With about 50 days left until the next NCAA basketball season, nearly all of the rosters are completed and ready to go. Most of the focus is on the teams between the powerhouse conferences and who is likely to qualify for the fourth final. However, there are plenty of mediocre programs with fairly massive slates for the 2022-23 campaign that should be highlighted.
This annual article discusses the best programs outside of energy conferences. This means disqualifying any team from the ACC, Big Ten, Big East, AAC, Big 12, SEC and Pac-12. This will probably be the last year to do so for the American Athletic Conference given how much of the reorganization is set to affect them.
It also means that all teams from the Atlantic 10, Mountain West, WCC, Missouri Valley, and the rest of the smaller conferences are included, with no exceptions. Mainly because when it’s relevant, people treat them like “middle majors” so I might as well give them a place to get to know them. Here are the top 25 teams overall, along with some honorable mentions.
Honorable Mention: Towson Tigers
The Tigers lost just three CAA games with a total of 13 points and reclaimed four of the top five scorers from last season. The duo of Cameron Holden and Nicholas Timberlake are back after uniting to produce 28.0 ppg and 13.4 rpg and should be the big favorites to win the league once again.
Hm: Kent State Golden Flashes
Kent State was the regular MAC season champion and back-to-back Conference Player of the Year Sincere Carry (17.9 ppg, 4.8 apg), as well as the team’s other double-digit scorer for Malique Jacobs. Their 14-game winning streak up to the conference matches gives the Golden Shimmer title a lot of momentum heading into this year and they might be the favorites to repeat as well.
Your Majesty: Boise State Bronco
Despite losing a lot of size up front and on the flanks, Boise State still had a pair of outstanding freshmen Marcus Shaver and Tyson Degenhart to manage the attack. If they can get some production from the former five-star potential player and new striker Sadraque NgaNga, they’ll likely stay in the upper tier of Mountain West.
Your Majesty: San Francisco Duns
Despite the lack of head coach Todd Golden and star goalkeeper Jamaree Bouyea, don’t expect Dons to hold back much in the WCC. Khalil Shabazz returned for the fifth year, while Terrell Roberts and Marcus Williams recharged the backyard. If the transfer of Tony Rochak can be a leading player on the front court, they will contend for second place in the league.
HM: Iona Giles
Having head coach Rick Pettino will always make the Gaels a contender in the MAAC but instead of having two head guards up front, it should be the committee’s approach. Walter Clayton and Berrick Jean-Louis are returning players, while Anton Brookshire and Dennis Jenkins are newcomers with potential. Star Nelly Jr. Joseph is the star of the cast, but the supporting cast is more of a question than last year.