We are officially 200 days out from Selection Sunday for the 2020 NCAA tournament. With that, it’s time for another preseason Power 36 rankings.
Listed next to the team is the previous ranking, plus one thing to like about each team.
1. Michigan State (1): Point guard Cassius Winston should be the preseason player or the year.
2. Kansas (2): Devon Dotson has a shot to be the Big 12 preseason player of the year.
3. Kentucky (3): Ashton Hagans enters the season as one of the most experienced point guards in the SEC.
4. Duke (4): Tre Jones will be one of the best on-ball defenders.
5. Maryland (5): Point guard Anthony Cowan Jr. will be in step with Winston for possible Big Ten Player of the Year.
6. Seton Hall (7): The Pirates' Myles Powell was the best player on the Big East Pan Am team and could be the Big East preseason player of the year.
7. Texas Tech (6): The Red Raiders found another big-time scorer on the trip to the Bahamas in freshman guard Jahmius Ramsey, who scored 44 points in one of the wins.
8. Florida (8): The Gators have a non-conference schedule that could get them a top seed with games at UConn, at Butler, home vs. Florida State, against Providence in Brooklyn, vs. Utah State in Sunrise, Fla., home vs. Baylor and could face Xavier in the Charleston Classic.
9. Louisville (9): The Cardinals should have the ACC preseason player of the year in Jordan Nwora.
10. North Carolina (10): The Tar Heels will have one of the most watched freshmen in do-everything guard Cole Anthony.
11. Gonzaga (12): The Zags had three players in the top seven in scoring at the FIBA Under 19 tournament in Joel Ayayi (France), Oumar Ballo (Mali) and Filip Petrusev (Serbia).
12. Virginia (13): The more I think about the Cavaliers, the more I want to continue putting them higher. They don’t fade under Tony Bennett.
13. Memphis (11): The Tigers will still need to prove they can handle the spotlight once it starts to shine.14. Villanova (14): Jermaine Samuels and Collin Gillespie were critical members of the Big East Pan Am team and showed they are ready to lead.
15. Xavier (15): Naji Marshall will enter the season as a first-team All-Big East Player.
16. Purdue (16): The Boilermakers have a rising star in Aaron Wheeler, who will be one of the most entertaining players in the Big Ten.
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17. Baylor (17): Devonte Bandoo had a great trip to Italy for the Bears and nearly got a triple-double in the last game with 15 points, 11 boards and nine assists.
18. Ohio State (18): The Buckeyes will have the top freshman in the Big Ten in DJ Carton. Book it.
19. Illinois (20): I’ve moved up the Illini in each Power 36. Ayo Dosunmu averaged 24 points per game on the four-game trip to Italy.
20. Georgetown (19): Omer Yurtseven lived up to his hype for the Hoyas on the trip to the Bahamas. That’s big news to have a finishing big for a team already stacked on the perimeter.
21. Washington (22): Good news for the Huskies. Junior Nahziah Carter had consecutive double-doubles on the trip to Italy. Freshman Isaiah Stewart had a double-double, too. Stewart will be one of the best freshmen in the country.
22. Oregon (NR): The Ducks have loaded up lately with the addition of 6-11 N’Faly Dante, freshman guard Addison Patterson, JC transfer guard Chris Duarte, forward CJ Walker, forward Chandler Lawson, forward Lok Wur, former New Mexico guard Anthony Mathis and Shakur Juiston, who was hurt last season.
23. Utah State (23): The 1-2 punch of Sam Merrill and Neemias Queta will be the duo to beat in the Mountain West.
24. Auburn (21): The Tigers could have one of the top frontcourts in the SEC in Danjel Purifoy and Austin Wiley.
25. Marquette (24): Theo John and Sacar Anim played well for Marquette on the trip to France. That’s huge for a Markus Howard-dominated offense.
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26. Saint Mary’s (32): Had a long talk with Randy Bennett this July. I’m all in on the Gaels now. Jordan Ford will lead this team to a bid without needing to win the WCC.
27. Providence (30): Ed Cooley had four players on the Big East Pan Am team, led by Alpha Diallo. AJ Reeves was one of them too. He’s healthy, and that means the Friars should be an NCAA tournament team.
28. Davidson (31): Bob McKillop convinced me when we talked in July that he’s got a squad with guards Kellan Grady and Jon Axel Gudmundsson. I’m going with the Wildcats now as the A-10 favorite.
29. Wisconsin (27): The Badgers will be led by their guards, and if they’re on, then this squad will be a lock for the top six in the Big Ten.
30. Penn State (33): My bold pick was that the Nittany Lions will make the NCAA tournament. I’m feeling more confidence with Lamar Stevens likely an All-Big Ten player.
31. Colorado (26): This is the season McKinley Wright IV leads the Buffaloes to the NCAA tournament.
32. USC (NR): The Trojans will help the Pac-12 have a renaissance. USC had a stellar trip to Europe and freshmen forward Onyeka Okongwu is ready to make a major splash.
33. VCU (25): The Rams will be right there with Davidson. This squad is experienced and won’t get rattled.
34. Houston (28): Dejon Jarreau was the leader the Cougars need on their trip to Italy.
35. LSU (NR): The Tigers have a stud in freshman Trendon Watford. The trip to Spain was great for this crew to develop new roles, and to prove there is plenty returning for a team that won the SEC.
36. Vermont (NR): I’ve been rotating teams in this spot throughout the offseason. It’s Vermont’s turn. The Catamounts have a real shot to win a game in the NCAA tournament behind Anthony Lamb’s leadership.
In the mix: Arizona, Tennessee, NC State, South Florida, Cincinnati, Creighton, Florida State, South Carolina, Wichita State, Michigan, Iowa, Arizona State, New Mexico State, Kansas State, Oklahoma, TCU, Notre Dame, Harvard, Mississippi State, Pepperdine.