How do the power conferences rank in college basketball? They will be ranked, while looking at tiers and key components. The following rank as:
1. Big Ten
This is shaping up to be one of the best seasons for the Big Ten in recent memory. First off, out of the Preseason AP Top 25 poll the Big Ten has seven out of the 25 teams. This is including three teams in the top 10 with Iowa (5), Wisconsin (7) and Illinois at (8). Next, Iowa having the favorite for Player of the Year in Luka Garza as well as a great perimeter with Jordan Bohannon’s return, CJ Frederick, Connor McCaffery and Joe Wieskamp. This team has the ability to be one of the best offenses in the country, the questions will come at the defensive end.
As for Wisconsin, this is the most veteran-laden team returning coming off a Big Ten regular-season title last season. D’Mitrik Trice and Brad Davison give Wisconsin two lead guards who have the ability to make big shots as well. Furthermore, their frontcourt in Nate Reuvers and Micah Potter provide really good consistency. They don’t provide anything flashy, but they always getting the job done. This is the same to be said for Aleem Ford who impacts significantly on both ends.
Illinois and Michigan State
Illinois returns the best duo in the Big Ten with All-American candidate Ayo Dosunmu and Kofi Cockburn, who are going to give teams across the country fits. Also, Trent Frazier will bring great stability to Illinois allowing Dosunmu to play off the ball very effectively. Continued, Adam Miller could be one of the best freshmen in the Big Ten and will need to contribute immediately to Illinois.
As for Michigan State, the traditional power in the Big Ten lands at 13 in the AP poll. This will be a different look with no longer having Cassius Winston and Xavier Tillman as a part of the program. Therefore, the emergence of Aaron Henry and Rocket Watts as the lead scorers will be critical for their success. Next, the addition of Joey Hauser will be really impactful giving them a stretch four who can really shoot it with bringing physicality. The frontcourt is the biggest concern for Michigan State so the emergence of Mady Sissoko, Malik Hall and Thomas Kithier will be vital.
As for the back half of the AP poll, the Big Ten has Ohio State (23), Rutgers (24) and Michigan (25). For Ohio State, replacing the production of Kaleb Wesson will be difficult, but the emergence of E.J. Liddell will be very important. Also, the backcourt of CJ Walker and Duane Washington will be dependent more on being a scorer and the shooting ability of both will be key. The biggest question will be the impact of transfers Justice Sueing, Jimmy Sotos, and Seth Towns to take this team to another level.
Rutgers is coming off a tremendous season as Steve Piekell has momentum going in the right direction. Furthermore, they have one of the best guards in all of college basketball in Geo Baker with his shot-making. Also, the toughness of Jacob Young and Ron Harper Jr. sets the tone for Rutgers. The frontcourt for Rutgers has an opportunity to take the next step forward with Myles Johnson and the highly regarded freshman Cliff Omuryi.
Michigan and Indiana
Juwan Howard enters his second season at Michigan. They have one of the best wings in the country in Isaiah Livers. When healthy, he was terrific last season. The emergence of Franz Wagner will be a problem for the Big Ten with his versatility and offensive ability. Replacing Jon Teske and Zavier Simpson is a challenge for Michigan so Eli Brooks and Hunter Dickson will need to succeed immediately.
The most talked-about team could be Indiana with Archie Miller having his best team yet but in a very difficult Big Ten. Also, Trayce Jackson-Davis is capable of being an All-American and will be a 20 and 10 type of player this season. Continued, the point guard play of freshman star Kristian Lander will be critical. The major pressure on Archie Miller to have massive success for Indiana this season.
First, with Maryland, the perimeter should be really good with Eric Ayala, Darryl Morsell and Aaron Wiggins who needs to be the lead guard for Maryland. Continued, the frontcourt development will be really important with Donta Scott and Darius Hamilton, the transfer from Boston College, having high expectations.
Now, with Purdue, the transferring of Matt Haarms and Nojel Eastern grabbed the headlines in the offseason. The freshman impact of Jaden Ivey and Brendon Newman will be huge for Purdue being dynamic offensively. Also, the best player on Purdue in Trevion Williams, who should continue to be one of the best big in the Big Ten. The player development of this roster will be key for Purdue to get back to the top of the Big Ten.
As for the bottom of the Big Ten starting with Penn State, they are having massive turnover with Pat Chamber’s dismissal.There is still talent on this roster with Myreon Jones and Seth Lundy having very high ceilings for this team, as well as the perimeter depth of Myles Dread and Jamari Wheeler.
Now, with Minnesota, there is pressure on Richard Pitino to have more success in conference play. Jamal Mashburn Jr. will be an instant impact freshman for the Gophers. Big man Liam Robbins transferring from Drake will have a big influence. Next, Marcus Carr will lead the perimeter and Both Gach transferring from Utah will be impactful too.
For Nebraska, its year two for Fred Hoiberg. The transfers will start to have an impact. Teddy Allen, Lat Mayen and Kobe Webster having significant roles for this team immediately. Therefore, the continued development of these transfers will be important for Nebraska’s development.
Lastly, with Northwestern, Chris Collins should have a more competitive team this year. The further growth of Pete Nance and Robbie Beran should give Northwestern a viable frontcourt.
2. Big 12
As for the Big 12, they are set up to be very competitive at the top of the conference. The Big 12 has five teams in the top 20 of the AP poll in Baylor (2), Kansas (6), Texas Tech (14), West Virginia (15) and Texas (19). The Baylor Bears are the favorites coming off a 26-4 season. This team is set up to compete for National Championship and Big 12 title.The perimeter is loaded with All-American guard Jared Butler and Davion Mitchell, along with, MaCio Teague and transfer Adam Flagler. The biggest x-factor will be the frontcourt of Mark Vital and Tristan Clark’s.
As for Kansas, they are replacing two of the country’s best in Devon Dotson and Udoka Azubuike. Therefore, the development of Marcus Garrett will be vital on both ends. Furthermore, the additions of Bryce Thompson and Tyon Grant-Foster must be immediate impacts.
Now, Texas Tech is looking to recapture the success from the 2018-2019 national title runner-up team. The constant roster change with transfers is the storyline again. The additions of Mac McClung and Marcus Santos-Silva could be huge. Also, the freshman impact of Micah Peavy and Nimari Burnett could add major offensive ability.
As for West Virginia, this will be one of the most physical teams in the country. Furthermore, the frontcourt is really dynamic with Derek Culver and Oscar Tshiebwe’s presence. Also, Miles McBride has the potential to be one of the best players in the Big 12 this season. Additionally, JUCO transfer Kedrian Johnson will add scoring to West Virginia’s perimeter.
The team that was playing very well towards the end of the season is Texas. There is major pressure on Shaka Smart to finally deliver at Texas come NCAA Tournament time. The perimeter will be very good with Matt Coleman leading the way next to Courtney Ramey and Andrew Jones. Also, the development of the frontcourt with Jericho Sims, Kai Jones and Will Baker. Greg Brown, the star freshman, will add another ultimate to this team.
Oklahoma State who has a postseason ban. However, this team will be very dynamic though with having arguably the best freshman or player in college basketball in Cade Cunningham. Furthermore, Issac Likekele will be dynamic with the basketball and playing next to Cunningham should only make him more dangerous. Having a promising big in Kalib Boone will be huge for this team. Regardless of their ability to be in the NCAA tournament, this will be an entertaining team to watch this season.
Next, Oklahoma is always well-coached by Lon Kruger. They return two veterans in Brady Manek and Austin Reaves who can score in bunches. Also, the key for Oklahoma will be the play of sophomore point guard De’Vion Harmon elevating his teammates around him. Oklahoma will have offensive firepower but can defend on a consistent basis.
For Iowa State, the addition of transfers in Tyler Harris and Jalen Coleman-Hands add perimeter depth. Blake Hinson gives Iowa State a two-way player who needs to elevate his game even more. Furthermore, Solomon Young will be an important player for Iowa State that lacks a great interior presence.
TCU has had inconsistency under Jaime Dixon. Also, R.J. Nembhard will be a crucial piece with Desmond Bane gone to the NBA as their lead scorer. Additionally, Kevin Samuel must be one of the best bigs in the Big 12 for TCU to get closer to the middle of the Big 12. The player development of TCU will be important for success this season.
Lastly, Kansas State has struggled under Bruce Weber since their run to the Elite 8 in 2018. There is a lot of roster turnover for Kansas Stare to compete consistently within the Big 12. Also, Najel Pack will have the opportunity to be the lead guard as a highly regarded recruit.
The ACC is looking to have a more competitive league than a year ago when they had only five likely NCAA tournament teams. As for this year, the ACC is starting the season with four teams in the AP Top 25 with Virginia (4), Duke (9), North Carolina (16) and Florida State (21). Starting with Virginia, their success starts with their potent defense year in year out. Now, offensively they have struggled to score at times, but Sam Hauser will be a major addition from Marquette with his scoring ability. Also, Kihei Clark will be one of the best point guards in the country with his distribution and defensive ability. Two important players for Virginia will be the Jay Huff and Casey Morsell.
As for Duke, the roster turnover is there yet again, but Jalen Johnson will be a dominant wing scorer. Matthew Hurt and Wendell Moore’s development will be crucial for Duke who needs veteran experience. The most important freshman will be Jeremy Roach replacing Tre Jones, who will need to play point guard very well for Duke to succeed.
North Carolina is looking to rebound from a historically bad season for their standards at 14-19. Their interior presence will be as good as anyone’s in the country with Garrison Brooks leading the way and the youth of Armando Bacot, Day’Ron Sharpe and Walker Kessler. The biggest factor will be the guard play of North Carolina in Caleb Love and R.J. Davis determining their success. Another key factor will be the growth of Leaky Black giving them a true wing option.
The always underappreciated Florida State team under Leonard Hamilton will compete towards the top of the ACC yet again. The addition of Scottie Barnes will give them a point forward who fits the Florida State culture. Sardaar Calhoun could be a major contributor as a perimeter scorer for Florida State with MJ Walker. The interior presence of Balsa Koprivica could be a major impact for Florida State.
Miami has a veteran-laden team. Chris Lykes has the opportunity to be the best point guard in the ACC with his scoring ability and having Kameron McGusty next to him makes a solid backcourt. Also, Nysier Brooks will stabilize the frontcourt for Miami, giving them a physical presence. Having a major impact from freshman Earl Timberlake will be important for the frontcourt.
As for Louisville, losing Malik Williams for the three months is a major loss for their interior. Next, their backcourt of David Johnson and Carlik Jones will be one of the better ones in all of college basketball. The growth and development of Samuell Williamson will have a major determination on Louisville’s ceiling.
Syracuse needs to have consistency across the board to make it back to the NCAA tournament. Furthermore, the addition of Alan Griffin from Illinois will add really good scoring for Illinois. Also, the development of Joe Girard will be important for Syracuse to take the next step. Ultimately, the Syracuse frontcourt must further develop with Marek Dolezaj and Bourama Sidibe.
The team within the ACC that could make a big jump is Georgia Tech with the backcourt ability of Jose Alvarado and Mike Devoe. Also, Jordan Usher will give Georgia Tech perimeter scoring opportunities. Most importantly, will be the development of the frontcourt with Khalid Moore and Moses Wright.
Brad Brownell has a very talented group of players at Clemson including Aamir Simms who is one of the best forwards in college basketball. Furthermore, John Newman brings the ability to score at a high level for their perimeter and Al Amir-Dawes does too. P.J. Hall has the chance to be an instant impact player as a highly regarded freshman to their frontcourt.
Now, NC State and Kevin Keatts have a veteran team with DJ Funderburk leading the way for their frontcourt and Devon Daniels scoring from the perimeter. Additionally, Cam Hayes has the potential to be a very good point guard from the start of the season. The player who could really stand out is Manny Bates especially with his defense protecting the rim.
Notre Dame is looking to go back to competing for NCAA tournament appearances consistently. Furthermore, the ability of Nate Laszewski to be a consistent scorer for the Irish will be key for their success. Also, the development of Dane Goodwin and Prentiss Hubb must show for this team to take the next jump in the ACC.
Virginia Tech are heading into year two under Mike Young. Losing Landers Nolley is a massive loss and the focus shifts towards the backcourt of Cartier Diarra and Wabisse Bede. Also, the freshman Joe Bamisile could make an immediate impact on Virginia Tech’s success.
Pittsburgh is going into year three of Jeff Capel. They had a top player in Trey McCowen’s transfer out. The focus will center around Justin Champagnie with his explosiveness and scoring ability. Also, the play of Xavier Johnson will be key for Pittsburgh. Capel must turn the page at Pittsburgh and start to be competitive in the ACC.
Jim Christian could be on his last leg and needs to show progress this season for Boston College. For Boston College, the frontcourt is pretty solid with Sheffon Mitchell leading the way. Also, the perimeter will need to develop further with Makai Ashton-Langford coming in from Providence and Wynston Tabbs.
Lastly, Wake Forest enters the era of Steve Forbes who will be setting the foundation this season. A player for Wake Forest who could help set the tone early is Isaiah Mucius with his inside scoring presence. Also, the transfer of Jalen Johnson could be a factor as well for Wake Forest to have some success in ACC play.
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