ACCBR’s Right on Time Top 25

By Mychal Hunter

Decision day came and went, here is ACCBR’s (first) 2019-20 preseason Top 25

  1. Michigan State-In my mind the first is the most obvious. The Spartans have the best player in the country in Cassius Winston and Mr. Everything in Xavier Tillman. Assuming Josh Langford returns completely healthy and Aaron Henry continues to develop, Tom Izzo takes the preseason top spot.
  2. Louisville-I love this Cardinals team. Jordan Nwora should be one of the best offensive players in the country next year and the Cardinals also return 5 other top 7 scorers from last year. Add to that St. Joes graduate transfer LaMarr Kimble and one of the best recruiting classes in the country and Chris Mack is about to make Louisville fans ask, “Rick who?”
  3. Kentucky-The Wildcats lost a ton to the NBA draft, but as usual are bringing a ton of talent in with their freshman class. Tyrese Maxey is a special talent and Coach Calipari has a lot of wing help coming in to deal with the Herro and Johnson losses. If he some how reels in Kerry Blackshear Jr, this team could jump to the top spot.
  4. Duke-This Blue Devils team is very interesting. Tre Jones is the second best point guard in the country, but his jumper is still highly questionable. If he is going to lead this group of pups he needs to be a threat. Last year, R.J. Barrett and Zion scored a high (HIGH) percentage of Duke’s points, especially in second halfs. Matthew Hurt and Cassius Stanley aren’t the caliber of last year’s stars. Coach K is going to have to really coach this team, something he hasn’t had to do for a couple years.
  5. Maryland-I am a little shaky here. I like their talent, I like their skills, but losing Bruno Fernando can’t really be quantified until the Terps take the court and play someone. My other concern is Mark Turgeon. Since taking over at Maryland in 2011-12, the Terps are 1-19 against ranked opponents in true road games. I like their guards and wings, and Stick Smith is a star, but putting Maryland in the top 5 scares me.
  6. North Carolina-Yes. The ACC guy is favoring ACC teams. This ACC guy also correctly picked UNC to win the league last year. They shared it, but I am claiming victory. Cole Anthony is a star, Leaky Black will have his time to shine and Brandon Robinson is a sleeper. Along with that youth and inexperience, Coach Williams added graduate transfers Justin Pierce and Christian Keeling via free agency. Armando Bacot is a traditional big man that will allow ‘Ole Roy to return to the style he prefers and UNC will again be one of the top teams in the country.
  7. Memphis-I was impressed with Penny Hardaway’s first season at the D1 level. Memphis was closer to the prom than most realize and arguably more deserving than at least one team in the first four. Given their talent I would normally have them above both Maryland and UNC, but getting that talent to work as a cohesive unit is something I have yet to see Coach Hardaway accomplish yet. Some great coaches, Jay Wright most notably, have found it difficult to make teams built around talent to mesh. Currently, only Coach K and Coach Cal have been consistently successful at getting high profile players to buy in.
  8. Arizona-Regardless of your opinions regarding the Wildcats, the fact is they are going to have a heck of a team next year. If you have never seen Nico Mannion play, dang, you’re in for a treat. Josh Green is a stud wing to go alongside Brandon Williams and Dylan Smith (who will both hopefully improve) and Chase Jeter showed last season that he can play too. Who knows how the talent arrived, but Sean Miller has shown that once they are in Tuscon, he knows what to do with them in the regular season.
  9. Texas Tech-In Chris Beard I trust. The Red Raiders will look different next year, but they are still going to be very good. Moretti and Edwards in the back court along with Chris Clarke and a stud recruiting class is all I really need to see. Beard can flat out coach and I wouldn’t be shocked to see another deep run in the tournament even without Jarrett Culver.
  10. Seton Hall-They just received news that their 23 point per game scorer is returning. Hard to imagine better news other than “the swabs were negative.” Myles Powell is back which means the only significant loss is Michael Nzei. That loss will be mitigated by the eligibility of Ikey Obiagu. Obiagu isn’t a big offensive threat, but is capable of finishing around the hoop and is a tremendous shot blocker, something Nzei was not. The Pirates were a 20-win team last year and upgraded their defense and their front court, plain and simple.
  11. Villanova-Jay Wright needs a leader to go with all this talent. But, there is a ton of talent and everyone in that locker room now actually wants to be there.
  12. LSU- The Mays, Smart and Williams trio returns to join freshman Trendon Watford. Keep an eye on Darius Days as well. This is a strong ass team.
  13. Auburn-Bruce Pearl lost a ton, but still has a ton. Incoming freshman Isaac Okoro is going to be a fan favorite.
  14. Gonzaga-It’s arguable that no team lost more. But, are you going to bet against Mark Few?
  15. Iowa-This is assuming Jordan Bohannon will be able to play (Hip)
  16. Florida-One of, if not my favorite backcourt in the nation. Somehow the Gators are a sleeper. Wait til you see Tre’ Mann play.
  17. Ohio State- Kaleb Wesson is back and will have a huge year. Also, get acclimated with the name DJ Carton.
  18. Davidson-Bob McKillop has won 20 or more games 7 of last 8 seasons and just got Kellan Grady and John Axel Gudmundsson back (combined 34.2 ppg and 118 triples) to go along with the Lukes.
  19. Notre Dame-My ACC dark horse. The youngsters will get better and almost everyone else is back. Dane Goodwin is a potential breakout candidate.
  20. Kansas-They are very thin and will rely on some inexperience and youngsters, but Devon Dotson and ‘Doke really remind me of Collins and Aldrich.
  21. Utah State-The Aggies return their top 4 scorers from a 28 win team. The MW is theirs for the taking.
  22. VCU-Coach Rhoades brings everyone back from a 25 win team. Marcus Evans health is obviously paramount.
  23. Tennessee-Hammered by early entrees I still like the Vols with Turner and Bowden. Incoming Josiah James is a stud. Front court has question marks.
  24. Baylor-Scott Drew can flat out coach basketball. Losing Mason hurts but hopefully Tristan Clark is good to go and form a formidable trio with Kegler and Butler.
  25. St. Marys-Randy Bennett can coach and Jordan Ford can score. The question, as always, is whether or not their schedule be good enough to keep them relevant.
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