It is time for the preview to the previews.
Sept. 17 — hey, that is Sunday — marks 50 days to the beginning of the 2023-24 faculty basketball season on Nov. 6.
For those who’re a longtime reader, you realize there’s hardly any true offseason for me relating to faculty hoops. I can write about this loopy sport anytime — and clearly nonetheless discuss it weekly. (Please subscribe to the Eye on School Basketball podcast, if you have not already. Each present additionally publishes stay on YouTube.)
With 50 days till tipoff, let’s get you prepped for the preseason. Listed below are 50 issues I am excited for, intrigued by, curious on, questioning about, pondering over and predicting to be for the 2023-24 marketing campaign.
1. What surprises — good, unhealthy, in any other case — await? Earlier than we get into any 2023-24 observations and predictions, a vital reminder that large issues that can outline this season aren’t remotely recognized, and even sensed, at this level. And so they will not be for months. To wit, this is an introductory record of doings from ’22-23 — I am not even entering into the nuttiness from the NCAA Match — that took us all abruptly:
- Zach Edey, who I’ll remind ya was not a preseason All-American, put up one of the statistically dominant participant of the yr campaigns of the previous 20 years.
- Chris Beard was eliminated at Texas barely greater than a month into the season after a home violence incident at his residence.
- A disastrous, preventable tragedy — centered across the killing of a younger mom — enveloped the again half of Alabama’s season.
- Michigan State’s season was briefly halted after a mass capturing on its campus.
- New Mexico State’s season was canceled after a number of abominable off-court incidents.
- UNC grew to become the primary group in fashionable historical past to fail to make the NCAAs after being voted preseason No. 1 within the AP Prime 25.
- Marquette — which didn’t crack the AP Prime 25 ballot till the week earlier than Christmas — gained each its convention championships for the primary time at school historical past.
- In his first season as a head coach, 56-year-old Jerome Tang went from being picked final within the Massive 12 to guiding Ok-State to a top-three seed within the NCAA Match.
- FAU and Charleston led the nation in regular-season wins (31).
- Louisville went 4-28! (And had the worst high-major season at KenPom.com within the historical past of that metric.)
- Northwestern and Georgetown expanded the idea of what basketball might — and should not — be.
2. Will Purdue — and Edey — be even higher? Toss out Purdue’s newest (and by far the worst) humongous March letdown and simply take a look at how the Boilermakers landed as soon as the mud settled on the NCAA Match: No. 7 nationally at KenPom and BartTorvik.com. A transparent-cut top-10 group. With most everyone again, there’s apparent room for enchancment. Edey might’ve gone to the NBA (and virtually undoubtedly been drafted), however got here again to agency up what may very well be an all-time faculty hoops legacy. (I believe he’ll win NPOY.) Purdue was a top-seeded squad a season in the past. For posterity’s sake, Matt Painter’s group should make a deep run within the NCAA Match … and perhaps attempt to pull off a 2018-2019 Virginia.
3. Your frontrunner for No. 1: Kansas. CBS Sports activities’ Gary Parrish has slotted Invoice Self’s Jayhawks atop his offseasonever since Michigan massive man Hunter Dickinson dedicated to KU. Kansas has earned preseason No. 1 distinction within the AP Prime 25 thrice earlier than, most lately in 2018. Dickinson shall be one of many stars of the game, however Dajuan Harris’ level guard play and the return of defensive stalwart Kevin McCullar shall be paramount. (Two notes away from the court docket: 1) ; it would not look good. 2) KU is predicted to obtain its long-awaited IARP ruling earlier than the beginning of the season.)
4. What is going to UConn’s encore seem like? The Huskies are reveling of their fifth championship in males’s hoops after pulling off one of the dominant six-game runs in match historical past. However massive wins result in notable losses. Gone to the NBA: Jordan Hawkins, Adama Sanogo and Andre Jackson Jr. Acquainted names again: Donovan Clingan, Tristen Newton, Alex Karaban. Dan Hurley brings within the fourth-rated highschool class as nicely. UConn has typically underwhelmed in high-expectation seasons and overachieved when the stakes appeared decrease. How will Hurley’s group deal with prosperity, and can Clingan have the ability to develop into an All American-level massive?
5. What is going to FAU’s encore seem like? One of many feel-good tales from final season has potential to leap the offseason and prolong into 2024. The hype is: The Owls are thought-about a prime 10-level group on account of returning each eligible participant from the Last 4 group that was a buzzer-beater away from going through Connecticut on the ultimate evening of the season. Dusty Might earnedhonors and with good purpose. The Owls had been greater than only a plucky upstart final season. FAU had its fifth straight successful marketing campaign underneath Might. Alijah Martin, Nelly Davis, Vlad Goldin, Nick Boyd and Bryan Greenlee all return to a group that’s now a member of the American Athletic Convention. With one of many strongest nonconference schedules within the nation, you may be seeing and listening to lots about FAU within the first seven weeks of the season.
6. Will Bronny James play? One of the crucial well-known incoming freshmen in faculty basketball historical past had his future tossed into uncertainty after a terrifying heart-failure incident in August. An replace from the household earlier this month indicated optimistic motion towards an eventual return to play, however we do not know when that can occur or if it will likely be this season. There’s hope James will go well with up for USC, and if he does, regardless of how a lot he performs, the Trojans will flip into one of many prime sights within the sport. And that is earlier than even making an allowance for the play of freshman stud Isaiah Collier. (Extra on him under.)
7. What’s North Carolina underneath Hubert Davis? No group obtained extra dialogue, debate and ink spilled over them from final October by way of the primary week of March than the Tar Heels. This season’s Carolina group is not a complete reboot — removed from it — however a variety of new faces are in Chapel Hill. Davis wants a very good yr (say: top-three within the ACC and sporting residence whites within the first spherical of the Massive Dance) to maintain the warmth off. Will UNC’s switch haul be sufficient to get it within the preseason AP Prime 25? The final time UNC wasn’t ranked within the preseason was 2006.
8. New-look Massive 12 earlier than the next-look Massive 12. Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado and Utah shall be becoming a member of in 2024, however earlier than we get to that 16-team iteration of this league, there is a one-year 14-school model to observe. Texas and Oklahoma are of their remaining yr with the convention they based eons in the past. Subsequent yr, they break up to the SEC. New to the Massive 12 this season are BYU, Cincinnati, Houston, and UCF. Will increasing this a lot imply the Massive 12 loses its maintain on being the very best males’s basketball convention? Can the league flirt with 10 match bids? If you wish to know the 19 colleges in new leagues this yr,.
9. Probably the most slept-on group this offseason? Tennessee. Blame it on Rick Barnes’ lack of NCAA Match prosperity through the years, however Tennessee is the one group with top-10 potential that is hardly been talked about because it was knocked out of the Massive Dance by FAU. (These items really feel related.) The Vols aren’t overloaded with star energy, but when Zakai Zeigler (torn ACL in March) can return to 100% well being earlier than league play, it should spherical out a Tennessee group that was the very best per-possession protection final season. Santiago Vescovi is a darkish horse All-American decide.
10. The Maui Invitational strikes to O‘ahu. For the third time in a four-year span, the Lahaina Civic Middle is not going to host essentially the most prestigious early season faculty basketball match. Devastating wildfires in August destroyed nearly all of Lahaina (although the Civic Middle was spared). The world doesn’t have the infrastructure to deal with eight colleges/fan bases touring to Maui for a late-November basketball match.
As an alternative, the College of Hawaii goes to deal with internet hosting duties for the fortieth anniversary of this iconic in-season match. Anticipate thousands and thousands in charitable funds and proceeds to go towards the rebuilding efforts in Lahaina. This yr’s Maui Invitational is one in every of its greatest fields in latest reminiscence (rankings are CBS’): No. 1 Kansas, No. 2 Purdue, No. 6 Marquette, No. 14 Tennessee, No. 19 Gonzaga, plus Syracuse and (could-be-ranked) UCLA and conventional host Chaminade.
11. Jon Scheyer in 12 months 2. Duke was a top quality group in Scheyer’s first season, going 27-9, earned a No. 5 seed and falling within the second spherical to Tennessee. There will not be as a lot slack given to Scheyer this season, as he returns among the best bigs (Kyle Filipowski) along with having a fourth-year level guard (Jeremy Roach), a future NBA Draft decide enjoying off the ball (Tyrese Proctor) and one other good massive again for his sophomore season (Mark Mitchell). That is earlier than we get to the newest crop of proficient freshmen. Now we see what this program is like in Scheyer’s imaginative and prescient.
12. Kyle Neptune in 12 months 2. From 2015-22, Villanova had a declare to being the very best program within the sport. Jay Wright’s abrupt retirement in April of ’22 put former longtime VU assistant Neptune in cost. Final season was a rollercoaster. The Wildcats went 17-17 and had their worst season in 11 years. This yr shall be higher; VU ought to have eight juniors and seniors contributing, led by the return of Justin Moore.
13. Syracuse after Jim Boeheim. School hoops goes by way of a transition part in some ways, arguably essentially the most notable of them being what number of massive colleges are adjusting to life after their Corridor of Fame coaches go away. For the primary time since early 1969 — that is earlier than The Beatles break up, earlier than Neil Armstrong walked on the moon! — Boeheim is not going to be employed by Syracuse. He was concerned in this system for almost all of his life and greater than HALF of Syracuse’s existence as a program. Longtime SU assistant (and former participant) Adrian Autry is now working the present. This shall be an fascinating one to observe.
14. West Virginia after Bob Huggins. An unplanned retirement, to say the least. Huggins introduced unhealthy publicity to himself and his alma mater a number of instances within the offseason, together with his arrest on suspicion of DUI in June being the factor that led to him now not teaching the Mountaineers. Huggins has threatened litigation over the main points of the sever, however regardless of: Josh Eilert is now in control of a WVU group that was poised to contend within the Massive 12. Now, after a few switch defections following Huggins’ saga, nobody is aware of what the ‘Eers shall be this season.
15. Warmth nonetheless on John Calipari. There was a brewing cauldron of discontent round Kentucky lately, and it could be time for Calipari to carry Kentucky again into the highest 10 with a view to simmer the stew. Whether or not or not that occurs, we’ll see, however UK followers are working out of persistence. Kentucky hasn’t made the Last 4 since 2015, is 57-36 the previous three seasons and hasn’t gained the SEC since 2020. The final time UK went 4 consecutive seasons and not using a regular-season title was 2006-09 — and that run included two teaching adjustments. UK has a younger roster, which suggests there’s lots to show — however the expectations and stress will not drop.
16. Michigan State might have a Last 4 squad once more. In 21 of his 28 seasons at Michigan State, Tom Izzo has coached the Spartans into the highest 10 of the polls in a given season. This yr it can occur for the twenty second time, as MSU is poised to be ranked within the prime 10 within the preseason. The Spartans carry again 77.2% of their minutes, per Torvik, and didn’t add a switch. Tyson Walker and A.J. Hoggard would be the nucleus of one of many sturdiest rosters in faculty hoops.
17. Rick Pitino is again within the Massive East. St. John’s obtained the Deion-at-Colorado remedy by way of a flashy new rent virtually solely flipping the roster. The expectations are for Pitino to return in and have the Crimson Storm, minimally, in the midst of the pack within the Massive East. Some are hopeful-to-expectant that SJU will make the NCAAs in 12 months 1. We’ll see. What’s clear is that St. John’s could have extra anticipation round its program heading into season than it is had in virtually 25 years. The Massive East is in for an enormous season of storylines, not the least of which is …
18. The fiercest new rivalry in faculty basketball: Windfall followers vs. Ed Cooley. It is 132 days out, however essentially the most ferocious recreation on the calendar must be circled in 5 colours of ink proper now: Saturday, Jan. 27. That is the day Ed Cooley will return to The Dunk (do not care in regards to the title change, I am at all times going to name it The Dunk) and coach his new Georgetown group towards his outdated Windfall group. It would not matter how good, common or horrible both of these packages are. That recreation and the build-up to it that week shall be vitriolic.
19. For a second straight offseason, faculty basketball. Yearly I challenge which high-major hires will make the NCAAs in 12 months 1. For ’23-24, I am a bit extra pessimistic than I have been lately. Quite a lot of these coaches are taking up massive rebuilding tasks. I’ve solely obtained two. I am saying it will likely be Rodney Terry (Texas; technically, he qualifies) and Grant McCasland (Texas Tech). I believe Pitino simply narrowly misses.
20. New guidelines. It wasn’t an enormous yr for guidelines overhauls, however there have been some tweaks that can enhance the sport. The most important one is a change in block/cost interpretation. replace to the goaltending evaluation is coming as nicely. If a fracas breaks out, peacekeepers who go away the bench is not going to be ejected or punished. Gamers can put on any quantity between 0-99!.
>> Let’s inform/remind you on simply a number of the possible stars of the game. In an effort to unfold the love, I am not going to say two gamers from the identical faculty.
5 non-Edey seniors to know (tremendous seniors included)
21. North Carolina’s Armando Bacot. Shall be on a one-man mission to reclaim the glory of UNC after final season’s debacle. Will not need to go it alone, however anticipate his numbers to be just like his 15.9 factors and 10.4 rebounds from final yr.
22. Kansas’ Hunter Dickinson. No switch could have extra expectations than KU’s new man within the center. Dickinson (18.5 ppg, 9.0 rpg) left Juwan Howard after a middling 18-16 season. His arrival brings Last 4 expectations to Lawrence.
23. Villanova’s Justin Moore. Has an All-American season in him if he finds each mixture on the controller. Moore averaged 13.5 factors in 13 video games final season after he returned from an Achilles tear within the 2022 NCAA Match.
24. Marquette’s Tyler Kolek. The reigning Massive East Participant of the 12 months goes to attempt to maintain Marquette on prime in an interesting Massive East. Kolek averaged 12.9 factors, 7.5 assists, 4.1 rebounds and made 4 out of each 10 3-pointers he hoisted.
25. Creighton’s Ryan Kalkbrenner. One other must-see Massive East participant, one other must-see massive normally. Kalkbrenner would be the greatest defender within the convention and goes to enhance upon his 15.9 factors, 6.1 rebounds and a couple of.1 blocks per recreation.
Juniors to know
26. Gonzaga’s Ryan Nembhard. It was a shock when Nembhard (12.1 ppg, 4.8 apg, 4.0 rpg) introduced in April he was leaving a group one play away from the Last 4 to go to Gonzaga, however when you think about his older brother Andrew additionally transferred to GU and springboarded that to an NBA profession, how might you fault him?
27. Texas’ Tyrese Hunter. Texas followers know what they’ve on this defensive stalwart. I believe he’ll enhance his shot-making and switch into an All-American lead guard this season. Averages set to spike: 10.3 factors, 3.0 rebounds, 2.5 assists.
28. LSU’s Jalen Prepare dinner. His 19.9 factors common final season was second-most of all sophomores nationally. Now he’ll star for second-year Tigers coach Matt McMahon.
29. Miami’s Norchad Omier. Perhaps the strongest massive man within the sport. Omier averaged 13.1 factors and 10.0 rebounds, numbers I anticipate to rise for the fourth-year junior.
30. Texas A&M’s Wade Taylor IV. Perhaps it is as a result of he performs for one of many extra nondescript high-major packages, however Taylor is a baller who deserves extra chatter. He dropped 16.3 factors for an Aggies group that made its first NCAAs in 5 seasons.
Sophomores to know
31. UConn’s Donovan Clingan. To me, one of many 5 most fascinating gamers heading into the season. Clingan (6.9 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 1.8 bpg in 13.1 minutes per evening) was the very best sixth man within the nation final season. He most likely would’ve been a primary spherical draft decide, however opted to return and have his likelihood within the faculty highlight.
32. Duke’s Kyle Filipowski. Whereas Clingan would have been picked, Filipowski (15.1 ppg, 8.9 rpg) holds the excellence of the participant with the very best 2023 draft inventory who opted to return. Better of all for Flip: Certain, he can carry the load, however Jeremy Roach would be the group’s veteran chief.
33. UCLA’s Adem Bona. The Bruins have loaded up with some worldwide expertise this offseason, however their key to ending top-three within the Pac-12 was the return of Bona (7.7 ppg, 5.3 rpg).
34. Purdue’s Braden Smith. Level guard who seized up in Purdue’s loss to Fairleigh Dickinson. Smith (9.7 ppg, 4.4 apg, 4.2 rpg) must take a progressive second-year leap to make sure the Boilermakers win the Massive Ten and do not pratfall within the tourney.
35. Saint Mary’s Aidan Mahaney. Had moments the place he was the darling of Late Evening School Hoops Twitter. Shot 40% from 3 as a freshman and sleeps with a dagger beneath his pillow.
Freshmen to know
36. USC’s Isaiah Collier. Andy Enfield recruited the No. 1 participant within the Class of 2023 in Collier. The thrill on him is comparatively low now, but when he hits, USC could have among the best backcourts within the nation and may very well be the highest group within the Pac-12. Collier needs to be must-watch. It is enjoyable when a non-blue blood winds up snagging a top-ranked prospect.
37. Kentucky’s Justin Edwards. Teammate DJ Wagner understandably had essentially the most consideration of any Kentucky freshman, however Edwards is the man who’s probably to be Kentucky’s greatest NBA prospect. He would possibly even play his manner into the No. 1 dialog for the (weak) 2024 NBA Draft.
38. Indiana’s Mackenzie Mgbako. A possible one-and-done energy wing who could have lots on his plate by way of duty for IU’s success. It is a spot he’ll relish: Mgbako decommitted from Duke to earn extra burn with the Hoosiers.
39. Colorado’s Cody Williams. His older brother is Jalen Williams, who went from neglected Santa Clara participant to NBA Draft lottery decide to among the best rookies within the league final season. Cody has gobs of uncooked expertise. Wanting ahead to seeing him present out with Deion Sanders sitting courtside.
40. Baylor’s Ja’Kobe Walter. Keyonte George, as anticipated, turned in a one-and-done season that led to him being a top-20 decide. For pretty much as good as George was final season, Walter’s all-around skillset units him as much as be much more beneficial and productive in Scott Drew’s system.
41. Most intriguing transfers. For the fourth straight yr, we had greater than 1,600 names within the switch portal. Listed below are a number of the most fascinating new faces in new locations.
- Hunter Dickinson (Michigan to Kansas)
- Ryan Nembhard (Creighton to Gonzaga)
- Max Abmas (Oral Roberts to Texas)
- LJ Cryer (Baylor to Houston)
- Harrison Ingram (Stanford to UNC)
- Jahvon Quinerly (Alabama to Memphis)
- Caleb Love (UNC to Arizona)
- Kel’el Ware (Oregon to Indiana)
- Olivier Nkamhoua (Tennessee to Michigan)
- Kerr Kriisa (Arizona to West Virginia)
- Jesse Edwards (Syracuse to West Virginia)
- Cam Spencer (Rutgers to UConn)
- Tramon Mark (Houston to Arkansas)
- Tyler Burton (Richmond to Villanova)
- Matthew Cleveland (Florida State to Miami)
42. D-I shrinks by one (for now). Division I bloated final season to its largest dimension: 363 groups. This season, it’s going to drop by one. Hartford (transfer to D-III) and St. Francis Brooklyn (dissolution of its athletic division) are gone. The beginner: Howdy to the Le Moyne Dolphins (nextdoor neighbor to Syracuse). That places us at 362 groups, with 352 eligible for the 2024 NCAAs. The ten nonetheless going by way of the four-year D-I transition course of: Bellarmine, Lindenwood, Queens, Southern Indiana, St. Thomas, Stonehill, Tarleton, Texas A&M-Commerce, UC San Diego, Utah Tech.
43. Fifteen massive nonconference video games earlier than Christmas. I am not together with any November MTEs or the Champions Traditional right here. Group rankings are in accordance with our Prime 25 And 1.
- No. 17 Arizona @ No. 3 Duke, Nov. 10
- No. 6 Marquette @ No. 23 Illinois, Nov. 14
- No. 10 Miami @ No. 16 Kentucky, Nov. 28
- No. 14 Tennessee @ No. 22 North Carolina, Nov. 29
- No. 3 Duke @ No. 11 Arkansas, Nov. 29
- No. 8 UConn @ No. 1 Kansas, Dec. 1
- No. 12 USC vs. No. 19 Gonzaga, Dec. 1 (Las Vegas)
- No. 20 Texas @ No. 6 Marquette, Dec. 6
- UCLA @ No. 24 Villanova, Dec. 9
- No. 8 UConn @ No. 19 Gonzaga, Dec. 15
- No. 1 Kansas @ Indiana, Dec. 16
- No. 2 Purdue vs. No. 17 Arizona, Dec. 16 (Indianapolis)
- No. 5 Michigan State vs. No. 18 Baylor, Dec. 16 (Detroit)
- No. 3 vs. No. 18 Baylor, Dec. 20 (New York Metropolis)
- No. 4 FAU vs. No. 17 Arizona, Dec. 23 (Las Vegas)
44. 5 non-obvious colleges whose soccer packages could have higher seasons than their males’s basketball counterparts: Georgia Tech, Iowa, Oregon State, Utah, Washington. (Nope, not satisfied Colorado will apply right here.)
45. 5 non-obvious colleges whose males’s basketball packages could have higher seasons than their soccer counterparts: Cincinnati, Florida, Northwestern, Stanford, Tennessee.
46. Massive six packages with NCAA Match droughts of seven years or longer that can nonetheless not be making the Massive Dance in ’23: DePaul (2004), Boston School (2009), Nebraska (2014). I would like to be fallacious on these, however I simply can’t see it taking place in 2024. I believe BC may very well be a yr away, although.
47. Final season earlier than realignment actually alters the panorama, so take pleasure in it. The Pac-12 as we all know it can dissolve in 2024. Whether or not or not the Mountain West folds into the Pac-12 and people colleges play underneath a brand new banner stays to be seen, however faculty basketball is headed towards 16- and 18-team conferences, and scheduling will not be higher due to it. Bids handed out for the NCAA tourney will not be cleaner due to it. Soccer pays the payments and makes the calls, however there’s shrapnel felt throughout faculty sports activities due to it. In 2024, we actually enter an entire new world in all of school athletics, so relish this final season of semi-normalcy whereas we have it.
48. Choice Sunday is March 17. That is 182 days away. For those who wanna see a bracket, I can provide you a bracket. This is CBS Sports activities Bracketology Skilled Jerry Palm’s offseason discipline of 68. The regionals this season shall be held in Boston, Dallas, Detroit and Los Angeles. Mark me down for six at-large bids to return outdoors the massive six leagues. (Final yr there have been 5.)
49. The 2024 Last 4 shall be performed in Glendale, Arizona. State Farm Stadium will host for the second time (2017 the opposite). The Last 4 that yr: UNC (champion), Gonzaga (runner-up), Oregon and South Carolina. I am going to trot out on a limb and say none of these groups make the ’24 Last 4, and that none of them make the Elite Eight. (Gonzaga’s made an outrageous eight straight Candy 16s, so I am going to cease wanting saying they will not make the second weekend.)
50. Will we get a first-time nationwide champion coach for the fourth time up to now 5 tournaments? Will a brand new coach win a nationwide title subsequent season? There are seven lively guys with an NCAA championship on their résumé. Earlier than you retain studying, are you able to title them? There are seven.
This is who’s on the market: Tony Bennett, John Calipari, Scott Drew, Dan Hurley, Tom Izzo, Rick Pitino and Invoice Self. If I’ve to take these seven vs. the sector in 2024, I’ll take the sector. Meaning we might have an eighth lively coach with a title by the primary week of April.
Solely seven weeks to go and the season shall be right here. Benefit from the soccer, as a result of hoops is coming, and with it, it brings the very best time of the yr (aside from March, after all).