When you see Villanova's Jay Wright next March, he'll be covering the action as an analyst. If an analytically savvy former head coach with two national titles utters the words "You don't need a 3 here," we'll have conclusive proof it really is a nonnegotiable clause in the contract of every announcer.
Welcome to the 2022-23 men's college basketball season. Before it officially tips on Monday, we're forecasting the highest possible highs and the lowest conceivable lows for every team in the AP top 25. Anything can happen in the next five months of college basketball, and we want to prepare you for the best, or worst when it comes to these teams.
Best case: Armando Bacot makes voters say "Oscar who?" and wins the Wooden Award. Caleb Love and Pete Nance hit 3s left and right. Leaky Black shuts down every opponent's featured scorer. The Tar Heels not only reach their fourth national title game in the past seven tournaments, they close the deal for the second time in that span and cut down the nets in Hubert Davis' second year as a head coach.
Worst case: What if Northwestern transfer Nance isn't this year's Brady Manek after all? Manek arrived last season by way of Oklahoma as a turn-key volume shooter who had drained 37% of his 3s on 5.1 attempts per game. Nance's career numbers clock in at 36% on 2.8 tries per outing.
More broadly, unless the tournament is canceled entirely, history suggests the worst case for any preseason No. 1 is losing in the round of 32.
The last preseason No. 1 to win the national title was ... well, how about this: North Carolina in 2008-09.
Best case: Famed phenom of felicitous footwork Drew Timme compiles another year of voluminous 60%-plus shooting inside the arc. He will do something with his facial hair, up to and including shaving it regularly, that will generate feature stories. He's helped along by a new second-leading scorer, Chattanooga transfer Malachi Smith. Rasir Bolton and Julian Strawther combine for 150 3s and 850 points. Gonzaga wins the title and quiets the "But what about their conference?" doubters once and for all -- meaning, until next year.