BOZICH | My final college basketball Top 25, including U of L, UK, WKU and IU ratings
One last ranking of the Top-25 teams from the 2017-18 college basketball season, expanded to include Louisville, Western Kentucky and Indiana, as well as Kentucky.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- This is the day when everybody rushes to share those ridiculously early Top-25 college basketball rankings for next season.
Typically, the analysts get the ridiculous part correct. Instead of looking at the forecast for next season, I looked at the early forecast from a year ago.
Lots of love for Arizona, a consensus No. 1. And Northwestern. And Minnesota. And UCLA. And Louisville.
No love for Ohio State. Or Tennessee. Or Virginia.
Not enough for Villanova, which was ranked 10th by the Sporting News, eighth by CBSSports.com and – get this -- 20th by USA Today (behind No. 3 Kentucky, No. 10 Louisville and No. 15 Indiana).
I prefer to crash on another wall of rocks by ranking the Top-25 teams from the season that ended Monday night in San Antonio.
Difficult? Not really. I averaged the numbers from five computer formulas: Ken Pomeroy, Jeff Sagarin predictor, Erik Haslam, Bart Torvik and the Massey Ratings.
Here is the consensus Top 25 as well as the final numbers for Louisville, Western Kentucky and Indiana.
And the winner is …
1. Villanova (36-4) – Not only have the Wildcats won two of the last three titles, they’ve changed the national championship formula by emphasizing veteran players and perimeter shooting. Expect copycats.
2. Virginia (31-3) – The Cavaliers and Tony Bennett won’t stop the snarky comments about the UMBC loss until they win a national championship, but this was a terrific team that picked the wrong time to have a terrible night. Bennett can coach my team any time, and he’ll eventually get his title. You can quote me on that.
3. Duke (29-8) – Mike Krzyzewski is likely to have four first-round picks in the 2018 NBA Draft, and he couldn’t win the ACC regular season or tournament titles or get to the Final Four. You can quote me on that, too.
4. Purdue (30-7) – Even with Isaac Haas, the Boilermakers would not have beaten Villanova in the East Regional. But I wish Haas could have played out the season.
5. Cincinnati (31-5) -- I watched the Bearcats spit out a 22-point lead in the final 11 minutes against Nevada and still can’t explain what happened.
6. Michigan (33-8) – The Wolverines were no match for Villanova. Hey, nobody was. But until the final game, they won 14 straight while playing only two of those games at home.
7. Kansas (31-8) – I’ve said it before: Bill Self owes Mario Chalmers a hug every time he sees him.
8. Michigan State (30-5) – Like Arizona, the Spartans were a trendy preseason No. 1 pick, but their NCAA Tournament record the last three seasons is shaky 2-3.
9. North Carolina (26-11) – While everybody was howling about Virginia, Cincinnati and Michigan State, they forgot the defending national champions lost to Texas A&M by 20. Ugh.
10. West Virginia (26-11) – I’ve moved into the camp that Bob Huggins, 64, is never going to get his national championship.
11. Gonzaga (32-5) – Yes, I picked the Zags to win the national title. No, I don’t remember why.
12. Texas Tech (27-10) – Chris Beard did better work in Lubbock than Tubby Smith or Bob Knight.
13. Xavier (29-6) – The Musketeers, not Villanova, won the Big East regular season title. Then they lost their coach, too.
14. Tennessee (26-9) – Everybody who is anybody should be back as Rick Barnes continues to raise expectations in Knoxville.
15. Clemson (25-10) – Brad Brownell has finally escaped the Hot Seat, right?
16, Kentucky (26-11) – John Calipari made it look easy during his first six seasons at UK, making four Final Fours. It’s not easy.
17. Ohio State (25-9) – Chris Holtmann had the best season of the Big Ten’s three first-year coaches, putting the Buckeyes in contention for the conference title until the last weekend. Can he keep it up?
18. Houston (27-8) – They say the Cougars are back, but I don’t see a Clyde Drexler, Hakeem Olajuwon or Elvin Hayes on the Houston roster.
19. Penn State (26-13) – The Nittany Lions powered their way into the Top 25 by winning the NIT, but their best player, point guard Tony Carr, is leaving for the NBA.
20. Butler (21-14) – It’s time to find out if former Ballard star Kelan Martin can grind his way into the NBA.
21. Florida (21-13) – A year ago, the Gators were ranked in the Top 5 in some preseason polls, but I believe the word I’d use to describe that is "ridiculous."
22. Wichita State (25-8) – With all five starters back, the Shockers were a reasonable pick to win national title. They lost to Marshall.
23. Seton Hall (22-12) – The Pirates expected more than the Round of 32 from a team that featured three terrific seniors. Kansas intervened.
24. Florida State (23-12) – Leonard Hamilton had a better year than Jimbo Fisher, even if he struggles with the concept of late-game fouling.
25. TCU (21-12) – I believe the folks in Pittsburgh have discovered the value of Jamie Dixon.
33. Louisville (22-14) – After three seasons of drama, controversy, bluster and heartburn, Louisville should finally get back to basketball.
55. Western Kentucky (27-11) – The Hilltoppers put the buzz back in Diddle Arena and have a gem in freshman guard Taveion Hollingsworth.
69. Indiana (16-15) – How much better will the Hoosiers be next season? Ask me at the end of April.
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