College basketball is back, and it’s time for The Circuit to make some
predictions about the upcoming season! From Player of the Year to Final Four, we predict everything about the 22-23 college basketball season!
College basketball is back! And yes, technically teams are roughly five games into the season so these predictions are a little late. BUT, for me personally, college basketball doesn’t start until Thanksgiving weekend so here we are! Let’s kick things off with my top 25 rankings:
Top 25 Rankings
1- North Carolina Tar Heels
2- Gonzaga Bulldogs
3- Kentucky Wildcats
4- Houston Cougars
5- Duke Blue Devils
6- UCLA Bruins
7- Kansas Jayhawks
8- Baylor Bears
9- Arkansas Razorbacks
10- Texas Longhorns
11- Creighton Blue Jays
12- Michigan Wolverines
13- Tennessee Volunteers
14- Indiana Hoosiers
15- TCU Horned Frogs
16- Oregon Ducks
17- Alabama Crimson Tide
18- Illinois Fighting Illini
19- Auburn Tigers
20- Villanova Wildcats
21- Virginia Cavaliers
22- Purdue Boilermakers
23- Dayton Flyers
24- San Diego State Aztecs
25- Arizona Wildcats
North Carolina really impressed in the NCAA tournament last season, and they are bringing pretty much everyone back. They should be the best team in the nation, but there are a handful of squads that could make things interesting; Houston has the depth, Gonzaga has the experience and Kentucky has the best player in the country. The biggest wild card to me is Duke. I love Jon Scheyer, and think he’s going to be really, really good. But can he take a bunch of freshmen and win a title in his first season? I think he could. Or this could be a disaster and they’ll be looking for a new coach in 2 years. Who’s to say?
Player of the Year Predictions:
1- Oscar Tshiebwe (Kentucky Wildcats)
2- Drew Timme (Gonzaga Bulldogs)
3- Armando Bacot (North Carolina Tar Heels)
4- Max Abmas (Oral Roberts Golden Eagles)
5- Nick Smith (Arkansas Razorbacks)
Drew Timme was my preseason pick a year ago, but OT came out of nowhere to win the award. I think Kentucky is going to be really good this season, and I think he will be on a mission to avenge the loss to the Peacocks in the first round of the tourney. Look for Tshiebwe to have a monster season and go back-to-back.
G- Max Abmas (Oral Roberts Golden Eagles)
G- Nick Smith (Arkansas Razorbacks)
F- Armando Bacot (North Carolina Tar Heels)
F- Drew Timme (Gonzaga Bulldogs)
C- Oscar Tshiebwe (Kentucky Wildcats)
G- Adam Flagler (Baylor Bears)
G- Marcus Sasser (Houston Cougars)
F- Dillon Mitchell (Texas Longhorns)
F- Jaime Jaquez (UCLA Bruins)
C- Derrick Lively (Duke Blue Devils)
G- Jalen Wilson (Kansas Jayhawks)
G- Cam Whitmore (Villanova Wildcats)
F- Keyonte George (Baylor Bears)
F- Trayce Jackson-Davis (Indiana Hoosiers)
C- Hunter Dickinson (Michigan Wolverines)
Final Four Predictions:
It is nearly impossible to truly predict a Final Four without seeing brackets, nevermind at the beginning of the season. So these are the four teams I think will make deep runs in March, and if the stars align and they are all in different regions, this is what the Final Four will look like.
North Carolina Tar Heels def Baylor Bears
The rematch! Their 2nd round game last year (which I predicted, not-so humble brag) was the best college basketball game I’ve seen. Period. I thought it was phenomenal, even better than the title game with the Kansas onslaught. I look for both of these teams to be great again, but only one can prevail.
Kentucky Wildcats def Texas Longhorns
Kentucky is going to be on a mission this season. Coach Cal hasn’t been to a Final Four since 2015, and the law of averages is telling me that is due to change. With the reigning best player in the nation, this is the year they get back. And with Texas, I see the freshman Mitchell getting hot and carrying this team to a Final Four. Not to mention, Chris Beard has proven that he can navigate March Madness.
North Carolina Tar Heels def Kentucky Wildcats
Remember in 2016 when North Carolina lost a heartbreaker to Villanova in the title game? They came back the next year with a loaded veteran squad and won the title. Remember in 2022 when North Carolina lost a heartbreaker to Kansas in the title game? They’re about to do the exact same thing. Bacot, Love & Davis are about to rally the troops and finish the job this season. And as a Duke fan, that makes me sick.
There you have it! Now that you know exactly how the season will play out, you can go to Vegas and place your bets. Make sure to check out all our other great content here at The Circuit, and come back towards the middle of December for our college basketball 1st quarter polls!