Entering the college basketball season, Michigan State basketball is expected to be among the best teams in the country. The Spartans bring back a host of experience and talent from a Final Four team.
College basketball’s coaches tend to agree. A new poll of 100 anonymous coaches tabbed the Spartans as the favorite to cut down the nets.
Each year, CBS Sports polls anonymous coaches about a wealth of issues entering the college basketball season. Today, Gary Parrish and Matt Norlander published the answers they received to the one question that we all really want answered: who is going to win the national championship.
For 54 of the 100 coaches, Michigan State is the answer.
The Spartans are followed by a few other powers, including Kansas (17-percent) and Kentucky (12-percent). Duke and Florida round out the top five, at seven and five-percent, respectively.
One coach admitted that he wanted to go in another direction, but just couldn’t.
“I wanted to go against the grain but just too many cases to be made for them. With them returning a number of key guys and them getting a taste of the Final Four last year, I think they are primed to get back. Cassius Winston may just be the best winner and leader in college basketball. Add that with Izzo’s experience and drive and I think they have a national-championship-winning formula. The bull’s-eye will be on their back all season, so that could be the slight knock against them if that proves to be too much pressure.”
With Kansas, coaches brought up the addition of Silvio De Sousa, who missed last season due to suspension, as well as Iowa transfer Isaiah Moss and freshman Jalen Wilson.
One coach said that Kentucky may have the best backcourt in the country, while another thinks the Wildcats may be dangerous because they’ve been slept on a bit.
“…A few years back you couldn’t turn on a television without seeing or hearing Coach Cal and the Wildcats, but lately people are doubting them both on the court and on the recruiting trail. Every team goes through a down cycle, even Kentucky, but they are going to be a hungry bunch all year and into March.”
Of course, these are just best guesses, even if they come from the foremost experts. Once the NCAA Tournament rolls around, no one knows what will go down in that single-elimination environment.