By Caleb Bailey, Sports Editor
The NCAA college basketball season tips off Friday, Nov. 13, and it is sure to be an exciting one. The 2014-15 season was a successful one that saw a myriad history being made. Not only did the Kentucky Wildcats go 38-0 before falling in the Final Four to Wisconsin, but they had a record six players drafted in the first round of the 2015 NBA Draft, which alone is enough to make any avid fan salivate and any casual fan want to tune in even more.
With the preseason polls revealing the North Carolina Tar Heels as the No. 1 team in the country and the Duke Blue Devils being the defending national champions for a third time in 15 years, the Atlantic Coast Conference is sure to be one to watch this year.
The Tar Heels return veteran seniors Marcus Paige, Brice Johnson and Joel James, which is a large reason why they were ranked atop the preseason polls. The Blue Devils lost three of their key players to the NBA, but return the top-ranked recruiting class in the country.
In the SEC, the Wildcats should once again be the class of the conference by having the second-ranked recruiting class in the nation with Skal Labissiere being the player to watch. The LSU Tigers should also be a threat this year.
The Tigers battled with NC State in the second round of the NCAA Tournament but fell in overtime. They have a player that is projected to be the top pick in the 2016 NBA Draft in freshman Ben Simmons which should help them compete in the SEC.
The Maryland Terrapins have come on as the early favorites of the Big Ten conference as they were ranked No. 2 in the nation. The team fell in the Sweet Sixteen last season but return one of the best players in the country in former Duke star Rasheed Sulaimon.
The Michigan State Spartans are looking to return to the Final Four this year after surprisingly making it in 2015 as a seven seed. The Purdue Boilermakers will also be a team to watch with top recruit Caleb Swanigan joining the team to be a big threat.
The mid major teams will surely be ones to watch this year as well. Gonzaga, Wichita State, and Villanova are all ranked 9, 10, and 11 in the preseason polls respectively. The Bulldogs just missed making their first ever Final Four last year, the Shockers were a game away from the Elite Eight, and the Wildcats had a disappointing run, coming in as a one seed but falling in the Round of 32.
What will this season hold for college basketball fans? Will they see another historic run from a top team in the country? Will the Blue Devils be able to defend their crown? Or will a team off the radar sneak in and cause drama?
Only time will tell.