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In a way, it seems like we never stopped watching the NCAA last year. After what was one of the most exciting college seasons, we followed some of its best players into the NBA Draft and into the NBA.
Unfortunately, the likes of Zion Williamson, RJ Barrett, and Ja Morant no longer grace NCAA courts.
The usual suspects adorn the top of the sportsbook and future odds forum, but for the first time in a long time, we really don’t know what to expect!
There’s not a single transcendent player in the NCAA at the moment. But we can certainly look at Memphis’ James Wiseman, Georgia’s Anthony Edwards, and North Carolina’s Cole Anthony to fill those star holes.
With the season just beginning we will look at some of the top teams in the nation. More matches in November and December will surely help define this list further. But for now, he is an early look at some of the nation’s top sides.
Head Coach: Tom Izzo
.@cassiuswinston will not go quietly!@MSU_Basketball pic.twitter.com/iEz6ivMEGQ
— Big Ten Network (@BigTenNetwork) November 6, 2019
Considered one of the NCAA Men’s Basketball landscapes’ most talented sides, Tom Izzo would love for his side to grasp the NCAA Championship for the first time since 2000.
Cassius Winston projects to be the nation’s strongest point guard while Aaron Henry is expected to break out into a singular player.
They will certainly have their struggles, especially in the frontcourt, but should they solve the turnover issues they’re the front runners to be this year’s champions.
Head Coach: Bill Self
About that time! pic.twitter.com/oMwR1oZWt6
— Kansas Basketball (@KUHoops) November 5, 2019
The Jayhawks boast one of the most balanced teams in the nation.
Devon Dotson and Ochai Agbaji form one of the country’s most interesting backcourts.
Meanwhile, center Udoka Azubuike returns for his senior season to be an unstoppable force in the paint for the Jayhawks.
The allegations against Bill Self are serious.
However, he maintains that they will only help their team to concentrate on the task at hand this year. Bad news for the rest of the nation.
Head Coach: John Calipari
? WHAT A SHOT @TyreseMaxey. What a debut.#TGT #UKNYC pic.twitter.com/woUhxEOuHM
— Kentucky Basketball (@KentuckyMBB) November 6, 2019
Does any team in the country boast the amount of returning talent that the Kentucky Wildcats have?
Ashton Haggans, Nick Richards, EJ Montgomery, and more return under the tutelage of John Calipari to help their quest for another NCAA title.
Kentucky was weak from the outside last year. With the NCAA’s interior defense, that can’t be the case if they hope to compete for the title this year.
Head Coach: Mike Krzyzewski
Lights are on. The boys are ready.
? @5jackwhite @thewendellmoore @vernoncarey22
— Duke Basketball (@DukeMBB) November 5, 2019
How can a team that lost RJ Barrett and Zion Williamson, two of the 2019 NBA Drafts top three picks, recover and fight for the national championship? With the recruitment effort of Coach Krzyzewski.
Vernon Carey Jr projects to be one of their strongest players, but can’t bear it all on his freshman’s shoulders. Sophomore guard Tre Jones will be asked to lead this Blue Devils team that has all the defensive talent but are still questionable offensively.
Head Coach: Chris Mack
Highlights from the Cards 87-74 season opening victory over Miami.#GoCards pic.twitter.com/vOBzNDMs4D
— Louisville Basketball (@LouisvilleMBB) November 6, 2019
The Cardinals have their best chance to top the ACC in a while.
Chris Mack will be coaching a side with returning All-ACC performer Jordan Nwora leading their side.
Their point guards are solid, but they will need to prove more dangerous if they hope to be one of the nation’s best teams.
Also, keep an eye on freshman Aidan Igiehon. “Irish Hulk” may be in his first year, but his physicality is already one of the most interesting in the nation.
Head Coach: Michael White
1-0. See all the highlights ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/uzSnneDJTp
— Florida Gators Men’s Basketball (@GatorsMBK) November 6, 2019
The Florida Gators will be bolstered by the acquisition of transfer Kerry Blackshear Jr.
The 6-10 senior was brilliant at Virginia Tech, and his decision to join the Florida Gators not only makes sense for the program but for his NBA prospects.
It will come down to head coach Mike White’s ability to put all the pieces together. But for now the Gators look to be a force, at least on paper.
Head Coach: Mark Turgeon
Built in the 4⃣1⃣0⃣@JalenSmith2000 x @410D_ #FearTheTurtle pic.twitter.com/I6diyzBR1D
— Maryland Basketball (@TerrapinHoops) November 6, 2019
In case you didn’t remember, the Terrapins were only a single basket away from advancing in the NCAA tournament – losing to an LSU side that was very beatable.
Luckily for head coach Mark Turgeon, his returning cast is a force to be reckoned with.
Aaron Wiggins showed some real talent last year, poising himself for a bigger role this year. He’ll be sided with point guard Anthony Cowan Jr and Jalen Smith, two perfect front and backcourt teammates.
Head Coach: Mark Few
28. A new career-high for @corey_kispert. That’s a lot of highlights. #UnitedWeZag pic.twitter.com/OAPL5rACIV
— Gonzaga Basketball (@ZagMBB) November 6, 2019
Gonzaga lost a number of key pieces over the offseason, but certainly, have the talent to make up for it – if not the immediate skill. Mark Few will have his hands full grooming Killian Tillie into a star, especially with his health issues.
Transfer student Admon Gilder is a fantastic scorer that will surely help fill the hole left by Rui Hachimura.
Head Coach: Roy Williams
2️⃣ days…#CarolinaFamily pic.twitter.com/RpECtFrCnE
— Carolina Basketball (@UNC_Basketball) November 4, 2019
The North Carolina Tar Heels lost Coby White, but they were able to bring in one of the nation’s top point guard prospects. New York’s Cole Anthony won’t fill White’s shoes immediately, but he certainly has the potential to do so.
Luckily Roy Williams has the talents of two transfers in Justin Pierce and Christian Keeling, with the likes of Garrison Brooks and Armando Bacot returning to show an improved game.
Head Coach: Jay Wright
Justin Moore from DEEP to tip off his @NovaMBB career! #NovaNation | #BIGEASThoops pic.twitter.com/meuEgVKTZV
— #BIGEASThoops (@BIGEASTMBB) November 6, 2019
Head Coach Jay Wright has played a certain way over the past few years and there’s no reason to assume they’ll start doing otherwise.
Losing Eric Paschall, Phil Booth, and Joe Cremo will hurt. But they have young pieces that look to fill a role quickly.
Freshmen Justin Moore and Jeremiah Robinson-Earl are expected to be inserted straight into the starting lineup, while Eric Dixon and Chris Arcidiacono will have a slower introduction.
They’re not a finished product, but the ceiling is high with this team.
The latest odds for NCAA Basketball Championship are provided by DraftKings Sportsbook.
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Christian Jope is a writer, social media strategist, and data analyst. A Queen’s University Alumni, Christian is an author and social media strategist with Raptors Cage, while also working closely with MLSE and Canada Basketball through community-driven events.
Email: [email protected]More info on Christian Jope
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