With the college football regular season coming to a close Saturday, it’s time to turn our attention to college basketball. After watching an ungodly amount of basketball over the last several weeks, one thing is certain, this season should be a great one. We’ll break it down for you in three sections: Blue Bloods, Top Picks, and Dark Horses.
Early on, the leader of the pack is obviously the nations number #1 team, the Kentucky Wildcats. Led by an outstanding group of freshman, UK looks poised to make another run at the title. The Wildcats are 7-0, and have beaten each opponent by at least 21 points. In addition to outstanding play from the freshman class, John Calipari’s Cats have received solid play from sophomore Issac Humphries and senior Derek Willis. Kentucky has not played the worlds toughest schedule to this point, upcoming battles with Kansas, UCLA, and North Carolina, will determine rather Kentucky is primed for a deep run in March.
The Kansas Jayhawks have a chance to raise their second banner in the Bill Self era, this season. Despite stumbling out of the gate with a loss to Indiana, the Jayhawks took down Duke in the Champion Classic, and look ready to add a 12th straight Big XII to their trophy case. If Kansas wants to cut down the nets, they will need the trio of Frank Mason, Devonte Graham, and Carlton Bragg Jr. to lead them to the promise land
As usual, the Duke Blue Devils look ready for another deep tourney run. Coach K and company have taken care of business, despite a last second loss to Kansas in the Champions Classic. Duke has size inside with Marques Bolden and Chase Jeter, along with solid guard play from Grayson Allen and Luke Kenard, If Harry Giles, the nation’s #1 recruit, can be productive once he returns from injury, Duke may be well on its way to a sixth National Championship.
The North Carolina Tar Heels are also in the mix for a title run. The 2016 Maui Invitational champs destroyed their competition on the island, looking like a solid club on both sides of the ball. UNC’s first real test will come tonight at Indiana, in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. If the Tar Heels can get standout seasons from Joel Berry and Kennedy Meeks, the Tar Heels will certainly be in the mix when March Madness begins.
Top Picks :
The defending National Champions, the Villanova Wildcats, are certainly a wise choice.Jay Wright’s squad has a great deal of experience, led by senior Kris Jenkins. On the downside, the Wildcats aren’t likely to face tough tests before conference play, and will face a just a few tough opponents in Big East play. For Nova to repeat as champs, they will need to receive a favorable bracket from the selection committee.
The Hoosiers are back on the basketball landscape. Tom Creen’s club began the year winning an overtime thriller, agonist Kansas in the Armed Forces Classic. Indiana will face tests against UNC tonight, along with Louisville later on this season. Indiana will need quality play from OG Aunoby and James Blackmon Jr, in order to get where they want to be this season. If the two upperclassman come through, Indiana will certainly scare some folks come tourney time.
The Baylor Bears will certainly make some noise throughout the 2016-2017 season.Baylor has started 6-0, with two wins against the top 25. The Bears demolished Michigan State and took down #10 Louisville 66-63 to win the Battle 4 Atlantis. The match ups with Kansas during Big XII play should be interesting, but Baylor has an opportunity to make a run and bust some brackets come March.
Creighton may be a bracket buster this year. The Blue Jays are 6-0, with wins against Ole Miss, NC State, and #9 Wisconsin Two of those three Power 5 conference wins were by double digits.Creighton is an experienced club, with just five freshman on their roster. With this level of experience, expect the Blue Jays to be a hot commodity in the postseason
Frank Martin’s South Carolina Gamecocks may just be the right fit for Cinderella’s slipper this season.South Carolina has two wins against the top 25, beating both Michigan and Syracuse by double digits.The Gamecocks will also play Clemson, Seton Hall, and Memphis, before SEC play begins.Coach Martin has a very young team, and USC has gotten off to hot starts before, but they generally fade down the stretch. However, something tells me South Carolina might just crash the NCAA party this year.
Keep in mind, it is very early on in the season. Each of the 320 NCAA teams is one injury away from disaster, but these teams should provide some highlights throughout the year. If you’re a college basketball fan, this is truly the most wonderful time of the year. enjoy it!