Men’s college basketball practice begins this week across Division I. The first games are Nov. 7. The Power 36 is here to set the table.
This is the first of many Power 36 rankings for the 2022-23 season. Let’s go:
College basketball rankings: Andy Katz’s Power 36
(The rankings in parentheses are from my post-NBA Draft Power 36. Here’s some background on how the Power 36 works.)
1. North Carolina (1): National runner-up has the personnel to return to the title game.
2. Gonzaga (2): Drew Timme will be a leading contender for national player of the year.
3. Kentucky (3): Reigning Naismith player of the year Oscar Tshiebwe returns.
4. UCLA (4): Jaime Jaquez Jr., and Tyger Campbell will be two of the best leaders in the country.
5. Kansas (5): Jalen Wilson leads another experienced Jayhawk crew.
6. Houston (6): Marcus Sasser is a legit player-of-the year candidate/first-team all-American.
7. Indiana (7): The Hoosiers are the team to beat in the Big Ten with Trayce Jackson-Davis.
8. TCU (11): Jamie Dixon has his team back and in position to challenge for the Big 12 title.
9. Duke (10): Jon Scheyer has the best recruiting class in the country.
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10. Creighton (12): The Bluejays will be the Big East’s best with a healthy roster.
11. Baylor (8): The Bears have restocked for another Big 12 title chase.
12. Texas (9): Chris Beard has worked the transfer portal as well as any coach in the country.
13. Arkansas (14): Remember the name Nick Smith. SEC teams surely will know him well.
14. Illinois (15): The Kofi Cockburn era is over and the Illini could be back to being flyin’ Illini.
15. Michigan State (13): Expect a breakout season for Joey Hauser.
16. Michigan (17): Hunter Dickinson will be the anchor needed for the Wolverines to challenge in the Big Ten.
17. Miami (16): Isaiah Wong will be an ACC player-of-the-year candidate.
18. Dayton (19): The Flyers have the best young talent in the A-10.
19. Rutgers (20): Caleb McConnell isn’t just the reigning Big Ten defensive player of the year. He’s going to be one of the better offensive guards.
20. San Diego State (23): Matt Bradley will be one of the most productive scorers in the West.
21. Florida (24): Colin Castleton and Kyle Lofton will make matchups difficult for SEC opponents.
22. Purdue (21): Zach Edey has the middle to himself and that could spell trouble for foes.
MORE RANKINGS: Andy Katz’s top 25 returning players
23. USC (29): Drew Peterson is a late-game, big-shot maker.
24. Auburn (30): Speed. Quickness. Hectic play. The Tigers will be a good watch.
25. Wyoming (25): Hunter Maldonado and Graham Ike will be names to remember by season’s end.
26. Villanova (26): Kyle Neptune has enough returning to stay in the hunt in the Big East.
27. Tennessee (18): The Vols will have a new point guard but enough experience to mount a strong SEC season.
28. Ohio State (34): The Buckeyes have one of the best newcomer classes in the Big Ten and will be a tough Big Ten out as the season progresses.
29. Virginia (22): No way Tony Bennett misses the NCAA tournament two seasons in a row at Virginia.
30. Alabama (NR): The Tide will be tough, defensive, and consistently hard to beat.
31. Arizona (32): The Wildcats won’t be as talented as last season but Tommy Lloyd has the goods to keep the Wildcats in the mix.
32. Texas Tech (NR): Mark Adams’ defensive mindset, a tremendous home court and a winning mindset means the Red Raiders aren’t going anywhere.
33. Xavier (33): Sean Miller will have the Musketeers back where they belong — in the NCAA tournament.
34. Texas A&M (36): The Aggies lost in the NIT final. They will be an NCAA tournament team.
35. Iowa (31): Kris Murray is ready to be the go-to player for the Hawkeyes.
36. UConn (NR): A healthy Adama Sonogo means the Huskies are a tournament team.