2022-23 “Way Too Early” Conference Predictions Part 1 

By Shea Irish and Trevor Heilman

With the NBA Draft and Transfer Portal deadlines looming, many athletes are beginning to make choices about their futures and the futures of the programs they’ve been a part of. As rosters begin to solidify, we can start to make the bold predictions of who comes out on top and who falls apart in each conference. Despite the chaos of NIL deals, COVID extending years of eligibility, and the tornado of the transfer portal, here are the “Way Too Early” Conference Predictions–Part 1.

American Athletic Conference 

Favorite: Houston Cougars 

Photo By: Gamecock Central, CC BY 2.0

 It is no secret that the American Athletic Conference supremacy resides in Houston. In the last three NCAA Tournaments, the Cougars have advanced to a Final Four, an Elite Eight, and a Sweet 16 appearance. Last year’s Elite Eight run was sparked without their best player Marcus Sasser, who suffered a season-ending injury just 12 games into the year. The Cougars were also missing Tramon Mark, a double-figure scorer, for the last 31 games of the season. With both players back, and the emergence of guard Jamal Shead; Houston should be on their way to another dominant AAC Championship level season. Ramon Walker Jr. could be another name to watch for the next breakout player in Houston. Key front court players Fabian White and Josh Carlton will be gone, but as Kelvin Sampson’s team has shown time and time again, they have a ‘next man up’ mentality about their program. Look for J’Wan Roberts, who played 28 minutes and grabbed eight rebounds in Houston’s Elite Eight matchup, to help fill the void. Incoming 6’7” freshman Jarace Walker, the ESPN #9 overall recruit and Terrance Arceneaux, another ESPN Top 100 player, will provide immediate minutes for the 2022-23 Cougars. According to 247 sports, Walker is the highest rated recruit in Cougars history. With the 2023 Final Four being held right in Houston, Sampson’s team will have extra motivation for another NCAA Tournament run..  

Biggest Contender: Memphis Tigers 

There is a lot of uncertainty within the Memphis Tigers program right now, but it is possible they will still be the biggest threat to Houston a year from now. Depending on the severity of the sanctions imposed for the NCAA violations the Tigers committed, Penny Hardaway should have another NCAA Tournament level team in 2022-23. We will know more about the roster once the NBA draft deadline is over, but the Tigers realistically could return double figure scorers Lester Quinones and DeAndre Williams,with the possibility of retaining big men Malcolm Dandridge and Josh Minott. The Tigers will lose a plethora of talent, but the same can be said about other contenders SMU, UCF, and Wichita State. With Hardaway’s unrivaled recruiting ability they should be able to adapt and reload through the transfer portal, making this team dangerous in the American once again. Even with the worst case scenario of an NCAA Tournament ban, Memphis would still be able to compete for the AAC regular season title. 

Photo By: Tulane Public Relations, CC BY 2.0

Dark Horse Candidate: Tulane Green Wave 

Coach Ron Hunter could have Tulane in position to challenge for an NCAA Tournament bid for the first time since 1995. A team that finished over .500 in conference play for the first time since 2006-07 could potentially return the top 8 players in their rotation. The Green Wave had three of the top ten scorers in the American Athletic Conference for the 2021-22 season. Jalen Cook(18.0 PPG) and Jaylen Forbes (16.5 PPG), both 4 star transfers from SEC schools, finished as top 5 scorers in the conference. An inexperienced Tulane team showed much promise at times, like taking down Memphis for just the fourth time over the previous 38 matchups with the Tigers and also giving Florida State all they could handle in a non-conference battle. After advancing to the conference semifinals for the first time in six seasons, Hunter’s team will be hungry for even more success in 2022-23. 


Favorite: North Carolina Tar Heels 

Trying to narrow down the ACC is like getting J.J. Reddick to miss a free throw.  The conference is stacked again this year with Duke, North Carolina, Miami, Virginia Tech, and Notre Dame all making the tournament last season. There are a billion storylines featuring new coaches, returning players, the transfer portal, etc. but despite all the chaos, the real story is Hubert Davis’ North Carolina Tar Heels who are looking to run it back all the way to the championship.  With the recent news of Armando Bacot’s return, there have been rumors swirling that the core 4—Bacott, Black, Davis and Love, could all stay in hopes of finishing what they started. This makes them arguably the best lineup in the country, and with experience and momentum there’s a great chance they take the ACC title.  The loss of Brady Manek (15.1 ppg) will hurt, but the gap won’t be too tough to fill as the Tar Heels bench ran deep in the tournament, and they boast the 11th best recruiting class in the country. Bench players like big man Dawson Garcia (9 ppg, 5.5 rpg, on 20.6 minutes) Dontrez Styles whom Hubert trusted to score 9 points in 25 minutes against Baylor in the tourney, and Puff Johnson who dropped 11 in 18 minutes before puking from exhaustion on the floor in the title game are all likely to make an impact on an already stacked squad.  Look for them to come out on top based on veteran talent, grit, and chip on their shoulder.   

Phone By: flickr user adamglanzman, CC BY 2.0

Biggest Contender: Duke Blue Devils 

Duke and UNC will remain bitter rivals both in proximity and in the fight for the ACC. Despite the changing of the guard, Jon Scheyer will pick up where coach K left off along with the number one recruiting class in the country. Although much of the starting lineup for the Blue Devils will enter the draft, there’s a good chance their premier ball handler Jeremy Roach sticks around. Roach is a true facilitator and team leader whose stats don’t do him justice, but his performances against teams like Texas Tech where he dropped 13 in the second half are reasons why he should be feared.  Alongside him will be the newcomers: 7’1 center Dereck Lively II, 6’11 Center Kyle Filipowski, and 6’6 forward Dariq Whitehead.  These three were the #1, #3, and #5 prospects in the country, so look for Duke to reload the clip with young studs once again, but maybe temper the expectations for an ACC title with new players and new management taking over.

Dark Horse Candidate: Virginia Tech Hokies 

Virginia Tech snuck away with an ACC title win last season, knocking off both the Tar Heels and Blue Devils.  While I’m not expecting a repeat, the pieces could be there.  Both Mutts and Aluma, one of the best frontcourts in college hoops (25.9 ppg and 14.1 boards per game combined), just declared for the draft while maintaining eligibility. Should the two return, I’d be willing to put money down on them being in position to steal the conference title again.  Even with their departure, Sean Pedulla has earned the starting gig and will serve well as veteran point, and Cattoor is one of the best shooters in the ACC.  They’ll also be adding 4-star guard Rodney Rice and have a good chance at landing Tyrell Ward, the #36 overall prospect.  Together, these guys may give them a shot. 

Atlantic 10

Photo By: flickr user adamglanzman, CC BY 2.0

Favorite: Dayton Flyers 

Anthony Grant’s team should be the class of a very talented Atlantic 10 Conference in 2022-23. Last season they showed flashes of brilliance with wins over National Champion Kansas and Elite Eight participant Miami during the ESPN Events Invitational. Dayton also defeated Virginia Tech and had victories over the two NCAA Tournament representatives from the A-10, Davidson and Richmond. Consisting of predominantly freshmen and sophomores, they showed their inexperience at times. They lost three Quad 4 games, which hurt their otherwise very impressive resume and held them back from receiving an at-large bid. That shouldn’t be the case next season, as all 5 starters are expected to return, including A-10 Freshman of the Year Daron Holmes II. He could be a trendy pick to win the Player of the Year Award next season. The Flyers will also have the Atlantic 10 Sixth Man of the Year Koby Brea coming back.  Anthony Grant’s squad has everything they need to be a Top 25 team next season. They have a floor general in PG Malachi Smith (5.3 APG), plenty of size, great shooting ability, and a ton of depth. As they transition into a more experienced group, Dayton certainly shouldn’t have to sweat out another Selection Sunday in 2023. 

Biggest Contender: Saint Louis Billikens 

If Dayton is 1-A, Saint Louis has a solid case to be 1-B. The Billikens will return 5 of the top 7 players from a 23 win team that finished 5th in the conference last year. They will get an added boost from the return of Javonte Perkins, who led the team in scoring two seasons ago but missed all of 2021-22 with an injury. Javon Pickett, an SEC transfer that averaged 11.1 PPG at Missouri, will make this team even deeper. Keep an eye out for Loyola Chicago as well, it will be their first season in the conference after transitioning from the MVC. The Ramblers have established themselves as a nationally renowned program in the last five seasons, and don’t expect them to slow down anytime soon.  

Photo By flickruser Stephen Kline CC BY-SA 2.0

Dark Horse Candidate: George Mason Patriots 

Kim English is quietly building a contender in Fairfax, VA and should return 3 of the top 4 scorers from last season, including Atlantic 10 1st-Team big man Josh Oduro (17.7 PPG, 7.5 RPG). Another player to keep an eye on is Davonte Gaines, a 6’7” guard who finished 2nd in the A-10 with 8.1 RPG. The Patriots will bring in Tennessee transfer Victory Bailey Jr. and a top 100 freshman in this year’s recruiting class, Justyn Fernandez. Head Coach Kim English says Fernandez is “the best athlete he’s ever been around. Ever.” 

Big 12

Favorite: Kansas Jayhawks 

Playing in the Big 12 has to feel like trying to smash through brick walls week after week during conference play.  It is a juggernaut of champions with 6 tournament teams, two as #1 seeds, three that went to the sweet-16, and the title winning Kansas. But despite the plethora of talented teams—you can expect the rock chalk Jayhawks to dominate once again. With an outstanding recruiting class featuring 4 top recruits–Gradey Dick, Zuby Ejiofor, MJ Rice, and Ernest Udeh, along with possible returners: Christian Braun return (14.1 ppg) Jalen Wilson (11.1 ppg and 7.4 boards) and David McCormack (10.6 ppg 7 boards) Kansas will continue to be a force. According to coach Self, the offseason may be busy trying to add a guard with the loss of Agbaji, but between recruits and the transfer portal, he’s confident they’ll keep putting a stellar product on the floor. Vegas agrees too—they are currently 10-1 odds to win it all again, and 7 of the last 13 preseason predicted champs in Vegas have gone on to win it all… I like the odds, and you should too.   

Photo By: Max Goldberg, CC BY 2.0

Biggest Contender: Baylor Bears 

Baylor showed the world that it’s not all about experience. After losing 4 starters from their 2021 championship squad, the Bears returned as a #1 seed for the NCAA tournament all the same, featuring an aggressive scoring offense (ranked 10th in offensive boards per game) and relentless defense (+13 avg scoring margin). This year they lose Akinjo, Sochan, and Brown, but defensive big man Flo Thamba is officially returning while L.J. Cryer (13.5 ppg) and leading scorer Adam Flagler (13.8 ppg) have the option. Whether they return or not, Scott Drew has shown he’s capable of creating tough teams—expect them to remain in the mix for the conference title.   

Dark Horse Candidate: TCU Horned Frogs  

With the news of Mike Miles returning, and the option for Lampkin and Baugh to do the same, TCU showed basketball fans why they deserve more credit. Living in the shadow of the Big 12, the Horned frogs are still tough as nails and by no means a team you want to see on the schedule—ask Arizona, the #1 seed TCU nearly edged for a trip to the elite 8. Plus, All American Kendric Davis has entered the Transfer portal, and there’s some legged rumors he could return to TCU whom he committed to out of high school—if that happens, they’re definitely battling for the Big 12 championship. 

Big East

Favorite: Creighton Bluejays 

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A team that was picked to finish just 8th in the Big East preseason poll, Creighton exceeded expectations and ended the regular season 4th in the conference. After losing their starting PG Ryan Nembhard to a wrist injury in late February, the assumptions were that their season would be over. Instead, they went on a run to the Big East Championship Game and then proceeded to win a game in the NCAA Tournament. Even after losing big man Ryan Kalkbrenner to a knee injury in their first round win, they pushed the eventual National Champion Kansas to a 1 point game with less than a minute left in the Round of 32. Given the circumstances, Greg McDermott completed one of the most masterful coaching jobs in all of college basketball getting them to that position. Now, the Bluejays should enter next season on the other end of the spectrum. They’ll be returning the Big East Defensive Player of the Year (Kalkbrenner), the Big East Freshman of the Year (Nembhard), and two other Big East All-Freshman selections in Arthur Kaluma and Trey Alexander. The 6’7” Kaluma showed potential of becoming a Big East All-Conference player in the matchup with Kansas, dominating the game with 24 points and 12 rebounds.They’ll also return key contributor Shereef Mitchel, who was injured in early December and missed the rest of the season. Losing leading scorer Ryan Hawkins will certainly hurt, but the Bluejays have plenty of firepower to ascend to the top of the Big East in 2022-23. 

Biggest Contender: Xavier Musketeers 

At 16-5 headed into February, Xavier looked like a lock for the NCAA Tournament this past season. Surprisingly, they finished just 2-8 down the stretch and didn’t hear their name called on Selection Sunday. They will head into 2022-23 with some momentum after finishing the season on an NIT Championship run. If any indication by the previous NIT champion Memphis, the Musketeers should be able to use that tournament setting experience as fuel for a 2023 NCAA Tournament push. Led by Jack Nunge (13.4 PPG, 7.4 RPG) and Zach Freemantle (10.4 PPG, 5.8 RPG), the Musketeers will possess one of the best frontcourts in the Big East next season. Colby Jones, who added 7.3 RPG, will return for another season to round out what should be a very potent rebounding team. If that trio is able to carry them to a more consistent finish down the stretch of conference play, they should be in contention for a regular season championship. It’s hard not to mention Villanova near the top of the Big East, but the Wildcats roster will look drastically different after losing 2x Big East POY Collin Gillespie and the always productive big man Jermaine Samuels. Expect Jay Wright’s program to reload and be competitive as always, but repeating as tournament champions will be a lot to ask of a team losing the star power that they are. 

Photo By: StJohnHall, CC BY-SA 4.0

Dark Horse Candidate: St. John’s Red Storm 

By adding Illinois transfer Andre Curbelo to team up with Posh Alexander, St John’s could feature one of the most dynamic duos in the country next season. Curbelo, the 2021 Big Ten Sixth Man of the Year, should thrive in Coach Mike Anderson’s electric transition oriented offensive system. Guards Dylan Addae-Wusu (8.5 PPG) and Montez Mathis (8.2 PPG) will round out an absolutely loaded backcourt for the Red Storm. Headed into his fourth season at the helm of the program, Mike Anderson has yet to lead St. John’s to an NCAA Tournament Appearance. He has shown the ability to accomplish that at all three of his previous stops as a head coach; UAB, Missouri, and Arkansas.  If St. John’s is able to improve the rest of the roster this off-season to compliment the team’s guard play, they could finally be dancing in 2023. Either way, the pressure will surely be on for Coach Anderson to lead this illustrious program back to the promised land.

Big 10

Favorite: Michigan Wolverines 

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This conference is full of player turnover that muddies the waters on who deserves the top spot. With stars like Murray and Cockburn out of the ranks, along with a mass exodus of seniors, Michigan seems to be the team that stays consistent and works their way into Big 10 title contention. The big factor is Hunter Dickinson who dominated the paint with 18.6 points a night. He is the key to Wolverine success, and in an ideal world Caleb Houstan (10.1 ppg) stays as well. Michigan also has the 7th ranked recruiting group in the 2022 class featuring Tarris Reed—another physical big and coach Juan Howard’s son Jett, a versatile wing that can score from outside. They have all the pieces and are the safest bet to take the Big 10.

Biggest Contender: Purdue Boilermakers  

This is Purdue’s conference to win if they can build around 7-foot big man Zach Edey. Edey is a monster in the paint who drops 14.4 a game with 1.3 blocks and he’s a perfect big man to center a roster around given his 65% FG percentage and his work around the rim. They would absolutely be frontrunners having boasted the #3 rank in offensive efficiency last season, but with the loss of Jaden Ivey and Trevion Williams to the draft, it’ll be young, less proven ball players that have to carry the load. Fortunately, they’ve added 4 star recruits Fletcher Loyer, Braden Smith, and Camden Heide to balance the scales. Oh, and just ANOTHER 7-foot big, WIlliam Berg. Yes… the Purdue frontcourt will feature 14 feet. They may not have the roster premade, but they can certainly be coached into Big 10 title contention.   

Photo By: Marc Gregor

Dark Horse Candidate: Michigan State Spartans  

The Michigan St. Spartans can always be dark horses thanks to Tom Izzo, but this year truly rests on the possible return of seniors Gabe Brown, Joey Houser, and Marcus Bingham Jr. (28.2 combined points per game). These three are the core of Izzo’s team that nearly knocked off #2 seed Duke in the sweet-16, and after a tournament run that truly showcased the trio’s talents, there’s a great opportunity for the Spartans to climb the Big 10 ranks and upset the rest of the pack while they are in flux. 

Mountain West

Favorite: Wyoming Cowboys 

The Wyoming Cowboys came out of nowhere in 2021-22 to win 25 games and make the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2015. Now, the expectations for Jeff Linder’s team will be to build on that and win the Mountain West. Graham Ike (19.5 PPG) and Hunter Maldonado (18.5 PPG), two Mountain West 1st-Team selections, are expected to return. Overall they will bring back 4 of 5 starters and 86% of the team’s scoring, including key contributors Jeremiah Oden, Xavier DuSell, and Brendan Wenzel. Add in three transfers from the Pac-12, Ethan Anderson and Max Agbonkpolo (USC) plus Jake Kyman (UCLA) to solidify the rotation and bring an increased level of optimism to the fans of Laramie. The Cowboys should be the favorite in the MWC, and more than likely could be a preseason Top 25 team.

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Biggest Contender: San Diego State Aztecs 

 You can never count the Aztecs out of the Mountain West race. San Diego State has been to 9 NCAA Tournaments since 2010. Next season the expectations will be no different as they’ll return the MWC Newcomer of the Year Matt Bradley and the MWC 6th Man of the Year Chad Baker-Mazara. Bradley, who averaged 16.9 PPG, could be the preseason Player of the Year for the conference. The Aztecs have also hit the transfer portal, receiving a commitment from Darrion Trammell, a guard from Seattle that has already reached the 1,000 point club in just two seasons. Brian Dutcher’s team is always exceptional on the defensive end, and expect that trend to continue in 2022-23, especially if Nathan Mensah returns to school. The MWC Defensive Player of the Year has yet to announce his future plans, but some believe he may come back for one more season. Nothing is certain except death, taxes, and the Aztecs competing for a MWC Championship year in and year out. 

Dark Horse Candidate: Fresno State Bulldogs 

Photo By: Ron Sellers, CC BY-SA 2.0

Against the top four Mountain West teams, which all made NCAA Tournament appearances in 2022, Fresno State forced three of them into OT games late in the season. If Orlando Robinson doesn’t leave for the NBA, Fresno State could be next year’s Wyoming and take that crazy leap to reach the NCAA Tournament. Robinson is one of the most underrated bigs in the entire country, standing at 7’0”, he finished the 2021-22 season with over 700 points, 300 rebounds, and 100 assists. The only other player in Division 1 history to post those numbers was Frank Kaminsky in the 2014-15 season. The Bulldogs center their team around the 1st Team All-Conference Robinson, but they could have plenty of other firepower coming back after the top three scorers and six of the top seven overall were all underclassmen.  


Favorite: Arizona Wildcats 

AP coach of the year Tommy Lloyd is building something special in Arizona, and it’s safe to assume they’ll be legitimate NCAA title contenders for the foreseeable future. Star guard Bennedict Mathurin’s 17.7 ppg will be hard to replace as he enters the draft, but Arizona still has the bulk of their lineup returning, including Azuolas Tubelis (13.9 ppg) and Pac 12 defensive player of the year Christian Koloko. They’ll also add 7-foot big man Dylan Anderson on scholarship, so the big concern will be depth as the Wildcats have NCAA recruiting sanctions on the horizon. Either way, 4 of 5 starters returning for a team that ranked 3rd in ppg (84) and 16th in defensive efficiency, makes me feel good about handing them the Pac-12 title.   

Photo By: Kwt2007, CC BY-SA 4.0

Biggest Contender: UCLA Bruins  

Jamie Maquez and Johnny Juzang are both in decision making mode, but should they return they’ll bring back 29.5 ppg combined for the Bruins. They could also have Bernard and Riley return, but experts suggest they are on the way out along with Peyton Watson for the NBA draft. That leaves a couple of gaps in the lineup, but they’ll be filled by two McDonald’s All Americans Amari Bailey and Adem Bona, and top 40 prospect Dylan Andrews. The revolving recruiting door will help the Bruins maintain their balanced attack as a team that ranked 31st in defensive efficiency and 22nd in offensive efficiency last season. Their only test will be Arizona on their way to another NCAA tournament. 

Photo By: Neon Tommy, CC BY-SA 2.0

Dark Horse Candidate: Washington State Cougars  

I’m not sure there’s a darker horse in the mix, but the Washington State Cougars are worth the hype. Perhaps the smarter answer would be USC, maybe even Oregon—but the Cougs are a fun wildcard as they reached the NIT final four and at the very least deserve the underrated tag. Trey Flowers is a legit point guard that lit the NIT up with multiple 25+ point games, and fellow guard Tyrell Roberts did the same. The core of their team remains with their defensemen Rodman and Jackson returning and with a scary scoring backcourt, they could absolutely cause some trouble in the Pac-12 standings. 


Favorite: Arkansas Razorbacks 

Racaldwe, CC BY-SA 4.0

 This conference is in tornado mode. Much like the Big 12—the SEC is typically loaded with multiple teams with championship potential—this year Auburn and Kentucky were both #2 seeds, Arkansas knocked off Gonzaga for an elite 8 trip, but on the whole it was a disappointing show at the tournament. As a result, the conference is up for grabs–Arkansas just landed a bag of 5-star recruits and transfers, 11 players left LSU, two new coaches take charge for LSU and Florida, Kentucky’s loss to St. Peters swirled rumors putting coach Callipari on the hot seat… transfers, recruits, coaches, it’s all a mess. But with that said, there is one team that truly made a statement in the tournament and is primed to take over as SEC champs—Eric Musselman’s Razorbacks. Arkansas has landed three McDonald’s All Americans, transfers Trevon Brazile from Missouri, Arizona State’s Jalen Graham, the Mitchell twins from Rhode Island, and all of these pieces basically juiced an already stacked roster. It may be a new starting 5, but ESPN already has them ranked as the #1 team in the country for 2023, pinning them atop the SEC.  

Biggest Contender: Kentucky Wildcats   

A lot of Kentucky’s success depends on who stays and goes. After the disappointing loss to St. Peter’s, the nation forgot that Kentucky was highly touted as a team to win it all, so should the core of the Wildcats remain, that reputation should too. The Wildcats were ranked 9th in PPG in the NCAA with 79 while holding opponents to 66, and though Kellan Grady, Davion Mintz, and Ty Ty Washington will all head for the draft, Kentucky picked up recruits Chris Livingston and Cason Wallace and already have a deep bench to replace them. But the big story is Oscar Tshiebwe (17.4ppg 15.1 rebounds). The former AP player of the year is testing the NBA draft but has the option to stay, and if he does—expect Kentucky to return to the same team that garnered the #1 seed entering the tournament.  

Dark Horse Candidate: Florida Gators 

Photo By: Dennis Addair ShareAlike 2.0 Generic

This spot could very well be Auburn, but the transfer portal and returning players have the stars aligning for the Florida Gators. With new coach Todd Golden at the helm (he took the San Francisco Dons to their first NCAA tournament in over a decade), he hopes to bring a team that is defense first. To help, he has 5th year senior and leading scorer Colin Castleton (16.2 ppg and 9 boards), Belmont transfer Will Richard (12.1 ppg, 6 boards), sharpshooter Myreon Jones (8.5 ppg) who hopes to return to the skilled shooter he was at Penn St., and athletic transfer pickup Alex Fudge from LSU. They may not be the number one pick, but look for the Gators to make some noise in the turbulent SEC. 


Favorite: Gonzaga Bulldogs 

This one’s a bit too easy to call. The Gonzaga Bulldogs are the heavy hand in this conference by a long shot with only St. Mary’s potentially spoiling a perfect WCC schedule. Despite the departure of Drew Timme, Andrew Nembhard and Chet Holmgren, the Zags backcourt is still loaded with stars—Rasir Bolton, Julian Strawther, Nolan Hickman and Hunter Sallis. The front court will feature the Zags 6th man Anton Watson but ideally the Bulldogs will search the transfer portal for another dominant big. Whether they find one or not, the Zags will run the WCC table with ease as they seek another #1 seed for tournament play.  

Photo By: Ron Sellers, CC BY 2.0

Biggest Contender: Saint Mary’s Gaels  

St. Mary’s proved that they deserved their 5 seed in the NCAA tournament by routing Indiana 82-53 in the first round. This came after the Gaels defeated the #1 team in the country and conference rival, Gonzaga, at home to end the regular season. The team was ranked 13th for opponents ppg and the Gaels would drain you with solid, fundamental team defense. They lose little in the way of talent, so look for them to remain the little brother in the WCC with a longshot to knock off the Bulldogs on title night.   

Dark Horse Candidate: San Francisco Dons 

San Francisco, much like St. Mary’s, proved they were legit by landing a 10 seed tournament bid. Most of their success hinged on Jamaree Bouyea’s 17.3 ppg, and big man Yauhen Massalski’s near double-double averages (13.5 ppg 9.4 boards). Both could return for the Dons, but with the potential loss of Khalil Shabazz (13.7ppg) and a coaching change, they will remain only a dark horse at best. 

Photo By: NorthDrive87, CC BY-SA 4.0

This article was created by Mental Dimes’ NCAAM Basketball Editors Shea Irish and Trevor Heilman


  • Trevor Heilman

    I'm Trevor Heilman--currently a high school teacher and coach, and an aspiring sports editor for Mental Dimes. I'm a self-proclaimed expert when it comes to NCAA Basketball, an embarrassingly awful Fantasy Football player, underdog loving sports bettor, Gonzaga alum, and huge fan of anything sports. Co-Host of the mental Dimes NCAAM Podcast

  • Shea Irish

    Shea is a life-long college basketball fanatic. He has always been passionate about following mid-majors hoops. He's 25 years old and currently resides in Upstate New York. Co-host of the Mental Dimes NCAAM Podcast.

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