It’s almost everyone’s favorite time of year again. Yes, tip-off for the 2018-19 College Basketball season is just three weeks away, and just as you can count on a 12 seed upsetting a 5 seed come March, you can count on everyone’s favorite ESPN Analyst Dick Vitale releasing his preseason rankings.
While Vitale has already declared Kansas as his preseason favorite, the rest of his top-10 includes a few surprises.
Vitale’s top 10 are:
- Michigan State
- North Carolina
The two biggest surprises here being Tennessee and Nevada who finished out last year ranked 16 and 20, respectively. That being said, however, the Vols are coming off of a 26-win season and will be returning reigning SEC Player of the Year Grant Williams who averaged 15.2 points and 6.0 rebounds last year.
While many still see Kentucky as the front-runners for the SEC title, let’s not forget Tennessee closed out the year winning 10 of their last 12 league games, and are returning quite the experienced squad.
Nevada similarly turned a lot of heads last season as one of the tournament’s biggest Cinderella Stories as they advanced all the way to the Sweet-16 off of an at-large bid. The Wolf Pack got a huge boost in signing McDonald’s All-American Jordan Brown last May, and that paired with the return of both the Martin twins and Jordan Caroline (last year’s top 3 scorers) has primed them to make a significant jump as legitimate contenders heading into the 2018-19 season.
Lastly, many may be shocked to see the defending National Champion Villanova Wildcats all the way down at 10, but after losing Mikal Bridges, Donte DiVincenzo, Jalen Brunson, and Omari Spellman all to the draft, the Wildcats are primed for a bit of a rebuilding year.
While many still expect them to be high amongst the rankings, it will be tough to overcome that many losses to the lineup.
The remainder of Vitale’s preseason top-40 can be found here.
Did your team make the top 10? Let us know who you think should or shouldn’t be included in this year’s rankings in the comments below!