Thursday, June 20, 2024

SLAM’s 2023-24 NCAA Males’s School Basketball Preview

School basketball is again.

There will likely be tons of upsets all through the 2023-24 faculty basketball season, in fact, however we’re betting the final groups standing subsequent April will likely be some acquainted names. Don’t @ us.

Right here’s our official 2023-24 Males’s School Basketball season preview.

1. Duke: The returns of Kyle Filipowski, Jeremy Roach, Tyrese Proctor, and Mark Mitchell, together with one other crop of 4 and five-star standouts, will make Jon Scheyer appear like a reasonably darn good coach this yr.  

2. Kansas: The Jayhawks are deep, versatile, and nasty on protection. Including Michigan middle Hunter Dickinson makes them deadly within the pick-and-roll. If KU can stroke it from the skin, will probably be nationwide title time. 

3. Michigan State: Tom Izzo says a Massive Ten workforce has to win all of it to show the convention is elite. Right here’s a squad that may do it. The Spartans will grind like no different workforce, have loads of expertise and boast a first-rate backcourt.  

4. Marquette: The Golden Eagles aren’t that huge, they usually don’t bang the boards like Visigoths, however oh, that backcourt. Tyler Kolek, Stevie Mitchell, and Kam Jones can pile it on, and there ought to be sufficient inside for a shot on the Remaining 4. 

5. Tennessee: Behold the school basketball equal of oral surgical procedure. The Vols play like somebody needs to steal their hire cash. The guards are rugged, and if Zakai Zeigler’s knee is wholesome, huge issues—and sore opponents—lie forward. 

6. Purdue: He’s again! The Massive Maple, unguardable 7-4 middle Zach Edey, returns to personal the paint. The query is whether or not Fletcher Loyer and the perimeter workforce can hit photographs. If they’ll, the Boilermakers will thrive. 

7. Houston: Kelvin Sampson has carried out a masterful job making a sustainable powerhouse with protection and difficult love. The Cougars aren’t fairly and definitely aren’t enjoyable to play, however they’ve gained huge—and can proceed to take action. 

8. Creighton: The Bluejays misplaced some expertise to the portal however then added skilled contributors the identical manner. Name it a wash. Ryan Kalkbrenner is a two-way pressure inside, and he’s surrounded by sturdy perimeter scorers. 

9. Baylor: There are a bunch of recent Bears, however they’re good. Actually good. Look out for freshmen guards Ja’Kobe Walter and Miro Little. Switch RayJ Dennis can fill it up, and holdover Jalen Bridges is a gradual frontcourt piece. 

10. Florida Atlantic: Final yr was a magical one-off, proper? Proper? Nope, all however one of many key Owls are again and prepared for extra. FAU is loaded with gifted, skilled guards and has good depth. This encore ought to be enjoyable. 

11. Arizona: The Wildcats had been huge and gradual final yr. They’re loads faster this time. Transfers Caleb Love and Keshad Johnson will likely be speedy standouts, and massive man Oumar Ballo will trigger all types of issues inside. 

12. Villanova: It’s time for Nova to go again to the place it belongs. Final yr was an anomaly. Guard Justin Moore and massive man Eric Dixon are main producers, and 4 transfers will add depth and flexibility.  

13. Connecticut: The defending champs misplaced some actual stalwarts, however huge man Donovan Clingan is a budding star, Tristen Newton and Alex Karaban have loads of expertise, and Rutgers switch Cam Spencer and a loaded crop of freshmen have arrived. 

14. North Carolina: Armando Bacot and RJ Davis are again for his or her ninth seasons in Chapel Hill. Not less than it feels that manner. Freshman level man Elliot Cadeau is the human help and transfers Harrison Ingram and Cormac Ryan are welcome additions. 

15. Gonzaga: You need factors? The Zags rating loads of them. Drew Timme’s gone, however Mark Few discovered a bunch of high-octane newcomers to hitch returning starters Nolan Hickman and Anton Watson. Time to spin the scoreboards once more. 

16. Kentucky: It’s been some time since John Calipari’s bunch has made a nationwide splash. It may occur this yr. The freshman class is ridiculous. There are precise seniors (Antonio Reeves and Tre Mitchell) on the roster. UK is again. 

17. Illinois: The Illini had been alleged to be powerful final yr, however they sagged. Terrence Shannon Jr is again to make ’23-24 completely different. He’s joined by the standard sturdy solid of transfers. If Illinois can shoot it, loads of wins will comply with. 

18. Miami: Marvel why Jim Larrañaga retains hanging round Coral Gables? It’s groups like this. Nijel Pack is a top-shelf guard, Norchad Omier could cause huge issues inside, and wing Wooga Poplar is prepared for large issues. 

19. Texas A&M: The Aggies waited till after the calendar turned to 2023 final season to play their greatest ball. There ought to be no delay this season, due to level man Wade Taylor IV and three different returning starters. 

20. Arkansas: Mr. Switch is at it as soon as once more in Fayetteville. Eric Musselman imported seven gamers from different faculties, with Tramon Mark and Khalif Battle anticipated to workforce with returnee Davonte Davis in a potent backcourt. 

21. San Diego State: The Aztecs misplaced loads, however they may nonetheless grind and defend and combat. That’s price loads. Lamont Butler leads 4 key holdovers, and USC switch Reese Dixon has loads of expertise. 

22. Texas: Excessive-scoring Oral Roberts switch Max Abmas brings severe juice to the Longhorns’ assault. Rodney Terry is now the full-time boss, and he has guard Tyrese Hunter and ahead Dylan Disu as featured performers. 

23. UCLA: Presenting essentially the most attention-grabbing roster in faculty hoops. The Bruins are full of worldwide gamers, may begin two facilities, and will appear like a Euro skilled workforce, style-wise. They may even attempt to play with a type of orange-and-white FIBA basketballs. 

24. Virginia: The Cavs misplaced within the first spherical once more final yr. When that occurred in 2018, they gained all of it the next season. It is going to be about protection once more at UVA, with Reece Beekman up high and a bunch of stingy mates round him. 

25. St. John’s: Quick-talking Rick Pitino spent the offseason convincing a pile of high-scoring transfers to hitch potent pivot Joel Soriano in Queens. Jordan Dingle and Chris Ledlum had been Ivy League killers, and Daniss Jenkins was a giant producer at Iona. 

Duke followers, this one’s for you. Get your copy of SLAM 247 copy and canopy tees.

Photographs by way of Getty Pictures

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