Editor’s Note: This is Reags, who is going to be covering college hoops in-depth for us this season. He’s written for Kentucky Sports Radio and knows his shit. Everyone say hello Reags.
When looking at college basketball teams in the preseason the first thing people want to know is who makes up the true title contenders list. Or who, can this team be compared to – usually going back to the 2014-15 season.
But, that’s just too boring for this site. Judge me all you want, but this guy is all over the girl pop scene, so let’s put each team from the Power 6 conferences (plus Gonzaga, SMU and Wichita State) into certain girl pop tiers. Little something that even the newbies can relate to. Follow along, it’ll get easier as we go.
Tier 1 – Taylor Swift (the best of the best. True title contenders)
Teams: North Carolina, Kentucky, Maryland, Kansas, Duke, Iowa State, Oklahoma
It’s crazy that a team like Kentucky can be considered the Taylor Swift of the college basketball world, but when you have something as recognizable as her incredible stems (John Calipari) it’s easy to reload year after year. The Wildcats will likely go ‘small’ this year using a three-guard lineup with Tyler Ulis, Isaiah Briscoe and Jamal Murray with Alex Poythress and Skal Labissiere in the frontcourt. Watch out for Murray, who exploded on the scene for Team Canada at the PanAm Games as the most important player for this team. If you enjoy a guy overachieving then Ulis is your man. The dude stands at 5’8” and will drop a dime faster than you animals would last in bed with Tay-Tay.
The flip side with Taylor, is some people just flat out can’t stand her. Whether it’s her music or attitude they think she sucks ass, and one of these teams will too. The likely case will be Oklahoma, who returns dominant scoring guard Buddy Hield and an inside presence in Ryan Spangler. But, the depth isn’t there for them to truly compete at a national level. If you want to bet on a team to flop, take the Sooners.
Tier 2 – Katy Perry (the rival of Tier 1, solid teams that are always around the top of the charts/rankings)
Teams: Virginia, Wichita State, Arizona, Cal, Villanova, Gonzaga, Notre Dame, Baylor, Indiana, Michigan State
Is Katy Perry better than Taylor Swift? It’s absolutely something people believe and while her jams may have a better ceiling, they also have a lower floor. These are the type of teams that can make the jump to Tier 1 or fall into the abyss.
California is a team that might surprise the casual fan on this list, but look at the roster Cuonzo Martin has brought out West. Think Tennessee regrets firing him for a year of Donnie Tyndall and now the worst coach in America in Rick Barnes? Martin brought in Ivan Rabb and Jaylen Brown, both five-star players and ones who look to turn this program around for the first time since Jason Kidd was there. Rabb has put on 11 pounds of muscle since stepping on the campus of Cal-Berkley and will provide a post presence allowing the plethora of guards ability to create and get open looks.
Now I know a lot of you yuppies will be asking about Virginia and wanting to know why a team that’s won back-to-back ACC titles can’t be considered as Taylor Swift. Well, take a second to realize how important Justin Anderson was to that team last season. Per KenPom in the 12 games that Anderson didn’t play or played less than 15 minutes, the Cavaliers had an OEff Rating of 103.28. That would have them ranked 145th in the country and behind every at-large team besides San Diego State in last season’s NCAA Tournament. Before Anderson went down with the injury they were ranked fifth in the country. So, yeah, Anderson is important.
Tier 3 – Rihanna (Bitch, better have my top-25 ranking)
Teams: Xavier, Butler, SMU, LSU, Vanderbilt, Texas A&M, Wisconsin, Utah, Michigan
You want a team that will surprise people, look at Vanderbilt. Yes, they might not come off as Rihanna with their bowties, conservative dresses and lack of sex appeal, but they do have Damian Jones (Umbrella) and What’s my Name (Riley LaChance) which form one of the best inside-out duos in college basketball. Now, in the SEC it’s usually Kentucky and everyone else, but Vanderbilt should be thrown into consideration as one of the favorites after the Wildcats. They return nearly an entire roster that made the NIT last year and really started to come together toward the end of the season.
On top of that Jones is a legit first round NBA pick, so keep an eye on him for SEC Player of the Year.
Tier 4 – Beyonce (Come on, she’s overrated as are these teams)
Teams: Louisville, Pittsburgh, Georgetown, Ohio State, Purdue, Oklahoma State
Look, I get Beyonce has all the money and fame, but I don’t find her that entertaining. Her songs are kind of blah and arguably her most recognizable song makes girls insufferable (Single Ladies). You know who else makes people insufferable? Purdue.
They aren’t fun to watch, they play a boring type of offense and they don’t have a guard that is worth a damn in the Big 10. I don’t want to hear about how they have Caleb Swanigan and this three-headed monster at power forward/center. Have fun finishing in the middle of the pack in the Big 10 while listening to Drunk in Love talking about how you wish you had a point guard.
Tier 5 – Selena Gomez (Deep Sleepers, on the rise where they look good, have some solid tracks)
Teams: Wake Forest, Miami, Marquette, Florida, Tennessee, UCLA, Oregon State
If you don’t think Selena is on the up and up with some bangers, I don’t want to know you. Another team on the up and up? Wake Forest, thanks to Danny Manning and his assistant coach Randolph Childress – who still has the dirtiest move in basketball history to this day.
Manning made a big splash in recruiting this season getting Doral Moore to commit the Demon Deacons. Moore is a 4-star center who is legit 7’0” and picked Wake over Illinois and Kentucky. They return Codi Miller-McIntyre and Mitchell Wilbekin to play in the backcourt and double-double machine Devin Thomas at forward. Look for them to make a run in the ACC this year and be a top-6 seed in the ACC Tournament.
Tier 6 – Iggy Azalea (These guys suck, much like Iggy)
Teams: Boston College, Clemson, Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech, TCU, Texas Tech, Creighton, Arkansas, Missouri, Penn State, Rutgers, Nebraska, Arizona State, Oregon, USC, Washington State
It’s pretty simple Iggy Azalea is a dumpster fire of shit when it comes to music. These teams are dumpster fires of shit when it comes to playing basketball.
Missouri was a No. 2 seed just a couple of years ago before they lost to Norfolk State in the Round of 64. Now, they are just losing players and practically fielding a team that the Barstool writers could make. Most recently the Tigers lost prized recruit Montaque Gill-Caesar to a transfer and will likely lose to Kentucky 86-37 again. Look for Mizzou to metaphorically resemble Iggy’s live mic feed this season.
Tier 7 – Miley Cyrus (Good luck figuring out what she’s/this team is doing)
Teams: Florida State, NC State, Syracuse, Kansas State, West Virginia, DePaul, Providence, Seton Hall, St. John’s, Colorado, Stanford, Washington, Illinois, Minnesota, Iowa, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Auburn, Mississippi State, Ole Miss
Does anyone actually know if Miley Cyrus is good or even hot? I mean Party in the USA absolute banger. Wrecking Ball is not. Long haired Miley is straight fire. Short haired Miley is uncomfortably homoerotic. Seton Hall for all we know could be a top-15 team, as they were at one point last year. Or they could have their point guard leave the team in the middle of the season and their second best player punch a guy before not even making the postseason.
This is what happened to the Pirates last season and the same could happen again and it should surprise no one. Keep an eye on Isaiah Whitehead though, the McDonald’s All-American entering his sophomore season with the Pirates, who could make a run for Big East Player of the Year.