After running into the Villanova buzzsaw in March, West Virginia must now find a way to replace the invaluable backcourt duo of Jevon Carter and Daxter Miles. Bob Huggins will lean on one of the deepest frontcourts in the nation as the Mountaineers aim to dethrone Kansas’ perpetual Big 12 title streak.
After an underwhelming 2017-18, Dana Altman has once again assembled an extremely talented roster boosted by one of the nation’s best freshman classes. Can he build a contender out of the intriguing pieces?
The momentum just keeps on building in Fort Worth as Jamie Dixon brings back a potent roster with the chops to compete for a Big-12 title. The Horned Frogs will have to integrate their new wave of young talent with an experienced veteran core, headlined by a healthy Jaylen Fisher at point guard.
Kevin Keatts has his system firing on all cylinders and brings in yet another talented group of transfers and freshmen. Returning wing Torin Dorn looks to lead the Wolfpack to a second straight Tourney berth and challenge for the ACC title.
No DeVoe, no problem. The Tigers lose two big pieces from a Sweet Sixteen squad a year ago, but bring back one of the best returning trios in the country. Brad Brownell looks to add a little security to his once-shaky job as the Tigers threaten the top of the ACC.
Syracuse returns all five starters from a team that reached last year’s Sweet Sixteen. NBA prospect Tyus Battle’s return has given Boeheim his best roster in years, and a lock down defense makes the Orange an enticing ACC conference crown contender.
Last year’s 13-17 debacle marked an abrupt and sour end to a decorated 7-year run of success under Mr. Mayor Fred Hoiberg (2010 - 2015) and Steve Prohm (2015-2017). Now, with the return of Lindell Wigginton and a healthy Nick Weiler-Babb to spearhead a dynamic backcourt, the Clones are primed to restore the magic back to its rightful home in Hilton Coliseum.
The Boilermakers were gutted this offseason with the graduation of four senior starters from last year’s 2nd-seeded squad in the NCAA tournament. But Matt Painter’s coaching chops and the return of POTY candidate Carsen Edwards should keep Purdue competitive atop the Big 10 once again in 2018-19.
For a coach who has made three Sweet 16s in the past five years, Steve Alford’s seat appears to be heating up. Will a roster rife with talented underclassmen be enough to earn Mr. Alford some job security?
The combination of Juwan Morgan’s withdrawal from the NBA draft and Romeo Langford’s decision to stay home for school has Hoosier Hysteria at an all-time high in Bloomington. Can Archie Miller put the pieces together for a run at a Big Ten title and end IU’s 2-year tournament drought?
No Mo, No problem? Only time will tell if that phrase holds true with the Longhorns losing their supreme shot-swatter to the NBA draft this summer. Texas should once again reload with a stable of athletic guards and wings back in the mix for Shaka Smart’s 4th full season as the leading man in Austin.
The basketball buzz is officially back in Lincoln as Timmy Miles and the boys are riding high off a 22-win season. So, with a top-4 of Glynn Watson, James Palmer, Isaac Copeland and Isaiah Roby all back in the mix, the Cornhuskers could be a force to be reckoned with in the Big Ten title race.
After being gutted by early NBA Draft entrants this summer, Mark Turgeon must yet again re-stock the talent cupboard in College Park. He brings in another top-tier recruiting class, but must first address the turnover epidemic that plagued the Terrapins far too often last season.
Wisconsin’s unrivaled consistency hit a bump in the road last season as the Badgers were absent from the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1998 (!!!). Now, with a promising sophomore class returning to support low-post aficionado Ethan Happ, Greg Gard has all the pieces he needs to right the ship back on course.
UC’s mega-meltdown against Nevada in the Round of 32 sent the Bearcats packing before the tournament’s 2nd weekend for the 6th year in a row. Cincy returns a talented perimeter core, but must now re-tool the interior with Gary Clark and Kyle Washington both graduating this summer.
A great deal of change is afoot in Northeast Cincinnati, as the Musketeers wave goodbye to Chris Mack and Xavier legends Trevon Bluiett and JP Macura (among others). New coach Travis Steele hopes, Quentin Goodin, a promising group of sophomores, and a few grad transfers can maintain X’s streak of 6 straight tournaments…
Three pillars of the Providence program depart (Kyron Cartwright, Rodney Bullock, Jalen Lindsey), but the Friars still have Ed Cooley and a bevy of young talent with which to work. The biggest question: how big of an impact can Emmitt Holt have in his return from injury?
Miami loses a significant amount of production from last season, but still returns a core featuring a dynamic point guard and an NBA-caliber big man. A Florida Gulf Coast transfer and Jim Larranaga’s always-great coaching ability should keep the Canes near the top of the ACC standings.
Despite dealing with a mass exodus of his entire starting 5, Sean Miller has cobbled together enough talent to maintain respectability in Tucson. Will he be able to piece it all together in time to make a run in the vulnerable Pac 12?
Villanova vs. Michigan, a championship worthy of the stellar basketball we witnessed in 2017-18. The two hottest teams in the country square off for a chance to etch their names in NCAA history. Jay Wright seeks his second championship of his Hall of Fame career; John Beilein seeks his first. It's a heavyweight bout between two brilliant coaches and talented squads.
The heavyweight bout on the right side of the bracket presents a fascinating matchup - both teams have prolific three-point shooting offenses, and both feature a plethora of versatile weapons with which to attack the other. Who will play for the national title Monday night?
And then there were four... Michigan and Loyola enter the Final 4 riding a combined 30-game winning streak, so something's gotta give this Saturday in San Antonio to determine who plays for all the marbles Monday night.