Maladroit44's Week Pre-Season Ballot

1 Kansas Fascinated to see how a really talented, experienced KU team responds to the rough finish in March—3-3, two blowout losses to Texas and a R32 exit.
2 Purdue The good news is that 100% of 1 seeds that lost in the first round won the national title the following year. The bad news is 0% of titles have gone to Big Ten teams in Zach Edey's lifetime.
3Houston Another preseason, another year in which the Cougars need more respect for their general brilliance over the past few years, both regular season and tournament.
4 Marquette Before they ran into MSU in the R32, Marquette was on a 15-1 run with the one loss on the road against the eventual national champions. And basically that whole team is back this year.
5 Arizona Tommy Lloyd knows what he's doing. The frustration of a first-round exit to a 15 seed has made a lot of people forget that Arizona is still a comfortable top-ten program right now.
6Gonzaga It'd take more than last season to convince me that Gonzaga is no longer a problem. Like Marquette, they finished last season really strong outside of a big loss to UConn, who nobody was beating.
7 Tennessee Consider me cautiously optimistic. The defense might be better than last year and the offense...exists.
8 North Carolina It's pretty obvious that last year put people off ranking an unproven UNC highly, but they should. This lineup has two elite returns, two great transfers, and brilliant recruit Elliot Cadeau.
9Duke Coach K isn't walking through that door, and's still Duke, but do we trust *anybody* else to manage a young, talented roster like he could?
10Creighton This offense is gonna be *so* good. You've got three guys who looked at the draft back plus Steven Ashworth, who averaged 16.2 PPG in a great MWC last season.
11 San Diego State SDSU does lose some pieces, but you will recognize Darrion Trammell and Lamont Butler. Sidebar: is Brian Dutcher the best coach in college basketball right now?
12 UConn I am skeptical of UConn. They added a lot but also lost multiple key pieces from their title run; this is a good team, but it won't look much like the 2022-23 team.
13Michigan State I'm still not sure about post-2020 Izzo, but the pieces are there for MSU to get back to the season they're used to having. Right?
14 Florida Atlantic This is basically exactly the same roster as last year. I think that's a good thing, but FAU had some cold stretches in 2022-23 that would (theoretically) be more damaging in the AAC.
15Texas A&M If January/February A&M shows up, look out. If November, December, or March A&M shows up...yeah, you should be fine.
16 Villanova This transfer class is really exciting—heaven knows everyone in CBBcord has heard Hakim Hart's name enough to know he's good, and TJ Bamba and Tyler Burton are major threats too.
17 Baylor The roster is kind of a mess with way more moving pieces than starting spots, but we do trust Scott Drew to handle that, I think. Probably.
18 Saint Mary's The Gaels have finished at the bottom of the top twenty in back-to-back years. A minor roster reset doesn't change much about how I see them, personally.
19 Kentucky On paper, this roster is really good. In reality...I'm not sure I trust John Calipari with a lineup featuring four news players, even if they're all great. That feels weird to say, but it's true.
20Alabama Man, I totally forgot Alabama finished last season #1 overall. I'd temper expectations, but Nate Oats has earned some benefit of the doubt even with a potential offensive dropoff.
21 USC I'd kill to be Isaiah Collier right now. He's the most talented freshman in the country *and* he doesn't have to deal with any of the pressure, because all the attention will be on Bronny James.
22 Wisconsin Start Connor Essegian. I like the returns a lot and I'm keeping an eye on AJ Storr, who transferred in from St. John's.
23 Miami (FL) I have no strong feelings about Miami aside from thinking they're stacked on the All-Name Team front. Nijel Pack and Wooga Poplar should both be shoo-ins, right?
24 Texas Nothing about this roster inspires me aside from Max Abmas, and I can't get excited about him on principle. Rodney Terry was great last year, but this is at least a reload, if not a rebuild.
25 Kansas State Is nobody else intrigued by year two of the Jerome Tang experience? And, even more, intrigued by Ques Glover's return to the P6?

Overall Rationale

Also considered: UCLA, Colorado, Illinois, St. John's, Auburn