College Basketball Power Rankings: Preseason Top 30

At long last, the season is finally here, so the only thing left for me to do is roll out my Top 30 (because 25 just wasn’t enough), dust off my Kelvin Sampson voodoo doll, and start enjoying what should be a terrific college basketball season.

kelvin-sampson-college-basketball-power-rankingsImage source: Inside The Hall

College Basketball Preseason Power Rankings

I’ve already profiled all 30 teams during either the Non-BCS Watch List or my major conference previews, so I’ll keep this short and sweet.  In fact, I’m going to borrow an idea SI’s Andy Glockner used in the offseason to give each team a Twitter-ized synopsis in 140 characters or less.

It’s also appropriate because this is about the time of year I get much more active on Twitter (it’s @andybottoms if you don’t follow me already).  Since I live near Cleveland, it’s not like there’s much to do in the winter except park myself in front of the TV and watch college basketball.

zeller-barnes-henson-2011-college-basketball-power-rankings1. North Carolina

Team is loaded up front and has one of the nation’s top PGs. Harrison Barnes won’t start slow this year. Only question: who steps up at SG?

2. Kentucky

Anthony Davis will challenge for SEC POY. Maturity from T. Jones is key. Teague will be another great Coach Cal PG. Who will replace Jorts?

3. Ohio State

Slimmed down Sullinger will dominate down low. Buford will star as a senior with Craft terrific at PG. D. Thomas potential breakout as soph.

4. Connecticut

Frosh stud Drummond will team w/ Oriakhi to form dynamic duo inside with Lamb & Napier running the backcourt. Boatright’s eligiblity is key.

5. Syracuse

Orange have plenty of depth with Joseph/Jardine/Triche/Waiters at guard/SF. Breakout player will be C.J. Fair. Who steps up inside?

6. Duke

Rivers will be a star but can Curry run the point? Perimeter defense will be key. Need Kelly and some Plumlees to be consistent up front.

7. Pittsburgh

Gibbs is one of the country’s top shooters. Look for J.J. Moore to breakout on the wing. Expect typical rebouding, defense, and toughness.

8. Vanderbilt

Ezeli injury will hurt early, but Jenkins can fill it up. Tinsley/Taylor are back too, but can they win close games & get out of 1st round?

9. Louisville

Siva will lead from the backcourt with Kuric/Smith as sharpshooters. Dieng will be breakout performer w/ Behanan the real deal as a frosh.

tu-holloway--college-basketball-power-rankings10. Xavier

Holloway is a bonafide star at PG and vets Lyons & Frease return. Transfer T. Taylor will be huge at PF. Love this team, Final 4 potential.

11. Florida

With Walker/Boynton/Rosario/Beal, Gators are loaded at guard. Soph P. Young will be a beast inside, but are there enough shots to go around?

12. Memphis

A. Thomas will be one of the nation’s top freshmen. T. Black is a monster inside & part of a loaded soph class with W. Barton & J. Jackson.

13. Wisconsin

Jordan Taylor is an All-American PG & you can never count out a Bo Ryan team. Gasser/Bruesewitz have to step up for uber efficient Badgers.

14. Baylor

Huge frontline is key led by P. Jones/Acy/Miller to name a few. Point guard play is key, look for Pierre Jackson to step up. Tons of talent.

15. Arizona

Exhibition loss made news, but the team is young. Fogg, Hill, & Perry have to be consistent, Parrom return will help. Expect growing pains.

16. Texas A&M

Middleton & Loubeau are a solid duo at forward, and Roberson is a potential breakout. Transfer E. Turner can score but need steady PG play.

17. Kansas

T. Robinson will star in expanded role. Ineligible freshmen have killed depth, leaving many ?’s. Can team succeed w/ T. Taylor as leader?

18. Gonzaga

Sacre & E. Harris give solid foundation inside. M. Carter can score in the backcourt but a PG needs to emerge. Watch out for frosh G. Bell.

19. Alabama

J. Green & T. Mitchell are terrific up front & PG Releford is underrated. If freshmen Randolph and Lacey can hit 3s, look out for the Tide.

20. Marquette

DJO and Crowder will be the stars, but look out for J. Wilson, V. Blue, and J. Anderson on the wing. Gardner is the x-factor inside.

21. Cincinnati

Gates is a beast inside, but backcourt trio of Dixon, Kilpatrick, and Wright provides balance.  Bearcats won’t sneak up on anyone this year.

22. Michigan State

Draymond Green can do it all, and backcourt of Appling & transfer B. Wood will be key. Slimmer Nix & frosh B. Dawson will help on the glass.

ian-clark-belmont-college-basketball-power-rankings23. Belmont

9 key players return from 30-win team. Nucleus of I. Clark, Saunders, Hedgepeth, & Hanlen lead high efficiency squad. Will rule A-Sun again.

24. California

Trio of Gutierrez (one of my favorites), Crabbe, and Kamp is as good as any in the Pac-12. Development of Richard Solomon is critical.

25. Michigan

Replacing D. Morris will be hard but Hardaway is a star in the making. Novak is tough & Morgan/Smotrycz/Horford must be consistent up front.

26. Harvard

Wright and Casey form talented frontcourt while guards Webster, Rivard, and McNally are deadly from deep. PG Curry is terrific too w/ 6 apg.

27. UCLA

Frontcourt = strength with Nelson, Smith, and Wear twins. Smith’s conditioning must improve to maximize ability. Questions galore at guard.

28. Florida State

Defense & rebounding are the staples. Bernard James leads deep frontcourt. Snaer & others need to become consistent scorers. Who can hit 3s?

29. Washington

Breakout potential w/ T. Ross, Wilcox, & Wroten. Gaddy is back at PG, need consistency from Gant/N’Diaye up front. Watch frosh D. Simmons.

30. Creighton

Doug McDermott has momentum after great freshman yr and summer w/ Team USA. Echenique provides post presence and A. Young led MVC in dimes.

**********

Follow me on Twitter (@andybottoms) for more thoughts on college hoops, and check out the latest edition of the Bottoms Line podcast.



About Andy Bottoms

While Andy was born and raised in Indiana, he would like to point out that he grew up shooting hoops in his driveway and not against the side of a barn like you see in all the March Madness promos or in the middle of a field like Jimmy Chitwood. Andy ranks among the top bracketologists according to the Bracket Matrix and has provided his projections to Fox Sports for the past three seasons. When not compiling excuses for missing work during the NCAA Tournament, Andy enjoys spending time with his wife and two daughters. He is a proud IU graduate and co-hosts The Assembly Call postgame show following every IU game. Twitter: @AndyBottoms

Comments

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  2. Where is Indiana!!?? Don't you know we have Will Sheehey? (And some guy named Zeller!?) The Hoosiers are going to surprise some people this year Bottoms. Just you wait…

  3. I was wondering if I could get an opinion on Kansas State University's prospective ranking. I've seen one poll that ranked them… I think 25th in the nation. I'm not sure what their depth looks like compared to many of the other teams, but I think they are in good hands with Furious Frank Martin :) So, I thought I'd seek out a more educated opinion.

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