With college basketball coming up soon there’s a lot of hype for University of Maryland, and, of course, like usual, the University of Kentucky. The AP top 25 poll won’t come out until the first week of basketball is over, but the USA Today Coaches Poll’s top five are Kentucky, North Carolina, Maryland, Duke, and Kansas.
Last year the big story was Kentucky going on their 38 game win streak, but then they lost their one and only game in the Final Four of March Madness to go to the finals. The Kentucky Wildcats were defeated by the Wisconsin Badgers 71-64. The Badgers were favorites going into the championship game against the Duke Blue Devils, but Duke beat the Wisconsin Badgers 68-63.
The Duke Blue Devils winning the 2014-2015 Men’s Basketball Championship that gave them their fifth championship title. Duke has six returning players from their last year championship team that are playing in the 2015-2016 season, so Duke is most likely to make March Madness this year but it doesn’t come as a gift, teams are going to put a target on their back because they won it all last year.
This off season five Hall of Fame coaches have either been suspended or their programs have been under investigation. The biggest investigation is about the University of Louisville. Reportedly five ex-Louisville players and recruits told Out Side the Lines (OTL) of parties at a dorm from 2010 to 2014 that included strippers paid for by the team’s graduate assistant coach Andre McGee. In the USA Coaches Poll, Louisville is ranked 93.
Louisville is obviously a sleeper but some other sleeper teams are Michigan (108), UCLA (48), Georgetown (45), Cincinnati (43), and NC State (36). All six of these teams are usually in contention to be in March Madness but their programs have taken a turn.
Some key players to look for this season are Buddy Hield, senior guard for Oklahoma. Hield last year averaged 17.4 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 1.4 assists in his junior season.
Ben Simmons, a freshman forward for LSU, is a favorite to be the number one overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft.
Kris Dunn, a junior guard for the Providence Friars, is projected to be the best player in the NCAA for the 2015-2016 season.
One of the best freshman coming into college basketball behind Ben Simmons is guard Jamal Murray, Murray is attending the University of Kentucky. Murray was a part of the u-17 FIBA basketball championships where he averaged 16.4 points, 2.9 assist, and 4.6 rebounds.
Melo Trimble, sophomore guard for University of Maryland, where last year Trimble lead Maryland to the round of 32 last year when they lost to West Virginia. Trimble averaged in his freshman year 16.2 points, 3.0 assist, and 3.9 rebounds.
Based on all this, my heart is telling me Maryland is too deep of a team not to go all the way, but for some reason my mind is telling me North Carolina, I just feel like that they have an edge on other teams especially with their best player returning from last year, Marcus Paige.