Most Improved College Basketball teams going into the 2017-2018 Season 

Most Improved College Basketball teams going into the 2017-2018 Season 

Who are going to be the most improved teams this college basketball season?
Well I (@joeryan1621 on twitter) interviewed Tony Patelis (@collegehoopnews on twitter) and talked about 8 teams that should take a step forward this season.
Tony is an absolute beast when it comes to College Basketball knowledge. You have to follow him on twitter if you don’t already. He’s knowledge is undeniable. Tony does periscopes on twitter every Wednesday and Sunday night during the season and Tony is launching his own podcast for this upcoming season, so keep an eye on that when it is about to be released.
So here are the questions I formulated and Tony did a phenomenal job answering them.
So what teams are going to improve next year and how are they going to do it?
Here we go….
1. Chris Mullins is still rebuilding at St. John’s, what about their team has you intrigued for the next season? The Red Storm should have a step forward next year, no?

St John’s is absolutely headed in the right direction. The Redstorm have one of the top backcourts in the country in Shamorie Ponds, Marcus LoVett, and Bashir Ahmed. Then you add in transfer Justin Simon (Zona). The frontcourt is a different story. Big man Kassoum Yakwe returns along with transfer Marvin Clark(Mich St). Clark will be a solid player but more of a role player. I think a good goal for the Johnnies is 20 wins. I still think 2018-19 is the year they really turn the corner. The roster isn’t a finished product but definitely getting better.

2. The BIG 10 hasn’t been as strong as past years. Solid at the top but the depth is not great, what does Iowa have to do to contend for a top ranking in the BIG 10?

Iowa needs to find out how to adjust without Peter Jok. Good news is they have a guy in Tyler Cook that I think can fill that role. Cook is an absolute beast. The Hawkeyes had one of the better freshman classes last year that not many people talked about. Cook was joined by Jordan Bohannon, Isaiah Moss, and Cordell Pemsl. Experience is everything so I think this group will be even better this year. Add junior Nick Baer into the picture and you have a pretty solid group. I think the Hawkeyes could legitimately finish top 5 in the BigTen. Cook is special in my opinion.

3. Oklahoma was so young last year and still very young this year. However, they got top point guard recruit Trae Young. How do you see him impacting them? And how does Lon Kuger get a young team back in the tournament?

Like Iowa Oklahoma was super young last year. Especially after losing point guard Jordan Woodard (ACL). Those freshmen are now sophomores and have plenty of experience under their belt. Kam McGusty and Kristian Doolittle both played really well in year one. The Sooners return six of their seven top scorers from last year. Junior Rashard Odomes and senior Khadeem Lattin also are back. Lon Kruger is one of the best coaches in the country so I definitely see the Sooners turning things around this year. Losing Jordan Woodard last year was huge and I think that’s why they struggled so much. They lacked leadership. This year I think they have it.

4. Mississippi State simply just hasn’t been good in the last few years. How do they turn in around in the 2017-2018 season? Can they hang with the top teams in the SEC?

Well it all starts with Quinndary Weatherspoon. Kid is a legit star. The talent is there. Aric Holman, Mario Kegler, Lamont Peters, are all double digit caliber scorers. They also bring in Quinndarys brother Nick Weatherspoon one of the best point guards in this year’s class. Ben Howland has done a sneaky good job recruiting the first few years and I think this year you’re going to see results. Like St. John’s I think this team is starting to turn the corner and I think you’ll see them surprise this season. I could see a top 6 finish in SEC play.

5. Stanford has had a rough couple years, more of a rebuilding stage. But now they have some experience. Do you expect them to make the tournament? If so, can they get to the second weekend?

Stanford is a team that went through an adjustment last year with new coach Jerod Hasse. Hasse did a great job at UAB winning 80 games in 4 years. I think it was a good hire and he already has a solid recruiting class coming in this year with two four-star recruits. They return pretty much all of their production from last year except for Marcus Allen. But it starts with Reid Travis. Travis is a double double machine and PAC12 player of the year candidate. If he can stay healthy I think Stanford could finish as high as fourth in the PAC12. I think they are a tournament team but I don’t know about 2nd weekend.

6. Robert Williams is returning to Texas A&M for his Sophomore year. We all know he was a beast his freshman year. Can he carry A&M in the SEC?

Texas A&M has a top 5 pick in Robert Williams. It was huge that he decided to return to school. Williams averaged 12/8/2.5bpg last year and he’s barely scratching the surface. The key issue for the Aggies last year though was point guard play. They got poor play from that position. This year JJ Caldwell is eligible and should help in the back court. They also have a 4 star point guard in JJ Chandler that will be eligible as well this year. Billy Kennedy is a super underrated recruiter. Guys like Tyler Davis, DJ Hogg, and Admon Gilder could start for almost anybody in the country. I see a big turnaround for the Aggies.

7. Temple is coming off a .500 season but have key players returning. I expect them finish in the top 4 of the AAC. Is this a feasible prediction? What’s your thoughts on this Owls team?

I love this Temple backcourt. It’s one of the most talented and deepest in the country. Shizz Alston Jr. is an AAC POY candidate. Josh Brown who played really well 2,years ago is back (medical redshirt). Trey Lowe also returns. Lowe missed all of last year with injuries as well. Then you pair them with sophomores Quinton Rose and Alani Moore II and you have a LOADED backcourt. Obi Enechionyia is back as well. That gives the Owls 2 AAC POY candidates on the same team. I absolutely think they could finish top 4 in league play. I would put them right behind Wichita Cincinnati and SMU.

8. San Jose State, the only real mid major on the list. They have slowly but surely been improving after their 2 win campaign in 2014-2015. They have a lot of returning player and a lot of experience. They also have a solid freshman coming in Walter Graves lll. San Jose State hasn’t had a winning or .500 season in a while. What can they do this year to change it? What about their roster is intriguing to you?

Well with San Jose State it all starts with Brandon Clarke. Clarke averaged 17/9 last year and is one of the front runners for MountainWest player of the year. The Spartans return 5 of their top 7 scorers from a team that won 14 games last year. I think they can creep into the top 5 in league play. As we know the Mountain West isn’t very strong and looks to be that way again this year. Doug Wojick has done a pretty good job with this team and actually somewhat surprised people last year. I don’t think people thought they’d win as many games as they did. If they can creep into the top 5 of the league this year I think that’s a big jump and a good goal for them.

Those are the 8 teams that Tony Patelis sees improving the most in the 2017-2018 College Basketball Season. If you have any other teams that you think are going to improve tweet at us, @wingspansports @collegehoopnews

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