Sunday, June 24, 2018
Duke Blue Devils

College Basketball Power Rankings For Week 1

The college basketball season starts on Friday with a host of games. It really makes this a fun time of year for sports bettors with college basketball, football, NFL, NHL and NBA all going at the same time.

With the college action tipping off on the hardwood, it’s time for us to tip off the power rankings. Duke comes into the season as the favorites to win it all, but it is a long season and a lot of things can happen between now and March.

1. Duke Blue Devils

Last Week: —

NCAA Basketball Title Odds: +400

The Blue Devils went out in the second round of the NCAA Tournament and lost seven of their top nine players from last season, including Jayson Tatum and Luke Kennard. However, the controversial Grayson Allen is back along with an incredibly talented group of freshmen led by Marvin Bagley, who might be the best freshman in all of college basketball. If this group gels quickly, the Blue Devils could run away from the field. Duke will open up the season at home with Elon and Utah Valley, and they’re in the Champions Classic with Michigan State (who they face on Tuesday), Kentucky and Kansas in Chicago.

2. Michigan State Spartans

Last Week: —

NCAA Basketball Title Odds: +800

The Spartans were also eliminated in the second round last season, but they got a huge boost as Miles Bridges returned to school when he probably could have went to the NBA. He’ll lead a team that has a lot of talent coming in, led by Jaren Jackson, but Lourawls Nairn steers the team at the point. The Spartans host North Florida, and then they’ll open up the Champions Classic against Duke.

3. Arizona Wildcats

Last Week: —

NCAA Basketball Title Odds: +800

The Wildcats made it to the Sweet 16 last season and lost Lauri Markkanen to the NBA, but Allonzo Trier came back to school and he’ll be joined in the lineup by DeAndre Layton, who was ranked the second-best freshman in the nation behind Bagley. They have a few things to work on defensively, but they’re far and away the best team in the Pac-12.They’ll open up the season hosting Northern Arizona and UMBC.

4. Kentucky Wildcats

Last Week: —

NCAA Basketball Title Odds: +800

Kentucky lost out in the Elite Eight and they lost their top seven players from last season, including Malik Monk and De’Aaron Fox. But it is Kentucky, so they have Hamidou Diallo (who didn’t play last year), along with Kevin Knox, Quade Green and Nick Richards, among other five-star players. As usual, this team probably won’t get it together until February, but they’ll be fine. The Wildcats hos Utah Valley and Vermont before heading to the Champions Classic, where they’ll face Kansas to start.

5. Kansas Jayhawks

Last Week: —

NCAA Basketball Title Odds: +1500

The Jayhawks were eliminated in the Elite Eight for the second year in a row, losing Frank Mason and Josh Jackson. Malik Newman is one to watch after transferring from Mississippi State (he sat out a year), and Devonte Graham played the background last year, but he has to step up this year. Kansas hosts Tennessee State, and then they head to Chicago to tip off the Champions Classic with Kentucky.

6. North Carolina Tar Heels

Last Week: —

NCAA Basketball Title Odds: +1800

The Tar Heels escaped academic sanctions and they’re the defending national champions, and the year prior, they were the runners-up. Justin Jackson is gone along with Kennedy Meeks and Isaiah Hicks, while Cameron Johnson transfers from Pittsburgh, Jalek Felton is the top freshman, and Theo Pinson is back. The key could be Joel Berry, who broke his hand in the offseason and will miss the first couple weeks of the season. They’ll host Northern Iowa and Bucknell this week.

7. Louisville Cardinals

Last Week: —

NCAA Basketball Title Odds: +2000

The Cardinals lost in the second round and then fired Rick Pitino after a wild offseason where the FBI got involved, so David Padgett is the interim head coach. Donovan Mitchell went to the NBA, while Jaylen Johnson also did. Malik Williams could be one of the best freshmen in the country, and while most focus on offense, he is an excellent defender, and Quentin Snider will power the offense. The Cardinals will host George Mason ad Omaha.

8. Missouri Tigers

Last Week: —

NCAA Basketball Title Odds: +2000

The Tigers haven’t been to the NCAA Tournament since 2013, and the postseason since 2014, but they have the talent to do it this year. Michael Porter has been touted as arguably the best freshman in the country and many think he could be the top pick in the draft at at the end of the season. Four of their top scorers are back from last year as well, led by Jordan Barnett, but Porter will be the focus of the attention, while his brother Jontay is also a very good player. They’ll host Iowa State and Wagner this week to begin the season.

9. Villanova Wildcats

Last Week: —

NCAA Basketball Title Odds: +2500

Villanova followed up their championship season with a second-round exit, and Josh Hart is gone now. Omari Spellman was ineligible last season, but he’ll suit up for the Wildcats this season, and there is a lot of returning talent. Jalen Brunson could break out, and the Wildcats have a lot of depth at the wings, which is extremely important in college basketball. Villanova hosts Columbia and Nicholls to tip off the season.

10. Wichita State Shockers

Last Week: —

NCAA Basketball Title Odds: +3000

The Shockers exited in the second round last year and they’re no longer a Cinderella team; they’re just a good team. Daishon Smith and Eric Hamilton are gone, but the Shockers have a ton of depth, led by Markis McDuffie and Landry Shamet. The Shockers might be able to go 10 or 11 deep throughout the season, which will keep their best players fresh for a deep tournament run, so keep an eye on this Wichita State team. They’ll kick off the season at home with UMKC and Charleston.

The 2018 March Madness futures are out. There has been plenty of news to keep up with in the offseason but keep an eye on the betting lines as they move around at Diamond Sportsbook! Get the latest college basketball betting lines right here.

About Geoff Harvey

Geoff Harvey has been setting his fantasy rosters since his days in the womb, just don't ask him how he used to get his waiver-wire reports back then. He's a lifelong fan of sports, especially the fantasy and betting aspects.

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