[Photo: Andy Lyons/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images]
Midnight Madness has happened. Teams have played open scrimmages in front of their adoring home crowds. Yup, college basketball is back for another exciting year with many fascinating story lines. We’ve broken it down into five key stories we will be most intrigued to see play out.
1. Will the real Andrew Wiggins please stand up?
How good is this 6-7 forward from Canada? The McDonalds All-American has a reputation of being a high flyer, so much so that athletic giant adidas was rumored to be willing to shell out a 180 million dollar contract once he leaves school for the NBA. The signing of Wiggins vaulted Kansas into the national title contender discussion, as his impact is projected to be nothing short of spectacular. The expectations are always lofty in Lawrence, and they might be even higher for this athletic young wing.
2. The Kentucky Freshman
Nine of the sixteen player Kentucky roster are listed as Freshman. This is not unfamiliar territory for Kentucky and Coach Cal as year in and year out they have sent multiple athletes into the NBA. Two years ago, the young talent resulted in a national title, whereas last year’s youth led to a first round exit in the NIT. Preseason rankings put the young Wildcats as the nations #1 team, but with early season tests against Michigan St. and North Carolina, we will quickly find out how good this squad can be.
3. Cinderella goes to Arlington
Last year the Cinderella team dancing in Atlanta was the Shockers of Wichita State. The Shockers have a promising squad back for this season, but a lot of work has to be done if they are to make another Final Four. Will it be their turn yet again for a national title run, or will another mid-major step up and try and make a fairy tale ending of their own?
4. Big Ten: Can they be topped?
With conference realignment and the Big East losing some of its power schools to other conferences, we are curious to see what conference can challenge the dominance that the Big Ten has held for the past couple seasons. With juggernauts like Michigan, Michigan St, Indiana and Ohio State, the Big Ten is yet again one of the nations deepest and most talented conferences.
5. Louisville: Let’s run it back.
Louisville might have the weapons to retain the title as the nation’s basketball elite. The departure of guard Peyton Siva and center Gorgui Dieng to the NBA have left voids on both offense and defense for the cardinal, but they still are loaded with a ton of veteran talent. Russ Smith had moments of brilliance on the court during last season’s NCAA Tournament Title run, and he will have to continue if they are to cut down the nets in Arlington yet again.