It may be extremely early but it is important to take an early look at the top 30 college basketball teams for this upcoming season.
And trust me, the number one team is not going to be Duke.1.North Carolina
Reason: Are you kidding me. You don’t even need a reason for this choice. The whole team is now mature and experienced and they are already ready for the Big Dance. With McCants and Felton putting up major points on the board and incoming freshman Marvin Williams contributing also, these guys are almost unstoppable.
Key Player: Rashad McCants. If he has a big season, there is no stopping Roy Williams’ team to winning it all in March. After all McCants could have easily been a high first round pick this draft but decided to stay.
Reason: Last season, these guys proved that they were good and had a top ten team. Last year they made it to the national championship and this year they have even more experience. These guys are probably the team with the most experience, bringing back Bynum, Elder, Schensher, Jack, Muhammed, and McHenry.
Key Player: Luke Schensher. This guy is a sleeper yet I think he can greatly contribute this season down in the paint. He has decent size and is a great rebounder. Just watch out for this guy next season.
Reason: These guys, just like GT, return almost their whole team from last year . With Chris Paul running the point and Eric Williams down in the post, these guys a tremendous. They even have a great bench with Jaamal Levy and Vytas Danelius.
Key Player: Chris Paul. This guy has all the makings of a Wooden award winner and a great point guard. He can shoot, pass, play defense, and just plain lead a team. He could easily be a top 5 pick in next year’s draft.
Reason: Even though these guys lost Padgett to Louisville, they still have a very solid team. With Self at the helm, these guys are no doubt contenders for the title this year. To fill in for Padgett they got prep star C.J. Giles who is a phenomenal player.
Key Player: Keith Langford. He is a great player and knows how to help his team out. Just watch him play this season and you will see the leadership.
Reason: These guys may not have one leader for the team but the whole team will lead each other. They have one of the toughest froncourts in the country with Villenueva and Boone. They also have some great young guards in Rudy Gay and Rashad Anderson. They may not have the experience but they are still UCONN.
Key Player: Charlie villenueva. This kid is coming off a great freshman season in the post and is making great summer strides. He is most likely going to make the USA team for the World Championships for Young Men which will help his game for next season.
Reason: This team has arguably the best shooter in the country in Gerry McNamara. Not only can he shoot but he can also play defense and lead the team. They also have three great seniors in Josh Pace, Hakim Warrick, and Craig Forth so look for their experience to come in handy deep in the tourney.
Key Player: Gerry McNamara. Like I said earlier, this guy is great. He is a tough kid and can lead any team. Watch for him this season as he puts up big numbers in the stat columns.
Reason: Now I’m not a big fan of the Wildcats but when I see a great team I can’t leave them out. These guys have a really great shot at the title this year through their returning four Mustafa Shakur, Hassan Adams, Channing Frye, and Salim Stoudamire. They have experience and skill which should come to use in the Big Dance.
Key Player: Salim Stoudamire. This guy is a veteran of the team who has skill. The lefty can very easily shoot the longball or drive right past you in a split second. He is going to have a major role this year for Zona.
Reason: These guys lost Allen but that is not stopping this phenomenal team from last year. They come back with John Lucas III at point who last year showed he had skill. They also have Bobik coming back who can make any shot. Look for these guys to have an explosive offense next year and a tough defense.
Key Player: Tony Bobik. I think that if Bobik makes his shots, he can tremendously help OSU. He has a great looking shot and he hardly misses.
Reason: With Dee Brown and Deron Williams, it is a simple answer to why the Illini are in the top 10. If these guys have good play from the froncourt don’t be surprised to see Illinois in the Final Four.
Key Player: Dee Brown. With comparison to Allen Iverson, this guy clearly has the talent to be Illinois’ key player this year. He is very quick and is a great defender.
Reason: They may not have the big name in college basketball like Duke and North Carolina but they have the talent that most big name teams have. With Lawrence Roberts returning, these guys will once again rock the SEC.
Key Player: Lawrence Roberts. This guy could have been a first rounder in this years draft but decided to stay for his senior year which I think was a great choice. He will polish his skills and hopefully be the SEC player of the year again and maybe a Wooden winner.
Reason: I had to leave these guys out of the top 10 but they still have a respectable team, even wiht Duhon and Deng gone to the NBA. They still have sharpshooter J.J. Reddick and post Sheldon Williams pounding it in the paint. With Coach K staying there is always a shot at Duke making the Final Four.
Key Player: J.J. Reddick. Reddick is going to have to fill in the shoes of Duhon and quickly become the leader of this team. If he does this, Duke could have a great season.
Reason: The Terps were a very good young team last year that is now a more mature and experienced team. Look for Gilcrest and Strawberry to be great guards this year for their new experienced team.
Key Player: Nic Caner-Medley. I saw this guy play in the Gonzaga-Maryland game last year and he defenitely has some skill. He is big and has great balance. He can shoot great so teams cannot leave him open this next season. Watch out for this sleeper.
Reason: With their great player Fransisco Garcia returning as a junior and Pitino at the helm these guys have the makings of a great team. They were, however, hurt by the loss of Sebastian Telfair and Donta Smith to the draft but they still have a great team.
Key Player: Fransisco Garcia. Without a doubt this is Louisville’s key player this next season and if he has a big season, so could Louisville.
Reason: Kentucky may not have many big names on their team but they have big heart to make up for that. Their whole team is made up of hard workers and teamplayers. They have a young team but a very good young team.
Key Player: Chuck Hayes. The returning SEC freshman of the year will have a great season this year without a doubt. But the question is will he become a leader this year or pass that responsibility on to someone else.
Reason: They didn’t have a great year last year but they still have the talent to have a great team. If Tom Izzo can help these kids out, the Spartans have a good shot at a great season this year and possibly a shot at the Big 10 title.
Key Player: Drew Neitzel. This is MSU’s incoming freshman point guard and he has all the makings to help lift the Spartans high in the rankings. He is going to have to learn quick and develop quick or the Spartans could have some trouble this year.
Reason: They only had one big loss this year in Antonio Burks but they still bring back Sean Banks and Rodney Carney. If Memphis can play hard the whole season, big teams should be on the lookout for this sleeper team.
Key Player: Sean Banks. This kid is probably one of the best sophomores in the country and has great ability. With his future NBA talent, he could help the Tigers tremendously this year.
Reason: They may have lost Devin Harris but they didn’t lose the rest of their team with such players as Boo Wade and Zach Morley. Also if Brian Butch becomes the player he is expected to be after his redshirt season, the Badgers could be a great team.
Key Player: Brian Butch. He gained weight during the offseason which could really help him against the bigger boys in the paint. If he comes out this year, the Badgers have a shot at the Big 10 title this year.
Reason: The Panthers still have Taft and Krauser which will get more looks this year with Page and Brown gone. With these two go-to guys they still have a great team and a respectable team.
Key Player: Chris Taft. A big season from Taft could really help out the Panthers this season. With his ability, he could be a top pick in next years draft.
Reason: The team that went to the Elite Eight last year returns most of its team. If these guys play like they did last year, they could go even deeper in the tournament this year.
Key Player: Mark Gottfried. I picked their coach because if he can get these guys to play like they did last year than they will do fine this year. It all depends on how he does this year.
20. Notre Dame
Reason: With transfer Latimore from Arizona, Notre Dame has some added size to their team. They are a sleeper this year with no big names, but they have great players that people will know about after this next season.
Key Player: Latimore. He is big and could really help the Dame’s squad in the clutch. If he doesn’t choke these guys could be good.
Reason: The Zags still have a deep team with great talent. They have Ronny Turiaf coming back who could have been a first rounder in this years draft. They also have Adam Morrison who is one of the top sophomores in the country who could make the USA team for the World Championships For Young Men.Don’t forget their J.C. recruit J.P. Batista who was considered the top J.C. recruit this past year. This guy turned down Kansas for the role to fill in for Cory Violette.
Key Player: Adam Morrison. Even though Turiaf is probably the teams best player currently, Morrison has great skill and will be needed to fill in the scoring void left by Blake Stepp.
Reason: This team is stacked. They return all their starters and have Nate Robinson on their team(which would be a plus for any team). Their only weakness is the frontcourt where if they can pick it up there, they can be great.
Key Player: Nate Robinson. He may be small in stature but he plays like a 6’2″ guard. I personally think he had the skill for the NBA this year but it was a good decision for him to stay.
Reason: This is a very experienced team who just recently had a great recruiting class. They have players with great NBA potential such as Jason Klotz and these guys could be a great team by seasons end.
Key Player: P.J. Tucker. He is a tough forward and has great potential. Look for him to dominate this year and help Texas reach the top of the rankings.
Reason: With Anthony Roberson and Matt Walsh on the floor, Florida is a tough team. They have a great offense and if their defense steps up this year they could be a great team by the end of the year.
Key Player: Anthony Roberson. Opting out of the draft was a great decision. This decision could help his team out this year tremendously.
Reason: Under the leadership of Julius Hodge, the Wolfpack could be tremendous this year. Tony Bethel, a transfer from Georgetown, could be a great addition to the Wolfpack and he should help them out against the tough ACC opponents.
Key Player: Julius Hodge. This year, Hodge will refine his skills for the NBA and try to get his team deep in the tournament. If he can lead his team this year, the Wolfpack could be sleepers in the ACC.