CANMORE, Alta. — With over 5,200 players slated to play collegiate basketball in Division I this season, there are talented players from coast to coast. Some of them are household names, while there are plenty of players who people haven’t heard of, but are demanding of your attention.
The majority of fans tend to focus on the power five conferences, turning a blind eye to the smaller programs. When you dig deeper, you’ll see that the non-power five schools have players who could just as easily play for a power conference program.
When it comes to sophomore guards in the NCAA, the list of talented players goes on and on. With so many players, it was nearly impossible to cut the list down to just 10 players without leaving star-caliber players off the list.
Much like we did last season, we have broken down each class into guards and forwards. Then, the list of guards and forwards were broken down even further into multiple parts, as there was too much talent to do it any other way.
Each will have 10 sophomore guards who will become household names in 2017-18, along with five others to keep a flag on as the season progresses.
With the exhibition season in full swing, and coming to a close early this week, that can mean only one thing.
The 2016-17 college basketball regular season is just around the corner!
Things get underway Friday, November 11th at Noon EST with the first regular season game of the season, and there will be a plethora of talent on display across all 32 conferences all season long.
Before the season gets started, we decided to hand out some preseason hardware, in the form of our Conference Player of the Year award and All-Conference Teams.
Along with that, we have the College Court Report All-Americans, and the Mid-Major Player of the Year Preseason Watch List. Links to all of the conference awards and the Watch List can be found at the bottom of each article.
Heading into conference play, the UT-Arlington Mavericks have quietly gone about their business in 2015-16, putting together a rather impressive non-conference resume. They have wins over the Ohio State Buckeyes and the Memphis Tigers under their belts, and have been a mainstay in the CCR Mid-Major Power Rankings this season.
To start off Sun Belt play, the Mavericks welcomed the Georgia State Panthers to town in another tough challenge. Year after year, the Panthers seem to be a top contender in the conference, and should find themselves near the top of the conference again this season despite the losses of R.J. Hunter and Ryan Harrow.
During the 2015 NCAA Tournament, we saw our fair share of upsets over the duration of the tournament. We saw some Cinderella runs, some unexpected runs, and some big individual performances as the field was narrowed down from 68 to Duke cutting down the nets at the end of it all.
Two of the biggest upsets took place on the first day of the Round of 64. Georgia State and UAB entered the tournament as 14-seeds in their respective regionals, and were projected by many to lose their opening round game.
Nobody told them they weren’t supposed to win, and they proved everyone wrong in the process.
In two of the best games of the entire tournament, UAB took down #3 Iowa State in the South Regional, and Georgia State took down #3 Baylor just hours later in the West Regional.
Both teams would see their Cinderella runs end before they even got started, as both would bow out of the tournament in the Round of 32. UAB would lose to UCLA, and Georgia State would get knocked out by Xavier.
Both of the opening round upsets created more excitement and buzz around the NCAA Tournament, and has since led to a ton of optimism for the future around both of these programs.
But, two questions remain. One, can they recreate that magic again in the 2016 NCAA Tournament if they find themselves in the same situation as last year? Two, which of the two schools has the better chance to pull off another upset?