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Dom’s CBB Top 25 (3/9)
Every Monday I update my weekly college basketball top 25 rankings right here at BetKarma.
As I did last week, my rankings today answer the hottest question going around, “who are the best teams in the country?” These are by no means March Madness seeding projections. These are simply the best teams in the country, right now, in order.
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Dom’s CBB Top 25 (3/9)
5 Michigan State
7 Florida State
9 Seton Hall
11 San Diego State
18 Ohio State
24 Utah State
25 East Tennessee State
What. A. Season.
The college basketball regular season has officially come to an end. Five conference tournaments have finished, with automatic bids awarded to Utah State, Belmont, Liberty, Bradley and Winthrop. Another auto bid will be awarded today to either East Tennessee State or Wofford. See #25 above and take a guess who I like in that game. Six days from now, all 32 automatic bids will be finalized and the selection committee will select the other 36 teams to participate in the NCAA Tournament. With only six days until Selection Sunday, here are six highlights looking back on the 2019-20 college basketball season.
- Kansas. The #1 team in the nation, Kansas Jayhawks, are the overwhelming favorite to win the NCAA Tournament. In a year we all wondered if there were any truly elite teams, Kansas answered. Bill Self’s record 14-straight conference titles came to an end in an injury-riddled 2018-19 season last year, but the Jayhawks are back on top of the Big 12 with another outright championship this year. It should come as little surprise though, as there have been only four seasons in this millennium that Kansas hadn’t won the Big 12.
- Full circle. Looking back on a great season, there were ups and downs but it seems to have come full circle. My preseason rankings had Michigan State, Kentucky and Kansas top three. Along the way, MSU & Kentucky fell significantly. Now at season end, reverse the order but all three teams are back in my top five.
- Obi Toppin. Before the season started, I debated internally on whether to rank Dayton or Davidson in my preseason top 40 rankings. Obi Toppin, I heard, was due for a breakout season. While I knew about him, I thought he might be a one man show. So I went with the Davidson duo of Kellen Grady and Jon Axel Gudmundsson. Whoops. Jalen Crutcher and Trey Landers perfectly complement Toppin to form the most efficient offense in the country. Obi Toppin’s 100+ dunks this season would form a highlight reel unlike any ever. Windmill dunks. 360 dunks. Through the leg dunks. You name it, Toppin’s dunked it. Oh by the way, he’s also shooting 39% from three.
- End of an era. Two of my favorite college basketball players are graduating this season. Marquette’s Markus Howard is probably the best scorer I’ve seen in the modern day game. This season Howard scored 50+ points for the third time in his career, he has had several 40+ point games, and 30+ point performances have basically become the norm. Howard scored over 2,760 points with a 43% career three point percentage. Michigan State’s Cassius Winston is also graduating this year. Winston finished his senior season by delivering Michigan State a third straight Big Ten title. Now he turns his focus to push for back to back Big Ten Tournament championships and back to back Final Fours. Currently 31 points shy, Cash will surpass 2,000 career points by the end of the Big Ten Tournament or NCAA Tournament. He has 890 assists to go along with that. Like Howard, Winston also finished with 43% career three point percentage - an excellent mark for volume shooters.
- Third year coaches. Coach of the year candidates all exceed expectations for their respective program. This year, several have done it rather quickly. Brian Dutcher led San Diego State to a 30-2 record and a 1- or 2-seed in just his third season at the helm. Anthony Grant led his Flyers to a 29-2 record to end the regular season in his third year at Dayton. Chris Holtmann had a roller coaster season in his third year at Ohio State as the buckeyes jumped to the tops of the rankings early on, only to completely fall apart and then make their return back inside the top 25. Brad Underwood will get Illinois back to the big dance in his third season. Steve Pickiell (fourth season at Rutgers), Mark Pope (first year at BYU), and Casey Alexander (first year at Belmont) also deserve recognition for exceeding expectations very quickly and getting their teams to the NCAA Tournament.
- The disappointing Tar Heels. Cole Anthony was supposed to be the best freshman guard in the country. While he did get injured during the season, UNC’s complements turned out to be... not good. North Carolina finished dead last in the ACC and will miss the big dance for the first time in ten years.
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