Opinion: College Basketball Preview

By Baron Ropp, RT reporter

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This year’s college basketball season is going to be a good one. Many of last year’s great players are gone, and now a new class will rise. Michigan State’s Cassius Winston is an unreal player and expect him to put up some crazy numbers this season. The college basketball landscape is completely different from last year.

 

Where are the final four teams now?

 

Virginia

Last year’s national champion begins this year with significantly lower expectations as they start the season ranked at No. 11. Without Ty Jerome and Kyle Guy, this team is in desperate need of new leadership if they want to go far this year.

 

Texas Tech 

Texas Tech begins this season ranked at No. 13, but with just one returning starter, there are some big questions on how Texas Tech can get it done. A year ago this ranking wouldn’t make any sense, but Texas Tech has shown that they can pull it off with one starter, as last year Jarrett Culver was the lone returning starter and they made it to the National Championship.

 

Michigan State

Michigan State begins the season as the No. 1 team in the country. Behind the leadership of Winston who has decided to return for his senior year despite being a top NBA prospect. The Spartans had an amazing run in last year’s tournament and they are poised for a national championship kind of season.

 

Auburn

Auburn begins the season with the lowest ranking of all Final Four teams from last year at No. 24. This team is losing a tremendous amount of leadership due to Jared Harper and Bryce Brown going to the NBA. Their biggest role player from last year, Malik Dunbar, is playing professionally overseas and Chuma Okeke was an NBA lottery pick so he will also be absent from Auburn’s roster. Their top three scorers are gone and the top returning scorer is Samir Doughty, who didn’t even put up 10 points per game last year.

 

Young teams poised to make a deep run

 

Kentucky

This is probably the most obvious one here. The Wildcats are picked to win the SEC outright and they had an unreal recruiting class highlighted by Tyrese Maxey, a 6’3” point guard. The Wildcats begin the season ranked No. 2 in the country.

 

Memphis

Penny Hardaway has returned to Memphis to coach his alma mater and the recruiting class that came with this move is unreal. They have two five stars, one of them being James Wiseman (the consensus No. 1 player of the 2019 class). They don’t have a single recruit lower than 4 stars and they look poised to make a deep run in the tournament this year.

 

My Final Four Prediction

 

Kentucky 

Kentucky’s recruiting class this year was unreal; they have the players and coaching required to make a deep run in the tournament. I expect them to start the season on a rough start and round it off by the end of the season just because they have a lot of young talent

 

Michigan State

Cassius Winston is a top NBA draft prospect and Michigan State already has the chemistry needed to make a deep run in the tournament. 

 

Maryland 

Jalen Smith and Anthony Cowan are some of the best players in the country and it’s hard to imagine them not being in the Final Four. They don’t necessarily have great coaching, but they have limitless talent and I expect them to go pretty far in this year’s tournament.

 

Memphis

Memphis is going to be unreal this year and I think once they figure out the team chemistry, they’ll be impossible to stop. Penny Hardaway will be a great coach to this young core and they will do great in the tournament.

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