Vol. 55, No. 1 • November 2017 • .pdf version
INSIDE THIS ISSUE ...
• Vahé Gregorian: Progress amid game's setbacks
• Joe Mitch: Guback donates $100,000 to USBWA
• NCAA memo urges better seating, access
• Armstrong dominates USBWA's best writing contest
• Dean Smith Award honors Dayton's Donoher
• Michigan State, UConn head preseason polls

Michigan State, Bridges head men's rankings; UConn figures to return to head of women's race

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Michigan State and sophomore forward Miles Bridges are favored to take home top honors this season, according to the USBWA's annual preseason poll.

The Spartans edged out Duke and Arizona in what was nearly a dead heat for first place. Michigan State received six of a possible 15 first-place votes, to Duke's five and Arizona's four.

Bridges, a forward who is returning for his sophomore season, received all but three votes as the preseason favorite to win the Oscar Robertson Trophy, given to the nation's top player.

More from the USBWA:
• Best Writing Contest results
• NCAA memo (.pdf)
• Renew your membership

Other votes went to Villanova point guard Jalen Brunson, Notre Dame forward Bonzie Colson and Saint Mary’s center Jock Landale.

Michael Porter of Missouri won a two-man race with Duke's Marvin Bagley III as the preseason favorite for the Wayman Tisdale Award, given to the nation’s top freshman. Porter received nine votes, to Bagley's six.

Rounding out the top 25 are: Kansas, Kentucky, Wichita State, Villanova, Florida, USC, North Carolina, West Virginia, Miami, Cincinnati, Louisville, Notre Dame, Xavier, Minnesota, Purdue, Saint Mary’s, Northwestern, Gonzaga, Texas A&M, UCLA, Seton Hall and Baylor.

Men's Preseason Top 25
1. Michigan State (6) 359
2. Duke (5) 355
3. Arizona (4) 352
4. Kansas 332
5. Kentucky 298
6. Wichita State 293
7. Villanova 281
8. Florida 235
9. USC 228
10. North Carolina 225
11. West Virginia 196
12. Miami 195
13. Cincinnati 178
14. Louisville 170
15. Notre Dame 156
16. Xavier 145
17. Minnesota 135
18. Purdue 113
19. Saint Mary's 106
20. Northwestern 89
21. Gonzaga 78
22. Texas A&M 74
23. UCLA 62
24. Seton Hall 53
25. Baylor 45

Others receiving votes: Rhode Island 28, Alabama 25, Virginia 16, Providence 11, Missouri 10, TCU 10, Iowa 7, Texas 7, Wisconsin 7, Florida State 2 and Middle Tennessee 1.

A year ago in this space, declaring a refreshing change, we proclaimed a wide open race in which the women's basketball title could go to the someone other than UConn for the first time in five seasons as the Huskies' domination would take a short hiatus.

That became true but not the until the NCAA semifinals in Dallas when Morgan William's buzzer-beating shot in overtime gave Mississippi State one of the greatest upsets in any sport, ending the UConn newly established NCAA record consecutive win streak for men or women at 111.

However, the ultimate glory went to seasonlong contender South Carolina, which downed its Southeastern Conference rival and established another storied chapter for coach Dawn Staley, the women's legend, who has become the USA Olympic coach through 2020.

As for the UConn hiatus heading into 2017- 18, that has lasted just one game for these reasons – three returning USBWA All-Americans — Katie Lou Samuelson, Napheesa Collier, and Gabby Williams — a top freshman of the year candidate in Megan Walker, two other notable veterans in Kia Nurse and Crystal Dangerfield, and a star transfer in Azura` Stevens, formerly with Duke.

After consulting key USBWA members on the women's beat and several others, here is our preseason Top 25 and 15 more (alphabetical), who, among some others, received consideration.

— Mel Greenberg

Women's Preseason Top 25
1. Connecticut
2. Texas
3. UCLA
4. Baylor
5. Ohio State
6. Louisville
7. South Carolina
8. Oregon
9. Notre Dame
10. Mississippi State
11. Tennessee
12. Stanford
13. Duke
14. West Virginia
15. Maryland
16. Missouri
17. Michigan
18. Marquette
19. California
20. Florida State
21. South Florida
22. Texas A&M
23. Virginia
24. Oregon State
25. DePaul

Others considered (alphabetical): Arizona State, Chattanooga, Drake, Gonzaga, Kentucky, LSU, Miami, Michigan State, New Mexico State, Oklahoma, Quinnipiac, Syracuse, Temple, Vanderbilt and Villanova.

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