There is less than a month ago until college basketball arrives. Today, I am unveiling my Preseason College Basketball Power Rankings.
1. Michigan State
The Spartans, led by Cassius Winston, have a strong chance at a national championship. Tom Izzo has a talented roster to work with as Joshua Langford and Xavier Tillman will lead the scoring for Sparty. Freshman Rocket Watts, not only has the best name in college basketball, but will also be a nice substitute for Winston.
John Calipari brings in another strong recruiting class. Ashton Haggans is going to be a dynamic threat to the Wildcats offense, along with five-star recruit Tyrese Maxey. E.J. Washington will look to replicate P.J. Washington’s numbers, last season. Calipari always needs time to get his lineups set, but once he does watch out.
The NCAA investigation doesn’t seem to bother Bill Self and co. Kansas returns Devon Dotson and Udoka Azubuike is big for a final four run. Also, the Jayhawks have solid depth on the roster. Self did a great job rebuilding the roster this offseason.
Coach K doesn’t have Zion or R.J., but he has talented freshman in Vernon Carey and Matthew Hurt. The Blue Devils wills the dominance of last season, but this group might be more balanced. Trey Jones will be the stabilizer for this team, and they have perimeter shooting and have a roster that can hang with anyone.
Jordan Nwora back on the roster is a win for second year coach Chris Mack. They also bring back Dwayne Sutton, Malik Williams, and Steve Enoch, who will have key roles this season. Not to mention, Mack brought in one of the best recruiting classes this offseason. All signs point up for Louisville.
Adding Kerry Blackshear Jr. to the roster is huge for the Gators. He’s one of the best big men in college basketball, and will be a force in the SEC. Andrew Nembhard and Tre Mann will be a strong duo in the backcourt. Also, Florida has depth with Noah Locke and Keyontae Johnson.
A lot of new faces on the Zags roster. Corey Kispert is the only returning starter, along with having Filip Petrusev and a healthy Killian Tillie added in the mix. They also bring in three top-100 recruits. Oumar Ballo from Mali played in the U19 World Cup and showed his potential.
Bruno Fernando is the only player Mark Turgeon will have to replace. If Anthony Cowan Jr. puts it together this season, Maryland can find themselves in the final four. Eric Ayala, Darryl Morsell, and Aaron Wiggins return for sophomore seasons. Maryland will also have depth by bringing in three four-star recruits.
Fans won’t be used to seeing freshman carry the load for a Villanova team. Bryan Antoine and Jeremiah Robinson-Earl bring a strong frontcourt presence. Also, they bring back point guard Collin Gillespie to distrubute the ball. Don’t forget about Saddiq Bey, who can be a breakout star this season.
10. North Carolina
Cole Anthony is going to be the star attraction for the Roy Williams led Tar Heels. The No. 1 guard will run the point for the team, and will be alongside freshman Anthony Harris. UNC also brings back Brandon Robinson, Leaky Black, and Garrison Brooks. North Carolina should be athletic and fun to watch again.
Memphis has the No. 1 recruiting class in 2019, and have the No. 1 recruit, James Wiseman, who is the potential No. 1 overall pick in 2020. Not to mention, they brought in Precious Achiuwa and D.J. Jefferies. They also bring back Boogie Ellis and Lester Quinones this season. There’s a lot of question marks on this roster, in terms of who gets the ball, but the talent is there. If the Tigers can mesh, look out.
The reigning national champions have some faces to replace. They have Mamadi Diakite and Kihei Clark returning, not to mention, Jay huff, who can be a big time scorer for the Cavilers. Virginia brings in two top-100 recruits, so they will be fine once they get into the swing of things.
Oregon might have the most turnover in the top-25. They lost Bol Bol, Louis King, and Kenny Wooten. On the other hand, the Ducks brings back Payton Pritchard and Will Richardson. Not to mention, they recruited N’Faly Dante, Addison Patterson, and CJ Walker. Oregon also added a few grad transfers to add depth to the roster. The Ducks are the Pac-12 favorite, for now.
14. Texas Tech
The Red Raiders bring back two players from their runner-up squad, Davide Moretti and Kyler Edwards. Texas Tech has retooled with a solid recruit class, starting with Jahmius Ramsey. They also brought in grad transfers Chris Clarke and TJ Holyfield. A lot questions for Texas Techs roster, but don’t count out Chris Beard.
15. Ohio State
Chris Holtman is such a great coach, and he gets a great player to return in Kaleb Wesson. He will have freshman D.J. Carton, Alonzo Gaffney, and E.J. Liddell tp surrounding him. Not to mention, Ohio State brings back six players from their 2018-2019 rotation, including Kaleb’s brother Andre. The Buckeyes can give Sparty a run for their money in the Big Ten.
16. Seton Hall
Seton Hall might be the Big East favorite thanks to Myles Powell returning. Powell will be surrounded by Myles Cale, Quincy McKnight, and freshman Tyrese Smauel. Also, Kevin Willard is right up there with Jay Wright as best head coaches in the Big East. They team can make some noise this season.
Sean Miller is still the Wildcats head coach. Their prize: another top recruiting class. Miller went out and landed Nico Mannion and Josh Green. Also, landing UC Irvine transfer Max Hazzard was huge for Arizona. Yet again, this roster will be looking to compete with Washington and Oregon for the top spot in the Pac-12.
18. Utah State
The Aggies might be the best non Big Six conference team in the country. Neemias Queeta’s is healthy heading into this season, and will be a big factor in the Utah State success. Mountain West Player of the Year Sam Merrill, returns for the Aggies, and will be a big part of the offense.
Tristan Clark is healthy and should be the Bears best player this season. Also, they bring back Jared Butler, Mario Kegler, Davion Mitchell, and Mark Vital. Another thing, Baylor was playing their best basketball late last season without Clark. Scott Drew will get this team ready to contend for a Big 12 championship run.
20. St. Mary’s
The Gaels are back and trying to improve on their 22-win season. One of the most efficient teams in the country, they bring back Jordan Ford and Malik Fitts as the two premier players on this roster. Add the 7-foot-3 Center Aaron Menzies, and St. Mary’s will compete with Gonzaga for the West Coast Conference title again.
Naji Marshall, Quentin Goodin, Paul Scruggs, and Tyrique Jones all return for another season. This team is poised to take down big bad Villanova in the Big East. The Muskateers also bring in a top-25 recruiting class with multiple four-star prospect. Not to mention, grad transfers Jason Carter and Bryce Moore add depth to this loaded roster.
LSU kept Will Wade around in what should be another strong year. Javonte Smart, Skyler Mays, and Marlon Mays return. They also brought in five-star Trendon Watford. This team should be right there with Kentucky and Florida this season. Darius Mays, Emmitt Williams, and James Bishop add depth, but not much after that.
The Huskies bring in two five-star recruits in Isaiah Stewart and Jaden McDaniels. Scouts are saying that Stewart might be the most ready freshman in college basketball. They also get Kentucky trasnfer Quade Green and bring back last years top scorer Nahziah Carter. If Stewart and McDaniels can produce, then Washington can go a long way.
Auburn takes a bit of a hit this season after Jared Harper and Chuma Okeke leave for the NBA draft. Bruce Pearl still has five seniors to lean on, along with bringing in freshman Isaac Okoro. This teams ceiling is unknown, but Pearl with make sure their team is ready for their pressure-style attack.
Good news: Markus Howard is back. Bad News: Does he have role players to compliment his scoring? That’s a question for Steve Wojciechowski this season. One thing, he has Utah State grad transfer Koby McEwen to lean on, and their defense stepped up in the 2018-2019 season. This team might only go as far as Howard can take them.