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The 68 Things We Cannot Wait To See In College Basketball This Season


The NCAA logo is at center court as work continues at The Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh, Wednesday, March 18, 2015, for the NCAA college basketball second and third round games. Second round games start on Thursday. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)


College basketball officially kicks off on Friday night. Here are the 68 things we’re looking forward to the most this season.

1. How David Padgett deals with the spotlight in his first head coaching job. This is a difficult situation, but he’s got a lot of talent to work with and a solid staff to lean on. - Raphielle Johnson

2. The nonsense that the NCAA comes up with to try and fix college basketball while ignoring the obvious, easy, necessary answer: End Amateurism.- Rob Dauster

3. Bonzie Colson getting buckets like only Bonzie Colson can. - Travis Hines

4. Will Arizona freshman DeAndre Ayton play more like be the motivated potential No. 1 pick he can be or the passive center that barely gave an effort during some games during high school. - Scott Phillips

5. What weird controversy will find Grayson Allen. - TH

6. The unknown. The best part about college basketball are the story lines that pop up out of nowhere. - RD

7. Where Rhode Island head coach Danny Hurley ends up after he leads his team to the Sweet 16. - RD

8. Aaron Holiday. He’s so much better than simply being Lonzo Ball’s understudy, and we’ll see it this season. - RD

CONTENDER SERIES: Kentucky | Kansas | Arizona | Michigan State | Duke

Top 100 Players | Top Backcourts | Top Frontcourts

9. J.P. Macura and the art of talking trash. - TH

10. Gonzaga’s Rui Hachimura. You’ll understand why soon enough. - RD

11. BYU’s Yoeli Childs. Ditto. - RD

12. Miles Bridges dunking on anyone and everyone. - TH

13. Seton Hall’s team of veterans prove that you don’t have to have one-and-dones to win. - RD

14. Mohamed Bamba’s impact at Texas. Don’t know if I’d put the Longhorns in the category of Big 12 title contender, but they aren’t far off thanks to Bamba’s arrival. - RJ

15. The backcourt of Shamorie Ponds and Marcus Lovett at St. John’s. - TH

16. How will Kentucky adjust to being a team that lacks a significant veteran contributor from the season prior. This is unlike any team John Calipari’s had in his tenure there. - RJ

17. That Duke/Michigan State matchup in the Champions Classic. Could be the game of the year until we get to March. - RJ

18. How Kansas and Bill Self puts this roster together. Do they have anyone that can play the four? - TH

Top Lead Guards | Top Off Guards | Top Wings | Top Big Men
74 Tyler Hall

Tyler Hall, Montana State athletics

Big Ten Preview | ACC Preview | Big 12 Preview | Pac 12 Preview | SEC Preview | Big East Preview

19. Montana State’s Tyler Hall shooting three-pointers with a Steph Curry-level green light (he attempted 8.8 per game last season and made 42 percent of them.) - SP

20. People at the Final Four in San Antonio pretending that the River Walk is interesting. - TH

21. People realizing that Svi Mykhailiuk, a senior on Kansas, is four months older than Billty Preston, a freshman. - RD

22. Cincinnati proving that you can be a great college basketball team without having any preseason hype. - RD

23. The Jaylen Adams/Matt Mobley backcourt at St. Bonaventure. Do yourselves a favor and check those guys out at least a couple times this season. - RJ

24. Minnesota’s Isaiah Washington and JellyFam taking over college hoops. - SP

25. The growth of Carsen and Vince Edwards, and Purdue repeated explaining that, no, they are not actually related. - RD

26. Michael Porter Jr. being awesome and leading Missouri back to the NCAA tournament. - TH

27. Chris Mullin vs. Patrick Ewing on the sidelines. Given how fierce that rivalry was when they were players in the Big East, this should be fun. - RJ

28. The joy of listening to Bill Walton calling late-night Pac-12 games. - SP

Under The Radar Stars | Impact Freshman | New faces, new places | Hot seat

29. The Ivy League conference tournament since the league is loaded this season. - SP

30. Kentucky’s growth this season. They’re going to take some lumps early, but they should be a contender come March. - RD

31. Angel Delgado bullying everyone in the paint. - RD

32. The ridiculous backcourt battles in the Big East. - SP

33. What happens next in the FBI investigation since people are being indicted. What will they tell? Who’s next? - RJ

34. TCU taking the next step and actually reaching the NCAA tournament. - TH

35. How Dana Altman will decide to use Troy Brown in his offense. - RD

36. The Mountain West’s never-ending battle to return to national relevancy. Can they be a two-bid league again? - RD

37. Will the SEC actually be improved? On paper there are good reasons to believe so, but can’t blame people for wanting to see it before they buy in. - RJ

38. Seeing if Ethan Happ can carry Wisconsin to another top-four Big Ten finish with this young roster. - TH

CONTENDER SERIES: Kentucky | Kansas | Arizona | Michigan State | Duke
Iowa v Wisconsin

MADISON, WI - MARCH 02: Ethan Happ #22 of the Wisconsin Badgers shoots a free throw during the first half of a game against the Iowa Hawkeyes at the Kohl Center on March 2, 2017 in Madison, Wisconsin. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

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39. Seeing if perpetually-underrated Conference USA can get a win in the NCAA tournament for the fourth consecutive year. - SP

40. The American title race. Cincinnati and Wichita State would be my favorites, but SMU, UCF, UConn, Temple and Houston will all be heard from as well. I’d be shocked if the winner had fewer than four league losses. - RJ

41. Saint Mary’s and Gonzaga battling it out in the WCC. BYU should be in mix as well, and don’t sleep on San Francisco, but that feels like a two-horse race. - RJ

42. How Northwestern handles success and expectation after their first trip to the NCAA tournament. - TH

43. Seeing how much UCF’s Tacko Fall has improved since last season. - SP

44. How Jim Boeheim handles a potentially tough season at Syracuse. - TH

45. The “Go-Go Gadget” arms of Texas freshman center Mohamed Bamba. - SP

46. Duke’s Wendell Carter. He’s a damn-good player with absolutely no preseason buzz. - RD

47. The race for who will become the presumptive No. 1 NBA draft pick: Michael Porter Jr., Marvin Bagley III and Deandre Ayton. - TH

48. If there’s a serious challenger to Arizona in the Pac-12, or if Arizona and Allonzo Trier thrive despite the FBI investigation. - TH

49. Wichita State competing for the first time in the AAC after moving out of the Missouri Valley. - TH

50. Auburn’s search for a new head coach once Bruce Pearl is run out of town. - RD

51. Trevon Duval’s progression at Duke. For all the talent on that roster, really think he holds the key to a national championship. If he runs the show as well as his talent leads many to believe he can, they’ll be in San Antonio at minimum. - RJ

52. DeAndre Ayton at Arizona. That team’s loaded, but he’s the toughest matchup on that roster. And given how last season ended, those veterans should be plenty motivated as well. - RJ

53. The ever-increasing slate of good college hoops being played on Thanksgiving thanks to this year’s PK80. - SP

CONTENDER SERIES: Kentucky | Kansas | Arizona | Michigan State | Duke

Top 100 Players | Top Backcourts | Top Frontcourts

54. Mike Daum at South Dakota State. There aren’t many guys his size who can score inside and out while threatening to be a 50/40/90 guy in college basketball. He’s special. - RJ

55. A healthy season of Chimezie Metu and Bennie Boatwright playing together at USC. - SP

56. Watching Grand Canyon try to make the NCAA tournament during their first season of eligibility. - SP

57. Provindence shocking everyone when they play their way into being a top 20 team in the country. - RD

58. Vermont winning a game in the NCAA tournament and thus confirming that T.J. Sorrentine is no longer hitting them from the parking lot for the Catamounts. - RD

59. Devonte’ Graham getting his own chance to shine at Kansas with the departure of Frank Mason. - SP

60. Will coaches that staunchly support playing two bigs - Cuonzo Martin, Roy Williams - learn to embrace small-ball the way that Bill Self did? - RD

61. Giddy Potts become a mid-major darling. Who doesn’t love chunky little guys that fire up threes? - RD

62. DePaul and Illinois playing for the first time in 60 years. - SP

63. The Big East race. I really think it’s going to be closer than some people think. Seton Hall, Xavier and Providence are all capable of winning the league, and Villanova’s still Villanova. - RJ

64. A healthy Oregon State. That’s a tournament team with everyone on the court, especially Tres Tinkle. - RJ

65. How UCLA deals with initiating an international incident, and whether or not the Ball Family rips the program apart at the seams. - TH

66. What South Carolina does for an encore. They lost a lot from the Final Four team, but you know Frank Martin’s guys are going to compete. - RJ

67. Oklahoma freshman Trae Young pulling up from unfathomable distances for three-pointers. - SP

68. How Jim Larranaga puts all those quality guards to good use down at Miami. The Hurricanes have the tools to win the ACC. - RJ