The college basketball season is a short five days away! The season officially opens when the top four teams in the country face off in the Champions Classic on Nov. 5 at Madison Square Garden. Until then, teams around the country will finish off their preseason exhibition schedules, giving everyone else, including the DC Sports Staff, time to predict who will walk away as champions in early April.
Dylan Barrett – Campus Correspondent
On the back of Myles Powell, a preseason All American, Seton Hall will finish its season cutting the nets down this spring. Last year, Powell carried the Pirates through an unexpected late season run that brought them to the Big East Tournament Final and earned them a ten seed in the NCAA tournament. After being ousted in the first round of March Madness, they return four starters, making up what is the best team the program has seen in decades. Seton Hall was tagged favorites to win the Big East in the preseason coaches’ poll, and enters the season ranked No. 12 in the nation. Powell, back for his senior year, averaged 23.1 points per game last season, and essentially cannot be defended. He is a dominant, clutch shooter from beyond the arc. Expect him to hit multiple game winners en route to winning National Player of the Year as he leads Seton Hall to a National Championship.
Tamir March – Campus Correspondent
The only answer to this is unequivocally the #1 ranked Michigan State Spartans. The Spartans have the best player in the country in Cassius Winston, who could very well break the all-time college basketball assist record this season. Winston led a bruised squad to the Final Four last year, taking down perhaps the most talented college team of all time in Duke. Around the preseason player of the year, the Spartans have everything they need to win a national title. They have the shooting in freshman Rocket Watts and an eventually healthy Josh Langford. Verstitle wings with sophomores Aaron Henry and Gabe Brown, who will make a big leap after successful freshman campaigns. Perhaps the most important player outside of Winston is junior big man Xavier Tillman, whose dominant all around play made Nick Ward an afterthought last season. MSU will be tested early, likely playing the preseason 2, 3, 4 and 12 teams before conference play even begins. Hall of Fame coach Tom Izzo always has his team ready for March and I fully expect to see a national title brought back home to East Lansing.
Kevin Arnold – Associate Sports Editor
Chomp Chomp Chomp. Two-thousand nineteen is the year of the Gator and Florida will win the NCAA tournament this year. Though they haven’t won the big dance since Billy Donavan ran the show, this year’s team is dangerous as they enter the season ranked No. 6. The Gators lost their leading scorer in KeVaughn Allen (11.8 ppg) but return their leading rebounder in Keyontae Johnson (6.4) and leading assister in Andrew Nembhard. Florida is a young team with only one senior, but can be a dangerous squad in the SEC and should be on everyone’s radar come March.