We’re finally in the month of September and around 60 days until the start of the 2022-23 NCAA Basketball season. And that means that it’s fully time to start previewing both teams and conferences. That includes looking at the sport in its entirety, with a big preseason ranking.
After a ton of transfers, incoming freshmen, and head coaching changes, the rosters are finally finalized (unless Memphis adds someone else from the portal) for the upcoming season. So I’ll be ranking the top 25, including a few honorable mentions as well. This piece will assume all transfers will be eligible to play unless already declared otherwise.
Check out this full preview of the top teams to watch for 2022-23.
Honorable Mention No. 30 – Virginia Cavaliers
The Cavaliers bring back all of their key players from last season, including leading scorer Jayden Gardner and the backcourt duo of Reece Beekman and Kihei Clark. They also added Ohio transfer, Ben Vander Plas, along with a top-15 incoming recruiting class. It’ll be interesting to see which newcomers crack the already set rotation, and the three-point shooting issues need to be fixed before they’re a top-5 team.
HM No. 29 – Oregon Ducks
The return of All-Pac 12 point guard and leading scorer Will Richardson stabilizes a backcourt that has changed around him. Transfer guards Jermaine Couisnard and Keesawn Barthélémy were double-digit scorers at their previous spots, while Brennan Rigsby and Tyrone Williams are two top-tier Junior College imports. Five-star freshman center Kel’el Ware may be the best player on the team but his with returning big man N’Faly Dante is a question.
HM No. 28 – Illinois Fighting Illini
The Illini may have the biggest separation between floor/ceiling, with a top-10 potential and a .500 overall low point. The key transfers (Matthew Mayer and Terrence Shannon) will have much larger roles compared to their previous spots and sophomore wing RJ Melendez is a breakout candidate. There’s a lot to like with their defensive potential but will true freshman point guard Skyy Clark be ready to run the offense? And can the frontcourt replace anywhere near the production of All-American Kofi Cockburn? Key questions that’ll need to be answered.
HM No. 27 – Dayton Flyers
After a dismal start to last season, the youngest team in NCAA Basketball last season won 24 games and nearly made the NCAA Tournament. Big man and leading scorer DaRon Holmes is a national breakout candidate, while point guard Malachi Smith is one as well in the Atlantic 10. The backcourt as a whole will need to improve in the scoring department after none of them averaged double figures but Dayton will be a problem in league play.
HM No. 26 – Xavier Musketeers
Xavier returns the best player from last season (Jack Nunge) and the best from the year prior (Zach Freemantle). If new head coach Sean Miller can find a way to make the pairing work, then this will be a Big East contender. Guard Colby Jones is one of the most versatile players in the country, while UTEP transfer Souley Boum is capable of running the offense. The frontcourt rotation is what will need to be figured out but there’s good talent for the new HC to work with.