College basketball countdown: No. 6 North Carolina

USA TODAY Sports breaks down the projected NCAA tournament field of 68.

      
 

 

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Winners and Losers from 2014-15 Preseason AP College Basketball Top 25 Rankings

At long last, the first Associated Press Top 25 poll of the 2014-15 college basketball season has arrived, and there was no shortage of winners and losers.

After nearly seven months of reading varying opinions on who will be the best teams in the country, we finally have a consensus ranking to reference for what remains of the offseason.

As was the case with the coaches poll released two weeks ago, there were no surprises in the top two spots. We more or less agreed all summer that Kentucky would be the best team and that Arizona would be its primary challenger. All hail the year of the Wildcats.

But it certainly didn’t take long for some dissension to arise between the two polls. The coaches had Duke at No. 3 and Wisconsin at No. 4, but the AP had those two reversed.

That’s nothing compared to some of the winners and losers, though.

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College basketball countdown: No. 7 Texas

USA TODAY Sports breaks down the projected NCAA tournament field of 68.

      
 

 

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Ranking College Basketball’s Most Physically Imposing Lineups in 2014-15

The Kentucky Wildcats enter the 2014-15 college basketball season with one of the most physically imposing lineups in history, but there’s certainly no shortage of big men on the nation’s top teams.

Last week, we looked at the best “small ball” lineups for the upcoming season. There were plenty of talented teams but not a single one that we would endorse as a favorite to reach the Final Four.

At the other end of the height spectrum, though, title contenders such as Arizona, North Carolina, Florida and Wisconsin are among those closest to matching Kentucky’s size, talent and depth.

In ranking these top 10 physically imposing lineups, we put together our best guess at their projected starting lineups and then subjectively graded them in both the “best” and “biggest” categories.

To meet the size requirements, teams need to have either three starters who are 6’8″ or taller or four starters who are 6’7″ or taller, with heights listed on ESPN’s rosters serving as the source for that data. All others were immediately removed from consideration, though a few did receive honorable mentions.

 

All advanced stats via KenPom.com (subscription required) and Sports-Reference.com.

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College Basketball Stars Facing the Most Pressure for 2014-15 Season

(NOTE: The following story is best read while Queen and David Bowie’s “Under Pressure” plays in the background.)

Less than two weeks from the start of the 2014-15 season, teams all over the country are making the final preparations for the long road ahead. Expectations are high for many, optimistic for all.

Yet for a handful of the country’s top players, there’s additional pressure on their shoulders this season. Beyond just being expected to have a great individual year, these players will be looked at to stand above all others when on the court and possibly carry their teams.

Can they handle the added stress? We’ll find out soon enough, as the first games are set for Nov. 14.

Check our list of the players facing the most pressure in 2014-15.

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College basketball countdown: No. 8 Virginia

USA TODAY Sports breaks down the projected NCAA tournament field of 68.

      
 

 

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Ranking the 10 Greatest College Basketball Scorers of the 2000s

Stephen Curry not only tops our list of the 10 greatest college basketball scorers of the 2000s but was one of the best scorers in the history of the game.

It was a pretty horrendous decade for music, but the 2000s produced quite a few college basketball players who made us wonder where they rank in the all-time list of scorers.

J.J. Redick made more career three-pointers than any other player had to that point in time. Tyler Hansbrough made more two-point field goals and free throws on a nightly basis than the vast majority of players even had the opportunity to attempt. And Taylor Coppenrath polished off an outstanding four-year career at Vermont by ensuring that he’s never welcome in Syracuse, NY, again.

That’s not even half of the memorable names on this list.

In compiling this list of the greatest scorers of the 2000s, we looked at more than just total points or points per game. Minutes played, tempo, shooting percentages and even strength of schedule were taken into consideration.

It’s impossible to retroactively take the scorer out of the system he played in, but if you needed one bucket in a game of pickup basketball, which player from the 2000s would you most want with the ball in his hand? 

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An Early Guide to the 2014-15 College Basketball Season: From A to Z

The calendar is about to turn to November, which means we’ve almost made it through the long offseason and college basketball is nearly back.

Practice began Oct. 3 and the first games are set for Nov. 14, with almost daily action until the championship game in Indianapolis next April. In between will no doubt be an endless supply of great games, highlight-reel players and individual performances that will go down in history books.

To help get you primed and ready for the 2014-15 season, we’ve put together an A-to-Z list of things to be aware of and look out for.

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College basketball countdown: No. 9 Louisville

USA TODAY Sports breaks down the projected NCAA tournament field of 68.

      
 

 

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College basketball countdown: No. 10 Gonzaga

USA TODAY Sports breaks down the projected NCAA tournament field of 68.

      
 

 

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