After peaking in 2012-13 with 5 of the conference's 9 teams making the Big Dance, only 1 of 11 squads have qualified for the Tournament in each of the past two years. I'm not sure that will change this year, despite the presence of several high-potential squads...
While Rhode Island seems to be the clear-cut frontrunner in the A-10 this year, it's hard to find much separation amongst the rest of the 14-team field. With only four games separating the 4th and 9th place teams last season, the margin for error will once again be slim to none in 2017-18.
After years of being the ugly stepchild of power conference hoops, the SEC brings in a glut of new talent this season and looks to be back on par with the ACC/Big Ten/etc. But how many NCAA bids will that lead to? And can anyone unseat the Kentucky Kid Crew?
Despite an impressive 10-4 showing in last year's NCAA tournament, the Pac-12 earned only four berths to the Big Dance - the league's least since 2012. Will a loaded Arizona squad roll through the "Conference of Champions" in a one-horse race? Or will the likes of USC, UCLA and Oregon have the chops to take down the Wildcats?
After a relatively down year, the Big Ten looks to be back with a vengeance. Michigan State is the clear cut favorite, but Minnesota, Purdue, and Northwestern all have conference championship aspirations. Top to bottom, this is one of the deeper conferences in the nation with 10 or 11 teams possessing legitimate shots at an at-large berth.
After sending 7 of it's 10 teams to the NCAA tournament last March - the most since the league's realignment in 2013 - the Big East looks to be just as deep this year. Will Villanova claim their 5th straight regular season title? Or will this finally be the year someone knocks the Wildcats off their perch?
With arch-villain Grayson Allen back and another elite crop of freshmen coming to Durham, Coach K once again has the Blue Devils squarely in the national spotlight. Will the pieces fit together more smoothly than last year's stacked squad?
It was yet another frustrating finish to Arizona's season after being bounced in the Sweet 16 by 11-seeded Xavier - head coach Sean Miller's former employer. With a potential player of the year candidate in Allonzo Trier back and fully healthy for his junior campaign, is this the year Miller and the Wildcats finally break through?
Perennial power Kansas reloads after losing all-time program great Frank Mason. Bill Self hunts for his 14th straight Big 12 regular season title, while Devonte' Graham assumes alpha dog status and looks to lead his squad to the Final Four.
Sparty is one of the favorites to win this year's National Championship per Vegas. Tom Izzo looks to lead his ridiculously deep and talented squad to the Promised Land, while Miles Bridges fights to stake his claim as the best player in the country.
Despite an early NCAA tournament exit last year, Villanova will once again be the hunted in the Big East this season. With bonafide big man Omari Spellman now eligible, and preseason POTY candidate Jalen Brunson back in the mix, can Jay Wright and the Wildcats claim their 5th straight league title?
After coming up just three points shy of knocking off Kentucky in last year's NCAA tournament, Gregg Marshall will seamlessly hit the reset button with almost everyone slated to return. With the Shockers about to embark on their first full season in the AAC, expectations have never been higher in Wichita.
Andy Enfield looks to take the Trojans one step further in March behind a roster that is oozing with both talent and experience. With many projecting USC as a top-10 team this year, it's safe to say Enfield has officially resurrected hoops in south Los Angeles.
Florida brings a formidable combination of returning talent, touted freshmen, and productive transfers to the table, all under the careful direction of rising coaching star Mike White. Can the Gators unseat the Blue Blood Empire from Kentucky at the top of the SEC?
Anchored by what should be another top-10 defense in the country, Louisville should be right back in ACC and national title contention. With the NCAA finally having doled out (soft) punishment for the program's escort scandal, will the Cards take advantage of their postseason eligibility this year?
West Virginia looks to harass their way to the top of the standings in another tough Big 12 conference. Jevon Carter returns to "defend" his DPOY crown, while Esa Ahmad looks to blossom into one of the best all-around players in the conference. Quiver in fear ye of little ball security.
The Bearcats have been a model of consistency in the AAC, finishing in the top-3 of the conference standings in each of the past four seasons. While the loss of senior leader Troy Caupain will be tough to replace, Mick Cronin found a diamond in the rough in Sacred Heart transfer Cane Broom, who will have big shoes to fill in 2017-18.
Fresh off a roller coaster season which brought the Musketeers to the brink of a Final Four appearance, Trevon Bluiett aims to lead the X-Men to the promise land [of San Antonio] in his last season in Xavier uniform.
The reigning national champions have a loaded backcourt, but graduation and the NBA hit the frontcourt hard. Can Roy Williams play his preferred 2-big style with this roster? Or will he need to adjust to his personnel to optimize this team's potential?
Minnesota looks to build on a surprising bounce back season that saw the Gophers up their win total three times over. All-League guard Nate Mason returns to lead the charge, as burgeoning talents Jordan Murphy and Amir Coffey look to make names for themselves in the Big Ten.
After being ousted in the first round of the NCAA tournament in each of the past two seasons, Seton Hall hopes that a third time turns out to be a charm in 2018. Led by three seniors - Angel Delgado, Desi Rodriguez and Khadeen Carrington - the Pirates' experienced talent make them poised for a deep run in March.
After a tumultuous season that ended in disappointment, Texas A&M returns a roster full of talent and adds some crucial pieces that could vault the Aggies up the SEC and national standings. We're obviously buying into the hype here at 3MW - time to find out why.
St. Mary's returns key pieces at every position, headlined by their steady force down low in big Jock Landale. With Gonzaga projected to take a minor step back this season, this might be the year the Gaels reassert themselves as the class of the WCC.
Gonzaga wore the burden of mid-majors everywhere last season as they came just a few points shy of college basketball's mountaintop. With the crushing championship defeat behind them, it's time for Mark Few to do what he's done time and time again in Spokane - reboot and reload.
The Irish have some significant losses, but pillars at point guard and in the post give them a foundation on which to build another successful campaign. Mike Brey's efficient offense and tie-less suits should have Notre Dame battling the ACC powers once again - will the D keep up?
With "Lonzo-mania" moving across town to the Staples Center, a new crop of young talent is set to take the stage for the Bruins. Even with a laundry list of offensive weapons leaving Westwood this summer, UCLA should take only a minor step back in 2017-18, especially if Aaron Holiday proves he's ready for the spotlight.