In light of the college basketball preseason AP Poll being released, I would like to take this opportunity to say that it is officially basketball season.
The NBA started last week, college football is more or less a wrap, every NFL team not named the Rams is unbelievably mediocre. So with the poll dropping, I’m completely comfortable saying basketball season is back, baby. Two weeks from tomorrow, Tuesday, November 6, we have the pleasure of watching Kansas, the number one team in the preseason poll, play Michigan State. Then, we get to watch the University of Kentucky Caliparis play Duke and their absurd three-headed freshman roster.
With fifteen days remaining until that unbelievable day, let’s shoot for 15 takes and things to look for this season.
Villanova returns to being “early exit U”
Following Nova’s National Championship last year, I wrote an article regarding the fact that Nova is the best program in the nation and Jay Wright may be able to go down as one of the three best coaches of all time. Their second title in two years did well to eliminate the narrative that “Wright can’t coach in March” and “The Nova way isn’t conducive to success in the tournament.”
This year, that narrative will creep back into the national media following a first weekend exit by the reigning national champs. Nova lost their 4 best players from last year’s team to the NBA, which presents a new challenge to Jay Wright that he has never faced. Although Jahvon Quinerly solidifies the backcourt a bit alongside returning contributor Collin Gillespie, the frontcourt is borderline nonexistent.
The Big East takes a step back, which bodes well for the Cats to return to conference champion status, but in a national landscape, Villanova will have trouble separating itself and is again vulnerable to an early round upset. We will learn a lot about the National Champions December 15, when they travel to Allen Fieldhouse to take on the number one ranked Kansas Jayhawks.
Tyler Herro scores 14+ per game off the bench for Kentucky
As usual, Kentucky has an absolutely electric recruiting class on its way in. It includes 4 five star guys and 5 in the top 30 (lather, rinse, repeat). That fifth guy is Tyler Herro, who will join an absolutely loaded backcourt at Kentucky that includes two of the recruits above him and the returns of Quade Green and PJ Washington (he has my name, I like him).
Herro, who is from Wisconsin, stands at 6-5 and averaged 32.9 points per game in his senior year. He has the size and the killer instinct to cement himself as the bona fide scorer next to Green in the backcourt. He probably will never start a game for this team, but his scoring output will not show that and I expect him to hover around 15 points per game for the whole year.
Nevada breaks through to the Final Four
Last season, Loyola-Chicago (who will appear later in this article) broke the Wolfpack’s hearts following a magical run led by the Martin twins. Their dynamic talent is matched by the dynamic abilities of the entire team.
Bear with me for this little anecdote. One time, I ate an edible and the second it hit me, NBA was live on TV. So naturally, I sat at home and watched basketball high as shit. During this time, I was thinking about me as a division one coach and my recruiting strategy. I basically decided that my approach would be all wing players: only guys from 6-4 to 6-9, dynamic, non positional, three and d. A few months later I was watching Nevada make a run to the Elite Eight and I realized Eric Musselman had already done this and I am not that special.
Nevada is the best mid major team in the nation and deserves their number seven preseason ranking. They will not sneak up on anyone this year, but it won’t matter.
Tyus Battle leads power conferences in points per game
If you have not watched Syracuse basketball or are unfamiliar with their schemes, it is quite simple. Defensively, they run a 2-3 zone. Offensively, they look like a bubble hockey team and rely on bucket getters to do just that.
Luckily, they have probably the best bucket getter in the nation in Tyus Battle, who did not enter the draft and returned along with his running mate Oshae Brissett to cement Syracuse as a Final Four contender yet again. Last season, he averaged 19 points per game with an unbelievable shooting ability off the catch or the dribble, elite size which leads to elite finishing ability, and a score from literally anywhere ability.
This season, he will use that ability to take his game to yet another level and average close to 25 per game and lead power conferences.
Not a take, but look out for Tremont Waters
I fell in love with Waters during the Maui Invitational last season when he scored 21 against Michigan and 39 (!) against Marquette. He is a small, shifty guard that finishes around the rim and can heat up from basically anywhere on the floor. Waters is a large part of the reason LSU is ranked 23 to start the season. Keep an eye out for this spark plug.
Mark Few finally gets his title
Two years ago, Mark Few finally broke his March curse and led the Zags to a Final Four bid before losing to North Carolina in the National Championship game.
This year, that will not happen. He returns Rui Hachimura and Killian Tillie, who not only both have fantastic names, but can ball with anyone in the nation. They will as usual run through their conference schedule and win probably 2 of their really tough early season games to gain a number one seed and breeze to the Final Four before taking their title. Of course this is six months out so I can’t really give in game examples, but just trust it will happen.
Kansas has the best roster in the nation
Wow look how well this article is laid out. This is the biggest threat to Gonzaga winning the title.
- Udoka Azubuike returns his inhuman size and defensive ability
- He is joined by Dedric Lawson, a transfer from Memphis who averaged 19 points, 10 rebounds and two blocks last time he was on the court and is a preseason All-American.
- Lagerald Vick is this year’s winner of the Perry Ellis “Holy Shit that Guy is Still in College” Award and also is an absolute baller
- He is joined in the backcourt by two five star guards
They are really, really good and will more than likely kick the shit out of Villanova December 15 and will absolutely win the Big 12 again.
Ewing finally gets Georgetown over the hump
Jessie Govan is back. He is joined by Matthew McClung, who is an absolute Electric factory. The rest of the roster (including McClung, to be honest) is super, really fine, but the Big East has taken a step back and that leaves a spot or two completely up for grabs. St. John’s still isn’t there, so I think Georgetown takes one of those spots. Govan will also be a treat to Battle for that most points in power conferences title, as an aside.
Give me Ewing on the sideline in March. Let me see the fire.
Loyola-Chicago goes undefeated
November 27, Nevada, who I previously talked about, travels to Chicago to face the team that eliminated them from last year’s NCAA Tournament.
Loyola is famous for buzzer beaters and Sister Jean, but this season they will be famous for something else: a number one seed. I believe Loyola will use the home court advantage to again beat Nevada in the most exciting mid major game since Wichita State and Northern Iowa and use that to turn into an undefeated number one seed. Compare them to the Wichita State team that went undefeated until they ran into the best number 8 seed of all time outside of the first Villanova championship team.
Woah wait, hold on, TCU is going to underachieve again? No. I don’t believe it.
This is not a knock on TCU at all. This is a knock on the poll. TCU is again ranked preseason. Also again, they have exactly zero real games before the start of the Big 12 schedule. This means they will probably be undefeated and ranked in the top 15 before entering the real meat of their schedule. Two things with this.
- this is stupid and Jamie Dixon should super stop scheduling like this because it makes them look lame
- it makes the polls look fake and idiotic when the voters are just doing their job and ranking an undefeated team even though everyone knows they haven’t played anyone and aren’t an actually good team.
Let’s let TCU find their own success. Stop ranking them before they prove anything, stop falling for the trap.
Alright I got kind of tired so I’m just going to bullet point 5 more that are not going to be real or serious in any way, but hey, anything can happen, right?
- Zion Williamson dunks from the three point line and probably goes between the legs to because, ya know, why the fuck not.
- North Carolina players not named Luke Maye go to classes.
- Dick Vitale finally loses his voice.
- Mick Cronin’s skin suit falls off mid game and it is finally revealed that he’s actually just a pillowcase filled with spiders.
- Nick Ward backs someone down in the post so hard they go into orbit around him.