Sep. 23, 2016
My Top 4, College Basketball
I personally don't like making final four predictions, because nobody knows at this point who will be in which bracket. So, instead of doing a final four prediction, I will do what teams I believe are the four most deserving. This is going to be a new weekly addition of the college basketball analysis, coming out every weekend for the next month and a half about who I think are the top four in college basketball at the moment. This might be the toughest year to determine who is at the top of the basketball world, as there are a lack of true standout programs at the moment. Teams like Kentucky and Gonzaga will have essential walkthroughs to the NCAA tournament, where the ACC and Pac-12 are full of final four threats. So here are my top four.
1) KANSAS JAYHAKWS
Frank Mason is a true contender for national player of the year, and it makes sense since it usually goes to the best team's best player. I like his backcourt mate too, in Devonte Graham, and they have the best backcourt (Kentucky has the most TALENTED backcourt). Kansas has won 18 straight since their only loss to Indiana in the opener and have an inside track on the Big 12 title, again. They don't have any super impressive wins outside of Duke, but they haven't played a pushover program either (only one game against a 200+ RPI program, Long Beach State). They can also go deeper than their seven man rotation, but those seven are highly effective. Their test is this week with road games at West Virginia and a rare non-conference game with Kentucky.
2) VILLANOVA WILDCATS
Josh Hart is the other obvious POY candidate, and he is leading his one-loss, defending national champion Villanova team to another probable number one seed in March. With the injury to Creighton's Mo Watson Jr., Villanova likely loses one of its' three competitors for the Big East title, and at this point seems like it will be only Butler as a real threat. They still have a road test at Xavier, and a home game with Creighton and Butler, but Nova should find its' way through. They are the biggest threat to Kansas at this point.
3) FLORIDA STATE SEMINOLES
Forget Markelle Fultz and his futile attempts to lead the Washington Huskies back to relevance, if Florida State wins the ACC, F Jonathan Isaac is the favorite for freshman of the year. He's not even their best player right now, as sophomore G Dwayne Bacon is putting up 17.4 PPG, and Xavier Rathan-Mayes is being a great floor general. In their last six games, they have beaten Duke, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Louisville and Notre Dame while only losing on the road to North Carolina. That's an excellent stretch, and that should put them in the top five in the country in the polls.
4) KENTUCKY WILDCATS
There are a lot of choices here, as I will list them later, but with the pure talent the Wildcats have I can't pick anybody else at this point. Plus, they have the best chance of any power conference team of going through the rest of the season undefeated, and only have a road loss in Louisville and home loss against UCLA at this point. Malik Monk, De'Aaron Fox and Isaiah Briscoe make one of the best backcourts in the country, and the bench is much deeper than usual this year. Expect another tournament run for the Wildcats.
OTHER TEAMS IN THE HUNT