2015 College Basketball Preseason Power Rankings
College Basketball Power Rankings
October 16, 2015
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The 2015 college basketball season is just weeks away from tipping off. For me, college hoops is probably my favorite sport and we’ll have pretty much every game covered all year here at Sports Chat Place. From the big boy schools that are on national TV all the time down to the small games that are played in front of a hundred people.
Anyway, here are the college basketball power rankings as we enter the 2015 season.
USA TODAY Sports
1. North Carolina Tar Heels - North Carolina made a deep tournament run last year and returns pretty much everyone from that roster. Marcus Paige is a top-five point guard, Brice Johnson is a versatile forward, while Kennedy Meeks and Justin Jackson provide depth. This is a do-or-die season for Roy Williams and the Tar Heels.
2. Kentucky Wildcats - Same year, same questions for the kentucky Wildcats. The talent is unquestionable but there are a ton of questions. Will Skal Labissiere ever see the court? Is Tyler Ulis really ready to take that next step? Are there enough basketballs for Jamal Murray and Isaiah Briscoe? Kentucky has oodles of talent but a ton of youth and guys who aren’t used to playing together.
3. Maryland Terrapins - Melo Trimble is possibly the best player overall in the Big Ten, and he now has even more help with Diamond Stone, Robert Carter and Jake Layman. The Terps are true national championship contenders for the first time since the early 2000s.
4. Kansas Jayhawks - Perry Ellis returns for his 17th season and Frank Mason III returns as one of the more underappreciated guards in the country. If Cheick Diallo gets permission to play this season, the Kansas Jayhawks are easily the best team in the Big 12.
5. Virginia Cavaliers - Losing Justin Anderson and Darion Atkins does hurt the Cavs, but Virginia has a proven system in place to where you can plug and play. Also, Malcolm Brogdon and Anthony Gill aren’t too shabby.
6. Duke Blue Devils - The Duke Blue Devils are another team that’s lost a lot of talent, but a recruiting class of Derryck Thornton and Brandon Ingram keeps Coach K smiling. Amile Jefferson and Matt Jones are there to provide the experience and leadership.
7. Oklahoma Sooners - Buddy Hield is possibly the best shooting guard in the country, and he returns a gang of experienced players to help him out, including Ryan Spangler and Khadeem Lattin. The Sooners are one of a handful of teams that can give the Jayhawks a run for their money in the Big 12.
8. Iowa State Cyclones - Another one of those teams is the Iowa State Cyclones. Led by Georges Niang and Jameel McKay, the Cyclones should once again be one of the more exciting teams in the country. The only question is can coach Steve Prohm push the same buttons that Fred Hoiberg did?
9. Gonzaga Bulldogs - The Gonzaga Bulldogs once again has a pair of players who are nearly impossible to stop in Przemek Karnowski and Kyle Wiltjer. Gonzaga can hurt you in so many ways and will once again push for 30 wins for the third time in four years.
10. Wichita State Shockers - Remember when the Wichita State Shockers were supposed to be a one or two year story? Well, as long as players like Ron Baker and Fred VanVleet stick around for four seasons, the Shockers aren’t going anywhere. Tell the rest of the MVC to have fun fighting for second place.
11. Villanova Wildcats - The Villanova Wildcats are coming off a season in which they lost just three games and Jay Wright has himself another talented squad. With Ryan Arcidiacono, Daniel Ochefu and Jalen Brunson leading the way, the Wildcats may be the cream of the crop in the Big East this season.
12. Michigan State Spartans - Michigan State now belongs to Denzel Valentine, who is simply one of the more underrated players in the country. Add in solid recruits such as Deyonta Davis and Matt McQuaid, and the Spartans will once again be that team that nobody wants to play towards the end of the season.
13. Arizona Wildcats - It seems like the Arizona Wildcats always manage to produce a talented roster that includes depth and playmakers. This year, that group of guys include Kaleb Tarczewski, Gabe York and Ryan Anderson. Arizona is once again a team the rest of the Pac-12 should fear.
14. Indiana Hoosiers - The Indiana Hoosiers are national championship contenders. There, I said it. Yogi Ferrell is easily one of my favorite players in college basketball, while James Blackmon Jr. and Troy Williams return as double-digit scorers. As long as the Hoosiers can improve defensively, this team can do work against anybody in the country.
15. UConn Huskies - Sterling Gibbs gives UConn that go-to guy with Ryan Boatright no longer around. Amida Brimah and Daniel Hamilton will take that next step in their career and Rodney Purvis provides experience. UConn has a solid, solid squad that should start to come together as the season picks up.
16. California Golden Bears - The California Golden Bears can accomplish whatever they like, as a trio of Jaylen Brown, Jabari Bird and Tyrone Wallace can go toe-to-toe with any in the country. It’s now up to Cal to put everything together and finally take that next step.
17. Wisconsin Badgers - The Wisconsin Badgers probably lost more than any other team in the country. However, Bob Ryan is still the head coach. Also, returning Nigel Hayes and Bronson Koenig doesn’t hurt. Wisconsin will once again find a way to stay in the thick of the Big Ten like it always does.
18. Notre Dame Fighting Irish - A duo that includes Zach Auguste and Demetrius Jackson gives Notre Dame a fighting chance. There’s not too many teams that can say they have two of the top 50 players in college basketball. Well, the Irish can.
19. Utah Utes - We’ll miss seeing Delon Wright light up the stat sheet late night, but Utah still has a solid core led by Jakob Poeltl and Brandon Taylor. The Utes will continue to be that sneaky good team that gives every other squad in the Pac-12 a run for its money.
20. SMU Mustangs - It’s clear that I may be all by myself on this ranking, and I’m fine with it. The SMU Mustangs are once again one of the more talented teams in the AAC led by Nic Moore and Markus Kennedy. Sleep if you want to, but the Mustangs are a solid group that’s going to make the NCAA Tournament once again.
21. LSU Tigers - Ben Simmons is arguably the best player in college basketball and it won’t take long for him to prove it. Add that to double-digit scorers Keith Hornsby and Tim Quarterman returning for another season, and the Tigers are cooking with gas.
22. Miami Hurricanes - The Miami Hurricanes basketball team is starting to be far more consistent than its football team. Another year of Angel Rodriguez, Tonye Jekiri and Sheldon McClellan will give fans of The U something to be proud of this season.
23. Purdue Boilermakers - The Purdue Boilermakers started to click towards the end of last season, and A.J. Hammons is truly one of the better big men in the country. Purdue is a team that could surprise a lot of folks this season, which includes making back-to-back NCAA Tournament bids.
24. Baylor Bears - The Baylor Bears are forming an identity and continue to play hard regardless of who is on the court. When you add dominant big man Rico Gathers and a double-digit scorer in Taurean Prince in the mix, Baylor is another dangerous Big 12 squad.
25. Vanderbilt Commodores - Vanderbilt has possibly a top-25 player in Damian Jones and one of the more versatile guards in Wade Baldwin IV. The Commodores are a team you’re going to want to watch very closely this season, as this program is clearly on the rise.