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 23-24 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- Kansas Jayhawks
2- Duke Blue Devils
3- Connecticut Huskies
4- Purdue Boilermakers
5- Michigan State Spartans
6- Marquette Golden Eagles
7- Creighton Blue Jays
8- Kentucky Wildcats
9- Houston Cougars
10- Arizona Wildcats
11- Arkansas Razorbacks
12- San Diego State Aztecs
13- North Carolina Tar Heels
14- Gonzaga Bulldogs
15- Miami Hurricane
16- USC Trojans
17- Baylor Bears
18- Tennessee Volunteers
19- Texas Longhorns
20- Texas A&M Aggies
21- Villanova Wildcats
22- St. Mary’s Gaels
23- Alabama Crimson Tide
24- UCLA Bruins
25- Florida Atlantic Owls
Congratulations to Florida Atlantic for making this top-25 because I have been told I have to recognize their Final Four run last season as real. Whatever. Kansas, Duke and Marquette are the three teams that jump out to me this season as the elite of the elite. UCONN has to be near the top out of respect for their absolute dominance in the tourney last season. And Purdue and Michigan State, while both had disappointing ends to their seasons, should be really good in the regular season at least. A sneaky team to look out for here is USC; Isaiah Collier has the chance to be one of the best guards in the country, and IF Bronny James can play and contribute for the Trojans (hopefully he can fully recover and never have to worry about that again. Sending our best thoughts!), then look out for them. Bronny does exactly what a team needs in March; elite perimeter defense and isn’t afraid to take and hit a big shot when needed.
Player of the Year Predictions:
1- Hunter Dickinson (Kansas Jayhawks)
2- Zach Edey (Purdue Boilermakers)
3- Tyler Kolek (Marquette Golden Eagles)
4- Kyle Fillipowski (Duke Blue Devils)
5- Baylor Scheierman (Creighton Blue Jays)
I love Tyler Kolek, full stop. Unfortunately I just don’t think racking up assists like we haven’t seen in quite some time will be as sexy as what Dickinson could do with his new team in Kansas. With Harris feeding him the ball exactly where he wants it, I see Hunter Dickinson putting up monster numbers for a top-tier national championship contender. And Zach Edey… give me a break.
Freshman of the Year Predictions:
1- Isaiah Collier (USC Trojans)
2- Justin Edwards (Kentucky Wildcats)
3- Stephon Castle (UCONN Huskies)
Collier and Edwards are the clear top 2 in this freshman class, with everyone else battling for 3rd place. The names I considered here were Andrej Stojakovic (Stanford), Scotty Middleton (Ohio State), and Ron Holland before he bolted for the G-League. But ultimately I went with the Huskies’ Castle; it seems like he’s going to get an opportunity to start for the reigning champs, surrounded by talent and experience. Is he the 3rd best player in his class? No. Could he have the 3rd best season? Absolutely. And Collier vs. Edwards comes down to one thing: Edwards has to battle his other high-profile freshman DJ Wagner for the spotlight on his own team. Collier should be the clear standout for the Trojans, so he wins.
G- Tyler Kolek (Marquette Golden Eagles)
G- Max Abmas (Texas Longhorns)
F- Baylor Scheierman (Creighton Blue Jays)
F- Kyle Fillipowski (duke Blue Devils)
C- Hunter Dickinson (Kansas Jayhawks)
G- Dajuan Harris Jr. (Kansas Jayhawks)
G- Tyrese Proctor (Duke Blue Devils)
F- Justin Edwards (Kentucky Wildcats)
F- Kam Jones (Marquette Golden Eagles)
C- Zach Edey (Purdue Boilermakers)
G- Isaiah Collier (USC Trojans)
G- AJ Hoggard (Michigan State Spartans)
F- Johnell Davis (Florida Atlantic Owls)
F- Matthew Cleveland (Miami Hurricane)
C- Donovan Clingan (UCONN Huskies)
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.
Duke Blue Devils def Creighton Blue Jays
I will pick Duke at least 50% of the time for 100% of the rest of my life. They’re always so damn good! But unlike the last 5 or 6 seasons, this team isn’t about the freshmen. Roach and Proctor might have the best combination of skill and experience of any starting backcourt in the country. Fillipowski is a bonafide PoY candidate, and Scheyer is only going to get better with more experience. And for Creighton, they have a pair of elite dudes in Scheierman and Kalkbrenner. The Blue Jays have been knocking on the door of a great March run since 2012, and now is finally the time they break through and make the Final Four.
Marquette Golden Eagles def Michigan State Spartans
I’m riding Kolek and the Eagles all the way baby! They have the best point guard in the country, an All-American level wing, and a coach who has been to the Final Four. This team has all the pieces to do damage in March. And for the Spartans, it’s been what, 4 years since Izzo has been to a Final Four? Feels too long. He’s got one of the best backcourts in the nation, they should be able to make a deep run in March.
Duke Blue Devils def Marquette Golden Eagles
As much as I like Kolek, he can only do so much against the vaunted Blue Devils. Jon Scheyer finally wins the acceptance of the Duke resistance still clinging onto Coach K, and they finally climb the mountain again. It’s a good time to be in Durham!
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 beginning of December for our college basketball 1st quarter polls!