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've done this a few years now and somehow I keep getting roped to doing it again. My method is simple. I talk to as many coaches as possible. If I can't get a read I've used The Almanac, KenPom, Torvik, Haslam for cross references. I'll be honest, it's mostly educated guessing and I should just pick out of a hat. Might work better. Nothing like deciding who is 228. Shouts to Matt Norlander for being the first I ever saw rank every team years ago. No shouts for Devan Downey though.
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'll have an update on a project I'm working on for the season later this week so keep an eye out on that. But as always, read the blog.
I have nothing against Hartford's players or John Gallagher - their coach. They are last simply because I hate their administration. A couple years removed from making their first NCAA Tournament, they are moving them down to Division III. You are last simply because of that.
Same sort of rule here. Manhattan randomly and mysteriously fired its head coach 2 weeks before the start of the season. MAAC POY Jose Perez is going to transfer as are a handful of other players. They legit might not have enough scholarship players this year to suit up.
Great name, terrible team.
360. Chicago State
We will all come together to bet against them as they catch 36 points one game. It's a true November tradition.
They only bring back 2 pieces from a team that won 2 games. Where's the improvement?
358. Arkansas Pine-Bluff
Uhh they only bring 5 guys back from a bad team. Two of those guys played less than 5 minutes per game last year.
357. Delaware State
They won 2 games a year ago. That's why they are here.
356. Mississippi Valley State
Pretty cool name with the Delta Devils. Trying this whole positive thing.
Well, they have a team. That's a positive. The team just isn't good and is relying on all transfers basically.
354. Fairleigh Dickinson
Team won 4 games a year ago and now has a new coach. Sounds about right.
353. Eastern Illinois
They won 5 games a year ago and are trying to rebuild through the portal. Caleb Donaldson needs to adjust to the Division I game.
There are too many teams in Division I.
351. South Carolina State
Losing your head coach is tough. Being the last team to hire a head coach is tougher. Gonna be a long year.
350. Incarnate Word
A weird situation here as Incarnate Word was going to leave the Southland for the WAC and then never did. They still aren't good.
349. Idaho State
Kolby Lee from BYU is a good transfer but there's no history here. Idaho State just isn't a good program.
348. Northwestern State
Viral legend Hansel Enmanuel, the 1-armed player, is a freshman here this season. I hope he tears it up.
They won 6 games a year ago. I'm going to guess they win 6 games again. Hockey school.
346. Green Bay
Bo Ryan's son is the coach here. That's all I got.
345. St. Francis (NY)
Sure they won 10 games and return some nice pieces. But there's a reason they won 10 games. Not like they loaded up on high transfers or anything.
344. Florida A&M
Made a huge jump winning 11 games in the conference last year. But most of that was thanks to MJ Randolph who isn't here anymore.
It's their first year in Division I. See Stonehill. They did at least land Chris Childs (not the Knick) from Bryant.
342. Tennessee Tech
John Pelphrey is in year 4 here and loses A LOT from last year. He's relying on basically all transfers to save this year.
This team should be better ever since they switched to the blue and yellow/gold color scheme. It's an elite color scheme.
They won just 5 games a year ago and now lose 5 key pieces. Frankie Felder is a good player but that's about it.
339. North Dakota
They lose Peter Bruns who was the only person to score 10 per game last year. Who initiates the offense? Who can bail them out?
338. Central Connecticut State
Nigel Scantlebury is the do-it-all guy for them. He led the team in points, steals, assists and 3pt percentage. That will be the case again this year.
337. Southeastern Louisiana
Who can step in and score for this team? They lose every single guy who scored double digits from a year ago.
It's their first year in the CAA after spending a few years in the Big South. I don't see it going well.
A year after winning just 6 games they have to replace basically everyone. They are trying to do it through the transfer portal.
334. Alabama State
TJ Madlock follows his dad from South Carolina State to Alabama State. He scored 12 per game last year and should keep getting better.
333. McNeese State
This team is going to be one of the fastest teams in the country, especially with the depth at the guard position they have now.
This team just can't take care of the ball. Miles Coleman averaged 15.5 per game a year ago, but again, when you were 206th in turnover percentage it doesn't matter.
The Pat Baldwin experience did not work. I think we all can agree on that. That said, this year isn't going to work either. Jalen Johnson is a fun player though. They also have Vin Baker on the roster.
330. William & Mary
They won 5 games a year ago and now relying on a ton of transfers and unknowns. Gonna call my shot that they don't make the Tournament.
329. Grambling State
They actually have some continuity here and bring back a decent amount. Carte'Are Gordon was supposed to be a big time player at St. Louis and is here now.
328. Alabama A&M
Last year they just couldn't score to win games. They weren't bad defensively. Garrett Hicks could be a bigger piece on offense this year after 14 per game last season.
327. New Hampshire
Welcome to a weird stat. New Hampshire has had Bill Herrion as a head coach for 17 years. He's never made the NCAA Tournament. How many other schools can say that? In fact he only has 4 winning seasons.
326. Charleston Southern
I will complain about this every year. I know why they are called Charleston Southern but I hate it. They aren't in the southern part of the city. Fix it.
It's a new era here. Fran O'Hanlon stepped away after 27 years as head coach. That's always a tough adjustment.
324. Alcorn State
They won 17 games a year ago which doesn't sound great until you remember how bad Alcorn used to be. Trevin Wade from EKU could be a star.
323. Central Arkansas
On one hand it's great that they bring back three guys who scored at least 9.9 per game last year. On the other hand, they were one of the worst defensive teams in the country. How does that change? Churchill Bounds is an all-name team guy.
322. Holy Cross
I just don't think Holy Cross will ever be good again unless we create time travel.
I just love that they are named the Hatters. Nothing like a giant hat to be your mascot.
320. UT Rio Grande Valley
They only bring back three guys from last year. That said Matt Figger knew the role at UTRGV. He's trying to find his guys. It'll take time.
319. New Orleans
They lose 20 ppg scorer Derek St. Hillare. It doesn't matter what level you're at that's tough to replace. They don't bring back a double digit scorer.
318. Prairie View A&M
They won just 8 games in conference a year ago but there should be a jump at some point. Jeremiah Grambell could play himself to an All-SWAC team.
317. North Alabama
This is the first year they are eligible for the NCAA Tournament thanks to the dumbass NCAA transition rule. It's not going to happen, but worth noting.
Remember Trent Johnson? Yeah he coaches here now. Quite a drastic difference from LSU.
315. Southern Miss
This is basically just Mercer now. They grabbed two of Mercer's best players and trying to combine them with three upperclassmen.
314. Houston Christian
I'm going to call them Houston Baptist strictly out of my brain knowing that.
313. St. Francis (PA)
They have 6 guys return who played 19 minutes per game. Four of them scored at least 10 per game. They need to improve defensively and add depth though.
312. Texas A&M Commerce
How many Texas A&M's are there? We gotta stop them.
311. Jackson State
Name a school with a cooler coaching duo than Deion Sanders and Mo Williams.
310. Kansas City
Marvin Menzies takes over after spending time at UNLV. Here's the thing, he's got a pretty youthful team. He's 9 freshmen on the roster.
They only won 4 games a year ago but they also had one of the youngest rosters. Geronimo Rubio De La Rosa put up 12/4/3 a year ago as a freshman. A team to watch next year, not this year.
Reggie Theus is coaching here. A little different style of coaching from his time on Hang Time. Elite show. Zion Harmon turned down blue bloods to play here.
307. Southeast Missouri
I'm curious how Georgetown transfer Kobe Clark looks at a mid-major. They do bring back starting point guard Phillip Russell.
306. Coppin State
Juan Dixon is still coaching here and at some point will likely move on. Coppin is a good MEAC team but gets stuck playing so many buy games early. Sam Sessoms is a big time transfer from Penn State.
305. Western Illinois
Gone are 4 guys who scored double digits a year ago. They're going to rely heavily on point guard Trenton Massner to do a lot after scoring 16 per game last year.
Torrence Watson needs to take a jump here. He played 25 minutes per game a year ago and as a graduate player needs to give them something.
Hey, they won 11 games last year. Big time improvement.
Noah Harris is the one piece coming back, the rest are all transfers. Harris has to take a jump otherwise 303 might be too nice.
301. Sacred Heart
Nico Gallette is a really nice player from that stretch position. They need consistency from the guard play though.
300. Little Rock
They were arguably the most injury-prone team a year ago. They could make a jump if healthy thanks to Myron Gardner and DeAntoni Gordon.
299. Texas Southern
They always play their way into the Tournament. They lose 5 nice pieces from last year so they need to add depth fast.
298. Portland State
I will always love their head coach for talking about how he drives with no heat in the winter during his introductory press conference. Set the tone early.
297. Robert Morris
They won 8 games a year ago. Not a lot to love about the roster, especially with a ton of transfers coming in.
I'm curious to see how Ben Lubarsky looks after missing last year with an injury. I don't think they'll be good, but that's an interesting piece.
295. Central Michigan
Shout out Boopie Miller. I wish I had a cool nickname like that. Would probably average 13/3/4 as a freshman with a name like that.
They had to learn life without an experienced and loaded backcourt last year. This year they should be slightly improved and I'm intrigued by John Buggs.
293. Morgan State
If De'Torrian Ware can stay healthy they can compete in the MEAC. He's an All-Conference player that battled injuries.
This team just couldn't win on the road a year ago. There's room for improvement though especially with landing Jamir Moultrie.
They just lose so much. Not only star Jake Stephens but double-digit scorers Trey Bonham, Honor Huff and Kamdyn Curfman.
Not only do they have to replace some major pieces, they lost Bashir Mason to Saint Peter's. Always need to adjust to this sort of movement.
They were one of the better 3pt shooting teams in the country a year ago. However, something isn't right at Bucknell. They won just 9 games.
288. Western Carolina
I love that Justin Gray is coaching here. For those my age you remember Justin Gray at Wake Forest. Dude was so good and an awesome shooter.
287. UT Martin
Parker Stewart comes back to UT Martin after a year at Indiana. Remember his father was the coach who tragically passed away here. Him and KJ Simon make them interesting.
They could have a really good backcourt if Jalin Sinclair stays healthy. He missed last year to a knee injury. Unique team who runs a small lineup out there.
285. Tennessee State
They improved by 10 games a year ago and bring in Zion Griffin from UIC. Really like that transfer pickup.
284. SIU Edwardsville
If Ray'Sean Taylor can stay healthy they'll improve. He's one of the best players in the OVC. He averaged 17.6/5 a year ago. Unfortunately he's likely out until conference play.
283. Sacramento State
David Patrick takes over and is going the transfer route in year 1. He really has to rebuild a program that hasn't seen much winning.
282. Utah Tech
The returning backcourt players shot 25, 27 and 32% from three. That has to improve.
Quick shout out to Albany for bringing in Ryan Daly as an assistant coach. An all-time college basketball guy.
280. North Carolina A&T
They fired their coach in August and now working with an interim coach. Not what you want in year 1 of moving to the CAA.
Luke Yaklich is supposed to bring in some defense but it hasn't been here yet. Part of that is roster turnover and they got to deal with that again this year.
Remember Bryan Antoine? The 5-star from Nova? Yeah, this is where he's playing now. I hope he stays healthy and dominates.
277. Cleveland State
They have to adjust to life without Dennis Gates. Not gonna be easy year 1 considering a bunch of guys left with Gates.
276. Northern Illinois
They won just 9 games a year ago but basically every game was close. They bring back Keshawn Williams who scored 16 per game a year ago.
275. Stony Brook
They make the move from America East to CAA and need to improve fast. Aaron Clarke from Sacred Hart helps, but they have 4 key guys leaving the roster from last year.
274. USC Upstate
They actually made a postseason last year. That's worth applause. Jordan Gainey is a good player so I have them slightly higher than some metrics.
273. NC Central
I love LeVelle Moton and what he's done for the program. Justin Wright and Kris Monroe should keep them in MEAC contention.
Joe Gallo (not the Joker, ex-Joker) can coach man. Should win the NEC thanks to Jordan Minor and Ziggy Reid.
271. Bowling Green
I will never forget that they have a cemetery on campus. Creeps me out.
270. Western Michigan
Dwyane Stephens takes over and is going to rely on Lamar Norman to score 19 per game again.
Everyone's favorite viral moment is gone. This year we won't have the opening day tweet when we talk about 5'2" Darnell Rodgers going for 20. Tough beat.
268. Cal State Bakersfield
Kaleb Higgins and Cameron Smith coming back for this year helps keep Bakersfield out of the bottom of the Big West.
267. Southern Indiana
They make the move to Division I after a good run at Division II. They also bring the nickname Screaming Eagles which is sweet. Don't just be the Eagles.
They make the jump from Division II to Division I. Don't get it wrong, they were an awesome Division II team - made the Elite Eight last year. But that first year jump is hard to predict.
I'm still not 100% positive what The Citadel does but the campus is awesome. Shout out Charleston.
264. Northern Arizona
Jalen Cone is an awesome transfer from a high-major that blew up last year. He averaged over 18 per game and comes back. He's good enough to win some games, but not good enough to win the Big Sky.
263. UC San Diego
A team who was ineligible for most stuff last year due to moving up to Division I. I understand why the Big West is doing it, but I hate that their games don't count towards their own record.
262. Miami (Ohio)
Travis Steele takes the short drive from Cincinnati to Oxford to take over Miami. They should immediately prove defensively with him there.
261. St. Thomas
Tommies! Tommies! Let's get a Tommies chant going. That's how it works right?
Finished 3rd in the SWAC this year and keep most their roster intact. That's something I look for in these low-major teams. Tyrone Lyons is the key for them.
259. Arkansas State
They have to find a way to replace not only Norchad Ormier but Desi Sills. That was a damn good 1-2 combo.
258. UT Arlington
It was a rebuilding year last season and they still aren't done. David Azore scored 20 per game. Their backcourt is going to rely on transfers from JuCo and up-transfers.
I still can't believe we have a team named the Blue Hose in college basketball. What a sport.
They made one of the bigger jumps last year to 11 wins. They could make another jump this year with Coban Porter and Tevin Smith there.
255. Eastern Michigan
This is where Emoni Bates landed. We know all about his saga and it's going to be really interesting to see how it plays out back home. If he puts it together he can dominate the MAC.
They only lose two pieces which is huge. Even better is Jalen Rucker coming back who is all sorts of fun at the lead guard spot.
253. Eastern Kentucky
I have a soft spot for EKU. Not because they are in Richmond or anything but because AW Hamilton lets his team fly around. They are incredibly fun to watch.
252. Cal Poly
Allmany Koroma put up 13 a game last year and comes back. It at least gives some stability for a program that has none of it.
They cracked the top-200 a year ago on KenPom but lose their top three scorers from a year ago. Not great for a team that struggled offensively.
250. Louisiana Monroe
Where does the scoring come? They lose their top 4 guys from a year ago. They hit the transfer portal pretty hard but need 2 guys to really jump in scoring.
There's just too much to replace. They lost three 14 point per game scorers. Remember their Bench Mob though? Good times.
They were one of the worst offensive teams in the country last year. They are projected to be better but still at 271st in the country. Yikes.
They bring enough back to be intriguing in the Ivy, but they still lose Tamenang Choh who was their leading scorer. Kino Lilly could make a jump this year and be the guy.
Antoine Davis is back for another year and one of the best scorers in the country. Don't be surprised to see him lead the country in scoring this year. He'll have four transfers around him, but Davis is good enough to win games.
245. Florida Gulf Coast
Pat Chambers takes over after sitting out a couple years post-PSU. It's not the same Dunk City that we fell in love with. They are still in rebuild mode. They also lose Kelvin Samuel, who was a do-it-all big for them.
244. Weber State
Still the greatest nickname in college basketball. Shout out Harold 'The Show' Arceneaux. They do bring back a double-double guy in Dillon Jones.
243. Nicholls State
This is the best defensive team in the Southland which is why they compete. Josh LeBlanc from UAB should be a big time transfer for them.
I wanted to put them lower strictly because Greg Paulus is the head coach. That's my biggest gripe with the team.
241. Loyola (Maryland)
Jaylin Andrews provides some stability for a team that's losing Cam Spencer. Still crazy they produced a draft pick a couple years ago.
240. East Carolina
Team is just too young to compete right now. They have 9 freshmen/sophomores on the roster and it's not like they are well-known or big time recruits coming in. Wynston Tabbs coming in from BC helps, but Michael Schwartz really has to rebuild.
239. San Jose State
I like Tim Miles. I want Tim Miles to do well. It's just impossible to win at San Jose State, even when you have NBA talent like Brandon Clarke back in the day.
A team that's going to rely on three transfers to step in immediately and help. Those three are John Williams, Austin Williams and Nick Guadarrama - all three are also up-transfers.
This team was decimated last year with people leaving/injuries. Now they have a guy to build around in junior Jordan King, who scored 14.6 last year.
236. Boston U
Keep Walter Whyte healthy. Can't believe there's a guy with that name, but he's really good and has been for a few years now.
Bill Coen is still one of the best coaches in America. That's about all I got here.
234. Mount St. Mary's
They make the jump this year from the NEC to the MAAC.
They get two big transfers from Oklahoma State in Keylan Boone and Donovan Williams. Usually that's enough to compete in the WCC, not anymore.
232. Air Force
On one hand they return basically everyone. On the other hand this team wasn't really good last year. Take that for what it's worth.
231. Ball State
One of the more guard-friendly lineups in America. They run four guys who all can handle the ball have enough shooting out there. They just gotta cut down on turnovers.
230. Oregon State
This is probably the worst power conference team and it's easy to understand why. They lose six guys from last year and are relying on a ton of transfers and a guy who missed all of last year in Chol Marial.
They are incredibly fun to watch on defense but lose three key pieces there. Luckily they had depth so it's going to be hoping guys make a jump there. Tyler Nelson is their leading scorer at 8 per game.
228. Georgia State
Jonas Hayes takes over for his first head coaching job and I really like him. It also helps he's bringing Dwon Odom with him from Xavier.
227. Austin Peay
I still can't believe that Nate James is the coach here. It's been a weird few years where guys too close in age to me are taking over jobs.
Kind of a weird team this year. They lose 4 guys, but have a ton of experience coming back still. Feels similar to a year ago where they are fine in the Ivy.
It still feels weird not calling them the Crusaders and not having a Drew coaching there.
224. Morehead State
It's unfair to lose a guy like Jhoni Broome but such is life now. Preston Spradlin has proven he can win and now he has to do it with a couple transfers to fill the Broome void.
223. North Florida
Carter Hendricksen is a monster who just can't stay healthy. He's a mismatch in the A-Sun and returns for his 5th year.
222. High Point
Tubby Smith steps down and his son G.G. takes over for the first time. Awesome campus though. Gotta give that to them.
221. George Washington
Chris Caputo takes over after spending time as Miami's assistant coach. I actually like the 1-2 combo of Ricky Lindo and James Bishop but there just hasn't been success here.
220. Saint Peter's
219. Illinois State
Ryan Pedon takes over after being a long-time assistant to Chris Holtmann. He'll run that system.
Really like what they have in Elijah Hawkins and Steve Settle. There's a legit chance they win the MEAC this year.
217. North Dakota State
Rocky Krueser was so important to them but they at least bring back enough to stay in the top-4 of the Summit. Grant Nelson could become the star of this team.
216. Georgia Southern
I want to see how quick Tai Strickland adjusts to life here. The Temple transfer could be a breakout guy for them.
Fordham had a little bit of success by Fordham standards and then Nova had to come in and swoop Kyle Neptune back. Darius Quisenberry averaged over 16 per game last year and could find himself on All-A-10 Teams.
Billy Gillispie is still coaching here. I can't believe I went to Kentucky and had the last two years of Tubby and Billy G. Kids are spoiled these days.
They made a huge jump in defense last year which is a Scott Cross speciality. They lose their top-2 scorers which isn't ideal for a team that struggled on that side of the ball.
212. Texas A&M Corpus-Christi
They made the First Four last year and bring back every piece from it. Should be an interesting race between them and Nicholls in the Southland.
211. Wright State
I just don't know how long it takes or how they replace a Tanner Holden and Grant Basile. That's a combined 38 points per game.
Baker Dunleavy (Mike's kid) is still the coach here and there's a chance they could sneak up in the MAAC. Big fan of Matt Balanc and Columbia transfer Ike Nweke.
209. Youngstown State
I do like Dwayne Cohill a lot. Love the nickname the Penguins more. They actually have a super deep team, so it'll be interesting how the rotation balances out.
They just have too much to replace. They have decent transfers but you can't replace a Jeenathan Williams right away.
207. South Alabama
A team with 2 big time transfers. Greg Parham comes in from VMI. Kelvin Samuel comes in from FGCU. Adding those guys should help keep them in the race of Sun Belt.
206. Appalachian State
Dustin Kerns has really turned this program around. That goes a long way. But they have some work to do in replacing guys and a lot will fall on Donovan Gregory to be a star again.
205. UNC Wilimington
This is a team that lives on forcing turnovers. That should be the case again this year, especially after a successful season a year ago. I still wish Brett Blizzard beat Maryland.
One of the worst 3pt shooting teams from a year ago. That has to change because it's 2022. Dwight Murray and Allen Powell are a nice backcourt duo.
203. Kennessaw State
This team used to be bottom-feeders. They finished 6th in the conference last year and bring back everyone. They could sneaky contend in the A-Sun. They bring back three guys who averaged double-digits last year.
They bring back CAA DPOY Amari Williams but lose Camren Wyner. The season will be dictated on how freshman Justin Moore figures out the college game.
This is a damn good defensive team, which isn't shocking because that's what Gardner-Webb always does. They need someone to be a bucket getter late.
200. UC Riverside
Mike Magpayo just wins. Blindly putting trust in him doing it again.
I know they lose John Meeks but Pat Kelsey is just in year 2 here. He'll get his guys to fit his system. He's going to play fast and defend.
I love what Tommy Amaker has built at Harvard, but now he has to replace Noah Kirkwood, one of the best players in the conference a year ago. Chris Ledlum averaged close to a double-double a year ago.
A sneaky team in the Horizon. Greg Kampe is entering his 39th year as the most interesting coach in America. On top of that they bring in Rocket Watts to go with Trey Townsend and Jalen Moore. Really interesting team.
Do I care they lost Dylan Penn and CJ Fleming? Of course not because that's how good of a system Davenport runs here. Also bullshit they couldn't play in the NCAA Tournament.
195. Northern Colorado
They always seem to be right in contention in the Big Sky and this year should be no different. They bring back 21 point per game scorer Dylan Kountz and a point guard who shot over 40% from three.
Max Felder is an incredibly-skilled big man. I want to see a healthy Quincy Olivari, who broke his wrist last year. They had impressive wins a year ago and could do it again.
193. Cal State Fullerton
If this team can defend the 3-point line they'll be fine. They have to replace a couple starters but they have a lineup filled with juniors and seniors.
192. Eastern Washington
Really good 1-2 combo in Steele Venters and Ethan Price. Price was the Big Sky Freshman of the Year and Venters averaged over 16 per game a year ago.
I really like Houston Mallette's game. Put up over 13.5 per game as a freshman and if the team stays healthy should have more help around him this year.
190. Jacksonville State
They lose all 5 starters from last year's NCAA Tournament team. But, I still love Ray Harper and think he'll figure it out. Think Demaree King could really break out for them as a senior.
Again, flip a couple close games and we're talking about a Campbell team that wins 20 games. They return a lot of guys, but no real scoring threat. Someone has to take a jump.
188. Texas State
This team has been really competitive the last couple years, winning the Sun Belt regular season. Mason Harrell has to be the star of the team.
187. UC Davis
This program fell off a bit, winning just 13 games a year ago. Elijah Pepper can help get them back, needs to get a little more help around him.
The key here is simple. Ahsan Asadullah has to stay healthy. He's a 6th-year senior, potential POY in the A-Sun and missed a good amount of time to injury last year. He's a double-double machine.
Drew Pembler needs to be talked about as one of the best mid-major players in the country. Put up a stat line last year of 15.7ppg/6.6 rpg and 3bpg.
184. UMass Lowell
They took a jump last year and finished average in terms of country rate defensively. That should take another jump and they should at least be competitive.
183. Southern Utah
Projected to be a good offensive team, they are also projected to be bad defensively. Parsa Fallah has to come in as a freshman and deliver there.
182. La Salle
Fran Dunphy! The man lives and breathes Philly basketball and takes over at La Salle. He has some pieces to work with too in Josh Nickelberry and the Drame brothers from St. Peter's.
Really like the addition of Montre' Gipson from Tarleton State. He scored over 14 per game there and should step right into the starting guard role.
They won 18 games a year ago and brings back Josh Bannan and Brandon Whitney. They gotta close out games and they have a legit shot in the Big Sky.
179. Saint Joe's
They just feel like a middle of the pack A-10 team. They lose Taylor Funk and Jordan Hall but bring back Erik Reynolds, Cameron Brown and Ejika Obinna. That said, this team just has to find a way to stay healthy - something that has been said for roughly 8 years in a row now.
178. Old Dominion
They make the move from CUSA to the Sun Belt. The player I'm most intrigued by here is Ben Stanley. He's had success at this sort of level with Hampton before going to Xavier and facing a bunch of injuries.
Frank Haith is no longer the coach here which doesn't sound right. Frank Haith was destined to coach college basketball forever and be right around .500. Get Frank Haith back.
They lose Damion Trammell who was awesome. Paris Dawson has to come in from Portland State and fill some sort of that void. If it's not him, it falls even more on Cameron Tyson.
Supreme Cook. All-time name. Good player too, but gotta respect the name.
We need to talk about Carmen Maciarello being one of the best dressed coaches in America, much like Clem. Andrew Platek has to be healthy for this team. We love our Saints.
Joe Golding is an awesome coach. They got 20 wins last year and should start buying into his defensive system more. Team is built on transfers this year, so they need to learn it fast.
172. Coastal Carolina
Antonio Daye scored 17 per game for Fordham last year and now comes to Coastal with the keys to the offense on him.
171. South Florida
I really like the additions of Keyshawn Bryant (South Florida) and Tyler Harris (Memphis) but they just feel a step still away. A young roster who should defend their asses off.
They make the jump to America East this year and have to battle with Vermont. That said they bring back Charles Pride and bring in Miami transfer Earl Timberlake. That's how you instantly be the 2nd best team in the conference.
Consider me just blindly trusting Jeff Boals. Phenomenal dancer and coach. They lose a ton - Ben Vander Plas and Mark Sears - but Boals should get his transfers to buy in fast.
168. Norfolk State
In a league that's tough to be consistent in, Norfolk State is just that. They always seem to be competing for a MEAC title. They bring back basically everyone from last year's NCAA Tournament team.
The Dolphins are such a sweet nickname. It also helps that Jordan Mincy coaches his ass off. They are actually loaded in the frontcourt highlighted by former Florida/Illinois big man Omar Payne.
166. Sam Houston State
Bearkats not Bearcats. They are damn good defensively but need to improve on offense. Where does that come from after losing Savion Flagg and his 18ppg?
Shout out Jameer Nelson Jr., who is the starting point guard here. Nothing like seeing the kids of guys from our era out there.
This team needs a big jump and improvement from Bez Mbeng at the point guard spot. If you get that, they are top-3 with ease in the Ivy.
163. Montana State
This team is good. I don't know how else to really describe it. They won 27 games and more importantly they bring back Jubrile Bello. Was the Big Sky POY and DPOY a year ago.
162. South Dakota
They actually add Peter Bruns from their conference foe. That helps add depth to a team that returns a lot. They bring back 3 guys who scored double digits from them a year ago.
161. Cal Baptist
Get to know the name Taran Armstrong. He's an electric point guard who went viral a few times last year with his passes. Has potential NBA talent here.
160. St. Bonaventure
Nobody loses more than St. Bonaventure. They lose 5 players and basically played 5 guys last year. I like Daryl Banks from St. Peter's but everyone in their rotation will be new to the system.
How do you replace DJ Burns? You hope for someone to take a jump. Then again I have a soft spot for Mark Prosser, shout out Skip.
158. Utah Valley
Mark Madsen and his sick dance moves can coach. But they lose Fardaws Aimaq. You can't replace that. It's going to take multiple people to fill that void.
While they lose a decent amount the fact they get BJ Mack back keeps them towards the top of the SoCon. They will be one of the more versatile teams in the country.
156. Long Beach State
Team is full of sophomores so there should be a jump from the NIT last year. Oh not to mention 17 ppg scorer Joel Murray comes back.
This team should take a jump after injuries derailed them last year. I really like Kamar Robertson and James Gisson. They need to step up and replace three leading scorers from last year.
154. James Madison
This is the team that should take the huge jump. Noah Friedel comes in and that provides some scoring relief for Takal Molson and Vado Morse. They are still a small team so they need to defend their asses off.
153. Stephen F. Austin
This team should compete in the WAC, even with some big names there. Roti Ware could take another jump and see that 11ppg average from a year ago to over 15. We know they want to attack the paint, but Ware could be the key.
Well, uh, they get Devin Askew. He was a 5-star! That's a step.
Frank Martin takes over UMass and I want it to work out so bad. Give me a good UMass team. Noah Fernandes is a nice player but needs to cut down on turnovers.
150. Oral Roberts
I'm surprised that Max Abmas is still here. He was the darling of their run, can really score and stuck it out. He's good enough to have them win the Summit again.
They should get back to the Greensboro we know in year 2 of Mike Jones. Love that they are bringing in Keondre Kennedy from UMBC, a transfer that should fit in easily.
Even with a ton of injuries a year ago they won 17 games. Stay healthy and return 4 double-digit scorers and they can win the Big West.
Bucky Ball! They have a legit star in Quas Glover who transferred in from Florida and went for 19 per game a year ago. They also add Bubba Parham which should help in the scoring area.
146. Purdue Ft. Wayne
This is a team that tied for the regular season title in the Horizon last year and bring back basically everyone who is experienced. That's a good mid-major recipe.
145. UC Irvine
I just love this program. They always are consistent and this year add a bunch of quality guard play. Gotta find a way to replace Colin Welp, but they have the depth.
Love the fact they landed Jake Stephens from VMI. The dude can play and should be awesome at Chattanooga. Have a bunch of guys to replace including coach Lamont Paris.
143. Georgia Tech
Josh Pastner is the king of unintentional comedy and has great sideburns. Brady Anderson-esque even. Yeah, that's what I'll say about them.
They don't lose much from last year's .500 team. The question is can they take care of the ball. They were incredibly turnover prone. Jordan Brown is a double-double threat.
141. Loyola Marymount
Hell yes. Keli Leaupepe - the coolest player in college basketball - is back for another year. Can't wait to see that mullet.
This is where Bronny James should go to school. LeBron played for Keith Dambrot in high school. His son should play for him in college.
They gotta find a way to make up for their 3 best players leaving. Steve Alford has had a ton of success in the MWC, but has got to find some consistency here. Jarod Baker was decent at Oregon State but question is how much help he has.
138. Rhode Island
I'm all in on Archie in the A-10. I know he didn't work out at Indiana, but the man can coach his ass off at this level. He has experience coming back for year 1 and I really think we see him take this program back to where it was with Hurley.
Tough blow losing Jaelin Llwewellyn and Ethan Wright. Luckily Mitch Henderson gets back Tosan Evbuomwan and Ryan Longborg. They need a quick adjustment from the lead guard spot though.
Dan D'Antoni baby. We know how they want to play and luckily they have the best player in the conference. Tevion Kinsley is a legit star. Sneaky outside chance of leading the country in scoring.
135. Southern Illinois
Another sneaky team in the MVC. Lance Jones and Marcus Domask return after scoring double digits a year ago. This could quickly turn into a top-100 team.
Bringing back a conference POY is so important to these mid-majors and Hofstra gets that with Aaron Estrada. Shout out Speedy Claxton.
133. Murray State
Steve Prohm comes back home after not living up to expectations at Iowa State. He's relying on transfers this year so could be a slow year but he'll be fine here.
132. Northern Kentucky
This team is one of the more consistent mid-majors out there. That's the case again this year with the majority of their roster back from a 20-win season. Trevon Faulker and Marques Warrick are an awesome backcourt.
131. Indiana State
This team should take a jump from last year. They lose 1 piece and bring in DePaul transfer Courvoiser McCauley. An interesting team in the MVC.
130. Northern Iowa
Ben Jacobson just wins 20 games. I know what they lose and it's tough to replace an AJ Green (not the football player).
129. Missouri State
Going to take a lot to replace an Isiaah Mosley and Gaige Prim but I love what they did in the transfer portal. Matthew Lee/Bryan Trimble/Kendle Moore is an incredibly fun backcourt.
This is a team that won the Big South a year ago and brings back two big time players. Also if you want to watch beautiful offense, watch Longwood.
127. Middle Tennessee State
They need to have a good year. That said, they are an experienced team. They only lose two pieces from a year ago and most of the roster are juniors/seniors.
126. Abilene Christian
We know how they play. They get after you defensively and they foul. But the thing is they really muck you up offensively. They need Simmons/Steele to make the jump to a true top-2.
125. San Diego
Steve Lavin leaves the TV booth to take over here and immediately brings in high majors transfers like Eric Williams and Jaiden Dellaire. Combine that with Jase Townsend and Marcellus Earlington coming back and you have a decent mid-major team.
I think there's a major jump here for Penn after a weird year. They bring back Jordan Dingle, who should win Ivy POY. He averaged over 20 per game last year but joining him are Clark Slajchart and Max Martz who both averaged over 10 per game last year.
123. Louisiana Tech
I really hate we don't have Kenneth Lofton this year. But this isn't a lose-all situation for La. Tech. They still bring back three guys who scored 11 per game a year ago.
Very balanced scoring across the roster. Have four guys that scored at least 9 per game last year. We know the defense will be awesome here.
This team just reloads. They lose their three-headed monster from a year ago but just fill in the holes with guys waiting their turn. You know they'll have a beautiful, fundamental offense still.
Why would I trust Pitt? Prove it. I actually like Nelly Cummings (Colgate) and Greg Elliot (Marquette) as transfers. They landed Dior Johnson, a 5-star, but he's currently facing legal issues. Prove it year for Capel and I don't think he does.
This team took UCLA to the buzzer in the first round of the Tournament. Despite losing Ali Ali and Bryan Trimble but keeping still have enough pieces in Greg Tribble, Xavier Castaneda and Enrique Freeman. Groce is an awesome MAC coach.
118. Santa Clara
This was actually a good team last year that probably didn't get the respect it should have. You lose Jalen Williams though who was an NBA talent and have to replace that. Shout out Herb Sendek, the WCC has some true old school coaches.
117. Florida Atlantic
Big fan of the 1-2 combo they bring back of Michael Forrest and Alijah Martin. However, it's UConn transfer Jalen Gaffney that could have them competing in a loaded CUSA.
116. UC Santa Barbara
They should win the Big West this year. I love the roster especially bringing in Andre Kelly to pair with Miles Norris up front. They have balanced scoring across the roster.
115. Kent State
I love Sincere Carry's game. He can win MAC POY and comes off a year he put up 18/4/4. He's a redshirt senior that's good enough to win the league sort of on his own if he gets hot.
They just lose too much from a year ago. I like Umoja Gibson - a transfer from Oklahoma - a lot, but they need more help. Caleb Murphy or Jalen Terry could help as the 2nd guy here.
It's going to be a long year. The Fred Hoiberg experience just isn't working at one of the toughest places to win at. Now you lose your top-3 players. Yeah, this will likely be a job opening.
112. Fresno State
They have pieces, it's just a matter of taking a leap. Remember Jemarl Baker? Dude who was at UK and Arizona, well he's here now too. If he can shoot the ball and Isaiah Hill takes a leap this could be a sneaky decent MWC team.
Jordan McCabe has to be a more consistent lead guard for them, especially in the MWC. They bring in decent transfers - EJ Harkless, Luis Rodriguez, Isaiah Cottrell and Elijah Parquet, but how much time will it take them to jell together?
The somewhat surprise A-10 champs last year were old and have to see a bit of new life. They do return Gustavson/Burton/Grace which helps there but having to replace a ton lost is brutal.
Rob Lanier takes over here and they'd be higher if Kendric Davis didn't transfer. Now Lanier has to rely on a bunch of unknowns and transfers in year 1. That's not exactly the best recipe in college hoops. Samuell Williamson could be a breakout guy after transferring from Louisville.
The favorite to win the Patriot again. Not shocking, Colgate has been pretty consistent there. Tucker Richardson comes back after going for 12/5 per game last year and could win POY in the Patriot. This team can really shoot the shit out of the ball.
It's been a weird run for Patrick Ewing. Every year a team looks like they're a year away. Then they get hit with transfers and suspensions and everything else. That's how we end up here. At least Qudus Wahab realized he's better off at Georgetown than Maryland and came back.
Another team with a coaching change, they brought in Dennis Gates from Cleveland State. He was successful there, but it's a different game now in the SEC. He's bringing D'Moi Hodges and Tre Gomillion with him which adds depth. Biggest key was getting Kobe Brown to stay at Mizzou.
Jamison Battle is an All-Big 10 type player and helps keep someone around after losing 4 starters from a year ago. Dawson Garcia is fascinating to me though. He started at Marquette, went to UNC, left there and is back home. He has a ton of talent, just needs to figure it out.
104. Wichita State
Isaac Brown won over Wichita State in his first year as an interim coach before getting the full time job. Now he's in year 3 and they need to figure out how to be more consistent on offense. Good luck replacing a Tyson Etienne too. Shout out Isaiah Poor Bear-Chandler for an all-time name.
This is respect for Shantay Legans. The guy can coach his ass off. They are a sleeper pick in the WCC and could make it an even deeper conference. They bring back three guys who averaged double digits a year ago.
Mike White made the weird move of going from Florida to Georgia. Sure he may have been getting ready to get fired at Florida, but you don't see that often.
Bob McKillop who was a true offensive genius stepped away from the game this offseason and his son is taking over. A Tournament team a year ago has to replace three double digit scorers. They should still run the same offense that we've come to love and Foster Loyer is still there to help in year 1.
100. George Mason
Kim English won people over early in the season last year but replacing D'Shawn Schwartz will be a lot. Victor Bailey transfers in from Tennessee and should be familiar with English.
I don't like seeing Kenny Payne here. I will not make fun of them for losing to a Division II team during an exhibition either. We won't mention that.
CJ Walker is a former 5-star who has been steady for UCF, but needs to take another jump and really be the star of the team. They'll rely on a couple transfers - Michael Durr and Ithiel Horton to round out the starting 5.
97. San Francisco
A brand new coaching staff comes in with Todd Golden leaving for Florida. What really helps though is Khalil Shabazz coming back to school. He averaged about 14 per game last year and gives them a year of an established player there.
Might be shocking to see them in the top-100, even more so with them losing Scotty Pippen Jr. But I think Stack is a hell of an x's and o's coach. He also brings back pieces in Jordan Wright and Liam Robbins. They can steal a couple games.
95. South Dakota State
Zeke Mayo should really breakout this year. He averaged almost 10 per game last year as a freshman and SDSU is a pretty consistent mid-major.
94. New Mexico State
They lose Chris Jans to Mississippi State but bring in SEC talent. They landed Xavier Pinson from LSU and DaJuan Gordon from Missouri. That down transfer has paid off recently.
93. Kansas State
I love the hire of Jerome Tang here. He has a chance to breakout a little bit this year but it will be dependent on Keyontae Johnson's health and if Desi Sills game translates from Arkansas State. The Big 12 is just loaded.
Where does the scoring come this year? The tow biggest names they have coming back are KJ Simpson and Tristan da Silva - neither averaged more than 9.5 per game.
91. Mississippi State
Brandon Walker does not play for this team. Chris Jans is their new coach though.
Darius McGhee was 2nd in the country last year in scoring at 24.6 last year. Has a legit chance to lead the country this year since he's been at Liberty forever.
The first year of Shaka was impressive to say the least. They overachieved expectations. But they lose a lot and Shaka has to build his roster again fairly quick.
Brad Brownell is boring so it makes sense he's coaching at Clemson still. This team just sort of feels like they are there this year. PJ Hall/Hunter Tyson are good players, but they just don't have enough talent.
Khalif Battle needs to stay healthy this year. If you can get him out there with Damian Dunn you have a backcourt that can compete in the top half of the AAC.
Chris Collins needs to win. Part of me is shocked Chris Collins is still coaching here but I guess if you bring Northwestern to a Tournament you get a lifetime deal.
85. South Carolina
Gone is Frank Martin, in comes Lamont Paris. He was able to add 5-star GG Jackson who de-committed from UNC, reclassified and is now at South Carolina. Still need more help around him, but that's a start.
84. New Mexico
The other Ricky P! This is a sneaky team in the MWC with Jamal Mashburn Jr. and Jaelen House coming back. Adding Morris Udeze from Wichita State gives them a solid three that can compete in the MWC.
Ricky P baby. Nelly Junior Joseph is the player to know here. The junior averaged 13 and 8 last year and was first team All-MAAC.
82. Grand Canyon
One of the best environments for a home game in all of America. Jovan Blackshear coming back keeps them the favorite in the WAC, he averaged 15/4 last year.
I love Pat Skerry. Charles Thompson is a CAA DPOY candidate and Cam Holden could make his way to CAA POY talk. Holden is the star of this team and the backcourt really makes them go. They should win CAA This year.
They don't bring back a player who averaged double digits at Utah last year. That's a concern, the overall talent. They should be okay but that's sort of all I can say about them.
79. Iowa State
Losing Jeremiah Williams to injury is such a dagger. They need to the two St. Bonaventure transfers - Osun Osunniyi and Jaren Holmes to step in and learn the system fast.
78. Arizona State
Another coach on the hot seat here is Bobby Hurley. He hasn't done much despite landing fairly big recruits. He's bringing in 4 big time recruits, Desmond Cambridge, Devan Cambridge, Warren Washington and Frankie Collins. He needs to make the NCAA Tournament.
77. Utah State
Getting Taylor Funk from St. Joe's should help keep Utah State relevant in the MWC. It's a tough conference to begin with and you lose a guy like Justin Bean doesn't make it easy. Defense is a bit of a concern but the experience is there.
76. Colorado State
Niko Medved is going to be a power school's coach here soon. If Isaiah Stevens can stay healthy this year they have a chance to get back to the Tournament.
75. Western Kentucky
This is a good team and it really helps they have 7'5" Jamarion Sharp in the middle of the defense. But Stansbury has built something in Bowling Green. They once again hit the transfer portal and bring in Dontaie Allen (Kentucky ) and Emmanuel Akot (Boise State). C-USA is all sorts of fun this year.
The No. 63 team on KenPom and they are that high for a reason. Ron Hunter as put life back in this program and they bring all 5 starters back. Jaylen Forbes/Jalen Cook are a pretty damn good 1-2 combo here.
I love Jalen Slawson's game. He does it all. A fantasy monster if you're into college basketball fantasy.
72. West Virginia
We got a weird situation here where Emmitt Matthews transferred from WVU to Washington and then came back to WVU. That's big for WVU this year. But the transfer I really like is Joe Toussaint from Iowa. He fits the type of guard that should be good in the Huggins system. Also bringing in Tre Mitchell from Texas.
Dylan Penn transferred in from Bellarmine, which is important because he's good. Howevah, Penn suffered a hand injury in early October that will have him out 4-6 weeks. Need him back. Also blindly trust Vermont because of John Becker.
70. Washington State
They should be improved thanks to Justin Powell (Auburn/Tennessee) transferring in and more importantly keeping Mouhamed Gueye, the 6'11" sophomore is a popular breakout candidate. Plus, Dennis Rodman's kid plays here. Go Coogs.
69. Boston College
They bring back 4 guys who averaged at least 9 per game last year. That's huge for Earl Grant's second season at BC as he tries to get back to the Craig Smith/Jared Dudley days. That duo was sick.
68. Seton Hall
Shaheen Holloway comes on back home after what he did at St. Peter's. Actually we don't talk about that. It'll likely take a year or two for him to really get his guys there and everything figured out, but they are right in the middle of hte pack in the Big East.
Another Barstool Invitational team here. Toledo returns four starters but losing Ryan Rollins is just brutal. Luckily Setric Miller and JT Shumate both scored 15 per game last year.
66. North Texas
Tylor Perry is one of the best mid-major guards in the country. Senior shot 41% from three last year. They also bring in Jayden Martinez from UNH who should immediately become a key starter for them.
Mike Hopkins man. I don't know what to think of him here. I never thought it'd be this bad. Washington should never be this bad.
64. Wake Forest
I'm a bit higher on Wake here than most because that's how good Steve Forbes is. We saw Alondes Williams and Jake LaRavia be awesome last year as transfers in the Forbes system. Appleby (from Florida) could be a guy that does that this year.
63. Boise State
Leon Rice doesn't get enough respect as a coach across the country. Again, I like good guard play and keeping Marcus Shaver around helps there.
I'm going to miss Will Wade there because he didn't give a fuck. In comes Matt McMahon from Murray State and it's going to be somewhat of a transition period. He's basically bringing Murray with him.
When we talk about coaches on the hot set - Jerod Haase has to be on the list. He's had big time recruits. He's had names come in at Stanford but has done nothing with it. Harrison Ingram has to turn into a star.
Year 1 of Kevin Willard and he's going to have to prove he's not just new Mark Turgeon. They are relying on transfers to take over again and we saw that fail last year. I'm willing to give Willard time to see how he recruits the area, but year 1 is going to be middle of the pack Big 10.
59. Ole Miss
Kermit Davis still runs one of those amoeba defenses that can just annoy you night in and night out. There's always something that sucks about playing Ole Miss and it has nothing to do with Mintz.
Yeah, this is Syracuse of late. Joe Girard is still there. They are going to run the 2-3 and shoot threes. I just don't love them. They'll be on the bubble because that's what Syracuse does.
57. Penn State
A team that has been a doormat forever is now a sleeper team. I absolutely love Jalen Pickett's game. He was a stud at Siena before averaging 13/4/4 last year. Now he's in year 2 of Shrewsbury's system and could be first team All-Big 10.
First year in the A-10. It will be a bit of adjustment going from being THE team in the MVC to battling a bunch of even teams in the A-10. Drew Valentine is going to be a star in the coaching world. Bryce Golden a transfer from Butler should be their next annoyingly good big man.
Now that Loyola is out of the MVC, Drake is the best team there. Tucker DeVries is one of the best mid-major guards in the country and could easily win MVC POY.
Wes Miller is going to figure it out at Cincinnati. He's too good not to. He brings in Landers Nolley (Virginia Tech and Memphis) who can thrive in this system. If you get the Nolley that we thought he'd turn into this could turn into the 2nd best team in the AAC.
I'm high on this team and it's because of Thad Matta. He's that good. Chuck Harris is a good Big East guard but it's what he did in the portal that has them this high. Assuming they all are healthy Manny Bates, Ali Ali and Eric Hunter are three huge pieces to the team.
Everyone thinks Chucky Hepburn could be a breakout candidate and rightfully so. We saw what Johnny Davis did and that was unexpected. Now Hepburn has those expectations after scoring 8 per game as a freshman. Tyler Wahl is also that prototypical Wisconsin player that can do a little bit of everything.
Ace Baldwin, excellent name, great player. He's the reason I have VCU here. The entire team is a menace defensively and that doesn't matter who they play.
This team is sneaky as consistent as anyone. They always are in the 20+ win group and typically in the NCAA Tournament. They were banged up last year but Gideon George is a guy that is just always around the ball.
Bryce Hopkins is going to be good here and it's going to be annoying as a Kentucky fan that it's not in Lexington. Jared Bynum is the one returning piece that really matters from last year's magical year but Cooley hit the transfer portal as well as anyone.
48. NC State
Kevin Keatts desperately needs a good year. Luckily he has Terquavion Smith coming back who scored over 16 per game last year as a freshman.
47. St. John's
One of the more fun backcourts in Andre Curbelo and Posh Alexander. But they aren't consistent enough for me to think higher of them. This just feels like what Mike Anderson has at St. John's. Good on paper, fun, annoying as hell for both fans and other teams.
I probably should have them higher. I don't know why I don't besides just not being able to figure out where to have them. Grant Sherfield was awesome at Nevada and now joins the Groves brothers here at Oklahoma. If his scoring translates I'm going to look dumb.
They would be higher if Vince Iwuchukwu was cleared to play after suffering cardiac arrest during practice. He's a legit 7-footer and the No. 28 recruit in this past class.
How many Murray's can go to Iowa? Seems like a good recipe. Keegan Murray turned into a top-5 pick and now Kris Murray has a shot to really break out. As always we know what Iowa will do. Play fast, if they can't score right away slow it down and be average defensively. That needs to be better than average. Crack the top-75 defensively and they have a chance to be decent.
A damn good MWC team that won't get enough respect because of the NCAA Tournament. Wyoming has a unique player in Hunter Maldonado who is a 6'7" lead guard. They have the talent inside with Graham Ike. But the addition of Ethan Anderson from USC should give them a top-3 that has them as a potential sleeper team in the NCAA Tournament.
Steve Pikiell is going to turn Rutgers into a massive program or end up at one. They aren't going to lose at home, we know this. They have enough experience (and talent) to start winning on the road. Either way this team should be in the Tournament again and we know they'll defend their asses off.
I don't trust Penny. I don't know how you could when he hasn't had this grand success that was promised. But, getting Kendric Davis from SMU is massive. That's a lead guard that knows the conference and could be an All-American.
40. St. Louis
Javonte Perkins. That's the name. He's a potential POY in the A-10 who missed all of last year with an ACL injury. If he's back and looks like the old Perkins you have a great 1-2 combo with him and Yuri Collins. Again, this season really falls on Perkins' health which is a bit unfair but the reality of the game.
Zach Edey is a monster. They obviously return more than that but Edey is the guy that everyone is going to look at. I know Painter hasn't had the Tournament success but he's an elite x's and o's coach who always has Purdue as decent. There's going to be a dropoff after losing Jaden Ivey, so top-40 feels right.
38. Notre Dame
Mike Brey loves this team. It's been reported by basically every site and it's pretty easy to understand why. He's gotten old and stayed old thanks to Cormac Ryan, Dane Goodwin and Nate Laszewski coming back. They should be able to shoot the shit out of the ball.
37. Texas A&M
They made the run to the SEC title game and were left out of the NCAA Tournament. If the Tournament expands I might have to hate A&M basketball like the country hates A&M football. But this is what Buzz does. He goes to places and in year 3/4 he has them looking like a legit team.
Yep, this team is that good and it's not just because Andy Kennedy is a pal (who owes me a bourbon in Lexington. People don't forget, Andy.) But what he's doing at his alma mater is legit. He's bringing in power 5 transfers and keeping them for a few years. Jelly Walker is a prime example of that who is a conference POY and one of the most electric players in America. KJ Buffen (Ole Miss) is another guy who fits that mold of big school transfer and a few years at UAB. The best true mid-major in the country.
35. Saint Mary's
All this team does is finish top-50 in KenPom. That matters when you look at making the NCAA Tournament. Three starters back and Logan Johnson is an All-WCC player. I know we don't watch a lot of them unless they are losing to Gonzaga, but Randy Bennett has a system and a system that works.
34. Virginia Tech
Thankfully Justyn Mutts is still around because Mike Young needed someone to come back this year. Remember this is a team that ended the season hot, winning the ACC Tournament. I love Young's system but he needs to keep getting players in that he can trust.
33. Oklahoma State
How much Oklahoma State and Mike Boynton stock can I buy? I'd like all of it. This team just needs to cut down on turnovers and shoot the ball better, two things that can improve. They return a solid core led by Kalib Boone, Avery Anderson, Moussa Cisse and Bryce Thompson. They are going to be pissed off after last year's postseason ban. I sneaky love this team.
32. Florida State
Feel like I could copy and paste every year with Florida State. Big, versatile, deep and will float around the top-30 all year while people talk about them being underrated. Matthew Cleveland is NBA talent and they need a healthy, consistent Caleb Mills. If they get that they are top-20.
31. Ohio State
Would anyone be surprised to see Ohio State win the Big 10? I don't think so. Chris Holtmann is an unreal coach and they have a centerpiece in Zed Key back. But this is a team full of transfers and by that I mean a TON of transfers. Sean McNeil, Isaiah Likekele and Tanner Holden all should see big time minutes and you really just need 2 of them to hit for this season to be a success.
30. Michigan State
I don't know who Michigan State has that I truly trust. I think Jaden Akins can eventually be that guy but not on night 1. They do bring back a lot and will have the same backcourt in Hoggard and Walker. That's a plus. Then there's the Joey Hauser situation. Fans blamed him during struggles last year because of how bad he is defensively and inconsistent on offense. Then he turned a corner and needed more touches. What Joey Hauser shows up this year?
Andre Jackson is dealing with a finger injury. It doesn't sound like much but Jackson is so important to what UConn does and they need him at 100%. Luckily they have reinforcements - most notably preseason Big East POY Adama Sanogo. I am most curious to see how Tristian Newton adjusts to UConn after transferring from ECU. He's a good player and won't be asked to do as much. That's where up-transfers tend to thrive a bit more.
I don't love this team like the AP poll and for sure not like KenPom (top-5). This team wasn't good last year and even putting them in the top-30 is a massive jump. I know they got Ben Vander Plas from Ohio and bring back a decent amount. They have experience with Kihei Clark and Jayden Gardner and Reece Bleekman, but again, they need to be consistent.
Speaking of coaches -Sean Miller is back. I know people like to mock Sean Miller for not making a Final Four at Arizona and then the whole FBI investigation thing. But Miller knows how to coach, especially at Xavier. The biggest fear with them is getting the best lineup on the floor. By that I mean their standard 5 could lack shooting. If they go with a shooting lineup the defense takes a hit. Miller is going to have to mix and blend it right.
One of my favorite coaching moves this year is Todd Golden going to Florida. That's an upgrade for the Gators. They have an All-American type player in Colin Castleton (how the hell is he still in college) and bring in experienced transfers. Landing Kyle Lofton from St. Bonaventure was big because it sures up the backcourt. Golden is one of the most analytical coaches in the country so expect this team to be way smarter in gameplay situations.
A team who made the Elite Eight last year on a somewhat surprising run. Now we have the fear of Miami football chiming in. By that I mean the talk of big NIL deals for good players but the wins not being there. There's no reason for this team not to be decent. They got back Isaiah Wong. They bring in Nijel Pack from Kansas State. Then there's Norchad Ormier, a transfer from Arkansas State who was a double-double machine. Again, I try to temper expectations from that sort of jump but Ormier is good.
Getting a third year from Hunter Dickinson is a major reason why they'll stay in the top-25. They struggled during the regular season last year but got hot when it mattered. Biggest thing will be getting Jaelin Lleweylln comfortable in the system after transferring from Princeton. They've had success with that jump before and need it again. Jett Howard is also a star in the making.
DaRon Holmes. He legit might be the best mid-major (non-power conference) big in the country not named Drew Timme. Dayton is lucky that he stuck around for another year. They need Malachi Smith healthy, but this is a team that should win the A-10. They won 24 games a year ago and bring back basically everyone.
I spoke about Illinois before and think they are underrated this season. Not shocking when you see they lose Kofi Cockburn, Trent Frazier, Andre Curbelo, etc. But they can play faster and really get up and down the court. Terrence Shannon from Texas Tech is a big-time player. Skyy Clark could be Big 10 FOY if he looks like he did before his ACL injury in high school. Former Kentucky commit can score at all three levels and will be handed the keys right away.
21. Texas Tech
We all believe Mark Adams after year 1 because that dude coaches his ass off. He's going to have to do it again after losing a ton of guys from last season. Luckily Kevin Obanor is sticking around and brought in some big transfers - De'Vion Harmon and Kewin Walton. Speaking of transfers this a team that needs Fardaws Aimaq healthy and playing as soon as possible. He's a game-changer for them.
This is one of the teams I struggled with the most this year. How does Jahvon Quinerly look after tearing an ACL and when does he come back? How does Mark Sears adjust from going to the MAC where he was a do it all guy for Ohio? Brandon Miller is a top-10 NBA pick but will he adjust to the college game right away? They could fall apart fast or look the part of a top-10 team.
Another team who grossly underachieved last year and had some problems. This year though I'm going to trust Dana Altman to get this team together. It starts with Will Richardson, who is one of the most experienced guards in the country. He needs to cut down on turnovers. He needs to be a consistent player who can initiate besides just score for himself. They bring in Kel'El Ware, who is a top-10 recruit to give some depth in the front court with N'Faly Dante. Altman has had success with top big man players and needs it again. Depth is a bit of concern, but Altman should get this team to defend better.
Jabari Smith is gone which means it's a whole lot on the guards. Luckily Bruce Pearl tends to thrive in these situations but Wendell Green needs to know his role a bit better this season. Landing Jhoni Broome from Morehead State is massive, especially since they beat out Florida for him. This is going to be a team that flies around this year.
I love Mike Miles game. No other way to put it. I think he's awesome and probably am higher on him than some others. We saw TCU improve under Jamie Dixon and take Arizona to the brink of elimination in the NCAA Tournament. Damion Baugh can play in the exhibition game but we're still waiting for a ruling on him being eligible for the season. If he is, 17 might be too low on them. Oh also remember Eddie Lampkin, he's a breakout All-Big 12 type player. Excellent at partying with Caleb and Rone on the court too.
Mike Woodson did what he had to in year 1, make the NCAA Tournament and land some recruits. I still question guard play. I understand who they are bringing in like 5-star Jalen Hood-Schifino but Xavier Johnson needs to be more consistent. They have an All-American in Trayce Jackson-Davis and his running mate Race Thompson back. That's huge for Woodson as he now has expectations.
Gone is Jay Wright and Kyle Neptune comes back home. The reason I have them at 15 is simple. Cam Whitmore. He's the most talented player in the Big East and if he's healthy he's going to be a monster. That's how you start to replace a guy like Collin Gillespie. Nova has reached Kansas-esque level though where I'm going always going to have them in the top-15 until they prove otherwise.
Tommy Lloyd is a hell of a coach, just look at what he did last year in year 1. Now he gets some returners back like Kerr Kriisa and breakout candidate Azoulas Tabelis. They also add Courtney Ramey from Texas to help fill out the backcourt. They have questions and a lot of 'upside' type players - looking at you Oumar Bello, but that backcourt should be good enough to keep them in the mix in the Pac-12.
13. San Diego State
The best non-Gonzaga non-power conference team in the country. San Diego State has had a ton of success lately and has a real chance to make a run this year. They bring back Matt Bradley and Nathan Mensah. That's a solid ass 1-2 combo from the inside-out. Bradley is one of the more unique players in the country with his size and ability to run the offense while Mensah is an elite defender. What they also did is bring in Damion Trammell from Seattle. He's a lead guard that can really score. While I am hesitant on mid-major players making a jump, the WAC to MWC is way more reasonable than others.
The team that hates me already. I'm hesitant on Creighton to put them in the top-10. We have a history of this. Team has a decent year, returns basically everyone and lands a big time recruit/transfer - transfer Baylor Schierman in this case. They are going to be fine. But they need to figure out consistent shooting and roles. Nembhard coming back from injury is huge and I love him as a player. They are a favorite to win the Big East for a reason, but they need to take a huge jump from last year to be a top-10 team.
Credit to Mick for turning UCLA into a consistent top-15 team. That's a big step from where they've been since the Ben Howland days. Jaime Jacquez is a popular All-American pick and can kind of do it all. They also get Tyger Campbell back at the lead guard spot. Great 1-2 combo off the bat. They really need Adam Bona to figure out the college game fast for Mick's center spot.
Alright can we have an honest conversation about Duke? Because they have some holes that we need to talk about. A first year head coach with a bunch of freshmen is basically the team. And Jeremy Roach, sure, he's back, but I don't love Roach as a player. They have a ton of talent which is why they are still top-10, but I have questions. I'm very intrigued by how quick this team comes together and let's not forget that Dariq Whitehead had surgery in August and still isn't back.
I'm buying Texas again. I know I made the mistake of overhyping them last year. But they have guys that have been in Beard's system for a year. They are 2nd on KenPom's preseason ratings. They are projected to have the best defense in the country. Again, this is all contingent mostly on staying healthy, specifically Dylan Disu. He was a double-double guy at Vandy and actually looked the part. He missed basically all of last season's offseason and battled injuries. If he's healthy that's a guy that can anchor the middle while being a pick-and-pop guy along with Christian Bishop. You're bringing back Marcus Carr, Disu, Bishop, Timmy Allen and even Brock Cunningham. That's a good start. That's a recipe for how to have success in college basketball, especially when you add a Tyrese Hunter from Iowa State to the mix or a Dillon Mitchell, who was a consensus top-5 recruit. They have the blend now of experience and incoming talent.
Thank God we don't have to watch John Fulkerson anymore. Couldn't stand that dude. I'm already annoyed by Ziegler and Vescovi though. Two guards who just play 100mph at all times and will annoy you on the defensive side of the ball. The problem with Tennessee - and it's a familiar one - where do they go for consistent offense? They don't have that one player that you feel comfortable with giving them the ball and letting them get a bucket. There will be a ton of ugly games.
I love everything about Nick Smith's game. He's a top-5 pick if he lives up to the hype. That matters when I look at the season outlook for a team. You need that sort of talent to go with 'good' college basketball players. Arkansas has that with Smith and a guy like Devo Davis. Going with Smith are two other 5-stars in Nick Walsh and Anthony Black. But here's why I trust Muss. He knows how to deal with a 'new' team every year, all the way back to his Nevada days. He has the transfers coming in. They might struggle early, but come February you'll see them top-10.
Get to know Gradey Dick. The dude will easily be mocked throughout Big 12 play despite being a McDonald's All-American:
They lose a lot from last year's title team. Gone are Agbaji, McCormack, Martin and Braun. But make no mistake, Kansas re-loaded. They landed Kevin McCullar from Texas Tech. Dajuan Harris doesn't get enough respect as a lead guard. But the question will be if Jalen Wilson can consistently score. If he can turn into a Braun type player, they are right back in the mix for a 1 seed.
I know people will think this is me hating on them, but I think there are questions about immediately putting them at No. 1 because they made a title game last year. Yes, Pete Nance is good, but can he replicate what Brady Manek did for them? I know Bacot is a star. I know they have guard play. But Manek's ability to truly spread the floor as an elite shooter and let Bacot work is what made UNC special in March.
I know everyone wants to make St. Peter's jokes. Go ahead. But they are back again as a projected top-5 team on basically every single board. All that matters though is Oscar being healthy. He reportedly had a small 15 minute knee procedure and missed the last couple of weeks. He's supposed to be back for the regular season. That has to happen. It all hinges on him before the shooting. Sahvir Wheeler has to be a better shooter from the lead guard spot. Please, Cal, I'm begging you to play Toppin at the 4 and surround him with some combo of Wheeler, Fredrick, Livingston, Wallace and Reeves.
Drew Timme is back. I know it's easy to hate on him, but, uh he's also a damn good college basketball player. There's a reason he's an All-American. Then you have 3 guys who all should take jumps. Julian Strawther, Hunter Sallis and Nolan Hickman are the three guys that can really change this team. Losing Nembhard is big, but they do get Rasir Bolton back + bring in Malachi Smith from Chattanooga. Oh, also landed LSU big man Efton Reid. If he can learn to not foul, that's a hell of a big man combo in the WCC.
Marcus Sasser is a First Team All-American and should have been unanimous. He's actually my pick for NPOY strictly because of fatigue for voting for Oscar and the fact he's currently injured. I'm done trying to nitpick a Kelvin Sampson team though. They defend their ass off. They have guard play. There's a reason they made a Final Four and an Elite Eight the last two years. They have that 3-headed guard look with Sasser, Mark and Shead. Difference this year? They have a 5-star coming in Jarace Walker, who happens to be the highest recruit in school history.
Not sure what there is to hate on this team. They have NBA talent in Keyonte George. They have experience coming back with Adam Flagler, LJ Cryer and Flo Thamba. They are bringing in WVU transfer Jalen Bridges. The only downside right now is that JTT is hurt. He's a better fit at the 5 spot than Thamba, but that's really the only downside to this team heading into the year. Oh don't forget Langston Love, a 5-star recruit who missed last year with an ACL injury. He's back. This team is loaded and you have a guy in Scott Drew who is a championship coach.