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Thread: Way-Too-Early Top 25 ----Last one before season starts

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Spokane Valley

    Default Way-Too-Early Top 25 ----Last one before season starts

    9. Gonzaga Bulldogs
    Previous: 7

    Mark Few faces more roster questions than usual entering the season, with first-round picks Rui Hachimura and Brandon Clarke gone from the frontcourt and Josh Perkins and Zach Norvell leaving the backcourt. But he's certainly not short of options. Graduate transfers Admon Gilder (Texas A&M) and Ryan Woolridge (North Texas) provide experience at the guard spots, and returnee Joel Ayayi was one of the more impressive players at the FIBA U19 World Cup. Corey Kispert and Filip Petrusev return up front, and Killian Tillie should be healthy. Few will need one or two of his several frontcourt newcomers to make an immediate impact, though. The best bets are likely ESPN 100 prospects Drew Timme and Anton Watson, but Oumar Ballo showed potential with Mali at the U19 World Cup. He could be a factor.

    Potential Opponents

    7. Oregon Ducks
    Previous: 17

    There might not be a Power 5 team that changed more from late April until the start of the season than Dana Altman's Ducks. At one point in the spring, Oregon was down to three scholarship players after an exodus of three NBA draft early entrants, two graduations and two transfers. But Altman went out and reloaded his roster to the point that the Ducks are the clear Pac-12 favorites. The August additions of five-star center N'Faly Dante and four-star guard Addison Patterson put them over the top, but securing graduate transfers Anthony Mathis (New Mexico) and Shakur Juiston (UNLV) and adding five-star forward CJ Walker and junior college star Chris Duarte won't go unnoticed. Neither will the return of senior point guard Payton Pritchard and sophomores Will Richardson and Francis Okoro. If all the pieces fit, look out.

    8. North Carolina Tar Heels
    Previous: 8

    This isn't the usual Roy Williams roster, filled with starters who have been in the program for three or four years with plenty of ACC experience under their belt. In another departure from most Tar Heel groups, it's also one that was completely revamped in the spring. No. 1 incoming guard Cole Anthony was the crown jewel, but ESPN 100 guard Anthony Harris and productive mid-major graduate transfers Justin Pierce (William & Mary) and Christian Keeling (Charleston Southern) were also late additions. Williams will need the returnees to take a step forward, though, especially Brandon Robinson and Leaky Black on the wings. Starting center Garrison Brooks and five-star freshman Armando Bacot should anchor the interior. With a tough early-season schedule, this is going to be an intriguing team to monitor.

    15. Seton Hall Pirates
    Previous: 14

    Seton Hall is essentially the same team it was last season, with only forward Michael Nzei having departed from the 2018-19 version. It all starts with Myles Powell, one of the nation's most dangerous scorers and a player capable of carrying the Pirates offensively for long stretches. But he will need more help this season, and Kevin Willard will once again count on Myles Cale, Quincy McKnight and Sandro Mamukelashvili -- while also hoping for a step forward from Jared Rhoden. Rhoden showed flashes late in the season, scoring at least nine points in three of his final seven games. Seton Hall might have the two best individual defensive players in the Big East, as McKnight became a lockdown defender late in the season and Florida State transfer Ike Obiagu blocked 2.1 shots per game while averaging just 10.7 minutes back in 2017-18.

    18. Arizona Wildcats
    Previous: 18

    After all the dust settled from a busy offseason, Arizona will enter the new season down four of its five starters from a team that finished tied for eighth in the Pac-12 and didn't play in a postseason tournament. So why the top-20 ranking? Sean Miller went out and landed two of the best guards in the 2019 class in Nico Mannion and Josh Green. The two players will start immediately in the backcourt, and even more responsibility went on their shoulders after Brandon Williams was lost for the season after undergoing another knee surgery this summer. Early reviews on freshman big man Zeke Nnaji have been very positive, and productive center Chase Jeter returns down low. Miller also landed UC Irvine graduate transfer Max Hazzard to provide shooting. This campaign should look more like Miller's 2013-18 run than last season.

    21. Saint Mary's Gaels
    Previous: 20

    This fact might be surprising, but Saint Mary's has made the NCAA tournament just twice in the past six seasons -- and last season the Gaels needed a West Coast Conference tournament title just to hear their name on Selection Sunday. They shouldn't need any miracle March upsets to get back there this season. Jordan Ford is one of the best guards on the West Coast, and Malik Fitts is a productive inside-outside forward. Two other starters also return in Tanner Krebs and Tommy Kuhse, but Randy Bennett received big news over the summer when Aaron Menzies was granted another year of eligibility. The 7-foot-3 center averaged 11.3 points, 8.9 rebounds and 2.3 blocks at Seattle two seasons ago but missed all of last season with a hand injury. He will give the Gaels a much-needed inside presence.

    23. Washington Huskies
    Previous: 23

    Washington won the Pac-12 title by three games last season, but now the Huskies lose four of five starters and five of their top six scorers. But Mike Hopkins is bringing in two elite recruits in Isaiah Stewart and Jaden McDaniels, top-10 prospects and likely one-and-done players. Stewart might be the most college-ready freshman in college basketball, and McDaniels is tantalizing and has a very high ceiling. Hopkins will need both players to be stars. He will also have to hope Kentucky transfer Quade Green is eligible to start the season and is the five-star point guard he was coming out of high school. Top returning scorer Nahziah Carter will be counted on heavily, too. The Huskies will be thrown into the fire pretty quickly, with games against Baylor, Tennessee and Gonzaga in the first nine games of the season.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2007


    The other polls should be along shortly. I’m thinking our guards will be watched closely to see if they’re up to snuff. I have. O doubt our bigs are top notch... the media doesn’t know it yet. Timme is a killer. Tillie needs to last. Ballo is playing for all the marbles. Watson May need some time. Filip will be a terror this year.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2007


    That ought to end all talk of our schedule being at all soft.

    Whatever lower teams we play at home, that schedule (though we won't play all in tournament) is about as tough as anyone would ask with this group coming in.

    Takes the pressure off any one or two games, need win our share, but can suffer a few bounces along the way.

    At least, that's my opinion.
    Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.
    Mark Twain.

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