Kansas Jayhawks Top Preseason Bracketology

Jameson FlemingSenior Writer INovember 3, 2009

INDIANAPOLIS - MARCH 27:  Sherron Collins #4 of the Kansas Jayhawks reacts in the first half against the Michigan State Spartans during the third round of the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament at the Lucas Oil Stadium on March 27, 2009 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Kansas, as the heavy favorite, projects to receive the top overall seed in the 2010 NCAA Tournament and should stay on that top seed line throughout the season. Following the Jayhawks should be Rick Barnes' incredibly deep Texas team, last year's national runner-ups, Michigan State, and an underrated team out of the Big East, West Virginia.

For each team, a short explanation will detail why they received that seed. Keep in mind the seed might not always reflect the strength of the team, but how influential factors could change a team's seeding like conference strength and seeding rules.

Midwest (St. Louis, Missouri)

1 Kansas (Big 12)

The Jayhawks have two All-Americans, a stud freshman, and a great supporting cast. Their preseason profile is very similar to the 2009 North Carolina team, which steamrolled to a title.

16 Sam Houston State (Southland)

After Stephen F. Austin's solid season last year, which netted the conference a 14 seed, the Southland will find itself back on the 16-seed line without a dominant team this season.

8 Louisville

The Cardinals could really finish anywhere from third to eighth in the Big East. Louisville could get beat up a bit in the always-tough Big East and end up as an eighth seed. In theory, Louisville was supposed to end up on the seven seed line, according to my s-curve, but seeding rules forced them down to an eight.

9 Northern Iowa (Missouri Valley)

The Panthers were a 12-seed last year as the Missouri Valley's best team. With almost everyone returning, this team will be better, meaning their seed should be better.

4 Butler (Horizon)

The Bulldogs have been under-seeded, according to their AP and Coaches Poll Ranking the past few years. Figuring they finish around 10th in the polls this year, dropping them a seed line or two seems fitting. Last year, Butler received a nine seed, but laid an egg in the NCAA Tournament against a more athletic and longer LSU team.

13 Akron (MAC)

The deepest, most talented team in the MAC added stud freshman center Zeke Marshall. The Zips will be challenged for the league title by Kent State, but Akron should be too good to not win the MAC.

5 Dayton (Atlantic 10)

The Flyers will unseat Xavier as the Atlantic-10's best team, but likely won't crack the top 15. Chris Wright is a high flier that should have Dayton in the Sweet 16.

12 Northwestern

The Wildcats have never made an NCAA Tournament. Never. Not in the 71 years in the history of the tournament. That will change in 2010, as the Wildcats should be one of the last teams to go dancing. Get to know forward Kevin Coble. As a senior, he'll be highly motivated to lead NW to its first tournament.

3 Washington

Whoever wins the Pac-10 will have a solid chance of landing a two seed, and whoever finishes second should not receive lower than a three seed. If the Huskies don't win the conference, they should roll through the league fairly easily, because the Pac-10 is down this year. Washington and California's win totals should be slightly inflated, ensuring those teams will receive at least three-seeds.

14 College of Charleston (Southern)

Davidson's reign atop the Southern Conference ended last season, leaving the conference wide open for someone to step up and lead the league. Bobby Cremins' College of Charleston team will be the Southern Conference's best squad this season.

6 Ohio State

The Buckeyes improved during the offseason and that will be reflected in their seeding. Last year, Thad Matta's club lost in the opening round as an eight seed. OSU might end up a seed line or two lower because Big Ten teams should beat up on each other; that league is loaded this year.

11 South Carolina

If the Gamecocks make it out alive in the SEC East, then Darrin Horn will go dancing in his second season. With the league's most relied upon player at the helm (Devan Downey), SC should control the tempo of each game. For the Gamecocks, their season will come down to execution.

7 Maryland

The Terrapins finished last season in the Round of 32 as a 10 seed, but should be improved during the offseason. The Terps were a victim of seeding rules; originally they were a six seed in my bracket, but seeding rules forced them down to the seven seed line.

10 Oklahoma State

It's debatable whether the Cowboys are a better team than last year, so for now they'll stay in the same range they were seeded last year. Junior James Anderson could single-handedly move OSU up a line or two.

2 Villanova

The Wildcats are the trendy pick of the Big East, but there are issues in Jay Wright's frontcourt. Even if the 'Cats don't win the Big East, it would be hard to imagine that Villanova would end up seeded lower than a two.

15 Morehead State (Ohio Valley)

After winning the Ohio Valley Conference last year, Morehead State should repeat as champions, moving up from a 16 seed to a 15 in the process.

West (Salt Lake City, Utah)

1 Texas

The Longhorns are the deepest team in the country, featuring a backup at each position that could start at most schools across the nation. Two stud freshman, Avery Bradley and Jordan Hamilton, will be key to Texas living up to the hype.

16 Long Beach State (Big West)

With two all-league performers, the 49ers should easily be the league's best team. T.J. Robinson and Larry Anderson are only sophomores, and should lead this team to multiple titles.

8 Xavier

The Musketeers should take a step back from last year's club, but if Jordan Crawford lives up to expectations, Xavier could contend for the A-10 title. If new coach Chris Mack doesn't have a seamless transition, Xavier could struggle a bit and finish as low as fourth behind Richmond and La Salle.


The Bruins will likely end up higher than a ninth seed as a product of their weak conference, but for now the Bruins are no better than a nine seed on paper.

4 Minnesota

The Golden Gophers suspended talented freshman Royce White and senior Devron Bostick, but if they are back, Tubby Smith has a team that's talented and deep. Minnesota is a sleeper pick in the Big 10.

13 Nevada (WAC)

The Wolf Pack lost its coach Mark Fox, but return two of the WAC's best players, including the likely player of the year, Luke Babbitt. Armon Johnson is also a stud in the backcourt and should complement Joey Shaw, who can shoot the lights out.

5 Connecticut

The Huskies take multiple steps back from last year and their success will depend on their very young frontcourt. That's not the way to succeed in the Big East, but the Huskies have one of the most talented backcourts in the country, which should carry them to a top-five finish in the Big East.

12 Old Dominion (CAA)

The Monarchs will be back in the NCAA Tournament now that VCU's and George Mason's reign atop the conference is over—for now. All five starters return from a team that won the College Insider Tournament and all five stand at least 6'5''. A large lineup could give ODU the size to compete with major conference teams in the NCAA Tournament.

3 California (Pac-10)

The winner of the Pac-10 should have an inflated record come March because the conference is weak, which could propel the Golden Bears to the two seed line. For now, Cal is no better than a three seed, but could drop as far as a five if the defense doesn't improve.

14 Portland (WCC)

Gonzaga lost a ton of talent while Portland returns its top 10 scores. That's a perfect mix for Gonzaga to finally miss out on the tournament while Portland should finally make it in. Overall, the WCC is down this season, and the winner of the conference shouldn't receive anything better than 13 seed (unless Gonzaga really surprises).

6 Mississippi State

The Bulldogs are close to a top-25 team if Renardo Sidney isn't eligible, but should be close to a top-15 team with him. For now, MSU will float around the six seed line as the SEC West's best team.

11 Kansas State

The Wildcats have a tremendous trio with guards Jacob Pullen and Denis Clemente and freshman forward Wally Judge. With no clear-cut, third-best team in the Big 12, KSU could finish as high as third or as low as seventh.

7 Brigham Young (Mountain West)

The Cougars lose a star in Lee Cummard, but bring back a talented twosome in Jimmer Fredette and Jonathan Tavernari. Those two should have BYU atop the Mountain West by a mile and a seven seed in the NCAA Tournament.

10 Seton Hall

One of the nation's best sleepers, the Pirates feature several great newcomers, as Keon Lawrence and Herb Pope give coach Bobby Gonzalez two great complements to Jeremy Hazell. If Seton Hall plays defense this season, then the Pirates will likely return to the NCAA Tournament and save Bobby Gonzalez's job.

2 North Carolina (Atlantic Coast)

The Tar Heels' outstanding recruiting class will give North Carolina an adequate title defense. Ed Davis could emerge as an All-American in Roy Williams' frontcourt.

15 Weber State (Big Sky)

Despite losing their top scorer, Weber State is still the best team in the Big Sky Conference because four other starters return. They'll want revenge after going 15-1 in the regular season last year, but missing out on the NCAA Tournament.

East (Syracuse, New York)

1 West Virginia (Big East)

Most pundits have West Virginia sneaking around the bottom half of the top 10, but the Mountaineers are for real in Bob Huggins' third year. This team has two fantastic scorers in the frontcourt and solid point guards to run the offense.

16 Mount St. Mary (Northeast Conference)

Jeremy Goode is the league's best player and returns to a team that finished tied with two other teams for second place in the NEC last year.

8 Florida State

The Seminoles have the potential to finish up on the fourth or fifth seed line, but for now, Florida State will camp out around the turn in the bracket. Soloman Alabi needs to be a breakout player and Michael Snaer has to replace Toney Douglas' scoring.

9 Texas A&M

The Aggies seem to really never get better or get worse and that's generally the case this year. TAMU has floated around this spot in the bracket for awhile and that should continue in 2010.

4 Michigan

Jon Beilein finally has a roster of players that fit his coaching philosophy and that should pay dividends in 2010, when Manny Harris and DeShawn Sims lead the Wolverines towards a high seed in the NCAA Tournament and a third place finish in a stout Big Ten.

13 Cornell (Ivy League)

The Big Red is ready to dominate the Ivy League again and could make some noise in March with its incredibly talented roster. Cornell's top trio of Louis Dale, Ryan Wittman, and Jeff Foote is outstanding and could lead Cornell into the Round of 32.

5 Siena (MAAC)

The Saints have several tough non-conference games that should allow them to pick up the wins needed to be a five seed in the NCAA Tournament. Even if Siena loses the conference tournament to another solid team, Niagara, Siena will still likely go dancing.

12 Mississippi

The Rebels have one of the best backcourts in the SEC and should feast on a weak SEC West. If they can pick up one win over rival Mississippi State, the Rebels could go dancing with a very attainable 11-5 conference record.

3 Georgia Tech

The Yellow Jackets make a gigantic leap into the NCAA Tournament as a third seed because of a great freshman class that should save coach Paul Hewitt's job. Derrick Favors is a monster on both ends of the floor and should dominate the paint for one year before bolting to the NBA.

14 Boston University (America East)

With the implosion of Binghamton's basketball program, it's pretty clear the team to beat in the America East is Boston University. The Terriers have a great trio in John Holland, Corey Low, and Jake O'Brien.

6 Tulsa (Conference USA)

The Golden Hurricane should end Memphis' run in Conference USA and in the process pick up a pretty high seed. The league has more balance this year, but everything falls in place for Tulsa, the Golden Hurricane could be a top-25 team by the end of the year.

11 Cincinnati

The Bearcats need Lance Stephenson to be cleared to play and also need him to fit into a crowded backcourt that features senior Deonta Vaughn and redshirt freshman Cashmere Wright. If that doesn't happen, Mick Cronin could be out of a job and Cincinnati will be out of the tournament. The Bearcats have the potential to make the tournament with as high as a five seed.

7 Vanderbilt

The Commodores should be one of the nation's best sleeper picks because they are overshadowed in a loaded SEC East. Kevin Stallings' team returns the majority of its talent and brings in one of the best freshman scorers, John Jenkins.

10 Oregon State

Craig Robinson has worked wonders out west and his latest wonder will be turning the Beavers into an NCAA Tournament team. Of course, that won't be too hard with the state of the Pac-10. Normally, this team should finish around seventh out west, but this year, this team is a top-four or five team in the Pac-10.

2 Purdue

The Boilermakers can certainly win a national championship with this group of players. Purdue features one of the best trios in the country with guard E'Twaun Moore and forwards Robbie Hummel and JaJuan Johnson.

15 Jacksonville (Atlantic Sun)

The Dolphins have the Atlantic Sun's best player in senior guard Ben Smith. Last year, JU fell short of the NCAA Tournament after winning the regular season with a 15-5 record. Revenge has to be on the mind of those dangerous Dolphins.

South (Houston, Texas)

1 Michigan State (Big 10)

After losing to North Carolina in the national title game last year, Tom Izzo's club knows they need to improve just a little bit to take that next step. After some losses in the frontcourt, Izzo's team knows each player has to improve this season to attain their goal of a national title.

16 Jackson State (SWAC)/ Morgan State (MEAC)

After finishing 15-3 in the league last year, the likely player of the year Grant Maxey returns to a Jackson State team ready to take the next step.

Morgan State won the league last year and has the parts to do it again this year. Reggie Holmes should be the MEAC's best player.

8 Clemson

Oliver Purnell's club is a casualty of seeding rules and instead of being a seven seed, they are dropped to the dreaded eight line. But that's okay for Purnell, as the Tigers have the talent and athleticism to beat any of the top seeds in the country in the second round.

9 Oklahoma

The Sooners will rely heavily on young players as Willie Warren looks to pull a Blake Griffin and become a player of the year candidate as a sophomore. Freshman Keith "Tiny" Gallon and Tommy Mason-Griffin will likely immediately start.

4 Tennessee

The Volunteers are good enough to knock off Kentucky in the SEC East, but will need to improve their defense. Tyler Smith is one of the nation's best forgotten players after Tennessee didn't live up to preseason expectations last year.

13 Western Kentucky (Sun Belt)

The Hilltoppers return lots of talent that includes Sun Belt Player of the Year candidate AJ Slaughter. Until Isiah Thomas gets Florida International turned around, the Sun Belt is Western Kentucky's league.

5 Georgetown

The Hoyas should be back in the NCAA Tournament after virtual addition by subtraction when DaJuan Summers and Jessie Sapp went pro/graduated. Greg Monroe is a dominant player in the paint while Chris Wright should man the backcourt very well.

12 Oakland (Summit)

The Grizzlies can surprise some people after disappointing last season and not winning the Summit League. Behind Jonathan Jones, Oakland can be just as good, if not better than North Dakota State, who almost knocked off Kansas as a 14 seed last year.

3 Duke

The Blue Devils can win the ACC, but even if they don't, Mike Krzyzewski's team should be among the nation's top-ten teams, which should garner Duke at least a three seed in the NCAA Tournament.

14 Holy Cross (Patriot League)

Even without coach Ralph Williard, who left for Rick Pitino's staff, Holy Cross is still the favorite to win the Patriot League. A talented Lehigh team should contend with the Crusaders for the title.

6 Illinois

The Fighting Illini could be the victims of a rugged Big Ten as the worst team of the conference's loaded top six. If Illinois gets off to a slow start, a six seed will be a reach and Illinois could fall into the dreaded eight/nine range.

11 Memphis

The Tigers are a tough pick to put back in the tournament, but there is enough talent in Memphis to reach the Big Dance. Depth and lack of experience are serious issues for Memphis.

7 Syracuse

The Orange should be a six seed in the East, but because the regional final is in the Carrier Dome, the 'Cuse gets shifted to the south as a seven seed in my bracket. Jim Boeheim loses three players from his backcourt, but returns a loaded frontcourt that features the nation's best transfer, Wesley Johnson.

10 Richmond

The Spiders also would have been an 11 seed in the east facing Syracuse in the first round, but seeding rules forced Richmond into the south against SU. Richmond nearly knocked off Syracuse last year during the regular season and the Spiders were also the first 15 seed ever to beat a two seed when they knocked off Syracuse almost two decades ago.

2 Kentucky (SEC)

The Wildcats will be the premiere team in the south if the freshman class that John Calipari has brought in learns to play together. There's no doubting the talent of John Wall or DeMarcus Cousins, but at this point, Kentucky could face a chemistry issue. If Calipari sorts it all out, watch out, Big Blue nation could win another national title.

15 Radford (Big South)

Artsiom Parakhouski dominated the Big South last season and should do so again this year for the Highlanders. They received a 16 seed last year, but the team should be even better this year and receive a better seed in accordance.

Other Teams with Real Tournament Potential

Florida, Missouri, Wisconsin, Notre Dame, Boston College, Virginia Tech, Arizona, Pittsburgh, Creighton, Southern Illinois, Houston, Baylor, Iowa State, Northeastern, Wake Forest.

Of those teams, the one team that will likely make me regret not putting them in my preseason the bracket the most will be Wake Forest. Al-Farouq Aminu and the rest of Wake's frontcourt could be outstanding, but the guard play is a bit worrisome.

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