Counting down to the start of the 2016-17 college basketball season on Nov. 11, ASN’s Mark Adams previews the players, teams and conferences to watch. Today: Final Four predictions and party crashers.
Four great players who will lead their teams to the Final Four in Phoenix:
- Duke: Grayson Allen
- Kentucky: Isaiah Briscoe
- Oregon: Dillon Brooks
- Villanova: Josh Hart
FOUR MORE TO WATCH
- Creighton: The Blue Jays have been rebuilding since National Player of the Year Doug McDermott graduated and went to the NBA’s Chicago Bulls. Now it all pays off.
- Texas: He’s been there before, but can head coach Shaka Smart lead his talented group of freshmen to the Final Four?
- Washington: After the Huskies’ summer tour of Australia fans should be plenty excited about freshman Markelle Fultz (21.4 points per game).
- West Virginia: With constant ball pressure and with three experienced players (Jevon Carter, Daxter Miles and Tarik Phillip) the Mountaineers have a chance.
10 PARTY CRASHERS TO WATCH
- Cincinnati: Led by All-AAC Troy Caupain (13.0 ppg) and Gary Clark (10.4 ppg), the Bearcats welcome N.C. State transfer Kyle Washington and freshman Jarron Cumberland. Can they score enough to beat elite teams? They have the talent, turn it loose.
- Dayton: Josh Cunningham is a Bradley transfer who will rock the Dayton Decibel Dungeon. I loved his talent level at Bradley, now he’s older and better after a redshirt year. Charles Cooke, an elite scoring talent who creates mismatches, also returns. Watch these Flyers!
- Gonzaga: Big-time-big Przemek Karnowski (7-1, 304 pounds) is a huge dude with a high ceiling. Nigel Williams-Goss, a Washington transfer, averaged 15.6 ppg and is eligible.
- Middle Tennessee: The 15th-seeded Blue Raiders floored No. 2 Michigan State in the NCAA Tournament in March. Kermit Davis returns a strong cast, including sharp-shooter Giddy Potts (50.6% 3-pointers).
- Rhode Island: Danny Hurley only needs these Rams to stay healthy to make a national statement. EC Matthews, back after an injury-riddled season, makes the Rams special.
- St. Mary’s: A top-five defensive team nationally (60.9 ppg) returns its eight top scorers, led by Emmett Naar (14 ppg).
- UConn: Leading scorer Rodney Purvis returns along with defensive stopper Amida Brimah and Jalen Adams. The trio and a top-10 recruiting class make the Huskies NCAA contenders.
- UT Arlington: Scott Cross is putting the Mavs on the map and this season he put a star in Arlington. Kevin Hervey is a stud. Before his knee injury last season, I pegged UT Arlington as a Cinderella. I love his game!
- Valparaiso: Any team with multi-talented Alec Peters can make a serious run!
- VCU: Will Wade has Mo Alie-Cox as a cornerstone to build around. JeQuan Lewis and Justin Tillman also return to give Wade an athletic trio to go with freshman guard De’Riante Jenkins, the 59th-ranked prospect by ESPN. The Rams have reloaded.