Finally, we can stop talking about FBI investigations, suspensions and shoplifting in China and move on to basketball.
Well, maybe not, but at least there are games tonight. This FBI investigation is going to hover over the season in a major way because Arizona and USC (more on these two below) have Final Four aspirations while Auburn had visions of making a trip to the Big Dance this season. None of those things may happen now and if they don’t, there will always be a what-if attached to this season.
There are some key on-the-court storylines as well:
For the second season in a row Duke has the highest ceiling in college basketball. If everything comes together for the Blue Devils, they have the chance to be really special. However, they have an emotional senior captain in Grayson Allen, a point guard that can’t shoot in Trevon Duval, sophomores that didn’t show well last season and a potential No. 1 pick, Marvin Bagley III, that was dropped in the mix at the end of the summer.
I believe there may be significant issues with the eligibility of certain players at Arizona and USC. However, there have been no announcements in regard to particular players at this point. As result you’ll see Arizona listed as the No. 1 team in the country and USC as the No. 8.
I am a believer in Seton Hall. I like what the Pirates have returning and I like that they’re seniors. I think the Pirates are due for a breakout season and Villanova is due for a bit of a slide. This club has the ingredients to be a top-10 team.
The American will be one of the more intriguing conferences to watch this season. It added Wichita St to spice things up and it’ll be interesting to see how the Shockers adjust to trading in road trips to Peoria and Carbondale to Cincinnati and Orlando.
UCF, for the first time in the program’s history, has an expectation of at least grasping an at-large bid this season.
Mick Cronin has been slowly building something pretty special at Cincinnati and it’ll be interesting to see if the Bearcats can become a top-10 team this season.
Will UConn and Temple be able to bounce back from disappointing seasons?
Is Houston ready to take the next step with the talented backcourt of Galen Robinson, Jr. and Rob Gray.
Kentucky has a talented recruiting class, but there are no guarantees this season. When you live by talented freshmen, there is the chance you put enough first-round picks together and become an awesome team. That’s not Kentucky this season and Wildcat fans should be prepared for that. This team, as presently constituted might be the national-title favorite next season. It’s not that right now.
My Preseason National Player of the Year: Marvin Bagley, III-Duke
Michael Porter, Jr.-Missouri
Marvin Bagley, III-Duke
Miles Bridges-Michigan St
Preseason Top 25:
2. Michigan St
6. Wichita St
7. Seton Hall
12. West Virginia
16. Notre Dame
18. Saint Mary’s
20. Rhode Island
22. North Carolina
Last Four In: Wisconsin, Temple, Georgia, San Diego St
Last Four Out: Oregon, St. John’s, Saint Joseph’s, Houston
1.Michigan St16.Tennessee Martin/Norfolk St Detroit
5.Saint Mary’s12.Harvard Boise
6.Northwestern11.Saint Bonaventure Pittsburgh
3.West Virginia14.Cal St Fullerton
7.Providence10.Maryland San Diego
1.Duke16.Stephen F. Austin Charlotte
8.Texas A&M9.Texas Tech
4.Xavier13.Florida Gulf Coast
6.North Carolina11.Illinois Nashville
2.Wichita St15.South Dakota
5.Rhode Island12.Bucknell Wichita
6.UCLA11.San Diego St/Wisconsin Boise
3.Villanova14.College of Charleston
1.Arizona16.Texas Southern/Mount St. Mary’s San Diego
5.Cincinnati12.Lousisiana Tech Dallas