IV for two more seasons, of course, but I can’t see how that happens. Wright should be in the mix for Pac-12 Player of the Year and can be the guiding force to getting Colorado its best NCAA tourney seed ever under Boyle. (Their highest is a No. 8 seed.)|
|The Coogs have sold out their season-tickets allotment — for the first time in 20 years — and it’s on account that this team should be top-three quality in the AAC. I have that much faith in Kelvin Sampson’s program, which lost big pieces off a 33-4 team but should see DeJon Jarreau step into the light. Plus, Quentin Grimes was approved for a waiver, which is of major consequence in a good way.|
|Nate Oats replaces Avery Johnson as coach, but sophomore point guard Kira Lewis is the most important short-term member of this team. Lewis is my top nomination for a Ja Morant-type frosh-to-soph leap. With Lewis back (thanks in part to Oats convincing him), Alabama can realistically hope for the NCAAs in a season in which a new coach was hired, which is not normally the case.|
|Tyrese Haliburton is the national breakout player to know. He was spectacular playing for USA Basketball over the summer. He had a 136.8 ORtg at KenPom last season, third-best in the country, and is a top-five point guard in America. Not getting nearly enough pub heading into November.|
|It’s been more than a decade since hopes were this high in Champaign. Brad Underwood begins his third season with the Illini and has four notable talents who should get Illinois to the NCAA Tournament: sophomore guard Ayo Dosunmu (likely first round pick), sophomore PF Giorgi Bezhanishvili, junior guard Trent Frazier and freshman Kofi Cockburn. Welcome back to the table, Illinois.|
|The 2018-19 season was a down year for the Big East. Xavier’s bounce-back season will be a microcosm for that league’s overall uptick. Naji Marshall is the best player you don’t know enough about, plus Paul Scruggs and Tyrique Jones are back and all the better. Key transfer: Ohio’s Jason Carter. Muskies feel like a No. 9 seed to me.|
|There are three NCAA tourney-level teams coming out of the A-10. Welcome back, Flyers. Obi Toppin is one of the 50 best players in college hoops. He shot 66.6% last season, fourth-best in college basketball and the highest rate of any returning player. Dayton’s a do-it-down-low type of team, the increasingly uncommon squad that wins by scoring 15 feet and in.|
|One of 60 schools with a coaching change, but no coaching hire was a bigger deal than Juwan Howard returning to Ann Arbor to replace John Beilein. Howard will have a steep curve to learn — he’s never coached in college — but thankfully he gets one season of one of the toughest defenders in college hoops: senior point guard Zavier Simpson. I’m lower on UM than most, and think it’s right on the cut line for the NCAA Tournament come Selection Sunday. Franz Wagner’s wrist injury to start the season hurts the cause.|
|Some believe the Crimson have a great chance to break into the AP Top 25 this season. That will largely depend on the team’s November play, but the combo of Seth Towns and Bryce Aiken have some Ivy honks expecting this season’s squad to be among the four or five best groups of the past 20 years in the conference.|
|The Tigers received an important commitment in the spring from Trendon Watford, a five-star power forward who will help LSU keep up with a lot of talented teams in the SEC. Skylar Mays is back, as is Javonte Smart, he of the alleged “strong-ass offer.” Will Wade remains coach. LSU will have its biggest question at point guard; Tremont Waters left after two seasons to chase an NBA career.|
|Few programs will have to press on this season and do so while looking to replace two of the 10 best players in program history. That’s what Admiral Schofield and Grant Williams meant to Tennessee. You might not realize the strides Jordan Bowden and Lamonte Turner have made, though. UT won’t consistently be in the top 25, but it’s going to beat a handful of good teams and still be a tough out. Is an Yves Pons breakout season coming? He’s an athletic freak.|
|Trent Forrest and M.J. Walker will star for the Seminoles, who have the fourth-best record of any ACC program in the past five seasons. The Noles aren’t as big as they were last season but still look like a top-three athletic team in the conference.|
|The Huskies could be as strong as second or at worst fourth in the Pac-12 this season. A pair of ultra-talented freshmen will decide how high the Huskies go: slender wing Jaden McDaniels and boulder-shouldered Isaiah Stewart. You scan across the top 50 here and it’s easy to see how college hoops should be stronger than normal in that grouping.|
|This is a big jump ahead for the Mountaineers, who were forgettable last season but are expected by every Big 12 coach to take massive strides. Power forward Derek Culver is now the BMOC in Morgantown, but I think freshman Oscar Tshiebwe will shine early. The Mountaineers bring back four starters. Bob Huggins teams are almost never bad in back-to-back seasons.|
|For the first time in more than a decade, Georgetown is going to not only be fun to watch but also a true threat to win at least 85% of its games. James Akinjo and Mac McClung are a top-three entertaining and hard-nosed backcourt. Omer Yurtseven steps into the middle and, if he can play with confidence, will have the Hoyas close to making the NCAA Tournament.|
|Do you remember that K-State finished tied atop the Big 12 last season with Texas Tech? Feels like TTU is going to get long-term credit for that, but Bruce Weber’s team went 25-9 and got a No. 4 seed. The two most important players who return: Xavier Sneed and Cartier Diarra, each fun and fantastic in their own right.|
|Gregg Marshall’s team is gonna win a few this season it probably shouldn’t. The Shockers don’t have a star, but they’ll be as hard-nosed defensively as any club in the AAC. With the right schedule breaks, the Shockers can make the NCAAs.|
|Tom Crean landed seven commitments in the Class of 2019 including maybe the best talent out of all of them with Anthony Edwards, a 6-5 power wing who is the highest-ranked recruit in school history. The Dawgs are on my top-10 most interesting/curious teams of 2019-20.|
|The class of the WAC brings back four starters from a 30-win team that lost to Auburn in one of the craziest games of the NCAA Tournament. A.J. Harris and Terrell Brown could be a top-15 backcourt in America.|
|The Hoosiers lose about 40% of their production from last season, but I still feel as though I’m higher on Archie Miller’s team than most. Could have a breakout transfer in Joey Brunk (via Butler), and it wouldn’t surprise me if Trayce Jackson-Davis’ overall production winds up top-three among Big Ten freshmen. Senior guard Devonte Green should be the best player in cream and crimson.|
|The Hurricanes had a bunch of unfair issues bump up against them last season, resulting in a 14-18 season. The U should flip that record, led by 5-7 Chris Lykes, a doughty point guard who is among the most irresistible players in college hoops.|
|The loss of the Hauser brothers means Marquette takes a big slide, though Markus Howard should compete for national player of the year if MU is in the NCAA tourney picture. Theo John could be the breakout player (he’s quite good when he wants to be), and Jayce Johnson is a pivotal 7-foot transfer via Utah. Prove me wrong, MU!|
|The Panthers won six more games last season than the season prior (14, up from eight), and should win at least four more games this season vs. last. Pitt will try to not have 15% of its shots blocked this season, like last, which was the highest rate in college basketball. Combo guard Xavier Johnson was a top-20 freshman in 2018-19. Can he average 17/7/7?|
|Dan Hurley’s career record when not accounting for his first season at a new job: 130-67. The Huskies are going to be right near last-four-in/first-four-out territory. Alterique Gilbert is a creative shooting guard. He’s owed a season of full health. Hopefully he gets it. UConn’ll need it.|
|The Bulls have realistic NCAA Tournament hopes for the first time since 2011-12. USF won 24 games a season ago and returns almost every legitimate minutes-getter. LaQuincy Rideau is possibly a top-20 point guard in America.|
|The Bluejays have witnessed Ty-Shon Alexander (15.7 ppg) emerge into one of the best players in the Big East as the program continues to be one of the more efficient offensive-minded outfits in the conference. Ceiling is third, floor is sixth in the Big East.|
|Say hello to this season’s second-best team from a traditional one-bid conference. (Harvard is tops.) Steve Forbes is likely to parlay a terrific Buccaneers season into a power-conference job come late March 2020. (He’s earned it.) ETSU could be this year’s Wofford: dominant SoCon team, enough to swipe a single-digit seed.|
|Well, I’m torn on Syracuse. On paper, this team probably has no right being a top-60 squad. Elijah Hughes is the team’s best player and more than 50% of the Orange’s production from last season is gone. But Jim Boeheim’s had teams sorta like this in years past that have overachieved. Plus, Buddy Boeheim’s apparently made a big jump.|
|If Iowa had been able to hold on to Isaiah Moss and Tyler Cook, it would be a borderline preseason top 25 team. The Hawkeyes do have an overlooked talent in sophomore Joe Wieskamp, who should hit approximately 45% of his 3-pointers from the small forward position.|
|Will Wake Forest be good enough to save Danny Manning’s job? I don’t believe so. But Chaundee Brown, your moment is now. The combo of Brown and Brandon Childress will be a genuine assignment headache for most teams that face the Demon Deacons this season. Wake can be an erratic-yet-fun team.|
|Maybe the strongest preseason favorite in any mid- or low-major league? The Flames made the NCAAs last season as a No. 12 seed and return probably the two best players in the A-Sun: Caleb Homesley and Scottie James.|
|Salient backcourt mates Breein Tyree and Devontae Shuler return, but Terence Davis graduated. The big metric/gauge game will come Nov. 23, when the Rebels play at Memphis. A win there would throw both those teams’ outlook into new jet streams.|
|The Trojans are going to be near the at-large cut-line again, but watch out for freshman Onyeka Okongwu, who will be a secret outside of the league until about late November. Nick Rakocevic is a multifaceted power forward who is a top-three big man in the Pac-12.|
|Led by Remy Martin, Taeshon Cherry, Romello White, and Kimani Lawrence. If everything clicks, I could have the Sun Devils 25 spots too low. Looks like a fun team yet again. ASU opens up the season on Nov. 8 in Shanghai against in-league opponent Colorado as part of the Pac-12’s push in that country, which takes on interesting new subplots given all that’s happened with the NBA.|
|Mike Boynton’s currently trying to land the best recruiting class in OSU history, which would be led by Cade Cunningham (2020). For the season ahead, the Pokes shouldn’t be undervalued too much: they return all five starters. Interesting 18 months ahead for the Cowboys and that fan base.|
|Gavin Baxter’s potential season-ending shoulder injury bumps BYU down about 10 spots for me. Plus, no Yoeli Childs (top-30 player in college hoops) to start the season due to a controversial, if not needless, nine-game suspension tied to NBA Draft paperwork. Mark Pope is the new coach, replacing the beloved Dave Rose, who won 348 games in 14 seasons there.|
|Probably No. 8 in the Big East pecking order, and yet Kamar Baldwin could be a top-25 player in the game. Sean McDermott (40.6 3-pt%) being back is big, but losing Joey Brunk to transfer leaves a void. Their nonconference schedule is too tough for how thin the roster is.|
|Fortunately, the Rams still roster one of the most beautiful names of the past decade in college basketball, Fatts Russell. Thing is, Jeff Dowtin is the big-time scorer, and those two give URI fans hope they can keep the program on the steady and compete in the back end of the at-large pool for the NCAA Tournament. Maryland, Alabama, LSU, Providence, West Virginia and Western Kentucky are all on the schedule. Talk about your opportunities.|
69. Missouri State: Could be a powerhouse at the mid-major level, thanks to a bevy of big-time transfers, led by former West Virginia PF Lamont West.
70. Texas A&M: It’s hard to see A&M staying down for long under Buzz Williams, but this season should be NIT-level for a group that brings back plenty but was not even NIT-good in ’18-19.
71. Oklahoma: Not sold on the Sooners being a top-half team in the Big 12. Brady Manek, Kristian Doolittle and Jamal Bieniemy are the power trio here. Lon Kruger’s made the NCAAs in six of his eight seasons in Norman.
72. Rutgers: Steve Pikiell has Rutgers at a truly respectable level — having gone from 135 to 130 to 73 in the KenPom rankings in his time there — and will rise yet again this season.
73. Boise State: The “unluckiest” team in 2018-19, per KenPom. Junior F Derrick Alston is a flyah with a scoring gene that’s reliable and potent almost every night.
74. Penn State: The Nittany Lions have a top-25 player in Lamar Stevens (19.9 ppg, 7.7 rpg), but this was a 14-18 team last season with a bumpy offense. I’m an uncommon seller on PSU this season. We’ll see.
75. Mississippi State: The most overlooked quality freshman of 2018-19 was Reggie Perry, who could vault into top-five player status in the SEC if he’s able to get MSU into the top seven of the league.
76. Vermont: The Catamounts were a No. 13 seed last season, return potential NBA pick Anthony Lamb and should win 27-ish games for the fourth straight season.
77. Clemson: Brad Brownell is loose, perhaps coyly confident, despite losing a lot of production from a season ago. Big transfer addition in former Alabama guard Tevin Mack.
78. Oregon State: To me, the Beavers are one of the most mysterious power-conference teams. I like Tres Tinkle a lot and think Ethan Thompson should shine, but beyond that I still have doubts about the roster vs. what the rest of the Pac-12 presents.
79. Minnesota: I love me some Daniel Oturu, the Gophers’ sophomore stretch power forward who can mold himself into an NBA player.
80. UCLA: The Bruins are a wild card. I’m ranking them low out of expectation that Mick Cronin’s style will need a little time to adjust to the players on this roster, and vice versa, but making the NCAAs wouldn’t stun me at all. Cronin gets there way more often than not.
81. Western Kentucky: Last season was a bumpy disappointment, and you can’t help but wonder if it’s because of all the comings and goings of transfers. Still, Charles Bassey is on the roster and WKU would seem to be the best in Conference USA. But we said that last year.
82. Missouri: Plenty of bodies return from a 15-17 team that didn’t get to the foul line much and turned the ball over more than any team in the SEC.
83. SMU: The Ponies have some adaptable pieces, but I can’t see them keeping up with the top half of the AAC this season.
84. San Diego State: Transfer culture has its grip on SDSU, which will lean mostly on newcomers KJ Feagin (Santa Clara), Malachi Flynn (Washington State) and Trey Pulliam (JUCO).
85. San Francisco: Todd Golden will try to keep USF relevant and defensively efficient in the WCC after Kyle Smith took the ultra-difficult Washington State job.
86. South Carolina: The Gamecocks finished tied for fourth in the SEC. The only NCAA tourney showing for Frank Martin at South Carolina came in 2017, the year the Gamecocks made it to the Final Four.
87. DePaul: Charlie Moore (via Cal, then Kansas) getting a waiver to play to team up with Jalen Coleman-Lands in the backcourt is going to keep DePaul from finishing last in the Big East for a fourth straight season.
88. St. Bonaventure: Nine Bonnies are freshmen or sophomores, making Mark Schmidt’s assembly the wild card of the Atlantic 10.
89. Georgia Tech: The ACC’s mercurial hive, because the Yellow Jackets were put on a 2020 postseason ban, but the school is appealing. No telling the motivation of a team in this circumstance.
90. New Mexico: Lonely fact: UNM is the most isolated landlocked Division I program in men’s D-I. Its closest fellow D-I school is 225 miles away (New Mexico State).
91. Utah: The Utes have suffered too much roster turnover (Donnie Tillman leaving was a sting) to expect anything better than a surprise NIT run this season.
92. UC Irvine: Hard to see the Anteaters failing to win 20 games. This was a 31-6 team a season ago that lost three starters but returns good defensive parts and sharpshooter Evan Leonard.
93. Toledo: The class of the MAC’s West division, it sure seems like the Rockets will win north of 20 games for a third straight season.
94. UTSA: The best player in C-USA is either WKU’s Charles Bassey or the Roadrunners’ Jhivvan Jackson, who averaged 23 points last season and could be a lesser man’s Ja Morant this season.
95. Boston College: Point guard Derryck Thornton (Duke, then USC) finishes his career with a team that needs him more than any other he’s been on prior.
96. UNC Greensboro: Should have made last season’s NCAA Tournament. Still like the roster, including Isaiah Miller (15.3 ppg), maybe the best player in the SoCon and someone who has a higher vertical jump than Zion Williamson.
In college basketball, men can be ‘one-and-done.’ Why not the women?
Prince Philip Passes Away At 99, Interesting Facts About The Duke Of Edinburgh Nate Reuvers Will Transfer Out Of Wisconsin And Play A Fifth Year Of College Basketball 2021 NCAA Basketball Tournaments: It’s time to stop making men the default Not just the weight rooms: disparities at the NCAA women’s basketball tournament (updated) USA Basketball picks Grant Hill as Colangelo’s replacement Pushing for change: College athletes’ voices grow strong WVU Adds Men’s Basketball Grad Transfers Curry, Carrigan Loyola Basketball Coach Porter Moser Reportedly New Coach At Oklahoma Report: Eric Musselman tied to Arizona basketball openingRanking every college basketball team from No. 1 to 353 for 2019-20 and an interesting fact on every team have 6892 words, post on www.cbssports.com at October 22, 2019. This is cached page on WP Discuss. If you want remove this page, please contact us.