Dickie V: Who sits atop of my conference power rankings?
Penis Vitale, College Basketball analystOct 27, 2023, 11:03 AM ET Close Penis Vitale, college basketball’s leading expert and ambassador, signed up with ESPN throughout the 1979-80 season. His comprehensive knowledge of the game is produced in an enthusiastic, passionate style. Vitale likewise contributes columns to ESPN.com.There are many lists and many
rankings this time of year. We know, by now, who seeks to have a good season. What we do not always consider early is possible conference strength– which can be a big element come Selection Sunday.In making my choices, I don’t just consider the upper tier
groups, however take a look at the conference from top to bottom. Let’s face it, in many cases, it is close. However, I offer the edge to conferences that not only have national championship competitors, but likewise examine the strength of the league in regard to its depth.Here’s my VBDI– Vitale’s Bald Dome Index– in order: Hunter Dickinson
is welcoming being preseason No. 1 @KUHoops pic.twitter.com/i8oPr2b3Lf!.?.!— NCAA March Insanity(@MarchMadnessMBB )October 19, 2023 No. 1 Big 12 Conference We’ll
begin with the Huge 12 which
has broadened by 4 schools. However it’s still the Kansas Jayhawks that are the team to beat. That added depth with the Houston Cougars, Cincinnati Bearcats, BYU Cougars, and the UCF Golden Knights makes winning this league even more difficult. With the departure of the Texas Longhorns and Oklahoma Sooners after the season, the additions of the Arizona Wildcats, Arizona State Sun Devils, Colorado Buffaloes and Utah Utes make this league much more powerful on the hardwood in the upcoming years.Editor’s Picks 2 Related But enough about the future,
let’s discuss this season. The Huge 12 has actually ranked No. 1 or 2 in the leading leagues for the previous 5 seasons and this year is no exception. With 8 members in the postseason in 2015 (7 NCAA, 1 NIT), that amount to shouldn’t lessen this season.Kansas won the transfer lotto by snagging Michigan Wolverines ‘Hunter Dickinson out of the website. The three-time All-Big Ten performer will be featured more in the Jayhawks’system and provided stability down low.Impactful freshmen to view are Ja’Kobe Walter from the Baylor Bears who might
be the response to their back court questions. I likewise want to see the physical nature of the Iowa State Cyclones’Omaha Biliew on display. At 6-8, 210 pounds, he’s a flexible finisher. And not least, Kansas ‘Elmarko Jackson, a 6-3 permeating point guard need to pair nicely with Dajuan Harris.After years of success in the American Athletic Conference Houston rejoins four of its old Southwest Conference competitors this season and even with the loss of 3 beginners from last year’s Sugary food 16 group, the Cougars aren’t as vulnerable as you may think. With lots of bench experience, search for Terrance Arceneaux’s role to increase as well as Emanuel Sharp to light it up from the perimeter.I’m ecstatic to see how among the leading scorers the previous 3 seasons will translate to a power conference as Max Abamas makes the move from the Oral Roberts Golden Eagles to Texas. Additionally, expect another Longhorn as Dylan Disu is a prospective all-conference quality player.Grant McCasland is the new head man at Texas Tech, while Josh Eliert is the interim head coach at West Virginia. No. 2 Southeastern Conference Do you delight in the ups and downs of conference play
? Well, then pay attention to the SEC this year. The
Tennessee Volunteers are one of the oldest groups in the nation and are noted as the odds-on favorite. But four other groups-Alabama Crimson Tide, Arkansas Razorbacks, Kentucky Wildcats, and Texas A&M Aggies- are poised to make a run at the leading area. Kansas +1100 Michigan State +1200 Kentucky +1200
, click on this link In contrast, John Calipari’s Kentucky team is one of the youngest and most skilled in Department I.
But it’s veterans Antonio Reeves and
Tre Mitchell that need to direct these Diaper Dandies through the gauntlet.There was no deeper league in the country in 2015 as the SEC sent out 10 of its 14 groups to the postseason, consisting of a record-tying eight to the Big Dance of which three advanced to the Sweet 16 (Tennessee, Arkansas, Alabama ). There’s no reason it shouldn’t get 7-8 groups in again.If you’re trying to find an inspiring story of effort to arrive, look no further than Aggies’Wade Taylor IV who has actually steadily progressed into one of
the sport’s best guards. Not listed on anybody’s top 100 in the class of 2021, his development has actually been enjoyable to follow.As far as newbies to enjoy, choose from Kentucky’s crop of Diaper Dandies in Justin Edwards, a strong contender to be the No. 1 choice of the 2024 NBA Draft, as well as DJ Wagner, Aaron Bradshaw, Reed Sheppard, and Robert Dillingham. Don’t discount Auburn’s Aden Hollway. He’s an elite shooter as a small point guard.More underrated players to watch on include Tennessee’s Tobe Awaka, who excelled for Team U.S.A. this summertime, Alabama’s Rylan Griffen, and Florida Gators’Riley Kugel, who’s primed to be among the league’s top scorers.The only new coach in the conference is previous Texas Longhorns coach Chris Beard who is taking control of the Ole Miss Rebels. No. 3 Big East Conference The casual basketball
fan may not recognize that the Big East Conference has actually averaged nearly 5 teams in the NCAA Tournament over the last 10 seasons. Contribute to the truth that the safeguarding national champ UConn Huskies live in the in league, having actually won their 5th title considering that 1999, there’s a great deal of positive buzz around this conference.The Marquette Golden Eagles weren’t having any of the 2022 preseason forecast as the ninth-place group as it pulled off the double-double by winning the regular season and tourney titles. No one is ignoring the Golden Eagles this year, specifically with ruling Big East Gamer of the Year Tyler Kolek leading this Last Four contender.It’s not simply a two-team race in between UConn and Marquette though. The Creighton Blue Jays and Villanova Wildcats will compete for leading area too. Creighton was a play away from the Final 4 last season and with a stopper like Ryan Kalkbrenner in the middle, they may take that last action. After missing out on the competition in 2015, a trio of transfers in T.J. Bamba, Tyler Burton and Hakim Hart are anticipated to put Nova back in the Dance.Excitement is sweeping through Queens where training legend Rick Pitino overhauled the St. John’s Red Storm lineup and are forecasted to make the NCAA Competition for the first time considering that 2019. Expected to impress all season is 6-6 wing Stephon Castle from UConn.
His size and dynamic play make him a possible one-and-done, however let’s simply enjoy his on-court performance this season.Others I like are Villanova’s Mark Armstrong who became part of Group USA in the U19 World Cup, Xavier’s Demond Claude, and Marquette’s David Joplin, the reigning Big East Sixth Male of the Year.Two coaches joined the league in Kim English with the Providence Friars and Rick Pitino at the St. John’s Red Storm.
Ed Cooley moved from Providence to the Georgetown Hoyas.Five familiar faces earn the nod on the AP Preseason All-America Group Zach Edey highlights the list as the only unanimous selection pic.twitter.com/asFWwGsfwV!.?.!— NCAA March Madness(@MarchMadnessMBB) October 23, 2023 No. 4 Big Ten Conference Is this year the Huge 10 finally breaks through and wins its very first national title since 2000 when Tom Izzo’s Michigan State Spartans took home the crown? Ever since, the league has actually completed as a bridesmaid 7 times, most
recently with the Michigan Wolverines
in 2018. Preseason headliners Purdue Boilermakers, Michigan State and the Illinois Combating Illini may be in the early spotlight, however the rest of the league need to not be overlooked as it is jammed with groups that have reasonable opportunities to make the postseason.With agreement preseason conference
Gamer of the Year in 7-4 center Zach Edey leading Purdue, watch for some of the top guards in the nation. Highlighting that list are Terrence Shannon Jr. (Illinois), Jahmir Young (Maryland Terrapins), Boo Buie (Northwestern Wildcats )and the impressive
Michigan State duo of A.J. Hoggard and Tyson Walker.Edey has an opportunity to end up being the first player since the Virginia Cavaliers ‘Ralph Sampson(1981-83)to win consecutive National Gamer of the Year honors.Look for McDonald’s All-Americans Mackenzie Mgbako (Indiana Hoosiers), Xavier Booker(Michigan State), and Jeremy Fears Jr.(Michigan State)to lead the parade of newcomers.Also keep an eye
on these under the radar players: Michigan State’s Jaden Akins, Northwestern’s Brooks Barnhizer, Purdue’s Trey Kaufman-Renn, Michigan’s Tarris Reed, and Rutgers Scarlet Knights’Derek Simpson.Penn State Nittany Lions’Mike Rhoades is the just new coach in the league. No. 5 Atlantic Coast Conference Highlighting the ACC’s depth over the last decade was the surprise run of the Miami Hurricanes to the Final 4 in 2015, as it marked the fifth various league group to reach the
nationwide semifinals given that 2015. Even with that deep run, none of the other four teams to make the NCAA Competition field(Duke Blue Devils, Pittsburgh Panthers, Virginia, NC State Wolfpack)surpassed the 2nd round. Hopes are high to place more than 5 groups in the Dance this
go-around. If some faces look familiar, however the uniform does not, it’s because a record 10 players moved from one ACC group to another throughout the offseason. One player that didn’t move is North Carolina Tar Heels fifth-year senior Armando Bacot who is the school’s all-time leader with 1,335 rebounds and 68 double-doubles. Last season’s ACC Novice of the Year, Duke’s Kyle Filipowski, who rejected NBA cash to return, is the odds-on preferred to unseat Purdue’s Zach Edey for National Gamer of the Year honors.Be on the lookout for UNC’s Elliott Cadeau as one of the leading freshmen along with Duke’s sharpshooting Jared McCain and player Caleb Foster amongst the top newcomers.I also like Duke’s Tyrese Proctor who is all set to explode this season and could find a spot on an All-America group. And a guy with a great name, Wooga Poplar down in Miami, requires to be a consistent scoring risk on the border for the Hurricanes.There are 3 brand-new coaches in the conference in Adrian Autry (Syracuse Orange), Micah Shrewsberry (Notre Dame Battling Irish) and Damon Stoudamire(
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets).
No. 6 Pac-12 Conference In the last year of the Pac-12 before the majority of the groups bolt after the season, the league aims to improve upon in 2015’s displaying in the postseason as it stopped working to have a team make it beyond the Sweet 16 for the second consecutive season.Arizona is once again the class of the conference, even after regrouping and replacing 4 starters through the transfer website. However the anchor on the block is returning center Oumar Ballo, who balanced 14.2 points and 8.6 rebounds. Expect those numbers
to increase if they wish to make
a deep NCAA Competition run.Overall play in the league need to be high as it welcomes back five first team All-Conference selections [Ballo, Branden Carlson(Utah ), Tristan da Silva (Colorado ), N’Faly Dante (Oregon Ducks), Boogie Ellis (USC Trojans
)], the most given that 2007-08. Likewise keep an eye on Westwood for the reigning Pac-12 Freshman of the Year in UCLA Bruins ‘Adem Bona, who withdrew from the NBA Draft and is one of the best defensive players in the league.The top Diaper Dandy in ESPN’s Top 100 also resides in Los Angeles in USC’s Isaiah Collier. He’s likewise in the mix to be the No. 1 general choice in the 2024 NBA Draft. Joining him in the lineup is Bronny James(20th in ESPN Top 100), whose health and well-being was the offseason story. If James does play, it would be a considerable increase for the Trojans.Colorado made waves as well by generating the highest-rated hire in school history in guard Cody Williams (7th in ESPN Top 100). The bro of NBA star Jalen Williams might stimulate a deep competition run by the Buffaloes.A few more breakout players are UCLA’s Dylan Andrews, an all-conference caliber guard, USC’s Kobe Johnson
is an excellent perimeter protector while Arizona’s Kylan Boswell takes over a point player for the Leading 25 Wildcats.California Golden Bears ‘Mark Madsen is the only new coach in the conference.The Cock Vitale Gala, benefiting the V Foundation, is held every year in Florida in Might. For more details check out dickvitaleonline.com.