Here is a list of NCAA College Basketball’s Preseason Top 25 Rankings from Bryson Gordon, former basketball player for the State Champions from Vandalia Christian School and current student at Guilford Technical Community College(GTCC)…A good look ahead at the upcoming season and the Top Players to watch out for with names like Marcus Paige, Brandon Ingram, Malcolm Brogdon and Rodney Purvis showing up on Bryson’s list, plus names like Theo Pinson, Rasheed Sulaimon and many others you will want to read about…Check it out and watch for more of Bryson on the Basketball Beat, here at GreensboroSports.com…..
Early top 25 Men’s college basketball rankings
Why do I have them ranked here? Maryland is my favorite because they did not lose much off of last years squad as a matter of fact, the only lost one huge contributor, Dez Wells. Maryland also got lucky by holding on to a potential top 10 pick in Melo Trimble, and adding two huge names in consensus top 10 Freshman, Diamond Stone, and a familiar name, Rasheed Sulaimon. This Maryland team should be one of the best the school has had in a long time.
Player to watch for? Melo Trimble
Why do I have them ranked here? UNC was one of the better teams toward the end of last year. They evolved into a top 15 team, and was close to defeating national finalist Wisconsin. This Heels team has only lost one big name from last year’s team, JP Tokoto, and many consider it addition by subtraction, with getting Theo Pinson back from a nearly season long injury. This team should be fun to watch with a mix of a powerful frontcourt led by Brice Johnson, and an electrifying backcourt lead by All-American Marcus Paige.
Player to watch this year? Marcus Paige
Why do I have them ranked here? Experience. This may be one of Bill Self’s oldest teams at KU. Led by experienced players like Perry Ellis, Wayne Selden, Frank Mason, and Jamari Taylor, this Kansas team is super experienced. Adding two top 20 frontcourt players, Cheick Diallo, and Carlton Bragg, it will be extremely rare to see a team beat this Kansas team in the paint.
Player to watch this year? Cheick Diallo
Why do I have them ranked here? Good news Duke Fans, this team could be as good, IF NOT, better than last year’s team. Coach K is aging but his recruiting is getting even better. He added the number one class this year of Brandon Ingram, Luke Kennard, Chase Jeter, and Derryck Thornton. Duke also is adding transfer player Sean Obi. Don’t worry Duke fans, I am not forgetting the Championship hero Grayson Allen, who we should look to contribute tenfold of last year. So why is this Duke team four instead of higher? This is also one of K’s youngest teams. If the freshman pan out to be great then this team will repeat, if they do not, Coach K has no better than a sweet 16 team on his hands.
Player to watch this year? Brandon Ingram
Why do I have them ranked here? The unknowns will be the death, or the life of the Kentucky team. Similar to Duke, if the freshman class pans out, this will be a national title contender, if not then Coach Cal will need to go back to the drawing board. This will be the best chance to see how good of a COACH Calipari is, instead of a great recruiter. With players like Isaiah Briscoe, Skal Labissiere, and Jamal Murray look for this Kentucky team to rely on its freshmen to score. But do not be fooled. This Kentucky team is one of Cal’s most experienced teams with the likes of Tyler Ulis, Alex Poythress, and Marcus Lee. This Kentucky team might not me the 40-0 team either, but it should hold down the SEC again this year.
Player to watch this year? Skal Labissiere
Why do I have them ranked here? Tony Bennett. This new fresh face to the coaching powers in the ACC has turned Virginia into a perennial powerhouse, and expect no less from this years team. Led by Malcolm Brogdon and London Perrantes, this Virginia team will be eerily similar to the team we saw while Justin Anderson was out last year, because Anderson went to the NBA. The Cavaliers also lost Darion Atkins, but holding onto Brogdon should be enough to keep Virginia in the top ten for a majority of this season.
Player to watch this year? Malcolm Brogdon
Why do I have them ranked here? The return of star Buddy Hield keeps Oklahoma in business for another year. This team could compete with Kansas for the top spot in the big 12, but don’t expect too much from this team. If you are looking for the flashy team to watch, you are looking in the wrong direction. This team will win its games by holding teams, and scoring just enough points to get by.
Player to watch this year? Buddy Hield
8) Iowa State
Why do I have them ranked here? A majority of people would have Iowa State ranked a little bit higher than eighth, but the fact that old head coach, Fred Hoiberg is no longer there, kind of scares me. Do not get me wrong, this is the same Iowa State team we have seen for the better part of 2 seasons, being led by Georges Niang, but where there is a new coach there are growing pains. If this Iowa State team jumps off to a slow start, do not jump off the bandwagon, new coach Steve Prohm will have them back by tournament time.
Player to watch this year? Georges Niang
9) Wichita State
Why do I have them ranked here? Remember when the Shockers were just that? Shockers? Well the days of Cinderella for Wichita State are long gone. Gregg Marshall has turned Wichita State into a prime destination to watch some good ole fashion college basketball. The Wheat shockers are not the flashiest team, but everybody seems to love to watch their gritty style of play. All American Fred Van Vleet is back, along with Ron Baker, this Wichita State team should be a 3 seed or better in this years tournament.
Player to watch this year? Fred Van Vleet
Why do I have them ranked here? Mark Few has done an excellent job keeping this Gonzaga program relevant over his tenure, but many people think his time for a deep run in the tournament is overdue. This team led by Kyle Wiltjer very well could be the team to lead Coach Few to the Promised Land. Even though Gonzaga star point guard Kevin Pangos, this team is one of Few’s oldest teams. Do not be surprised if this Gonzaga team is still standing come Final Four time.
Player to watch this year? Kyle Wiltjer
Why do I have them ranked here? Indiana’s long-run problem of not having a big man is gone. Thomas Bryant is at Indiana and ready to compete. When you put Bryant with the likes of Yogi Ferrell (Seems like he has been there forever, right?) and Troy Williams, expect this Indiana team to compete with Maryland really well for a chance at the Big 10 title.
Player to watch this year? Yogi Ferrell
12) Michigan State
Why do I have them ranked here? Tom Izzo is still at Michigan State, so expect to see Michigan State making a run in the tournament. This will be a younger Spartan team, but expect nothing less from a Tom Izzo coached team. Led by Denzel Valentine, this team could be fighting in the very top-heavy Big 10.
Player to watch this year? Denzel Valentine
Why do I have them ranked here? Another year, another top 25 team for Jay Wright. Isn’t this what we have come to expect from Villanova every year? This will be your prototypical Villanova team with really good guard play, and a suspect front court, but there is something special about this combo of guards, highly touted freshman Jaylen Brunson, and crafty upperclassman Ryan Arcidiacono will be one of the most electrifying back courts we will watch this season.
Player to watch this year? Jaylen Brunson
Why do I have them ranked here? To be completely honest with you guys, I would like to think this Cal team could be a top ten team this season. Hear me out on this one. This year head coach Cuonzo Martin added one of the schools best recruiting classes, with two consensus top 10 players SF Jaylen Brown, and PF Ivan Rabb. This combo of freshmen, with the star guard Tyrone Wallace, could be a championship contender this year, but it is all dependent on this freshman combo.
Player to watch this year? Tie, Jaylen Brown, and Ivan Rabb
Why do I have them ranked here? The Pac-12 could have an interesting rivalry this season between Cal and Arizona. Newcomer guard Alonzo Trier could be the best shooting guard Sean Miller has had in his tenure at Arizona. If this team can ride the back of Alonzo Trier, he can carry the likes of Kaleb Tarczewski, and Gabe York to the elite 8 again and maybe even a final four.
Player to watch this year? Alonzo Trier
Why I have them ranked here? This one is very similar to Michigan State, as long as Bo Ryan is at Wisconsin, this program will be good and relevant. This team is losing almost all of its roster from last years championship game team, but they still have starting PF Nigel Hayes, so watch for this team to go as far as Hayes, and guard Bronson Koening will take them.
Player to watch this year? Nigel Hayes
Why I have them ranked here? The player of the year in the AAC is back for another season, Nic Moore, along with the likes of Marcus Kennedy, and Duke transfer Semi Ojeleye, watch for this team to win the AAC regular season, but nothing more due to the postseason ban recently placed on the school.
Player to watch this year? Nic Moore
Why I have them ranked here? D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera has nearly saved the Hoyas season. Smith-Rivera is a team changing player and is very capable of putting this team on his back for an elite eight run this season but do not count on it. John Thompson III goes another year with an under-achieving team and thus the seat begins to warm.
Player to watch this year? Nic Moore
Why do I have them ranked here? This UCONN team is capable of being a two seed or better come tournament time. This team still has Daniel Hamilton and NC State transfer Rodney Purvis (that one hurts State fans). Kevin Ollie added arguably the best transfer in Sterling Gibbs. While there is no Kemba Walker, Shabazz Napier, or even Ryan Boatright on this team, the Huskies are primed for a team run in the tournament.
Player to watch this year? Rodney Purvis
Why do I have them ranked here? Caris LeVert is back for the Wolverines. This year’s team should look very similar to how last year’s team was supposed to look before LeVert went down with injury. After losing only Max Biefeldt, John Beilein should have enough to return to the NCAA tournament after last season’s absence.
Player to watch this year? Caris LeVert
Why do I have them ranked here? Rico Gathers is returning to Scott Drew’s team, and he should have a breakout season. Add in players like newcomer King McClure and Taurean Prince, Baylor should have a very good team that will be on the fringe of top 15 all season.
Player to watch this year? Rico Gathers
Why do I have them ranked here? Delon Wright is not with Utah anymore, but familiar face Jakob Poeltl turned down the chance to be drafted to raise his stock and Coach Krystkowiak could not be happier. This team goes as far as Poeltl can take it.
Player to watch this year? Jakob Poeltl
23) Notre Dame
Why do I have them ranked here? Now, I could be proven really wrong on this one but, I just do not know what to expect from a team that lost its best two players. Jerian Grant and Pat Connaughton are no longer in town, but PG Demetrius Jackson, who really turned into a force to be reckoned with last year, is still paired with big man Zach Auguste, and shooter Steve Vasturia. This Notre Dame team will not surprise me one bit if they are around final four weekend, but will not shock me if they are a one and out in the tournament.
Player to watch this year? Demetrius Jackson
Why do I have them ranked here? You ask, why would a NIT team who lost one of their top players be considered a top 25 team? I answer, because last year Miami SHOULD have been a top 25 team. Everybody is back from last year’s team except Manu Lecomte, and they add Oklahoma State transfer Kamari Murphy, this team may be a dark horse in the ACC, much like the Shane Larkin Miami team from a couple of years ago.
Player to watch this year? Angel Rodriguez
Why do I have them ranked here? Freshman craze has LSU a top 25 team this year. This team is very much like Cal, a combo of one of the best high school prospects in a couple of years, Ben Simmons, and super skilled guard Antonio Blakeney, gives LSU the most exciting team they have had since Shaq himself was on campus. I would not be shocked in the least to see this team upset Kentucky in the SEC this year, but also if this team is an absolute bust and misses the tournament, well I told you all wrong. If I had to bet on it, look for LSU to be around in the sweet 16 or elite 8 if Simmons and Blakeney are as good as scouts say they are.
Player to watch this year? Tie:Ben Simmons, and Antonio Blakeney