Hot Takes for this Upcoming Season
As the season draws near I wanted to put out some hot takes for this upcoming season. Will these takes all come true? Absolutely not, however, it is a fun way to prepare for the season. I decided to do 16 hot takes because it represents how many seeds there are in the NCAA Tournament, while it also is a good number of hot takes to have. All of these takes I think have a good chance of actually happening and it will be a fun thing to look back at at the end of the season. Here below are my 16 Hot takes involving this season in College Basketball.
1.Kentucky will not win the SEC regular season title outright
Kentucky has a really good team, however, the SEC will be really tough and really deep, while the Wildcats sometimes have mid-season slumps. Meanwhile Tennessee has a great group of returning veterans, who have won the SEC regular-season title already, while they do own a slightly easier SEC schedule. I do still think the Wildcats will win the SEC regular season title, however, they will share it with Tennessee, who should also have a great season.
2.The Mountain West will have as many teams in the NCAA Tournament than the Pac-12
The Mountain West is back this year as Nevada looks to be a Top-10 team, while the Pac-12 is set to have one of the worst seasons in the conferences history. I think Nevada’s high NET rating should help carry over to other Mountain West teams like San Diego State, which could help propel them to an At-large bid. Meanwhile the Pac-12 will struggle in non-conference play and most teams won’t have enough quality wins to get into the Tournament. I think the Mountain West and Pac-12 will both get two NCAA Tournament bids this season.
3.Purdue will win the Big Ten regular-season title, Carsen Edwards will win National Player of the year because of it
The Big Ten is up for grabs this season and while Michigan State is everyone’s favorite, other teams could sneak into the mix. One of those teams in the Purdue Boilermakers, who lost a lot from last season but they will have the best player in the conference. I think Edwards puts up huge stats this season, while he will help lead Purdue to enough wins to win the Big Ten outright. His ability to carry Purdue to the Big Ten title should help him become the National Player of the year.
4.The ACC will have a record 11 teams make the NCAA Tournament
The ACC is absolutely loaded this season, as they have seven preseason Top-25 teams, while teams like NC State, Notre Dame, Louisville, and Miami all look poised to pull off some upsets in the regular season. The ACC should be able to get a high NET rating by having so many good teams, while those four will be able to accumulate the number of wins needed to make the NCAA Tournament.
5.Five AP Preseason Top-25 Teams will miss the NCAA Tournament
The Preseason AP Top-25 is always a good outline for the upcoming season, however, there are some outlier teams that will miss the NCAA Tournament from the list of 25. I think the number will be five this year, as there are multiple teams that could miss the NCAA Tournament. Washington, LSU, Mississippi State, and Oregon all missed the NCAA Tournament last year, they are top contenders to miss the Tournament. UCLA has seen almost their entire team get injured before the season has even started. TCU, Michigan, Purdue and West Virginia all lost some pretty big pieces from this past season. All these teams are all are in the Preseason Top-25, however, at least five of these or other teams will miss the NCAA Tournament.
6.Texas is Back
When it comes to Texas the phrase recently around the football is whether or not Texas is back, this carries over to Basketball where the Longhorns are looking to return to national relevancy. They have a solid core of veterans with Kerwin Roach, Dylan Osetkowski, and Matt Coleman, while they have a lot of great group of young players that will get key minutes this season. This year is that year where they will do that as I think they will finish outright third in the Big 12 and make a second-weekend run, which would make for the most successful season for Shaka Smart and the Longhorns.
7.The Big 12 will have just as many NCAA Tournament teams than the SEC
The Big 12 is always stacked, however, most people think though that the SEC will get more bids because their league is more stacked this season. I think the Big 12 will continue to have a high NET rating, which should help them get seven at-large teams. I think the bottom of the SEC will hurt their NET ratings, hurting teams like South Carolina and Vanderbilt who are pushing for that eight bid, this indirectly will help the Big 12 get just as many bids as the SEC.
8.UCLA misses the NCAA Tournament, Steve Alford gets fired
UCLA is a Top-25 team in the preseason, which is way too high, considering they lost such a big player from last year in Aaron Holiday. Wilkes and Hands are now expected to be the team leaders and while they do have a solid group of incoming freshmen none are star worthy. Plus they also have had a ton of injuries already this season, I think all these things will combine to keep UCLA out of the NCAA Tournament. After missing the NCAA Tournament when they were a preseason Top-25 team, UCLA will pull the plug on Steve Alford and they will fire him.
9.DePaul will finish 9th in the Big East, not last
DePaul is once again expected to finish last in the Big East, however, with the duo of Eli Cain and Max Strus the Blue Demons should be decent for DePaul standards. The Blue Demons will be able to have a decent season, while teams like Creighton, Georgetown, and Seton Hall could struggle in Big East play this season. I look for the Blue Demons to have a decent season, which should help them make have a record that won’t be last in the Big East this season.
10.St. John’s will win the Big East Tournament
The Big East is up for grabs this season, as Villanova doesn’t look as decent as they have in years past, I still do think they’ll win the Big East regular-season title but they could fall in the Big East Tournament. This leaves the door wide open for a hometown team like St. John’s to win the Big East Tournament. I think Shamorie Ponds will have a big tournament run, while Mustapha Heron will help play second fiddle to Ponds. This team will be scrappy in March, which I think will help them win the league tournament.
11.Loyola-Chicago will not win the Missouri Valley Conference
Loyola-Chicago had a great run in the NCAA Tournament, as they made it to the Final Four. While that was great, they do lose a lot with Aundre Jackson, Donte Ingram, and Ben Richardson all graduating. While most think Loyola will still be great with Clayton Custer and Marques Townes coming back, I think they will struggle this season, having somewhat of a hangover from last year. Meanwhile teams like Southern Illinois and Illinois State will all have good teams this season, that look poised to knock off the Ramblers.
12.Memphis will win the AAC
The AAC is up for grabs this season as Cincinnati, Wichita State and Houston all lost huge pieces from last years team. Most think UCF will be the favorites to win the conference, however, I think Memphis will surprise everyone by winning the AAC title. Jeremiah Martin will have a great season, while Kareem Brewton Jr, Kyvon Davenport, Tyler Harris, and Alex Lomax will help propel Memphis to the top of the AAC title in year one of the Penny Hardaway era.
13.The AAC will be a better conference than the Pac-12
The Pac-12 is expected to have a down season, as I think only two teams will make the NCAA Tournament from this conference, while only six teams will be projected Top-75 teams in the sport. While the AAC doesn’t have Oregon or Washington, who are Top-25 worthy teams, the depth of their league 1-9 will be better than the Pac-12, which will lead the AAC to having a better computer rating than the Pac-12 this season.
14.Buffalo will make the Sweet 16
Buffalo surprised everyone last year by beating Arizona in the NCAA Tournament as a 13 seed. They return mostly everyone from last years team, which should help them win the MAC once again. I think they enter the NCAA Tournament as a 11 or 12 seed, they’ll pull off one of two early upsets, which would get them into the Sweet 16 this season.
15.Nevada and Gonzaga will face each other in the Elite Eight
Nevada and Gonzaga are both going to be contending for the top seed in the West Region this year, I think they’ll wind up being the top two seeds in the West Region. I think both teams avoid upsets and will set up the biggest game in mid-major history as Nevada and Gonzaga will play each other to make it to the Final Four. Either team could win this game but the main part is that one of these teams will make a Final Four.
16.Virginia will make the Final Four
As we all know, Virginia lost to a 16 seed last year, which is why it would only be fitting for my 16th hot take to have them avenging their NCAA Tournament nightmares, while making the Final Four this season. Kyle Guy and Ty Jerome will both continue to be a great duo in the backcourt, while De’Andre Hunter and Braxton Key should help push Virginia over the edge this season.