How accurate is my projection of Michigan State, Kansas, Duke and Kentucky being the four best squads coming into the 2013-14 season?

The wait to ascertain it isn’t going to be long.

Tuesday night in Chicago, during as terrific a non-NCAA Tournament double-header as we will have seen in a long while, Michigan State plays Kentucky and Kansas takes on Duke.

The double-dip should prove a delight for college hoops fans across the world, as well as the general managers and scouting directors of all 30 NBA franchises.

I wouldn’t be at all startled if the two games produce 15 first-round selections next June – that’s right, one-half of the players, if not more, may be chosen in the first round of the 2014 NBA Draft.

Get the DVRs fired up, folks.

Rank (Last Week)
2012-13 Record
1. Michigan St.
Coach Tom Izzo has a wonderful blend of leadership, veteran depth, post and perimeter strength, and “go-to” players.
2. Kansas
It might not be the case right now, but this could prove to be the most gifted – and best, period – team Bill Self has coached by March.
3. Duke
In Rodney Hood, Jabari Parker and Rasheed Sulaimon, Mike Krzyzewski has as good a trio of scorers as there are anywhere other than an NBA roster.
4. Kentucky
If freshman point guard Andrew Harrison can provide leadership, steadiness and playmaking from his point guard position, then the Wildcats will be in the Final Four minus a major calamity.
5. North Carolina
As much as is possible with a program of this stature, a lot of observers are sleeping a bit on the Tar Heels and their oh-so-underrated point guard, Marcus Paige.
6. Ohio State
The Buckeyes returned a whole lot from a team that came very close to getting to play in Atlanta on the final weekend of last season.
7. Louisville
We might not think so until sometime in March but this could prove to be a deeper squad than the one that one the national title last season.
8. Florida
There are those who would suggest that the Gators, and not the team located in Lexington, will prove to be the best squad in the Southeastern Conference this season.
9. Oklahoma State
Marcus Smart is the best all-around college player in the country. Enough said on that topic.
10. Arizona
Duquesne transfer T.J. McConnell may be an even more important piece to the “Can Arizona get to the Final Four?” question as is freshman Aaron Gordon.
11. Michigan
Trey Burke may have departed but no even begin to surmise that the Wolverines are no longer capable of making another Final Four run.
12. Syracuse
Jim Boeheim’s teams are so consistently good as to almost be taken for granted.
13. Virginia
Here is just another reason as to why the Atlantic Coast Conference has never been deeper in potential Final Four clubs.
14. Memphis
With all the hype surrounding the freshman classes of Kansas and Kentucky the one that enrolled at Memphis is quite impressive, indeed.
15. Connecticut

Do the Huskies have the best group of guards in the country this season? My inclination is to suggest “yes”.

16. Wichita State
Cleanthony Early – just let the name roll off the tip of your tongue. Cool, eh? He’s a heck of a player, as well. And he’s surrounded by a lot of other very good players and the whole crew is overseen by a terrific coach.

THE NEXT 16 (alphabetically): Baylor, Colorado, Creighton, Gonzaga, Harvard, Indiana, Iowa, Marquette, New Mexico, Notre Dame, Oregon, Pittsburgh, Stanford, UCLA, Virginia Commonwealth and Wisconsin.

Frank Burlison has been covering hoops for 30+ years for a variety of publications.

Follow Frank on twitter @FrankieBur. Also make sure to follow his website at College coaching staffs interested in Burlison’s scouting service should contact him at [email protected]


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