Key Returners- Jared Butler, MaCio Teague, Mark Vital, Davion Mitchell, Matthew Mayer, Tristan Clark, Key Additions Adam Flagler, Dain Dainja, L.J. Cryer
Scott Drew will likely have his best team ever at Baylor entering this season. This Baylor program had a historic season last year going 26-4 competing for a no. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament. Also, they will return one of the best backcourts in the country with Jared Butler and Davion Mitchell, as well as, one of the toughest players in the country in Mark Vital. Additionally, they should have even more scoring to their perimeter with the emergence of Matthew Mayer and Adam Flagler. The key will be Tristan Clark being healthy and impactful for Baylor’s interior to be solid. Baylor will be one of the favorites to win the National Championship.
Key Returners- Collin Gillespie, Jermaine Samuels, Justin Moore, Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, Cole Swider, Bryan Antoine, Brandon Slater Key Additions- Caleb Daniels
Jay Wright has a roster set up with the potential help Villanova win it’s third National Championship in five years. Next, the return of veteran point guard Collin Gillespie will have the same feel that Ryan Arcidiacono brought to Villanova in their 2016 National Championship season. Also, the other parts on the perimeter are very solid with Justin Moore as a potential breakout player, as well as Caleb Daniels transferring from Tulane with the potential to have a major impact. Further, the interior with Jeremiah Robinson-Earl and Jermaine Samuels gives Villanova great skill and versatility. A potential x-factor for Villanova is Bryan Antoine who has injured throughout his freshman season with major upside. Villanova will be the heavy Big East favorite and in contention for the National Championship.
Key Returners- Luka Garza, Jordan Bohannon, CJ Frederick, Joe Wieskamp, Joe Toussaint, Connor McCaffery Key Additions: Ahron Ulis
Fran McCaffery will have the best team he had had at Iowa in his tenure. This is largely due to the return of National Player of the Year favorite, Luka Garza. Furthermore, this team will be as good as anyone on the offensive end this season with their scoring ability. Next, the backcourt is loaded with Jordan Bohannon and CJ Frederick being big-time shot makers along with Joe Toussaint bringing a steadiness as well. Also, on the wing, Joe Wieskamp brings really good size and scoring ability from multiple areas on the floor and defends effectively. Additionally, Connor McCaffery brings great toughness and versatility for this team being the ultimate glue guy. The biggest concern for this team is their defense. If they can get stops consistently this team will be very hard to beat. Iowa is set up to be Big Ten favorites and have a great opportunity to win the National Championship.
Key Returners- Jay Huff, Kihei Clark, Tomas Woldentensae, Casey Morsell, Kody Stattman Key Additions: Sam Hauser, Jabri Abdur-Rahim, Reece Beekman
Tony Bennett had a retooling season last year after coming off the National Championship, but this team will firmly be back in title contention. The addition of Sam Hauser after sitting out last season will be vital to their success with his offensive abilities. Also, Kihei Clark will bring great steadiness to Virginia’s perimeter defense and establishing the offense. Next, Jay Huff was really productive last season will be a major factor next to Hauser. A major key in the continued development of Tomas Woldentensae and Casey Morsell to add additional products to the backcourt. Additionally, the freshman class of Jabri Abdur-Rahim and Reece Beekman will be major contributors from the start. Virginia will be the ACC favorites and be in the mix for the National Championship picture.
Key Returners: Corey Kispert, Drew Timme, Joel Ayayi, Anton Watson Key Additions: Oumar Ballo, Aaron Cook, Jalen Suggs, Dominick Harris, Julian Strawther
Mark Few will have another stacked roster and will be very good once again. The loss of Filip Petrusev will be huge and the team takes a step back without him. However, they will still have a stout frontcourt led by Drew Timme and emerging players in Oumar Ballo and Anton Watson. Also, the perimeter will be very good with Corey Kispert’s shooting and scoring ability and the two-way ability of Jay Ayayi. Jalen Suggs is a star point guard who could be a game-changer for Gonzaga’s perimeter. The bench will need to continue to develop to give Gonzaga quality depth. Gonzaga will be one of the best teams in the country and will grow into a National Championship contender.
Key Returners- Ayo Dosunmu, Kofi Cockburn, Trent Frazier, Da’Monte Williams, Giorgi Bezhanishville Key Additions- Jacob Grandinson, Austin Hutcherson, Adam Miller, Andre Curbelo
Brad Underwood will have his most talented team as a head coach. Furthermore, the return of Ayo Dosunmu and Kofi Cockburn gives Illinois one of the best guards to big duos in the country next season. Also, Trent Frazier will bring scoring and stability to the backcourt as well. Additionally, Giorgi Bezhanishville will have the opportunity to be even better on the offensive end. The impact of transfers will be added with Jacob Grandinson and Austin Hutcherson. Continued, the stacked recruiting class of Adam Miller and Andre Curbelo will have an instant impact. Illinois is set up to compete for the Big Ten title and a Final Four run.
Key Returners- Wendell Moore, Matthew Hurt, Jordan Goldwire, Joey Baker Key Additions- Jalen Johnson, Mark Williams, Jeremy Roach, Jaemyn Brakefield, Henry Coleman, Patrick Tape
As for Duke and Mike Krzyzewski, it is another top tier recruiting class entering this season. This is led by Jalen Johnson giving them an elite wing player along with the interior help of Mark Williams, Henry Coleman and Jaemyn Brakefield. In addition, Jeremy Roach is replacing Tre Jones at the point guard position. The veteran returnees of Wendell Moore and Matthew Hurt will have a major impact on this team. Duke will have another talented roster to compete at the top of the ACC and have the capabilities for a Final Four run.
Key Returners- Yves Pons, John Fulkerson, Santiago Vescovi, Josiah Jordan-James, Uros Plavsic Key Additions- Victor Bailey, E.J. Anosike, Jaden Springer, Keon Johnson, Corey Walker
Rick Barnes has another very talented roster with this roster entering the season. Further, the frontcourt duo of Yves Pons and John Fulkerson will be as good as any in the entire country. Also, the steady play of Santiago Vescovi will be vital to the team’s success. The continued development of Josiah Jordan-James will be very important for Tennessee. Additionally, the recruiting class is very good with Jaden Springer, Keon Johnson and Corey Walker and they will have an impact immediately. The Volunteers also have impact transfers in Victor Bailey and E.J. Anosike. Tennessee will be SEC favorites and have the potential for a Final Four run.
Key Returners- Marcus Garrett, Ochai Agbaji, David McCormack, Christian Braun, Silvio De Sousa, Mitch Lightfoot Key Additions- Bryce Thompson, Tyon Grant-Foster, Jalen Wilson
Bill Self is replacing two of the best players in the country in Devon Dotson and Udoka Azubuike. Now, Marcus Garrett will take the lead as the primary go-to guard with the freshman help of Bryce Thompson. Next, Ochai Agbaji must fully develop into a more complete offensively for Kansas. Also, the replacement of Udoka Azuibike in David McCormack will be vital for Kansas to reach its potential. Additionally, Christian Braun has the ability to be a major scoring threat for Kansas on the perimeter. Kansas will have a retooled roster with a lot of talent to still compete for the Big 12 title just behind Baylor.
Key Returners- D’Mitrik Trice, Brad Davison, Nate Reuvers, Aleem Ford, Micah Potter, Tyler Wahl, Trevor Anderson Key Additions- Ben Carlson, Lorne Bowman
Greg Gard will have a veteran-laden team and that will pay off throughout their season. The backcourt is very solid and experienced with D’Mitrik Trice and Brad Davison. Their frontcourt is very solid with Nate Reuvers’ scoring potential and toughness from Micah Potter. The most important player for Wisconsin is Aleem Ford with his versatility. Depth must continue to improve with Wisconsin in Tyler Wahl and Trevor Anderson. Wisconsin will have its best team since 2014-15 and has the potential to win the Big Ten again and make a Final Four appearance.
Key Returners- Marcus Zegarowski, Denzel Mahoney, Damien Jefferson, Mitch Ballock, Christian Bishop, Jacob Epperson Key Additions- Antwann Jones, Ryan Kalkbrenner
Greg McDermott has potentially the best point guard in the country in Marcus Zegarowski. Also, the versatility on this team is really good with Denzel Mahoney and Damien Jefferson on both ends. Christian Bishop is a really good glue guy for Creighton with second-chance points and screening. The most important player for Creighton will be Jacob Epperson to give them a true prescience in the frontcourt. Additionally, they have one of the best shooters in the country in Mitch Ballock. Creighton will be dynamic on the offensive end and be the biggest challenger to Villanova in the Big East.
12. Michigan State
Key Returners- Rocket Watts, Aaron Henry, Malik Hall, Gabe Brown, Marcus Bingham, Thomas Kithier, Foster Loyer, Josh Langford Key Additions: Mady Sissoko, Joey Hauser
Tom Izzo has a very solid team with Aaron Henry being their lead guy embodying toughness and versatility for Michigan State. Next, Malik Hall has great potential to fill the natural stretch four roles for Michigan State. Also, Joey Hauser will come and have a great impact on the team’s offense on the wing and interior. The freshman Mady Sissoko will need to fill the void left by Xavier Tillman immediately. Now, the biggest void is with Cassius Winston graduating and Rocket Watts will need to fill that void very well for Michigan State. Michigan State will be apart of the battle of a very competitive Big Ten and will be right in contention for a Final Four.
Key Returners- Tyger Campbell, Chris Smith, Jaime Jaquez, Jalen Hill, Chris Smith, Jules Bernard, Cody Riley, David Singleton, Jake Kyman Key Additions: Johnny Juzang, Jaylen Clark
Mick Cronin’s UCLA team showed major progress throughout PAC-12 play and will be right at the top of the conference. Next, the wings will be very good with Chris Smith returning giving them a lead scorer. Also, the return of Tyger Campbell will provide great stability on both ends of the floor. Additionally, the shooting will be tremendous on the perimeter with Johnny Juzang and Jaime Jaquez who will stretch defenses consistently. The interior must continue to develop with Jalen Hill and Cody Riley being very solid together. UCLA is shaping up to have a very good season and be in a position to earn a top four seed in the NCAA tournament.
Key Returners- Keion Brooks Key Additions- Davion Mintz, Olivier Sarr, BJ Boston, Devin Askew, Terrance Clarke, Isaiah Jackson, Lance Ware, Cam’Ron Fletcher
John Calipari practically returns only one player with experience and that is Keion Brooks. Now, the recruiting class is completely stacked and will need to be ready to roll on day one. The perimeter of freshman with BJ Boston, Terrance Clarke and Devin Askew will have to be great immediately and should have that Kentucky backcourt success. Now, the frontcourt freshman of Isaiah Jackson, Lance Ware and Cam’Ron Fletcher will need to emerge. The transfer impact will be crucial for this team in Davion Mintz and most importantly Olivier Sarr who needs the waiver to be eligible for Kentucky’s success. Kentucky will compete at the top of the SEC right with Tennessee.
15. Arizona State
Key Returners- Remy Martin, Alonzo Verge, Taeshon Cherry, Jaelen House, Jalen Graham, Kimani Lawerence Key Additions: Josh Christopher, Marcus Bagley
Bobby Hurley will have his most talented team during his time at Arizona State. The return of Remy Martin gives them an absolute gamer and big-time shot-maker. Also, the perimeter with Alonzo Verge and Josh Christopher will make their perimeter very good and hard to guard. Furthermore, the wings have great size in Taeshon Cherry and Kimani Lawrence who will be vital defensively. The most important player will be Jalen Graham at the center position to replace Romello White. Additionally, Marcus Bagley will be really good off the bench for Arizona State giving quality depth. Arizona State will be the co-favorites to win the PAC 12 with UCLA.
16. West Virginia
Key Returners- Oscar Tshiebwe, Derek Culver, Jordan McCabe, Miles McBride, Emmitt Matthews Jr., Sean McNeil Key Additions- Isaiah Cottrell, Kedrian Johnson
Bob Huggins will have a more experienced team this season and it should pay off. Furthermore, the return of the massive frontcourt of Oscar Tshiebwe and Derek Culver will be as imposing as any in the country. Next, Miles McBride will provide really good scoring on the wing and bring good toughness. Also, the play of Jordan McCabe must improve with his ability to play more consistently. Additionally, Emmitt Matthews Jr. will have a really important impact on the West Virginia perimeter. The freshman impact of Kedrian Johnson is immediate for West Virginia as a starter. Bob Huggins will have a more consistent team in the Big 12 this season.
17. Florida State
Key Returners- M.J. Walker, Malik Osborne, RaiQuan Gray, Antony Polite, Balsa Koprivica, Nathanael Jack Key Additions- Scottie Barnes
Leonard Hamilton will continue to have great success year after year in the ACC. The return of M.J. Walker will have a tremendous impact on Florida State and provide a lead scorer. Next, Malik Osborne will impact the wing really effectively with Anthony Polite. Also, Balsa Koprivica has the potential to develop into one of the best centers in the ACC. Scottie Barnes will have a great impact on Florida State with his toughness and ability to get to the basket. The depth for Florida State will be key and need to develop over time. Florida State will be right in the mix at the top of the ACC.
Key Returners- Geo Baker, Ron Harper Jr., Montez Mathis, Myles Johnson, Jacob Young, Paul Mulcahy Key Additions- Cliff Omoruyi
Steve Pikiell is looking to improve upon his tremendous past season that would have had Rutgers in the NCAA tournament. They have one of the best players in the country in Geo Baker and his shot-making ability. Also, Ron Harper Jr. brings great toughness and offensive ability to make plays at the rim. The versatile wing in Montez Mathis must continue to develop into more of an offensive threat. Myles Johnson could have a great impact as the interior prescience for Rutgers next season. The instant impact from Cliff Omoruyi will be really important for Rutgers’s frontcourt production. As long as there is an NCAA Tournament next season Steve Piekell will get Rutgers back to it.
19. North Carolina
Key Returners: Garrison Brooks, Armando Bacot, Leaky Black, Andrew Platek, Anthony Harris, Sterling Manley Key Additions: Day’Ron Sharpe, Walker Kessler, Caleb Love, R.J. Davis, Puff Johnson
Roy Williams is looking rebound from one of his most difficult seasons as a head coach from last season. The return of Garrison Brooks gives them a great interior player with Armando Bacot back as well. Additionally, the perimeter returns Leaky Black and Andrew Platek who can be solid contributors. Furthermore, this team will depend on the production of this loaded freshman class. The most important player will be Caleb Love controlling that backcourt from day one. Also, the frontcourt will be even stronger with Day’Ron Sharpe and Walker Kessler. The perimeter should improve with R.J. Davis and Puff Johnson stepping in. North Carolina should have a major bounce-back season.
20. Texas Tech
Key Returners- Kyler Edwards, Terrance Shannon Jr., Kevin McCullar, Avery Benson Key Additions- Joel Ntambwe, Marcus Santos-Silva, Nimari Burnett, Micah Peavy
Chris Beard has another roster built through the transfer market with Marcus Santos-Silva and Joel Ntambwe in the frontcourt. Also, the perimeter will need to reshape with Kyler Edwards and Terrance Shannon Jr. being veteran guards. Next, Nimari Burnett and Micah Peavy will be two instant impact freshman for Texas Tech. Furthermore, Kevin McCullar has the potential to be a really solid depth piece for Texas Tech. Texas Tech will be a tough team to play against with their guard play and interior experience.
Key Returners- Grant Golden, Blake Francis, Nick Sherod, Jacob Gilyard, Nathan Cayo, Tyler Burton Key Additions: Connor Crabtree, Isaiah Wilson
Chris Mooney will have a very talented roster with veterans across the board at Richmond. Therefore, this will make Richmond the favorites in the A-10 next season. Now, the backcourt of Jacob Gilyard and Blake Francis will be extremely hard to guard for teams and will have great impact. Also, they might have the best passing big in all of college basketball with Grant Golden and potential A-10 player of the year. The impact of Nick Sherod will be key to give them a wing option that is highly dependable. Richmond has the potential to be the breakthrough mid-major this season.
Key Returners: Caleb Mills, Dejon Jarreau, Quinten Grimes, Marcus Sasser, Brison Gresham, Cedrick Alley Key Additions: Cameron Tyson, J’Wan Roberts, Tramon Mark
Kelvin Sampson will have a really talented roster led by a great backcourt of Caleb Mills and Quinten Grimes. Also, Marcus Sasser is another perimeter option who will grow into the third threat for Houston. Next, Dejon Jarreau is a very impactful player and will continue to bring great defense for Houston. The loss of Fabian White will be tough to replace and Brison Gresham will need to elevate his game significantly for Houston. Houston will be the favorites in the AAC this season.
Key Returners- Matt Coleman, Andrew Jones, Courtney Ramey, Jericho Sims, Kai Jones, Jase Febres, Gerald Liddell, Royce Hamm, Will Baker Key Additions: Greg Brown
Shaka Smart has his most complete roster with veterans across the board. The backcourt is loaded with talent and experience with Matt Coleman leading the way. They also have Courtney Ramey and Andrew Jones, who are very solid players for Texas. Now, the frontcourt will be very key for Texas to compete at the top of the Big 12. Therefore, Kai Jones and Jericho Sims will need to further develop on the offensive end. Additionally, Greg Brown, the star freshman will add an element to the frontcourt that was missing. Also, an x-factor player for Texas is Royce Hamm who has the intangibles to be really productive for Texas. Texas will make it back to the NCAA Tournament this season.
Key Returners- Isaiah Joe, Desi Sills Key Additions- Vance Jackson, Jalen Tate, Justin Smith, JD Notae, Connor Vanover, Abayomi Iyiola, Moses Moody, K.K. Robinson
Eric Mussleman is entering year two with extreme hype about this team, which has great potential. The biggest aspect is the return of Isaiah Joe with his overall scoring ability and capability to take over games. Next, Desi Sills will be an impact guard next to Joe with his scoring mentality as well. The freshman class will have a strong impact as well with Moose Moody and K.K. Robinson. The transfers to the frontcourt will be vital for their success in Vance Jackson and Justin Smith. Arkansas will be a factor within the SEC and cause trouble at the top.
Key Returners- Scottie Lewis, Noah Locke, Keyontae Johnson, Tre Mann, Omar Payne, Ques Glover Key Additions: Tyree Appleby, Anthony Duruji, Samson Ruzhentsev
Mike White has another talented roster and will need to elevate their play to live up to last year’s potential. The wing is as good as any in the country with Scottie Lewis and Keyontae Johnson’s ability to impact both ends of the floor. The impact of Anthony Duruji and Tyree Appleby on their perimeter is huge. Also, Omar Payne will have a great impact on the interior with his athleticism and has a high potential. The backcourt for Florida needs to be secure after losing Andrew Nembhard to a transfer. Therefore, Noah Locke and Tre Mann will be vital to the overall success of Florida. Florida has the potential to be in the top tier of the SEC with Tennessee, Kentucky and LSU if the experience pays off.
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