The most wonderful time of the year is almost upon us. The time of the year where all major sports in the USA are playing at the same time. Baseball is in the postseason, College and NFL football are in the middle of their season, Hockey has just begun, and sweet baby Jesus it’s time to start talking about basketball! So here is my way too early, bullshit, college basketball preview. I know you all probably get tired of reading these, but they’re fun to do, and I can’t really be held accountable for these picks at the end of the season. I’m not Nostradamus.
These are the teams that based on their roster at the beginning of the year, are expected to have a successful year and go deep in the NCAA Tournament.
I hate to say it, but the Dookies have the most impressive roster going into this year. Returning the white knight and every middle school girl’s crush, Grayson Allen will put up big numbers this year. Along with sharpshooters Luke Kennard and Matt Jones, plus big man Amile Jefferson, who sat out a lot with an injury last year, the Blue Devils will have some experienced guys in the locker room
Then, there is their recruiting class, who some are saying God came down from the heavens and handed these players to Coach K himself. I assume they are going to start Frank Jackson at point, because of his playmaking and athletic ability. This will also allow Grayson Allen to shift to SG and focus more on scoring, dunking, and flopping on any fool that tries to guard him. Harry Giles is another freshman that should start, because he is an athletic monster, and gets buckets around the rim. Jayson Tatum will replace Brandon Ingram as their lengthy, wing-scorer. A late commitment, Marques Bolden, is a 6-11 center who will provide a much needed post presence off the bench. Coach K rarely messes up with teams with this much talent, so be prepared to hate Duke this year, because they will be very good.
UK reloaded with an extremely athletic recruiting class. De’Aaron Fox is already being compared to John Wall, and Malik Monk can shoot and jump out of the gym. Edrice “Bam” Adebayo, was one of my favorite players in this recruiting class. He has freakish athleticism and reminds me of a young Dwight Howard, you know when Dwight was actually good. Member?
They also return Isaiah Briscoe at the guard spot. Briscoe is a guy that can handle pressure and is under control, which could really help the WILDcats and their inexperienced freshmen.
The Tar heels return a core group of guys, along with a nice recruiting class. Last year, they suffered a very heartbreaking loss to Villanova in the National Title game. Although they lost their two key players, Marcus Paige and Brice Johnson, I still expect UNC to make a run in the tourney. I am really excited to see what Isaiah Hicks will do this year. Hicks was a sparkplug off the bench last year, and physically dominated almost everyone in the post. Isaiah could have a monster year, if he stays out of foul trouble and can stay on the court for most of the game. Also returning is Justin Jackson who should lead this team in scoring if he plays up to his potential. He can be a great shooter, and his ability to drive to the rim and finish with a floater will pose a threat to opposing teams. Joel Berry, will start at point and offer consistent scoring and 3-point shooting. I also could see Joel having a breakout season as he is given the keys to the UNC run and gun offense. Theo Pinson, Kennedy Meeks, and Nate Britt also return, which will make the Tar Heels a very experienced team with a ton of scoring options.
Incoming freshmen, Brandon Robinson and Tony Bradley will see some time. Robinson will provide outside scoring and Bradley is a long and skinny big man with a smooth jumper. UNC also landed Seventh Woods, who you may remember from his freshman high school mixtape on YouTube. That video has more views than a Nicki Minaj ass-shaking music video. But, seriously, Seventh is very athletic and could be an energizer off the bench for Coach Williams. UNC does not have a defined go-to scorer, but if this team comes together and finds some perimeter scoring, then we might see them back in the Final Four.
The defending champs are looking to repeat as they return Kris Jenkins, (the dude that hit the game winner) and Josh Hart (another dude). Jenkins and Hart will both score the majority of Nova’s points, and will make other teams guard them from the 3-point line. They will also return Jalen Brunson, who will have a more substantial role in this year’s team. Brunson is a very solid point guard, who can pass and score at-will. I witnessed him put up 48 points against Jayson Tatum’s team in high school. Nova also got highly talented big man in Omari Spellman who will offer some easy buckets in the paint.
What would a preseason preview be without Kansas? Probably very accurate considering the Jayhawks always seem to underperform when it comes to the NCAA tournament. However, I still think Kansas will be ranked high throughout the year and possibly make a run at a Final Four appearance. They return their backcourt, with Frank Mason and Devonte’ Graham. Mason will control the Jayhawk offense, while Graham will be one of the main scorers. They also return Carlton Bragg, who was a very entertaining recruit from Cleveland. I really like Bragg’s game because he can stroke it from deep and also score from down low if he has too. I hope to see Bragg get an increased role on this Jayhawk team. Kansas wined and dined the best and landed the top recruit in the nation with Josh Jackson. Jackson is 6-8, crazy athletic, and can score from any spot on the floor. This kid is extremely talented, will give Kansas a high-powered offense, and will probably go top 3 in next year’s draft. Make sure you tune it to watch KU and especially Josh Jackson play.
Michigan State- Tom Izzo is the closest thing to a real life wizard, and always gets his teams to play well in March. Also they have Miles Bridges who can shoot and dunk very well and he could potentially lead the nation in triple doubles.
West Virginia- WVU will have a very tough basketball team and Bob Huggins will get them to play hard every night. Tarik Phillip is one of the top competitors in the country and I am excited to watch Tarik have a big year. Watch out for the Mountaineers as they could pull a season long upset and take the Big 12 title from Kansas.
Virginia- UVA will play lock down defense and slow down the game. This makes for really boring basketball, but it has also helped Tony Bennet and the Cavaliers become a top basketball program in the country.