Preseason Rankings – Top 25 & Others

  1. Michigan State – The Spartans enter the year led by Cassius Winston, a leading contender for Player of the Year honors. Alongside Winston is a healthy Joshua Langford and two guys who are role players on this roster, but would likely be stars on other teams – Xavier Tillman and Aaron Henry. Throw in a number of high potential young pieces like 4 star recruits like Rocket Watts (5 star name) and Malik Hall, and all the pieces are there for Tom Izzo & co.
  2. Kansas – After a tumultuous offseason, the Jayhawks are likely more than ready to decide things on court – as they should be. A loaded roster led by Devon Dotson and Udoka Azubuike looks primed to reclaim the Big XII title. Ochai Agbaji, Iowa transfer Isaiah Moss, and defensive terror Marcus Garrett will hold things down on the wing, and Silvio De Sousa’s eligibility will let Bill Self thrive with two legit frontcourt options.
  3. Florida – I absolutely love the makeup of this Florida team. PG Andrew Nembhard is one of the most common breakout candidates listed on season previews, and the addition of grad transfer Kerry Blackshear Jr. gives Florida a monster down low. A loaded recruiting class headlined by 5 stars Scottie Lewis and Tre Mann will join promising sophomores Noah Locke and Keyontae Johnson in the rotation.
  4. Louisville – Chris Mack has already done a fabulous job in Louisville, and the Cardinals look to be a legit national title contender this season. Preseason ACC Player of the Year Jordan Nwora’s return boosted this roster into the top 5, but the balance of experience and youth should have fans excited. Three 5th year seniors, Dwayne Sutton, Steven Enoch, and grad transfer Fresh Kimble join a loaded recruiting class led by 5 star wing Samuell Williamson. Co-captain junior C Malik Williams is dealing with an injury, but the Cardinals have the depth to weather the storm.
  5. Kentucky – Another year, another wave of transition in Lexington. The Wildcats have loads of talent, but as usual, there may be some growing pains early on. PG Ashton Hagans is quite possibly the best defender in college basketball, and guards Tyrese Maxey and Immanuel Quickley join him in a loaded backcourt. The frontcourt is led by returnees EJ Montgomery, Nick Richards, and grad transfer Nate Sestina, and the wing rotation could feature 3 top 50 recruits, led by Kahlil Whitney. One concern is whether the Cats have enough shooting, but this should be a phenomenal defensive team.
  6. Maryland – I know, I know – Mark Turgeon is the coach. But it’s hard to not love what Maryland brings back in PG Anthony Cowan and F Jalen Smith. Add in jumps from junior Darryl Morsell and sophomores Eric Ayala and Aaron Wiggins, and this is a really balanced roster. The biggest question mark is who picks up the slack in the frontcourt when Jalen Smith sits – could sophomore Ricky Lindo or freshman Makhi Mitchell be the answer?
  7. UNC – Freshman superstar Cole Anthony is my pick to be this year’s Trae Young/Zion Williamson. Fellow freshmen big man Armando Bacot forms a super intriguing duo with Anthony, and returnees Garrison Brooks, Brandon Robinson, and Leaky Black join grad transfer additions Christian Keeling and Justin Pierce to form a strong supporting cast.
  8. Duke – I’m really not in love with the makeup of Duke’s roster this year. Without a doubt, it’s one of the most talented in college basketball, and the freshman foursome of Vernon Carey, Matthew Hurt, Wendell Moore, and Cassius Stanley is a loaded group of players. But while Duke should have an elite defense led by the incredibly active Tre Jones, shooting remains a question. Moore and Stanley don’t have reputations for being major outside threats, so the question remains whether Matthew Hurt and a bench crew of Alex O’Connell, Joey Baker, and Jack White can provide enough.
  9. Gonzaga – The Mark Few machine just keeps rolling. Grad transfer additions Admon Gilder and Ryan Woolridge offset early NBA departures, and expect to see major leaps from Corey Kispert and Filip Petrusev. This is Killian Tillie’s team, but health remains a big question mark. A stellar recruiting class comes into Spokane and the Malian Oumar Ballo may be the most promising of all of them but his eligibility for this season is still up in the air.
  10. Ohio State – I think the Buckeyes are being severely underlooked coming into this year. Kaleb Wesson could be the 2nd best player in the Big Ten behind Winston, and returnees Luther Muhammad, Andre Wesson, and Kyle Young should continue to improve. On top of that, Chris Holtmann (top 10 coach in college) gains transfer CJ Walker and the best recruiting class in the Big 10, headlined by G DJ Carton.
  11. Villanova – Lots of talent remains on the Wildcats roster, but the question lingering around this program is who takes the place of Phil Booth and Eric Paschall and steps up as an alpha dog? Jeremiah Robinson-Earl has received lots of early buzz and is a player to watch.
  12. Texas Tech – The Red Raiders experienced a ton of turnover, but Chris Beard is a freaking magician. Davide Moretti is the returning leader of this team, and transfer Chris Clarke plus freshman sensation Jahmius Ramsey make up the core of this roster.
  13. Purdue – Purdue is another team with lots of losses, but a hell of a coach. Nojel Eastern is going to be a problem, Matt Haarms is only going to get better, and the sophomore tandem of Aaron Wheeler and Trevion Williams greatly improved as last season went on.
  14. Virginia – If you haven’t figured it out by now, this is the “great programs with great coaches who have earned the benefit of the doubt” section. Tony Bennett will find a way to overcome the losses of Ty Jerome, DeAndre Hunter, and Kyle Guy. Core returnees include Mamadi Diakite, Braxton Key, and Kihei Clark, and expect Jay Huff to be a major breakout candidate.
  15. Seton Hall – Myles Powell is perhaps the biggest challenger to Cassius Winston for Player of the Year, but he’s got a ton of returning talent around him in Myles Cale, Quincy McKnight, and Sandro Mamukelashvili. 7’0″ Florida State transfer Ike Obiagu is the key addition who I think could be the difference maker.
  16. VCU – 7 of the top 8 players return on a team that had a top 10 defense in the country this season. Seniors Marcus Evans, De’Riante Jenkins, and Issac Vann will try to lead the Rams to a conference title in a reloaded Atlantic 10.
  17. Baylor – The Bears somehow managed to not only survive an injury to leader Tristan Clark, but get better last season. His return along with an expected freshman-to-sophomore year leap from Jared Butler should have folks excited in Waco.
  18. Utah State – Sam Merrill is an All-American candidate, and the Aggies return 6’11” big man Neemias Queta after an NBA Draft flirtation. This is easily the best team in the Mountain West, and could quite possibly the best team on the “West Coast” outside of Gonzaga.
  19. Xavier – Naji Marshall is primed for a breakout, and the trio of Quentin Goodin, Paul Scruggs, and Tyrique Jones make up a fabulous core to go along with a promising freshman class. The Musketeers greatly improved down the stretch and should continue to grow in Travis Steele’s 2nd season.
  20. Providence – UMass transfer PG Luwane Pipkins could be the sparkplug that gets the Providence offense going. Alpha Diallo is a difference maker on both ends, and big man Nate Watson anchors the frontcourt. AJ Reeves is a lethal threat from downtown, and the addition of Pipkins should help take the pressure off of G David Duke.
  21. Saint Mary’s – 9 of the top 10 scorers return from last year’s Gael roster, and they’re led by Jordan Ford and Malik Fitts. If 7’3″ transfer Aaron Menzies can be an impact player and anchor the defense with rim protection, this could be a second weekend caliber team.
  22. Memphis – This team has been well-documented in previews across the internet. The Tigers boast an embarrassment of riches in their incoming freshman class, but experience is nearly non-existent on this roster. James Wiseman and Precious Achiuwa are the stars to watch on this team – but regardless, it’ll be fun to watch.
  23. Colorado – The Buffaloes finished the season strong, and with a healthy McKinley Wright, who played through a torn labrum, joined by Tyler Bey, Colorado could be the best team in the Pac 12.
  24. Davidson – Bob McKillop will undoubtedly have this offense once again humming this year – I am a huge fan of junior Kellan Grady, and he’ll have help in Jon Axel Gudmundsson (another 5 star name) and Luke Frampton. The frontcourt depth is the biggest question mark for the Wildcats this year.
  25. Arizona – Transfers Stone Gettings and Max Hazzard join incumbent Chase Jeter, but make no mistake – this season, the Wildcats will go as far as freshmen sensations Josh Green and Nico Mannion can take them.

    Other Contenders
  26. Florida State
  27. Auburn
  28. Oregon
  29. Marquette
  30. Tennessee
  31. Creighton
  32. Michigan
  33. LSU
  34. Cincinnati
  35. Georgetown
  36. Notre Dame
  37. Washington
  38. Illinois
  39. Wichita State
  40. Harvard

Also Considered: Houston, Oklahoma State, NC State, Missouri, Alabama

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Final Bracketology Projection

1 seeds: Virginia, Duke, Michigan State, UNC
2 seeds: Michigan, Tennessee, Kentucky, Gonzaga
3 seeds: Houston, Texas Tech, Kansas, LSU
4 seeds: Florida State, Purdue, Auburn, Wisconsin
5 seeds: Kansas State, Virginia Tech, Villanova, Iowa State
6 seeds: Buffalo, Marquette, Mississippi State, Cincinnati
7 seeds: Wofford, Nevada, Maryland, Louisville
8 seeds: Oklahoma, Iowa, UCF, Utah State
9 seeds: NC State, Washington, VCU, Florida
10 seeds: Syracuse, Clemson, Seton Hall, Baylor
11 seeds: Minnesota, Saint Mary’s, TCU*, Ole Miss*, Ohio State*, Indiana*
12 seeds: Oregon, New Mexico State, Murray State, UC Irvine
13 seeds: Liberty, Vermont, Northeastern, Yale
14 seeds: Old Dominion, Georgia State, Saint Louis, Northern Kentucky
15 seeds: Montana, Colgate, Abilene Christian, Gardner Webb
16 seeds: Bradley, Prairie View A&M, North Dakota State, Fairleigh Dickinson, Iona, North Carolina Central

First 4 Out: Belmont, Creighton, Arizona State, Temple
Next 4 Out: Alabama, St. John’s, Lipscomb, Furman

Selection Sunday Bracketology

This blog will be updated with the conclusion of each game this afternoon. At this point, the bubble is pretty much set, and the only changes will be auto-bids for one bid leagues/the A-10, and more importantly, who gets the last two one seeds. Duke and UVA are locks with UVA holding the #1 overall seed. If Tennessee wins, they get a one seed. If Michigan State wins, they also get a one seed. If one of those two loses, UNC gets a one seed. If both lose, UNC and Michigan get one seeds. I don’t believe Gonzaga has the resume when they will at best, 40% as many Q1 victories as any other potential one seeds, with the 5th highest average computer metric of all teams.

UPDATE #1 – Yale wins the autobid over Harvard for the Ivy and slide into a 13 seed, bumping Old Dominion to the 14 line.

UPDATE #2 – Saint Louis wins the A10 auto bid and moves to the 14 line, dropping Montana to a 15. Auburn wins the SEC auto bid and moves past Wisconsin on the true seed list, while Tennessee drops behind Michigan on the true seed list.

UPDATE #3 – Cincinnati wins the AAC Tournament and scoots past Wofford for a 6 seed. Houston stays in the same place. Will post a new blog with my final projection after the Big 10 Tournament.

1 seeds: Virginia, Duke, Michigan State, UNC
2 seeds: Michigan, Tennessee, Kentucky, Gonzaga
3 seeds: Houston, Texas Tech, Kansas, LSU
4 seeds: Florida State, Purdue, Auburn, Wisconsin
5 seeds: Kansas State, Virginia Tech, Villanova, Iowa State
6 seeds: Buffalo, Marquette, Mississippi State, Cincinnati
7 seeds: Wofford, Nevada, Maryland, Louisville
8 seeds: Oklahoma, Iowa, UCF, Utah State
9 seeds: NC State, Washington, VCU, Florida
10 seeds: Syracuse, Clemson, Seton Hall, Baylor
11 seeds: Minnesota, Saint Mary’s, TCU*, Ole Miss*, Ohio State*, Indiana*
12 seeds: Oregon, New Mexico State, Murray State, UC Irvine
13 seeds: Liberty, Vermont, Northeastern, Yale
14 seeds: Old Dominion, Georgia State, Saint Louis, Northern Kentucky
15 seeds: Montana, Colgate, Abilene Christian, Gardner Webb
16 seeds: Bradley, Prairie View A&M, North Dakota State, Fairleigh Dickinson, Iona, North Carolina Central

First 4 Out: Belmont, Creighton, Arizona State, Temple
Next 4 Out: Alabama, St. John’s, Lipscomb, Furman

Bracketology – 3/16

VCU falls, opening the door for a bid stealer in the A10. Davidson temporarily takes the projected auto bid and Nebraska drops out of the field with their 16th loss – eliminated from consideration due to no precedence of a 16 loss team being awarded an at-large bid. Belmont hangs onto the last at-large spot.

1 seeds: Virginia, Duke, UNC, Kentucky
2 seeds: Michigan State, Michigan, Tennessee, Gonzaga
3 seeds: Houston, Kansas, Texas Tech, LSU
4 seeds: Florida State, Purdue, Wisconsin, Kansas State
5 seeds: Virginia Tech, Auburn, Villanova, Marquette
6 seeds: Mississippi State, Buffalo, Iowa State, Wofford
7 seeds: Nevada, Maryland, Cincinnati, Louisville
8 seeds: Oklahoma, Washington, UCF, Iowa
9 seeds: NC State, Florida, Utah State, VCU
10 seeds: Syracuse, Minnesota, Clemson, Seton Hall
11 seeds: Baylor, Saint Mary’s, TCU, Ole Miss*, Ohio State*
12 seeds: Indiana*, Belmont*, Murray State, New Mexico State, Davidson
13 seeds: Liberty, UC Irvine, Vermont, Northeastern
14 seeds: Old Dominion, Georgia State, Northern Kentucky, Harvard
15 seeds: Montana, Colgate, Gardner Webb, Bradley
16 seeds: Abilene Christian, North Dakota State, Prairie View A&M, Fairleigh Dickinson, Iona, Norfolk State

First 4 Out: Creighton, Arizona State, Oregon, Temple
Next 4 Out: Alabama, St. John’s, Furman, Toledo

Bracketology – 3/15

Here’s my update for today, doing a full bracket this morning instead of just a seed list. Texas, by virtue of being .500, is eliminated. Metrics and resume are stronger than some at-large teams, but until the Selection Committee selects a team at .500 or below, I will not give them any consideration.

Other tidbits – Minnesota and Seton Hall rise up to 11 seeds and escape the First Four. Indiana’s loss to Ohio State drops them into the Last 4 In. Creighton’s loss drops them out of the field and Nebraska’s win over Maryland puts them in. Belmont slides into the final at-large spot by virtue of Texas’ .500 record.

East Region (Washington, D.C.)South Region (Louisville, KY)
Columbia, SC
1 Virginia (#1 Overall)
16 Prairie View/Fairleigh Dickinson
8 Oklahoma
9 Utah State
Columbia, SC
1 North Carolina
16 Sam Houston State
8 UCF
9 Baylor
San Jose, CA
5 Marquette
12 New Mexico State
4 Wisconsin
13 Vermont
San Jose, CA
5 Mississippi State
12 Indiana/Belmont
4 Kansas State
13 Northeastern
Des Moines, IA
6 Buffalo
11 Minnesota
3 Kansas
14 Northern Kentucky
Tulsa, OK
6 Wofford
11 Seton Hall
3 Houston
14 Georgia State
Jacksonville, FL
7 Maryland
10 Clemson
2 Tennessee
15 Gardner Webb
Columbus, OH
7 Cincinnati
10 Syracuse
2 Michigan State
15 Colgate
West Region (Anaheim, CA)Midwest Region (Kansas City, MO)
Hartford, CT
1 Duke
16 Iona/Norfolk State
8 VCU
9 Washington
Columbus, OH
1 Kentucky
16 North Dakota State
8 Iowa
9 NC State
Hartford, CT
5 Virginia Tech
12 Murray State
4 Purdue
13 UC Irvine
Salt Lake City, UT
5 Auburn
12 Ohio State/Nebraska
4 Florida State
13 Liberty
Jacksonville, FL
6 Villanova
11 TCU
3 LSU
14 Old Dominion
Tulsa, OK
6 Nevada
11 Ole Miss
3 Texas Tech
14 Harvard
Salt Lake City, UT
7 Louisville
10 Florida
2 Gonzaga
15 Montana
Des Moines, IA
7 Iowa State
10 Saint Mary’s
2 Michigan
15 Bradley

Last 4 Byes
Minnesota
Seton Hall
TCU
Ole Miss
Last 4 In
Ohio State
Nebraska
Indiana
Belmont
First 4 Out
Arizona State
Temple
Creighton
Alabama
Next 4 Out
Oregon
St. John’s
Furman
Toledo

Multi-Bid Conferences
Big 10 – 10 teams
ACC – 9 teams
Big 12 – 7 teams
SEC – 7 teams
AAC – 3 teams
Big East – 3 teams
Mountain West – 2 teams
Ohio Valley – 2 teams
West Coast – 2 teams



Bracketology 3/14

Colgate clinches the auto-bid. This seed list includes games up to the start of today’s action.

1 seeds: Virginia, UNC, Duke, Kentucky
2 seeds: Michigan State, Michigan, Tennessee, Gonzaga
3 seeds: Texas Tech, Houston, LSU, Kansas
4 seeds: Purdue, Wisconsin, Florida State, Virginia Tech
5 seeds: Kansas State, Auburn, Villanova, Maryland
6 seeds: Nevada, Marquette, Mississippi State, Buffalo
7 seeds: Wofford, Louisville, Cincinnati, Iowa State
8 seeds: UCF, VCU, NC State, Oklahoma
9 seeds: Iowa, Baylor, Washington, Syracuse
10 seeds: Clemson, Texas, Ole Miss, Utah State
11 seeds: TCU, Saint Mary’s, Florida, Indiana
12 seeds: Minnesota*, Seton Hall*, Creighton*, Ohio State*, Murray State, New Mexico State
13 seeds: Liberty, UC Irvine, Vermont, Northeastern
14 seeds: Old Dominion, Georgia State, Northern Kentucky, Harvard
15 seeds: Montana, Colgate, Gardner-Webb, Bradley
16 seeds: Sam Houston State, North Dakota State, Prairie View A&M, Fairleigh Dickinson, Iona, Norfolk State

First 4 Out: Nebraska, Belmont, Temple, Arizona State
Next 4 Out: St. John’s, Toledo, Oregon, Alabama

Bracketology – 3/13

Saint Mary’s stole the show last night with the stunning upset of Gonzaga, locking them in. I had just placed them onto the right side of the bubble yesterday afternoon, so no bid thief here, but bubble teams across the country are much more nervous now.

Here is today’s seedings – I went through and did a fresh scrub through the entire field, so some teams that may have been out of action yesterday may have flipped spots.

1 seeds: Virginia, North Carolina, Duke, Kentucky
2 seeds: Michigan State, Michigan, Tennessee, Gonzaga
3 seeds: Texas Tech, Houston, LSU, Kansas
4 seeds: Purdue, Wisconsin, Florida State, Virginia Tech
5 seeds: Kansas State, Auburn, Villanova, Maryland
6 seeds: Nevada, Marquette, Mississippi State, Buffalo
7 seeds: Wofford, Cincinnati, Louisville, Iowa State
8 seeds: UCF, Oklahoma, VCU, NC State
9 seeds: Iowa, Baylor, Washington, Clemson
10 seeds: Texas, Syracuse, Ole Miss, Utah State
11 seeds: Saint Mary’s, Florida, TCU, Indiana
12 seeds: Minnesota*, Seton Hall*, Creighton*, Ohio State*, Murray State, New Mexico State
13 seeds: Liberty, UC Irvine, Vermont, Northeastern
14 seeds: Old Dominion, Georgia State, Northern Kentucky, Harvard
15 seeds: Montana, Colgate, Gardner Webb, Bradley
16 seeds: Sam Houston State, North Dakota State, Prairie View A&M, Fairleigh Dickinson, Iona, Norfolk State

First 4 Out: Belmont, Temple, Nebraska, Arizona State
Next 4 Out: St. John’s, Toledo, Alabama, Oregon