The college basketball season is now in full swing as conference play has begun. The season is in the heart of play as conference play is little over a week in the books and soon will take center stage. With the season progressing it is time to take a look at who is the favorite for every conference and who can make a run come March.
Preseason Favorite: Duke Blue Devils
Current Favorite: Virginia Caviliers
ZION WILLIAMSON!!! 🔵😈 pic.twitter.com/58lED5vlbr— #DukeNation (@TheDukeNation) January 6, 2019
With the best recruiting class in
Virginia seems to be improved on defense and is much improved on the offensive and are certainly playing with a chip on their shoulder after losing to #16 UMBC in the tournament. North Carolina, Virginia Tech, and Florida State could all make a push to win the conference but it’s Virginia and Duke’s to lose.
Preseason Favorite: Kansas Jayhawks
Current Favorite: Kansas Jayhawks
Kansas is still on track to win their 15th straight Big 12 and are easily still the favorites this season. The conference isn’t going down without a fight however. Texas Tech, Oklahoma, and Iowa State have the talent and skill to dethrone the Jayhawks but will need almost a perfect conference season to do so.
Preseason Favorite: Villanova Wildcats
Current Favorite: Marquette Golden Eagles
ICYMI: Marquette’s Markus Howard dropped 40 POINTS in the 2nd half 🔥 pic.twitter.com/iJjUDLob8j— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) December 22, 2018
Villanova has been the poster child of the Big East but after losing four players to the NBA draft the Wildcats are struggling to stay afloat. VIllanova could still pull the championship but Marquette and Seton Hall are waiting in the wings to take over that top spot.
Preseason Favorite: Michigan State Spartans
Current Favorite: Michigan State Spartans
The Spartans will not have an easy path to win the Big Ten but still are looking like the favorites in what seems to be a two team race for the Big Ten title with Michigan. The Wolverines are one of the three remaining unbeaten teams left this season.
Preseason Favorite: Oregon Ducks
Current Favorite: Arizona State Sun Devils
Oregon’s Bol Bol — a projected top NBA draft pick — says he has a season-ending left foot injury. Bol Bol will begin rehabilitation for the 2019 NBA draft.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) January 3, 2019
If Arizona State doesn’t win the conference the Pac-12 could be in danger of being a one bid league in March. Arizona State should have no problems as they are clearly the best team but inconsistency will make things interesting.
Preseason Favorite: Kentucky Wildcats
Current Favorite: Tennessee Volunteers
Kentucky has not lived up to the potential as they are still working to put thigs together but Tennessee has looked the part and much more.
American Athletic Conference
Preseason Favorite: UCF Knights
Current Favorite: Houston Cougars
UCF started the season with a home loss to FAU but since then have shown why they were picked to win the conference. Houston however, has proven to be the team to beat. Houston is currently one of only three remaining unbeaten teams and are currently ranked in the top 25.
Preseason Favorite: Gonzaga Bulldogs
Current Favorite: Gonzaga Bulldogs
Even in a very much improved WCC the Bulldogs far more superior than any team in the conference.
Preseason Favorite: Vermont Catemounts
Current Favorite: Vermont Catemounts
After going 11-4 and only pushing Kansas and Louisville on the road the Catemounts are still the favorite to win the America East and depending on match-up can easily win a game in March.
Preseason Favorite: Saint Louis Billikens
Current Favorite: Saint Louis Billikens
Saint Louis has shown that they have what it takes to win the conference but it will be a fight for any team to take a commanding lead in the A-10. The team has the possibility and talent to place three teams into the NCAA tournament with VCU, Dayton, and Davidson all challenging the Billikens for the top spot.
Preseason Favorite: Lipscomb Bison
Current Favorite: Lipscomb Bison
Lipscomb secured a trip to their first ever NCAA tournament last season and it looks as if the will continue that run to the 2019 tournament. The Bison sit at 10-4 and have a win at TCU. Lipscomb could be challenged by Liberty and NJIT but ultimately should win the conference and be a scary first round matchup for any team in the tournament.
Preseason Favorite: Montana Grizzlies
Current Favorite: Montana Grizzlies
Nothing has changed here as Montana still looks to be in control of the Big Sky.
Preseason Favorite: Radford Highlanders
Current Favorite: Radford Highlanders
The Highlanders have wins at Notre Dame and at Texas but will still be challenged to win the conference as Gardner-Webb, and Winthrop will look to take the top spot.
Preseason Favorite: UC Irvine Anteaters
Current Favorite: UC Irvine Anteaters
The Anteaters have wins over Texas A&M and Saint Mary’s but will be challenged by UC Santa Barbara to win the Big West.
Preseason Favorite: Northeastern Huskies
Current Favorite: Charleston Cougars
Northeastern has struggled throughout the non-conference while Charleston excelled. Hofstra may also play into the race but the Charleston Cougars should win the conference.
Preseason Favorite: Western Kentucky Hilltoppers
Current Favorite: Old Dominion Monarchs
Conference USA may e one of the most exciting conferences to watch as the top spot seems to be wide open. Western Kentucky, North Texas, and Marshall will all challenge Old Dominion for the top spot.
Preseason Favorite: Wright State Raiders
Current Favorite: Northern Kentucky Norse
It most likely will be a two team race between the Raiders and Norse with Northern Kentucky taken the top spot.
Preseason Favorite: Harvard Crimson
Current Favorite: Princeton Tigers
Four teams all have what it takes to win the Ivy this season. Harvard, Yale, Penn and Princeton will all be fighting for that top spot.
Preseason Favorite: Rider Broncos
Current Favorite: Rider broncos
One of the weaker conferences this season the conference is open to anyone but Rider should be able to handle things through conference play.
Preseason Favorite: Buffalo Bulls
Current Favorite: Buffalo Bulls
The Bulls are ranked for the eighth straight week as they check in at #20 in the latest @AP_Top25 poll.— UB Men’s Basketball (@UBmenshoops) December 31, 2018
The eight consecutive weeks ranked are the most by a @MACSports squad since Ohio was ranked for 8 weeks in 1969-70#UBhornsUP | #UBLegendary pic.twitter.com/vD7YfzAQtm
There’s no challenging the Bulls in the MAC. If the Bulls happen to lose in the MAC tournament they will most likely still earn a bid to the big dance.
Preseason Favorite: Bethune-Cookman Wildcats
Current Favorite: Bethune-Cookman Wildcats
No need to change away from the preseason favorite as no team in the MEAC has a record above .500.
Preseason Favorite: Loyola Ramblers
Current Favorite: Loyola Ramblers
Loyola struggled in the non-conference and is certainly not the same team they were last season but with the talent they have the Missouri Valley is theirs to win or lose.
Preseason Favorite: Nevada Wolfpack
Current Favorite: Nevada Wolfpack
The thought of an undefeated season is no longer around but the Wolfpack can now take that pressure off their shoulders to move forward and win out the rest of the way.
Preseason Favorite: St. Francis (PA) Red Flash
Current Favorite: St. Francis (PA) Red Flash
Nine teams look to have a chance to win the conference. The Red Flash should start using their tough non-conference to their advantage and start winning the games needed to make a run in the Northeast.
Preseason Favorite: Belmont Bruins
Current Favorite: Murray State Racers
The OVC will be a two team race between the Racers and the Bruins but with Ja Morant the Racers look to take charge.
Preseason Favorite: Lehigh Mountain Hawks
Current Favorite: Lehigh Mountain Hawks
Bucknell received more first place votes in the preseason but Lehigh barely beat them out. It should be a two team race from here on out.
Preseason Favorite: UNC Greensboro
Current Favorite: Wofford Terriers
This could be the most exciting mid-major conference as four teams have a legitimate chance to win the conference and wina game in the NCAA tournament. Wofford, Furman, UNC Greensboro, and East Tennessee State are all ready to make some noise.
Preseason Favorite: Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks
Current Favorite: Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks
Abilene Christian could give the Lumberjacks some trouble but it seems to be unlikely.
Preseason Favorite: Grambling State Tigers
Current Favorite: Texas Southern Tigers
Texas SOuthern plays one of the most difficult non conference schedules and this year actually tallied wins at Baylor, Oregon, and Texas A&M.
Preseason Favorite: South Dakota State Jackrabbits
Current Favorite: South Dakota State Jackrabbits
Only one thing is needed to be said for South Dakota State, Mike Daum.
Preseason Favorite: Georgia State Panthers
Current Favorite: Georgia State Panthers
The Panthers don’t even look as if they will be challenged for this top spot.
Preseason Favorite: New Mexico State Aggies
Current Favorite: New Mexico State Aggies
It won’t be easy for the Aggies with Bakersfield and Grand Canyon right there in the mix.