The NCAA Basketball season is set to tip-off and the long road to March Madness and the NCAA Tournament begins. Which teams are the best heading in? Take a look also at the picks for November 8.
1. Michigan State
The Spartans finished 16-4 in the Big East and 32-7 overall last season. They enter “burning hot” on the Team Strength Oscillator and +416 on the Power Ranking Indicator. They lost Matt McQuaid, Kenny Goins, Nick Ward and are returning Cassius Winston, Xavier Tillman, Joshua Langford, Aaron Henry, Kyle Ahrens, Gabe Brown, Foster Loyer, Marcus Bingham and Thomas Kithier. Michigan State can shoot, have nice size, a good mix of veterans and youth. The pieces are in place to make a run at a National Championship.
2. Kentucky Wildcats
Kentucky went 15-3 in the SEC and 30-7 overall in 2018-2019. They tip-off the season “burning hot” on the Team Strength Oscillator and +355 on the Power Ranking Indicator. Key losses include P.J. Washington, Keldon Johnson, Tyler Herro, and Reid Travis while E.J. Montgomery, Ashton Hagans, Immanuel Quickly, and Nick Richards are returning to the mix. Their backcourt is very strong with questions up front. Don’t be surprised to see the Wildcats try to beat teams with small ball this season.
3. Louisville TIgers
The Tigers were 10-8 and 20-14 overall last season playing in the ACC. They enter “ice cold down” and +241 on the Power Ranking Indicator. Gone from last season include Christen Cunningham, Khwan Fore, Akoy Agau while Jordan Nwora, Dwayne Sutton, Ryan McMahon, Steve Enoch, Malik Williams, and Darius Perry are returning. Potential conference player of the year Nwora is the top returning player. The Tigers have a strong recruiting class to add depth. The biggest question is at the point guard position, which could prevent them from making it to the top of the conference.
4. Villanova Wildcats
Villanova went 13-5 last season in the Big East and 26-10 overall. They were the only Big East team to make the top 25. Gone from last season are Eric Paschall, Phil Booth, Jahvon Quinerly and some key returning players include Jermaine Samuels, Saddiq Bey, Collin Gillespie, Dhamir Cosby-Rountree, and Brandon Slater. Entering the season, the Wildcats are +315 on the Power Ranking Indicator and “burning hot” on the Team Strength Oscillator. The trio of Antoine, Bey, and Samuels are a solid trio. The team is still young but the potential is there to be great.
5. Duke Blue Devils
The ACC had five top-25 teams last season. Duke was one of them, finishing 14-4 in the conference and 32-6 overall. Zion Williamson is the obvious key loss from last season, however, they also lost R.J. Barrett, Cam Reddish, and Marques Bolden. Returning includes Tre Jones, Alex O’Connell, Jack White, Javin DeLaurier, Jordan Goldwire and Joey Baker. Duke comes in “burning hot” and +414 on the Power Ranking Indicator. They have significant talent particularly with Vernon Carey coming in. However, juggling a lineup to be good enough defensively and allow Carey to dominate on the offensive end could be an issue.
6. Kansas Jayhawks
Kansas was one of four teams from the Big 12 that finished in the top 25 last season. They were 12-6 in the conference and 26-10 overall. The team lost Lagerald Vick, Dedric Lawson, Quintin Grimes, K.J. Lawson and Charlie Moore, while Devon Dotson, Ochai Agbaji, Udoka Azubuike, Marcus Garrett, Silvio De Sousa, Mitch Lightfoot and David McCormack have returned. The Jayhawks come into the season at +308 on the Power Ranking Indicator and “average” on the Team Strength Oscillator. Azubuike is one of the top centers and low-post players in the country and is capable of carrying the team far.
7. Gonzaga Bulldogs
The Bulldogs dominated the West Coast Conference last season, finishing 16-0 and 33-4 overall. The enter the season “burning hot” on the Team Strength Oscillator and +416 on the Power Ranking Indicator. Gonzaga lost Rui Hachimura, Brandon Clarke, Josh Perkins, Zach Norvell, Geno Crandall, and Jeremy Jones, while Killian Tillie, Filip Petrusev and Corey Kispert have returned. The team also added nine players including two projected starters. The frontcourt is very deep, and there are questions in the backcourt, where Ryan Woolridge and Admon Gilder, grad transfers are set to start.
8. Florida Gators
Although finishing just 9-9 in the SEC last season and 20-16 overall, the Gators have what it takes to make a push this season. They enter “ice cold down” and +220 on the Power Ranking Indicator. Although the team lost KeVaughn Allen, Jalen Hudson, Kevarrius Hayes, Keith Stone, and DeAundre Ballard, they have added key pieces in Kerry Blackshear Jr. and Scottie Lewis, who are projected starters. Blackshear is a potential All-American and will team with Andrew Nembhard, Tre Mann, Scottie Lewis, among others to form a solid group capable of surprising many.
9. Maryland Terrapins
Unranked last season, the Terrapins finished 13-7 in the Big Ten and 23-11 overall. They enter the season “average down” on the Team Strength Oscillator and +279 on the Power Ranking Indicator. The team remains largely intact, losing only Bruno Fernando. Eight players return and four new additions are coming in. The improvement in the team comes from the sophomores, including Jalen Smith, Eric Ayala, Aaron Wiggins, and Ricky Lindo.
10. Oregon Ducks
No team from the Pac 12 made the top 25 last season, but the Ducks have the potential to do so and perhaps enough to reach the top 10. They enter “burning hot” on the Team Strength Oscillator and +320 on the Power Ranking Indicator. Last season the Ducks finished 10-8 in the conference and 25-13 overall. Gone are Paul White, Louis King, Ehab Amin, Kenny Wooten, Bol Bol, and Victor Bailey, while Payton Pritchard, Will Richardson and Francis Okoro return. They have added eight players, some of them could be significant pieces. The team’s success will depend on how well the pieces fit.
November 8 Picks
Auburn versus Davidson
Auburn posted an 11-7 mark last season in the SEC and 30-10 overall. They enter “burning hot down”, +412 on the Power Ranking Indicator and 11th in the Power Rankings. Davidson is average on the Team Strength Oscillator, +304 on the Power Ranking Indicator and 147th in the Power Rankings. A member of the Atlantic 10 Conference, Davidson went 14-4 and 25-8 overall last season. Look for Auburn to have a relatively easy time of things against a more inferior opponent.
Akron versus West Virginia
A Mid-American Conference team, Akron went just 9-10 in the conference last season and 17-16 overall. They are “ice cold down” on the Team Strength Oscillator and +196 on the Power Ranking Indicator. West Virginia struggled to a 4-14 mark in the Big 12 Conference last season and 15-21 overall. They are “average down” and +131 on the Power Ranking Indicator. In terms of straight Power Rankings, West Virginia holds a 220th to 319th advantage. Look for West Virginia to get off to a good start and win.
Loyola-Chicago versus Furman
Both teams enter “average down” and are close in the Power Rankings with Furman having a 166th to 180th edge. Furman also had an edge on the Power Ranking Indicator, +314 to +244. Loyola-Chicago went 12-6 in the Missouri Valley Conference and 20-14 overall. Playing in the Southern Conference, Furman went 13-5 and 25-8 overall. In a relatively close matchup, Furman should have a home-court edge and earn a victory in this one.
Northern Kentucky versus Missouri
Playing in the Horizon League, Northern Kentucky went 13-5 last season and 26-9 overall. They face a Missouri team that went 10-8 in the SEC and 23-11 overall. Northern Kentucky is 37th in the Power Rankings versus 215th for Missouri. There is also a wide gap on the Power Ranking Indicator with Northern Kentucky holding a +324 to +136 advantage. On the team Strength Oscillator, Missouri is “average down” versus “burning hot down”. Missouri should be able to take care of business on their home court and walk away with a victory, despite the differences on the Oscillators in favor of Nothern Kentucky.