10 BOLD Predictions for the 2017-18 College Basketball Season
College basketball starts tomorrow. We’re not guaranteeing that these things will happen, and we certainly don’t expect all of these predictions to hit. But with a little bit of logic, a little bit of deductive reasoning and a little bit of gambler’s luck, we think that all of these predictions have a real chance of proving true.
1. Missouri will make the NCAA Tournament on the back of Michael Porter Jr.
Don’t know who Michael Porter Jr. is? You will soon find out. Porter is regarded as one of the top three freshmen in the nation. He originally committed to Washington, but changed to Missouri when his father joined the Tigers as an assistant coach. Porter is a 6-10 forward with NBA-level skills. Jontay Porter, Michael’s brother, reclassified to the class of 2017 to play with his brother this season. Jontay is also a five-star prospect, ranking in the top-25 nationally.
2. Mike Daum will be an All-American despite playing at South Dakota State
Daum’s numbers were already ridiculous last season as a redshirt sophomore. This season, Daum gets more national showcase games with road contests at Kansas, Ole Miss, Wichita State and Colorado. If Daum puts up eye-popping numbers against those teams after the year he had last season, don’t be surprised to hear his name in the All-American mix.
3. Xavier will win the Big East, ending Villanova’s reign
Coming off another Elite Eight appearance, Xavier and Coach Chris Mack have high hopes for this upcoming season. Trevon Bluiett will again be the team’s top scorer. The 6-6 senior averaged 18.5 points, 5.7 rebounds and 2.1 assists last season, while knocking down an impressive 91 three-pointers. He can score in so many ways and few have had much luck slowing him down.
4. St. Bonaventure will make the Sweet Sixteen
We outlined the Bonnies season here and with Jaylen Adams returning this is the most talented St. Bonaventure team since head coach Mark Schmidt took over in 2007. In the ultra-competitive Atlantic-10, the Bonnies will have no shortage of difficult games, but with their experience and skill-set this is a Sweet Sixteen team.
5. Bruce Pearl will lose his job at Auburn
With Bruce Pearl refusing to cooperate with school officials on their investigation into the basketball team, Pearl is already skating on thin ice. He had prior issues at Tennessee which resulted in his firing and subsequent departure from the coaching ranks, so his track record isn’t on his side. This mess isn’t going away and if he continues to not cooperate he will lose his job.
6. Every Power 5 program from the Lone Star State (and SMU) will make the NCAA tournament
Texas, Texas Tech, Texas A&M, Baylor, SMU and TCU all make the tournament.
7. Miami will win the ACC
The Hurricanes have a trio of athletic guards – Ja’Quan Newton, Bruce Brown and Lonnie Walker – and I fully expect big man Dewan Huell to take a step forward and get himself into the all-ACC conversation. Throw in a head coach in Jim Larrañaga, who has proved that he can lead veteran teams with dynamic back court players to titles, and you’re looking at the nation’s single-most underrated team.
8. Yale makes it back to the NCAA Tournament
After ending a 54-year NCAA tournament drought in 2016, the Bulldogs appeared as though they may go in back-to-back years, but a broken foot cost Ivy League player of the year Makai Mason the season and Yale it’s best chance at returning to the Big Dance. Mason is back, joining last year’s leading scorers Alex Copeland Miye Oni and making Yale a threat as a veteran team.
9. Miles Bridges will win National Player of the Year
I outlined Michigan State’s season–and it should be more successful than their second round departure from the NCAA Tournament last year. Miles Bridges could have been a lottery pick but returned to East Lansing. He’s very talented and with the Spartans on his back he will lead them to a deep Tournament run.
10. Josh Pastner and Georgia Tech will deal with a serious NCAA investigation
If you haven’t heard about this story, please read all the details here. Basically, Pastner didn’t call his ‘friend’ on his birthday which resulted in his ‘friend’ to become irate and blow the whistle on Pastner and the alleged wrongdoing of his program (yes, I’m serious). This story is not close to ending and the heat may be put on Pastner as this season moves on.