Three takeaways from USA Today’s Preseason Coaches Poll in college basketball that was released on Thursday.
At first glance, some teams are definitely ranked higher than others in the first edition of the college basketball preseason Coaches Poll this year. Some teams are way too high, some too low, some not even ranked that should have made the cut. Overall, this preseason poll really has no true effect for the first week of action. Although, it could definitely have an impact on how we see each team expectation wise, especially the top 10.
This is, in fact, the coaches poll, not the commonly used AP Poll. There is definitely quite a big difference between the two polls, as the rankings for teams will vary throughout the season. However, when it comes down to it, the AP Poll is the list that everyone lends the most credence to.
But we’ve waited long enough for college basketball to return, so any rankings at this point are enough to get us excited. Let’s have a look a few quick takeaways from the first Coaches Poll of the 2017-18 season.
The Duke Blue Devils are once again at No. 1, pretty much like every season
What’s a preseason poll without Duke at No. 1? When initially looking over these rankings, that is what caught my attention, quite like every year. Duke always has the top spot, mainly because of their recruiting classes they build each and every season. Although, they don’t keep that spot for very long. In fact, they tend to lose it within weeks of the season starting, much to the delight of a lot of fans outside of Durham. The Blue Devils seem to be overrated in every preseason poll most seasons — in my mind, and most people’s mind.
Don’t get me wrong, this Blue Devils team has some amazing talent and can definitely make an impact as they’ve always done under Coach K. But, the No. 1 spot has generally been too high for this team in preseason polls. Duke usually gets hot toward the end of the first half of the season, and that’s when the country starts biting their nails. Duke may have gain been ranked too high in this poll, but in my opinion, and probably most’s, preseason polls don’t necessarily mean all that much when it comes down to the grand scheme of things once the season gets underway.
Michigan State takes a giant leap up to the No. 2 spot in the poll.
Coming off of a very slow, rather disappointing, 2016-17 season, the Spartans land the No. 2 spot in the poll. As surprising as it is to some, it makes sense. Michigan State has some of the best talent coming into the 2017-2018 season with Miles Bridges, Cassius Winston and Joshua Langford (sophomore), who came off a slow start to last season, though is expected to shine.
This team will be incredible with the addition of both Jaren Jackson and Xavier Tillman, both five and four-star recruits, respectively. The talent on this team is going to be something special, and it will be very fun watching the Spartans perform every game. Is Michigan State too high? Arguably. Although in my mind, this team has the potential to stay top-5 for a very long time if not top-10 for a good portion of the season.
The Atlantic Coast Conference has the most teams in the top-25
The Coaches Poll currently has five ACC teams ranked, all falling within the top-16, starting at Louisville at the 16 spot, Notre Dame at 14, Miami at 12, North Carolina at nine and Duke, of course, at the top spot. This is no big surprise, considering there have been five ACC champions since 2009 that have gone on to win it all; Duke 2x (2010, 2015), North Carolina 2x (2009, 2017), Louisville (2013). The ACC, yet again, has a big chance of sending another team into the national championship game come April.
Every one of these ACC teams in the top 25 has a shot at getting far in March, and that is when the ACC becomes the scariest conference in basketball. North Carolina, Duke, Miami and even Notre Dame have a great shot at dancing in March. It’s no surprise that this conference has this many teams in the rankings, as the ACC remains the best conference in college hoops for this upcoming season.