USA Today Preseason Top-25
By: Zac Bonzheim

 

USA Today just released their annual Preseason Coaches Poll. Many offseason developments changed a few positions of some perennial contenders. The eligibility of Marvin Bagley and the most recent FBI investigation into college basketball had the largest impact on the current field. The addition of Bagley positioned the Blue Devils atop the rankings with the most number one votes. The highly touted Michigan State Spartans led by Miles Bridges came in second with nine number one votes. Kentucky and Kansas both entered the poll with no number one votes while Florida was able to sneak one away. (NOTE: Michigan State vs. Duke and Kentucky vs. Kansas will be November 14th in Chicago) Both teams in the national championship last spring, North Carolina and Gonzaga were left outside the top five and neither received any top votes. Louisville saw a huge drop in perceived value after Rick Pitino was fired and scandal struck. Many saw Arizona and USC as some of the top teams in the nation and both saw slight drops after their assistant coaches were involved in an extensive FBI investigation. Missouri received votes, but the team with the possible 2018 #1 overall pick will start out of the top-25. Northwestern was given a lot of faith and is picked at 20th and is the third highest team in the Big Ten. After their best year in program history, coaches took to them over the likes of Purdue, Maryland, and Wisconsin. As far as true mid-major go (excluding the Big East and the AAC), common names like Gonzaga and Saint Mary’s are the undeniable best teams in the nation. Other mid-majors receiving votes include Rhode Island (A10), Oakland (Horizon), Harvard (Ivy), and Nevada (MWC) fill out the ranks. Wichita would have continued their streak of being the top mid-major but they have now transitioned to American Athletic Conference, making for some good matchups with Cincinnati later in the season. The ACC looks to be the toughest conference again with nine teams receiving votes. The Pac 12 and the American both came up short with 4 and 3 teams receiving votes, putting them at the bottom of the major conferences.

Rank Number. Team (Number One Votes) – Conference (Total Points)

1. Duke (20) – ACC (774)
2. Michigan State (9) – Big Ten (747)
3. Kansas – Big 12 (723)
4. Kentucky – SEC (678)
5. Arizona (2) – PAC 12 (654)
6. Villanova – Big East (623)
7. Florida (1) – SEC (549)
8. Wichita State – AAC (543)
9. North Carolina – ACC (515)
10. West Virginia – Big 12 (458)
11. USC – PAC 12 (396)
12. Miami – ACC (383)
13. Cincinnati – AAC (349)
14. Notre Dame – ACC (305)
15. Minnesota – Big Ten (303)
16. Louisville – ACC (295)
17. Xavier – Big East (284)
18. UCLA – PAC 12 (275)
19. Gonzaga – West Coast (242)
20. Northwestern – Big Ten (208)
21. Purdue – Big Ten (167)
22. Saint Mary’s – West Coast (152)
23. Seton Hall – Big East (1319)
24. Baylor – Big 12 (107)
25. Alabama – SEC (82)
RV 26. Texas A&M – SEC (76)
RV 27. Virginia – ACC (57)
RV 28. Butler – Big East (43)
RV 29. Missouri – SEC (35)
RV 30. TCU – Big 12 (32)
RV 31. Rhode Island -Atlantic 10 (31)
RV 32. Providence – Big East (21)
RV 33. Wisconsin – Big Ten (21)
RV 34. Maryland – Big Ten (20)
RV 35. Oakland – Horizon (19)
RV 36. Oklahoma – Big 12 (19)
RV 37. Michigan – Big Ten (13)
RV 38. Texas – Big 12 (13)
RV 39. Virginia Tech – ACC (12)
RV 40. Oregon – PAC 12 (12)
RV 41. Southern Methodist – AAC (6)
RV 42. Creighton – Big East (6)
RV 43. Georgia – SEC (3)
RV 44. Georgia Tech – ACC (3)
RV 45. Harvard – IVY (2)
RV 46. Arkansas – SEC (2)
RV 47. Florida State – ACC (1)
RV 48. South Carolina – SEC (1)
RV 49. Nevada – MWC (1)

How Conferences were represented. (Includes all teams receiving votes)
ACC 9
SEC 8
Big Ten 7
Big 12 6
Big East 6
PAC 12 4
AAC 3
West Coast 2
Horizon 1
Ivy 1
MWC 1

 

The USA TODAY Sports Board of Coaches is made up of 32 head coaches at Division I institutions. All are members of the National Association of Basketball Coaches. The board for the 2017-18 season: Randy Bennett, Saint Mary’s; Jim Boeheim, Syracuse; Tad Boyle, Colorado; Todd Bozeman, Morgan State; Glenn Braica, St. Francis Brooklyn; Scott Cherry, High Point; Tim Cluess, Iona; Jon Coffman, IP-Fort Wayne; Scott Drew, Baylor; Matt Driscoll, North Florida; Fran Dunphy, Temple; Bill Evans, Idaho State; Mark Fox, Georgia; John Gallagher, Hartford; Matthew Graves, South Alabama; Steve Hawkins, Western Michigan; Steve Henson, Texas-San Antonio; George Ivory, Arkansas-Pine Bluff; Ben Jacobson, Northern Iowa; James Jones, Yale; Greg Kampe, Oakland; Mike McConathy, Northwestern State; Greg McDermott, Creighton; Matt McMahon, Murray State; Dan Monson, Long Beach State; Chris Mooney, Richmond; Matt Painter, Purdue; Dave Pilipovich, Air Force; Brett Reed, Lehigh; Kareem Richardson, Missouri-Kansas City; Zach Spiker, Drexel; Mike Young, Wofford.

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