The college basketball season is fast approaching. Games will start in just under two weeks and before teams know it, the season will already be over. Now that fans have a relatively full picture of the teams that will be suiting up for this season, the top 25 can be analyzed. Here is the college basketball preseason top 25.
25. Harvard Crimson
The Crimson have been a solid program over the last several seasons. This might be one of their best teams yet, as Tommy Amaker has recruited well. Bryce Aiken will run the show at point guard with 22.2 points per game. Seth Towns was the Ivy League Player of the Year in 2017-2018, but had a knee injury last year. Chris Lewis is a great rim protector. Those three alone are good enough to lead this team, but Harvard will have other recruits stepping up as they look to make it to the second-weekend of the NCAA Tournament.
24. Davidson Wildcats
Davidson’s backcourt is one of the best in the country. Jon Axel Gudmundsson was the A-10 player of the year, averaging 16.9 point per game. Kellan Grady was the best freshman at Davidson since Steph Curry and has only built on that. If the Wildcats get role players to step up, they could be a dangerous team in March.
23. St. Mary’s Gaels
Most of the key players are back for St. Mary’s, which includes Jordan Ford, who averaged 21.1 points per game. They should have a few big men rotate in and some talented wings as well. They could compete with Gonzaga with the WCC, but even if they don’t, the Gael’s are a solid team.
22. Liberty Flames
Liberty made some noise in the NCAA Tournament last season and have a team that can do even better this year. Scottie James will lead the team from the post after averaging 12.8 points and 8.6 rebounds per game. With three other returning starters, the Flames will be a tough matchup. They’ll have matchups with Vanderbilt and LSU to prove themselves.
21. Utah State Aggies
Sam Merrill is one of the best players in the country. Last season, he scored 20.9 points per game. Three fellow starters will also return to Utah State, including Neemias Queta who finished last season with 84 blocks. They are the favorites in the Mountain West Conference this season.
20. Washington Huskies
The Huskies have a good mix of recruits and veterans on their team. Jaden McDaniels is a versatile freshman who will be one of the best players in the Pac-12. They’ll need good guard play to reach their ceiling, which means that Kentucky-transfer Quade Green becoming eligible in the second semester will be very important.
19. Colorado Buffaloes
Colorado returns all five starters, including McKinley Wright IV who is coming off of shoulder surgery. He will be an All-Pac-12 player by season’s end and the other players fill out the roster nicely. They should be able to hold off Washington to win the Pac-12 this season.
18. Xavier Musketeers
If the Musketeers can have better shot selection this year, they can be one of the most improved teams in the country. They get four returning starters back. Paul Scruggs and Naji Marshall are rising juniors, but this team will only go as far as senior point guard Quentin Goodin takes them.
17. LSU Tigers
The NCAA hasn’t caught up to LSU quite yet. LSU has an excellent backcourt featuring Javonte Smart and Skylar Mays. With Emmitt Williams and Trendon Watford manning the inside, the Tigers will be tough to beat.
16. Ohio State Buckeyes
Chris Holtmann is ahead of schedule at Ohio State. With the Wesson twins back for another season, they should be poised to make a run in March. Luther Muhammad and C.J. Walker should make a solid backcourt for the Buckeyes.
15. Virginia Cavaliers
The reigning national champions lost a lot from last season. That means Kihei Clark will need to step up and be a leader after averaging 4.5 points and 2.6 assists per game. Mamadi Diakite is the other returning starter, which means players like Braxton Key and Jay Huff will need to step up.
14. Memphis Tigers
Penny Hardaway has already guaranteed a National Championship fro Memphis. That may not be in the cards, but the Tigers do have a very talented squad. Talented big man James Wiseman will be one of the best players in the country and will be flanked by other talented freshmen D.J. Jeffries, Boogie Ellis and others.
13. Villanova Wildcats
Phil Booth and Eric Paschall leave huge voids on the roster, but Villanova always has good players waiting in the wings. Point guard Collin Gillespie is going to have to take a huge step forward after averaging 10.9 points per game. He’ll have help with Saddiq Bey and Jermaine Samuels coming back.
12. Seton Hall Pirates
Myles Powell will be one of the best players in the country again after putting up 23.1 points per game as a junior. Quincy McKnight and Myles Cale combine with Powell to give Seton Hall a great backcourt. Sandro Mamukelashvili should improve on the boards making this team well-rounded.
11. Baylor Bears
Baylor has experienced players, recruits and transfers all coming together to form a team that could compete in the Big 12 this season. With Tristan Clark back healthy and Davion Mitchell running the show at point guard, the Bears could sneak up on a lot of people this year.
10. Texas Tech Red Raiders
After losing in the National Championship Game, the Red Raiders have to reload. Davide Moretti is the only returning starter and will have to develop more of a well-rounded game to lead this team better. Virginia Tech transfer Chris Clarke and returning spark off the bench, Kyler Edwards, will make the backcourt solid. The frontcourt will need to find some playmakers.
9. Louisville Cardinals
A lot of people have Louisville higher than this, as they return a lot from last season. It will take a lot to improve a team that went 20-14 into a top team though. Jordan Nwora averaged 17 points per game last year and is the star of this Louisville team. If the players around him can improve, Louisville can win a National Championship.
8. Maryland Terrapins
Jalen Smith returning to school gives Maryland a chance to compete on a national scale. The big man averaged 11.7 points and 6.8 rebounds per game and those should improve this season. WIth Anthony Cowan, Eric Ayala and Darryl Morsell in the backcourt, this team can reach the Final Four.
7. Kansas Jayhawks
Kansas has a good point guard in Devon Dotson and a good big man in Udoka Azubuike. Both players have a chance to be some of the best in the country. They have other talented players who will need to step their games up to help cope with the loss of five key players from last season. Getting back on top in the Big 12 is very possible for Kansas this season.
6. Gonzaga Bulldogs
Killian Tillie just got injured again and is out indefinitely. Admon Gilder, the transfer from Texas A&M, will be the new point guard and should run the offense will. Corey Kispert will need to step his game up after averaging eight points per game last season, and so too will a lot of newcomers.
5. Florida Gators
The Gators hit the jackpot when big man Kerry Blackshear decided to transfer in from Virginia Tech. Andrew Nembhard will run the point guard position after a great freshman season. With Scottie Lewis entering the fold as a McDonald’s All-American, Florida should be dreaming of Final Fours.
4. North Carolina Tar Heels
North Carolina lost a lot from last season, but adds one of the best freshmen in the country in Cole Anthony. Sterling Manley, Garrison Brooks and Leaky Black will need to get a lot better, but they should be able to do so with more playing time this year.
3. Kentucky Wildcats
John Calipari recruited another good class to Kentucky. Ashton Hagans will be back at the point guard position to provide great defense and distribution of the ball. Immanuel Quickley will play the other guard spot after showing flahses of good shooting and driving. With Nick Richards and E.J. Montgomery back on the inside, all of the talented recruits will fill in the gaps for the Wildcats. Tyrese Maxey is the freshman to watch and if he reaches his full potential, the Wildcats could be cutting the nets down in April.
2. Duke Blue Devils
Tre Jones returns to run the offense and also plays great defense from the point guard position. Alex O’Connell, Jack White, Jordan Goldwire and Javin DeLaurier are solid returning role players. Add in talented freshmen Vernon Carey, Wendell Moore, Cassius Stanley and Matthew Hurt and this team can win it all if they buy in on defense.
1. Michigan State Spartans
The Spartans have a great chance to take home the championship this season because Cassius Winston is the best point guard in the college game. Joshua Langford re-aggravated his foot injury, but is a solid two-way player when healthy. Aaron Henry is likely to take a step forward from his 6.6 points per game last season. The frontcourt needs to find some playmakers, but they have a few players waiting to take that opportunity.