Rothstein | FanRag Sports CBB Preseason Top 25 for 2017-18 season

1. Duke

The Skinny: The late addition of Marvin Bagley III puts the Blue Devils a notch above everybody else.

2. Michigan State

The Skinny: This writer will be shocked if the Spartans don’t run away with the Big Ten regular season title.

3. Arizona

The Skinny: The only thing standing in the way of a Final Four appearance is the cloud from last week’s FBI report.

4. Kansas

The Skinny: Mississippi State transfer Malik Newman could lead the Jayhawks in scoring.

5. Kentucky

The Skinny: There’s quality length and then there’s what this team has, which is utterly ridiculous.

6. Villanova

The Skinny: Redshirt freshman Omari Spellman could wind up as the best big man that Jay Wright has ever coached.

7. USC

The Skinny: Chemistry will be a work in progress.

8. Wichita State

The Skinny: Shockers will step up a weight class in the American Conference.

9. Cincinnati

The Skinny: Don’t blink, you’ll miss Sacred Heart transfer Cane Broome.

10. Louisville

The Skinny: Cards still have top-15 caliber talent and experience despite the loss of Rick Pitino and, potentially, Brian Bowen.

11. North Carolina

The Skinny: Will the Tar Heels be able to rebound?

12. Florida

The Skinny: Rice grad transfer Egor Koulechov could wind up as a starter.

13. Xavier

The Skinny: Trevon Bluiett is as good of a scorer as there is in college basketball.

14. Minnesota

The Skinny: The hunter has officially become the hunted.

15. West Virginia

The Skinny: Veteran guards and a head coach that’s won over 800 games is usually a good combination.

16. Virginia Tech

The Skinny: Small ball. For life.

17. Notre Dame

The Skinny: Betting against Mike Brey is like betting against Christian Bale in a Batman movie.

18. Seton Hall

The Skinny: Four starters return from a nucleus that has reached back-to-back NCAA Tournaments.

19. Miami

The Skinny: Freshman guard Lonnie Walker has one-and-done potential.

20. Texas A&M

The Skinny: J.J. Caldwell’s early season suspension can be absorbed — this team is that talented.

21. Northwestern

The Skinny: Time for an encore.

22. Purdue

The Skinny: Vince Edwards is ready to explode.

23. UCLA

The Skinny: Should be longer and better defensively.

24. Alabama

The Skinny: This is no longer just a football school.

25. Rhode Island

The Skinny: Dan Hurley has as deep of a perimeter as there is in the sport.

Five on the cusp:

Saint Mary’s

The Skinny: Point guard Emmett Naar is 79-21 over the last three years in Moraga.


The Skinny: Could be the third-best team in the Big 12.


The Skinny: Can Ed Cooley lead the Friars to a fifth straight NCAA Tournament appearance?


The Skinny: Killian Tillie — breakout guy.


The Skinny: Freshman guard Trae Young adds some much needed pop in the backcourt.

Jon Rothstein has been a college basketball insider for CBS Sports since 2010 and is the lead college basketball columnist for the FanRag Sports Network. He is also the host of the College Hoops Today Podcast via Compass Media Networks, which is available via iTunes. Rothstein is also a regular in-studio correspondent for both WFAN and CBS Sports Radio. He currently lives in Manhattan.

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