Can Wisconsin make the Final Four for the third time in four years? Several college basketball insiders seem to think so.
Sports Illustrated released it college basketball expert predictions on Wednesday, and there was lots of love for the Badgers. SI’s Seth Davis, Luke Winn and Chris Johnson picked Wisconsin to reach the Final Four next spring.
Will Illinois take a step forward?
SI’s Brian Hamilton picked Illinois to be this season’s breakthrough team.
“John Groce may be positioned for the biggest swing season in memory,” Hamilton wrote. “He’s working for a new athletic director and, as such, he’s likely to be fired if his team misses the NCAA tournament for the fourth straight season. But the Illini also have enough talent to earn a spot in the field of 68.”
Is Maryland overrated?
Winn and Johnson selected Maryland as the team that they’re “not buying the hype on.”
“Their non-(Melo) Trimble guards will need to significantly outperform projections to make them an actual Big Ten contender,” Winn wrote.
Lots of love for OG Anunoby
David and Hamilton selected Indiana sophomore forward as this year’s breakout player, while Johnson chose him as this season’s “impact defender.”
“His athleticism and speed have drawn comparisons to Victor Oladipo, but Anunoby, a 6-foot-8 sophomore forward, is already a much better defender than Oladipo was at this stage,” Davis wrote.
Does Michigan have the country’s best shooter?
Michigan senior guard Duncan Robinson began his college career at Division III Williams College but now has the chance to be one of the best shooters in the country at the Division I level. SI’s Chris Johnson picked Robinson as the best shooter in the nation.
“As a sophomore in 2015–16, the 6-foot-8 wing knocked down 45% of his three-point attempts, ranked in the nation’s top 35 in effective field goal percentage and averaged 1.2 points per possession on spot up jumpers, according to Synergy Sports,” Johnson wrote.
Is Richard Pitino’s seat getting warm?
Hamilton chose Minnesota coach Richard Pitino as the coach on the hottest seat.
“Multiple off-court incidents have dinged the program under Pitino’s watch,” he wrote. “And there’s a new athletic director, Mark Coyle, running the department. Pretty much every factor that can work against a coach is working against Pitino.”