College basketball season is almost here.
ESPN’s expert and well-known excitable analyst Dick Vitale released his Top 40 teams for the upcoming season, starting with Duke at No. 1. But there’s a strong Big Ten influence throughout the list, as five teams rank in his Top 20. In fact, eight Big Ten schools find a spot in his Top-40 list.
Here’s where Vitale has the ranked Big Ten teams:
6. Michigan State
34. Ohio State
Nigel Hayes has stated he’s hungry. Bronson Koenig is a clutch performer. Greg Gard will have a Big Ten contender.
— Dick Vitale (@DickieV) October 18, 2016
Vitale is optimistic on Michigan State because of Miles Bridges and Eron Harris, saying Bridges will “become a star.” He also voiced some concerns about the Hoosiers, saying Thomas Bryant must be more consistent inside and James Blackmon Jr. needs to be healthy.
All these Big Ten mentions indicate the conference could have one of the most interesting title races in the entire country.