College basketball has finally started and we waste no time making 25 wild predictions that will definitely happen this season. Don’t look at our 21 predictions for last season. Focus on these that will have a 100% hit rate.
1. The UCLA shoplifting in China scandal will overshadow and distract the Bruins
On the court, UCLA could be without two top 50 prospects in Cody Riley and Jalen Hill. Even with UCLA having a great starting five, this could significantly impact the Bruins’ depth. Off the court, LiAngelo Ball was one of those arrested, so LaVar Ball will cause an even greater disturbance than he would already.
2. USC will be incredible
The Trojans have a ridiculous lineup that has arguably the best point guard in the Pac-12 in Jordan McLaughlin, two incredible big men in Bennie Boatwright and Chimezie Metu, superb shooter Jordan Matthews and freak athlete De’Anthony Melton on the wings. USC is going to blow out a lot of teams, except...
3. Colorado is going to pull off an upset at some point
Every season, the Buffs put everything together and beat a top-tier opponent in front of a crazed crowd in the Coors Events Center. This year, CU’s victim will be USC on February 21st. There’s no good reason why this will happen, but call it a gut feeling that George King has the game of his life in leading the upset. Speaking of...
4. Tad Boyle is going to smile at some point in the season
Boyle is often a stoic figure on the sideline, unless, of course, he’s chewing out the ref. This season, however, we’re going to have the rare sight of seeing Boyle smile on live TV. This will probably occur after Tory Miller-Stewart banks in a three-pointer at the halftime buzzer.
5. This is the season Stanford is good
At some point, the Cardinal are going to break out. With a senior-heavy squad led by Reid Travis, it’s now or never for Stanford. We’re predicting they finish in 3rd place, behind Arizona and USC.
6. Cal, Washington and Washington State are going to be worse than you could imagine
The Bears, Huskies and Cougars have lost everything, more or less. Besides Malachi Flynn of Wazzu and Noah Dickerson of UW, not a single familiar name remains from any of those squads. Expect there to be a race to the bottom of the standings.
7. Oregon State will actually be decent
The Beavers don’t have much depth, but who cares when your starting five is one of the best in the conference? They have Tres Tinkle finally healthy, Drew Eubanks ready to dominate everyone and the Thompson brothers, Ethan and Stephen, ready to form an exciting wing duo. If everyone can stay on the floor, they can go from worst in the Pac-12 to the NCAA Tournament bubble.
8. Oregon will be the worst of Dana Altman’s career, but they’ll still be 4th in the Pac-12
No team has lost more than Oregon. Considering they lost four of their starters and six of their top seven players, they probably won’t make it to the Final Four. That said, Altman is a coaching wizard and he brings in highly touted transfer Elijah Brown and 5-star prospect Troy Brown. They won’t win the Pac-12 again, but they should still be one of the best teams in the Pac-12.
9. Arizona is going to dominate the Pac-12
It’s ridiculous how much talent Arizona has. They return almost every contributor from last season, including Naismith contender Allonzo Trier. Unless the NCAA actually does something about the FBI investigation into the team, they should be dominate the conference and be a top 5 team in the country.
10. First Team All-Pac-12 will be:
Aaron Holiday (G - UCLA), Allonzo Trier (G - Arizona), Jordan McLaughlin (G - USC), Bennie Boatwright (F - USC) and Reid Travis (F - Stanford)
11. Second Team All-Pac-12 will be:
Rawle Alkins (G - Arizona), Elijah Brown (G - Oregon), George King (F - Colorado), Thomas Welsh (F - UCLA) and Chimezie Metu (F - USC)
12. George King will win Most Improved Player, again
King first won the Pac-12 Most Improved Player in 2015-16 when he went from seldom used bench player to dynamic sixth man. This season he will win the award again as he goes from solid but inconsistent starter to one of the best all-around players in the Pac-12.
13. Arizona will beat Wisconsin in the NCAA Tournament, but they still can’t get to the Final Four
Arizona coach Sean Miller is notorious for being unable to reach the Final Four. Most years, it’s Wisconsin in the Elite Eight who breaks the Wildcats’ hearts, but this year, Arizona will finally win that game, except it will be in the Sweet Sixteen. Arizona will still lose in the Elite Eight, this time to an upstart Miami Hurricanes squad.
14. Josh Perkins and Landry Shamet will lead their teams as Tad Boyle watches dejectedly
Perkins and Shamet will be the best players on mid-major powerhouses Gonzaga and Wichita State, which would be amazing to see had they not both been CU targets. Perkins left Colorado because Dom Collier committed to CU and Boyle just missed securing the talents of Shamet before WSU brainwashed him.
15. Rui Hachimura and Esa Ahmad will be your favorite players no one has heard of
Hachimura of Gonzaga is an international sensation and more people will have to watch the freak athlete wreck havoc in the WCC. Esa Ahmad, meanwhile, is going to be the lynchpin of West Virginia’s destructive defense once he’s back from his lengthy suspension.
16. Mo Bamba and Trae Young will battle for Big 12 Freshman of the Year
This will low-key be one of the most heated award battles in the nation. Texas’s Bamba is 6’11 with a 7’10 wingspan (!!!) and his defensive potential is as high as he can reach. Oklahoma’s Young is just a freshman but he may already be the best shooter in the country and he’s going to hoist shots aplenty.
17. Mike Daum will lead the nation in scoring and will draw Larry Bird comparisons
Daum scored 25 points per game as he led South Dakota State to the NCAA Tournament. Expect him to duplicate his efforts this season and naturally draw comparisons to Larry Bird, another white, 6’9 forward from a tiny, rural school.
18. Bonzie Colson will win the Naismith
Colson is a 6’5 center who can do everything extraordinarily. He’s probably the funnest player to watch in college basketball and he will benefit from all the deserved attention on him and Notre Dame.
19. First Team All-America will be:
Allonzo Trier (G - Arizona), Devonte’ Graham (G - Kansas), Miles Bridges (F - Michigan State), Bonzie Colson (F - Notre Dame) and Angel Delgado (F - Seton Hall)
Trier is the best player in the Pac-12. Graham has learned well from 2016-17 Player of the Year and he’s going to lead a great Kansas team. Bridges and Colson will battle for the Naismith and later the championship. If you haven’t seen Delgado play, you’re truly missing out.
20. Second Team All-America will be:
Jalen Brunson (G - Villanova), Bruce Brown (G - Miami), Michael Porter, Jr. (F - Missouri), Mike Daum (F - South Dakota State) and Ethan Happ (F - Wisconsin)
Brunson and Brown are some of the most well-rounded guards in the nation and they’re going to lead their teams to top 10 rankings. Porter is likely going to be the top pick in the 2018 NBA Draft and he’s a blast to watch. Daum gets buckets like no one else. Happ is the classic Big Ten big who dominates as an upperclassman.
21. Vermont will be your Cinderella team
The Catamounts don’t play exciting ball, but they play a classic game that is addicting to watch. They wrecked shop in the American East last year and this season they will pull off a Sweet Sixteen run as a 12-seed.
22. Rhode Island will crash the Elite Eight
As great as Vermont is, Rhode Island is going to get further in March and they’re going to knock off Duke to get to the Elite Eight. E.C. Matthews is too good to not lead the Rams deep into the tournament in his final season.
23. Kentucky will lose in the first round
This is somehow John Calipari’s youngest team he’s ever coached and their lack of experience will cost them in March. They will be one of two 3-seeds that will inexplicably loses in the first round. Baylor will be the other 3-seed to lose, but that’s not really a crazy enough prediction to pen here. (Also, no one cares about your bracket.)
24. Miami, West Virginia, Notre Dame and Michigan State will be your Final Four
Miami has one of the most experienced rosters in the country and they’re going to excel when the pressure is on. West Virginia is very similar to the Canes and they will beat up people with their high-pressure defense. Bonzie Colson will carry the Irish on his back and lead them to San Antonio. Michigan State is another experienced and superbly talented team and Miles Bridges will emerge as the Most Outstanding Player when his Spartans take home the championship.
25. Evan Battey is going to be a monster in 2021-2022
The do-it-all big man is going to be a First Team All-American in his fifth and final season at Colorado. He’s still going to be pissed off at the NCAA for making him redshirt and Boyle is going to let him try to destroy the corrupt organization.