1. Kentucky. John Calipari has done it again, recruiting the best team in the nation a year after losing almost everyone to the NBA. Isaiah Briscoe is back and leading the Wildcats in scoring through just three games, averaging 19.7 PPG, while shooting 54.8 percent from the field. Freshman Malik Monk is averaging 16.3 points while shooting 43.5 percent from three, while fellow freshman De’Aaron Fox is averaging 15 points and seven assists.
2. Villanova. The reigning NCAA Tournament champions are 3-0. Despite playing two cupcakes, the Wildcats beat No. 15 ranked Purdue 79-76. Nova returns Jalen Brunson, Kris Jenkins and Josh Hart, all key pieces to its championship run last year. This team has a winning pedigree and looks poised to win the Big East again.
3. North Carolina. The Tar Heels are experienced and deep and are my favorite to win the ACC this year. They lost Marcus Paige and Brice Johnson last year but returned Nate Britt, Joel Barry II, Kennedy Meeks, Isaiah Hicks and Justin Jackson. They also got some good young talent in Seventh Woods and Tony Bradley. The Tar Heels haven’t been played a good team yet but they also haven’t won by less than 20 yet either.
4. Duke. The Blue Devils started in the top spot but suffered a tough loss on Tuesday night to a good Kansas team (stay tuned on the Jayhawks). Coach K’s team returns Grayson Allen, Matt Jones, Amile Jefferson and Luke Kennard. This group saw what it took to get to the Elite Eight last year and is hungry to go even further this year. Don’t forget, the best recruit in the nation Harry Giles is still yet to suit up.
5. Kansas. Kansas is lower than Indiana in the rankings and even lost to the Hoosiers, but the Jayhawks played tight and undermanned Friday night in that game, watching four starters foul out and for that reason I place them ahead of IU. This team will go as far as Frank Mason III will take them and that could be all the way to Phoenix for the Final Four. The Jayhawks showed how good they are on Tuesday night when they knocked off No. 1 ranked Duke behind who else but Mason’s game-winning jump shot.