College Basketball's Best Teams This Season Without a True Star Player
Not every hoops school has a Cody Zeller, Shabazz Muhammad, James McAdoo, or Nerlens Noel on their campus. This doesn't mean these teams without a true star player should be overlooked. After all, the best teams in March are usually the teams playing the best team basketball. Teams without a true superstar have to overcome their inability to rely on one super talent and must play that much better as a team.
Here are some of college basketball's best teams without a true star player.
The Baylor Bears losing Perry Jones III and Quincy Acy to the NBA may have taken away some of their star power, but they still have enough talent to be a top 15 team in the country. The Bears will rely heavily on Quincy Miller for scoring and rebounding.
The Big 12 will once again be one of the most talented hoops conferences in the nation. The Bears will have to find a way to win games in this brutal conference without a super star carrying them through it. They may not have the household names any more, but the Bears still have enough talent to survive the losses.
The talent is there for the Arizona Wildcats to possibly have a future superstar, but they must go out and find who that is on the court. There currently isn't a super star on the Wildcats' roster that jumps out, but some of their high recruits are promising enough to give Wildcats fans hope.
They will rely heavily on Solomon Hill, but they will need someone like freshman center Kaleb Tarczewski to step up and become a star to be a serious championship contender. The Wildcats can be a very good team this year without a superstar, but it wouldn't hurt to have one emerge during the season.
Kansas State Wildcats
The team that played way over their talent level last year will have to do it again this year. The Kansas State Wildcats will rely heavily on their best player, senior Rodney McGruder, to carry them under their new head coach, Bruce Weber.
The Wildcats will need players like sophomore forward Thomas Gipson to accelerate their development and become a factor every night. There isn't a player on this team destined for stardom, but as a group they could be one of the better teams in the country.
A lineup of above average solid contributors could propel the Gonzaga Bulldogs to a tournament run in March. Guards Kevin Pangos and Gary Bell Jr. both enter their sophomore years with solid freshman seasons under their belts. Elias Harris is one of the most consistent forwards in the nation and could emerge as the Bulldogs' best player.
The Bulldogs' month of December alone has them facing Illinois, Kansas State, and Baylor, all within a three week period. If Gonzaga can survive that stretch and play well within their conference, they should find themselves ranked in the top 20 in the country.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Effort and team basketball will be what the Fighting Irish rely upon to win games this year. There is no star player to speak of on this team, but plenty of reliable role players who play well together.
Jack Cooley, Jerian Grant, and Eric Atkins will all play big minutes for the Irish. Atkins and Grant are solid "glue guys" while Cooley provides size and toughness. The Irish could fly under the radar this year and end up being a surprise team in the NCAA Tournament.