RSN Early Season Thoughts and Review (11/20)

Just a few weeks into this college basketball season, there has been no shortage of drama and intensity between the country’s top teams. Some have already begun to live up to their preseason hype, some have faltered a bit, and others have emerged as possible contenders. Let’s go over a few of the biggest stories thus far:

Duke                               duke_text_logo-svg   The Blue Devils came into the year as the consensus #1 team in the nation, and have done nothing to change that opinion. Knocking off Michigan State in a then #1 vs #2 matchup showed just how much firepower Duke has this year. With Grayson Allen playing on an entirely new level – and Bagley and Duval contributing in major ways already – Duke is a force to be reckoned with.

Michigan State              michigan_state_spartan_helmet-svg   Michigan State faltered a bit out of the gate, but no one can fault the hard-fought loss to the Blue Devils. Miles Bridges is now “day to day” with an ankle sprain, a cause for concern for many. This, however, is just a minor setback. The Spartans will be fine.

USC                                    interlocking_usc_logo-svg   Admittedly, we were a bit skeptical of USC coming into the season. All the talk of all five starters returning was a major talking point, but USC barely made the tournament last season with the same five. However, a gutsy road trip to Vanderbilt resulted in one of the games of the year thus far. Jordan McLaughlin tied the game on a long 3-ball, sending the game to overtime where the Trojans finished the win off in style. This is a great win and one that shows that USC is a contender this season.

Minnesota                      minnesota_golden_gophers_logo-svg   The Golden Gophers have looked as good as any team in the nation, boosted by a very solid road win over Providence already on the resume. Richard Pitino has Minnesota in a great spot, and with a Big 10 Championship not out of the question – this is truly a program on the rise.

Xavier                               xaviermusketeers   Chris Mack and Trevon Bluiett have Xavier rolling early with a big win at Wisconsin. The Musketeers have exploded on offense, averaging 94 points through their first three games. The X-factor for this Xavier team is clearly JP Macura, bringing leadership, poise, and maturity to a team loaded with talent.

Purdue                              purdue_boilermakers_workmark-svg   The combination play of Isaac Haas and the Vince/Carsen Edwards duo has Purdue flying high early in the season. A statement win at Marquette had analysts across the country drooling over this gritty and experienced group.

Seton Hall                        seton_hall_pirates_logo   Similar to Purdue, the Pirates have ample experience on the roster. Another team with all five starters returning is complimented by the much-improved play of sophomore Myles Powell and a deep, talented freshman class. Playing one of the toughest non-conference schedules in basketball, the next 5 games will show what type of team the Pirates really are.

Virginia                             va-15-logo  The underrated Cavaliers have started hot, especially on the defensive end. Credit must be given to Tony Bennett for his non-conference scheduling, with away games at VCU and West Virginia that many big-brand teams would never have scheduled. This is also complimented with matchups against Vanderbilt, Wisconsin, and potentially Seton Hall.

Texas Tech                        texas_tech_red_raiders_logo-svg   The Red Raiders have stormed onto the scene with a solid neutral court win over Boston College serving as a prelude to the obliteration of Northwestern a few nights later. Tech looked exceptional in every facet of the game, dominating the now unranked Wildcats by 36.

Nevada                             nevada_wolf_pack_logo-svg   A mid-major but a contender nonetheless, Nevada is home to one of the most lethal cores in the country. Jordan Caroline is a potential NBA player and the Caleb/Cody Martin pair adds an average of 32 points per game. In a mediocre Mountain West, Nevada likely needs only turn aside Boise State to earn a bid. However, this team is capable of an at-large bid should it come to that, proven in its win over Rhode Island.

UT Arlington                    uta_athletics_logo   The Mavericks have only played two games thus far, but the college basketball world must take note of a convincing away win at BYU. Next up will provide Arlington a real look in the mirror – a trip to Tuscaloosa to take on Alabama. Like Nevada, UTA should have little to no problems in conference play and will have an outside chance at an at-large bid if needed.

Northwestern                   northwestern_wildcats_logo-svg   Wow. After a magical season, many expected the Wildcats to come out firing and take over the Big 10. Just the opposite has occurred, as Bryant McIntosh and Scottie Lindsay have struggled to lead this group, losers of two games already – a home loss to Creighton and a demolition at the hands of Texas Tech.

Wake Forest                      wake_forest_university_athletic_logo-svg   Wow….. wow. This one is simply excruciating to discuss. A bubble team in our preseason bracket, Wake has started in a fashion that is about as awful as humanly possible. Neutral court losses to Drake and Houston (!) were preceded by two home losses to Georgia Southern and Liberty (!!!) – simply dreadful from Danny Manning’s squad. As Jon Rothstein would say, their current state is the epitome of brutality.

Saint Bonaventure         StBonaventureBonnies   A heartbreaking loss to Niagra on opening night without their star Jaylen Adams immediately adds a bad loss to the Bonnies’ tournament resume. Most won’t be thinking resume this early in the year, but we have a feeling that St. Bonaventure will be as bubbly as any team across the country this season. Chances to redeem themselves with solid wins are there for the taking, as Maryland and Syracuse loom on the upcoming schedule.

Advertisements
RSN Early Season Thoughts and Review (11/20)

RSN Bracketology Final Preseason Bracket (11/9)

BOLD= Projected Conference Winner

East                                   West                            Midwest                             South

1. Duke             duke_text_logo-svg 1. Arizona        university_of_arizona_block_a-svg 1. Kentucky    kentucky_wildcats_logo-svg 1. Kansas          university_of_kansas_jayhawk_logo
2. Villanova     villanova_wildcats_logo 2. W. Virginia    west_virginia_flying_wv_logo-svg 2. Mich. St.       michigan_state_spartan_helmet-svg 2. N. Carolina   University_of_North_Carolina_Tarheels_Interlocking_NC_logo.svg.png
3. Florida          florida_gators_logo-svg 3. Louisville       i 3. Notre Dame notredamefightingirish-svg 3. Wichita St  wichita_state_shockers_logo-svg
4. Purdue         purdue_boilermakers_workmark-svg 4. Gonzaga       gonzaga-logo 4. Virginia         va-15-logo 4. Miami (Fl)      miami_hurricanes_logo-svg
5. USC                interlocking_usc_logo-svg 5. Wisconsin      university_of_wisconsin_waving_w-svg 5. Seton Hall    seton_hall_pirates_logo 5. Minnesota    minnesota_golden_gophers_logo-svg
6. Baylor            baylor_university_athletics_logo-svg 6. Cincinnati       cincinnati_bearcats-svg 6. Michigan       michigan_wolverines_logo-svg 6. Xavier            xaviermusketeers
7. Providence  200px-providence_friars_logo-svg 7. Saint Mary’s st_mary_gaels_logo 7. Oregon          oregonducks-svg 7. Butler            i
8. SMU             smu_mustang_logo-svg 8. Okla. St.        oklahoma_state_university_athletics_logo-svg 8. Iowa State    iowa_state_cyclones_logo-svg 8. Va. Tech        vt_logo-svg
9. TCU              tcu_athletics_logo-svg 9. Creighton      creighton_bluejays_c_logo 9. N’western      northwestern_wildcats_logo-svg 9. Maryland       maryland_terrapins_logo-svg
10.  UCLA         ucla_bruins_logo 10. Florida St.    Florida_State_Seminoles_Alternate_Logo.png 10. Texas A&M 150px-Texas_A&M_University_logo.svg 10. Marquette  marquette_golden_eagles-svg
11. Rh. Island  i-10-44-34-pm 11. Mid. Tenn. middle_tennessee_mt_wordmark 11. Nevada      nevada_wolf_pack_logo-svg 11 Indiana /      Dayton               ncaa_logo-svg
12. Illinois St. illinois_state_redbirds_logo 12. Vermont    150px-vermont_catamounts-svg 12. VCU /               Iowa                   ncaa_logo-svg 12. UT-Arling.  uta_athletics_logo
13. Princeton   princeton_tigers_logo 13. Akron        akron_z_logo_2015 13. UNCW         uncw_primary_athletic_logo_2015 13. Oakland     oakland_golden_grizzlies_logo
14. Belmont    belmontbruins 14. FGCU         fgcu_athletics_seal-svg 14. E. Tenn. St. etsubuccaneers 14. Iona            iona_gaels_logo_new
15. N. Mex. St.200px-new_mexico_state_aggies_logo-svg 15. Winthrop  winthropeagles 15. N. Dak. St. ndbison 15. S.F. Austin SFA_Athletics_logo
16. UC Davis / LIU Brooklyn         ncaa_logo-svg 16. E. Wash. / NC Central             ncaa_logo-svg 16. Texas Sou. texassoutherntigers 16. Bucknell    bucknellbison

On the Bubble:

Last 4 Byes:   UCLA, Texas A&M, Florida State, Marquette

Last 4 In:   VCU, Iowa, Indiana, Dayton

First 4 Out:  Arkansas, Alabama, Texas Tech, Oklahoma

Next 4 Out:  Vanderbilt, Wake Forest, Kansas State, South Carolina

Four More:  Georgia Tech, Illinois, Central Florida, Pittsburgh

Also in the Hunt:   Missouri, St. Bonaventure, Texas, Houston, California, Utah, Tennessee, Mississippi State, Ohio State, BYU, San Diego State, Boise State

FullSizeRender

RSN Bracketology Final Preseason Bracket (11/9)

RSN 2017-18 Preseason Predictions

National Champion                       Runner-Up   

Duke                              duke_text_logo-svg                 Arizona                      university_of_arizona_block_a-svg

National Player of the Year 

Miles Bridges               michigan_state_spartan_helmet-svg

NCAA All-American First Team

Jalen Brunson              villanova_wildcats_logo                 Allonzo Trier              university_of_arizona_block_a-svg

Miles Bridges               michigan_state_spartan_helmet-svg                 Ethan Happ                university_of_wisconsin_waving_w-svg

Angel Delgado             seton_hall_pirates_logo

NCAA All-American Second Team:

Marvin Bagley              duke_text_logo-svg                Bonzie Colson            notredamefightingirish-svg

Trevon Bluiett             xaviermusketeers                 Michael Porter Jr.      200px-Missouri_Tigers_logo.svg

Devonte’ Graham       university_of_kansas_jayhawk_logo

Big Time Sleepers:

Chandler Hutchison  boise_state_broncos_logo-svg                 Mike Daum                200px-SD_Jackrabbits_logo

Tacko Fall                    university_of_central_florida_ucf_vertical_text_logo-svg                 Markus Howard         marquette_golden_eagles-svg

FullSizeRender

 

RSN 2017-18 Preseason Predictions

RSN Bracketology Preseason Rankings (11/4)

Welcome to the 2017-2018 season here at RSN Bracketology! In what looks to be a thrilling and wide-open college basketball season, RSN will have it all for you. Here is your first look at our preseason rankings, a look at our projected top 25 teams.

Preseason

  1. Duke                                   duke_text_logo-svg

Surprise, surprise. The Blue Devils begin 2017 at #1 on our list. The additions of generational talent in Marvin Bagley and Trevon Duval, alongside the return of Grayson Allen, make for a potentially historic season in Durham.

2. Arizona                                university_of_arizona_block_a-svg

Allonzo Trier, Parker Jackson-Cartwright, DeAndre Ayton, Dusan Ristic – that is enough said. This Wildcat team is absolutely stacked with a mixture of returning stars and a new crop of ultra-talented freshmen. Expect a dominant season and a run through March for this loaded Arizona team.

3. Kentucky                             kentucky_wildcats_logo-svg

Another year, another crop of new freshmen to replace the Kentucky one-and-dones. The Wildcats will feature another young core full of talent this season led by forward Nick Richards, who is gaining more and more hype as the season approaches.

4.  Kansas                                 university_of_kansas_jayhawk_logo

Kansas returns this season with a very experienced core, looking to finally grasp another Championship that they have coveted for years. Devonte’ Graham and Svi Mykhailiuk lead this group and look poised to lead the Jayhawks to another Big 12 regular season championship.

5.  Villanova                            villanova_wildcats_logo     

Player of the year candidate Jalen Brunson will be given every opportunity to shine this season after the departure of Josh Hart. Brunson will look to carry Villanova to another Big East title, this season in a much tougher conference by the look of it.

6.  Michigan State                  michigan_state_spartan_helmet-svg      

Fueled by the unexpected return of Miles Bridges, Michigan State seems likely to return to their past state of domination in the Big 10. After a bit of a down year in 2016-17, Tom Izzo and Co. will get to show their worth rather quickly, with a date with #1 Duke their second game on the year.

7. North Carolina                  university_of_north_carolina_tarheels_interlocking_nc_logo-svg

The defending National Champions may be ranked a bit low by their own standards, but make no mistake – the Tar Heels are back. NCAA Tournament MVP Joel Berry II and senior Theo Pinson return to battle Duke for an ACC Title, and likely make another deep run in March.

8. Notre Dame                        notredamefightingirish-svg

Leadership and experience are often qualities undervalued in the sport of college basketball. Bonzie Colson is the epitome of these characteristics, putting off the NBA for one more year to return to South Bend. The Irish feature just one freshman on their entire roster, possibly the most experienced in all of college basketball.

9. West Virginia                      west_virginia_flying_wv_logo-svg

Jevon Carter is back… again. In what seems to be his 74th season in gold and blue, Carter will lead the Mountaineer charge once again. Bob Huggins’ scrappy and pressure-based strategy has worked for years, and looks poised to work once again in a tough Big 12.

10. Wichita State                   wichita_state_shockers_logo-svg

The Shockers will finally gain the national respect they deserve after moving from the Missouri Valley to the AAC.  Landry Shamet, Colin Frankamp, and Markis McDuffie all return as leaders of this electrifying Wichita State team. Expect a major push for an AAC title and a high tournament seed.

11. Florida  

12. Miami (Fl)

13. Gonzaga

14. Louisville

15. Seton Hall

16. USC

17. Cincinnati

18. Xavier

19. Purdue

20. Minnesota

21. Virginia

22. UCLA

23. Wisconsin

24. Michigan

25. Baylor

FullSizeRender

RSN Bracketology Preseason Rankings (11/4)