NCAA Basketball

15 Bold Predictions For the Rest of the College Basketball Season

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Bold Predictions For the Rest of the Season

Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

Entering the season, I am sure not many people expected Duke, Kansas and Kentucky to all have three losses or more at the beginning of conference play. The Wildcats have the least amount of defeats out of the three with three. Yet, all three are still ranked in the top 25--could change soon with the Blue Devils’ most recent loss to Clemson. Regardless, predicting those three teams to have that many losses this early in the season would have been considered bold. Let’s stay with the theme of that and look at 15 bold predictions for the rest of the college basketball season.

Not all bold predictions come true, folks. I am sure that will be the case with these 15. Still, they are not completely out there and could actually happen.

Anyone could come up with the most outlandish predictions with ease, such as DePaul earning a No. 1 seed in the 2014 NCAA Tournament. Anyone who follows college hoops should know that is not going to happen this season. Heck, the Blue Demons will likely miss out on the tourney once again.

At the same time, these predictions are not going to be layups either. For instance, Florida making the NCAA tourney is not bold whatsoever, it is just a fact... That hasn’t happened yet.

It is not a given that the Gators will make the tournament. They could lose the rest of their games, but don’t expect that from a team that has made three straight trips to the Elite Eight.

Well, let’s get to those predictions.

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MVC Team Will Steal A Bid

Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

Wichita State is going to make the NCAA tournament. There is no argument there. This prediction would not have been very bold in years past when Creighton also played in the conference.

If the Shockers run away with the regular season title and the conference tournament, no other team in the MVC will make it.

Still, teams like Indiana State and Missouri State are very talented and are more than capable of crashing the show, better known as March Madness.

3 of 16

Big 12 Champ Will Not Be Kansas

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Kansas has a bunch of talent, but it has already lost four games this season. A solid point guard would solve a lot of the Jayhawks’ problems. Until they find that PG, they are going to be beatable.

Plus, five teams are currently ranked in the Big 12. Kansas is, of course, one of them, but the list also includes Iowa State, Oklahoma State, Kansas State and Baylor.

The Jayhawks will actually have to earn a conference title this season, but the Cowboys and Cyclones arguably have better teams.

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Wichita State Finishes the Season Perfect

Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

Wichita State has passed all of its tests so far, which includes victories over Tennessee and Saint Louis. It should have no problem winning the rest of its games, but upsets do happen from time to time.

Still, the Shockers are by far the most talented team in the MVC and the rankings would agree (ranked No. 6 in both major polls).

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Big Ten Gets Two No. 1 Seeds

Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan State, Wisconsin and Ohio State all have the talent to earn a No. 1 seed in the Big Dance. The Spartans only have one loss, the Buckeyes just lost their first game of the season to Tom Izzo’s team and the Badgers are undefeated.

The only problem is that these three teams will clash in Big Ten play and there is a bunch of other great teams in the conference. This is a conference that beats up on each other on a yearly basis and that should happen once again this season.

Still, I am predicting two of the current top teams to separate themselves from the rest of the Big Ten, which will lead to two No. 1 seeds for this conference.

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Colorado Finishes Season in the Top 10

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Colorado has already beaten Harvard, Kansas (ranked No. 6 at the time) and Oregon (ranked No. 10 at the time). It is ranked as high as No. 15, so it is not very far from the top 10.

The Pac-12 will be very competitive once again, but the Buffaloes are one of the better teams. Winning at home and stealing some games on the road will move this team up the rankings. Finishing in the top two will have it ranked in the top 10 at the end of the regular season.

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Florida Will Be No. 1 in the Rankings At Some Point

David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

The SEC is much better than what many people give it credit for. Kentucky and Florida get the most hype, though, which puts the other teams under the radar.

The Gators are already ranked No. 10 and I am sure they will continue to win. They don’t play another ranked team until the beginning of February.

Florida was ranked as high as No. 2 last year and it is arguably more talented this year. The key will be staying healthy, which is something that this team has been bad at. It has not been at full strength once this season.

Leading scorer Casey Prather’s injury doesn’t seem that serious and five-star recruit Chris Walker should eventually be able to play. That is scary for the rest of the SEC and every other team in college hoops.

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A Team in the Atlantic 10 Cracks the Top 10

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

When reading the headline for this slide, I am sure many people would think I am referring to Massachusetts. The Minutemen are the only team currently ranked in the conference, so they certainly could crack the top 10 at some point.

However, I have Saint Louis and VCU in mind. I still think the Rams are one of the best teams in the country, let alone the A 10. Plus, the Billikens have only lost to Wisconsin and Wichita State, who are both ranked in the top 10.

The Atlantic 10 has a bunch of talent and a team in it could be ranked in the top 10 at some point this season.

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SEC Will Get Second Or Third Most Teams Into the Dance

Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

The SEC is one of the most competitive conferences in college hoops and it is much deeper than Kentucky and Florida. Both should make the tourney, but they will not be alone.

Teams like Tennessee, Arkansas, Missouri and others are all talented enough to earn a bid.

When the tournament field is announced, the SEC will have the second or third most teams in the dance. I am sure some people will find that hard to believe since the ACC, Big Ten, AAC, Pac-12 and Big 12 are probably projected to get more teams in.

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Big East Will Get Least Amount of Teams Into Tourney

Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

The Big East has dominated college basketball for a long time now. A Big East team may not always win the dance--Louisville won it last year--but it gets the most at-large bids on a yearly basis. That will not happen this year.

Teams like Villanova, Creighton, Xavier, Georgetown, Providence, Butler and maybe some others have a chance to make the tournament. However, not all of them are going to.

I am sure the Bluejays will punch their ticket and the No. 8 Wildcats are the best team in the conference as of right now. Sure, five teams could make it out of this conference, but I am going to say that only two to three make it.

The Pac-12, AAC, Big 12, ACC, Big Ten and SEC will all have more at-large bids.

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Kentucky Is Team to Beat Entering Tournament

Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

The Kentucky Wildcats still have a ways to go before they reach their true potential, but they are still one of the best teams in basketball as of right now.

They are on a four-game winning streak and have wins against Belmont and Louisville during that span.

The SEC has plenty of quality teams and Kentucky will more than likely be at the top of the standings when the season ends. As a result, it will not only be the most talented team in college hoops, but the best team as well.

You have to remember that Kentucky only has three losses on the season and they did come against Michigan State, Baylor and North Carolina.

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Tie in the Big 12 Standings Again

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Last year, Kansas and Kansas State finished tied in the Big 12 standings. The same will be the case this season, but with different teams.

Oklahoma State will tie with either Baylor or Iowa State.

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Tie in the Big 10 Standings

Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

Indiana won the regular season title last year, but it may not even make the dance this season.

Wisconsin and Michigan State will be dead even in the standings at the end of the season. The Badgers only have to play the Spartans and Buckeyes once and both matchups will be played at home for them.

They have the clear advantage there, but Michigan State is one of the most experienced and talented teams in the country. Regardless, winning the conference title will not be easy for either team, as the Big Ten is arguably the best conference.

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Villanova Doesn’t Win Big East

Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Villanova is the clear favorite to win the Big East title as of right now for the simple fact that it is ranked in the top 10.

Still, the Wildcats do not have a Doug McDermott, who is averaging 24.3 points per game and 7.3 assists per game.

Creighton is on an eight-game winning streak and it will end up winning a conference title.

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Andrew Wiggins Will Prove to Be the Best Player

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Andrew Wiggins had a great game against Kansas State, scoring 22 points and shooting 53.8 percent from the field. He also shot 75 percent from behind the arc.

Wiggins has had plenty of time to adjust to the college level and he has played some of the best teams in the sport. The big victory over the Wildcats will be a sign of good things to come for the rest of the season for Wiggins.

Expect him to be one of the most dominant players--finally--once the NCAA tournament comes rolling around.

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A Freshman Doesn’t Win Player of the Year Award

Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

Freshmen like Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker, Tyler Ennis, Julius Randle and Aaron Gordon (among others) have been getting a lot of national attention. None of them will win the Naismith Player of the Year, though.

That honor will go to Marcus Smart or Doug McDermott. The award should be McDermott’s to lose at this point.

Although the last slide said Wiggins will prove to be the best player, that does not mean he is the most important player on his team. Kansas also has Perry Ellis, Joel Embiid and others.

McDermott is arguably more important to his team and he is going to naturally put up better numbers.