ESPN's NCAA "Way-Too-Early Top 25"

Sports are all about competition, so we like to compare those who were the best, are the best, and will be the best. “Will be” is up for debate.

We are only about a month or two removed from the NCAA Tournament Championship. That said, college basketball fans still need things to chat about, right? Enter the good people over at ESPN, that have compiled a list of which teams will head into the 2019-20 season with the highest expectations.

Not all incoming freshman have committed to their collegiate teams yet, so the list will likely look a bit different by the end of the summer. Many top prospects have committed, so we are finally getting to see lists like this one that are adjusted to account for incoming talent as well as those that have graduated or declared for the NBA Draft.

James Wiseman, who we had the pleasure of covering at the 2019 Tournament of Champions, is the number one incoming prospect in the country. He has helped to get Memphis into the top 25 list below. Though North Carolina lost arguably it’s five best guys, they are still at 12 due to incoming players such as guard, Cole Anthony.

Though they are the reigning champs, Virginia is just at 14 following the loss of three key players to the NBA Draft. The return of Cassius Winston has made Michigan State the consensus number one while Duke is number two despite losing Zion Williamson, RJ Barrett, and Cam Reddish to the draft. Incoming players such as Cassius Stanley will look to keep Duke more than relevant.

Below is the top 25 NCAA rankings for 2019-20 per ESPN:

  1. Michigan State

  2. Duke

  3. Kentucky

  4. Villanova

  5. Michigan

  6. Gonzaga

  7. Ohio State

  8. Louisville

  9. Maryland

  10. Kansas

  11. Seton Hall

  12. North Carolina

  13. Arizona

  14. Virginia

  15. Oregon

  16. Texas Tech

  17. Washington

  18. Memphis

  19. Houston

  20. Utah State

  21. Saint Mary’s

  22. Baylor

  23. Florida

  24. Creighton

  25. Tennessee

A couple of bubble teams that retained most of their core are Creighton and Saint Mary’s, which is why they are on this list. Experience goes a long way in the college game. Seton Hall has some big questions around returning players, but Ohio State is coming back strong.

These rankings figure to shift before the season begins, but it is fun to take a look at where schools are slated so early. College basketball fans have to talk about something! For the fans that are also interested in the NBA, high school ball, and just basketball in general, keep checking back here where hoops are always in season!

Ja Morant headlines list of players declared for the 2019 NBA Draft

NCAA underclassmen must declare before April 22nd to be eligible for the 2019 NBA Draft.

If these NCAA players opt to withdraw their declaration and return to college, they have until May 29th to do so. The NBA Draft Combine runs from May 16-20. So, we are still early in the window of declaration, but things are getting real with NCAA March Madness standout, Ja Morant throwing his hat into the ring.

As it stands today, Murray State’s Ja Morant would be projected at or around the second overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. The consensus number one pick is still Duke’s Zion Williamson by a decent margin. Williamson has yet to declare, and his fellow Duke teammates have not either. Don’t worry; they will. Fellow freshman, RJ Barrett is projected to be picked in the top three with Zion and Ja.

Those players that have declared have likely signed with agents. How college students can afford professional agents is an article for another day.

Below is the list of declared players as it stands right now (per Yahoo! Sports):

Tyus Battle, Syracuse

Bol Bol, Oregon

Ky Bowman, Boston College

Daniel Gafford, Arkansas

Darius Garland, Vanderbilt

Dewan Henandez, Miami

Nassir Little, UNC

Jalen McDaniels, San Diego State

Ja Morant, Murray State

Shamorie Ponds, St. John’s

Naz Reid, LSU

Simi Shittu, Vanderbilt

Coby White, UNC

Kris Wilks, UCLA

The same Yahoo! Sports page names the following players as still “Testing the water.” This means that the players have declared to gauge interest, but have likely not gone so far as to hire agents and or go all-in.

Jordan Bone, Tennessee

Oshae Brissett, Syracuse

Charlie Brown, Saint Joseph’s

Amir Coffey, Minnesota

Steve Enoch, Louisville

Talen Horton-Tucker, Iowa State

Nathan Knight, William & Mary

Sagaba Konate, West Virginia

Jalen LeQue, N.C. State

Jaden Nwora, Louisville

Miye Oni, Yale

Reggie Perry, Mississippi State

Isaiah Reese, Canisius

Derrik Smits, Valparaiso

Jimmy Whitt, SMU

With the likes of ZIon absent from this list, you know that there are many names still on their way. It is still exciting to see players such as Ja Morant, Nassir Little, and Bol Bol already on here. As we near the April 22nd deadline, many of the names you are hearing amidst the March Madness will start to pop up.

You know we will keep you up-to-date if anything big happens leading up to the combine and the 2019 NBA Draft. Remember to follow us on Twitter @BBall_Movement, Instagram, and like us on Facebook to stay in the know!

March Madness 2019 update

March Madness is half way through the second round of games. Round one featured twelve upsets in two days.

Perhaps the maddest portion of March Madness, the first round features 32 basketball games in a two day stretch. This naturally leads to big moments each year; we see breakout performances, underdog stories begin, and elite teams assert dominance. March Madness 2019 was no different, featuring all of the above.

Perhaps the most impressive individual performance came from Murray State’s Ja Morant, who had the tournament’s first triple double since 2012. Though Murray State upset Marquette as a 12 seed over a 5 seed, this could hardly be considered a breakout game for Morant. He has had the look of a top-3 draft prospect for months.

Murray State did fall back to Earth in round two, losing to Florida State University. We are seeing plenty of the nations top programs plow ahead through the second round such as Kentucky, Michigan, Gonzaga,and Michigan State. Kansas dropped a tough one to a surging Auburn squad, while LSU edged out Maryland. LSU is surprising some doubters after in-season turbulence (death of a player, suspension of their head coach).

Tennessee is underway now against Iowa and are off to a hot start. Other big programs such as Duke, North Carolina, and Virginia tip off this evening.

Villanova will not get to defend their title, losing to Purdue yesterday. All 1 seeds are still alive, but there are many games left to be played. While there have been plenty of upsets, none have been as surprising so far as what we saw last year from UMBC or Loyola. As the Sweet 16 takes shape, that may be subject to change.

Women’s NCAA update

The lady’s bracket only saw five first round upsets to the men’s 12, but still had plenty of exciting games. One of those upsets was the 11 seed Missouri State Lady Bears, who toppled 6 seed DePaul 89 to 78. The Lady Bears play again tomorrow at 8PM Central against Iowa State on ESPN.

A few of the top dogs in this bracket will be tested soon, so there will be plenty of opportunities for more drama. Things have played out as expected so far, so look for change any time now.

UCONN, seeded as a 2 (the lowest they have been in years) plays Buffalo tonight, who had an upset victory in the first round. A chip on the Huskies shoulder could prove dangerous for any team in their way. Will they storm back to the top of the NCAAW world? Or will Lousiville, Baylor, or someone else have their time to shine?

Tune in to find out!

2019 NCAA March Madness is here

Perhaps the most exciting stretch of basketball each year is upon us - NCAA March Madness is set to begin.

Get pumped basketball fans! The 2019 NCAA March Madness tournament bracket has been released. Last year’s tournament delivered generous amounts of madness, so hopefully this year can live up to the hype as well. We may not get another 16 seed toppling a 1 seed, but hey, we can hope to get close right?

Of the 68 teams named to the nation’s top collegiate tourney, 32 are conference champs and the rest were selected by a committee using various algorithms as well as a bit of objectivity per usual. We will get things whittled down to a clean 64 squads after the “First Four” which will be played on March 19 & 20. The first round will begin Thursday March 21st.

The top seeds are ACC heavy: Duke, Gonzaga, Tennessee, and North Carolina. One of the more controversial seedings is that Michigan State is a 2 seed, where many believed they should be a 1. Adding insult to injury, they are in the same bracket as overall 1 seed, Duke. Assuming both teams advance all the way (and assuming is a dangerous game anyway), it would certainly make for an interesting Elite Eight matchup.

To go all the way, you have to beat the top teams anyway, so who can really complain? To be the best, you must beat the best. Michigan St. is set to start the tournament facing Missouri Valley Conference champs, Bradley.

An unfortunate trend over the years with this tourney is that mid-majors are overlooked in favor of middling schools from big conferences. This year’s bracket bucked that trend a bit and we see some smaller universities in the mix. Everyone loves an underdog story and this year is providing some interesting opportunities for that.

Here is a link to NCAA.com if you would like to view and/or print a bracket

Filling in a perfect bracket may be virtually impossible, but taking a stab at it is one of the sport’s most fun traditions. Sports fans love competition, so what could be better then putting your opinions into a bracket ready to compare with family, friends, teammates, and coworkers.

ESPN had some notes on the women’s NCAA rankings, but that bracket has not yet been released. Congratulations though to the Missouri State Lady Bears who won the Missouri Valley Conference and will be heading to the big dance! Stay tuned for coverage on the lady’s side of things soon.

Good luck to everyone on your brackets and good luck to all of the athletes looking to make a splash on college basketball’s biggest stage.

Keep checking back with The Basketball Movement for more tournament coverage as well as local teams, NBA news, and action straight from our home courts. Merry Madness!

Happy International Women's Day from The Basketball Movement!

In sports, school, business, well… everywhere, there are female figures both prominent and unnoticed that are deserving of appreciation.

Basketball offers an incredible platform for women at every level of the sport. We are seeing more female coaches, referees, and sponsored athletes than ever before. Naturally, society still has room for improvement in terms of acknowledgment and appreciation of women, but we are getting there!

In thinking of the most touted accomplishment’s by women at the height of the sport, things have been unfortunately stagnant. The NBA is on only its third female referee since Violet Palmer broke that barrier in 1997. Becky Hammon broke barriers as the first female assistant coach, but she has already been at it for five years. It would be nice to see more movement on this front in the Association.

It would not be difficult to imagine Hammon stepping into a head coaching position in the NBA after such a successful tenure under legendary coach, Gregg Popovich. We’ll see.

The WNBA is currently as talented if not more so than it has ever been. All-time leading scorer, Diana Taurasi is still doing her thing in Phoenix, as well as the legendary Sue Bird for Seattle Storm. There is also plenty of young talent such as Elena Delle Donne, A’ja Wilson, Breanna Stewart, Brittney Griner, Maya Moore… you get it.

Unfortunately, despite the enormous talent in the league, revenue streams are not strong enough to support player salaries that rival their male counterparts. Basketball purists can appreciate the talent, but without increased support, many of the top players may start venturing overseas to make more money. Let’s keep these ladies here, shall we?

The NCAAW scene is thriving. March 2018 provided as much madness as we can remember for some time on the lady’s side. The sustained greatness of programs like UCONN mixed with up-and-comers such as Mississippi State has made for some incredibly entertaining basketball.

Locally, women’s basketball is going strong as well. The Missouri State Lady Bears are looking like a contender in the upcoming Missouri Valley Conference Tournament, currently seeded second with only one game to play. The Drury Lady Panthers? Oh, they can’t lose. 28-0. Crazy.

Ranked at the top, the GLVC tournament is theirs to lose. The first game is tonight at 6:00PM in Illinois against McKendree, who are winless against the Panthers all-time, including a 17 point loss earlier this season.

Success abounds at the high school level as well, with many of our Yanders Law players and The Basketball Movement athletes showing out all season long. The future of women’s basketball is strong and we hope to help in making it stronger.

Special shoutouts also to all of the mothers, grandmothers, and other guardians of basketball players. Often unsung heroes, we see these special ladies giving so much to their players to put them in the best possible position to succeed. We see you, and we appreciate you.

Happy International Women’s Day again from your friends at The Basketball Movement!

What is your plan for getting better?

Many of you are still deep in your basketball season, be it high school, college, or the NBA. What is your plan once it’s over?

This is one of our favorite times of the year for basketball (well, if we’re being honest it’s always our favorite time of the year for basketball). Players are at their busiest because regular seasons are winding down. From high school district contests to the NBA Playoffs, seasons are plateauing.

Even though players are busy, the best-of-the-best still find time to put in extra reps. Many of the players that come through our doors this time of year are men and women that have separated themselves from the boys and girls. Shout out to those players for coming in to work after their teammates have finished practice and gone home. We see you.

We also understand that it isn’t always possible to find adequate time for these extra reps. Especially at the collegiate level on down, other factors such as school work and family take up time in the evening or sometimes early morning. Even a few sessions a month with us can make a world of difference though. Anyway - down time is coming.

It is a bit early for looking ahead to the offseason, but it certainly doesn’t hurt. Whether your team is bounced in the first round or goes all the way, the season will end eventually. Once it’s over, do you have a plan to continue getting better?

Even the top athletes will lose too much ground if they wait until the next season to pick a basketball back up. Don’t lose your edge this offseason. Continue to improve so you can come back stronger, smarter, faster, and more skilled next season. The Basketball Movement wants to help.

Even as a multi-sport athlete, you still must make time to hone your craft. Otherwise, the competition may catch up, eclipse you, or pull further ahead of you. Contact The Basketball Movement to make a plan. We want to work with you to take your game to the next level. Show up to your first practice next season and wow your coaches and teammates. Coaches quickly start forming starting lineups in their heads as well as schemes, plays, and pecking order; insert yourself into the front of their mind.

Shoot us an email at basketballmovement@yahoo.com and be sure to include a contact number. One of our coaches will be in contact with you or your athlete so we can discuss the ways we can help. Skill development is our bread and butter, but what sets us apart is our conditioning, strength training, basketball IQ enhancement, film study, nutrition and stretching tips, and wealth of basketball knowledge and expertise.

If you are ready to get serious about getting better, contact The Basketball Movement.

NCAA home stretch power rankings

March is closing in, meaning we have a better idea each day of which teams will make the big dance.

With NCAA hoops hitting the home stretch, many teams are undoubtedly wondering where they will stand at the end. ESPN has updated its power rankings following some big games this week. We dive into those rankings to see how things are shaping up near the top with March Madness on the horizon.

Below are ESPN’s ranks for the top 16

  1. Duke (23-3)

  2. Virginia (23-2)

  3. Tennessee (24-2)

  4. Gonzaga (26-2)

  5. Kentucky (22-4)

  6. North Caroline (22-5)

  7. Michigan (24-3)

  8. Houston (25-1)

  9. Michigan State (22-5)

  10. Kansas (20-6)

  11. Marquette (22-4)

  12. Purdue (19-7)

  13. Texas Tech (21-5)

  14. Nevada (24-2)

  15. LSU (21-5)

  16. Wisconsin (18-8)

Despite the upset of North Carolina over Duke in their highly-touted matchup, the needle did not move too far on either team. The impact of Zion Williamson getting injured in the opening minutes had a deeply felt impact on the game instantly.

As Williamson’s shoe exploded and he went down with a knee sprain (not expected to be serious), thoughts naturally turned to other players that were “unable to play due to injury” that were able to go to the NBA unscathed. Duke has seen this before in the form of Kyrie Irving. With Zion set to make millions in the NBA next year, it would be tough to blame him for playing things safe.

In a case of perfect timing, the NBA is currently considering lowering their age of eligibility from 19 to 18.

Anyway, Duke is still set to hold its number one spot on the backs of its touted freshman. Many pundits expected Kansas to be higher on this list so late in the season. They could still make for an unfortunate opponent for some teams should they garner a lower seed come tournament time. Purdue is sitting a bit lower than expected as well.

Nevada and to a greater extent, Houston, are the pleasant surprises on this list. Their strong play has demanded attention and thrust them directly into the mix of the nation’s top teams.

Women’s bracket looking familiar

If March Madness started today, we would be seeing a lot of familiar faces near the top. The 1-seeds would be: UConn, Baylor, Louisville, and Oregon. The 2-seeds would be Mississippi State (who can no longer play underdog after consecutive great seasons), NC State, Stanford, and Notre Dame.

Perhaps March Madness’ biggest individual hero last year, Arike Ogunbowale just recently set an all-time scoring record for Notre Dame.

As the regular season winds down, our thoughts are full steam ahead to March Madness. One-and-done tournaments don’t always produce the truest results in terms of the most talented teams. However, the luck factor, heat checks, and meteoric rise of teams and players make it an incredible event to witness.

Who will be this year’s Arike Ogunbowale or Donte Divincenzo? Follow along with us on social media as we dive into one of the most exciting months in basketball. We’ll see you there!

Updated NCAA basketball power rankings

As things are beginning to take shape in the college basketball landscape, ESPN has released updated power rankings. Any surprises?

ESPN provides one of the most comprehensive power ranking systems available. It does typically favor “power conferences”, but with smaller schools making noise year after year, these types of rankings are slowly becoming more inclusive.

Kansas, Gonzaga, and Duke are all right around where they were expected to be at this stage in the NCAA basketball season. Duke’s freshman are looking more polished than many expected however.

The other top-four team that many expected to see for the year is Kentucky, who is listed on ESPN’s list at number nine. A lack of perimeter defense has proved to be a vulnerable point for the Wildcats, though they currently only have one loss.

After a strong start to the year, Michigan is more than deserving of the number four spot.

The full list from ESPN is shown below:

  1. Kansas

  2. Gonzaga

  3. Duke

  4. Michigan

  5. Nevada

  6. Virginia

  7. Auburn

  8. Tennessee

  9. Kentucky

  10. Texas Tech

  11. Wisconsin

  12. Virginia Tech

  13. Florida State

  14. North Carolina

  15. Michigan State

  16. Arizona State

Reigning NCAA basketball champions, Villanova is absent from the top 16 at this point. The Wildcats dropped a pair of games early; One to Michigan and another to Furman (South Carolina). They do appear to be back on track somewhat.

NCAA Women’s rankings

At the top: Guess who? The rankings on the lady’s side of things may be even more predictable than the men’s at this point in the year.

If you follow women’s college hoops or even just watched the bracket unfold during March Madness this past season, you will recognize most of the teams toward the top this list as perennial basketball powers.

Full list per ESPN:

  1. UCONN

  2. Notre Dame

  3. Oregon

  4. Baylor

  5. Louisville

  6. Mississippi State

  7. Maryland

  8. Oregon State

  9. Tennessee

  10. NC State

  11. Stanford

  12. Texas

  13. California

  14. Minnesota

  15. Syracuse

  16. Iowa

Will we ever see one of these power rankings that does not have UCONN at the top? Well, yes, eventually. Probably.

In the meantime though, UCONN continues to draw top talent with it’s stellar program and reputation. Notre Dame appeared to threaten for the top spot, but lost to the Huskies in a head-to-head matchup. Tough to argue with results.

For more NCAA, NBA, prep hoops, and everything else, keep scrolling here or follow @BBall_Movement on Twitter to get all the updates.

Chase Adams - Lightning quick prospect

Prep star, Chase Adams is “betting on himself” after announcing de-commitment from Towson University. We believe it is a good bet.

Even for non-athletes, selecting a college or university can be a daunting task. For athletes like Chicago’s Chase Adams, choosing where you will go to school and put in hours, days, and weeks on the court is not one to be taken lightly. Adams knows this and is making sure that he is in charge of his down destiny.

After previously verbally committing to Towson University, Link Year Prep’s star point guard has opted to throw his name back out into the recruitment ring.

The Basketball Movement is a perfect platform for confident players like Chase as we work together to help him in the recruiting process. Of course we are here to also help improve his on-court skills along the way.

Time with The Basketball Movement

Adams told us it was his Link Year Prep Head Coach Adam Donyes that referred him to Coach Robert Yanders and The Basketball Movement. He says that there was an “instant connection” with Yanders.

I feel like he took me under his wing right away. At The Basketball Movement, I’ve learned to bet on myself and believe in myself when no one else does. No one can tell me what I can’t do.
— Chase Adams on Rob and The Movement

Coach Yanders has had success working with players of all sizes at every position. There is something special about his connection with quick guards that may be considered under-sized. Rob was able to make a career out of his quickness, tenacity, and skill - something that makes him very relatable for players like Chase Adams.

When asked how he stands out on the court with his unassuming stature, Chase said “By being a dog on the court”. He says he makes his teammates better, but can still score when the opportunity arises, which he displayed several weeks ago at The Basketball Movement Invitational Camp, where he was First-Team in our “NBA Division”.

His ability to lead, be a pest on defense, and speed up the offense is what will get him plenty of attention on the collegiate scene. He says that he is currently focusing on his defense and being a knock-down shooter in preparation for college ball.

Adams is taking his talents to the next level

The floor general says that his current focus is on where he is right now. He is in the gym everyday while helping his Link Year Prep team. They have some big games and tournaments coming up, so his immediate goals are to kill the tournaments and let the rest fall into place.

As mentioned earlier, Adams had previously committed verbally to Towson University. He told The Basketball Movement that he made his decision too quickly, before really giving himself a chance to grow and showcase himself every step of the way. He has an obvious appreciation for the Towson program, but he certainly owes it to himself to take his time in this decision.

I’m going to keep improving and play even better than I had been. I am excited to see which schools come into play now as I improve.
— Chase Adams

Anyone that has seen Adams in person or on video can attest to what he can do. His quickness, distribution skills, and surprising scoring punch will get him plenty of Division I attention. The Basketball Movement is excited to have had the opportunity to work with Chase and root him on as his career progresses. The program that lands him will be very lucky.

For more player bios, basketball news, and tips, you are in the right place. Remember to follow us on Twitter and Instagram and follow us on Facebook. Keep grinding!

NCAA basketball - Duke looks like the real deal

The NCAA basketball season has barely begun, but one team is already grabbing all the headlines.

I had every intention of writing a Duke basketball hype post on this website before the season began. I promise I did. I was going to talk about how their raw talent could take them all the way and prevail over their inexperience and suspect outside shooting. I ran out of time though, and the hype train is long gone, already packed with bandwagon passengers.

The season is still fresh, but Duke’s first game alone grabbed everyone’s attention as they walked all over Kentucky. Maybe I wasn’t the only one that saw all of this coming, but we should still all be sure to take time to bask in the brilliance of this ball team.

Somewhere (likely near a basketball court in North Carolina), Duke Head Coach Mike Krzyzewski has to realize what he and his staff managed to pull off this summer. Even for one of the nation’s premier collegiate programs, this had to be their top recruiting offseason. Honestly it may be the best recruiting job in the history of the NCAA.

Too soon? Perhaps. It is also too soon to rule out that possibility though, so cut me some slack.

Duke’s core is solidly founded in their three freshman stars. They were some of the top high school recruits in the nation and we are all witnessing why that was.

Zion Williamson is a freak. That is meant in the most complimentary way possible. It is one thing to be 6’7” with around a 40 inch vertical, but the teenager is also 285 pounds. Eventually he may need to shed a bit of that weight as he eyes the pro circuit, but right now it only magnifies the thunderous dunks and lane creation that make him one of the most unstoppable forces in college hoops.

Canadian-born RJ Barrett is also 6’7”, but at 202 pounds, he is a much more perimeter-oriented player. Where Williamson exudes raw power, Barrett has a cool presence that makes him the most polished starter for the Blue Devils at only 18 years old.

Somehow underappreciated, Cameron Reddish rounds out the freshman big three. Cam was one of the top high school prospects in the country and he is showing everyone why. At 6’8” he can shoot over defenses - and does. The sniper can score from anywhere on the floor and already looks like an NBA player.

We will be watching right along with everyone else to see if the success is a flash in the pan for Duke. After tracking the careers of its stars though, all signs point to their continued ascension.

For more high school, NCAA, and NBA basketball, keep scrolling here on our blog and follow us on Twitter!

NCAA - Preseason AP men's top 25 poll

The annual Associated Press rankings are out, giving us a glimpse at expected NCAAM basketball finishes.

This ranking is comprised of votes from prominent sports writers across the country. The writers fill in which teams they expect to finish where once the NCAA basketball season is said and done. The poll has proven to be a fairly accurate predictor of NCAA tournament contenders, if not always Final Four predictions.

The voting showed an expectation for a clear top-tier. The first four teams on the list were pretty consistent before more variation in the lower rankings. Kansas received 37 first place votes, making the Jayhawks an early favorite by a fair margin. Kansas has not always lived up to the hype when expectations are high, but this is a new season with a new crop of players. Anything can happen.

Obviously we lost a lot off last year’s team with Devonte’, Svi [Mykhailiuk], and Malik [Newman], so I’m a little surprised that the writers put us there this preseason... It’s definitely a spot we welcome and certainly know the goal is to be playing to that ranking by when it counts the most. With the young players, we know it’s going to take some time before we’re anywhere close to where we’re going to be, but I do like this team, and I think we have a chance to be very good
— Kansas' Bill Self to the AP

Kentucky is picked to finish second and received 19 first place votes. No other team received more than 4 first place votes in the poll. John Calipari’s squad is always unpredictable as it is filled with new faces every year. Those faces are always prominent ones however, and the squad should win a lot of games once again.

Gonzaga (3) and Duke (4) round out the top four selections. This is the highest Gonzaga has been ranked coming into a season. Duke had one of the best recruiting summers it has ever had, and will be looking to go all the way with its young core. Outside shooting may be an issue, but one that Mike Krzyzewski will probably find a way to work around.

Below is the list of the AP top 25 per ESPN:

AP preseason Top 25 poll

First-place votes in parentheses

1. Kansas (37)
2. Kentucky (19)
3. Gonzaga (1)
4. Duke (4)
5. Virginia (2)
6. Tennessee (1)
7. Nevada
8. North Carolina
9. Villanova (1)
10. Michigan State
11. Auburn
12. Kansas State
13. West Virginia
14. Oregon
15. Virginia Tech
16. Syracuse
17. Florida State
18. Mississippi State
19. Michigan
20. TCU
21. UCLA
22. Clemson
23. LSU
24. Purdue
25. Washington

Though they won the championship last season, Villanova lost some of its top talent and was picked to finish ninth. Loyola (Chicago) picked to win the Missouri Valley Conference only just missed the top 25, finishing a few votes behind Washington.

Other teams receiving votes are listed here, also per ESPN: Loyola (Chi) 162, Marquette 124, Indiana 98, Florida 71, Nebraska 35, Maryland 28, Wisconsin 24, Notre Dame 22, Cincinnati 21, Alabama 15, UCF 15, Buffalo 14, Arizona 14, Louisville 11, Miami 10, San Diego St 9, USC 6, Butler 6, Texas Tech 6, Texas 5, Arizona St 3, St. John's 3, Providence 2, Xavier 2, Missouri 1, NC State 1, Marshall 1, Davidson 1

Of course these rankings do little more than give us something to talk about as we anxiously await the start of the college basketball season. The first games begin November 6th, so we will start seeing how good these teams really are soon.

Good luck to everyone’s favorite team this season! For more college hoops, NBA basketball, and local stuff, keep it locked to The Basketball Movement and follow us on Twitter @BBall_Movement

Missouri State basketball is gearing up

Today’s Missouri State intrasquad scrimmages served as a reminder that NCAA hoops are on the horizon.

Southwest Missouri - it’s time to get excited. Bears basketball is on it’s way. Missouri State’s men’s and women’s teams held open practice this morning to have intrasquad scrimmages. The scrimmages have become a football homecoming weekend tradition. This also serves as a reminder that if you are a Drury or Evangel fan all the way through Duke or Kentucky, college hoops are right around the corner.

This morning’s scrimmages turned out plenty of MSU fans that were willing to break away from all the other homecoming activities. The players all looked good and the coaches spoke some encouraging words for those in attendance.

MSU’s men’s team was recently picked to place 8th in the MVC pre-season poll. Coach Dana Ford is confident that their hard work can drive them well beyond that mark. The men’s schedule is below, taken directly from missouristatebears.com

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The Lady Bears are expected to finish much higher in the Missouri Valley Conference. They were picked to end up 3rd overall in the preseason poll. The lady’s schedule is below, also taken from missouristatebears.com.

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2018 Basketball Hall of Fame inductees

One of the highest honors of the basketball world is to be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

The 2018 Hall of Fame inductees were announced a little while ago, but the Hall of Fame presenters have been announced recently. Below is a full list of this year's inductees as well as those that will be presenting them and the year that they themselves were inducted. This information is directly from hoophall.com

2018 Inductees and Presenters

Ray Allen, presented by Reggie Miller (’12)

Maurice “Mo” Cheeks, presented by Billy Cunningham (’86)and Julius Erving (’93)

Charles “Lefty” Driesell, presented by John Thompson (’99), Mike Krzyzewski (’01), and George Raveling (’15)

Grant Hill, presented by Isiah Thomas (’00), Mike Krzyzewski (’01)Patrick Ewing (’08)and Alonzo Mourning (‘14)                   

Jason Kidd, presented by Gary Payton (’13)

Steve Nash, presented by Don Nelson (’12)

Dino Radja, presented by Larry Bird (’98)

Charlie Scott, presented by Dave Cowens (’91), Julius Erving (’93)Larry Brown (’02)James Worthy (’03)Jerry Colangelo (’04)Roy Williams (’07)and Spencer Haywood (’15)

Katie Smith, presented by Dawn Staley (’13)      

Tina Thompson, presented by Cheryl Miller (’95)

Rod Thorn, presented by Jerry West (’80)

Rick Welts, presented by Bill Russell (’75), Lenny Wilkens (’89 & ’98), Annie Meyers (’93), Russ Granik (’13), and David Stern (’14)

This is clearly an impressive list of inductees, headlined by some big-name players. The bottom half of the list from Dino Radja to Rick Welts is comprised of individuals selected by committees that focus on preserving the game including: The Veterans Committee, International Committee, Early African Pioneers Committee, and the Contributor Committee.

Three point sniper Ray Allen is a two-time NBA Champion that rounded out one of the best Celtics squads since Bird, McHale, and Parish. Then, he helped LeBron James win one in Miami.

Steals artist Maurice "Mo" Cheeks was a four-time NBA All-Star, and is currently an assistant coach of the Oklahoma City Thunder. Charles "Lefty" Driesell is the only coach in NCAA history to be named Conference Coach of the Year in four different conferences, per hoophall.com

Jason Kidd was a 10-time NBA All-Star and Champion with the Dallas Mavericks. One of the best to never win a championship, Steve Nash was a two-time NBA MVP and eight-time All-Star.

Grant Hill was a seven-time NBA All-Star whose career was hampered by injury. He made his presence felt nonetheless. Katie Smith is a three-time Olympic gold medalist and Tina Thompson was a four-time WNBA champ.

The ceremony will be held at the hall in Springfield, Massachusetts Friday, September 7th. A television showing is likely to be held on NBA TV, if not ESPN. Tune in to hear from some of the greatest to play the game of basketball! 

Probably too early NCAAM BPI rankings

The NCAA men's college basketball season is just under 100 days away, but predictions are already being formulated.

Recently, ESPN released some summertime BPI rankings for guy's college hoops. Yes, we are a long way out, but as they mention, the October rankings are pretty predictive, so it's reasonable to think that some August numbers may be telling as well.

BPI rankings are unique, and take into account some in-depth factors that may look a little funny without some explanation. Here is a description of what it takes into account:

The preseason rankings are based on the following categories: the quality and quantity of the returning players on the team, including transfers and players who missed last season because of injury; recruiting rankings, both overall and the number of five-star prospects; and coaches’ past performances on offense and defense.
— Jeff Borzello, ESPN Staff Writer

It is important to note that the rankings are weighted on returning talent when examining the below list. This means that Kentucky and Duke in particular will be shown lower here than any other ranking list you will find. For the sake of consistency, they are left where they are to purely show BPI numbers.

A few other team that have surprising rankings are Marquette, West Virginia, Syracuse, and Wisconsin. The model likes Marquette and WV's offense and coaching style. Wisconsin and Syracuse seem to be based largely on returning talent. Below is the top 25 of the list, taken directly from ESPN:

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As mentioned, we are a long way out from college basketball season. It is fun to play the guessing game on where everyone will wind up, and there are a lot of numbers behind the above list. BPI doesn't account for everything such as Duke's massive influx of young talent, so things are certainly subject to change.

Keep an eye on The Basketball Movement for more college hoops stuff, NBA stuff, high school stuff, WNBA stuff, local stuff, and well, basketball stuff!

NCAA considering tournament expansion

The NCAA has received a proposal suggesting the big tournament be expanded from 68 to 72 teams.

The Atlantic Coast Conference is going to present legislation to the NCAA that will attempt to add four additional teams to the tournament next year. This according to Commissioner, John Swofford after the league's Spring meeting.

The proposal was endorsed by the men's basketball coaches. They believe an expansion to the NCAA tournament would mean more postseason opportunities for universities across the country.

One of the main issues that they are trying to address is the geographical problem that currently exists. The example used was west coast teams having to travel all the way to Dayton, Ohio. More teams and a new distribution of areas in the nation could cut down on quick travel turnarounds.

Another issue is one that comes up every year: teams that probably should be in, but don't quite make it. They noted that 68 of 351 Division-I teams make it. 72 would bring that figure up to 20%, still much lower than say, football bowl games.

Will this happen?

It is difficult to say. The ACC's proposal makes some valid arguments for the expansion. A growing field would also mean more opportunity for mid-majors to make it in.

On the other hand, 68 is already a lot. The NIT and others already serve to provide post-season play for many teams. Comparing the tournament to football bowl games is a tough argument too, because at the end of the day, the bowl is only one game.

Geographical restructuring makes a lot of sense. The expansion of the tournament is an interesting concept, but maybe not one the NCAA will put in place next season.

Other topics Swofford mentioned from their discussions is and expansion of three-point line distance, lane-widening, and shot clock tweaks.

To stay on top of NCAA basketball Movement, keep checking back with The Basketball Movement.

Highlight factory: NCAA edition

The Basketball Movement takes a look back at some of the most exciting moments and thunderous finishes from the 2017-18 NCAA season.

Basketball produces a lot of exciting highlights. Anything can happen when the clock is winding down or a player leaps to contest a shot. The 2017-18 NCAA basketball season has ended, with championships in the books and many players declaring for the NBA or WNBA drafts.

We wanted to take a few moments to look back at some of the most exciting and memorable plays from this past season. We open things up with some of the best buzzer-beaters through the regular season.

Buzzer-beaters create such an intense moment for both sides. One side is instantly crushed while the other feels elation. As the video showed, it can also put exclamation points on upsets by teams that played their hearts out to defeat higher-ranked opponents.

The next round of highlights are exciting for different reasons. Mainly though because: everyone loves slam dunks. Here are some of the best from the season.

Ladies NCAA highlights to end all highlights

In case you were under a rock during the final NCAA tournaments, you need to watch these shots by Arike Ogunbowale. As we mentioned before, buzzer-beaters are very exciting. For Ogunbowale, knocking down two monstrous buzzer-beaters two days apart made for some of he greatest moments ever in women's college ball. Take a look.

The tournament of course produced some great moments on both the men and women's side of things. For more on the tournament, we have plenty of good stuff for you here at The Movement.

As some leagues end, wind down, startup, or enter the playoffs, there will be plenty of basketball to keep up with. Keep it locked here at The Basketball Movement to stay in the loop and work on your own game.

We also outlined a few outstanding high school highlights here.

 

Players that have declared for the 2018 NBA draft

Hundreds of college players and multiple overseas prospects have already declared for the NBA draft.

The NBA draft only has two rounds with 30 picks apiece. So, only 60 of these prospects will actually be selected in the 2018 NBA draft. Certainly worth a shot if you think you have even an outside chance.

Draft time is also excellent for getting yourself in front of NBA teams and scouts, as they will host workouts and combines. There is also the Summer league, so even if you are not a lottery pick in the draft, you can be invited to play and test your skills against NBA or near-NBA level talent.

Players like Villanova's Donte Divincenzo's draft NBA draft stock will never be higher, so stay heads up for some big names declaring sooner than later.

As mentioned, hundreds of hopefuls have already declared. There are likely more to keep popping up in the coming weeks. The 2018 draft is not until June, so this is not a draft preview. Now is just the time for players to put themselves on the map. Let's check out some of the top prospects from ESPN's top 100.

Top 100 underclassmen or internationals who have declared for the draft and foregone college eligibility.

Top 100 Prospects: In

PLAYER, YEAR, TEAM, HT, POS

Deandre Ayton, Freshman, Arizona, 7-0, C

Jaren Jackson Jr., Freshman, Michigan St., 6-11, PF/C

Marvin Bagley III, Freshman, Duke, 6-11, PF/C

Mohamed Bamba, Freshman, Texas, 7-0, C

Michael Porter Jr., Freshman, Missouri, 6-10, SF/PF

Trae Young, Freshman, Oklahoma, 6-2, PG

Collin Sexton, Freshman, Alabama, 6-2, PG

Miles Bridges, Sophomore, Michigan St., 6-6, SF/PF

Robert Williams, Sophomore, Texas A&M, 6-10, C

Kevin Knox, Freshman, Kentucky, 6-9, SF/PF

Lonnie Walker IV, Freshman, Miami FL, 6-4, SG

Mitchell Robinson, Freshman, None, 6-11, C

Keita Bates-Diop, Junior, Ohio St, 6-7, PF

Aaron Holiday, Junior, UCLA, 6-1, PG

Troy Brown, Freshman, Oregon, 6-7, SG

Anfernee Simons, HS Senior, IMG Academy, 6-4, SG

De'Anthony Melton, Junior, USC, 6-3, PG/SG

Shake Milton, Junior, SMU, 6-6, PG/SG

Chimezie Metu, Junior, USC, 6-10, PF/C

Justin Jackson, Sophomore, Maryland, 6-7, SF/PF

Landry Shamet, Sophomore, Wichita St., 6-4, PG

Malik Newman, Sophomore, Kansas, 6-4, PG/SG

Tony Carr, Sophomore, Penn St., 6-3, PG

Trevon Duval, Freshman, Duke, 6-3, PG

Ray Spalding, Junior, Louisville, 6-10, PF

Brandon McCoy, Freshman, UNLV, 6-11, C

Rawle Alkins, Sophomore, Arizona, 6-5, SG

Allonzo Trier, Junior, Arizona, 6-5, SG

Billy Preston, Freshman, Igokea, 6-10, PF

Matur Maker, International, Mississauga Prep, 6-10, C

 

Top 100 underclassmen who have declared for the draft but can still withdraw.

Top 100 Prospects: Testing

PLAYER, YEAR, TEAM, HT, POS

Zhaire Smith, Freshman, Texas Tech, 6-5, SF

Jacob Evans, Junior, Cincinnati, 6-6, SG/SF

Bruce Brown, Sophomore, Miami FL, 6-3, SG

Melvin Frazier, Junior, Tulane, 6-6, SF

Jontay Porter, Freshman, Missouri, 6-10, C

Jerome Robinson, Junior, Boston College, 6-5, PG

Jalen Hudson, Junior, Florida, 6-5, SG

PJ Washington, Freshman, Kentucky, 6-8, PF

Josh Okogie, Sophomore, Georgia Tech, 6-4, SG

Jarrey Foster, Junior, SMU, 6-6, SG

Shamorie Ponds, Sophomore, St. John's, 6-1, PG

Sagaba Konate, Sophomore, West Virginia, 6-8, C

Kerwin Roach, Junior, Texas, 6-3, SG

Kris Wilkes, Freshman, UCLA, 6-7, SF/PF

Carsen Edwards, Sophomore, Purdue, 6-0, PG

Issuf Sanon, International, Olimpija Ljubljana, 6-4, PG/SG

Lindell Wigginton, Freshman, Iowa St., 6-2, PG

Kostas Antetokounmpo, Freshman, Dayton, 6-10, SF

Ethan Happ, Junior, Wisconsin, 6-10, PF/C

Terence Davis, Junior, Mississippi, 6-4, SG

Cody Martin, Junior, Nevada, 6-7, SF

William McDowell-White, International, Bamberg, 6-5, PG

Caleb Martin, Junior, Nevada, 6-7, SF

And more! ESPN has a comprehensive list of the undecided players and player that are automatically eligible due to being seniors.

There are still plenty of undecided players, such as Villanova's DiVincenzo and Mikal Bridges. A few noteworth seniors that have yet to officially declare are Duke's Grayson Allen and Missouri State's Alize Johnson. The most notable prospect outside of the top 100 has to be LiAngelo Ball, who is currently playing in Lithuania.

These list are of course subject to change. The Basketball Movement will do its best to stay on top of player movement at all levels going forward. Stay tuned!

NCAA: It's over, ladies and gentlemen

NCAA basketball is over, with the men and women's National Championships in the books.

Congratulations are in order for the Villanova Wildcats and Notre Dame Fighting Irish for winning the men's and women's NCAA National Championships! Very exciting tournaments culminated in great final games. Deserving champions emerged, though a lot of underdogs scored moral victories along the way. 

Have you learned to pronounce Arike Ogunbowale yet? If not, then you probably missed one of the most impressive spectacles the sport of basketball has had in a while. Ogunbowale not only dropped UConn with an overtime buzzer-beater, but sealed the national championship with another game-ending shot.

Ogunbowale had 18 points and teammate Jessica Shepard had 19 (on 8 of 10 shooting) to lead the Irish. Neither team shot high percentages from the field, but Notre Dame won the free throw contest and got the big shot when it mattered.

Villanova men assert dominance

Things did not come down to the wire on the men's side, but that is okay. Michigan was coming in hot, winners of their last 14 contests; they certainly had the looks of a title contender. We could go into what Michigan could have done differently, but that is not the takeaway here. The Villanova Wildcats simply did to them what they have done to everybody else.

Nova beat everyone they played in the tourney by double-digits, even Michigan. Mikal Bridges had a solid game and was the main story for Villanova coming in, but he was not the most valuable player in this one. Donte DiVincenzo had 31 point, two big blocks, and multiple hustle plays to lead the Wildcats.

DiVincenzo may come of the bench, but he has played a major role all season, averaging 13.4 points and 4.8 boards in 2017-18. He was certainly the most exciting part of the game. While Michigan did not feel truly out of it until late in the second half, Villanova was in control throughout, leaving no doubt as to their place at the top of NCAA men's basketball.

A couple of great games wrapped up two great seasons for men's and women's NCAA hoops. Congrats to both these teams and to all of the teams that made the tournament. We saw some of the greatest upsets (see: 16-seed UMBC over 1-seed Virginia) as well as displays of dominance (you are already on the page for Villanova). If you love buzzer beaters then look no further than Notre Dame's Arike Ogunbowale. These tournaments had it all.

March Madness finally comes to a close. While NCAA basketball begins its unfortunate hiatus, The Basketball Movement will not. Many of these players are beginning to declare for the NBA draft and the NBA playoffs are right around the corner. Basketball never sleeps, so make sure that you keep checking back with us as we keep you up-to-date on what is happening in the world of hoops.

All statistics per ESPN

Men's 2018 NCAA final four recap and championship preview

Loyola finally falls as the NCAA tournament championship pits streaking Michigan against a dominant Villanova team.

The last hopes of a true underdog story have now faded away, as the 11-seed Loyola-Chicago Ramblers fell to the 3-seed Michigan Wolverines. Missouri Valley Conference champion Loyola fought hard every step of the way, with their big man Cameron Krutwig giving Michigan fits in the paint.

Michigan's length and perimeter shooting kept victory at arms length for most of the game, with the Ramblers unable to make enough of a push to take over. Michigan forward, Mortiz Wagner of Germany led the charge with 24 big points. Congratulations to Michigan and to Loyola for repping the Missouri Valley in style!

The second game of the night was not close throughout its entirety. The Villanova Wildcats jumped the Kansas Jayhawks right out of the gate. Down 15 at the half, Kansas played better the rest of the way, but were in too much of a hole to mount a serious comeback. 

Villanova set a final four record with 18 three pointers in the game. The Jayhawks did not play a bad game, but Villanova's 55 percent shooting was too much to overcome.

Championship bound

Michigan has now won 14 games in a row and are truly rolling into the championship game on a heater. Villanova has won every game of the tournament by double-digits, displaying a dominance that has them as the Vegas favorites in the matchup.

Dominance and talent will be tested when the Wildcats meet one of the hottest opponents in the country in the Wolverines. If Villanova cools of from three, they will be vulnerable to Michigan's versatile attack. The game tips off Monday at 8:20 PM (CST) on TBS.

The women's championship takes place tonight between Mississippi State and Notre Dame at 5:00 PM (CST) on ESPN. Check out our preview of that match right here. As college hoops wind down, keep your eye on The Basketball Movement for all basketball content year-round.

All statistics per ESPN

The women's NCAA championship stage is set

Tomorrow's women's championship game should be a good one, though it does not feature one team most expected to see.

Notre Dame and Mississippi State tip off Sunday on ESPN at 5:00 PM (CST) in a great matchup against two of the nation's best. Unlike the men's bracket, the lady's final four consisted of all 1-seed teams. Both games delivered even more entertainment than we could have hoped for.

Louisville steamrolled everyone en route to their final four match with MSU. They looked strong, but fell to Mississippi State in overtime. MSU moves to 37-1 on the season, casting asides the doubts anyone had as to their rightful spot in the championship game.

Mississipi State made it to this point last year by shocking UConn in the final four with Morgan Williams hitting an OT buzzer-beater. They went on to lose to Baylor. This year they hope to take it all the way against Notre Dame. Louisville and MSU was not the only overtime fans were treated to in the women's final four.

UConn's final four exit mirrors their loss from a year ago

Last year, fans were stunned when Mississippi State dropped the heavy favorites with a buzzer beater in overtime. This year, one day from the one year anniversary of that heartbreak, it happened again.

Notre Dame took the Huskies into overtime, already a little surprising considering how heavily favorited UConn was. UConn was fresh off of a beat down of last year's champs, South Carolina. Overtime ended with Notre Dame's Arike Ogunbowale sinking a deep two with one second remaining. To go one-on-one in that situation was an incredible task to take on, but Ogunbowale me the challenge like a champion.

To go out in identical fashion from last year's loss had to be crushing for the Huskies, but the focus needs to be primarily on the Notre Dame Irish and what they have just accomplished.

Anyone's game tomorrow

Mississippi State accomplished Notre Dame's feat last year, but were not able to capitalize in the championship. MSU will be hungry after being so close last year. Notre Dame is riding one of the biggest highs possible in women's NCAA basketball, but risks the same fate as MSU a season ago.

This will be a great game between two deserving teams. Even for those fans of the men's games, this should be an exciting game to watch sandwiched between the final four and championship matches.

Speaking of that, the men's final four games are tonight as the Loyola-Chicago Ramblers look to build on their already fantastic run. Let's see what the Missouri Valley Conference champs can do on the big stage. Check out our final four preview here.