Given what we’ve seen this season, we shouldn’t be overly surprised to find a six and ten seed in the Elite 8. We also shouldn’t be surprised to find six power-heavy teams. At various points during the 2016 campaign, Kansas, North Carolina, Virginia, Oklahoma, and Villanova all grabbed spots along the No. 1 seed line. Oregon was among the Top 8 for the better part of February and ended at No. 5 on our list. They were the final No. 1 seed on the NCAA Board, which fits the theme.
If you believe in destiny (or maybe redemption), then you embrace Notre Dame and Syracuse. The Irish needed a miraculous tip-in to beat Stephen F. Austin and a pair of late steals/turnovers to upend Wisconsin. Syracuse was undoubtedly helped by an incredible performance from Middle Tennessee that ousted Michigan State in the opening round. The Orange deserve all the credit for reaching the Regional Final; they beat the teams they faced. We can say that and still acknowledge that reaching the Elite 8 required beating a seven seed, 15 seed, and 11 seed. Good fortune is important in March.
So … heading into the Regional Finals, how would you rank the remaining eight teams? Based on what I’ve seen the past two weeks, here’s my list: Read more…
Defending NCAA champion Louisville headlines our preseason Power 24 rankings. The Cardinals return a host of talent from last year’s title team, and a third straight trip to the Final Four is certainly within reach. Michigan State, Kentucky, Kansas, Duke and Arizona are the other early favorites to contend for No. 1 seeds.
Great storylines await when the season tips-off on Friday, November 8. Will ultra-talented Kentucky emerge as a dominant team? Will Andrew Wiggins lead the Jayhawks to another title? Will Tom Izzo guide Michigan State back to the Final Four? Will we have another Final Four surprise? We can’t sleep on Marcus Smart and the Oklahoma State Cowboys.
Throw in conference re-alignments, and we have a virtual re-make of the college hoops landscape.
The team in our preseason Power 24 that might surprise some: Iowa. Call it a hunch, but the Hawkeyes were playing like an NCAA team at the end of the last season. Some early stumbles and a poor non-conference schedule ultimately hurt their NCAA resume. Most of their talent returns. Iowa has the depth and talent to finish as a Top 4 team in the Big Ten. Will it happen? We’ll see.
The good news: All of this will be settled on the court. Preseason projections are fun. They prompt discussions. But none of us knows how the journey will develop. That’s the beauty of college basketball.
Several teams – including Florida, North Carolina and Oregon (announced late Tuesday this week) have suspension and/or injury issues. How those scenarios play out will impact each of those squads. It’s just too early to know.
Those just missing the preseason Power 24? Creighton, Notre Dame, New Mexico, Indiana, Baylor, Virginia, Saint Louis, and Harvard. You could make a case for any of those teams to be included. The season is almost here. Let’s enjoy the ride.
Based on votes from readers, Louisville, Michigan State, Kentucky and Kansas occupy the Top 4 spots (and thus No. 1 seeds) in the readers’ edition of our preseason Power 24. Spots on the seeding curve thus far are 1. Louisville, 2. Michigan State, 3/4 (tie) Kentucky, and Kansas. Now it’s time to fill slots 5-8 (No. 2 seeds). Use the poll below to cast your votes for the next four teams. Note: the teams occupying the top four spots have been removed; four new teams have been added.
If you choose “other” please indicate the name of that team in the comments. Once voting for slots 5-8 is completed, we’ll move to those ranked 9-12, etc. By the end of the week we’ll have our readers’ preseason Power 24 together. Thanks for your interest.
Fresh off a road victory at Cincinnati, New Mexico makes its season debut in our Power 24. It backs up solid victories over Connecticut and Davidson at home, and makes the home loss to South Dakota State look more like a blip on the radar. The Lobos’ win at Indiana State is beginning to look better, too.
Duke continues to headline the rankings. The Blue Devils are followed by Louisville, Michigan, and Kansas in the top four positions. Those four teams would be your No. 1 seeds if we were updating the bracket today. The only team to fall from the Power 24 is Pittsburgh – now at No. 26 on the s-curve. The Panthers haven’t lost since falling to Michigan on November 21, but Pitt’s best wins to date are Lehigh and Detroit. Fortunately, Pittsburgh can change its resume quickly as Big East play arrives.
It was a close call for spot No. 24. We’re sticking with Notre Dame for now. Wichita State is making a renewed push, and an early win at VCU continues to shine. The Shockers put an impressive win over Northern Iowa together Sunday with several regulars missing. With Illinois State and Indiana State in the mix, Valley teams could grab three or four bids come March.
It’ll be a great week of hoops. Happy New Year!
It’s the Christmas Eve edition of our Power 24. Which in this case means merry times for Michigan and Kansas. The Wolverines and Jayhawks have climbed to spots No. 3 and No. 4 on the s-curve; No. 1 seeds if we were updating the bracket. For those keeping track, KU was No. 4 in our preseason rankings. Regular weekly bracket projections begin in two weeks. Here’s to a great two weeks of Holiday hoops.
Duke remains No. 1 overall, and the Blue Devils continue to boast the nation’s best overall resume. If this were Selection Sunday, there’s little doubt Duke would be the top overall seed with a spot atop the East Regional. Louisville comes in at No. 2. The Cardinals’ lone loss was to Duke at the Battle for Atlantis – the game in which center Gorgui Dieng injured his wrist. In his absence, U of L has kept winning, and the Cards will be primed to meet rival Kentucky later in the week.
Arizona and Missouri continue to climb as well. Both are firm two-seeds right now – holding spots No. 6 (Arizona) and No. 7 (Missouri) on the seeding curve. Indiana is fifth after the loss to Butler and Syracuse is No. 8 after falling to Temple in New York. As always, conference play will play a big role from here on out. Most BCS conferences begin league play around New Year’s Day.
No new teams this week. Miami-FL would have slid into the No. 25 spot had they beaten Arizona late Sunday in Hawaii. The Hurricanes were largely overmatched, however, and currently sit at No. 27 on the curve. A full s-curve will be released with our regular brackets this year. A preview of that – including the Top 96 s-curve teams – will be released New Year’s Day.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.
The unbeaten Illini and Shockers slide into spots No. 23 and No. 24 on the s-curve as the week opened on December 3. Close behind are Notre Dame (No. 25) and Baylor (No. 26). Our top four s-curve spots remain the same: 1. Duke, 2. Indiana, 3. Louisville, 4. Syracuse.
December 3 – Power 24 update.
We’re roughly halfway through the non-conference season. Several opportunities remain for teams to post resume building wins. An eight-game resume isn’t much to work with. There are teams which have yet to play a true road game. There are teams who have yet to leave their home court. There are teams who have yet to play a high-quality opponent.
Enjoy another good week of hoops.
Fresh off a Battle for Atlantis title in the Bahamas, Duke has vaulted to No. 1 on the s-curve in our Power 24. It’s hard to argue the Blue Devils’ results: wins over two preseason No. 1 seeds (Kentucky and Louisville on neutral courts), along with quality victories over Minnesota and Virginia Commonwealth (VCU). That’s a pretty impressive slate of early season wins.
Indiana – which opened No. 1 on the s-curve – is at No. 2, and would remain a No. 1 seed in the Midwest if we were putting together a new bracket projection. The Hoosiers are followed by Louisville and Syracuse as projected No. 1 seeds (spots 3 and 4 on the curve).
Power 24 – November 26.
Remember, this year’s Power 24 is a reflection of the current s-curve rankings. As such, the rankings are a little different than traditional polls. That said, it’s worth noting that we still have a small sample size. The s-curve is much more fluid now than it will be in February. By then, we have more complete profile. A quick start doesn’t guarantee success, and a less-than-ideal start isn’t a deal-breaker – especially for power conference teams.
On a quick note: Oklahoma State and Colorado are the most surprising newcomers to the Power 24. And Illinois – with it’s Maui Invitational title – moved from just outside the bracket to No. 26 on the s-curve. Wichita State has also made a big jump, coming in at No. 25, one spot from the Top 24.
Enjoy another great week of hoops!