The perennial powers square off in the now annual tradition known as the Champions Classic - who will bolster their resume with an early marquee win at the United Center tonight in Chicago?
The SWAC is BACK! (and potentially worse than ever)... Texas Southern is still the favorite under Mike Davis, but the rest of the league could account for 9 of the bottom-20 teams in division 1 basketball.
Juan Dixon is here! Ok, fine, he's just coaching a low-tier team, unless Coppin State shocks me (and the world!). The fight at the top should be between Hampton, Morgan State, and Norfolk State, with a few dark horses mixed in. Can anyone else break into the ranks of the contenders?
The Southland promises to be a competitive league this season with several squads holding legitimate title hopes. Stephen F. Austin appears to be back on top of the league, while teams like Lamar, SE Louisiana, and Nicholls State look to unseat the conference power.
While the transfer epidemic continues to deplete the league's talent supply, the Red Flash project to be a slight favorite in what will likely be yet another rat race to the finish line in the NEC.
Florida Gulf Coast is the heavy favorite in the Atlantic Sun, but Lipscomb is a real contender and North Florida is sneaky dark horse. Still, though, Dunk City is the biggest threat to win games in the NCAA Tournament, so high seeds beware - they might be even better than the 2013 Sweet 16 darling.
The Big West is wide open this season with the departure of some key All-League talent. Perennial conference contender UC Irvine and defending conference champ UC Davis look to pace the league, while traditional powers Hawaii and Long Beach State look to rebound from down years.
The Catamounts have their eyes set on a 2nd straight America East title after running the table last year, but don't count out the dynamic duo of Joe Cremo and David Nichols for Albany.
In a conference with plenty of skilled guards and upwards of 3-4 legitimate contenders, the margins are extremely thin. Who will be able to separate themselves from the pack and fly highest in the Big Sky?
At long last, I finally got around to writing my annual look at the NCAA basketball futures market. Gonzaga was a big hit last year, so hopefully one of my 5 picks turns out just as fruitful this year...
UNC Asheville leads a fiercely competitive Big South with its dynamic wing duo. Liberty looks to make a push for glory behind coach Ritchie McKay's pack line, Winthrop vies for a second consecutive bid to the Dance behind Xavier Cooks, and Campbell looks to build on a surprising run behind electric dynamo Chris Clemons.
In a league with a clear top tier, who will be able to create some separation between Belmont, Murray State, and Jacksonville State? Murray boasts star guard Jonathan Stark, but never count out Rick Byrd and the Bruins...