Top 30 point guards: Badgers' Taylor No. 1 floor general

by | CBSSports.com Senior College Basketball Blogger
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We rolled out our top 100 players in the game Tuesday, and now we're burrowing further down the rabbit hole. Today, it's the top 30 point guards in hoops. You'll see a lot of the same names on this list as the top 100, but we've also been able to introduce a few guys who couldn't crack our mainstream century club.

More preseason coverage
Before we get into it, allow me to address those who aren't on it but you might have figured should be. There is a nebulous factor with some guards in college basketball. We tried to keep this list to guards who will consistently start games at the 1 this year. There are players, like Santa Clara's Kevin Foster and UC-Santa Barbara's Orlando Johnson and Oregon State's Jared Cunningham, who make their teams around them better, but are more shooting guards than point guards at heart.

If guard play is still the most critical factor to long-term winning in college basketball, then most of these guys' teams should be in the NCAA tournament, or pretty close.

Here they are, the top 30 floor generals in college basketball, as we see them.

Top 15 point guards
1. Jordan Taylor (Wisconsin)
The do-it-all point guard for Bo Ryan, who led Wisconsin to the second-most efficient offense in the nation last year. For as frequently as Taylor possessed the ball, he only turned it over 8.5 percent of the time –- second-best in the country. He was also first-teamer on defense in the Big Ten. He's as reliable as it gets at the 1 right now in college hoops.
2. Tu Holloway (Xavier)
Holloway's the reason Xavier can entertain hopes of going deep into the tournament this year. Savvy, savvy player who has rightfully gotten a lot of recognition this preseason for his remarkable ability.

3. Kendall Marshall (North Carolina)
You watch Marshall's game and you instantly get why he fits so well into Carolina's scheme. It's also a wonder why Roy Williams didn't start him from the get-go last year. He is the best pure point guard in college basketball.

4. Ashton Gibbs (Pittsburgh)
Gibbs is good enough to withstand the talent departure Pittsburgh will deal with this year. (The Panthers lose Brad Wanamaker, Gilbert Brown and Gary McGhee, last seen with his ankles detached from his body in Madison Square Garden .) Gibbs is especially valuable because he scores almost 1.3 points per trip.

5. Aaron Craft (Ohio State)
Craft had a marvelous freshman campaign; if it wasn't for Marshall's magnificent debut, he'd be the highest-ranked sophomore on this list. Last year, Craft was able to settle in nicely without a real target on his back. Now he'll have that, which he'll gladly fight, especially since he's a hawkish on-ball defender.

6. Scoop Jardine (Syracuse)
Jardine's this high because he should be this high. He has the potential to be this high. Jardine averaged 5.9 assists per game last year, better than everyone listed above him, save Marshall. Frustrating at times, brilliant at others. Orange fans hate and love the ride about 20 times in a two-hour span during 'Cuse's games.

7. Myck Kabongo (Texas)
Fun, athletic, energetic and is going to make Texas a lot of fun to watch this year. Already wondering if he's the fastest player in college basketball, and he hasn't even played a game yet.

8. Josiah Turner (Arizona)
Another guy born in 1992. Just how old do you feel right now? Turner is a point who can get his points. Arizona will be particularly dangerous in 2012-13, but Turner's the player who will keep Arizona in the national mix this season.

9. Maalik Wayns (Villanova)
As a sophomore, Wayns had a better assist rate than starting senior point guard Corey Fisher. He was also involved in more possessions than Fisher. Has a chance to really show the nation what he can do, but needs to prove he wants that identity as a 1.

10. Marquis Teague (Kentucky)
Thirty percent of the top 10 is comprised of freshman, which shouldn't shock you. The fact a Kentucky point guard cracks the top 10 is equally unsurprising. He's one of the more pure point guards Calipari has had in the past 10 years, and his end-to-end speed is wobbling.

11. Joe Jackson (Memphis)
He can be better and wants to be better. If Jackson gets all of his awesome abilities in control, he'll vault into the nation's top 10 floor generals. Has one of the best first-steps in college basketball.

12. Dee Bost (Mississippi State)
Part of why Bost is able to be Bost is because he's got Renardo Sidney magnetizing defenses further from the 3-line and closer to the paint. Now Arnett Moultrie, a 6-11 transfer from UTEP, joins Mississippi State. This means Bost should get ample opportunities to be seen as the SEC's most prolific point guard.

13. Matthew Dellavedova (Saint Mary's)
Shaggy-haired and chewy mouthpiece always popping out of his gums, you can't miss Dellavedova when he's on TV. The 6-4 junior will take full rein of the Gaels' offense, now that Micky McConnell has graduated. The two ran Randy Bennett's offense beautifully last year, combining for more than 11 assists per game. Dellavedova accounted for 5.3 of those assists and had a 2.25 assist/turnover ratio.

14. Shabazz Napier (Connecticut)
He's not as good as Kemba Walker, but he will be a better point guard than Walker ever was for Connecticut. And as UConn's season turned toward its magical run last season, Napier was given the ball a lot more frequently. Only a sophomore, he's already considered the leader of a team that's got Final Four demands on its hands. On a squad that's filled with length and lottery picks, Napier's play is paramount.

15. Peyton Siva (Louisville)
Siva put up 5.2 assists per game, but he's also an adept defender. He'll go for the swipe frequently (which should be no surprise, given his coach), and rounds out a list of Big East point guards on this list that should help make the league, again, the toughest in the country.

The next 15
16. Seth Curry (Duke) 21. D.J. Cooper (Ohio) 26. Scott Machado (Iona)
17. Ray McCallum (Detroit) 22. Reggie Hamilton (Oakland) 27. Lewis Jackson (Purdue)
18. Casper Ware (Long Beach State) 23. Phil Pressey (Missouri) 28. Vincent Council (Providence)
19. Tyshawn Taylor (Kansas) 24. Derek Needham (Fairfield) 29. Cashmere Wright (Cincinnati)
20. Damian Lillard (Weber State) 25. Nate Wolters (South Dakota State) 30. Trevor Releford (Alabama)
2011-12 Season Preview
DateFeatureDateFeature
Oct. 13Preseason Top 25 (and one) Nov. 1Top freshmen
 Projected NCAA tournament field Nov. 2Top transfers
 Goodman and Parrish bracket picks Nov. 3Under the radar players
Oct. 14Team profiles: 'Cuse | UConn | UK | UNC Nov. 4Breakout players
Oct. 17Preseason All-Americans Nov. 5Best shooters
Oct. 18Top 100 players Nov. 6Best defensive players
Oct. 19Positional rankings: Point guards Nov. 768 things ...
Oct. 20Positional rankings: Wing men Nov. 8Ranking the preseason tourneys
Oct. 21Positional rankings: Big men Nov. 950 can't miss games
   Nov. 10Coaches on the Hot Seat
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