Where has the summer gone? Who knows, but it’s time to put away the golf clubs and get focused on another college hoops season. Many teams will tip it off on Tuesday night, and as we have done every year, we give you our best guess at this point what our bracket would look like at the end of the season.
The bracket is just a barometer of the teams as they enter the season; no exhibitions or closed scrimmages were taken into account. On this first bracket each year, I lean more heavily on Ken Pom than I do at any time in the season. I do think it gives you a relative ranking of where your team is at as they enter play.
Here are some things to watch as the season begins:
• It’s the same names at the top as you have seen in past seasons, with Kansas, Arizona, Houston and Duke sitting a top the preseason bracket.
• The Big 12 again will be one of the premier conferences in the land. This was bolstered even further with the addition of Houston, who has been a familiar name at the top of the bracket for several years. It will be interesting to see how they navigate a much tougher conference schedule.
• The top of the Big East is loaded with three teams in the top eight in most preseason polls. Marquette, Creighton and defending national champion UConn will battle for league supremacy. However, keep an eye on Villanova as the Wildcats have key returners who could make a run.
• The one other conference set up to have a big year is the SEC. While it may not have the power at the top that some conferences do, the great depth in the league has resulted in nine berths in the field on my initial bracket.
• All eyes will be on FAU as the season begins. Their incredible run in the postseason last March has many predicting a top-10 team in 2024. I have taken a wait-and-see approach. The Owls are 25th on my seed list, and frankly that may be a bit low, but every year is a new year. Let’s see how they respond with a bullseye squarely on their back all season.
LAST FOUR IN: Oklahoma, Michigan, Texas Tech, Florida
FIRST FOUR OUT: Oklahoma State, NC State, Iowa, New Mexico
NEXT FOUR OUT: LSU, Rutgers, Ohio State, West Virginia
CONFERENCES WITH MULTIPLE BIDS
Big 12: 9
Big Ten: 7
Big East: 5
The next bracket will be posted after Thanksgiving when we have some results to evaluate. Follow me on Twitter @tkbrackets. I will give you updates all season long as we make our way to Phoenix for the Final Four.