NCAAB: LVSC Preseason Rankings

NCAAB: LVSC Preseason Rankings

LVSC Preseason Rankings
By Brian Edwards

Las Vegas Sports Consultants has released its preseason college basketball ratings. As expected, North Carolina is No. 1 in LVSC's first Top 30 installment.

Not only that, but the Tar Heels are the clear-cut favorites to win the NCAA Championship. They have a power rating 5.8 points higher than the next-best team, No. 2 Louisville.

"North Carolina is the heavy favorite this year without a doubt, but we've seen in the past that that doesn't always translate into winning the national title," LVSC's John "The Coach" Harper told "Florida was the heavy favorite to repeat a couple of years ago and it did, but there have been a number of teams that didn't finish the job. Georgetown in 1985 is an example, losing to Villanova. There was the 1991 UNLV team trying to repeat that lost to Duke at the Final Four."

With that said, UNC looks like a team that has it all -- depth, experience, coaching and a hunger to win it all. Remember, the Tar Heels have come up short in the NCAA Tournament since beating Illinois for the title several years back. Tyler Hansbrough bypassed the NBA along with three other players -- Ty Lawson, Danny Green and Wayne Ellington -- because they have yet to cut the nets down.

"Carolina has two starters out right now in Hansbrough and [Marcus] Ginyard," Harper said. "But this is a team that can overcome injuries because of its depth. And those players should be back soon."

When asked to name a team that he thought could give UNC the most problems come March, Harper went with UConn, LVSC's fourth-rated squad. "Now I'm basing a lot of that on potential, but this UConn team really strikes me as a team that can be extremely dangerous later in the season."

Duke is slotted third between the Cardinals and Huskies, while Pitt is No. 5. The rest of the top 10 looks like this (in order): UCLA, Michigan St. Texas, Oklahoma and Gonzaga.

Mark Few might have his most talented team ever and that's saying a lot. "Gonzaga is real strong and has a lot of depth," Harper said. "But the [Austin] Daye kid has had some injuries and his shot selection has got to improve."

Betttors may notice that zero SEC teams are in the top 10 and just three made the Top 30. Tennessee is No. 11, Florida is No. 17 and Kentucky is No. 27.

"The SEC looks weak this year," said Harper. "Tennessee is the most respected team and the return of Tyler Smith is big, but Bruce Pearl kicked the point guard off the team, so they are going to have to rely on some young players. But to me, the team to watch is Alabama. If Ronald Steele is back to 100 percent, the Crimson Tide should win the West. I'm not that big on [Mark] Gottfried as a coach, but he has plenty of talent."

'Bama didn't make LVSC's Top 30, which is composed by votes from several oddsmakers, but Harper said he had the Tide No. 25 on his ballot.

Davidson, last season's Cinderella squad that lost a heartbreaker to the eventual national champs in the Elite Eight, is No. 28. "They'll be very good again, but I don't see them making the type of run they made last year. Stephen Curry is really going to miss the point guard Jason Richards, who nearly made the Miami Heat's roster."

For the rest of LVSC's pre-season Top 30, check it out below.

LVSC College Basketball Preseason Rankings
Ranking     School     Rating
1     North Carolina 145.2
2     Louisville 139.4
3     Duke     139.3
4     Connecticut 139.1
5     Pittsburgh 137.9
6     UCLA     137.7
7     Michigan State 137.4
8     Texas 137.1
9     Oklahoma 135.0
10     Gonzaga 134.9
11     Tennessee 134.3
12     Notre Dame 133.3
12     Purdue 133.3
14     Georgetown 133.0
15     Memphis 132.5
16     Arizona State 132.2
17     Florida 131.8
18     Miami, Fl 131.4
19     Marquette 131.2
20     Wisconsin 130.8
21     Villanova 130.4
22     Kansas 130.1
23     UNLV     130.0
24     Southern California 129.9
25     Syracuse 129.8
25     Ohio State 129.8
27     Kentucky 129.6
28     Davidson 129.3
28     Saint Mary's 129.3
30     Xavier 129.2

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