One. Day. Left. Every college basketball fan is anticipating the 6th of November, a day that has been marked in calendars around the country for months. The 2018-19 NCAAM season is set to kick off tomorrow, and there are some things that are necessary to know before turning your TV on tomorrow. But if all goes as planned, this can be one of the most exciting seasons in the past 30 years.
- Watch out for the Blue Bloods – Right off the bat, the blue bloods are as strong as ever. All of Duke, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan State, and North Carolina were ranked in our preseason top 10. In addition to past success, these teams all have top freshman in arguably the best recruiting class of all time. These freshmen are athletic, strong, and all have a ton of talent. If you don’t take my word for it, tune into ESPN at 7 to see Michigan State face off with Kansas, followed by a Duke Kentucky matchup. What a way to start the season.
- The ACC and Big 12 will be at the top of the pack – The ACC is as strong as ever There are 12 teams who can be contenders in the league, all of whom look like possible tournament teams. The league has 4 of the top 6 freshman and four national champion possibilities (Duke, UNC, UVA, Syracuse). Just behind the ACC is the Big 12. A league usually led by Kansas can quite possibly finish similarly to past years, but the conference’s talent is undeniable. The Big 12 can feature up to 9 tournament teams, and Kansas may have a run for their money this year.
- The Big 10 and Pac 12 may have down years – Especially the Pac 12. The Pac 12 had a rough year last year, and to make things worse, their second best freshman, Shareef O’Neal, will be sidelined due to heart surgery. Oregon looks to lead the way, but maybe 4 teams follow into March, at most. In the Big 10, theres Michigan State, Michigan, and Purdue. After that, it’s vague. Sure, a few teams can sneak into the field of 68. But aside from the three previously mentioned, it has yet to be seen who will step up.
- Waivered Transfers – This offseason was filled with the NCAA granting waivers to transfer students, allowing them to play immediately rather than sitting out a season. Not only will these players add depth and talent to rosters, but it creates an interesting dynamic, as coaches need to divide playing time between their expected rotation and their newly eligible transfers.
- This can be the year of the Mid Major – Nevada, Gonzaga, and Loyola-Chicago are obviously the most highly regarded mid majors. However, it seems that teams outside the Power 5 are especially strong this season. Between Western Kentucky, St. Mary’s, St. Louis, San Diego State, and Harvard, this may be the year a mid major can win the big dance.
Although this helped, nothing can prepare a college basketball fan for an upcoming season. The NCAA thrives year after year because nothing ever goes as expected. There are teams who perform above expectations, and there are teams who fall off from where they began. There are upsets, there are dominations, and the emotion always runs high. It all returns this Tuesday, and everyone needs to tune in.