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The Grueling Truth - Where Legends Speak / 2018-19 NCAA Basketball Way Too Early Top 25

2018-19 NCAA Basketball Way Too Early Top 25

2018-19 NCAA Basketball Top 25!
Publish Date: 06/10/2018
Fact checked by: Simon Briffa

1) Kansas Jayhawks

  • Notable players expected to return: Udoka Azubuike, Marcus Garrett, Mitch Lightfoot, Silvio De Sousa, Sam Cunliffe
  • Expected additions: Dedric Lawson, K.J. Lawson, Charlie Moore, Quentin Grimes, Devon Dotson, David McCormack, Ochai Agbaji

The Jayhawks should be the class of the Big 12 once again and this year’s team should be much more athletic than last year’s team.

2) Tennessee Volunteers

  • Notable players expected to return: Grant Williams, Admiral Schofield, Lamonte Turner, Jordan Bowden, Jordan Bone, Kyle Alexander, Chris Darrington, John Fulkerson, Derrick Walker, Zach Kent, Jalen Johnson, Yves Pons
  • Expected additions: Khwan Jones

    The Vols rank this highly because they return the top 6 scorers from last year and they should only continue to improve.

3) Duke Blue Devils

  • Notable players expected to return: Marques Bolden, Javin DeLaurier, Alex O’Connell, Justin Robinson, Antonio Vrankovic, Jordan Goldwire, Jack White
  • Expected additions: R.J. Barrett, Cameron Reddish, Zion Williamson, Tre Jones, Joey Baker

The Blue Devils have lost their entire starting lineup from last year, but since it is Duke they have of course added the top 3 incoming freshman in the country.

4) Kentucky Wildcats

  • Notable players expected to return: PJ Washington, Quade Green, Nick Richards, Brad Calipari, Jemarl Baker
  • Expected additions: Keldon Johnson, Immanuel Quickly, Tyler Herro, E.J. Montgomery

The second-ranked recruiting class in the nation helps the Cats to be top 5 and if they pick up Stanford transfer Travis Reid they may just become the best team in the nation.

5) Nevada Wolfpack

  • Notable players expected to return: Caleb Martin, Jordan Caroline, Cody Martin, Lindsey Drew, Josh Hall
  • Expected additions: Jordan Brown, K.J. Hymes, Vincent Lee, Nisre’ Zouzoua, Jazz Johnson, Tre’Shawn Thurman, Corey Henson, Trey Porter

The Wolfpack are loaded and return everything a team needs to win a National Championship. I expect this team to make a deep run in the 2019 NCAA Tournament.

6) North Carolina Tar Heels

  • Notable players expected to return: Luke Maye, Cameron Johnson, Kenny Williams, Sterling Manley, Garrison Brooks, Andrew Platek, Brandon Robinson, Brandon Huffman, Seventh Woods, Shea Rush
  • Expected additions: Nassir Little, Coby White, Rechon Black

Little and White will be two of the best freshman in the country, and with their help added to a solid returning corps, Coach Roy Williams will have a shot to add another banner in Chapel Hill.

7) Gonzaga Bulldogs

  • Notable players expected to return: Killian Tillie, Zach Norvell, Josh Perkins, Rui Hachimura, Corey Kispert, Jacob Larsen, Jeremy Jones
  • Expected additions: Joel Ayayi, Brandon Clark, Filip Petrusev, Greg Foster

They lost their leading scorer from last year, but the return of Tillie and Hachimura should have this team with a nice seed come tournament time.

8) Virginia Cavaliers

  • Notable players expected to return: Kyle Guy, Ty Jerome, De’Andre Hunter, Mamadi Diakite, Jack Salt, Jay Huff, Marco Anthony
  • Expected additions: Kody Stattmann, Kihei Clark

The Cavs suffered an epic meltdown in the first round of this past year’s tournament and while I think another high seed in the tournament is a definite possibility for this team, I question if the style of play is just much more conducive to the regular season?

9) Kansas State Wildcats

  • Notable players expected to return: Dean Wade, Barry Brown, Xavier Sneed, Kamau Stokes, Cartier Diarra, Makol Mawien, Mawdo Sallah, Mike McGuirl, Amaad Wainwright, Levi Stockard III
  • Expected additions: Shaun Williams, Austin Trice

The Wildcats made it to within one game playing without there best player Dean Wade and everybody is basically back from that team. They should be the main contender to Kansas in the Big 12.

10) Auburn Tigers

  • Notable players expected to return: Bryce Brown, Austin Wiley, Danjel Purifoy, Jared Harper, Chuma Okeke, Anfernee McLemore, Horace Spencer, Malik Dunbar
  • Expected additions: Samir Doughty

    Auburn was a surprise team last year. They won’t be a surprise this year.

11) Villanova Wildcats

  • Notable players expected to return: Eric Paschall, Phil Booth, Collin Gillespie, Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree, Jermaine Samuels, Tim Delaney, Dylan Painter
  • Expected additions: Jahvon Quinerly, Cole Swider, Brandon Slater, Joe Cremo

They lost a lot, but Coach Jay Wright has built a big-time program and with a very good recruiting class coming back. Look for the Wildcats to be the class of the Big East once again.

12) Michigan State Spartans

  • Notable players expected to return: Cassius Winston, Nick Ward, Joshua Langford, Matt McQuaid, Xavier Tillman, Kenny Goins, Kyle Ahrens
  • Expected additions: Marcus Bingham, Foster Loyer, Gabe Brown, Aaron Henry, Thomas Kithier

The Spartans lost two of their best players, but much like Coach Wright at Villanova, Coach Izzo has built a monster program and they should be pre-season favorites in the Big Ten again.

13) Syracuse Orangemen

  • Notable players expected to return: Tyus Battle, Oshae Brissett, Frank Howard, Marek Dolezaj, Paschal Chukwu, Bourama Sidibe
  • Expected additions: Jalen Carey, Buddy Boeheim, Elijah Hughes

The Cuse returns their top 6 scorers from last year and as always will be a well-coached team capable of making a run at an ACC title.

14) Florida State Seminoles

  • Notable players expected to return: Phil Cofer, Terance Mann, Trent Forrest, Mfiondu Kabengele, M.J. Walker, PJ Savoy, Christ Koumadje, Wyatt Wilkes, Anthony Polite
  • Expected additions: Devin Vassell, RaiQuan Gray,

The Seminoles should once again be a factor in the ACC. They had some major losses but this is a big, physical, athletic team who will be in the NCAA Tournament.

15) Virginia Tech Hokies

  • Notable players expected to return: Justin Robinson, Kerry Blackshear Jr., Nickel Alexander-Walker, Ahmed Hill, Chris Clarke, P.J. Horne, Kyrie Jackson, Wabissa Beade, Ty Outlaw
  • Expected additions: Landers Nolley, Jarren McAllister, Jon Kabongo, Khadim Sy

The Hokies were good enough for an eight seed in last year’s tournament and I look for that seeding to only improve with the majority of last year’s team returning.

16) Oregon Ducks

  • Notable players expected to return: Payton Pritchard, Paul White, Victor Bailey, Kenny Wooten, Keith Smith, M.J. Cage, Abu Kigab
  • Expected additions: Bol Bol, Louis King, Will Richardson, Miles Norris

The addition of a great recruiting class featuring Bol Bol and Louis King makes the Ducks the favorite in the Pac 12.

17) Indiana Hoosiers

  • Notable players expected to return: Juwan Morgan, De’Ron Davis, Devonte Green, Justin Smith, Aljami Durham, Zach McRoberts
  • Expected additions: Romeo Langford, Jerome Hunter, Damezi, Anderson, Robert Phinisee, Jake Forrester, Race Thompson

The Hoosiers return most of a team that showed improvement late in the year and with Juwan Morgan coming back, the Hoosiers have a go-to player that is a senior. Add in a top 10 recruiting class featuring Romeo Langford and the Hoosiers could challenge the Spartans for Big ten supremacy.

18) Mississippi State Bulldogs

  • Notable players expected to return: Quinndary Weatherspoon, Aric Holman, Nick Weatherspoon, Lamar Peters, Tyson Carter, Abdul Ado, Nick Singleton, E.J. Datcher, KeyShawn Feazell
  • Expected additions: Reggie Perry, Robert Woodard, DJ Stewart, Jethro Tshisumpa

Coach Ben Howland should take this Bulldogs team to an NCAA Tournament. They finished last year on a high note, making it all the way to the NIT finals. With what they have returning, they should only improve.

19) LSU Tigers

  • Notable players expected to return: Tremont Waters, Skylar Mays, Brandon Sampson, Daryl Edwards, Wayde Sims, Brandon Rachal,
  • Expected additions: Naz Reid, Ja’Vonte Smart, Darius Days, Emmitt Williams, Kavell Bigby-Williams

A top 5 recruiting class makes this one of the most talented rosters in what should be a talent-laden SEC.

20) Michigan Wolverines

  • Notable players expected to return: Tremont Waters, Skylar Mays, Brandon Sampson, Daryl Edwards, Wayde Sims, Brandon Rachal,
  • Expected additions: Naz Reid, Ja’Vonte Smart, Darius Days, Emmitt Williams, Kavell Bigby-Williams

The Wolverines lost a lot from last year’s National Championship runner-up team, but they are one of the best-coached teams in the country. Look for Charles Matthews to have a big season.

21) Clemson Tigers

  • Notable players expected to return: Marcquise Reed, Shelton Mitchell, Elijah Thomas, Aamir Simms, David Skara, Anthony Oliver II, Clyde Trapp, Malik William, Scott Spencer
  • Expected additions: John Newman, Trey Jamison, Hunter Tyson

The Tigers lost some important pieces to last year’s team, but they do return 4 of their top 6 scorers and should be in for another very good year.

22) UCLA Bruins

  • Notable players expected to return: Kris Wilkes, Jaylen Hands, Prince Ali, Alex Olesinski, Chris Smith, Cody Riley, Jalen Hill
  • Expected additions: Shareef O’Neal, Jules Bernard, David Singleton, Kenneth Nwuba, Moses Brown, Tiger Campbell

This is a top 10 roster talent-wise, but with Alford, as the coach, I don’t expect more than an early NCAA tournament exit.

23) West Virginia Mountaineers

  • Notable players expected to return: Sagaba Konate, Esa Ahmad, Lamont West, James Bolden, Wesley Harris, Chase Harler, Logan Routt
  • Expected additions: Jordan McCabe, Derek Culver, Emmitt Matthews, Trey Doomes, Andrew Gordon, Brandon Knapper, Jermaine Haley

On paper it doesn’t look promising after losing several key players from last year. As we all know though with Bob Huggins at the helm, they will make the tournament as he is one of the best regular season coaches in college basketball.

24) TCU Horned Frogs

  • Notable players expected to return: Desmond Bane, Jaylen Fisher, Kouat Noi, Alex Robinson, JD Miller, Shawn Olden, RJ Nembhard
  • Expected additions: Kevin Samuel, Kaden Archie, Kendric Davis, Russell Barlow, Yuat Alok, Angus McWilliam, Lat Mayen

Desmond Bane and Jaylen Fisher will be the key to this year’s team after the Horned Frogs lost the top 2 scorers they had from last year. The Frogs look to be on their way to building a top-notch program in the Big 12.

25) Cincinnati Bearcats

  • Notable players expected to return: Jarron Cumberland, Cane Broome, Justin Jenifer, Trevor Moore, Keith Williams, Tre Scott, Nysier Brooks, Eliel Nsoseme, Mamoudou Diarra
  • Expected additions: Logan Johnson, LaQuill Hardnett

Losing Jacob Evans to the NBA Draft hurts, but Mick Cronin, much like Huggins, is a tremendous regular season coach and I trust in the end that the Bearcats will once again be in the tournament.

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