Written by: Joe Ryan
We still have a little while before the College Basketball season, but it doesn’t hurt to get some Top 25 Rankings up. Where does your favorite team land? What teams have the talent to advance in the NCAA tournament? Let’s get right into it.
The Jayhawks are loaded this year. 3 McDonald’s All Americans, 3 impactful transfers with Charlie Moore and the Lawson brothers, in addition to returning players such as Marcus Garrett, Mitch Lightfoot, Sam Cunliffe and a BIG 12 POY candidate in Udoka Azibuke. Oh yeah, Lagerald Vick is returning to Kansas. They add 3 point shooting and experience, something they desperately needed.
One of the best programs in the nation, with one of the best coaches, returns a very talented team lead by Killian Tillie. Adding Geno Crandall, the North Dakota grad transfer, moves them up from 5 to 2 for us. They have one of the best backcourts in the country.
A loaded team with a great mix of young talent and experience. The addition of Reid Travis gets Kentucky in the top 3.
The Volunteers bring back almost everyone after a magical season last year. The team far exceeded expectations next year and now the bar raises. The Volunteers have 3rd weekend talent, the only question is how they deal with expectations.
The Blue Devils have, on paper, the best recruiting class ever. 4 top 10 recruits, including the first 3. But, can starting 3 freshman Small Forwards impact them negatively?
Sure, Virginia was the first one seed to lose to a 16 seed. But people forget that they exceeded a lot of expectations last year. In the beginning of the year, they were never considered a title threat but they proved everyone wrong. Now they have to prove they aren’t March Madness frauds.
Our 2nd mid major team in the top 10. Nevada has final four weekend talent. After losing to Loyola-Chicago in the sweet 16, the Wolfpack led by the Martin brothers, should make a run in the tournament next year.
8. North Carolina
UNC is being slept on and honestly, I’m sleeping on them putting them at 8. They should be higher and this season they will. The only reason they fall to 8 is because of the lack of point guard player. The question is, who’s going to run the point? But Cam Johnson, Luke Maye, Nassir Little and Colby White? This UNC team has tons of talent.
Another team that far exceeded expectations last year but will now have to deal with expectations next year. Auburn returns 6 of their top 8 scores from last year. They’re in good shape.
Winning 2 national titles in 3 years and their my last top 10 team? I must be insane. Relax. Villanova will be very good this year, like they always are. But they lost more than we thought they would to the NBA. It’ll be a learning process in the beginning for them.
11. Kansas State
The Wildcats were a team that no one saw coming. A team that was a little above average at best in the regular season, barely did any damage in the BIG 12 tournament, but then exploded on the big stage, reading the Elite 8. They have everyone returning and should feel very confident heading into the season.
12. Florida State
Same situation as Kansas State. The Seminoles have a solid team returning from a Elite 8 appearance.
13. Michigan State
I’m not high on Michigan State. They have a good, top 15 recruiting class but with everything surrounding the program, it’ll be interesting to see how they do this year.
14. Virginia Tech
One of the better teams, on paper, that Buzz Williams had had. Justin Robinson will lead the way but VT has a lot of returnees and should return to another NCAA tournament and be a second weekend team.
15. West Virginia
Jevon Carter is gone and that’s a big blow for WVU. But, Konate returns as he’ll lead the way for the Mountaineers. Esa Ahmad will have to have more of a scoring role for the Mountaineers if they wanna be successful.
After a down year last year, Oregon should return back to promise. A lot of returning players and a good recruiting class led by Bol Bol.
The Bruins have been really solid as of late. UCLA returns key players from last years team and adds a top 5 recruiting class.
18. Mississippi State
A 25 win team that returns their top 6 scores. A lot of people I saw have them higher, but I think 18 is a good slot. Making the semifinals in the NIT is good and should help next year but I need to see just a little more. The SEC is tough next year, but they have an opportunity o be near the top of the standings.
The Sweet 16 run lands them here and especially that they return their top 6 scorers. Tyus Battle is a stud and should dominate this year.
An injury riddled season didn’t let the Horn Frogs love up to expectations but TCU is going to be solid next year. If Jaylen Fisher can return to full health, they’ll be a tournament team.
John Beilein flirted with the NBA but is returning to the Wolverines. Losing Mo Wagner hurts but they return Charles Matthews who should lead the way.
Romeo Langford was a big get for Archie Miller and the Hoosiers. If the plays like the top 5 pick that he is, the Hoosiers have enough talent around him to compete at a high level this season.
Returning 3 of their top 5 scorers and a team that is usually solid lands them here.
Returning 4 of their top 5 scores will help them navigate the waters of the ACC and pick up key wins.
The first A-10 team on the board. I don’t think Davidson will start in the Top 25 but they can get there this year. An above average regular season landed the Wildcats as a 3 seed in the A-10 tournament and then they went on a run to win the whole thing and land in the NCAA tournament. That type of postseason success will lead to confidence next year. Bob McKillop is one of the best coaches in the country, they have an NBA ready and A-10 POY favorite in Kellen Grady. Jon Axel Gudmundsson is a solid player that fills that stat sheet and Luke Frampton is returning from an ACL injury but is a knock down shooter and could be the best player for Davidson in the coming years. Add in Luka Brajkovic and Kishawn Pritchett, the Wildcats can be a 2nd weekend team.