Basketball Season is On! The EJSIC Pre-Season Top 25 is Here.

The EJSIC Top 25: NCAA Basketball
After exciting midnight madness events, some teams have already started playing their pre-season schedules. The first game of the year will tip off at 7pm on November 9th and feature the defending National Champion, UNC Tar Heels hosting the Florida International University Golden Rams. At the same time, Ohio State will host Alcorn State.

To prepare for the start of the new college basketball season, the weakest collection of teams of any season ever, the writers at EJSIC voted on their pre-season top 25′s. We compiled that data into the most accurate top 25 available this year. Being a pre-season poll, it’s mostly based on speculation of new parts and how teams will adapt to the loss of old parts. In some cases, the rankings are based almost entirely on new coaches and players (Kentucky, I’m looking at you. As a side thought, would Memphis have been the pre-season #1 if Cal had stayed and landed Xavier Henry?).

So, without further ado, here are our rankings (votes – first place votes), with links to the teams and next week’s schedule. Week 1 will be games played between November 9 and November 15. As the season progresses, we’ll keep a log of top wins and bad losses so you can follow the important information to the NCAA tournament.

1. Kansas (167 – 4)
…..Week 1: Nov. 13 vs. Hofstra
2. Villanova (166 – 2)
…..Week 1: Nov. 13 vs. Fairleigh Dickinson
3. Michigan State (165 – 1)
…..Week 1: Nov. 13 vs. Florida Gulf Coast
4. Kentucky (144)
…..Week 1: Nov. 13 vs. Moorehead State
5. Texas (137)
…..Week 1: Nov. 15 vs. UC-Irvine

6. UNC (135)
…..Week 1: Nov. 9 vs. Florida International, Nov. 11 vs. NC Central, Nov. 15 vs. Valparaiso
7. Purdue (131)
…..Week 1: Nov. 13 vs. Cal State Northridge
8. West Virginia (120)
…..Week 1: Nov. 15 vs. Loyola
9. Connecticut (112)
…..Week 1: Nov. 13 vs. William and Mary
10. Duke (105)
…..Week 1: Nov. 13 vs. UNC-Greensboro
11. Butler (95)
…..Week 1: Nov. 14 vs. Davidson
12. Michigan (90)
…..Week 1: Nov. 14 vs. Northern Michigan
13. Washington (89)
….Week 1: Nov. 13 vs. Wright State, Nov. 14 vs. Belmont, Nov. 15. vs. Portland State
14. California (88)
…..Week 1: Nov. 9 vs. Murray State, Nov. 11 vs. Detroit
15. Tennessee (78)
…..Week 1: Nov. 13 vs. Austin Peay
16. Ohio State (67)
…..Week 1: Nov. 9 vs. Alcorn State, Nov. 12 vs. James Madison
17. Oklahoma (61)
…..Week 1: Nov. 14 vs. Mount St. Mary’s
18. Mississippi State (48)
…..Week 1: Nov. 13 vs. Rider
19. Georgia Tech (39)
…..Week 1: Nov. 14 vs. Florida A&M
20. Minnesota (38)
…..Week 1: Nov. 13 vs. Tennessee Tech
21. Georgetown (27)
…..Week 1: Nov. 13 @ Tulane
22. Dayton (25)
…..Week 1: Nov. 14 vs. Creighton
23. Syracuse (24)
…..Week 1: Nov. 9 vs. Albany, Nov. 11 vs. Robert Morris
24. Clemson (23)
…..Week 1: Nov. 13 vs. Presbyterian
25. Louisville (20)
…..Week 1: No games

Others receiving votes: Xavier (12), Florida State (12), Memphis (11), UCLA (10), Wisconsin (9), Gonzaga (7), Maryland (6), South Carolina (5), Arizona State (4), Illinois (4), Sienna (1)

AP poll

Coach’s poll

38 thoughts on “Basketball Season is On! The EJSIC Pre-Season Top 25 is Here.

  1. I find it funny as hell that UK is ranked anywhere near the Top 5 after finishing in the bottom half of the Top 60 last season. All those freshmen with NO game experience and the returning NIT scrubs should be able to put UK over the top…LMAO.

    Give me a break. The crash landing in Lexington will be comical.

  2. They also lose their best player, Meeks. But, they play in the SEC, which builds wins into your year. And this is the worst field of college basketball teams since Adolf Rupp was coaching. I hope you are right, but think this team is likely an elite 8 type squad.

    IF, they’re all eligible. I’ve heard some rumblings about Orton.

  3. One of the greatest recruiting classes ever assembled + Patrick Patterson = A bunch of inexperience and scrubs?

    Comical.

    Jose, I’ve heard nothing about Orton and, unless there’s an NCAA rule against being intelligent, well spoken, and hard working, there’s nothing in his past or future that would make him ineligible. He’s the last kid in this class that would have to worry about eligibility.

  4. Flop, John Wall is going to run wild on the SEC and you know it clown. Cousins and Orton will both be beasts as well. Just like Samardo Samuels did for us this past season.

  5. Flop, not scrubs but not penciled in the title game either. Consider this: In 2007, UNC had a class with the #1 PG, #1 PF, and #1 SG along with three other 4 star recruits including Deon Thompson. This group joined sophomores Hansbrough, Green, Frasor, and Ginyard. Those sophomores were coming off a 3 seed in the NCAA tourney. They were an elite 8 squad barely missing the final four.

    They eventually won a title with one of the most dominant teams ever. But not as freshmen.

    This year, Kentucky brings in the #1 PG, #2 C, #4 C along with two four star recruits and a three star. I’ll point out that this class isn’t close to as good as UNC’s 2007 class. Those kids join a great center in Patterson. And that’s it. Patterson is the only good player coming off a season where Kentucky went out early in the NIT. That’s not the foundation that UNC had in 2007. That’s not the calibur of recruits. The only reason I think Kentucky can go as far as UNC did that year is because this year’s field is the worst ever.

  6. http://kentucky.rivals.com/commitlist.asp
    That looks like four 5 stars and two 4 stars to me. If you can use Scout rankings to fit your argument, then I can use Rivals rankings to fit mine. Regardless, the class was far and away the #1 class in the country on both services.

    This Kentucky squad only has 3 players who weren’t rated as a 4 star or above coming out of high school and one of those was a walk-on last year. This team is absolutely loaded with talent.

    I agree that you can’t pencil them into the title game. I don’t think you can pencil them into the final four either, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be ranked in the top 5 on talent alone to start the season. This is even more poignant when you compare them to other teams in an obviously down year over-all.

    People are severely under-valuing Kentucky because they like to hate. I don’t recall anyone bitching and moaning about tOSU being over-rated as they marched to the title game on the backs of a bunch of freshmen.

    A lot of people want this team to fail so badly, that they’re blinding themselves to the talent on the team. This is an Elite 8 team at worst.

  7. Under-valuing? Kentucky’s team is ranked higher pre-season in almost every poll , ours included, than that Ohio State team.

    And you’re using Rivals to push an agenda? At least I used scout because they’re generally considered better. But you missed the point about returning talent. In much the same way that UNC was a 3 seed to end the 2006 season, the final AP polls for that year have UNC ranked #14 and Ohio State #13. They both returned a solid nuclei to go with top recruiting classes. Do you still not see what Kentucky is lacking in this equation?

    I have to agree with Chad here, UK has set themselves up with impossibly high standards and almost certainly will be disappointed.

    We’re both two of the top basketball historians in this country. The difference is that you’re coming at this as a Kentucky resident, while I have a more objective point of view as an outside observer. That or the crisp air in the hills of West Virginia allow for more mental clarity.

  8. I’m not talking about the polls and you know it. The pollsters have rightfully ranked UK in the top 5. People like you and Chad are the ones scarfing down the hate brownies.

    Name 5 teams with better overall talent this season and do it with a straight face. You can’t do it. Period.

    Scout > Rivals is a matter of opinion. The UNC agenda is obviously to push Scout as the only source that matters because it’s always been in their best interest to have as many ACC homers (Hello Dave Telep) as possible shaping public opinion. If Rivals rankings had no validity, then I’m guessing they’d be broke right now.

    This has nothing to do with geography and everything to do with ignoring talent on a roster in favor of personal preference. Patrick Patterson (All-American), Darius Miller (Top 40 player out of HS and Team USA Gold Medal winner), DeAndre Liggins (Top 40 Player out of HS), Perry Stevenson (4 Star Player out of HS), Ramon Harris (2 year starter) are a good core of players to add to the #1 recruiting class in the nation. Just because Billy Gillispie under-achieved with what should have been (and was at one point in each of his seasons) a Top 25 team, doesn’t mean there wasn’t a good core of players on Kentucky’s roster before the 09 class. It’s just convenient for people to assume that an NIT team was a bunch of scrubs instead of really looking at who was on the roster.

    Ohio State was ranked #7 in the AP Pre-Season Poll in 2007.

    http://www.appollarchive.com/mbasketball/ap/seasons.cfm?appollid=933

    That’s a whole 3 spots behind Kentucky this year. As you’ve said, 2007 was also a much better year in terms of overall teams.

    Listen, everyone is entitled to their opinion. But questioning my credibility when both sets of pollsters agree with me that Kentucky is a top 5 team says a lot about Chad’s credibility and yours by association. This is a top 5 team in terms of talent. All this arbitrary bull shit about Scout rankings and returning cores is just that. There are 5-6 future NBA players on this roster (Wall, Patterson, Cousins, Orton, and Bledsoe are locks). I don’t give a shit if they’re all 16, that’s going to give you an advantage over all but 3-4 teams in a down year for college basketball.

    I haven’t called them a title lock or even a final four lock, but saying they’re not a top 5 team this season is ridiculous.

  9. I would like to point out that part of what makes this such a great place is the varied points of view presented.

    Jose’s opinion is his own and mine is mine. You’ll never get any of that homogenized, company line crap here.

  10. Right, FoxSports, ESPN, CBS – they all have an agenda they push. Their ultimate goal is sales and profit and you get that by promoting sports items that increase sales.

    Most of the satire on this site pokes fun at that (how much do we mock the Yankees’ salary or the NHL’s complete lack of marketing skill or sports personalities that are so predictable). At the same time, the polls we produce and our serious (non-satirical or comical) views on sports are unedited and exactly how fans from around the country view the same issues.

    I agree with Flop in one respect – Kentucky has a lot of high school talent. So far, that hasn’t translated well in college. They added more high school talent and we’ll see how it goes. My feelings (and I voted Kentucky 5th in my personal poll) are that they are untested at this level, have plenty of question marks to go with their athleticism, and if this was any other season, wouldn’t be ranked as highly. But let’s face it – this year, college basketball is more like a really good year on the high school circuit.

    Maybe the problem was Billy Gillespie. But let’s not forget that he was a great coach at A&M before coming to Kentucky. But he does tend to ride his best player, which was Meeks last year. Maybe that is why Liggins isn’t performing like he was supposed to.

    At least all of these questions will be answered in a week (first game tips off in 6 days!).

  11. Jose, if you and Chad are ” two of the top basketball historians in this country.”, and your position is that Kentucky is non-deserving of a number 5 ranking, then Naismith is rolling over in his grave. There is absolutely no credible argument that be made to the contrary.I question this self assertion of “top basketball historian” on your part as you can’t seem to get the rankings of the recruits correct. I suppose that Kentucky isn’t the winningest program in the history of the sport either.

  12. flop and jose.. i have enjoyed the sparring back and forth.. seriously!!

    if not for sports and porn.. my guess is that cancer would have been cured somewhere between WWII and VaticanII.. but it is this great debate that stirs passion and homer’s all over the US to over think this stuff way too much.. but as a guy it is okay by me.. as long as people can make reasonable and rational arguments.. so be it!

    in the modern era of college basketball (where march madness is the fever pitch of the annual ritual) most of the discussion is there to fill time between games. my only issue is that as fans, we argue to much with each other than unite to fix the problems that affect us all.. like why we allow media time outs to totally alter the dynamics of an exciting game.. so some lame commercial can push some lame product every 2 mins.. or why even bother ranking any team until the first few weeks of january when conference play gets going.. or why we have conference tournaments that dull the value or regular season wins (you know where the cellar dweller wins their tourney, and better overall teams get bubbled out of the brackets).. but i digress..

    in the end things happen.. injury, grades, pros, cohesion/dysfunction, media hype, pressure, and whole host of things happen between now and march.. so i agree with flop in that nothing is etched in stone yet, which means at this point in the season, most of the discussion is pretty moot anyway..

  13. The fact that you even suggest that the problem with UK’s poor season last year was NOT Gillispie, rather UK themselves, has revealed your subjectivity and anti UK bias. The guy was a train wreck. He completely self destructed in the second half of a season where the team won a preseason tourney and began with a 16-4 record including a 5-0 start in conference. Complete meltdown due to the inability to withstand the pressure of an elite job.

    If UNC were returning a pre-season 1st team all american along with the kind of recruiting class UK is putting on the court I’m sure you would not be trying to form some apologetic for why they are overrated and untested and whatever other ACC talking points you have heard thrown in UK’s direction. But I guess in the end, we’ll see how it all plays out over the next several months.

  14. 7isntenuf, you make three assertions I feel I need to respond to:

    First, the EJSIC is full of some of the most well-informed sports fans in the US. The two historians you cite are actual Flop and myself.

    Second, if you read what I wrote, I did vote Kentucky #5 in the PRE SEASON poll. I am also skeptical that their athleticism and hype will be enough to actually be ranked in the top 5 at the end of the regular season, much less, make noise in March. But, you are wrong to reach the conclusion you reached. This discussion in the comments section is about potential of Kentucky and that can be debated freely and no one is wrong at this point.

    Third, I did not get the rankings of the recruits “incorrect.” I take several issues with this. First, Rivals is typically considered a football site and Scout is considered a basketball site. They are the two most often cited for their HS athlete rankings and most people feel Scout does a more accurate job ranking high school basketball players. That is why I used their ranks. Second, there have been many recruits that never panned out despite their high rankings and many that were not highly ranked at all that ended up in the NBA (Florida’s back to back champs come to mind). Third, ranking HS basketball players is certainly not a science like math or chemistry and even after seeing them play in college, their rankings could still be debated.

    So, essentially, you have your views. No point being personally critical if you disagree, it just sets you up to look bad if the person you disagree with turns out to be right.

  15. Travenous, I certainly didn’t mean to give you the impression that I expect UNC in the final four next year. UNC returns one of, if not the, top front courts in the country. They are bringing in a very solid recruiting class consisting of 3 McDonald’s All Americans. Despite coming off a National Championship and losing 4 players to the NBA, the cupboard is hardly bare. But my expectations are tempered.

    I have said to all who will listen, this pre-season is three teams at the top and a bevy of teams that might be the 4th best. There are a ton of question marks outside of Villanova, Kansas, and Michigan State. But, I also don’t expect all 3 of them in the final four. They just have the fewest question marks, not necessarily the most potential – that may well be Kentucky. The question is: will Kentucky achieve that potential? That’s a lot of freshmen to try to ride to a title, even though I’m quick to agree with Flop that at some point in the next 4 years, we’ll see 5 kids off this team in the NBA. But that’s them at 22, not necessarily at 18.

  16. jose.. your comment about rivals and scout bring about a question i have been pondering for awhile….

    do these outfits drive the rankings.. or do the schools.. the reason i ask is in the past few years i have noticed an oddity is the recruit rank.. like a kid maybe a 3 star, then announces he is going to KU and almost overnight.. he is a 4 or 5 star.. your thoughts??

  17. I think there may be some of that. I think there is probably an assumption by a lot of these analysts that a kid going to a top program is going to get playing time and publicity. That may give them a higher ranking than a kid going to a school like Baylor, even if at the time of the final rankings, the kid committed to Baylor is better.

    But this is also a time when kids are growing and changing pretty quickly. Consider a cop-out response, Jordan was a late bloomer – certainly a high major recruit as a senior and a big get for UNC, but he wasn’t a big star early in his high school career.

    Along the same lines, a kid that is a 3 star in the 2012 class may get a bump if he starts drawing high major attention, but that’s also probably deserved. Why would Kansas go after a two or three star recruit when they could land a top 100 4 star player who would be a four year player and more productive? Odds are, on the AAU circuit, he started showing he was better than the guys ranked ahead of him and therefore the coaches wanted him more. The best talent evaluators are definitely the coaches but most of them are trying to build a TEAM and not just assemble the best athletes – that’s why some of these guys like Reynardo Sydney or Lance Stephenson don’t go to elite programs despite being terrific players and soon-to-be NBA superstars.

    Consider another example of Ryan Harrow. He commits to NC State as a three star. Now, NC State doesn’t exactly have a great reputation over the past 2 decades and certainly a recruit isn’t going to get a bump just because he’ll play in the ACC if it will be for the worst team. But, this kid became a 5 star over this past summer. That’s because he developed and became better. We saw the same thing with C.J. Leslie and Leslie promptly de-committed from NC State. He’ll likely end up at UK. We’ll see what happens with Harrow before it’s all said and done.

    So, I think a guy ranked in the top 75 before signing with UNC, KU, or UK might get bumped 5 or 10 spots, but there are examples of just the opposite taking place.

    Consider Delvin Roe who was ranked 8th in the class before getting injured as senior. He dropped, but after not fully recovering until this past off season, he will be no less great this season – he’s a monster and that won’t be affected by any HS rankings. Likewise, Dexter Strickland was a top 15 recruit before the summer after his junior year of high school, but injured his ankle and missed a lot of that AAU circuit. He dropped to a four star in Scout and Rivals, but his ankle is better now. UNC fans should expect big things from him despite falling in the rankings.

    But these are just my assumptions, because the folks that run those websites don’t trust me enough to talk to me.

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