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College basketball preview: TWT’s preseason top 40
PRESEASON TOP 40
(*-projected league champ)
1. North Carolina* (29-8 last season): The Tar Heels bring back their entire starting five, including preseason ACC player of the year Harrison Barnes. Ol’ Roy might collect Title No. 3 this year.
2. Kentucky* (29-9): The first trip to the Final Four since 1998. Now, Big Blue Nation wants more. John Calipari and his revolving door of recruits have the goods to deliver.
4. Connecticut* (32-9): The great Kemba Walker is gone, but the Huslies return Jeremy Lamb and three other starters from their national title team. The late addition of Andre Drummond helps immensely.
5. Vanderbilt (23-11): The Commodores bring all five starters back and boast three potential NBA first-rounders. Now, if they could just make it out of the round of 64 for the first time since 2007.
7. Pittsburgh (28-6): Yes, three starters departed after last season. The Panthers always overachieve, so why not rank them as such? Ashton Gibbs averaged 16.8 points last season.
9. Florida (29-8): After three tough seasons after consecutive national titles, the Gators were back in the regional finals last year. Guards Kenny Boyton and Erving Walker will determine the season’s trajectory.
10. Louisville (25-10):Rick Pitino’s made it out of the first weekend of the NCAA tournament three times in 10 years with the Cardinals. There’s enough in place for another extended stay this March.
11. Memphis* (25-10):Josh Pastner’s collected the talent; now it’s time for the Tigers to return to the top 15.
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About the Author
Patrick Stevens has covered Maryland and other Mid-Atlantic college sports for more than a decade. You can reach him at email@example.com.
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