The Wildcats have been ranked third in the NCAA Preseason Top 25 AP Polls for Men’s College Basketball. They received 11 first place votes, the third most among all of the four teams to receive first place votes. The top ten goes as:
( ) = first place votes
Bold = finished in Top 10 last year
The two programs ahead of Villanova, Gonzaga and Baylor, were just as much National Title contenders last year as they are this year. Let’s start with the Bulldogs: with the return of essential players such as Filip Petrusev, Corey Kispert, and the arrival of Top 10 Ranked Freshman Jalen Suggs, the Gonzaga Bulldogs under coach Mark Few are expected to make it back to the Final Four for the first time since 2017.
For Baylor, the return of ascending guard duo Jared Butler and MaCio Teague, the Bears’ offense firepower will continue to improve on the whole. Their style of play will also get more explosive with the addition of four star center Dain Dainja and four star point guard LJ Cryer. The usual big names such as Kansas, Duke and Kentucky are all holding their own stakes in the Top 10 as well.
Last year, Villanova finished 10 in the AP Polls and was a project 2-3 seed going into the tournament before the season abruptly ended. However, it is hard to think about why we’ve moved up seven spots: we lost Saddiq Bey to the NBA – he is a projected mid first round pick, with some mock drafts having him in late lottery spots – and we don’t have incoming freshmen this year to add to the roster. So, why have we improved?
We have many players on our team that have been established at their respective positions. Collin Gillespie, Justin Moore, Jermaine Samuels and Jeremiah Robinson Earl have all stepped into their own game and have made consistent contributions to the program. Their ascensions, improvement and molding together create a spirit and team motive to go after a fourth National Title. Hopefully, the absence of Bey will not create too deep of a hole for us to dig out off to reach the ceiling Jay Wright knows his team can make.