College hoops tip-off:
Kansas, Duke, Gonzaga, SEC look loaded. What will Villanova do for an encore? Can Virginia recover from last season’s pain? Loyola (Chicago) seeks to stay a power. A new Indiana phenom. We hit the top story lines.
The NCAA tournament is several months away, but how teams come together (or not) in November through February paves the way for the bubble chatter and seeding pairings that will captivate bracketscribbling fans in March. Here’s a look at the top story lines to keep an eye on heading into the season tip-off Nov. 6:
Kansas has an ideal mix
In a day and age when roster balance is the ultimate currency to earn Final Four tickets, the Jayhawks have the right ingredients of veterans, transfers and elite freshmen to make for a winning recipe in 2018-19. Team chemistry will be a part of that equation.
But if coach Bill Self could get last season’s roster — which saw him turn to walk-ons because the Jayhawks lacked so much depth and size — playing in the last weekend, then this year’s depth and influx of talent should be welcoming.
From an experience standpoint, Udoka Azubuike should flourish playing alongside other top big men after corralling the paint on his own last season. Forward Dedric Lawson, a Memphis transfer who is likely to average a double-double and create plenty of second-chance points, has All-American written all over him.
But the backcourt, where Kansas has excelled over the past few seasons, will be key for this group. Likely one-anddone freshman Quentin Grimes
Besides transfers, Nevada will count on twin forwards Caleb (10) and Cody Martin (11). Caleb averaged 18.9 points and Cody 14 last season for the Wolf Pack.