College basketball season is right around the corner and there are plenty of storylines to keep an eye out for. The 2013-2014 season looks like it’s going to be a great one, and here are some teams to keep an eye on for how their seasons go.
Being the number one team in the land puts a huge target on your back. If you don’t believe it, ask the Kentucky team that started as number one last year, only to have a very uncharacteristic season that resulted in a first-round loss to Robert Morris in the NIT Tournament. The Wildcats return this season with the distinction of being the number one team, and they will hope their efforts are better this season. They have the highest rated freshman class in the entire nation, getting two of the top high school players in the nation, and a few others that were within the top 50. And when you have John Calipari leading that team, you know they’ll have a shot to make a run at the National Championship tournament in March.
The number two team in the land is Michigan State. Although, we’ll quickly find out if they deserve that spot, or maybe even one higher, as they’ll take on Kentucky in their second game of the season on November 12th. This will be one of a handful of huge matchups within the first week of the college basketball season, and will shake up the top ten in a hurry. The Spartans are considered a among a handful of other teams, including Florida, Arizona and Louisville to have one of the best shots at winning the National Championship this year.
While on the topic of Louisville, the defending national championships will hope to have another run like they did last year. Their tournament run was bolstered by the emotional boost that occurred after a freak accident left Kevin Ware with a broken leg and a ton of national spotlight. The Cardinals will get a huge boost from Ware, as he hopes to make a return as early as the first game of the season. Expect the Cardinals to be right there in the thick of things in March, as Rick Pitino will have his guys ready.
Kansas made a huge jump in terms of their standing in college basketball during this offseason. When Canadian standout, and projected number one overall pick, Andrew Wiggins decided to take put on a Jayhawks jersey, Kansas quickly become one of the top picks to potentially win it all this year.
We’ll find out how good Wiggins and Kansas is on November 12th as well, as the Jayhawks will tip off against Duke. Assuming both teams win their first game, this matchup will be between two of teams in the top 5, meaning four of the five teams in the nation will be against each other on one night. And the best part is, it’s not even March yet. As for Duke, they will hope that the number two incoming freshman in the nation, Jabari Parker, will show the world that he can hang with Wiggins. Duke also has Mississippi State transfer Rodney Hood, who has waited an entire year to put on the Blue Devils jersey.
Don’t sleep on teams like Creighton, who is led by Doug McDermott, Oklahoma State, who has consensus preseason All-American Marcus Smart, and VCU, who starts the season as a team ranked in the top 15. The best part may be the fact that there is likely to be a Cinderella or two that we haven’t even mentioned yet, but we can expect to shakeup the entire NCAA season.