I’ve never been a fan of preseason rankings of any sort. Mainly because they put so much value in what people are saying about teams before anyone has actually touched the court. That being said, I decided I would embark on analyzing teams based on what they have returning from last season, who they are bringing in as either transfers or freshman, and which coaches will be the best at continuing their winning ways.
The big issue I have with preseason rankings is that they have too much of an effect on later rankings. With that in mind, I am going to try and start almost completely over after week 1. If for instance, one of my top 10 teams looks like they are totally over ranked, I have no problem completely removing them from the top 25 the following week. With college basketball, there are over 350 teams vying for a top 25 spot, so these should be the best of the best.
With that aside, here are my preseason rankings for the 2016-2017 college basketball season:
1. Duke Blue Devils
Duke returns a very talented team in their own right when Wooden Award favorite Grayson Allen and several other “veteran players.” On top of that Coach K also brings in the nations top recruiting class which has Duke as a heavy favorite this season in many people’s eyes.
2. Kansas Jayhawks
Once again the Jayhawks are expected to win yet another Big 12 title, but this season with Frank Mason and Davonte Graham returning along with top prospect Josh Jackson, Bill Self and the Jayhawks will be eyeing an even bigger title this season.
3. Kentucky Wildcats
As is the norm for Kentucky while under John Calipari, the Wildcats have again reloaded with a fresh, talented team. This team might take a few weeks to gel, but there’s no doubt they can be one of the most talented teams in the country when it’s all said and done.
4. Oregon Ducks
Dana Altman returns most of the major pieces from a team that made it all the way to the Elite 8. If Dillon Brooks’ foot heals quickly, he’ll be able to lead the Ducks as one of the top teams in the country early on.
5. Michigan State Spartans
Tom Izzo is known for his accomplishments in March, but with a top recruiting class highlighted by Josh Langford and Miles Bridges, Izzo will have a contender all year long.
6. North Carolina Tarheels
The Tarheels will need a player or two to step up in the post, but the runner-up from last season will again be vying for a Final 4 run that North Carolina has become accustomed to.
7. Villanova Wildcats
While Grayson Allen is my preseason best player, people shouldn’t overlook Josh Hart for that title. Joined by Jalen Brunson and Kris Jenkins, the Wildcats will look to defend their National Title this season.
8. Wisconsin Badgers
Greg Gard returns all the starters from a Wisconsin team that won 13 of their final 17 games including a run to the Sweet 16. The Badgers should contend with Michigan State to take the Big 10 title.
9. Arizona Wildcats
Sean Miller has really stepped up the recruiting game in Tucson but this year will be a serious step in its own right. Alonzo Trier and company should lead the Wildcats as one of the best teams in the Pac 12 and in the country.
10. Xavier Musketeers
Trevon Bluiett hasn’t been getting the recognition he deserves so far this preseason and I think Xavier has the talent once again to rival Villanova as the team to beat in the Big East this season.
11. Virginia Cavaliers
12. UCLA Bruins
13. Texas Longhorns
14. Saint Mary’s Gaels
15. Louisville Cardinals
16. Purdue Boilermakers
17. Connecticut Huskies
18. Indiana Hoosiers
19. Gonzaga Bulldogs
20. Syracuse Orange
21. Iowa State Cyclones
22. Dayton Flyers
23. Florida State Seminoles
24. Creighton Bluejays
25. California Bears
- Cincinnati Bearcats
- Rhode Island Rams
- Maryland Terrapins
- North Carolina State Wolfpack
- West Virginia
I’ve moved these teams around quite a bit over the past couple of weeks, but this is what I settled on as my preseason top 25 about a week ago. Like I mentioned in the beginning, all of this could change in the early weeks when I actually get the opportunity to watch these teams play in real games.
College basketball is here!