Ranking every college basketball team from No. 1 to 353 for 2019-20 and an interesting fact on every team
Matt Norlander's annual extravaganza of looking at all 353 teams is back for the 2019-20 season
I don't run from my issues, I embrace them. Yes, I have a problem. Every October, as my family has come to expect and dread, I can't stop ranking college basketball teams. As in, every single one of them. Three-hundred-and-fifty-freaking-three. I consult the data, check rosters, check in with coaches, rank and re-rank and then re-rank another 50-or-so times. It's wacko. I love it.
So here I am again for you, college hoops fan, to help guide you along the way of the 2019-20 season. While there are ever-valuable metrics out there that have assorted all 353 teams in college basketball, this is the only place you'll find all 353 in order based on fallible human research and inner-monologue doubt -- with written capsules for each, in an easily readable and reliable location!
And I always take a few chances. With so many teams, accurate predictions for 32 leagues is impossible. So you'll find a few schools slotted well higher or lower than they're positioned elsewhere. I spent the past month building this, and since this ranking is already long enough, I won't waste any more of your time. Enjoy the annual 1-353 rankings, then come find me on Twitter (@MattNorlander) and we'll chat about it.
|You won't find anyone with a different team in the preseason No. 1 spot. The Spartans debuted Monday at No. 1 in the AP Top 25 for the first time in program history. Coming off a Final Four showing, the biggest reason for MSU's positioning above all others is the fact it returns the borderline-consensus preseason pick for national player of the year, Cassius Winston. But the emergence of Xavier Tillman and then growth of Aaron Henry sets up MSU to have as much strength, length, athleticism, veteran savvy and offensive creativity and integrity as any team in America. There is a snag, though: Josh Langford's foot injuries won't go away. That's a major downer; reports say he's not expected to be back until January at the earliest. Still, the Spartans set up as the best team if/when he's healthy. Maybe this team doesn't win a national title, but it's hard to make a case for any other club to be No. 1 before we tip off the season.|
|The Jayhawks have a big man (Udoka Azubuike) and a point guard (Devon Dotson) who could end up as first- and/or second-team All-Americans. The return/eligibility of Silvio De Sousa is significant, plus there will a sneaky-good addition in Iowa transfer Isaiah Moss, who I think will average nearly 15 points. Ochai Agbaji is the guy who hasn't received much attention, but I like Kansas at No. 2 because of Agbaji's breakout potential. A postseason ban could be on the table for 2021 for KU hoops, so I expect this team to be demonstrative and to play without mercy as frequently as their opponents allow.|
|This season's Kentucky squad isn't receiving as much prevalent preseason praise as plenty of previous squads under John Calipari, but I love the fact that UK returns two backcourt players, which is obviously uncommon for Cal. Ashton Hagans, maybe a top-10 defender in college hoops, and Immanuel Quickley, who is going to irrefutably be better, give UK good strength and tempo in the backcourt. In comes a firecracker, Tyrese Maxey, who I believe will be the team's best player. Up front, more experience returns in the form of EJ Montgomery and Nick Richards. Plus, former Bucknell big man Nate Sestina is in the mix and could prove pivotal. Defensively, things look stout. This is not a super-flashy team, but the floor is extremely high for this group and the ceiling is winning the national title.|
|Without Cole Anthony, there would be zero case to have UNC as a top-15 team. Fortunately, Anthony is set to be a volume-heavy player who could well put up a Trae Young-lite stat line for a Heels team that lost its top five scorers from last season, the first time that's ever happened to a Roy Williams-coached Tar Heels team. Garrison Brooks is the only returning starter, but two transfers, Christian Keeling (Charleston Southern) and Justin Pierce (William & Mary), could keep UNC's offense from dropping too far off in pace and efficiency. Ultimately, though, it's all about Anthony, who could be the sport's most discussed player by mid-January.|
|By belief, and not by contrarian design, you'll find a number of teams throughout these rankings that are either ranked higher or lower than pretty much anywhere else you look. Maryland's one of those. I'm still a believer in Anthony Cowan, despite the fact he's not truly tapped into his potential the past two seasons. Jalen Smith could take a leap so big this season, he winds up playing himself into the 2020 draft's top 10. In January, freshman big Chol Marial could/should factor in. Defensive stalwart Darryl Morsell returns, too. Terps fans, it's been a long time since your team was assembled with this much talent and experience. No school in history has been No. 2 in the AP Poll for more weeks (26) and yet never been No. 1 than Maryland. Can this be the year?|
|The Gators got Kerry Blackshear Jr. and set themselves up for a big-time season in Mike White's fifth season with the program. Blackshear will be set up by Andrew Nembhard, a low-blood-pressure point guard who has length and headiness. Noah Locke and Keyontae Johnson are sophomores, and they'll be bolstered by a pair of alluring freshmen, Scottie Lewis and Tre Mann. Look for a huge year-over-year jump for UF, which was a No. 10 seed in the 2019 NCAA Tournament. For the first time since Billy Donovan was coaching in Gainesville will square up with Kentucky for the crown of the SEC.|
|Credit to David Teel of the Daily Press for discovering this interesting factoid: Virginia is going to be the first reigning champ in men's D-I hoops to open the season on the road in 52 years. UVA plays at Syracuse on Nov. 6, and the ACC intra-league matchup is happening as means to bring attention and celebration to the dawning of the ACC Network. Now, UVA at No. 7? Yeah, that feels pretty close to right. Sure, the program is losing three players to early NBA Draft entry for the first time in its history, but this is Virginia and it's still got arguably the best coach going in the sport. Jay Huff, Kihei Clark, Braxton Key and Mamadi Diakite all return, all players that logged significant minutes a season ago. And until UVA shows it can take a big step back regardless of who's on the roster, I'll be ranking the Wahoos in the preseason top 10 every season going forward until they fail to finish as a top-10 team by season's end.|
|Mark Few has earned the benefit of the doubt; he did around a decade ago. The Zags are a Final Four contender yet again, most notably because Killian Tillie opted to return. Without him, Gonzaga might be borderline top 25, as the Bulldogs have fewer returning minutes than any other team in the CBS Sports Top 25 (and 1). Admon Gilder is the transfer to note in Spokane after a solid stint with Texas A&M. I love this freshman of theirs, Drew Timme, who will rate as a top-15 player in college hoops if he's there two years from now. Corey Kispert is the breakout name to know. This team will need time to jell and strengthen, but I'd be surprised if Gonzaga wasn't as good as any No. 2 or No. 3 seed by Selection Sunday.|
|Junior Jordan Nwora was chosen as the ACC Preseason Player of the Year. Here's what's crazy: Louisville hasn't had a player win a postseason POY in its own conference since 1993-94, when the Cards were in the Metro and Clifford Rozier did it. For as talented as Nwora is, Louisville rates as a top-10 team to me because it should have as strong of a seven-man rotation as almost any other team in the top 10. Look for Saint Joseph's transfer Lamarr Kimble to be the X-factor. Steven Enoch will play off the bench, but I'm not sure that will be the case by league play. He'll battle with Malik Williams for that spot. Both players give Louisville a needed length presence and plenty of room to grow as high-level rebounders.|
|I actually debated slotting the Blue Devils around No. 13 or 14, but heading into the season it's hard for me to make a case they can be any lower than No. 10 or 11. Tre Jones will have a lot of responsibility and expectation -- he's merely a sophomore, you know -- to guide a freshman-laden team to the top of the ACC. Duke hasn't finished atop the league standings in a decade, yet was picked to win the ACC yet again. The newbies are Vernon Carey Jr. at C, Matthew Hurt at PF, Cassius Stanley at SG and Wendell Moore at SF. Alex O'Connell, Jack White and Javin DeLaurier will also get minutes. This should be a deeper team, but those freshman pieces look a little incongruent, at least when compared against the teams listed above Duke here. Jones is going to have to be a top-three defender and probably account for 30 points between shots and assists in order to have Duke get a No. 1 seed yet again.|
|Chris Clarke left Virginia Tech and will have a chance to shine playing for Chris Beard, fresh off that national title game loss to Virginia. The Red Raiders have never been in this position before. Last season was the best in school history. TTU isn't normally given the benefit of the doubt when multiple good players depart. Beard has changed that. It would be a borderline shock of TTU isn't top-25 material yet again. Davide Moretti's 92.4% free-throw percentage is highest among all returning players in D-I. Jahmi'us Ramsey's the freshman to know. Kyler Edwards will be the breakout star. Red Raiders have become must-watch material, which wasn't true for 98% of their existence.|
|No coach at a new spot inherits a better situation this season than 45-year-old John Brannen, who bumped up from Northern Kentucky to UC after Mick Cronin left his alma mater to take the UCLA job. Brannen will have a potential All-American in senior tweener Jarron Cumberland (18.8 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 3.6 apg, 38.8% 3-point shooting). Cumberland will probably put up gaudy enough stats that, if UC can be a top-15 team (I'm probably higher on Cincinnati than anyone else in national media), he'll have a chance at national player of the year. The Bearcats should have a nice blend of size, shooting, depth and a jolt from Brannen's system/style.|
|The Tigers are the most interesting team in college basketball this season. No one really knows how good Penny Hardaway and the No. 1-ranked recruiting class of 2019 will be. Might be a No. 1 seed. Might be a No. 8 seed. I'll lean closer to the former, but hesitate against crowning this group in advance of seeing them play a game. James Wiseman should be a top-five pick come June, but what of Boogie Ellis, Precious Achiuwa, Damion Baugh and D.J. Jeffries? And do you realize that NINE players on this roster have freshman designation? What a fascinating experiment this will be.|
|I'll buy Ohio State at a bargain. D.J. Carton could be the most utilized freshman in the Big Ten. Kaleb Wesson is probably the best post player in the league. Luther Muhammad is the best Big Ten guard you don't know about. Plus, Chris Holtmann's proven his coaching chops at this point. He's won 20 or more games six seasons straight despite doing that at three schools and with a lot of unexpected roster issues along the way in most of those seasons. Here, 69% of the team's minutes return, which is nice. The Buckeyes have potential to boast a top-10 defense in the sport.|
|Here's the first 'whoa-whoa-whoa' ranking. Yes, I have the Providence Freakin' Friars this high. I think the top of the Big East could wind up being shared by PC, Villanova and Seton Hall. Ed Cooley's coaching credibility increases by the season, and a season after missing the NCAAs for the first time since 2013, I think PC is going to ricochet right back to national relevancy. Alpha Diallo is a top-50 player in college hoops, and the roster isn't shy on confidence. UMass grad transfer Luwane Pipkins might be a top-100 player in college basketball, too; he'll run point, and be a big upgrade after last season. Nate Watson, A.J. Reeves, David Duke and Maliek White fill out a top-six that I think is the best in the Big East.|
|The Ducks, who lured in the No. 4-rated recruiting class of 2019, narrowly edged Colorado and Washington in the Pac-12's preseason poll, but I think they'll prove to definitely be better than those two teams. Oregon has one of the three most valuable players in the conference -- point guard Payton Pritchard -- and will introduce some fascinating new talent. N'Faly Dante (eligibility in question to start the season) is a lengthy freshman center who could become a top-10 player in the league. Fellow frosh C.J. Walker should show tempting flashes. UNLV transfer Shakur Juiston is probably a top-five transfer in the sport this season. The Ducks will be dangerous if their lack of depth isn't an issue.|
|The Wildcats are going to watch Saddiq Bey pop, Collin Gillespie make the leap, Jermaine Samuels round out into one of the best third options in the Big East -- and see Cole Swider emerge as a 3-point threat. VU also has two nice freshman talents in Bryan Antoine and Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, but injury issues with Antoine will force him to miss the start of the season and thus have me slotting Jay Wright's team behind Providence. Nova landed the No. 5 overall recruiting class, but Wright's not one to lean so heavily on freshmen.|
|The Boilermakers lose a top-five player in program history in Carsen Edwards, but they return three top-100 players in college basketball: Matt Haarms, Trevion Williams and Nojel Eastern. Plus, an interesting transfer plug-and-play guy in Jahaad Proctor (19.5 ppg at High Point), who will definitely eat up some of those shots Edwards was taking the past two seasons. Purdue should wind up having a deeper roster this season as well. I'd be surprised if Evan Boudreaux and Sasha Stefanovic don't get a lot of run and keep Purdue's offense humming. For the second time in his tenure, Matt Painter will have Purdue dancing for a sixth straight season. |
|Going forward, coaches know that getting a team that returns all five starters will be a once-in-a-decade thing, (if THAT) given the prolific number of transfers, the nature of graduation and just how many players are committing to leaving college early to pursue professional opportunities. Davidson's got all five back this season, though, and I don't see how anyone can keep a 24-win team from a season ago outside the preseason top 25. A four-guard lineup featuring Kellan Grady (17.3 ppg) and Atlantic 10 Player of the Year Jon Axel Gudmundsson (16.9 ppg, 7.3 rpg). This is Bob McKillop's 31st season at Davidson. This will be one of the five best teams of his tenure.|
|Unless you're a Bears fan, you probably don't realize how good Tristan Clark (14.4 ppg, 72.1 FG%) is. He required knee surgery in January and missed the team's last 20 games. Baylor's somehow managed to go 39-29 the past two seasons in spite of losing six players to injury, eligibility or transfer. Scott Drew's done a great job, and if its health is good all season long, Baylor should be a top-three in the Big 12. Clark will have Jared Butler -- No. 99 in our top 101 list; Clark is 19th -- plus a key transfer from Auburn, Davion Mitchell. Undersized Mark Vital (14th in OReb%) is one of the best rebounders in college hoops. Baylor's 11 a.m. local tip on Nov. 5 vs. Central Arkansas will be the first game of the 2019-20 season.|
|Buying a lot of Arizona stock heading into the season. Sean Miller's program won't be dinged until 2020-21, and Nico Mannion might be one of the five or six best point guards in the sport this season. Fellow frosh Josh Green, who may well turn into a 2020 first-rounder, is a top-100 player. The addition of UC Irvine grad transfer Max Hazzard makes this team all the more appealing. The only backcourt maybe better than Arizona's in the Pac-12 is up in Boulder, Colorado. Not Final Four hopefuls, but I expect the Wildcats to easily land a single-digit seed after a season away from the NCAA Tournament.|
|If senior point guard Marcus Evans remains healthy, VCU is going to be back in a spot where it's vying for top-five seeding, which happened in back-to-back years in 2013 and '14. The Rams have depth, should be a top-10-level defensive team and will fight with Davidson atop a much improved Atlantic 10. It's good to see the A-10 back in the mix with one of its three most important programs built to win 25-plus games.|
|The energy still emanating from this photo has me concerned I've underrated the Hall and that the Pirates are set to have their best season in 20-plus years. Myles Powell is a preseason NPOY candidate, but SHU has more than just him. Four starters return, and this is one of the tallest teams in college hoops. The Big East is going to be real good this season, kiddos.|
|Sam Merrill's shooting line last season: 90.6 FT%,52.9 FG%, 36.9 3-pt%. There were only two other players in college hoops who shot at least 89/52/36: Texas Tech's Davide Moretti and Northeastern's Jordan Roland. Merrill was the best player in the Mountain West last season, but he'll have a key component back in power forward Neemias Queta, who was one of the most surprising freshmen last season. Craig Smith has USU nationally relevant -- and he's going to be the coaching face of his conference in only his second season on the job.|
|Since Shaka Smart arrived in Austin, UT has rated 306, 212, 316 and 320 in adjusted tempo, according to KenPom. Just a hunch, but I think the Longhorns force the pace much more this season. Will Baker is the freshman to know; he's a center who was a four-star recruit, someone who's likely to be the latest big man to thrive under Smart. Point guard Matt Coleman will start out as the team's best player, but if it's Jericho Sims by the time March gets here, I wouldn't be stunned. Pivotal season ahead for Smart, who knows a strong season will keep him in Austin.|
|Mike Brey isn't happy with me, as I'm driving the Notre Dame bus and think the Irish will cruise to an NCAA bid. This team was 14-19 last season but it's the only ACC gang returning all five starters, and as far as I can tell, has three of the 20 best players in the league: John Mooney, Prentiss Hubb, T.J. Gibbs. Rex Pfleuger returns for one more go of it. Sophomore Nate Laszewski is the man in the middle. I'd be stunned if Notre Dame didn't win 20 games minimum.|
|There's not many 7-3 guys in college basketball, but Saint Mary's has one in Aaron Menzies, who will team up with ultra-shifty point guard Jordan Ford to give the Gaels a great shot at making their eighth Big Dance under Randy Bennett. The nonconference schedule looks good enough. And I'm telling you, make the time to watch Ford do his thing. He's impossible for most defenders to stay in front of.|
|I do worry a bit when I think I'm optimistic on Wisconsin's big-picture standing in the sport, think about what the team was last season -- when it was good, not great -- and realize it nevertheless finished 16th at KenPom. But when you lose a top-three player in program history in Ethan Happ, I've gotta dock some points. The most tragic story of the offseason was UW assistant Howard Moore losing his wife and daughter and dog in a car accident, while he and his son survived. Moore is taking the season off, and our best is sent to him and his loved ones. D'Mitrik Trice, who has a wonderful feel for the game and gives Wisconsin good long-range variety, should step in as the MVP of the Badgers.|
|The Tigers rated as a top-20 KenPom team for the entirety of 2018-19. With the losses of Jared Harper, Chuma Okeke and Bryce Brown, I have to drop the club. But perhaps this senior season will be a massive one for Austin Wiley, who's going to team up with Danjel Purifoy to give Auburn one of the stronger frontcourts in the SEC. One lingering Q: will Auburn be hit with a Notice of Allegations at some point this season?|
|The Wolfpack make six teams in my top 30. The ACC has a strong chance to usurp the Big 12 as the best league in college basketball as long as it's top four teams can land top four seeds and it's bottom four teams can be in the hunt for the NIT. (Wait, I just remembered NC State scored 24 points in an entire game. At home. In 2019.) OK, so State has Markell Johnson, who I think will be the third-best guard in the conference this season, joined by guards Braxton Beverly, Devon Daniels and Blake Harris. D.J. Funderburk -- oh, what a name! -- is an important frontcourt piece. He just needs to work on paying parking tickets, evidently.|
|Ninety-five percent of the team's scoring is back from last season. Credit to Tad Boyle for building such a strong roster and continually cultivating NBA talent. He wants McKinley Wright IV for two more seasons, of course, but I can't see how that happens. Wright should be in the mix for Pac-12 Player of the Year and can be the guiding force to getting Colorado its best NCAA tourney seed ever under Boyle. (Their highest is a No. 8 seed.)|
|The Coogs have sold out their season-tickets allotment -- for the first time in 20 years -- and it's on account that this team should be top-three quality in the AAC. I have that much faith in Kelvin Sampson's program, which lost big pieces off a 33-4 team but should see DeJon Jarreau step into the light. Plus, Quentin Grimes was approved for a waiver, which is of major consequence in a good way.|
|Nate Oats replaces Avery Johnson as coach, but sophomore point guard Kira Lewis is the most important short-term member of this team. Lewis is my top nomination for a Ja Morant-type frosh-to-soph leap. With Lewis back (thanks in part to Oats convincing him), Alabama can realistically hope for the NCAAs in a season in which a new coach was hired, which is not normally the case.|
|Tyrese Haliburton is the national breakout player to know. He was spectacular playing for USA Basketball over the summer. He had a 136.8 ORtg at KenPom last season, third-best in the country, and is a top-five point guard in America. Not getting nearly enough pub heading into November.|
|It's been more than a decade since hopes were this high in Champaign. Brad Underwood begins his third season with the Illini and has four notable talents who should get Illinois to the NCAA Tournament: sophomore guard Ayo Dosunmu (likely first round pick), sophomore PF Giorgi Bezhanishvili, junior guard Trent Frazier and freshman Kofi Cockburn. Welcome back to the table, Illinois.|
|The 2018-19 season was a down year for the Big East. Xavier's bounce-back season will be a microcosm for that league's overall uptick. Naji Marshall is the best player you don't know enough about, plus Paul Scruggs and Tyrique Jones are back and all the better. Key transfer: Ohio's Jason Carter. Muskies feel like a No. 9 seed to me.|
|There are three NCAA tourney-level teams coming out of the A-10. Welcome back, Flyers. Obi Toppin is one of the 50 best players in college hoops. He shot 66.6% last season, fourth-best in college basketball and the highest rate of any returning player. Dayton's a do-it-down-low type of team, the increasingly uncommon squad that wins by scoring 15 feet and in.|
|One of 60 schools with a coaching change, but no coaching hire was a bigger deal than Juwan Howard returning to Ann Arbor to replace John Beilein. Howard will have a steep curve to learn -- he's never coached in college -- but thankfully he gets one season of one of the toughest defenders in college hoops: senior point guard Zavier Simpson. I'm lower on UM than most, and think it's right on the cut line for the NCAA Tournament come Selection Sunday. Franz Wagner's wrist injury to start the season hurts the cause.|
|Some believe the Crimson have a great chance to break into the AP Top 25 this season. That will largely depend on the team's November play, but the combo of Seth Towns and Bryce Aiken have some Ivy honks expecting this season's squad to be among the four or five best groups of the past 20 years in the conference.|
|The Tigers received an important commitment in the spring from Trendon Watford, a five-star power forward who will help LSU keep up with a lot of talented teams in the SEC. Skylar Mays is back, as is Javonte Smart, he of the alleged "strong-ass offer." Will Wade remains coach. LSU will have its biggest question at point guard; Tremont Waters left after two seasons to chase an NBA career.|
|Few programs will have to press on this season and do so while looking to replace two of the 10 best players in program history. That's what Admiral Schofield and Grant Williams meant to Tennessee. You might not realize the strides Jordan Bowden and Lamonte Turner have made, though. UT won't consistently be in the top 25, but it's going to beat a handful of good teams and still be a tough out. Is an Yves Pons breakout season coming? He's an athletic freak.|
|Trent Forrest and M.J. Walker will star for the Seminoles, who have the fourth-best record of any ACC program in the past five seasons. The Noles aren't as big as they were last season but still look like a top-three athletic team in the conference.|
|The Huskies could be as strong as second or at worst fourth in the Pac-12 this season. A pair of ultra-talented freshmen will decide how high the Huskies go: slender wing Jaden McDaniels and boulder-shouldered Isaiah Stewart. You scan across the top 50 here and it's easy to see how college hoops should be stronger than normal in that grouping.|
|This is a big jump ahead for the Mountaineers, who were forgettable last season but are expected by every Big 12 coach to take massive strides. Power forward Derek Culver is now the BMOC in Morgantown, but I think freshman Oscar Tshiebwe will shine early. The Mountaineers bring back four starters. Bob Huggins teams are almost never bad in back-to-back seasons.|
|For the first time in more than a decade, Georgetown is going to not only be fun to watch but also a true threat to win at least 85% of its games. James Akinjo and Mac McClung are a top-three entertaining and hard-nosed backcourt. Omer Yurtseven steps into the middle and, if he can play with confidence, will have the Hoyas close to making the NCAA Tournament.|
|Do you remember that K-State finished tied atop the Big 12 last season with Texas Tech? Feels like TTU is going to get long-term credit for that, but Bruce Weber's team went 25-9 and got a No. 4 seed. The two most important players who return: Xavier Sneed and Cartier Diarra, each fun and fantastic in their own right.|
|Gregg Marshall's team is gonna win a few this season it probably shouldn't. The Shockers don't have a star, but they'll be as hard-nosed defensively as any club in the AAC. With the right schedule breaks, the Shockers can make the NCAAs.|
|Tom Crean landed seven commitments in the Class of 2019 including maybe the best talent out of all of them with Anthony Edwards, a 6-5 power wing who is the highest-ranked recruit in school history. The Dawgs are on my top-10 most interesting/curious teams of 2019-20.|
|The class of the WAC brings back four starters from a 30-win team that lost to Auburn in one of the craziest games of the NCAA Tournament. A.J. Harris and Terrell Brown could be a top-15 backcourt in America.|
|The Hoosiers lose about 40% of their production from last season, but I still feel as though I'm higher on Archie Miller's team than most. Could have a breakout transfer in Joey Brunk (via Butler), and it wouldn't surprise me if Trayce Jackson-Davis' overall production winds up top-three among Big Ten freshmen. Senior guard Devonte Green should be the best player in cream and crimson.|
|The Hurricanes had a bunch of unfair issues bump up against them last season, resulting in a 14-18 season. The U should flip that record, led by 5-7 Chris Lykes, a doughty point guard who is among the most irresistible players in college hoops.|
|The loss of the Hauser brothers means Marquette takes a big slide, though Markus Howard should compete for national player of the year if MU is in the NCAA tourney picture. Theo John could be the breakout player (he's quite good when he wants to be), and Jayce Johnson is a pivotal 7-foot transfer via Utah. Prove me wrong, MU!|
|The Panthers won six more games last season than the season prior (14, up from eight), and should win at least four more games this season vs. last. Pitt will try to not have 15% of its shots blocked this season, like last, which was the highest rate in college basketball. Combo guard Xavier Johnson was a top-20 freshman in 2018-19. Can he average 17/7/7?|
|Dan Hurley's career record when not accounting for his first season at a new job: 130-67. The Huskies are going to be right near last-four-in/first-four-out territory. Alterique Gilbert is a creative shooting guard. He's owed a season of full health. Hopefully he gets it. UConn'll need it.|
|The Bulls have realistic NCAA Tournament hopes for the first time since 2011-12. USF won 24 games a season ago and returns almost every legitimate minutes-getter. LaQuincy Rideau is possibly a top-20 point guard in America.|
|The Bluejays have witnessed Ty-Shon Alexander (15.7 ppg) emerge into one of the best players in the Big East as the program continues to be one of the more efficient offensive-minded outfits in the conference. Ceiling is third, floor is sixth in the Big East.|
|Say hello to this season's second-best team from a traditional one-bid conference. (Harvard is tops.) Steve Forbes is likely to parlay a terrific Buccaneers season into a power-conference job come late March 2020. (He's earned it.) ETSU could be this year's Wofford: dominant SoCon team, enough to swipe a single-digit seed.|
|Well, I'm torn on Syracuse. On paper, this team probably has no right being a top-60 squad. Elijah Hughes is the team's best player and more than 50% of the Orange's production from last season is gone. But Jim Boeheim's had teams sorta like this in years past that have overachieved. Plus, Buddy Boeheim's apparently made a big jump.|
|If Iowa had been able to hold on to Isaiah Moss and Tyler Cook, it would be a borderline preseason top 25 team. The Hawkeyes do have an overlooked talent in sophomore Joe Wieskamp, who should hit approximately 45% of his 3-pointers from the small forward position.|
|Will Wake Forest be good enough to save Danny Manning's job? I don't believe so. But Chaundee Brown, your moment is now. The combo of Brown and Brandon Childress will be a genuine assignment headache for most teams that face the Demon Deacons this season. Wake can be an erratic-yet-fun team.|
|Maybe the strongest preseason favorite in any mid- or low-major league? The Flames made the NCAAs last season as a No. 12 seed and return probably the two best players in the A-Sun: Caleb Homesley and Scottie James.|
|Salient backcourt mates Breein Tyree and Devontae Shuler return, but Terence Davis graduated. The big metric/gauge game will come Nov. 23, when the Rebels play at Memphis. A win there would throw both those teams' outlook into new jet streams.|
|The Trojans are going to be near the at-large cut-line again, but watch out for freshman Onyeka Okongwu, who will be a secret outside of the league until about late November. Nick Rakocevic is a multifaceted power forward who is a top-three big man in the Pac-12.|
|Led by Remy Martin, Taeshon Cherry, Romello White, and Kimani Lawrence. If everything clicks, I could have the Sun Devils 25 spots too low. Looks like a fun team yet again. ASU opens up the season on Nov. 8 in Shanghai against in-league opponent Colorado as part of the Pac-12's push in that country, which takes on interesting new subplots given all that's happened with the NBA.|
|Mike Boynton's currently trying to land the best recruiting class in OSU history, which would be led by Cade Cunningham (2020). For the season ahead, the Pokes shouldn't be undervalued too much: they return all five starters. Interesting 18 months ahead for the Cowboys and that fan base.|
|Gavin Baxter's potential season-ending shoulder injury bumps BYU down about 10 spots for me. Plus, no Yoeli Childs (top-30 player in college hoops) to start the season due to a controversial, if not needless, nine-game suspension tied to NBA Draft paperwork. Mark Pope is the new coach, replacing the beloved Dave Rose, who won 348 games in 14 seasons there.|
|Probably No. 8 in the Big East pecking order, and yet Kamar Baldwin could be a top-25 player in the game. Sean McDermott (40.6 3-pt%) being back is big, but losing Joey Brunk to transfer leaves a void. Their nonconference schedule is too tough for how thin the roster is.|
|Fortunately, the Rams still roster one of the most beautiful names of the past decade in college basketball, Fatts Russell. Thing is, Jeff Dowtin is the big-time scorer, and those two give URI fans hope they can keep the program on the steady and compete in the back end of the at-large pool for the NCAA Tournament. Maryland, Alabama, LSU, Providence, West Virginia and Western Kentucky are all on the schedule. Talk about your opportunities.|
69. Missouri State: Could be a powerhouse at the mid-major level, thanks to a bevy of big-time transfers, led by former West Virginia PF Lamont West.
70. Texas A&M: It's hard to see A&M staying down for long under Buzz Williams, but this season should be NIT-level for a group that brings back plenty but was not even NIT-good in '18-19.
71. Oklahoma: Not sold on the Sooners being a top-half team in the Big 12. Brady Manek, Kristian Doolittle and Jamal Bieniemy are the power trio here. Lon Kruger's made the NCAAs in six of his eight seasons in Norman.
72. Rutgers: Steve Pikiell has Rutgers at a truly respectable level -- having gone from 135 to 130 to 73 in the KenPom rankings in his time there -- and will rise yet again this season.
73. Boise State: The "unluckiest" team in 2018-19, per KenPom. Junior F Derrick Alston is a flyah with a scoring gene that's reliable and potent almost every night.
74. Penn State: The Nittany Lions have a top-25 player in Lamar Stevens (19.9 ppg, 7.7 rpg), but this was a 14-18 team last season with a bumpy offense. I'm an uncommon seller on PSU this season. We'll see.
75. Mississippi State: The most overlooked quality freshman of 2018-19 was Reggie Perry, who could vault into top-five player status in the SEC if he's able to get MSU into the top seven of the league.
76. Vermont: The Catamounts were a No. 13 seed last season, return potential NBA pick Anthony Lamb and should win 27-ish games for the fourth straight season.
77. Clemson: Brad Brownell is loose, perhaps coyly confident, despite losing a lot of production from a season ago. Big transfer addition in former Alabama guard Tevin Mack.
78. Oregon State: To me, the Beavers are one of the most mysterious power-conference teams. I like Tres Tinkle a lot and think Ethan Thompson should shine, but beyond that I still have doubts about the roster vs. what the rest of the Pac-12 presents.
79. Minnesota: I love me some Daniel Oturu, the Gophers' sophomore stretch power forward who can mold himself into an NBA player.
80. UCLA: The Bruins are a wild card. I'm ranking them low out of expectation that Mick Cronin's style will need a little time to adjust to the players on this roster, and vice versa, but making the NCAAs wouldn't stun me at all. Cronin gets there way more often than not.
81. Western Kentucky: Last season was a bumpy disappointment, and you can't help but wonder if it's because of all the comings and goings of transfers. Still, Charles Bassey is on the roster and WKU would seem to be the best in Conference USA. But we said that last year.
82. Missouri: Plenty of bodies return from a 15-17 team that didn't get to the foul line much and turned the ball over more than any team in the SEC.
83. SMU: The Ponies have some adaptable pieces, but I can't see them keeping up with the top half of the AAC this season.
84. San Diego State: Transfer culture has its grip on SDSU, which will lean mostly on newcomers KJ Feagin (Santa Clara), Malachi Flynn (Washington State) and Trey Pulliam (JUCO).
85. San Francisco: Todd Golden will try to keep USF relevant and defensively efficient in the WCC after Kyle Smith took the ultra-difficult Washington State job.
86. South Carolina: The Gamecocks finished tied for fourth in the SEC. The only NCAA tourney showing for Frank Martin at South Carolina came in 2017, the year the Gamecocks made it to the Final Four.
87. DePaul: Charlie Moore (via Cal, then Kansas) getting a waiver to play to team up with Jalen Coleman-Lands in the backcourt is going to keep DePaul from finishing last in the Big East for a fourth straight season.
88. St. Bonaventure: Nine Bonnies are freshmen or sophomores, making Mark Schmidt's assembly the wild card of the Atlantic 10.
89. Georgia Tech: The ACC's mercurial hive, because the Yellow Jackets were put on a 2020 postseason ban, but the school is appealing. No telling the motivation of a team in this circumstance.
90. New Mexico: Lonely fact: UNM is the most isolated landlocked Division I program in men's D-I. Its closest fellow D-I school is 225 miles away (New Mexico State).
91. Utah: The Utes have suffered too much roster turnover (Donnie Tillman leaving was a sting) to expect anything better than a surprise NIT run this season.
92. UC Irvine: Hard to see the Anteaters failing to win 20 games. This was a 31-6 team a season ago that lost three starters but returns good defensive parts and sharpshooter Evan Leonard.
93. Toledo: The class of the MAC's West division, it sure seems like the Rockets will win north of 20 games for a third straight season.
94. UTSA: The best player in C-USA is either WKU's Charles Bassey or the Roadrunners' Jhivvan Jackson, who averaged 23 points last season and could be a lesser man's Ja Morant this season.
95. Boston College: Point guard Derryck Thornton (Duke, then USC) finishes his career with a team that needs him more than any other he's been on prior.
96. UNC Greensboro: Should have made last season's NCAA Tournament. Still like the roster, including Isaiah Miller (15.3 ppg), maybe the best player in the SoCon and someone who has a higher vertical jump than Zion Williamson.
97. Northwestern: Seems like the Wildcats will turn to A.J. Turner to lead from the small forward spot. Things have stalled in Evanston.
98. Penn: The Quakers seem like the obvious-if-distant second to Harvard this season in the Ivy. Yet: still top-100 good. Conference is strengthening.
99. Temple: Quinton Rose's return will be what allows new coach Aaron McKie to get some much-needed sleep this season. The Owls will scrape for an NIT bid.
100. UCF: Johnny Dawkins wound up staying after being courted for other jobs, which is good for the long-term health of the program.
101. TCU: Desmond Bane is a joy to watch, but the Horned Frogs will not have nearly enough talent or depth to keep pace in the Big 12.
102. Colgate: 2017-18: sets program record, wins 19 games. 2018-19: sets program record, wins 24 games. 2019-20? Fully expect the Raiders to have their best team ever.
103. Arkansas: I'm a heavy seller on Arkansas in the first season under Eric Musselman, mostly because I want to see how five transfers with a new coach in a new spot manage to jell. Isaiah Joe, though, you should know, yo.
104. Virginia Tech: Mike Young has undergone one of the craziest offseasons of his professional life, but give it time because almost no one in the coaching profession believes Young will outright fail at VT. Hokies picked a good one to succeed Buzz Williams.
105. Stanford: The further we get away from the Mike Montgomery era at Stanford, the more incredible it seems. This was a program that once was in the mix for 1 seeds in the NCAA Tournament.
106. Seattle: Jim Hayford is one of the stronger mid/low-major coaches in college hoops. The aged Redhawks should be a force this season.
107. Furman: Splendid guard Jordan Lyons returns for a Paladins gang that rounds out the top of a strong SoCon stable yet again.
108. Loyola Chicago: Junior center Cameron Krutwig -- a throwback personality with a throwback game -- is the only starter left from the 2018 Final Four team.
109. South Alabama: Credit to my CBS colleague Jon Rothstein for providing this nugget in the offseason: South Alabama has five players on its roster who've averaged 14+ points during their careers. Has to be Sun Belt fave.
110. Georgia Southern: We've got some really enticing mid-major programs, as always. The Eagles have a stellar backcourt returning and should be NIT at worst.
111. St. John's: Mike Anderson was as surprising of a hire as maybe almost anyone this past offseason, but he's got a top-60 talent in Mustapha Heron. St. John's should be noticeably different in personnel and style vs. what they looked like the past two (bumpy) seasons.
112. Central Michigan: Keno Davis is in his eighth season with the Chippewas. He has a score-by-committee group that could be the top overachievers in the MAC.
113. Old Dominion: The Monarchs might be the most undervalued mid-major program in America. Win totals the past five seasons: 26, 25, 19, 25, 27.
114. Santa Clara: WCC can/should be stronger this season, and Santa Clara's why. Herb Sendek has four starters back, led by Tahj Eddy and Trey Wertz.
115. Nebraska: Fred Hoiberg can have the Cornhuskers vying for the NCAA Tournament about 16 months from now, but the first season will be rocky with all the changeover and an identity flip from the Tim Miles era. Only one player is back from last season's team!
116. Wright State: How respected is Scott Nagy's team now? Well, not one team from a Major Seven conference agreed to schedule it.
117. Tulsa: I'm oddly confident Tulsa being 117th feels just about perfect. Martins Igbanu has stellar instincts around the rim.
118. Belmont: For the first time since 1986, Belmont will be coached by someone other than the nonpareil Rick Byrd. Fortunately, it's a familiar face: Casey Alexander, a Byrd disciple, left crosstown Lipscomb to lead the Bruins. Nick Muszynski is a beast.
119. Ball State: With nearly 70% of the team's minutes returning, hopes are as high for the Cardinals as they've been in a decade or more.
120. Charleston: The best player in the Colonial plays for the Cougars. His name is Grant Riller, and he's a junior guard who should account for 32-34 points per game.
121. Radford: Clearly sets up as the best the Big South has to offer, thanks to having two of the six or seven best players in the league in their starting backcourt (Carlik Jones, Travis Fields).
122. Grand Canyon: The Lopes now expect to win 20 games each season. They'll do that again in 2019-20 -- but will come up just short once more of winning the WAC auto bid.
123. George Mason: Justin Kier will have the unenviable task of taking over the offense after the graduation of Otis Livingston II, one of the best guards in school history.
124. Bowling Green: Four-team chase in the MAC, alongside Ball State, CMU and Toledo. Guard Justin Turner emerges as a top player in the league.
125. Richmond: The Spiders should more than creep up a few echelons in college hoops, as four starters are expected to average double-digit scoring.
126. Fresno State: Noah Blackwell is a steady hand, a senior PG on a team that defends the 3-point shot well and runs creative actions to get a lot of opportunities from beyond the arc.
127. North Florida: If the Ospreys don't overthrow Liberty, they should get an NIT look because of a terrific senior trio -- Ivan Gandia-Rosa, Wajid Aminu, Garrett Sams -- that should account for 40 points per game.
128. UIC: Per Barttorvik.com, no team returns more minutes year-over-year than the Flames, who bring back 99.4% of production from a season ago, the three players gone all being non-factors.
129. Pepperdine: WCC coaches expect Lorenzo Romar to get Pepperdine in position to be a bubble time by next season, so look for a jump up to above .500 overall in '19-20.
130. Louisiana Tech: DaQuan Bracey is a senior guard, one of the five best players in C-USA, and he'll lead Tech to another strong season. Not good enough to be a favorite, not poor enough to be a sleeper.
131. Northern Iowa: UNI needs to get its act together on both sides of the boards. The Panthers ranked 319th in offensive rebounding last season but were 12th in defensive rebounding -- the greatest disparity in the sport.
132. East Carolina: There are 11 -- 11! -- new faces on the roster, so who knows? Thing is, Jayden Gardner is a boss, and he might post the best stat line in the AAC.
133. Bradley: Can flirt with back-to-back 20-win seasons in large part because of a small guy: senior PG Darrell Brown (14.8 ppg), one of the five best Missouri Valley Conference players.
134. American: Senior PG Sa'eed Nelson, plus a very good 3-point D, gives the Eagles a chance to overthrow Colgate in the Patriot League.
135. Wofford: What a great run that was last season, when the Terriers earned a No. 7 seed. This season, much turnover -- including at coach; welcome Jay McAuley -- means making the NCAAs would be an overachievement.
136. Florida Atlantic: Jailyn Ingram's return from an ACL injury is most critical as the Owls will have a good combo of vets and a better-than-average frosh crop at the mid-major level.
137. Duquesne: A bit stunning: Dukes coach Keith Dambrot has been a mid-major D-I coach since 2004-05 and averaged 23 wins/year in that span.
138. California: It's going to be a rough but promising season, as Mark Fox was about as strong of a coach as Cal could have hired to replace Wyking Jones. The Golden Bears finished a horrid 241st in KenPom last season (after landing 244th the season prior) and should jump significantly.
139. Eastern Washington: The Eagles play small but not so fast, making them one of the more intriguing scouts in the Big Sky.
140. Gardner-Webb: Last season's Big South champ brings back ever-valuable wing Jose Perez, who has an intriguing backcourt to supplement his style.
141. North Dakota State: The overwhelming favorite to win the Summit League, the Bison have a pair of ever-reliable seniors in double-digit scorers Vinnie Shahid (13.1) and Tyson Ward (12.4).
142. Yale: James Jones got a strong look from St. John's but remained in the Ivy League, where Jordan Bruner will see his load strengthen significantly.
143. Kent State: Prototypical balanced, if undersized, MAC team that will peel off a few wins it shouldn't and could be a tourney spoiler.
144. Vanderbilt: One of the five-or-so most interesting programs with a new coach this season is Vandy, which opted to hire Jerry Stackhouse. Nobody has any true idea of if this will work or not, but it'd be a lot of fun if it did.
145. Texas-Arlington: Only Sun Belt team with all five starters back from last season, led by 5-9 senior PG Brian Warren (15.4 ppg).
146. Nevada: Steve Alford got about 100 days free from work for the first time in a very long time, but after his canning from UCLA last New Year's Eve, he emerged as a top target for a Nevada job that looks to keep its pace established by Eric Musselman. Wolf Pack have talent coming back.
147. Green Bay: The most veteran-laden team in the Horizon, so it doubles as the dark horse to win the league, which it last did in the regular season in 2014.
148. Delaware: The Blue Hens will peacock this season, bumping from fifth to second in the Colonial. Martin Ingelsby will have gone from 13 wins to 14 to 17 and, this season, 20 (at least).
149. Bucknell: Will play the odds here. Bucknell's been in the top 160 at KenPom seven of the past 10 seasons.
150. Lipscomb: Lennie Acuff is a highly respected coaching mind; he got the Lipscomb job and beat out some good mid-major names/candidates in the process. Borderline tourney team last season shouldn't fall too far.
151. Murray State: The Racers will suffer a bit -- not just because of the loss of Ja Morant but defensive stalwart Shaq Buchanan as well. Tevin Brown is now the go-to guy.
152. North Texas: From a 16-1 start to a 21-12 finish, the Mean Green saw their offense fall through the floor and were subject to injury issues. They're a tough read for this season.
153. Drake: Darian DeVries was one of the five most impressive first-year coaches last season, driving Drake to a 24-10 mark and second in the MVC.
154. Buffalo: The most dominant season in program history -- by far; the Bulls were 32-4 last season! -- will lead to a huge comedown as Jim Whitesell takes over for outgoing Nate Oats. Buffalo still has some dudes, but winning the MAC will be a tussle.
155. Akron: Top-three defensive team in the MAC, but there are still plenty of questions on how the team can score enough to win 20 games.
156. Sam Houston State: Phil Forte, who was balling out for Oklahoma State in 2017, is an assistant coach for the Bearkats, making him the youngest assistant in college hoops, I believe.
157. Albany: Will Brown has coached at Albany since 2001 and only once has had truly bad teams in back-to-back seasons. So, the Great Danes should bump up in 2019-20.
158. Princeton: The Tigers have their ebbs and flows under Mitch Henderson. Feels like a .500 season in store due to losing four starters.
159. Hofstra: The (narrow) preseason pick to win the Colonial, Hofstra still brings back a lot of firepower despite losing the best scorer in college basketball, Justin Wright-Foreman.
160. Charleston Southern: Phlandrous Fleming, the name of an actual person who plays college basketball very well for the Buccaneers, is why you gotta love college basketball.
161. Coastal Carolina: The rare all-.500 team a season ago, finishing 17-17 overall and 9-9 in the Sun Belt. Only other team to do that was LIU Brooklyn.
162. UC Santa Barbara: Joe Pasternack's much-improved Gauchos, who have the best backcourt in the conference, are the obvious choice to be the team to usurp UC Irvine in the Big West.
163. Washington State: There have only been two good coaches in Wazzu history: Kelvin Sampson and Tony Bennett. Kyle Smith can absolutely become the third. Everything this season will go through C.J. Elleby.
164. South Dakota: The Coyotes will be the challenger to NDSU in the Summit League thanks to having probably the best player in the conference, Stanley Umude, who should average 16-plus points this season.
165. Chattanooga: After 22 wins the past two seasons, the Mocs enter the third season under Lamont Paris expecting .500 or better.
166. Northern Illinois: Senior Eugene German (averages of 20.4 points, 5.2 rebounds) is among the most undervalued players in the country because he's on a team that needs him as much as almost any other team needs any other player.
167. UNLV: T.J. Otzelberger is now the coach, and he's got a grab-bag of a roster in his first season. The Runnin' Rebels will likely top out at 12-13 wins and then emerge in 2020-21.
168. San Diego: Wouldn't surprise me if the Toreros wind up having the best freshman in the WCC this season in Marion Humphrey.
169. Austin Peay: Matt Figger's most talented and deepest team yet can play spoiler in the OVC if Terry Taylor goes Hulk on the league and winds up averaging like 22 and 12, which is possible.
170. FIU: The fastest team in America last season, sprinting to 79.0 possessions per game. Coach Jeremy Ballard, can we get it to 80 this season?
171. Samford: Point guard Josh Sharkey has 541 career assists and has a great shot to finish in the top three in SoCon history.
172. Boston University: Max Mahoney and Walter Whyte sounds like the "Breaking Bad" movie Netflix passed on in favor of "El Camino." They're BU's key to finishing above .500.
173. New Orleans: Mark Slessinger might have the best starting five in the Southland. The only thing holding UNO back is its hesitancy to shoot 3-pointers.
174. Indiana State: Tyreke Key led the Valley in scoring (17.4) -- and he's only a junior! Sycamores' issue is lack of 3-point attack.
175. Brown: Coming off the first 20-win season in program history (!), Mike Martin will likely see his team take a small step back but still have a good enough club to ensure the Ivy League is respectable yet again.
176. Miami (Ohio): Remember, RedHawks is one word. Jack Owens' crew should see a blooming season from fully healthy Isaiah Coleman-Lands.
177. Saint Louis: The Billikens were the shock of the A-10 tourney, winning four straight to get an auto bid. Hasahn French a top-three defender in the league.
178. UMBC: Probably still a top-three team in the America East, the Retrievers can win 20 games if they dodge last season's array of injuries.
179. Cal State Bakersfield: The Roadrunners! Four of the team's five top scorers from a season ago are gone, so now Justin Edler-Davis and Greg Lee step into the light.
180. LIU: Horrendously, they are no longer the Blackbirds and now go by the Sharks because LIU Brooklyn merged operations with LIU Post and they … they just wanted to change the nickname. Change it back.
181. Northern Kentucky: Darrin Horn was the surprise hire for the Norse, who have been a Horizon League power in recent seasons. Tyler Sharpe, Jalen Tate, Dantez Walton all come back.
182. Georgia State: Ron Hunter was too strong a coach to hold on to forever, so now Rob Lanier (Tennessee assistant) is the coach and in charge of a squad that lost its four best players from a 24-10 campaign last season.
183. Jackson State: Center Jayveous McKinnis is probably the most dominant and reliable player in the SWAC.
184. Cal Baptist: Second season in Division I for the Lancers, who went 16-15 last season and bring back more than 85% of the offense.
185. Omaha: Somewhere in middle America, well-rounded Omaha brings back one of the best double-double guys in the Summit League, Matt Pile.
186. George Washington: Jamion Christian's career has ascended rapidly after going from Mount St. Mary's to Siena to GW in a three-season span. Now he'll need to overhaul an offense that ranked 321st last season.
187. Hawaii: Tall team! Three 7-footers, but it's 6-8 senior Zigmars Raimo who could wind up being the most improved player in the Big West.
188. NJIT: One of the best on-ball defenders in mid-major hoops is Zach Cooks. He also scores at a high clip (17.6) and rebounds well (4.8).
189. Colorado State: Nico Carvacho led the NCAA in rebounding last season (12.9) and had 22 double-doubles, second-most in the sport.
190. Winthrop: Pat Kelsey stays at Winthrop after flirting with the Northern Kentucky opening -- and he'll have a fun, 3-point-shooting club again. Remind me in a year to bring up Adonis Arms, who is a redshirt transfer.
191. Northeastern: The reigning Colonial champs have critical redshirt senior Jordan Roland back and also employ maybe the most respected tactical mind/coach in the conference, Bill Coen.
192. Illinois State: So many new faces for the Redbirds this season, but league coaches should beware of freshman Abdou Ndiaye, who could wind up being first team All-MVC.
193. Weber State: Jerrick Harding, who could end up top-three all-time in Big Sky scoring, is the latest pro prospect to come out of Ogden, Utah.
194. Tulane: Ron Hunter will probably get Tulane to its first NCAA Tournament in eons, but it's going to take a few years. The Green Wave bring back just one starter. Oh, Ron, you wanted to say something?
195. UMass Lowell: Josh Gantz got waiver clearance to play one more season, allowing the River Hawks to enter the convo for upper echelon status in the America East.
196. UMass: Oh, the rivalry is ON! UMass Lowell edges out the Minutemen and the Pilgrim State is coming apart at the seams!
197. Lehigh: The Mountain Hawks rated No. 1 in 3-point shooting last season, hitting 42.3%. With the new extended 3-point line, don't expect any team to crack the 41% threshold.
198. UTEP: Keep an eye out for Fresno State transfer Bryson Williams and sophomore Efe Odigie, who should grow into getting UTEP up to the top three of C-USA next season.
199. Iona: Seventy-seven percent of minutes return from last season for Tim Cluess' team. Cluess not getting a bigger job is one of the true mysteries in college hoops.
200. Western Carolina: Wasn't stung by transfers despite a bad season. One of maybe six or seven teams with a great chance to double its win total (seven) from 2018-19.
201. Hampton: You best believe Jermaine Marrow is on our list of the top 101 players in the country. The Big South's best player needs to play 34 games and average 30 points to get to 3,000 for his career.
202. Detroit: Antoine Davis Watch starts immediately in November. He made an NCAA freshman record 132 3-pointers and averaged 26.1 points last season. Do I hear 140 treys and 28.0 ppg for 2019-20?
203. Rider: One of the more disappointing mid/low-major teams of 2018-19, Rider managed just a 16-15 record and couldn't keep up with Iona in the MAAC. I'm tempted to say things go differently this season.
204. Loyola Marymount: It's a true shame this program has not made the NCAA Tournament since its famed Elite Eight run in 1990. Lions' ceiling is fourth in the WCC.
205. Fordham: Jeff Neubauer is 51-75 in four seasons with the Rams. Expect a coaching change in March.
206. Texas State: Still a factor in the Sun Belt. Shouts to TSU assistant Robert Guster, whose surname matches that of one of the best alt-pop groups of the past 25 years. Hit it!
207. Stephen F. Austin: Nothing but positivity, strength, encouragement and the very best for SFA assistant Wade Mason, who is still on the job and fighting while battling stage four liver cancer.
208. Manhattan: The worst foul-shooting team last season (58.4%) and the stingiest defense in terms of clock burned (19.3 seconds per possession).
209. Southern Utah: Almost never good enough to give their nickname its proper due as a top-20 moniker in college hoops. Thunderbirds!
210. UT Martin: Quinton Dove is among the more versatile and talented low-major forwards, capable of playing the 3, 4 or 5. The defense holds this team back.
211. Sacred Heart: Anthony Latina's program is a portrait of up-transfer issues in college hoops. But the Pioneers should still be a threat to win the NEC, thanks to having the best player in the conference, E.J. Anosike.
212. Navy: Overachieved last season and only brings back one starter. Rebounding prowess is vital to Navy's success.
213. Towson: Deep Tigers team, but Brian Fobbs will carry the majority of the load.
214. Lamar: Coach Tic Price told me over the summer that this overhauled roster is going to provide one of the most interesting, and welcomed, challenges of his career.
215. Longwood: Shabooty Phillips is a first team-level Big South guard for the Lancers, who were terrible at guarding the 3-point shot (351st in 3-point rate) and unlucky in free-throw "defense" (teams were third-best in the nation shooting against them at 76.5%).
216. Portland State: The Vikings were 16-16 a season ago, but managed to snag more offensive rebounds than any other team (38.7%).
217. Western Michigan: Subpar team that lost a lot from last season. Broncos begin the cycle anew.
218. Evansville: Walter McCarty's team is learning an unusual habit: refuse the 3-point shot as much as possible (seventh-stingiest 3-point defensive rate in college hoops) and get back on defense at the expense of offensive rebounding (where it ranked 351st).
219. South Dakota State: The Jackrabbits lost not just their coach, T.J. Otzelberger, to UNLV, but also David Jenkins Jr., who also went to UNLV. A slide of a season is inevitable for a still-solid Summit League school.
220. Air Force: Few teams have more players coming back, as the Falcons return 94% of the team's minutes (Lavelle Scottie, hello) from last season's 14-18 crew.
221. Robert Morris: Bobby Mo' is in the tenth season of Andy Toole, who surprisingly has only one NCAA Tournament showing. The Williams brothers, Josh and Jon, will determine the Colonials' fate.
222. UAB: Do-it-all guard Zack Bryant should keep the Blazers in the thick of the heavy middle of C-USA. Sleeper team in the league, perhaps.
223. Texas Rio Grande Valley: The Vaqueros are cruising in the right direction after one of the best seasons (20-17) in program history.
224. Stony Brook: Geno Ford slides over a seat to replace Jeff Boals. He'll have the best defender in the America East in Jeff Otchere, who could average three blocks.
225. Cal State Fullerton: Middle-of-the-pack Big West club that needs senior combo forward Jackson Rowe to make a big jump and pair up powers with grad transfer Brandon Kamga.
226. Columbia: If the Lions can stay healthy and not turn the ball over late in close games, they'll be above .500. That goes for all teams, but it was a bugaboo for this program last season.
227. Prairie View A&M: Went 17-1 in the SWAC last season but lost too much experience to come close to that in 2019-20.
228. Louisiana Monroe: Curious team because more than half the roster is new, but the Warhawks were a carnival on offense last season. Can they do it again?
229. Loyola Maryland: Could be the mid-major dark horse on the Eastern seaboard. Greyhounds are developing a strong team, but were just 11-21 last season.
230. Eastern Michigan: Two interesting EMU facts. 1) Rob Murphy is recruiting Emoni Bates,(EMU is located in Bates' hometown of Ypsilanti, Michigan); and 2) Murphy just published an autobiography, "Deep." He was the only mid-major college basketball coach to do so in the offseason.
231. Louisiana: No longer Louisiana-Lafayette or ULL. Just Louisiana. Still, thankfully, the Ragin' Cajuns. Speedy three-man backcourt spices it up.
232. Siena: The Saints have one of the 60 best players in America, PG Jalen Pickett. Carm Maciariello gets his shot to coach his alma mater after Jamion Christian left for George Washington.
233. Valparaiso: Pilfered by up-transfers, Valpo is unfortunately assembled, roster-wise, to have its poorest season in more than a decade.
234. Jacksonville State: Understandably overshadowed (24-9, 15-3) last season by Belmont and Murray State in the OVC, and now the Gamecocks fail to return a double-digit scorer.
235. UNC Asheville: The Bulldogs await to see if NC State transfer Lavar Batts Jr. can move them up the Big South standings.
236. Oral Roberts: The Golden Eagles have the strongest frontcourt in the Summit League. Emmanuel Nzekwesi and Kevin Obanor combined to average 30 points last season and should increase that number in 2019-20.
237. Milwaukee: The most intriguing thing tied to Milwaukee at the moment is the fact that its coach, Pat Baldwin, has a son who might be the best high school player in the Class of 2021.
238. La Salle: Isiah Deas and Saul Phiri are now in charge of building out the offense, which had significant deficiencies in the paint and on the wing a season ago.
239. CS Northridge: No Big West team brings back more of its roster. The Matadors boast Lamine Diane (24.8 ppg, 11.2 rpg), a power forward who set league records as a freshman last season.
240. Marshall: Taevion Kinsey is a lot of fun and a C-USA prime breakout candidate, but on the whole, it looks like the Thundering Herd are due for their worst season in four years.
241. Drexel: The Dragons bring back more scholarship players than any other team in the Colonial.
242. Texas A&M Corpus Christi: Would be shocked if the Islanders aren't better than last season, considering they lost way too many one-possession games and had three key players miss more than 50 games total.
243. Campbell: Top three scorers in D-I history: LSU's Pete Maravich (3,667); Portland State's Freeman Williams (3,249); just-graduated Campbell's Chris Clemons (3,225). The Fighting Camels sort of have a void to fill.
244. Wyoming: Imagine using 15 different starting lineups in 32 games. No coach wants that. It's what Wyoming faced last season, when it managed only eight dubs.
245. North Alabama: Second season in Division I for the Lions, who did not win a nonconference game vs. a D-I team last season but did boast the A-Sun Freshman of the Year, Jamari Blackmon (14.6 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 2.7 apg, 1.8 spg).
246. Dartmouth: Gotta slot the Big Green into the top 250, considering it's the only Ivy League squad returning all five starters.
247. Middle Tennessee: Antonio Green has the green light. The Blue Raiders continue to be a program that stocks and restocks on transfers.
248. Florida Gulf Coast: After six straight seasons of 20-plus wins, Dunk City went 14-18 last season and, due to not having one first- or second-team all-league caliber of player, will flirt with .500 again.
249. Fairleigh Dickinson: Jahlil Jenkins will star for the Knights, who took the auto bid in 2019 and represented the NEC in the NCAAs.
250. Oakland: Losing two of their three best players (Jaevin Cumberland, Braden Norris) to up-transfer torpedoes the Golden Grizzlies' chances, but Xavier Hill-Mais could average 23.0 points per game.
251. The Citadel: Not expected to be a factor in the SoCon this season and will probably rank low in overall defense. However, have you ever seen photos of the campus? Interesting.
252. James Madison: I'm lower on JMU than Colonial coaches, but the Dukes are fortunate to return four starters, led by preseason all-league shooting guard Matt Lewis.
253. Quinnipiac: Baker Dunleavy's got the Bobcats scooting in the right direction, though this season's club has a huge void without Cameron Young. Stepping up to centerstage: junior Rich Kelly.
254. Southern Illinois: The Bryan Mullins era can begin for the Salukis, who are yet another example of a new coach this season guiding his alma mater. Mullins is 32 and graduated from SIU in 2009.
255. Morehead State: Good guards, but six new faces means the Eagles will fight to maintain middle-of-the-pack status in the OVC.
256. Purdue Fort Wayne: With the best player in program history having graduated (John Konchar), the Mastodons will turn to 3-point specialist Matt Holba (46.6%) to keep them in the top half of the Summit.
257. Arkansas State: Every year, deep inside every edition of this preview, I make sure to stop and thank you, the reader, for even getting to such a point. This is Arkansas State. A low-level Sun Belt team returning only one starter. And you're still engaged and reading. Bless you.
258. Tennessee State: This might even be a bit optimistic, as TSU turns over nine players from a season ago.
259. Pacific: Few WCC players are as multifaceted -- and valuable -- as Jahlil Tripp, but the Tigers are going to be lacking in too many spots to viably compete for an NIT bid.
260. North Carolina A&T: The Aggies get a respectably high ranking thanks to Kameron Langley, a junior PG who averaged 6.5 assists and should play north of 35 minutes per game.
261. UC Davis: A big drop in offensive consistency last season, and it's looking like Jim Les' program will need a year or two to recruit back into the top three in the Big West.
262. Grambling State: The Tigers have a pair of outstanding guards in Ivy Smith and Dallas Polk-Hilliard. I expect this program to make its first NCAA Tournament this season. (!!)
263. Saint Joseph's: It's going to be weird for a minute to see Saint Joe's coached by someone not named Phil Martelli. Billy Lange, who was once an assistant at Villanova, is now running the Hawks and gets only one starter back: Taylor Funk.
264. Utah Valley: It's a good thing for college basketball, probably, that Mark Madsen is now a D-I coach. He gets a team only returning one starter from a 25-win group a season ago.
265. Montana: Travis DeCuire won 52 games the past two seasons and made consecutive NCAA Tournaments, but the Grizzlies seem set up for a drift back to the Big Sky pack.
266. Monmouth: Four starters return from a 14-win team. There should be progress, but Monmouth was putrid on offense (336th) a season ago.
267. Hartford: The Hawks return only 8% of the team's minutes from last season, the second fewest in college hoops to Nebraska (4.1%), per Torvik.
268. Charlotte: Depth is still a concern for a 49ers team that's led by second-year coach Ron Sanchez, who's trying to take a lot of what he learned from Tony Bennett and make it work with a program that should be better than what it's been for the past 20 years.
269. North Dakota: Paul Sather replaces Brian Jones, who left to become an assistant at Illinois State. Senior PG Marlon Stewart could be a top-five player in the Summit.
270. Little Rock: Will fight to avoid Sun Belt's basement after losing stud Rayjon Tucker, who transferred to Memphis in April then declared pro soon thereafter.
271. Bryant: SaBastian Townes and Adam Grant will be reliable and, ultimately, give Bryant the best change at playing spoiler in the NEC.
272. Lafayette: Only scheduled one game against a Major Seven opponent (at Rutgers Dec. 7) and returns five starters. Must improve from 10 to at least 14 wins.
273. Northern Colorado: Imagine starting your college career as a walk-on, only to become your team's best player. Such is true of the Bears' Jonah Radebaugh.
274. Abilene Christian: One of about 15 too many teams nicknamed the Wildcats, Abilene Christian is coming off its first NCAA Tournament appearance in program history.
275. Appalachian State: Dustin Kerns is the new coach, and he'll have a solid situation to walk into. Junior combo guard Justin Forrest is capable of averaging close to 20 points if Kerns lets him.
276. UC Riverside: Dikymbe Martin is a jack-of-many trades for the Highlanders, who are flawed but do have four starters back in the mix.
277. Army: Bring the poise, bring the Funk -- Tommy Funk needs a fully healthy season and 5.0 assists per game to set the all-time Patriot League record.
278. Mercer: Purdue's run of success in recent seasons led Greg Gary to get this job in March, a little unexpectedly, and the cupboard isn't bare for him. Defensively the team needs a makeover, though.
279. Eastern Illinois: Josiah Wallace (15.5 ppg) is now one of the five best players in the OVC, but the team's success will be about how the supporting cast steps up.
280. Houston Baptist: I want to see a HBU home game at Sharp Gym, which seats only 1,000 people and is the fourth smallest barn in D-I.
281. Northern Arizona: The Lumberjacks lost Jack Murphy as coach, who left to take the top assistant spot at Arizona, but they bring back all five starters and should have their best team in five years.
282. Ohio: Jeff Boals left Stony Brook to return home and coach his alma mater, taking over an Ohio program that is proud but the youngest team (five freshmen) in the MAC.
283. Montana State: Alumnus Danny Sprinkle will enter his first season as coach of the Bobcats, who last made the tournament … in 1996, when Sprinkle played for Montana State.
284. Portland: Terry Porter's teams do not value the second-chance shot. In his three seasons, the Pilots have ranked 336th in offensive rebounding.
285. Denver: Considered by Summit League coaches as the weakest team in the conference, I'll zag here and make a pick that suggests Denver surprises and avoids the cellar.
286. Central Arkansas: With 353 teams, it's hard to claim your color scheme is unique, but the Bears' purple-on-gray style is one-of-a-kind in men's D-I as far as I know.
287. Youngstown State: Stable-but-young roster for the Penguins, who will make a sizable leap a season from now if no one jumps ship after this season.
288. North Carolina Central: LeVelle Moton's taken the Eagles to the NCAAs four of the past six seasons, establishing himself as one of the best coaches in MEAC history.
289. Kansas City: Billy Donlon is now the coach at a program that is aching for consistency and sustained identity. The Roos head to the Summit League next summer.
290. Maine: Neglected to do this last year, so a proper and hearty shoutout to Maine, which employs Edniesha Curry, the only woman serving as a coach of any kind in men's D-I hoops.
291. VMI: In their fifth season under Dan Earl. The Keydets have yet to win more than 11 games.
292. St. Francis PA: Braxton (Keith) and Blackmon (Isaiah) are the dynamic duo for a Red Flash team that lost in the NEC title game to Fairleigh Dickinson last season.
293. Texas Southern: Johnny Jones will have an athletic group of wings that will keep the Tigers in contention yet again to win the SWAC.
294. Jacksonville: Three starters are back from a 12-win team that watched five players bail and transfer elsewhere. Defensively, a long row to hoe.
295. Rice: An era of optimism under Scott Pera, but the roster needs another strong recruiting class to get it into the top half of Conference USA.
296. William & Mary: Dane Fischer is the new coach, replacing Tony Shaver, whose firing was controversial after 16 solid years at a program that's never made the NCAAs. Player to know is Nathan Knight, who's a top-three guy in the Colonial.
297. UNC Wilmington: It's all about sophomore Kai Toews, whose 253 assists last season were a Colonial record and, in fact, was only second to Ja Morant in dimes (7.7).
298. Long Beach State: LBSU is in an unexpected nadir that Dan Monson needs to recruit and coach his way out of in the next two seasons.
299. McNeese State: Classic major roster flip in the second season for Heath Schroyer, who should have a better D in '19-20.
300. Mount St. Mary's: If sophomore guard Vado Morse stays the course and remains at MSM for four seasons, he'll potentially be one of the 100 best players in college hoops at the start of his senior year.
301. Fairfield: The Stags had promise under Sydney Johnson but could never maintain success in the MAAC, so in comes Jay Young, a longtime assistant who now has his first shot as a D-I coach. He'll rely on senior SG Landon Taliaferro.
302. Sacramento State: The Big Sky has inhabited the Hornets since 1996. They've never won the league.
303. Eastern Kentucky: Some teams sprint. The Colonels zip: 78.8 raw possessions per game for a frenzied, flawed squad.
304. South Carolina State: Senior F Damani Applewhite has the offense go through him in the post, and he's a good change of pace from 5-11 PG Rayshawn Neal.
305. Cornell: Unfortunately, the Big Red shape up as the least formidable of all Ivy League teams this season, but I admit I feel like I'm making a mistake going this low.
306. Western Illinois: Junior PG Kobe Webster is one of eight Kobes in college hoops this season.
307. High Point: It's been a decade since a Tubby Smith-coached team ranked in the top 100 in 3-point percentage, which is dispiriting for High Point's ceiling this season.
308. Southern: Roster rebuild coming off a poor seven-win campaign means this squad will have trouble separating itself in the SWAC.
309. St. Francis Brooklyn: Was one of the best low-major teams defending and allowing the 3 last season. Has never made the NCAA Tournament in more than 75 years at the D-I level.
310. Southeastern Louisiana: David Kiefer is the new coach for the Lions, who will take a big step back after losing more than 60% of their offense from a season ago.
311. Southeast Missouri State: Rick Ray is trying as best he can to figure out a way to cultivate talent and keep it at SEMO, but it's pushing a boulder up a hill every day.
312. Saint Peter's: Given budget limitations, probably a top-15-tough job in D-I. Combo guard Cameron Jones is a threat if he can fully recover from a torn knee.
313. San Jose State: Spartans are 2-34 in the Mountain West the past two seasons and will need a big surge from a deep sophomore class.
314. Coppin State: A score-by-committee approach has kept Coppin State from swooping into the top half of the MEAC, but it'll be a shade better.
315. Kennesaw State: Amir Abdur-Rahim is now in command of the program, which will get a marginal bump up after finishing 339th last season at KenPom.
316. Troy: Scott Cross didn't deserve to lose his job a year and a half ago at UT Arlington. He gets a new start at Troy, where he'll face his former program annually in the Sun Belt. Fun plot line in that league.
317. New Hampshire: One of about 20 schools too many with the Wildcats moniker. Had the worst offense in college hoops last season (84.4 points per 100 possessions).
318. Niagara: Niagara will remain in the same spot despite the news that Patrick Beilein is resigning.came two days after the 1-353 published. The Purple Eagles bring back a good three-man backcourt.
319. Arkansas Pine Bluff: Big roster overhaul for veteran coach George Ivory is going to mean this will be one of the tougher scouts in the SWAC.
320. IUPUI: Subject to the final unexpected coaching change of the offseason, when in late August Jason Gardner resigned after being arrested and charged with.
321. Southern Miss: Doc Sadler left to work under Fred Hoiberg at Nebraska, so Jay Ladner, a Southern Miss alum, is now in charge of one of the toughest jobs in C-USA.
322. Bethune-Cookman: Cletrell Pope had 22 double-doubles last season, and is now, almost without question, the best player in the MEAC.
323. Merrimack: Welcome to D-I and the NEC, Merrimack. Nickname: Warriors. Location: North Andover, Massachusetts. Previously: in D-II and with a 76-46 record the previous four seasons.
324. USC Upstate: Top-10 name in college hoops suits up for the Spartans: Mysta Goodloe! No seniors and only one junior on this squad.
325. Idaho: Zac Claus is the interim coach after former coach Don Verlin was fired with cause following an internal investigation. The Vandals ranked 352nd in defensive efficiency last season.
326. Alcorn State: Until this team can start threatening opponents with occasional 3-point prowess, it's going to have a thorny ceiling in the SWAC.
327. Nicholls State: At 29, Austin Claunch is the youngest head coach in D-I.
328. Cal Poly: The Mustangs have a new coach in John Smith, who inherits a top-two tough job in the Big West. He'll need at least three seasons to change things.
329. Elon: The Phoenix get a rebirth under Mike Schrage, who got the gig out of working for Chris Hotlmann at Ohio State. Extremely young team, all the more so after the late departure of junior guard Nathan Priddy.
330. Tennessee Tech: Tough job, but Tech was able to snare John Pelphrey, who's spent the past 15 years as a head and assistant coach in the SEC. That's a big advantage for a low-major like TTU.
331. Wagner: I can't believe this is already Bashir Mason's eighth season with the Seahawks. No NEC team had more turnover than Wagner.
332. Canisius: Fascinated by the transfer decisions of some players. For example: This team has PF Corey Brown, who left Northern Arizona to travel all the way to Buffalo to play for the Golden Griffins. Godspeed.
333. Norfolk State: With no starters returning, Norfolk State will rely on its shifty backcourt and hope that transfer Jermaine Bishop can carry the load.
334. Binghamton: Won 10 games last season, lost four starters and the team is understandably reeling because a player tragically drowned over the summer.
335. Alabama A&M: Teams made only 63.7% of their free throws last season vs. A&M, the lowest percentage in all of college basketball … and the Bulldogs still won only five games.
336. Florida A&M: When it wins games, will do so close and low-scoring. The defense is among the best in the MEAC.
337. Incarnate Word: The Cardinals ranked 353rd -- dead last -- in defensive efficiency last season and beat only two D-I programs.
338. Holy Cross: Bill Carmody retired somewhat unexpectedly in June, leaving Holy Cross in a huge bind. In comes former Marquette assistant Brett Nelson, who is the only new coach in the Patriot League.
339. Morgan State: A good local hire for Morgan State, which brought in Kevin Broadus to replace Todd Bozeman. Stanley Davis, a senior, is a top-five player in the MEAC.
340. Marist: It's going to take five seasons for John Dunne to have Marist contending in the MAAC. This is year No. 2.
341. Idaho State: A reboot, as Ryan Looney comes from a successful D-II stint to take over the Bengals. Team is extremely weak in the backcourt, and should finish in the cellar of the Big Sky.
342. SIU Edwardsville: First-year coach Brian Barone has a strong hoops pedigree and will take over a tough job, but should have some small wins. The roster wasn't gutted after the firing of Jon Harris.
343. Howard: The Bison have a new coach, Kenny Blakeney, and just lost maybe the most gifted scorer in school history, R.J. Cole, due to the jettisoning of former coach Kevin Nickelberry.
344. Cleveland State: A late coaching change leads to a situation in which the Vikings should plummet this season; only five players return. Dennis Felton's mutiny-inspired ouster in July led to Florida State assistant Dennis Gates getting the gig.
345. Stetson: It's a good thing for Stetson that it could bring in a solid veteran coach in Donnie Jones, who previously coached in-state at UCF. Program hasn't won more than 12 games in five-plus seasons.
346. Chicago State: Only one player is back from last season's team. Good on you, Christian Jacob.
347. Delaware State: Ten total wins the past two seasons, and it looks like the Hornets have one more dreadful campaign before brighter days arrive.
348. Northwestern State: Undersized and without a 3-point threat, the Demons will play caboose in the Southland.
349. Central Connecticut State: Hard times in hard-hittin' New Britain, as the other Blue Devils in D-I hoops only bring back one starter and figure to lack the size to compete in the NEC.
350. Presbyterian: Three starters return for a Blue Hose team that lost its coach, Dustin Kerns, to Appalachian State. Quinton Ferrell graduated from PC in 2007 and is now leading the way.
351. UMES: Jason Crafton was hired away from coaching in the G League to lead one of the toughest jobs in college basketball. At least three starters return.
352. Alabama State: Jacoby Ross, a 5-9 junior who might average 40% from 3-point range this season, will look to lead and ideally keep the Hornets out of the SWAC basement.
353. Mississippi Valley State: The final school is one with a new coach -- former NBA guard Lindsey Hunter -- and a roster that's a complete rebuild and based mostly off junior college transfers.
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