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The 2018-2019 NCAA Basketball Season – Season Preview

Jacob Duddy, PaperClip Staff/Writer

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Kentucky comes into this upcoming season topping most preseason Power Rankings, including CBSsports.com and NCAA.com. They are losing several players to NBA teams this season via the draft or free agent signings, but remain on top for several reasons.

Kentucky has two starters from last season returning, forward PJ Washington and center Nick Richards. They have vital bench-player Quade Green returning to possibly start as well.

As far as recruits they have strong newcomers arriving to the team. Four top 50 players in the 2018 class should compensate losses, as it includes #7 ranked forward Keldon Johnson, #14 ranked forward EJ Montgomery, #20 ranked guard Ashton Hagans, #25 ranked guard Immanuel Quickly, and #30 ranked guard Tyler Herro.

The new abundance of talent they have coming up to fill the guard positions in Kentucky should mix well with the experienced-bigs mentioned before. They should combine for a depth filled team.

Kansas has a good mix of returning players and new faces much like Kentucky. However, they are losing their 3 top scorers from the previous season. Returning to the team are 5 players, including starting center Udoka Azubuike and guard LaGerald Vick.

The Jayhawks are bringing in 3 top 50 recruits also to make up for the losses which include #8 ranked guard Quentin Grimes, #24 ranked guard Devon Dotson, and #27 ranked-center David McCormack.

Another strong factor leading to the high ranking is the talent they are bringing in via transfer.  Coming in are 3 players who averaged 12+ point per game at the collegiate level headlined by forward Dedric Lawson. A former Memphis product, he avenged 19.2 points per game with them.

With talent all across each position backed by depth, Kansas is one of the most full teams in college basketball this season

The talk of the country: Duke is behind a lot of the hype coming into the season even earning  #1 rankings on various rankings such as Flurrysports.com. Much of this hype is due to the historic feat they accomplished by bringing in the not just the top-ranked player in guard RJ Barrett, but by also bringing in the #2 and the #3 ranked players in the country in forward Zion Williamson and guard Cameron Reddish.

It is unheard of to bring in the top 3 recruits of a class to one program. Not to mention other top 50s: guard Tre Jones (#17) and forward Joey Baker (#41) joining the team. The reasoning of Duke not being #1 on many rankings is they are losing every starter from last season all of whom were the top 5 scorers.

Of the 6 returning players, none averaged over 4 points per game which raises the concern. Will the new coming freshman be able to elevate the team to make up for the loss of talent left by the players that departed?

Tennessee is a very different animal than these big powerhouse teams that were mentioned before. Tennessee is not bringing in any top 50 recruits and actually only one top 100. However, coming back is star player Grant Williams who led the team in scoring last season.  The other 4 starters from the starting 5 will also be returning.

Also coming back is most of their bench including Lamonte’ Turner who was 3rd in scoring last year. Basically the same team as last year, Tennessee looks to have the same success they did previously.

Gonzaga yet again has a very good team. Ranking anywhere from 4 – 7 on many boards, they look to contend with the very best out there. Despite losing the top scorer on their team, they are making up for it with new transfer Brandon Clark who averaged 17.5 points per game two years ago.

Mostly comprised of the same team that went 32-5 last year, they look to build off that and hope for veteran players like forward Killian Tillie, and guard Zach Norvell Jr to continue to produce and for some underclassman like Corey Kispert to step into a larger role and fill in the hole left by graduates and draftees.

Every season brings new surprises, upsets, and hope for teams looking to win. Will these powerhouse teams be able to pull it off and win the tournament? Or will a small program upset and shock the world? You’re going to have to tune in!

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The 2018-2019 NCAA Basketball Season – Season Preview