With the college basketball season set to tip-off next week, it’s a good time to rank the potential national title contenders. Although, that’s not as fun as picking the under the radar squads that might surprise come tournament time.
1. LSU Tigers: The Tigers are one of the Nation’s biggest question marks going into the season. A lot of their success will hinge on top recruit, Ben Simmons. He’s the best freshman to arrive at LSU since Shaq, and if he can deliver on his massive hype, LSU might be a contender.
Tim Quarterman went into his sophomore season as the Tigers sixth man, and emerged as the team’s top point guard option. This season, Quarterman will enter the year with the starting job. His 11.5 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 4 assists per game make him one of the SEC’s most versatile players.
California Golden Bears: Unfortunately, the Golden Bears will be without David Kravish, as he played his final game for the team last season. However, his loss isn’t going to affect Cal too much, as they posses quite possibly the best recruiting class in the Nation.
Ivan Raab and Jaylen Brown are both five-star recruits, and will bolster the teams frontcourt. You can also add potential All-Pac 12 point guard, Tyrone Wallace, to the talented pool of players coach Cuzono Martin has at his disposal.
Once a McDonald’s All-American, Jabari Bird hasn’t flourished like many thought he would. The 6-6 junior only amassed 10.5 points per game last season, and wasn’t much of a factor for the Golden Bears. But with more talent surrounding him, and the emergence of Wallace, the pressure might be taken off Byrd’s shoulders. He could develop into one of the most prolific bench options in the Pac-12, maybe even all of America.
Florida State Seminoles: The Seminoles haven’t been to the NCAA Tournament since 2012. Coach, Leonard Hamilton, is looking to change the teams fortunes this season, as he welcomes a stellar recruiting class to Tallahassee. The highlight of the recruits is Dwyane Bacon, a 6’7 guard from Lakeland, Florida. He excels at getting to the basket, and is about as exciting as any freshman in FSU history.
Xavier Rathan-Mayes was the Noles leading scorer last season. Going into his sophomore campaign, the Canada native will look to improve upon his 14.9 points per game average, while also looking to become more of a distributor as well.
Connecticut Huskies: Just one year removed from a National Title, the Huskies failed to make the NCAA Tournament. That doesn’t sit well with coach Kevin Ollie, who is determined to get his team back into the big dance. Armed with returning American Athletic Conference Rookie of the Year, Daniel Hamilton, and AAC Defensive Player of the Year, Amida Brimah, the Huskies are primed for a big season.
The UConn backcourt is loaded with playmakers, but perhaps none bigger than Sterling Gibbs and Rodney Purvis. The latter averaged 16.7 points over the course of his final nine games. Gibbs is a transfer from Seton Hall, where he was an All-Big East second-team selection. The duo make the Huskies backcourt one of the most feared units in all the country.
There are many other intriguing teams this college basketball season, such as Indiana, Purdue, Ole Miss, Texas A&M, Butler, and Davidson. The field is as wide open as it has ever been, and someone is bound to take advantage.