College hoops has 32 conferences and 351 teams. There will be more than 10,000 games played this season. It's a lot to forecast -- but that's what the preseason is for.
Below, you'll find predictions on every league champion. You get to see where there's consensus and where predictions are all over the college hoops map. The season is less than a week away and we're ready for the games to begin.
But not before giving you a matrix of every league's champ. These are the picks for regular-season champion. With the small leagues, the do-or-die nature of championship week can and always does provide a few sleepers who take auto bids. This is how the regular seasons should play out -- or at least how our experts see it.
If you'd like an atlas on how the country shapes up, check out our state-by-state rankings. And for a preseason bracket overview, Jerry Palm has his start-of-season field of 68 out now, too.
UConn's Jalen Adams can be a legit star and the Huskies have real talent throughout the starting five. Some think they can be a sleeper Final Four team.
This one isn't really close. Vermont is far and away the best team in this conference, returning almost everyone from last year's 23-14 team that had the league's best offense.
There are people, smart people, saying this year's ACC might be one of the best conferences, top to bottom, in college basketball history. If you're at the top of that conference, you're something special, and Duke is, or at least can be, very special. A lot will depend on Harry Giles' health, but Grayson Allen is our pick for National Player of the Year and he's probably not one of the top 3 NBA prospects on this Blue Devil team. Loaded is the only word.
Surprising that defending champ North Florida didn't get a vote here, as this figures to be a tight two-team race in the A-Sun. Either way, Dunk City is back!
Rhode Island is legit this season. The roster is athletic, strong, fast, has shooters, shot-blockers, depth. It's all there. This is the best team in the A-10. It's put up or shut up time for a program we've been waiting on to break through for a while.
The defending national champs have real competition in the Big East in Xavier, which stands to be even better than it was last year as a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament. But the Wildcats get the edge here, unanimously, and not for nothing. Villanova brings back a ton of talent, including national player of the year candidate Josh Hart.
Weber State, which lost Joel Bolomboy to the NBA, gets the majority here, but watch for the guard play at Montana. Jerry Palm does not project the Grizzlies to make the NCAA Tournament, but Oregon transfer Ahmaad Rorie will make a difference in what could be a tight Big Sky race.
The Big South is not a strong conference this year, and that could hurt Winthrop, the majority projection here, when it comes to potential seeding in what would be coach Pat Kelsey's first NCAA Tournament. Fun note: Lot of connection to the Curry family represented here, with Seth Curry, before transferring to Duke, leading the country in scoring among freshmen at Liberty, and Winthrop being one of the few schools that offered Stephen Curry a scholarship.
Hung jury in the Big Ten. Thomas Bryant returning to Bloomington is big for Indiana, which should be an exciting offensive team and a good bet to hang around the top-10 teams in the country most of the year. Wisconsin, meanwhile, returns almost everyone from a team that won 22 games in addition to boasting conference player of the year Nigel Hayes. This vote reflects how tight this race could be. These two teams, and even Michigan State if Tom Izzo's terrific freshman class pops, are neck and neck.
It's been a while since Long Beach coach Dan Monson has had a team this good. Clearly the class of the Big West with Justin Bibbins, arguably the best player in the Big West, expected to author an All-League campaign.
Are you paying enough attention to what Bill Self has done (is doing) at Kansas? Under his tutelage, the Jayhawks have won 12 consecutive Big 12 titles, one of John Wooden's record at UCLA. And yes, KU is going to match that mark this year. Freshman Josh Jackson is special. Wise beyond his years and a candidate to go No. 1 in the 2017 NBA Draft.
Colonial Athletic Association
Big-time turnaround for UNC-Wilmington, which was near the bottom of the league only a couple years ago. The Seahawks, as reflected in this vote, are the Colonial's best team on paper, but William & Mary has to be considered a threat to earn the automatic bid.
Another hung jury. A lot of people are high on UAB, and we all know what Middle Tennessee did last year in upsetting 2-seed Michigan State in the NCAA Tournament's Round of 64. Conference USA could be a two-bid league this year.
Valparaiso loses Bryce Drew to Vanderbilt, but Matt Lottich is a solid replacement and Alec Peters is back. The Crusaders might well be a top-50 team in the country this campaign.
Harvard is the real deal this year, so the unanimous vote for Princeton might be surprising to some. But the Tigers return legit depth/talent 1-7 and were really, really good in-conference last season. This will be a fun conference tournament.
Monmouth is both good and motivated -- after being snubbed, in a lot of people's estimation, for an at-large NCAA berth last March. Don't expect the committee to have a say this season. The Hawks will get the auto bid.
Split decision in the MAC, where Akron returns much of the core of a 26-win team including Isaiah Johnson, who could well be the best big man in the conference by February/March. Ohio will go head-to-head, though, led by a very good coach in Saul Phillips.
Who led the nation in scoring last season? That's right, Howard's James Daniel III. He's back, along with four fellow starters, making the Bison the clear favorite and our unanimous pick to win the MEAC. It'll be a huge turnaround year for a team that went 12-20 last year.
No more Ron Baker or Fred Van Vleet, but the Shockers should still be the class of the Missouri Valley. Van Vleet is a Shockers legend, but his replacement at the point, Landry Shamet, can do some things athletically Van Vleet could not.
San Diego State has the stingiest defense and deepest roster in the Mountain West, and Trey Kell is one of the three best players in the league. Parrish likes Nevada, in large part because of the coaching of Eric Musselman and the fact the Wolf Pack boast a legit NBA talent in Cameron Oliver.
Tough call here, but if Wagner wins out and makes the NCAA Tournament, Bashir Mason, one of the best young mid-major coaches, will be on the short list for a lot of good jobs. But remember, Fairleigh Dickinson made an unlikely run into the Dance last year and they return everyone.
Belmont's Evan Bradds is a favorite to repeat as conference player of the year, and this is a really stable unit. Count on a lot of consistent, efficient offense. Bonus points for alum Ian Clark breaking out in a solid bench role for the Golden State Warriors this year.
Legit 1-seed, Final Four type team. Dillon Brooks will be in the National Player of the Year conversation, as he should be. Oregon hoops doesn't get talked about a lot, getting lost in the West Coast time zone and amid the national shadow of its football program. But this team is for real.
Lehigh hasn't made the NCAA Tournament since Portland Trail Blazers star C.J. McCollum was on the roster, but they're a good bet to go dancing this year. They went 13-5 in conference last year and return four starters, including Tim Kempton and his 17 ppg.
Big surprise, Kentucky is loaded. Five five-star recruits. According to DraftExpress, UK has more projected NBA Draft picks than the rest of the SEC combined. We picked freshman Malik Monk as our SEC Player of the Year, De'Aaron Fox is stud point guard and Bam Adebayo could very well go top three in the NBA Draft. The SEC isn't really even a question. As is the case every year with Kentucky under John Calipari, it's only about a national title, and the Wildcats will certainly be in the mix for Calipari's second one of those in Lexington.
Texas Southern is probably a bigger conference favorite than even Kentucky or Kansas. They might be the clearest conference favorite in the nation, to be honest. Nobody really comes close to the Tigers in the SWAC. The defense is stout and Derrick Griffin -- who was dismissed from the Texas Southern football team for not showing up on time, after already being suspended for the same thing, but remains basketball eligible -- is a stud.
Another split here for East Tennessee State and Chattanooga. ETSU brings in Tevin Glass from Wichita State, Hanner Mosquera-Perea from Indiana, and T.J. Cromer's already a stud at the mid-major level. Chattanooga, meanwhile, returns four starters from a team that won 29 games last year. This will be tight.
For Sam Houston State, it's all about Aurimas Majauskas and Dakarai Henderson, who will account for a huge part, probably in the neighborhood of 40 percent, of the scoring. Jerry Palm likes Stephen F. Austin in his first Bracketology projections, but admits it won't be easy.
South Dakota State's Mike Daum, a sophomore, is the best player in the conference and a legitimate NBA prospect after basically being discovered as a Division I player by accident. It's a great story, and it could be the same for the Jackrabbits this year -- though the Mastodons of Fort Wayne, who we have positioned as one of 10 potential Cinderellas this year, will clearly have something to say about that.
UT-Arlington was 24-11 a year ago and it has the Sun Belt's best player in Kevin Hervey, who is a fringe NBA prospect. Georgia State is a 20-win team that returns a lot while adding Indiana transfer Jeremy Hollowell, who should perform right away. The Sun Belt could have two of the best 100 teams in America.
New Mexico State coach Paul Weir has big shoes to fill after Marvin Menzies left for UNLV, but our majority still says the Aggies get it done in the WAC.
West Coast Conference
We've got Saint Mary's as the 13th best team in the country in our 1-351 rankings. That may sound high, but the Gaels return a starting five that started every game last year and won 29 games. That kind of consistency and production is nearly impossible to come by in today's age. The problem for Saint Mary's? We've got Gonzaga as the 14th best team in the country.