It is finally here, we are officially 50 days away from the College Basketball season beginning. In past years I have done a Top-50 team countdown of some sort but that is going to be a little bit different this year. Instead, I decided to give the countdown all at once. That’s right, 50 teams all in order of where I see them deserving of a ranking, let’s dive into my Top 50 teams in College Basketball.
This is a rather unpopular pick but nonetheless, the Wildcats come in at number one. Kentucky will be the best team in College Basketball this year for a multitude of reasons. For one, they have the best player in the sport in Oscar Tshiebwe, they have an elite two-way point guard in Sahvir Wheeler. Mix that with two five-star freshmen in Cason Wallace and Chris Livingston, a plethora of breakout candidates like Damion Collins and Jacob Toppin, and shooting with CJ Fredrick and Antonio Reeves and this team matches up with everyone. The offense should be great, the defense will be the best it’s been at Kentucky in a while, and add to that motivation after a devastating end to last year and the Wildcats seem poised to have a spectacular season.
2.North Carolina Tar Heels
Coming off last season’s National Championship run, the Tar Heels likely will be the top-ranked team in the sport in the polls, and with good reason. Armando Bacot is a dominant force inside offensively and is one of the top rebounders in the sport. Caleb Love has games where he is able to perform at a level unmatched by anyone, while RJ Davis is the steadying point guard the Heels need. Leaky Black will provide the glue guy role that North Carolina needs, while Pete Nance will act as a somewhat floor-spacing forward. Add to that breakouts from Puff Johnson and Dontrez Styles, plus talented freshmen like Seth Trimble and Jalen Washington and the Heels should be the ACC’s best.
Coming off another year where the Bears won the Big 12 and got a one seed, they hope to return to their 2021 Tournament dominance. This team has similar pieces to that team, headlined by the best backcourt in the sport, which sees Keyonte George as a dynamic scoring freshman, LJ Cryer as a combo guard that can get his own and create for others, and Adam Flagler, a knockdown shooter who will be a consistent producer offensively. The Bears have a combo of Flo Thamba and “Every day John” being defensive anchors up front. The Bears fill out that rotation with good pieces in Jalen Bridges and Langston Love, who should fill some scoring pop, and this Baylor team has everything you could want in a title-contending team.
The Cougars have managed to win at the highest level despite not really getting the elite talent but now they have arguably their most talented roster in the Kelvin Sampson era. Marcus Sasser is back where he hopes to return to his All-American level from early last season. Jamal Shead will be a pivotal two-way point guard, while Tramon Mark provides a good option at the three. The Cougars add a five-star athletic center in Jarace Walker, to pair with Reggie Chaney, and J’Wan Roberts up front. Pair that with Roman Walker and Mylik Wilson to add guard depth and this Cougars team should dominate the regular season, but the question is whether they can win the National title in Houston.
The reigning National Champions come may have lost three starters from a year ago but have reloaded pretty well around those losses. Jalen Wilson projects to take a major step forward this season. DaJuan Harris will be one of the great glue guy point guards, while Kevin McCullar comes in to provide additional scoring and defense. The freshman group of Gradey Dick, MJ Rice, and Ernest Udeh, project to fill in as scorers right away. Also look for breakouts from Zach Clemence, KJ Adams, and Bobby Pettiford in their second season in the program. No team has won back-to-back titles since 2007 but Kansas has a good chance to end that streak this season.
6.Duke Blue Devils
The Jon Scheyer era begins this year with a roster completely loaded with talented freshmen. Dariq Whitehead will be the dominant guard scorer, while Dereck Lively and Kyle Filipowski make up a front court of interior dominance and skill that should wreak havoc on opponents. Jeremy Roach pairs nicely as the veteran point that can create, while Jacob Grandison will be a good knockdown shooter. The bench is filled with potential freshmen talented pieces like Mark Mitchell and Tyrese Proctor, plus a veteran in Ryan Young. While Jon Scheyer may not have much experience coaching, the Blue Devils have more than enough talent to win it all.
The Bulldogs have had as good of a chance as anyone to win a title over the past couple of seasons, and while they didn’t get it done previously, this could be their year. Drew Timme is back to continue to dominate with his arsenal of post moves. The backcourt of Nolan Hickman and Malachi Smith hope to be solid options at the point. Rasir Bolton and Julian Strawther are starters who are shot-makers, while Hunter Sallis hopes for a breakout season. Add to that a deep front line of Anton Watson and Efton Reid and the Bulldogs have the pieces. The question isn’t what they can do in the regular season, but instead whether they can beat the best teams in the sport to win when it matters most.
Arkansas has made back-to-back Elite Eights, yet this will be their most hyped season in recent history given the talent on the roster. Nick Smith has NBA star potential as he’s an elite three-level scorer, who will dominate as a freshman. Fellow freshmen Anthony Black and Jordan Walsh are athletic guards that can create offense. Devo Davis projects to be a good defensive guard with experience, while Ricky Council IV provides shooting. Add to that Jalen Graham, Trevon Brazile, and the Mitchell twins up front, and the roster has the scoring, ball-handling and defense to have a great season
9.Creighton Blue Jays
Creighton comes into this season with as high of expectations as they have had in the McDermott era as they’re the preseason Big East favorites. The return of Ryan Nembhard to be an elite point guard, plus Ryan Kalkbrenner to be an efficient scoring center make a good one and five. Add to that an elite wing core of Baylor Scheierman, an elite shooter, Arthur Kaluma as an NBA-level wing, and Trey Alexander as a combo guard and they have a great starting five. Add in Francisco Farabello and Shareef Mitchell to be good pieces off the bench and the Blue Jays have as loaded of a rotation as they ever have.
Coming off an SEC Tournament title, the Volunteers have established themselves as a consistently great program, but now it comes down to NCAA Tournament success. Santiago Vescovi is one of the best guards in the sport. In the backcourt, Josiah-Jordan James as a good defending guard that can score, while Zakai Ziegler is a wizard with the ball in his hands, who should be good at the point. They have an effective frontcourt, Julian Phillips should be a productive forward as a freshman. Uros Plavsic and Oliver Nkamhoua will both be good veteran pieces with more size. Add Tyreke Key and BJ Edwards as depth pieces and this team is talented and deep, but is that enough to make a deep March run?
11.Texas Tech Red Raiders
While there have always been concerns around Texas Tech having enough offense, Mark Adams’ defense is always incredible and that gives the Red Raiders a high floor. Fardaws Aimaq will give this team legitimate rim protection, rebounding, and interior scoring. The Red Raiders pair effective forwards like Kevin Obanor and Jaylon Tyson next to him up front. Clarence Nadolny, De’Vion Harmon, and D’Maurian Williams provide guard stability, shooting, and size to be good defensive pieces. Add that a deep bench with Daniel Batcho to be a rim protector, plus a good freshman class adds to a Red Raiders roster that is poised to be a contender in the Big 12.
While UCLA didn’t return to the Final Four, last season’s team was very good and they return some good pieces from that roster. Jaime Jaquez should take a step into being a legitimate All-American, while Tyger Campbell is one of the most steady point guards in the sport. Add to that two impressive freshmen in Amari Bailey, who should be a one-and-done player, and big man Adem Bona. David Singleton and Jaylen Clark provide rotation experience, which is key with a young rotation. This team will be tough defensively and efficient offensively, if they get superstar breakouts from Bailey or Jaquez, this team could win a title.
13.TCU Horned Frogs
TCU has been revitalized under Jamie Dixon but there has never been a team with as high of expectations as this year’s team. Mike Miles Jr is the legitimate superstar the Frogs need, being a great point guard and scorer. He’s paired with a good wing core Emmanuel Miller provides consistent scoring, plus Damion Baugh, Rondel Walker, and JaKobe Coles all are effective scoring options. The Frogs’ big key down the stretch was Eddie Lampkin, who is a force down low and is only getting better, while Xavier Cork is a good backup piece. The Frogs have shown a defensive floor and enough offense to be Top-25 good but improvement in shooting could have this team contending for a league title.
14.San Diego State Aztecs
The Aztecs had a good season last year but leave wanting more, as they fell just short of winning the Mountain West and in the NCAA Tournament. Returning a star like Matt Bradley is big, as Bradley’s shot-making will be big for the Aztecs. Pair next to him Darrion Trammell, a legitimate second option, and the offense has more pop. Nathan Mensah is a great interior big, who will anchor a great defense. The Aztecs have good role pieces in Keshad Johnson, Micah Parrish, and Lamont Butler to provide athleticism on the wing. This roster is built to not only run away with the Mountain West but make a deep March run as well.
Year one of the Chris Beard era was somewhat disappointing but a new year means new expectations for the Longhorns. The Horns return Timmy Allen and Marcus Carr, who while not the All-Americans they seemed poised to be a year ago, provide needed scoring and experience. Tyrese Hunter comes in to provide another point guard and defensive toughness. Christian Bishop, Dylan Disu, and Jabari Rice will all be productive role pieces in their roles. The upside comes with Dillion Mitchell, who is a future pro, while Arterio Morris should be good as well. We’ve been asking if Texas is back for years and while we may not know the answer, this year’s roster is certainly good enough to contend for a league title.
16.Illinois Fighting Illini
Coming off a regular season title, the Illini lose quite a bit, but also bring in a great transfer and recruiting class built to help this team repeat as Big Ten Champions. Matthew Mayer comes in looking to finally take that breakout into being a long-scoring machine. Pair with him TJ Shannon, a proven guard scorer, and Skyy Clark, a likely Top-15 freshman in the sport, and this team has proven production. Coleman Hawkins brings in a true glue guy big, while Dain Dainja provides size. RJ Melendez and Luke Goode should break out into being key contributors in year two. The Big Ten is very much up for grabs and an Illinois team with good guard play and experience will have a good chance to win that title.
Auburn has emerged as one of the most consistent programs and while stars like Jabari Smith and Walker Kessler may leave, this team will stay good. KD Johnson should continue to be an energizer bunny leader at the guard spot, which pairs nicely with a Wendell Green, and Zeb Jasper combining to run the point. The Tigers sure up their front line with freshman Yohan Traore, a next-level talent, and Johni Broome, who was the best mid-major shot blocker a season ago. That star core goes nicely with a rotation of Allen Flanigan, Jaylin Williams, and Dylan Cardwell who provide athleticism and defense. This team may be missing the star power needed to contend for a league title, but even then the Tigers are still going to be in the SEC.
The Kyle Neptune era begins as he takes over for the legendary Jay Wright and while a drop is expected, this team shouldn’t drop far. Eric Dixon and Brandon Slater make up a quality experienced front line, while Caleb Daniels will provide some much-needed shooting. Add to that veteran group Cam Whitmore, a likely one-and-done star at the guard spot and Mark Armstrong, a freshman point, and the starting five is still good enough to win the Big East. Trey Patterson, Jordan Longino, and Angelo Brizzi will need to step up for this team to make a deep run but a baseline with a team that knows how to play basketball, runs good offense, and defends tough should at a minimum compete for a league title.
19.Florida State Seminoles
Last season was a rough one with a young core and injuries but a new season brings new optimism for Leonard Hamilton’s team. Matthew Cleveland and Jaylen Warley both should take steps forward as sophomores, while Caleb Mills and Darin Green Jr provide the much-needed offensive pop. The Seminoles pair that with a deep front line where Baba Miller could be a matchup nightmare, while Cam’Ron Fletcher and De’Ante Green have a baseline of good play. This Seminoles team should be much improved with some sophomore breakouts as well as good additions around the margin.
Coming into this season, Michigan hopes to contend for a Big Ten title thanks to a good collection of talent. A great place to start is with superstar big man Hunter Dickinson, who is a great scorer and passer at the center position. Jaelin Llewellyn will come in looking to be a veteran point guard for the roster. Terrence Williams and Jett Howard should be good wing options playing alongside Dickinson. The Wolverines round out the rotation with Kobe Bufkin, Joey Baker, and Tarris Reed who hope to add additional scoring. Having a great big in Dickinson, as well as Llewellyn at the point leaves a high floor but breakouts are needed for the team to compete for a league title.
Last season was a designed rebuilding year, yet Dayton was the last team out of the Tournament and did manage to beat the National Champions. Now this year that team gets a year older, DaRon Holmes should wreck opponents’ front courts en route to an A10 Player of the year type season. Malachi Smith should continue being a great point guard, while the trio of Kobe Elvis, Koby Brea, and RJ Blakney give them guard production. Pair that with a deep frontline of Toumani Camara, Mustapha Amzil, and Kaleb Washington and this is a deep and talented Dayton team ready to run the Atlantic 10.
22.Alabama Crimson Tide
Last season was a year of hot and cold when it comes to Alabama, this year they hope to be a little more consistent. The Tide added transfers Dominick Welch and Mark Sears to provide much-needed shooting next to Jahvon Quinerly. They also have one of the most talented front lines in the sport with five-star freshman Brandon Miller and shot-blocking big man Charles Bediako. Add to that a good bench with Nimari Burnett, Noah Gurley, and Rylan Griffen as good rotation pieces and this Crimson Tide team has what it takes to compete near the top of the SEC.
After an Elite Eight run, Miami has done all it can to rebuild and reload for another deep March run. Isaiah Wong returns as a high-end scorer to help provide leadership, while the Hurricanes got maybe the biggest addition of the offseason by getting Nijel Pack, who provides lights-out shooting to pair next to Wong. The rotation has a good collection of forwards in Jordan Miller, Anthony Walker, and Norchad Omier. Harlond Beverly and Jakai Robinson add depth to the roster in the backcourt. This Canes roster may not be overly deep but having two potential All-American level guards goes a long way towards success.
The hype train is all aboard the Hoosiers bandwagon entering this season with a roster returning many key pieces, the question is whether they can live up to the hype. Trayce Jackson-Davis returns as a known star, his interior scoring and rebounding make him an All-American level player. Xavier Johnson will run the point, him being a high assist, scoring guard. Pair that duo with good role players like Race Thompson, Miller Kopp, and Trey Galloway, and the baseline is strong. The key to a huge season lies in young stars like Jalen Hood-Schifino, Tamar Bates, and Malik Reneau being key-level contributors. This Indiana team certainly has the potential to win the Big Ten and make a deep March run given the roster intact.
Virginia struggled a year ago mostly due to a lack of offense but the team got better and now has continuity going into this year. Jayden Gardner is a pure scorer at the 4 as he can create his own shot, pair next to him Ben Vander Plas a modern-day scorer up front, while Kadin Shedrick provides shot-blocking and rim-running ability. The Cavaliers have an experienced guard rotation, Kihei Clark has Championship experience at the point, while Reece Beekman and Armaan Franklin provide some offensive pop. Add in a good freshman class and this team should return to the NCAA Tournament and if Tony Bennett can get additional development could contend for a league title.
Given where the program was before he took over, Travis Steele’s tenure should be looked at as an utter disaster but coaching competency comes in with Sean Miller taking over. Miller has inherited a good roster, Colby Jones is ready to break out as a star, while a combo of Jack Nunge and Zach Freemantle gives the team a nice 1-2 punch inside. Add to that Souley Boum, a guard who can get any bucket and pass, plus returning pieces like KyKy Tandy, Adam Kunkel, and Jerome Hunter and this team has the talent to be ranked, now it comes down to coaching, which as discussed is much improved.
Coming off a year where Arizona surprised everyone by dominating the PAC 12 and getting a one seed, the Wildcats lost a lot. Azuolas Tubelis will be the go-to option, as his size and scoring inside are impressive. Kerr Kriisa will be the most fun player to watch, although a backcourt group of Courtney Ramey, Pelle Larsson, and Cedric Henderson provide some solid backcourt play. Add in Oumar Ballo taking a step forward, plus a good freshman class, and this team is built to be solid. This team doesn’t have the upside of last year’s team but that doesn’t mean they can’t repeat as league Champions.
The Tigers have broken through and gotten to the NCAA Tournament but now they hope to get even better as a program. Adding Kendric Davis, an elite passing and scoring guard to run the show will be a great addition. DeAndre Williams returns as a do-it-all big man, while Alex Lomax has program experience. The Tigers hit the transfer portal to add Keyonte Kennedy, Elijah McCadden, and Damaria Franklin to fill the rotation. Malcolm Dandridge and the Lawson brothers should help provide quality front-line depth. Penny Hardaway has taken his lumps when it comes to mixing talent and experience but a roster of veterans should lead to more consistent success.
UConn has emerged as one of the top programs since returning to the Big East under Dan Hurley but is missing the accolades to show for it. That said, a talented roster headlined by the top player in the league, Adama Sanogo, could be what gets them a league title. Sanogo has a good combo of guards next to him, Nahiem Alleyne and Tristen Newton provide scoring and experience, while Andre Jackson and Jordan Hawkins are both poised to step into bigger roles. The roster may not be deep but a team with the best player has a good chance to win the league title.
30.Oklahoma State Cowboys
Oklahoma State is back to being able to make the NCAA Tournament and they seem poised to do so with this team. Avery Anderson and Bryce Thompson feed off each other really well and should make up one of the better backcourts in the sport. A front line of Moussa Cisse, who blocks anything at the rim, and Kalib Boone a legitimate offensive threat should be solid. Add to that depth with John-Michael Wright, Caleb Asberry, and Woody Newton and this Cowboys roster has the scoring, defense, and now a reason to make the NCAA Tournament.
31.Ohio State Buckeyes
Chris Holtmann has built a program that has been consistently good each year, this year likely being no different. The Buckeyes hit the portal getting Isaac Likekele as a veteran defensive first point guard and Sean McNeil, a knockdown shooter, who will join Justice Sueing in the backcourt. Zed Key will anchor the front line, while Tanner Holden should be a unique asset to the front line. Add in Bruce Thornton and Roddy Gayle as potential star freshmen and this team has a solid rotation. This Buckeyes team may not have the NBA talent that last year’s team had but a well-fit roster should once again be near the top of the Big Ten.
32.Texas A&M Aggies
Simply put, Texas A&M not making the Tournament last year was one of the great misses in recent NCAA Tournament selection committee history. That said, the Aggies should make the Tournament this year, Henry Coleman provides a stable scoring threat inside. A backcourt of Tyrece Radford, Dexter Dennis, and Andre Gordon has the scoring and defensive toughness to fit in. Add to that good role pieces like Manny Obaseki, Wade Taylor IV, and Julius Marble and this Aggies team should have enough pieces to be one of the better teams in the SEC.
Coming off an NCAA Tournament appearance, Wyoming has brought back quite a bit as they hope to contend for a league title. Hunter Maldonado is an elite tall point guard who can create and score, while Graham Ike will continue to be one of the best bigs in the sport. Jeremiah Oden, Xavier DuSell, and Brandon Wenzel will return as well, making this a great core of returning pieces. The Cowboys also added in PAC 12 transfers Ethan Anderson, Jake Kyman, and Max Agbonkpolo to secure some needed depth. In a Mountain West that is going to take a slight step back, the Cowboys seem poised to be one of the top teams in the league.
USC enters this year with a good amount of roster turnover but also a high upside with big additions. Boogie Ellis is a solid lead guard who showed that he can score and pass, while Drew Peterson is a proven scorer who can make shots at a high level for a big. The Trojans have a terrific freshman class with Kijani Wright, Vince Iwuchukwu, and Tre White who all project to be key players early on. Add in breakouts from Reese Dixon-Waters, Malik Thomas, and Joshua Morgan, and this Trojans team is destined for the NCAA Tournament.
Coming off a Big East title, Providence does some rebuilding but that doesn’t mean that this team should be taken lightly. Jared Bynum returns as a veteran point guard, while Ed Croswell should be among the top breakout candidates this year. Add to that a revitalized core of transfers in Noah Locke and Devin Carter, along with Bryce Hopkins and this roster isn’t going anywhere. Sure, last year’s team won a ton of close games and the analytics gurus may not have loved them but Ed Cooley knows how to win close games and that will remain true this year.
36.Michigan State Spartans
While Michigan State has been one of the more consistent programs in the sport, this year’s team doesn’t inspire a ton of confidence. Tyson Walker, AJ Hoggard and Jaden Akins are all solid lead guards and make good decisions but aren’t offensive standouts. Joey Hauser and Malik Hall are both good forwards that can space the floor, while they have depth up front with freshmen Jaxon Kohler, Carson Cooper, and Mady Sissoko. This Spartans team will be solid and win a lot of games just because of the defense, coaching, and program stability, there’s just no deep run upside on this year’s team.
Iowa has been one of the more consistent programs in the Big Ten and breakout seems to be the theme surrounding this team. Kris Murray is poised to step into the starring role, like his brother, he’s an efficient scorer but now should be the go-to option, Patrick McCaffery and Filip Rebraca pair nicely alongside him up front. Tony Perkins has help in the backcourt as Aaron Ulis and Payton Sandfort should step into bigger roles. This Hawkeyes team should see players take steps forward as the Hawkeyes remain one of the top teams in the Big Ten.
The Mike White era fittingly ended with a disappointing season but the Todd Golden era begins with a new hope. Kyle Lofton comes in to be one of the best point guards in the SEC, while Colin Castleton will be a terrific interior scorer and defender. They will need breakouts from Kowacie Reeves, Myreon Jones, and Will Richard to achieve that Top-25 status but a great point guard and center is a great starting point for Todd Golden as he hopes to make the Tournament in year one.
No true mid-major team comes into this season with more expectations than UAB, largely due to last season’s success and the return of Jordan “Jelly” Walker. Jelly is one of the premier scorers in the sport. He now gets paired with good pieces around him as Eric Gaines and KJ Buffen come in from SEC schools and should provide additional scoring around Walker. Add to that veteran pieces like Javian Davis, Ledarrius and Ty Brewer, as well as Trey Jemison up front and the Blazers have a star, secondary scorers and depth, all you could need out of a great mid-major team.
To say last year was a disappointment would be an understatement for Oregon but this year could be different. Will Richardson returns with veteran point guard experience and an ability to shoot, while Quincy Guerrier should be a productive scorer. The Ducks have a deep center rotation, Kel’el Ware has lottery pick upside and could maybe play some four, while N’Faly Dante and Nate Bittle will be limited to roles at the five. Keeshawn Barthelemy, Jermaine Couisnard, and Rivaldo Soares will round out the rotation at the guard spot. This Ducks team probably will make the NCAA Tournament due to coaching from Dana Altman but doesn’t get noticeably better than last year’s team.
41.Saint Louis Billikens
Saint Louis has been consistently good but this might be their best team in awhile. Yuri Collins will run the show at the point and be one of the best pure point guards in the sport. Javonte Perkins is healthy and hopes to be a scoring leader, while Gibson Jimerson could be up to that task as well. Francis Okoro and Fred Thatch round out a good front line. The Billikens have been consistently good but this is the year they should take a step forward into being an at-large team.
Oklahoma enters this season with some returning pieces and a good collection of transfers hoping to get Porter Moser to his first Tournament at Oklahoma. Grant Sherfield enters in as a high usage guard, who hopes to fit into winning, while Joe Bamisile should help guard-wise. The Groves brothers are back to provide shooting in the front court, while Jalen Hill will be the versatile forward, who can lock up opponents defensively. Add depth and high upside pieces like CJ Noland, Bijan Cortes, and freshman Milos Uzan and the roster has the ability to win, the question is whether they can get enough buy-in.
43.Virginia Tech Hokies
Coming off an ACC title a year ago, the Hokies hope to replicate that success this season. Darius Maddox looks like a very real breakout star, while Hunter Cattoor should join him to make a dynamic guard duo. Justyn Mutts and Grant Basile should pair nicely in Mike Young’s five-out offense, while the Hokies hope for stability at the point from Sean Pedulla. This isn’t the most talented team but they will rain threes, run good offense and win a lot of games in the ACC.
44.Iowa State Cyclones
TJ Otzelberger inherited a program that won two games and in year one made a Sweet 16, but now the pressure is on moving forward. This year’s team is built to win on defense, Osun Osunniyi will block any and everything around the rim. Jaren Holmes and Gabe Kalscheur, while inconsistent offensively, are good wing defenders. Jeremiah Williams, Tre King, and Hason Ward are all good athletic defenders. The Cyclones pair that with Caleb Grill and Aljaz Kunc being good shooters. Iowa State will struggle to score but defensively they will be tough to match up against and that is worth a lot
45.Seton Hall Pirates
Shaheen Halloway takes over for Kevin Willard and while Willard’s run was met with consistency, Halloway takes over hoping to build off it. The Pirates are deep, Kadary Richmond, Femi Odukale and Al-Amir Dawes make up a solid backcourt. The Pirates have a plethora of options up front, KC Ndefo can provide defense, while Alexis Yetna and Tyrese Samuel provide some scoring pop. Add in Tray Jackson, Dre Davis and Jamir Harris as proven role players and there’s plenty of depth. There may be no go-to option offensively but the depth is enough to get them into the NCAA Tournament.
Purdue enters this season rebuilding after some notable departures but they can turn this season into a success. Zach Edey is a dominant big because of his size and being able to overwhelm opponents bigs. Both Caleb Furst and Mason Gillis project to be good four men who could break out. The Boilermakers also have a solid group of guards, David Jenkins Jr transfers in to be a scoring guard, while Brandon Newman, Fletcher Loyer, and Ethan Morton make up a solid guard group. This front court should be dominant but they need the guard play to be decent to achieve Big Ten contending success.
47.Notre Dame Irish
Coming off an NCAA Tournament bid, Notre Dame returns a solid core to try to make it back again this year. Nate Laszewski should provide spacing at the five for the Irish, while Dane Goodwin and Cormac Ryan provide valuable shooting. JJ Starling hopes to step in as a scorer as a freshman, while Trey Wertz and Marcus Hammond are good options as additional scoring threats. Look for the Irish to be one of the better teams in the ACC and if they get enough quality wins, they will make the NCAA Tournament.
The Bulldogs failed to back up an at-large bid with a Tournament bid a year ago but they enter this year now as the Missouri Valley favorite. Tucker DeVries returns looking to continue to develop into Valley stardom. Roman Penn solidifies the point, while Garrett Sturtz provides a reliable scoring threat. DJ Wilkins and Sardaar Calhoun will provide some shooting, while Darnell Brodie will continue to be a force inside. This Bulldogs team are the favorites to win the Valley, now the question is whether they can deliver on those expectations.
49.West Virginia Mountaineers
Coming off a rough season, West Virginia has rebuilt with a good collection of pieces that hope to get West Virginia to the Tournament. Tre Mitchell hopes to be an interior scoring force, while Emmitt Matthews should return to be a good role wing. Joe Toussaint comes in to run the point, while Erik Stevenson provides shooting. A group of role guys like Jimmy Bell, Josiah Harris, and Kedrian Johnson to provide some additional scoring is solid as well. It will be tough for this item to make the Tournament in the Big 12 but the talent and Bob Huggins’ coaching should be enough to do just that.
50.Tulane Green Wave
Ron Hunter has been one of the better coaches for awhile but Tulane making the NCAA Tournament would be a legacy-building accomplishment and he has the team to do it. Jaylen Forbes and Jalen Cook both transferred in and were stars getting bigger roles a year ago. Sion James and Jaden Coleman both should take steps forward this season as additional options, while Kevin Cross is a solid big man. This Tulane team has plenty of talent and if they get enough wins, they could make the NCAA Tournament.