NCAA men’s basketball preview

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NCAA Basketball Logo

Hank Shapiro, Jake White, and Adam Perez

Expectations are high for the 2019-2020 NCAA men’s basketball season. The first tip-off of the year takes place on Nov. 5 when Duke plays Kansas at Madison Square Garden. With a plethora of talented teams and no clear favorite to win it all, anyone could be cutting down the nets in April. The Big Ten, ACC and Big East are the top conferences in the country and we delve into them in our college basketball preview.


ACC

Last year, Virginia won the NCAA national championship, becoming the 6th national champion to come out of the ACC in the past 11 years. This conference is looking to bring the championship back for the 2019-2020 season and there is a good chance they will do so. Four out of the top eleven spots in the NCAA AP preseason rankings are occupied by ACC teams. This will be a very competitive year in the ACC and any  team can conceivably win the conference.

Championship Pick: Louisville

Contenders: Duke, Virginia, North Carolina

Sleeper Pick: NC State

MVP: Cole Anthony – North Carolina

Players to Watch:

Jordan Nwora – Louisville

Tre Jones – Duke

Markell Johnson – NC State

Coach of the Year: Chris Mack – Louisville


Big Ten

Following a 2019 NCAA tournament best, eight teams made the big dance from the Big Ten. The conference looks to re-establish its dominance this season. This highly competitive group brings back a lot of talent, and I expect the same amount of teams to get back to the NCAA tournament this year. Each team has a tough regular season schedule, but when tournament time comes around, these teams will be battle-tested and prime to make a run.

Championship Pick: Michigan State

Contenders: Maryland, Purdue, Michigan

Sleeper Pick: Illinois

MVP: Lamar Stevens – Penn State

Players to Watch:

Cassius Winston – Michigan State

Jalen Smith – Maryland

Zavier Simpson – Michigan

Coach of the Year: Tom Izzo – Michigan State


Big East

After a disappointing 2019 NCAA tournament that saw Villanova eliminated in the second round and Marquette suffer an upset loss, the Big East looks to rebound and have a stronger impact on this year’s tournament. The conference will be top heavy and not as competitive as previous seasons. The Big East Tournament should be exciting in the later rounds, with teams like Seton Hall and Villanova looking to position themselves for the NCAA tournament.

Championship Pick: Villanova

Contenders: Seton Hall, Xavier, Marquette

Sleeper Pick: Creighton

MVP: Myles Powell – Seton Hall

Players to Watch:

Markus Howard – Marquette

Kamar Baldwin – Butler

Alpha Diallo – Providence

Coach of the Year: Jay Wright – Villanova