Oh hello there. Welcome to college basketball season. Sure some may join us after football, some may join us in March. But it's college basketball season. We're here. You may have accidentally clicked on this. You may just want to see where I ranked your team too low. You may just want to argue. All good with me. Either way, this is me coming back to rank a bunch of things because, well, it’s fun and I’m a bit of a psycho when it comes to hoops (or so I’ve been told).
I did this a few years back and Coley told me to do it again. When the EIC says to do a blog, you do a blog. I started it a few years back thanks to Matt Norlander who did it and made the rule that you can only argue with him if you publicly ranked every team. Fine. Challenge accepted. I'll do anything to argue.
We’re not going to spend too much time previewing. We’re going to get right into it. Just know that I used myself along with texting coaches throughout multiple conferences to fact check everything and make sure I didn’t have any team crazy off. So know I did put effort into this and did consult others. That said these are my rankings so I’ll put teams where I see fit. This is as simple as who do I think are the best teams. It’s part projection and part what I think of roster/talent. I debated doing it based on who can win the title, but that's only like 20 teams and unfair to someone like Oklahoma State who quite literally can't. I'm not going to rank them 358.
358. Chicago State
What other school would we start with here? If you've ever bet on college hoops you know about Chicago State. They stink.
357. Arkansas Pine-Bluff
One of the worst teams in the country last year. Weirdly they were AWESOME at getting to the free throw line. 23rd best in the country.
It's a hockey school. Baby blue and dark blue is a sick color combo though.
355. Delaware State
Myles Carter scored 15 per game last year. Getting him back is important. That's my take.
354. Mississippi Valley State
Jerry Rice went here. I don't think Jerry Rice is the greatest WR of all time. This will piss people off as much as the rankings. Let's see who reads a sentence about MVSU.
353. Maryland Eastern Shore
Didn't play a game last year due to COVID. Basically have an entire roster full of JUCO transfers. Hey, they can only go up right?
Didn't play a game last year. Nowhere to go but up. Reggie Theus is now the head coach here. Remember when he coached in Hang Time?
351. Alcorn State
One of the best teams in the country at steals. Who says I can't be positive about the 351st ranked team?
350. South Carolina State
Step aside Boeheim's we have a father/son coach/player duo here. Tony Madlock and TJ Madlock. He decided to play for his dad and could have went to a true big time school. Kid can play.
349. Alabama State
Shout out Mo Williams for taking over at Alabama State last year. Yeah, the NBA player Mo Williams.
348. Central Arkansas
In doing these rankings I realize there are simply far too many teams in college basketball. Central Arkansas feels like one of these teams, especially with the move to the A-Sun.
347. Florida A&M
Moving from the MEAC to the SWAC for the first year. 5th in the country last year at defending the 3pt line. That seems shocking and significant.
I don't know how to say anything positive about a team who just is bad. They're trying. We'll say that. They are trying to be good.
Well, they don't even have Chauncey Billups' brother as head coach anymore. That's what I knew about Denver basketball. A for sure hockey school.
344. Houston Baptist
Pretty impressive this program went from NAIA to Division I. But they still are struggling at this level. Need Za-Ontay Boothman to keep scoring to get some wins this year.
343. Incarnate Word
They lost the best piece they had in Keaston Willis. Does bring back Drew Lutz which handles the point guard spot, but not a lot here.
They don't return one person from last year.Sure you're bringing in a bunch of transfers but not exactly great here.
341. St. Thomas
The St. Thomas Tommies! First year in Division 1 and already in contention for best nickname.
Operating this year with an interim head coach. Not as bad as Maine but will be in the bottom of America East.
I'm still upset we didn't get the full Makur Maker experience at Howard. Dontarius James has a chance to win MEAC Player of the Year.
338. Central Connecticut State
Well they aren't in the bottom-5. That seems like a win. This team just isn't good. The program isn't good.
337. Charleston Southern
I will complain about this every year. I know this is for Southern Baptist, but Charleston Southern being in the northern part of the city drives me insane. Just be Charleston Baptist. You can't be Charleston Southern.
336. Eastern Illinois
Basically brought in a bunch of transfers and hope some of them work out the next year or two. Not much else to say about Eastern Illinois. Lovely place maybe.
They'll never have a George Hill again. That's a promise.
334. USC Upstate
They don't have one player who averages double digits on the roster. That's not ideal. This is what you learn about USC Upstate.
333. San Jose State
Listen, I'm cheering for Tim Miles. The dude is hilarious. It's just almost impossible to win here.
332. Northern Arizona
Yeah, you lose Cameron Shelton who was basically the entire team and you're going to struggle. Simple math here.
331. Cal Poly
Just go ahead and pencil them in for last in the Big West. You tend to be right here.
Losing Davion Warren is a massive loss. Dude was also awesome for fantasy college basketball. I was too invested in Hampton basketball, I admit it.
Not just an individual person. A whole team. Problem is they aren't, well, they aren't good. They brought back Alvin Brooks though as head coach, so that's a step.
328. Air Force
I don't know, they still run that Princeton offense and weird zone. They just aren't good. Shout out Army and Navy.
327. NC Central
LaVelle Moton is a big time coach that is still at NC Central. He's built them into a pretty dominant MEAC school. Keep an eye on Eric Boone here.
Gonna be a massive step backwards for NJIT after losing Zach Cooks.
325. Lousiana Monroe
I just don't see a jump after a bunch of losing seasons. It's not like they all of a sudden got better.
324. Northwestern State
They'll always have that 3 from the corner to beat Iowa as a 14 seed. Don't really return a lot to write home about and think they may regress here.
323. St. Francis NY
You shouldn't be allowed to have two St. Francis' in the same conference. This one is worse than the one in PA. They should have to change their name.
I can't believe a team has the nickname Blue Hose. Rayshon Harrison averaged over 17 per game though, so they got that going for them.
321. Fairleigh Dickinson
Brandon Rush is fun. He's a good player, All-NEC type. That's my positive comment for this team.
320. Green Bay
There's not a lot to say here about Green Bay. This team isn't good.
Well, they don't even return that much. Hey, getting Patrick Harding from Bryant is good though. He's a good rebounder. At least they are smart at Columbia.
They literally don't bring anyone back from last year. Not ideal. They did land Eastern Washington's head coach but it'll take him a couple years to get going here.
Projected to go 10-8 in the SWAC on KenPom. Would be their 3rd straight year with a winning record in the SWAC. Good for Southern.
316. Western Illinois
Just a tough spot here. WIU is never going to be in the same class as the Dakotas/ORU in the Summit League. Rob Jeter is trying to add some transfers this year.
315. Eastern Michigan
Gone is Rob Murphy and is 2-3 zone. The new coach Stan Heath? Sound familiar. It should. He was Antonio Gates' coach at Kent State and made an Elite Eight. He's got a ton of work to do though.
314. UC San Diego
I have no idea what to make of this team. Last year was their first year in Division I hoops and had a bizarre schedule thanks to Covid.
Isaiah Poor-Bear Chandler is such an A+ name. Former Wichita big comes back home to Omaha.
312. Cal State Northridge
This team just isn't good and they had Mark Gottfried as head coach. That hire made NO sense. It's not like Gottfried was rolling while committing violations.
311. Texas A&M Corpus-Christi
Another team with a brand new coach. Steve Lutz takes over on the island. He's trying to start new with four JuCo transfers on the roster and all expected to play minutes.
310. Sacred Heart
I'm chalking up last year's surprise as a fluke. They return everyone but there's no way they get the luck from last year again.
Hey, they return everyone! That's awesome. Except this team barely looked like they were playing basketball at times last year. But then they made a run to the MAAC title game. It made no sense.I can't trust them.
They were 6th in the country at getting to the free throw line last year. Seems like a weird thing, but that's how you win a couple games.
At some point Luke Yaklich has to get this going. They have sick jerseys, that counts. I like their roster this year even too, especially with Maurice Commander as the lead guard. But the Horizon is deep as shit. Record won't reflect it.
If I told you the Jacksonville Dolphins played for a national title you'd call me a liar. I'd say 1970 was weird times and Artis Gilmore was good.
Another team that plays one of the fastest tempos in the country. It's kinda ridiculous to watch them play. They do get Hayden Brown back who was All-SoCon last year.
304. McNeese State
Last year was a mess for them thanks to off the court problems with the hurricane and COVID. Like most of these low-majors they'll rely on transfers to help turn them around.
Ricardo Wright averaged 11 per game last year. He's the leading scorer to return. That's all I got here.
302. Dixie State
Another one of those schools that made the move to Division I last year. They were okay for the first year, but still need more help.
301. North Carolina A&T
I'm probably too low on them. They moved to the Big South and immediately got a roster that's impressive on paper. Keep an eye on when they add Collin Smith from UCF. Also remember the name Duncan Powell, a 4-star recruit that committed to NC A&T.
300. North Dakota
Only returning 4 players from last year's team and dipping into the JUCO transfer market isn't ideal.
299. North Alabama
Hard to say much about North Alabama. They are just in their fourth year of Division I basketball. Five freshmen coming in though so could build something here.
I love that they hired Matt Figger. Dude can coach. But it's a complete rebuild. No other way to put it. He's trying to build through the transfer market this year most notably Mike Adewunmi.
297. Western Carolina
Gonna be a tough year here. Mason Faulkner was a hell of a player and no longer here. Now Justin Gray is their head coach and that's awesome because Justin Gray was FILTHY at Wake Forest. Loved watching him play.
296. Holy Cross
It's not the 1950s anymore. Holy Cross isn't good.
The Hatters. Get it? Stetson is a hat.
294. Little Rock
Tough times for Little Rock. Hey, they had that awesome win over Purdue but Chris Beard was head coach at the time. Not having Ruot Monyyong on the roster anymore doesn't help.
293. Cal State Fullerton
Tray Maddon Jr. is a guy to watch. All-Big West type player, coming off a year where he scored 15 per game. They could catch some luck and make a run in the Big West.
292. Coppin State
Juan Dixon coaches here. He also turned them into one of the most fun teams in the country because they play fast as shit and go wild. Losing Anthony Tarke is massive though.
291. Kennesaw State
Good news: two double-digit scorers return to the team. Bad news: they weren't good last year, won't be good this year.
Bucknell used to be good at basketball. In fact they were the best program in the Patriot. They aren't that now. They only have one senior on the roster - Andrew Funk.
289. Gardner Webb
This feels like a team that's a year away from really being the favorite in the Big South. They are going to start sophomores/juniors including a transfer. Should be top-4 or so though.
In terms of mid-major stuff, Will Brown no longer being the head coach at Albany is massive. He was a staple there and helped transition to Division I and make some NCAA Tournaments.
Neal Quinn is a legit 7-footer. I just can't imagine wandering around life that tall. I consider myself lucky to not have to worry about hitting my head on a bunch of shit.
286. Prairie View A&M
Team went undefeated in the SWAC last year, also beat Evansville. They are starting to get something going with Byron Smith.
CJ McCollum beating Duke should never be forgotten. This Lehigh team though? Yeah they aren't that good.
284. Saint Francis (PA)
I'm buying this team a little bit. They bring back all but one player from last year. They beat Pitt last year. Sneaky NEC pick.
283. SIU Edwardsville
Kinda love that they have twins who start together and they are named Lamar and Shamar. Should be worth a win or two on that alone.
I'm always shocked when I see Towson's roster and how they recruit. They should dominate the I-83 route. Way too good of basketball from Harrisburg to Towson that you can recruit from. This is what I think about being from the area.
281. Alabama A&M
Jalen Johnson is a damn good player. Not the Duke guy, the Alabama A&M guy. Junior put up 16.5 and 7.5 last year.
Brendan Barry coming back from Temple should help here. But they really need some help. Need to improve post play outside of Aaryn Rai.
Ever heard of it?
278. Sacramento State
Tough break with its head coach retiring last Friday due to health reasons. Not exactly the best timing here.
Rasheem Dunn should light it up for Bobby Mo. Transfer from St. John's fits what they want to do.
276. Purdue Ft. Wayne
The Mastadons is an AWESOME nickname. This team is going to be an overs machine this year too. Remember that.
Greg Paulus man. Sorry but I will never cheer for Niagara because of that. Rules are rules.
Should be improved from last year, but still hard to shake what they did. Just completely regressed. A lot will fall on Eric Lovett and Tevin Brewer here.
Can they figure out how to not be awful on offense? I know it sounds weird with three guys returning who scored over 11 per game. But the offense is just ugly.
272. Austin Peay
Yeah, massive step back coming here after losing Terry Taylor. Remember Nate James? He coaches here now. I hate how much shit happens that makes me feel old.
271. North Florida
Carter Hendricksen is good enough to win a few games for North Florida. Also incredibly fun team to watch because of the fact they LAUNCH threes and run a ton of different defenses.
270. William & Mary
William and Mary will never make the NCAA Tournament, I'm convinced of it. Been around forever and one of the few teams to never make it.
269. UNC Wilmington
I don't understand how UNC Wilmington has two guys who averaged over 15 per game last year and can be this bad. Yet here we are.
268. Youngstown State
Three starters come back from last year when Youngstown was playing as well as anyone late in the year. Question will be can they defend and can they shoot the ball better. I'm intrigued.
267. Tennessee Tech
John Pelphrey went from coaching at Arkansas to Tennessee Tech. They aren't the same. Jr. Clay is awesome though. Just keep letting him score.
Another team dealing with their coach leaving. Not shocking though. Mike Jones is a hell of a coach who is now at Greensboro. That's just what happens at this level.
They lost Majesty Brandon, which is an unbelievable name and I should have punished them more for that.
Seems pretty rude that a college can just declare themselves American. How do you get dibs on that? This team is good enough to compete in the Patriot.
You want a team to throw on the third TV and watch? This is them. Bucky McMillain basically presses his ass off to force turnovers and then has them playing 7 seconds or less on offense.
262. Southeast Missouri State
Having four redshirt seniors on the roster is nice, but they need to be better. They have some skill.They just don't have enough on the roster though.
261. UT Arlington
You know who they got from the transfer portal? Jack Hoiberg, Fred's son. He's not going to play a ton, but worth mentioning.
Long. Wood. There's a joke here.
259. Western Michigan
They start a B. Artis White, Mack Smith and Titus Wright. Good luck finding a better trio of starting five names.
258. Utah Valley
This is all about Fardaws Aimaq. Dude is the best rebounder in the country, averaged 15 a game last year. A legit walking double-double who looked into maybe going pro. He's back and should do the same again. Also Mark Madsen - yeah that Mark Madsen - is their head coach. I want to see him dance again.
257. Illinois State
Get to know the name Antonio Reeves. He's the leading scorer returning to the roster after testing NBA waters. He can be a guy that can bail them out.
256. High Point
Shout out Tubby Smith who is finally getting his name in the rafters at Rupp. It was only a matter of time and he deserves it. John-Michael Wright has multiple first names, but also scores over 20 a game. You win some, you lose some.
255. New Mexico
Welcome to the Pit Richard Pitino. That's right, this is where he ended up after Minnesota. It'll take time for a rebuild but I think Pitino Jr. can be successful here.
254. Middle Tennessee
Remember how they were a 12 seed and favored over No. 5 Minnesota? I think about that way too often. This team won't be favored much though.
253. UMass Lowell
They had a legit chance last year to make the NCAA Tournament. This year they don't have Obadiah Noel who was a legit star. Connor Withers is going to have to carry them.
252. Northern Colorado
This team returns basically everyone and could be a sleeper in the Big Sky. Basically everyone who plays is a junior or senior. Balanced scoring and bringing in transfers off the bench. They should improve this year.
Ahsan Asadullah is one of the best post players in the country. He plays for Lipscomb. Seems like a good thing for Lipscomb.
250. Portland State
I love that I blogged about their coach before because when he got hired he talked about not eating breakfast so he's always hungry and driving without heat or AC so he stays tough. You can't lose with a guy like that.
249. Southern Miss
Tyler Stevenson scored over 14 per game and grabbed 7 boards per game last year. That's nice to have come back when you're trying to get wins anywhere.
I always love when I look to see what some low-major schools bring back and see how LIU has a dude average a double-double last year and another one with 17/8. I'm rambling. There's a long way to go.
247. Southeastern Louisiana
Sneaky transfer pickup here with Antonio Gordon from Kansas State. He put up 6/6 a night in the Big 12 and should dominate the interior in the Southland.
246. Jackson State
Dana B. should go catch a game down there. They were actually the No. 1 team in the country last year at defensive effective field goal percentage. They should compete in the SWAC with Texas Southern.
245. Tarleton State
The fighting Billy Gillispie's and I mean that as in he's still the head coach there. What a weird career path for Billy G. They moved up to Division I last year and actually were scrappy. Return a decent amount this year too, like 8 key guys come back.
I'm still so mad Merrimack wasn't allowed in the NCAA Tournament a few years ago because of the transition period to Division I. If you're good enough to win a league, you're good enough to make the NCAA Tournament. Oh, they bring back everyone this year.
243. Long Beach State
I can't believe Dan Monson has been at LBSU for 15 years. The dude who got Gonzaga rolling before taking the Minnesota job. Imagine saying that now. No way would Mark Few ever leave for Minnesota.
I always wonder what it's like for someone like Blake Dunleavy. He's a Division I coach, pretty big. But his dad is Mike Dunleavy and his brother was a top-5 pick after playing at Duke. Seems like a bad beat.
241. New Hampshire
Could crack the top-3 of America East thanks to Nick Guararrama and Jayden Martinez. Both bigs average over 13 points and 6 rebounds a game.
I just gotta say I can't imagine going to college at Hawaii. Literally a destination spot. Oh adding Kamaka Hepa from Texas is going to be fun for some early morning watching.
239. Texas Southern
Johnny Jones went from coaching Ben Simmons at LSU to winning the SWAC. Never had a losing season in his first three years there.
238. Kansas City
I'm just happy we have a team with the name Kangaroos. Need more creativity with college team names. I like Billy Donlon a lot here but it's tough to win at Kansas City.
I'll always just think of VMI as this offensive power. They fly around and launch shots. Does it work out? Not always. But they at least can compete doing that.
236. Norfolk State
Remember when Kyle O'Quinn beat Missouri? That was awesome. Joe Bryant Jr. is good enough to win the MEAC.
Kyle Neptune takes over. That's about the nicest thing I can say about Fordham for now. He'll be good, at least better than what they were before.
Could take a jump with Duke Miles in his second year as the point guard. The Sun Belt is just tough this year. Scott Cross is a good coach, but this still feels like a rebuild.
233. UNC Asheville
Drew Pember transferred in from Tennessee. This could be the missing piece here for Asheville. They are finishing a rebuild and it's pretty close to done.
George Papas is coming back to Monmouth. Why does that matter? Remember the dude who dunked at the end of the game against Kansas down 50 and people lost their mind? That's him. I hope he does something like that again. Oh they also got Shavar Reynolds from Seton Hall. He's going to tear up the MAAC.
Bashir Mason is going to be a star in the coaching world. Dude has turned Wagner into a pretty consistent NEC program. Next step is finally winning the NEC Tournament.
Dimencio Vaughn was awesome for Rider. He then transferred to Ole Miss for a year, didn't really do anything and is back. That's significant.
229. Northern Illinois
If they kept Tyler Cochran they'd be a top-200ish type team. Instead they are going to rely heavily on Trendon Hankerson who is now the only double digit scorer to return.
228. Morgan State
Seventh Woods, remember that name? Dude with an all-time mixtape. Yeah, he's still in college and now at Morgan State.
227. Cal State Bakersfield
Do yourself a favor and try to watch a game with them at home. One of the more bizarre courts out there. It's as blue as Boise State's football field.
Greg Kampe is hilarious. They also have a court that people want to debate. Is it cool or not? I like the idea of making it look like a park.
225. Loyola Maryland
Loyola Maryland actually had a guy drafted this past year. Santi Aldama was fucking awesome. Do you know how good you have to be to be drafted in the NBA out of Loyola Maryland?
224. Mount St. Mary's
I don't know why but the fact Mount St. Mary's starts three dudes over 6'8" is absurd. It's The Mount!
223. South Dakota
Have to talk about losing Stanley Umede to Arkansas. The dude is a walking bucket and really what South Dakota did. Good luck the year after that.
222. Tennessee State
I think Penny Collins is going to be fine here, even with that 4-19 disaster. Shakeem Johnson is a pretty strong name too. Also helps he scores 12 a game.
221. Idaho State
Another team that didn't lose anyone from last year. By far one of the benefits of the free year for players are mid-majors keeping guys around.
220. Georgia Southern
They do return basically everyone from a team that struggled last year. However, that was year 1 with a new coach. Should take a small jump this year.
219. Central Michigan
This is a team that's completely dependent on transfers. They have 7 of their top-10 this year as new faces, all transfers. They did land Tony Barbee this offseason though from Calipari's staff.
218. Montana State
I went to Bozeman for a bachelor party this past summer, what an underrated city. Awesome bars and spots to hang out. Now I'll never go back to Montana because it's Montana, but it was worth mentioning here.
I have no idea what to make of this team. They should be better on paper, but I don't trust them. Think if Torrence Watson figures it out here they'll be a dark horse pick.
216. Coastal Carolina
Gonna have to figure out what to do after losing DeVante Jones to Michigan. The guy did everything for them. Essam Mostafa helps as he's a double-double threat, but I have a hard time trusting teams who have to play through the post.
215. Cal Baptist
An easy team to forget about because they haven't been allowed to try and play in the NCAA Tournament after moving to Division I. They have a bunch of good scorers most notably Ty Rowell.
Gone is the backcourt of Jhivvan Jackson and Keaton Wallace. Gonna be a rebuild year, no other way to put it. Darius McNeil helps, but you don't replace Jackson/Wallace.
I often forget that Todd Lickliter took over for Evansville last year. What a weird career path he had going from Butler to Iowa to Marian to Evansville.
212. Saint Peter's
Shaheen Holloway coaches here, which is significant because Holloway was an all-time cool player at Seton Hall. If you're around my age and watched Seton Hall, you think the same thing.
I'm all in on Jimmy Allen at Army. He gets them playing fast, shoot the hell out of the ball and play smart. Give me all of Jimmy Allen's stock.
Still so much bullshit what's happening with this program. Hartford finally makes the NCAA Tournament. Hartford has a coach in John Gallagher who has all the support in the world, except from the school. They are moving out of Division I to Division III. Joke.
Shout out Darnell Rogers who is still here at UMBC. Every year early on he goes viral for being 5'2" and getting buckets. He'll do it again just like his pops at George Washington back in the day. Now they do lose head coach Ryan Odom who left for Utah State.
208. George Washington
I like James Bishop and Ricky Lindo a lot. Hell, I think Jamion Christian is a damn good coach. But their defense is absolutely atrocious.
207. Eastern Washington
Remember when EWU was beating Kansas in the NCAA Tournament? Well Kim Aiken and the Groves brothers are gone. They hit the JUCo transfer market pretty hard and I just trust they'll make it work. Blind faith here.
206. Boston University
Did you know Boston U has a guy named Walter Whyte on the roster? That should be talked about more. Also helps he's pretty good.
A little scared having them worse than 200 because of Patrick Baldwin Jr. 5-star recruit says no to all the big schools to play for his dad at Milwaukee. Doesn't hurt they return a guy that scored over 16 per game last year too.
Big fan of their backcourt. Bring back three guys who averaged 10-10.5 points per game last year. That matters. If you can get some sort of development inside they can make a run in the Big Sky.
203. Texas State
Terrence Johnson got the full time gig after getting Texas State to show up last year and his players loving him. That's awesome. Best news? A good amount of those guys return only losing two guys from last year's roster.
202. Florida Atlantic
I like their backcourt of Bryan Greenlee and Michael Forrest. They are good enough to compete night in and night out. Just feels like they are who they are though. Competitive, not good.
201. Ball State
Losing KJ Walton hurts, especially to a team in the same conference. However, they went out and grabbed Tyler Cochran's 15ppg from Northern Illinois. They'll be able to compete but a for sure drop from the first two tiers of MAC.
200. La Salle
Curious to see how Josh Nickelberry looks after transferring from Louisville. They simply weren't consistent last year. If Ashley Howard can figure that out, they could be a mid-tier A-10 team.
199. Saint Joe's
Our guy Ryan Daly is no longer around but Taylor Funk is still there and he averaged about 20 per game. Jordan Hall is a nice 1-2 duo too as he's a tough matchup with his size and ability to handle the ball.
198. Jacksonville State
Jacksonville State not being in Jacksonville, Florida will always confuse me. Ray Harper is an awesome coach. 1-for-2 here.
197. Arkansas State
Getting Desi Sills from Arkansas is massive for this program. They didn't lose anyone from last year and add him? They probably will make me look dumb for having them this low. Sills should put up a ton of points in this system.
196. UC Davis
The starting five is legit. They have 3 guys returning that scored over 10 per game last year. However, they have zero depth. That's not an end-all, be-all type thing. BUT you need something off the bench.
195. San Diego
I'm just not sure how they improve. They've struggled the last few seasons and Jase Townsend, a transfer from Denver isn't enough for me to feel great about them.
What Damon Stoudamire built here was impressive. It's not an easy place to win and he had them competitive. He's now gone and with the Celtics.
I'm going to forget they changed their name from the Crusaders to Beacons all the time. But it happened. They are the Beacons now. Weird name.
4 returning guys that scored over 10 per game? Yep. Just shows how deep C-USA is this year with Rice being this far down despite that. They just need to improve defensively. If they can do that, they're onto something.
191. South Alabama
Richie Riley basically lives to land transfers and compete in the Sun Belt. He'll be doing that again this year grabbing seven guys from the portal. They are going to be super deep this year.
You wanna feel old? Jameer Nelson Jr. is now on Delaware after transferring from George Washington. I'm pretty sure Dylan Painter is as old as Jameer Nelson Sr. He's back. The former Nova player put up 13.5/11.5 last year. Sneaky pick in the CAA.
Wofford is typically one of the best mid-major programs in the country but have to make up the loss of Storm Murphy (all time name) and Tray Hollowell. They are still going to run guards off screens and look to launch threes. That won't change.
188. Indiana State
Uh, well, Larry Bird went there. Tyreke Kay isn't Larry Bird but he's still good. That matters.
187. East Carolina
If they kept Jayden Gardner I'd be a little more optimistic. But they didn't and it's going to be a lot of Wynston Tabbs from Boston College here.
I miss Dunk City. When they came to the NCAA Tournament dunking quite literally all over Georgetown? That was awesome. Kevin Samuel is going to be a monster here after transferring from TCU.
185. Sam Houston State
I love that they are the BearKats and not Bearcats. Spice it up a little. Oh also like they landed Savion Flagg from Texas A&M to go with Demarkus Lampley.
Good news for everyone's best friend Clem. The Saints are going to be just fine. It sounds like they are going to have former UNC guard Andrew Platek this season to go with Jackson Stormo and Colby Rogers. Gonna be tough to make up for Jalen Pickett and Manny Camper, but Siena will be fine. Everyone be happy for Clem.
I know it's weird to think of Drexel as the CAA champs. But I promise they won the Tournament. Know the name Camren Wynter. He's a major reason they made the NCAA Tournament last year scoring over 16 a game. He's back.
Not only did they lose head coach Wes Miller, which was bound to happen at some point. But they also lost Isaiah Miller who was one of the best guards in the country last year.
181. Nicholls State
The favorites to win the Southland with schools leaving for the WAC. They actually won the Southland regular season last year and bring back Ty Gordon and his 14ppg. Hit the transfer market pretty good, grabbing a few more double digit scorers from mid-majors across the country.
180. New Orleans
I think they are right on par with Nicholls State which is why I have them back-to-back here. Basically buying incredibly high on Troy Green and Derek St. Hillaire.
Antoine Davis might lead the country in scoring. Low key love how his dad Mike Davis gives him the ultimate green light and rightfully so. Sneaky addition here is DJ Harvey from Vandy.
Speedy Claxton! Just an all-time name if we're being honest. Getting Zach Cooks from NJIT keeps them in the top-3 of CAA and now has an awesome 1-2 combo with him and Jalen Ray.
TJ Sorrentine is an assistant here. Now good luck getting 'Sorrentine FROM THE PARKING LOT' out of your head.
Seattle should be decent this year. However, over the weekend they placed their head coach on administrative leave for allegations of using racial slurs. Not great! Darrion Trammel is a legit star. Put up over 20 per game last year .
Remember when they had Chris Clemons? That dude was AWESOME. This team might be better than anything he had though. It's between them and Winthrop in Big South.
They do have Hunter Maldonado back which is huge. They also play an analytic wet dream of offense. Firing threes and taking 'smart' shots.
173. College of Charleston
Welcome Pat Kelsey. Love that hire so much. He's going to have to rebuild a bit but he's a hell of a coach. More importantly he'll bring an uptempo style. He did get John Meeks from Bucknell who averaged over 20 a game. Charleston also my favorite city in America.
172. South Florida
Good luck guessing with this team. They lost six players to transfer and brought in seven from the same portal. No idea what to really think of them.
They lose a lot and are relying on transfers. Gonna be tough in the A-10 to win with that right away. Really only bring back two key guys from last year.
170. UC Riverside
I'm a huge fan of what Mike Magpayo is doing as a coach. He's a star in the making. He's also building something here and Riverside should finish above .500 in the Big West again.
169. Old Dominion
Losing Malik Curry hurts here. Old Dominion will be fine defensively with this roster and Jeff Jones as head coach. If they can get some consistent offense, you're looking at a potential top-4 team in C-USA. I just don't buy it.
168. Miami Ohio
They might have the best group of guards in the conference. Mekhi Lairy, Myja White, Dae Grant and Isiah Coleman-Lands has me fairly high on this team despite basically being a .500 team.
This team was good last year. I promise you. They have to deal with the loss of Cam Davis who was All-Conference last year. I still chuckle thinking of David Robinson in the Navy. Seems too big.
I'll tell you what the Ivy League has some good guards man. Princeton has a former top-100 recruit Jaelin Llwellyn who put up over 15 per game last year.
If they didn't lose Tyson Walker to Michigan State, they'd be the favorite in the CAA. All Bill Coen does though is come up with beautiful offense and win games. They'll be fine.
Gonna be tough to replace Colbey Ross and Kessler Edwards who were an awesome 1-2 duo. Gonna trust that Lorenzo Romar can figure out the transfers here and keep Pepperdine mid-pack in the WCC.
I have some blind faith in Bradley. They made a couple NCAA Tournaments and last year was just a mess with suspensions and COVID. Bounce back year here.
162. Southern Illinois
Another team I'm a bit confused on. They are all juniors this year and didn't lose anyone from last year's team. They should be better. Key is going to be how Marcus Domask looks after injury last year.
Remember when Ron Hunter fell off his stool as RJ Hunter hit a three? That was awesome. I want Tulane to be good so we get more Ron Hunter. Dude is a content machine. Jaylen Forbes can really play.
160. Weber State
There's no Damian Lillard on the roster, but Koby McEwen transferring from Marquette is intriguing. Second best team in the Big Sky and adding a high major player like that. There's a decent shot McEwen wins Big Sky POY.
We got another Kruger here. After his dad was had coach at UNLV back in the day, we have Lon's son Kevin taking over. Luckily he has Bryce Hamilton returning and then hit the transfer portal hard. Outside shot of being a top-4 team in the MWC.
Joe Golding takes over from Abilene Christian and has a decent roster to start with. Most notably keeping Soulev Boum who averaged over 18 per game last year. That gives Golding someone to lean on right away.
Can we appreciate them beating Duke still? I think we can. Neftali Alvarez has a chance to be an All-SoCon guard despite how loaded that position is in the conference.
156. Appalachian State
I'd like to think they figured it out winning the conference tournament. That can move over to this year since they didn't lose anyone. They are balanced too with 4 guys scoring between 10-13 points per game. The biggest thing is they love to shoot the three. If they are cold they are in trouble.
155. Bowling Green
Losing Justin Turner hurts, but they did a good job bringing in 5 transfers including Samari Curtis from Evansville. They'll have a bunch of options to go on offense. They just need to figure out the defense after a down year.
I know losing Pedro Bradshaw is huge, but that's all they lost from a team was the 2nd best team in the A-Sun last year. I trust Scott Davenport.
There's actually a lot to like about this team. Musa Jallow transfers in from Ohio State, Clyde Trapp from Clemson and Robert Braswell from Syracuse. Again, high major guys transferring in with experience. I think this team could be a sleeper.
152. Abilene Christian
I still can't believe how they beat Texas in the first round. What an awesome moment. They do need to adjust though. Moving from the Southland to WAC and losing Joe Golding to UTEP. Not exactly shocking a bigger school swiped their head coach, but it is what it is.
This team will be all about Jordan Dingle. He'll contend for Ivy League POY. It'll be even more on him though with AJ Brodeur no longer there.
I'm a little confused on this team. Typically I'd be down on a team losing the talent like Loren Christian Jackson, but they grabbed KJ Walton from Ball State. I love Walton's game. Despite losing LCJ they should be real balanced this year and think that pays off.
Tommy Amaker doesn't recruit like it's an Ivy League team. He's landing multiple 3 and 4-star recruits. One of those is Noah Kirkwood, a former 4-star. He's living up to the hype too as an all-Ivy type player, putting up over 12 per game last year.
148. Santa Clara
Herb Sendek is getting Santa Clara back a little bit. If he doesn't work out, go bring Steve Nash home. He does return 4 double digit scorers from a year ago. Again, the WCC is better than you think.
147. Eastern Kentucky
Remember Braxton Beverly? This dude played at NC State for roughly 14 years. He's now back in Kentucky playing for EKU and AW Hamilton. They're going to press, they're going to play fast. Super fun team to watch.
146. East Tennessee State
Have a monster three-headed trio at the guard spot in David Sloan, Jordan King and Ledarrius Brewer. The question will be if they have enough depth to handle the SoCon.
145. Stony Brook
One of the rare times we see the transfer from a school and transfer back to a school. This time it's Elijah Olaniyi who started at Stony Brook, played last year at Miami Florida and is now back in New York.
If they found a way to keep Tre Mitchell I'd be all about this team. I think Noah Fernandes is a really good guard, but they just need a little more or someone else to take a jump.
I mean they literally lost everything. They went out and surprisingly hired Ben Johnson from Xavier, who played at Minnesota. He's relying on 7 transfers this year. He needs time.
142. Kent State
This was a top-4 team in the MAC this year and should be there again this year. Grabbing Sincere Carry from Duquesne for the point guard spot is huge. He should have a big year for them. Another guy to watch is Andrew Garcia from Georgia.
Okay Frank Haith. Let's see what you have. You're going to have to rebuild a little bit here. They should be a middle of the pack AAC team, which is perfect for Frank Haith.
140. Fresno State
Didn't lose anyone and added former Kentucky/Arizona player Jemarl Baker. That dude can score. That's going to really help them in the MWC of having a guy like that. I actually like their roster and throwing out what happened last year.
139. Murray State
Getting Tevin Brown and KJ Williams to return is important. They are coming off an awful year for Murray standards. Should be a top-3 team no problem this year.
A staple of mid-major basketball is no longer here. Pat Kelsey left for College of Charleston. That said, DJ Burns is a monster and they are bringing in Drew Buggs from Missouri. The favorite to still win the Big South.
137. North Texas
Gonna be tough for North Texas to duplicate last year. They lost Javion Hamlet and Zachary Simmons. They'll be fine because Grant McCasland can coach his ass off, just a gap from some of the other C-USA teams.
I'm a huge fan of Khalif Battle's game. They have three good guards, but Battle is the best of the group.
135. Boston College
BC finally moved on from Jim Christian and brought in Earl Grant from College of Charleston. If you watched Charleston you know that Grant can coach. Just give him time, BC.
134. James Madison
I have no idea if the CAA will actually let them play in the conference tournament because they are going to the Sun Belt. They should though. JMU is legit.
133. Stephen F. Austin
SFA moves over to the WAC from Southland. Good. It should be in a better conference. Coming with them is Gavin Kensmil who will likely be an All-WAC player. He put up 16 and 7 last year.
132. Cleveland State
The darlings of the Horizon last year, Cleveland State returns basically everyone. Dennis Gates can coach his ass off. He's gonna end up at a high-major.
131. North Dakota State
The Summit League is sneaky good up top. It's because of a team like North Dakota State and Rocky Kreuser. Hell, he almost brought NDSU to the NCAA Tournament instead of Oral Roberts last year. He's back with his 15 points per game.
130. Northern Kentucky
I'm higher on NKU than most and it's due to Trevon Faulkner. NKU is basically running it back with the same group as last year and the Langdon/Faulkner/Warrick trio is as good as it gets in this conference.
129. Southern Utah
Big fan of this team. You bring back four key players led by Tevian Jones. Also just a unique team to scout because they start everyone 6'6" and smaller. They run you, they make you guard. It's a sneaky fun team.
Dealing with some guys transferring out but there are two constants. James Jones can still coach his balls off and Azar Swain can score and shoot the shit out of the ball. That counts.
127. George Mason
Love the hire of Kim English here. I'm buying stock now. They are going to be better than they look on paper and a lot of that is due to English. Love that he got D'Shawn Schwartz from Colorado. That dude is going to be awesome.
Matt Bradley did basically everything last year.He's now at San Diego State. This team is made to run. Mark Fox needs to let them do that. They have a bunch of guards and wings. Let them get in transition and mix it up.
125. Wright State
I don't know how you replace Loudon Love, but I know that Wright State just always wins the Horizon League regular season. I do know that Scott Nagy can figure it out. I also know that Wright isn't a state and it makes no sense.
I mean it's DePaul. At least they moved on from Dave Leitao? That's a plus.
I could talk about how Bryant is incredibly fun. How they shoot the hell out of the ball and imrpvoed drastically every year. Instead I'll mention they have a player named Chris Childs who scored over 14 per game. Probably will throw hands too.
Taevion Kinsey is one of my favorite players in the country. Do yourself a favor and watch him/Marshall play. Dan D'Antoni gets them playing fast and D'Antoni style. Threes and layups. You also never know when Kinsey will dunk directly on a dude. Freak athlete.
121. Grand Canyon
GCU is another school that hits the transfer market hard. This year they got Holland Woods and Taeshon Cherry from Arizona State. Huge gets, Cherry was a top-40 recruit. Also helps having Bryce Drew on the sidelines there too. Don't forget about Jovan Blackshear too.
Losing Jordan Burns sucks. He was so good for them. However, they do have Nelly Cummings who might win Patriot POY. Not bad to fill that out with Jack Ferguson and Tucker Richardson.
They are even with Georgia State for a completely different reason. They went and got 3 high major transfers in Jordan Brown (Arizona), Antwaan Jones (Memphis) and Greg Williams (St. John's). If they blend in right away, they are 1b to Georgia State's 1a.
118. Georgia State
One of the most experienced teams in the country and they have 5 guys who return after averaging double digits last year. That matters at this level. One of those guys returning is big man Eliel Nsoseme who averaged a double-double.
117. Iowa State
First year for TJ Otzelberger and he already had to deal with Blake Hinson quitting the team. Going to be a few years of a rebuild in Ames. Need the days of Monte Morris back.
The only returning player was PJ Horne who just tore his ACL. The football team is ranked No. 1 though. Braves won the World Series. Not all is terrible in Georgia.
115. Oral Roberts
It's a shame that Kevin Obanor left because I wanted to see ORU run it back with him and Max Abmas. We know all about them with the Sweet 16 run. We know Abmas will potentially lead the country in scoring. Am I too caught up in the tournament run and Abmas? Probably.
I'm not overly concerned with the loss of Fatts Russell. They brought in Ishamel El-Amin from Ball State who put up over 16 per game. If the Mitchell twins take a jump and El-Amin's game translates, they'll be fine.
I love what Furman does under Bob Richey. He's an unbelievable coach. Losing Noah Gurley hurts, but they do have one of the best backcourt duos with Alex Hunter and Mike Bothwell.
You know who UTC landed? Silvio De Sousa. I can't believe he's still around, but he's here after Kansas. Nice part for sure, but this team goes as Malachi Smith and David Jean-Baptiste go. Both averaged over 16 per game last year.
Brutal injury news as Nike Sibande was ruled out for the year recently.
110. South Dakota State
So a team returns all 5 starters and 5 of them averaged double digit scoring? Pretty good! Hell they even go 3 deep off the bench which is perfect. Everyone who will play is at least a redshirt junior too. One of the best mid-majors out there.
109. Morehead State
The team that won the OVC Tournament last year. Johnni Broome is a star man. As a freshman he was arguably the best player on that roster. He put up 14 and 9. Dude can play at any level.
I fell in love with this team last year because it had the right mix of high-major transfers and experience. They are going to have to find a way to replace JaQuori McLaughlin, who did everything for them last year. Keeping Amadou Sow is a good start though.
107. South Carolina
It sounds weird but I'm shocked Frank Martin is still here. I figure he'll get out of South Carolina soon. I like Keyshawn Bryant and Jermaine Cousinard, just not a ton of talent around them though.
106. Wake Forest
My old man went to Wake, I want them to be good. I miss the days of Randolph Childress, Tim Duncan, Tony Rutland, Rusty LaRue, Darius Songalia, etc. They don't have those guys this year.
I know Vermont lost Stef Smith, but they still have a legit Player of the Year option in Ryan Davis. Dude averaged over 18 per game last year. Shout out John Becker. Shout out Church Street.
Patrick Ewing winning the Big East Tournament was awesome. He was rewarded by losing basically everyone. Hell, even Tre King who was going to transfer ended up not going there. You know who they do have though? Dikembe's kid. Get me on board with that. Get Dikembe on the bench.
Welcome on down Craig Smith who took the job from Utah State. He's bringing Marco Anthony and Rollie Worster with him. That said they did lose 6 players who played a signifcant role last year. Smith will figure it out, just not this year.
Ritchie McKay really built something here at Liberty. They are going to be the favorite in the A-SUN again because of McKay and Darius McGhee coming back.
101. Missouri State
A team that can possibly make a jump into the top-2 of MVC is Missouri State. That's mostly thanks to Isiah Mosley who scored about 20 per game last year.
I know they lost Marreon Jackson but Ryan Rollins was a star as a freshman last year. They have two other guys returning that averaged over 10 per game with Rollins. Rollins was MAC Freshman of the Year and think you see another jump this year.
Scotty Pippen is awesome. He's a triple-double threat. Other than that uh well maybe Liam Robbins works out after transferring from Minnesota?
98. Texas A&M
This team was BAD offensively last year. Does that change? It will rely on four transfers led by Virginia Tech's Tyrece Radford.
We're getting to the point where I'm just going to assume UC-Irvine is good every year. Also helps to be the Anteaters. Collin Welp is one of the best mid-major players in the country.
Gone is Kellan Grady to Kentucky and in comes Michigan State's Foster Loyer. Feel like he'll be successful here. Just impossible to not have blind faith in Bob McKillop. The dude coaches beautiful offense.
I can't believe Washington isn't good. That's one of those programs that should always be decent. They are bringing in three big transfers in Emmitt Matthews, Daejon Davis and Terrell Brown. I just don't trust this program right now.
They lose the four top scorers from a year ago. Cuonzo Martin is relying on a transfer from Ball State and Green Bay to make up for that. Not the best recipe. Only returning starter is Kobe Brown who put up 8/6 last year.
Fred Hoiberg is trying to do his thing here. He does have talent on this roster with Bryce McGowans, Trey McGowans and Alonzo Verge. They are going to play fast and Verge is a guy who can go get buckets. This trio alone does give Hoiberg his most talented roster though.
92. New Mexico State
A lot going on here. NMSU is the best program in the WAC. Last year they couldn't practice or play in their own state due to COVID rules. This year they add Teddy Allen from Nebraska who is a big time player. They also bring back Donnie Tillman. Basically this roster is loaded for the WAC.
91. Loyola Marymount
Keli Leaupepe is the coolest guy in college basketball. Just search him in our blog history. I can't say anything more about him.
90. Northern Iowa
If AJ Green stays healthy they are going to be good. He didn't stay healthy last year though. He played just three games last year before getting hurt. You're talking about a guy that puts up over 22 per game. Need that on the court.
89. Oregon State
I can't believe Oregon State played for a chance to go to the Final Four. They do return some key players from that run including Jarod Lucas, Warith Alatishe, Roman Silva and Maruice Calloo though.
88. Penn State
I'm curious to see how Micah Shrewsberry builds this program. Penn State is a tough spot to recruit to without a pipleine because you're in the middle of nowhere. You can't just go into Philly or Baltimore to recruit. They did get Jalen Pickett from Siena who I'm a fan of.
I'm buying the Rick Pitino comeback story folks. Also helps that Nelly Junior Joseph is awesome and bringing in Tyson Jolly from SMU. I still can't believe Rick Pitino is coaching in the MAAC. Dude is one of the 5 best coaches ever in this sport.
Gonna be tough as hell to play the first year after losing Bones Hyland. Vince Williams is good, but they just have too much to replace. Don't think they'll be bad or anything just don't think they compete to win the A-10.
Yes, they lose Jason Preston who was AWESOME. But OU gets back Jason Carter who spent a couple years at Xavier after transferring from Ohio. Big get. More importantly Ben Vander Plas is still back as is Marc Sears. In fact the only person they lost was Preston after the Round of 32 trip. Stay high on them.
One of the weirdest years last year was Stanford who stayed in North Carolina for weeks due to COVID. Ziaire Williams was the big time recruit, but losing Oscar da Silva is the bigger loss. He did everything for them.
Welcome to Milwaukee Shaka Smart. I actually like the hire because it fits. Smart can recruit guys that can run HAVOC without the pressure of needing 5-stars like at Texas. But it's going to take time. This year it's essentially trying to put together something that works. They should be able to defend, will they be able to score?
Absolutely love the hire of Wes Miller. Not only one of the best young coaches in the country, but just one of the best coaches in general. He'll have them playing more uptempo style and after the disaster with John Brannen the locker room should be more stable.
81. Louisiana Tech
Welcome to Kenneth Lofton's world. Dude dominated for USA U-19s this summer. Coming off a year where 12.2/7.5 as a freshman. Team is damn good. Getting Keaston Willis from Incarnate Word is huge too just to add another scorer from the guard spot.
80. Boise State
Yes Derrick Alston is gone, but they'll be fine. They still have Abu Kigab and Emmanuel Akot, former Pac-12 players who found a role at Boise State last year.
Mike Miles is going to be the breakout player everyone mentions. He's awesome. Won gold with the U-19 team this summer. Put up over 13 a game as a freshman last year. Basically they are just surrounding him with a million transfers this year.
78. Saint Louis
Man I'd be higher on them but Javonte Perkins tearing his ACL sucks. The guy came back to college for another year and got robbed. Injuries suck.
77. Kansas State
Huge year for Bruce Weber. He's on the hot seat. He's relying on Mike McGuirl who has been in college forever, and a bunch of sophomores. If that class takes a jump, Weber is going to be fine. If they stay stuck don't be surprised to see a coaching change.
Experience matters and they have as much of it as anyone. Any player who started a game last year is back this year. Pretty good group with CJ Walker, Brandon Mahan and Darius Perry leading the way.
I can't believe Brad Brownell is still coaching here at Clemson. Don't know how they make up for losing Aamir Simms though.
They were legit good last year. But gone is McKinley Wright, who was the star of that team. This year it's going to rely heavily on Evan Battey and hope someone can makes a jump. They have six freshmen on the roster, someone there needs to be good from the jump.
73. Georgia Tech
Josh Pastner remains the most unintentionally hilarious person in college basketball. Good news is Michael DeVoe and Jordan Usher are still there. Losing Alvarado and Wright is just too much. They'll compete but a step back for sure.
Chris Collins is likely on the hot seat. They can't keep collapsing like they did last year. They have talent this year too with Boo Buie, Chase Audige and Pete Nance returning. Nance could be an All-Big 10 player despite how deep the big man talent is in the Big 10.
Back to a rebuild mode for Greg McDermott after making the Sweet 16. They don't return a starter and really just have 3 guys that saw any minutes. Ryan Nembhard is a freshman that can turn into something but this year is going to be tough.
70. Ole Miss
Kermit Davis got a contract extension this offseason. Makes sense. But will they be able to make up losing KJ Buffen, Romello White and Devontae Shuler?
69. Western Kentucky
Rick Stansbury is building something at WKU. We know he's recruiting well but he's also getting transfers that work out. Sure Charles Bassey is gone. He went out and got Keith Williams from UC and Jairus Hamiton from Maryland. They'll both be damn good to go with Josh Hamilton in C-USA.
JeeNathan Williams is as good as it gets. 17 and 7 a year ago.He's just helped solidify Buffalo as a monster. They have turned into one of the most consistent mid-majors in the country. Surrounding him are Ronaldo Segu and Josh Mballa.
Anthony Grant has it going at Dayton. They were screwed with their best team and Obi. They don't have that again, but they are going to be good. Sneaky top-2 team in the A-10 if it all clicks. Toumani Camara, a transfer from Georgia, can be the go-to guy for this team.
Kendric Davis has a good shot to win AAC POY. He scored 19 a game and put up over 7.5 assists per game last year. They are heavily reliant on transfers though. They got some good ones - Marcus Weathers, Michael Weathers, Zach Nutall and Tristan Clark.
65. San Francisco
The WCC is getting better thanks to what Todd Golden is doing with San Francisco. One of the most analytically inclined teams in the country. Also helps they got Jamaree Bouyea back, who put up 17 per game last year. Khalil Shabazz is a hell of a second option too. Dude can score.
64. St. Mary's
They return everyone but return everyone from what was potentially Randy Bennett's worst team. They'll be better, just need to be more consistent offensively. Logan Johnson, the former UC player, should take another jump and be the go-to guy for them.
63. NC State
They can go 9 or 10 deep, the question will be will Kevin Keatts play fast again? He should. That's when he's at his best as a coach. It's what made him one of the best mid-major coaches in the country.
Isaiah Wong is one of the best players in the ACC. He leads Miami and gets some help with Kameron McGusty. They also brought in Charlie Moore, who is on his 4th team. If he can live up to the hype he had 10 years ago out of high school or at Kansas or Cal, they may sneak in the top half of the ACC.
61. Utah State
I'm probably higher on them than most. Maybe I trust Ryan Odom. I like that he's bringing Brandon Horvath and RJ Eytle-Rock with him from UMBC. Important to have a couple guys who know the system with you while keeping Justin Bean (underrated player) and Brock Miller.
How do you replace Luka Garza? Well you can't. Not to mention they lost his backup Jack Nunge to Xavier. They do get back Jordan Bohannon for his 9th year and Keegan Murray can be someone who shoots up individual rankings. Gonna be a bit of a rebuild but could be a top half of a Big 10 team.
59. Washington State
Shout out Dennis Rodman's kid DJ who is going to play a role on this team again. I actually like what Kyle Smith is doing at Washington State, one of the toughest major programs to win at. He got Michael Flowers out of the transfer portal, who can really score.
Hey, they bring back everyone despite finishing last in the Big East. They also have two sophomores in Chuck Harris and Myles Tate who could and should take a jump - Harris especially. His game is intriguing. There should be a ton of versatility with the top-8 and that makes Butler wildly intriguing to surprise this year.
Somehow, someway Brad Davison is still playing college basketball. It seems illegal. It should be illegal. It's kind of weird that this year Wisconsin is going to rely on younger guys. Chucky Hepburn is a likely starter. Jonathan Davis is a potential breakout guy as a sophomore. Going to be a weird year in Madison.
56. Arizona State
One of the more underachieving teams last year, Bobby Hurley is going to try again. He was able to keep Marcus Bagley after he went into the transfer portal and landed Marreon Jackson from Toledo. Jackson is a triple-double threat and provides what Hurley likes to do on offense.
Another team that disappointed last year but somewhat running it back. David Duke is gone, Nate Watson is back. Nate Watson is a hell of a player. If they get help from Al Durham or Justin Minaya, they should be sneaky good. Also gotta keep Jared Bynum healthy.
Yep Nevada is still hanging around doing Nevada things after Muss. That's in large part to Grant Sherfield, who might be the best player in the MWC. Don't forget about Desmond Cambridge too, which gives Nevada arguably the best backcourt in the conference.
53. Notre Dame
I think Notre Dame can be good? I don't know. They don't make sense. Basically running it back and have talent with Prentiss Hubb, Dane Goodwin and Nate Laszewski. I just want Mike Bray to be shirtless celebrating again like he's in Hawaii.
Welcome on down Porter Moser. Forever I wondered if/when he'd leave Loyola Chicago for a power job. Apparently Oklahoma was the job. He went and got Jordan Goldwire from Duke and more importantly Tanner Groves from Eastern Washington. He'll have them right on the bubble this year.
I'm buying all Andy Kennedy stock. He went out and got a ton of transfers to add depth to a team that was already good. He got high-major transfers too. Josh LeBlanc from LSU, KJ Buffen from Ole Miss, Jamal Johnson from Auburn. I'm all in on this team this year.
Yes they lost Joseph Yesufu, but this team returns everyone else. The key is staying healthy. Losing Tank Hemphill and Roman Hill to injury last year really hindered them. They are back though. Love what they can do in the MVC.
49. Mississippi State
Gonna be weird seeing Garrison Brooks at Mississippi State. Then again, it was weird seeing him as preseason ACC POY. That didn't work out too well. They do also bring in Rocket Watts and DJ Jeffries while returning Iverson Molinar and Tolu Smith. Sneaky top-4 type talent in the SEC.
Impossible not to love Belmont if you love basketball. Also bringing back Nick Muszynski, Luke Smith and Grayson Murphy as redshirt seniors? That's a bit unfair. Awesome trio and clearly the best team in the OVC. Long live Rick Byrd and his sweaters.
47. West Virginia
Sean McNeil can shoot the shit out of the ball. Huge to have him back when you lose Deuce McBride. I just don't know how much they'll be able to make up losing not only McBride but Emmitt Matthews and Derek Culver. Pauly Paulicap is an elite name though.
Get ready to hear all about Jim Boeheim coaching Buddy Boeheim and Jimmy Boeheim. It's going to happen. Going to be heavy on guard play with those two and Joe Girard. I'm sure they'll be a bubble team, make it as a 10 seed and win a game.
45. Wichita State
Isaac Brown was good enough in his first year as interim coach to be the full time coach. As he should. The players love him. Speaking of players Tyson Etienne is an All-AAC player. Put up over 16 per game last year. They return a decent amount from a team that won an at-large bid.
Again, I'd be higher on them if Adam Miller didn't suffer a season-ending injury. I do like 7-footer Efton Reid a lot, but that Miller injury is signifcant.
Nick Sherrod needs to stay healthy. That said, Grant Golden and Jacob Gilyard are still around. They are incredibly balanced and experienced. They looked like a top-25 team until COVID pauses and injuries happened. They should be a tournament type team again though.
42. San Diego State
I love the addition of Matt Bradley from Cal here. That helps with the loss of Jordan Schakel and Matt Mitchell. He can shoot the hell out of the ball and provides that upper end talent that SDSU seems to always have.
41. Texas Tech
Chris Beard is no longer here but Mark Adams, and the guy credited for the no-middle defense that Tech ran takes over. Listen, losing Beard is huge. But Adams is the one guy that made sense for them to hire. Kind of a weird team here and I probably should have them higher. They are super reliant on transfers - Kevin Obanor, Davion Warren, Mylik Wilson, Bryson Williams and Sardaar Calhoun.
40. St. John's
Mike Anderson getting potential Big East POY Julian Champagine back is so important. You immediately have that 1-2 combo with him and Posh Alexander. He also went out and brought in guys like Stef Smith and Tareq Coburn who fit his uptempo style. This should be a Tournament team.
Welcome back home Mike Woodson. He has a potential All-American in Trayce Jackson-Davis which makes life easier. Guard play is always the question here. He's relying on transfers. Good transfers, but transfers in Xavier Johnson and Parker Stewart. If they can be consistent and he gets guard play, Indiana can crack the top-25.
I don't understand why Mike White doesn't have this team flying around tempo wise. That was his calling card at Louisiana Tech. Colin Castleton is an All-Conference player and Tyree Appleby came on last year. A name to remember is Phlandrous Fleming, a transfer from Charleston Southern who can score with anyone in the country.
I'm staying high on Rutgers because of Steve Pikiell. I've talked about him a bunch. I love the way he coaches. Myles Johnson and Jacob Young are huge losses. BUT, Geo Baker is a hell of a player to get back. Ron Harper is a decent second option too. I might be too high, but I trust Pikiell.
36. Colorado State
Love what Niko Medved is doing here. They don't lose anyone from last year's team, who was good. That includes getting two 15ppg scorers back. David Roddy is a double-double machine.
Another team that is just consistent. It doesn't matter they lost some key pieces, they return Alex Barcello, Gideon George and bring in Te'Jon Lucas from Milwaukee. Mark Pope has this program rolling early. Barcello could be a sneaky All-American pick.
34. Virginia Tech
Mike Young reunites with Storm Murphy who transferred from Wofford. I do think Keve Aluma is one of the more underrated players out there too. They gotta find some help off the bench, but the starting 5 is something I really like.
I'll be honest, I don't love this Virginia team. I mean I'm not doubting Tony Bennett but they have a somewhat weird roster. They are relying on two transfers in Jayden Gardner and Armaan Franklin. It's not even the slow pace, the difference is Virginia's defense took a hit. They are typically a top-5 defense in the country under Tony Bennett. If you're playing slow and can't get stops, that's not great.
32. Michigan State
I do like that Izzo went to the transfer portal and landed Tyson Walker from Northeastern. He's key for them at the lead guard position, especially losing Rocket Watts, Foster Loyer, Aaron Henry and Josh Langford. They needed someone there to help bridge the gap. Joey Hauser needs to be better this year.
31. Loyola Chicago
I know I pissed people off last year saying Loyola was fine as an 8 seed. I stand by it. They beat Illinois, credit there. Now they have to find a way to play without Cam Krutwif and no Porter Moser. I'm not too worried about it as they still have Lucas Williamson and stayed in house hiring Drew Valentine.
30. Seton Hall
I'm not going to undersell the loss of Mamu, but I LOVE Kadary Richmond. He was never used right at Syracuse. Now you get the trio of Richmond, Myles Cale and Jared Rhoden? That'll work. Basically need Alexis Yetna or Tyrese Samuel to give them something offensively from the 4/5 spots.
We just can't gloss over the fact Chris Mack is suspended 6 games because Dino Gaudio tried to extort him for money. Granted stories at Louisville are rarely shocking anymore.
I probably should put them lower with news of Zach Freemantle's injury. This is a deep team though and this is where Jack Nunge is important. You have experience with Paul Scruggs and Nate Johnson while having scoring threats off the bench in Dwon Odom and KyKy Tandy. You also have an elite shooter in Adam Kunkel. Can Xavier defend? It sounds weird because Xavier has typically been awesome defensively, but that's the question here.
Gone is Sean Miller and in comes a somewhat surprise hire in Gonzaga assistant Tommy Lloyd. He's known for being an unreal international recruiter and will have a chance to work with Kerr Kriisa here. He only played a handful of games last year and will be the guy that makes the offense go this season. Not to mention Kim Aiken is a perfect transfer to land.
Thank God Tyler Olander isn't on this roster. I know James Bouknight lost and how damn good he was. But there's a ton of talent on the roster still - most notably RJ Cole and Tyrese Martin. Dan Hurley is figurings shit out fast at UConn. I also think Jalen Gaffney is a guy that can really take a leap.
I'm not as high on them as others I've seen. I question how the pieces fit and think losing Wiggins/Morsell was important. I know Fatts Russell is a name. But we also know his game. That doesn't help with spacing. I do think Ayala figured it all out last year and we see that version again. That's going to be key. He looked way more comfortable than ever.
The Allen Flanigan injury is significant. That can really derail what this team's ceiling is depending if/how he looks when he comes back. They do bring in Walker Kessler from UNC who fits what Pearl likes to do with bigs. They also have the rare SEC-transfer in KD Johnson who I'm a big fan of.
23. Oklahoma State
It's bullshit that they aren't eligible for the NCAA Tournament. Yes, they took a shot with Cade and company last year, but they are damn good again this year. They are super deep and Avery Anderson is one of the more underrated players in the country.
Tough to make up for losing Evan Mobley but USC returns a lot from a team that kicked Kansas' ass. Boogie Ellis coming in from Memphis to likely start at point guard for the Trojans and joins Drew Peterson in the backcourt. Not to mention they do have Isaiah Mobely who could be a double-double guy.
21. St. Bonaventure
I'm all in on this team this year. They return everyone and Kyle Lofton is one of the best point guards in the country. Shout out Union Catholic. Doesn't hurt they have the reigning DPOY in Osun Osunniyi too. They really just are balanced, can beat you with different people every night. I'm buying all the stock.
John Fulkerson is still here. That annoys me. Kennedy Chandler is the prize recruit though. Getting him on the ball and moving Santiago Vescovi off ball is key. If Chandler lives up to the hype they can be a top-15 team. If he struggles, there's still enough talent here.
Hubert Davis takes over for Roy Williams because UNC always keeps it in the family. Decent team to start with getting Brady Manek from Oklahoma and Dawson Garcia from Marquette. He also kept Armando Bacot. I suspect we'll see more spacing than we saw with Roy and not as much double posting. You can surround Bacot with shooters.
Illinois is back. I want to state that. Now they do get Kofi because Kofi is a monster. Andre Curbelo is one of the most fun players in the country and everyone has him as a breakout guy filling in for Ayo. Trent Frazier is the guy though. He's the glue guy. He has the experience. Also bringing in Alfonso Plummer from Utah was huge, especially after losing Adam Miller. He can be a sscorer as a 6th man.
17. Florida State
All Leonard Hamilton does is recruit 7-footers, send guys to the NBA, play 10 deep and win games. Why are we doubting this? Just because they lost Scottie Barnes, RaiQuan Gray, MJ Walker and Balsa Koprivca? Been there before. They still have Anthony Polite. They brought in Caleb Mills from Houston. Matthew Cleveland and Jalen Warley are two damn good freshmen.
16. Ohio State
The year of the big man in the Big 10 rolls on with EJ Liddell. I do like what he's surrounded with since he can space the floor a little bit. It allows Holtmann to play glue guy and 30-year old Kyle Young with him and help provide some defense. I'll tell you what else. If Seth Towns stays healthy and can be Harvard Seth Towns again, Ohio State is a top-10 team.
The most hype yet for Penny's team. Makes sense when you land Emoni Bates and Jalen Duren. The talent is there, the biggest question will be will they have consistent point guard play. The plan is most likely to let Bates be that lead guard. A lot to ask of him, no matter how good he is.
Here comes Muss doing what Muss does. Landing big time transfers in Chris Lykes, Stanley Umede, Trey Wade and Au'Diese Toney. At the same time he kept ultimate microwave scorer JD Notae and sophomores Devo Davis and Jaylin Williams. They'll be more than fine.
A Final Four team from a year ago loses a decent amount most notably Quentin Grimes. But the cupboard isn't empty. They still have Marcus Sasser, Tramon Mark and Fabian White. I love the transfer of Kyler Edwards from Texas Tech too. This is just thinking Kelvin Sampson is a hell of a coach.
The reigning national champs lose the guards. No doubt about it tough to replace Davion Mitchell, Jared Butler and MaCio Teague along with Mark Vital. But you have Matthew Mayer who developed from just a scorer off the bench. You bring in James Akinjo from Arizona and freshman Kendall Brown. They'll be just fine.
Here comes Dana Altman. He's got awesome transfers in Jacob Young, De'Vion Harmon (love his game) and Quincy Guerrier. At the same time he's returning guys that matters like N'Faly Dante, Will Richarson and Eric Williams. Altman is one of the best coaches in the game. They seem to be flying under the radar a bit.
The Coach K farewell tour. I don't want to talk about it. I really don't. It's unfair he has Paolo Banchero, who might be the best player in the country. Also Theo John is 45 years old.
I know people will be pissed I have them outside the top-5 but it's my rankings. Collin Gillespie is back from injury, hopefully he looks the same because he'll be an All-American candidate. Justin Moore was supposed to be the prototypical Nova breakout player last year but he never really took that jump. Does that happen here? Getting Jermaine Samuels back is HUGE so they can try and get Caleb Daniels or Trey Patterson to take a jump too.
I'm not going to freak out about the run to the Final Four. Does this seem 'low'? Maybe. But remember, they were one of the last teams in the NCAA Tournament. A hot 5 game stretch doesn't change that. Myles Johnson is a key transfer for the post spot and we know Juzang can score. Still top-10 is pretty fucking good.
Nate Oats is the darling of college basketball with his uptempo style and more importantly winning. Everyone is expecting Jahvon Quinerly to take a jump this year as in POY type player and I see it. Former top recruit who found a home here. JD Davison is going to be a hell of a player. Dude went viral a ton in high school for his dunks, but he can play.
Arguably the most talented Michigan team in 20 years. They bring back Hunter Dickinson who is as dominant of a big as we'll see. They also get Eli Brooks back. Shout out York even though Spring Grove quite literally stinks. Key here are two new guys. Big time recruit Caleb Houstan and Coastal Carolina transfer DeVante Jones. Jones needs to score to alleviate some pressure for Dickinson.
It's going to be interesting here.. Kansas is flying a bit under the radar when we're talking about great teams this year. However, it's reliant on Remy Martin and/or Joseph Yesufu turning into a Bill Self type guard. We already saw reports that he wasn't happy with Martin, benching him to start an exhibition. They still have Agbaji, Wilson and McCormack to fall back on though.
Another team I'm higher on than most and it's mostly due to Jaden Ivey. Here's one thing to remember. Purdue was a top-4 seed last year and returns everyone. If they didn't lose one game - North Texas 1st round of the Tournament in OT - we'd see them as a consensus top-5 team. Trevion Williams is the name on All-American lists, but Ivey is the guy for me.
Ah, my guys. Calipari is starting three guards, the team can actually shoot and more importantly they know their roles. If Cal stays committed to playing the three/four out offense, you're looking at a title contender. TyTy Washington is going to be the guy on this team. He originally committed to Creighton before flipping to Kentucky and immediately looks like their best player.
Sure they lose Jalen Suggs and Corey Kispert, but here comes Chet Holmgren. Just bringing in another top recruit from Minnesota and this dude is a freak. Not to mention they still have Andrew Nembhard and Drew Timme. Pretty good! I'm not someone who freaks out about them playing in the WCC too. If that was such a big deal they wouldn't have made two title games recently.
Yep, going a bit opposite than most people out there. Texas is the best team in the country for me. They have the depth. They have all the transfers. They have star power with Marcus Carr, Andrew Jones, Courtney Ramey, etc. They also upgraded from Shaka to Chris Beard. I've said it before but I don't know if there is a better X's and O's coach in America than him.