How do the power conferences rank in college basketball? They will be ranked, while looking at tiers and key components. The following rank as:
The SEC has continued to have great success in recruiting with the star coaches within this conference and teams will showcase that again this season. Now, as for the top of the conference only two are in the AP Top 25 to start the season: Kentucky (6) and Tennessee (12). As for Kentucky, it’s another year of constant roster turnover and a unique look to this team this year. The transfer is a major topic around Kentucky with Olivier Sarr, Davion Mintz and Jacob Toppin. Furthermore, the top recruits are highlighted by B.J. Boston, Terrance Clarke, Devin Askew and Isaiah Jackson. Roster continuity will be the key for Kentucky to grow into a National Championship threat.
Now, the team right behind Kentucky for the SEC is Tennessee as Rick Barnes could have his deepest team. Also, the frontcourt will be very good with Yves Pons and John Fulkerson. As well as, the perimeter with Josiah-Jordan James, Jaden Springer and Keon Johnson. Tennessee is a team that has all the capabilities to make a run towards the Final Four.
The next tier of the SEC begins with LSU. They are still very talented with recruiting success. First off, Javonte Smart will be one of the best guards in the SEC with his toughness and ability to score. Along with having one of the best players in the country in Trendon Watford next to hybrid Darius Days in the frontcourt. Furthermore, the key for this team will be more shooting and Cam Thomas a highly regarded freshman can have an immediate impact in that category.
Now, Florida has one of the best players in the country with wing Keyontae Johnson and a versatile wing in Scottie Lewis. Also, the backcourt of Tre Mann and Noah Locke should improve with more experience. Next, the transfer impact of Tyree Appleby and Anthony Duruji should not go unnoticed with this talented roster.
As for South Carolina, this should be the best team since their Final Four run in 2017. Their perimeter of A.J. Lawson and Keyshawn Bryant has the potential to be very good for South Carolina. Therefore, the point guard play of Jermaine Cousinard will be important to set up the scoring threats. Also, the replacement of Malik Kotsar with Wildens Levesque will be critical.
Furthermore, there has been a lot of buzz about year two for Eric Mussleman and Arkansas expecting an NCAA tournament appearance. The backcourt for Arkansas is going to be very good with Jalen Tate transferring in from Northern Kentucky and star freshman Moses Moody.Along with, getting help in the frontcourt with Justin Smith from Indiana and Vance Jackson from New Mexico. Offensively, Arkansas will be a very difficult team to defend each game.
As for another high powered offense, it’s year two for Nate Oats at Alabama with similar expectations. The recruiting success has been vital for Alabama bringing in Josh Primo, Alex Tchikou and Keon Ellis. The transfer market has been fruitful with Jordan Burner from Yale and Villanova transfer Jahvon Quinerly being eligible. Next, the veteran presence of John Petty and Jaden Shackleford will be dynamic.
Continuing, Auburn has always had a high octane offense and now brings in a dynamic freshman guard in Sharife Cooper next to a big guard in Devan Cambridge. Therefore, the backcourt will be very good, but the frontcourt must deliver and J.T. Thor will be important as a freshman to provide stability there. The overall depth and quality are a question mark for Auburn entering the season.
A team that returns the most of any SEC team is Missouri. Cuonzo Martin will be relying on the veterans and Jeremiah Tillmon will be one of the better bigs in the SEC. Also, the perimeter of Mark Smith, Dru Smith and Xavier Pinson has a lot of potential for Missouri. If healthy, this team could sneak into the NCAA tournament picture at some point.
Ole Miss returns a dynamic scorer in Devontae Shuler along with entering transfer Jarkel Joiner from Cal State Bakersfield. Furthermore, the frontcourt should improve as well with Romello White transferring from Arizona State next to K.J. Buffen. Ole Miss has certain pieces to be a tough team at times in the SEC.
Texas A&M enters their second season under Buzz Williams. They will depend on the play of freshmen making an impact immediately with Hassan Diarra, Jaxson Robinson and Cashius McNeilly to take the next step in the SEC. Also, the transfer of Kevin Marfo will have a major impact on this interior presence giving help on the boards and scoring. Texas A&M is a work in progress as they head into this season.
For Mississippi State, they will be heavily dependent on the play of Abdul Ado providing easy scoring opportunities. Furthermore, D.J. Stewart will be the primary guard for Mississippi State and must be very effective throughout the season. Ben Howland will have a tough task with this team to compete in the middle of this league.
Georgia enters year two with Tom Crean in his tenure. The replacement of Anthony Edwards will be a difficult task therefore Shavir Wheeler has the opportunity to fill that scoring role. Also, Toumani Camara is capable of being an inside presence for Georgia each possession. Next, the transfers will be important for Georgia in Justin Kier, Andrew Garcia and P.J. Horne.
Finally, Vanderbilt has struggled thus far under Jerry Stackhouse and must turn it around quickly. Furthermore, the addition of transfers D.J. Harvey and Issac McBride will add a perimeter threat for Vanderbilt. Also, Dylan Disu must continue to improve to give Vanderbilt a capable big inside. There is a lot of room for Vanderbilt to grow to get out from the bottom of the SEC.
5. Big East
This season’s Big East is shaping up to be Villanova’s league yet again as they enter the season ranked (3) in the AP Top 25. Further, Villanova is returning a veteran-laden team led by Collin Gillespie an All American point guard and Jeremiah Robinson-Earl having All American potential as well. Also, Justin Moore, the sophomore guard has the potential to break out as one of the best guards in the country. Continued, the wing depth of Caleb Daniels, a Tulane transfer, and Jermaine Samuels will be very effective as well. Villanova is loaded top to bottom quite possibly being the most complete team in the country. As for the second-best team in the conference, Creighton has great explosiveness offensively.
Now, Creighton has one of the best players in the country in Marcus Zegarowski who will be even more dependent on scoring and distributing without Ty-Shon Alexander. Next, Mitch Ballock could very well be the best shooter in the country who’s role will expand this season. The biggest factor for Creighton will be the frontcourt of Damien Jefferson, Denzel Mahoney and Jacob Epperson’s growth as players.
Moving forward, the return of UConn is the biggest headline as Dan Hurley has this team set to make noise within the Big East immediately. They could have the best backcourt in the conference with R.J. Cole’s leadership and the emergence of James Bouknight as one of the best guards in college basketball. Additionally, the wings for this team will be very good with Tyrese Martin the transfer from Rhode Island, and the star freshman Andre Jackson. The frontcourt brings its biggest questions with the health of Akok Akok, Adam Sanogo’s readiness, and Josh Carlton’s fitness level. UConn has a wide variety of talent set to do damage in the Big East.
Providence is a team that is set up to be a lock for the NCAA tournament with the core that returns. Further, David Duke and transfer Jared Bynum will be a very good backcourt. Also, the frontcourt should be ready to produce with Nate Watson and transfer Noah Horchler developing in his sit out the season. Next, there should be even more scoring with A.J. Reeves and Bryce Goodine being eligible from Syracuse now. Ed Cooley has his team ready to make noise yet again in the Big East.
Seton Hall is a team that has been very consistent under Kevin Willard. They are retooling without Myles Powell. First off, the health and productivity of Bryce Aiken will be crucial for Seton Hall. Next, Sandro Mamukelashvili has the potential to be one of the best forwards in the Big East and be their lead scorer. Now, the development of the perimeter will be key with Myles Cale and Jared Rhoden leading the way with help of transfer Takal Molson.
As for Marquette, this team is changing going away from the Markus Howard era but could be better a year later. The addition of D.J. Carton from Ohio State will give them a true point guard to run their offense. They will also have Koby McEwen and Jamal Cain on the perimeter who can score the basketball. Next, the impact freshman of Dawson Garcia will give Marquette a versatile forward and offensively will be a matchup problem. Steve Wojociehski has a capable team to surprise teams within the Big East.
Now, Xavier is looking to recapture the same success that Chris Mack sustained as Travis Steele heads into year three. The backcourt of Xavier has the potential to be good with Kyky Tandy’s scoring and Paul Struggs’ consistency. Additionally, the perimeter will be adding impact freshmen in Colby Jones and Dwon Odom. The most important factor for Xavier will be the frontcourt of Zach Freemantle and Jason Carter establishing offensive consistency.
St. John’s has Mike Anderson entering year two of his tenure. The emergence of Julian Champagnie has the potential to be one of the most versatile players in the Big East. Also, Vince Cole has the opportunity to be an impact player on the wing for St. John’s. Additionally, freshman Posh Alexander could be one of the best freshmen in the Big East this season.
As for Butler, Lavall Jordan is looking to get the most out of this roster with all the turnover that has occurred. Aaron Thompson will set the tone on both ends of the floor as the point guard. Additionally, the frontcourt will need to produce consistently for Butler with Bryce Nze and Bryce Golden. Also, freshman Scooby Johnson has the potential to give Butler a true wing and be an immediate help.
Lastly, finishing off with the clear bottom of the Big East with DePaul and Georgetown. As for DePaul, they will be heavily dependent on the play of Charlie Moore as everything runs through him. Furthermore, Romeo Weems needs to be a breakout player for DePaul giving them a consistent wing threat. Additionally, Jaylen Butz will need to provide consistency for their interior.
Now, as for Georgetown, it has been a very difficult past year for the program with the number of departures for various reasons. The productivity of Jahvon Blair and Jalen Harris will be key to provide stability to their backcourt. Also, the development of Qudus Wahab will be really important to having that interior presence. Also, Jamorko Pickett has the ability to be a hybrid forward for Georgetown producing in many different aspects. Georgetown must build continuity to have any success in the Big East.
6. PAC 12
The PAC 12’s top three teams are Arizona State (18), Oregon (20) and UCLA (22), who all being represented in the AP Top 25. Now beginning with Arizona State having one of the best guards in Remy Martin along with a loaded perimeter with Josh Christopher, Alonzo Verge Jr. and Jaelen House. Therefore, the scoring ability and explosiveness of the perimeter will carry Arizona State all season. The biggest question will be replacing Romello White, which will fall to Jalen Graham and his presence inside. The two freshmen in Josh Christopher and Marcus Bagley could elevate this team to a dark horse for a Final Four run.
As for Oregon, they will have a very deep roster and will need certain players to separate themselves. Therefore, Chris Duarte and Will Richardson should be the primary options in the backcourt for Oregon. Along with, Amauri Hardy transfer from UNLV and if L.J. Figueroa is eligible. Also, N’Faly Dante will need to produce at a higher level for Oregon to give them a true interior presence. As for Chandler Lawson having the potential to be a breakout player in the PAC 12.
Moving forward, UCLA and Mick Cronin will look to recapture the momentum they had at the end of the season. Further, Tyger Campbell does a really good at the point guard position sets the tone for the rest of the team. Next, Chris Smith will be one of the best wings in college basketball giving UCLA a go-to option. The shooting of UCLA should be good with Jaime Jaquez and Johnny Juzang transferring from Kentucky. UCLA has the potential to be the best team in the PAC 12 this season.
For Stanford, replacing Tyrell Terry will be very difficult, but they have one of the best freshmen in college basketball with Ziaire Williams. Daejon Davis will need to fill the role of Terry’s departure. Furthermore, one of the most underrated players in all of college basketball is Oscar Da Silva who could have a tremendous season again. If the point guard play develops Stanford will be a top 25 caliber team.
Now, Arizona has had massive roster turnover and now is going very international with its roster. Furthermore, the play of Kerr Kriisa will be vital for Arizona’s progression and Azuolas Tubelis could have a major impact immediately. The transfers as well could big major contributors in James Akinjo and Jordan Brown. Sean Miller will need to build continuity with this roster, but there is a lot of talent.
USC has one of the best freshmen in the country with Evan Mobley. They also have Ethan Anderson who could elevate into one of the better guards in the PAC 12. The overall development of the rest of the roster will determine the ceiling for USC. Therefore, a lot of pressure on Andy Enfield to finally get USC to reach its potential.
For Colorado, Tad Boyle led this team to a very successful season with McKinley Wright as the point and he returns. Also, D’Shawn Schwartz has the potential to emerge as a wing scorer for Colorado. Additionally, replacing Tyler Bey will not be easy so the interior of Evan Battey and Dallas Walton must emerge. Next, Jeriah Horne has the potential to be an impact transfer for Colorado.
The Utes return one of the best players in the PAC 12 with Timmy Allen who is a great scorer. Additionally, the impact of Rylan Jones as the lead point guard will need to further develop for Utah to be better offensively. Also, they have two freshmen who have the ability to make a difference in Ian Martinez and Pelle Larsson.
Washington is coming off a disappointing season and Mike Hopkins is looking to bounce back. Additionally, Jamal Bey and RaeQuan Battle have the potential to give Washington a dynamic perimeter. Furthermore, the biggest factor will be Quade Green, and if he can deliver as the pure point guard. Continued, Mark Fox has is starting to build Cal back up, and having Matt Bradley one of the best players in the PAC 12 helps. Also, the frontcourt help of Grant Anticevich will be important for Cal on the inside. The overall player development for Mark Fox will be really important for the growth of this Cal team.
Now, Washington State is moving forward without C.J. Ellerby who’s production will be difficult to replace for Kyle Smith. Further, Noah Williams has the potential to take the role of the leading scorer for this Washington State team. Having an impact freshman in Andrej Jakimovski will be important for the growth of this roster.
Lastly, Oregon State and now replacing Tres Tinkle will be a tall task for Wayne Tinkle. Also, Ethan Thompson will need to continue as the primary guard and scorer for this team. Furthermore, Alfred Hollins will be an important part of their success inside. There are a lot of questions for the overall depth of this roster going into the season. Therefore, the player development of Oregon State will be important to rise in the PAC 12.
Images Courtesy of, LSU Athletics, Providence College Athletics, USC Athletics
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