There's nothing better in the men's college basketball preseason than looking at the new rosters and getting a feel for what might be in store. I had to wait for the dust to settle with all the player and coach movement during the offseason. With 13 of the 18 returning players that averaged 19-plus points last season transferring and six of the top eight 20-point scorers on the move as well, the roster shakeup was noticeable across the board.
I enjoy watching the progress of youngsters that move from role players to PTPers. With only four of the 19 players returning that made first-, second- or third-team All-America teams last year, it's been a joy to dig deep and project the stars for the upcoming season.
So, below are my "All-Rolls Royce" preseason teams for the season. They're full of proven stars, some on the rise and all-around ballers. Note: I don't put freshmen on these teams as they haven't played yet.
Purdue's Zach Edey leads my squads as one of the dominant post players last season, who had the Boilermakers rolling until they got untracked in the first round by 16-seed Fairleigh Dickinson. The Boilermakers will once again be the favorites to win the Big 10 and finally make a deep run in March Madness.
North Carolina got a huge boost with Armando Bacot returning for his fifth year of eligibility. As the Tar Heels' all-time leader in rebounds and double-doubles, he'll be the anchor, hoping to lead North Carolina to its glory days of deep tournament runs.
Bruce Pearl puts together solid teams annually and Johni Broome looks to lead theAuburn Tigers on a deep NCAA run after they surrendered a 10-point halftime lead in a second-round loss to Houston in the Big Dance. He's a powerful inside player capable of averaging a double-double just like he did during his sophomore campaign.
Tyler Kolek and four other starters will be returning to Marquette for the 2023-24 season, bringing about another case of unfinished business that coincided with a second-round loss to Michigan State. The reigning Big East Player of the Year is one of the top returning guards in the country.
And, a Bob Cousy Award finalist last season, Boo Buie returns for his fifth season as a Wildcat after scoring the third-most points in Northwestern history last season, with 588. His leadership should put the Wildcats in the Dance for a second straight season, a program first.
Here are the teams.
Zach Edey, Purdue Boilermakers
Armando Bacot, North Carolina Tar Heels
Johni Broome, Auburn Tigers
Tyler Kolek, Marquette Golden Eagles
Boo Buie, Northwestern Wildcats
Tyson Walker, Michigan State Spartans