Texas A&M Aggies
After a move to the SEC, the Aggies are looking to right the ship on the court. Last season was anything but kind to the Aggies, as head coach Mark Turgeon bolted for a job at Maryland and Kennedy was hired before being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, but he’s back on the bench this year. To compete with the Billikens, they’ll need superb performances from their upperclassmen, including Elston Turner, who is off to a sizzling start, averaging 20.5 points per game in Texas A&M’s first two games. Backcourt mate Fabyon Harris will also be called upon, as the Aggies look to match the Billikens backcourt firepower with a bit of their own. The Aggies are looking to improve on last year’s 14-18 effort, and freshmen J’Mychal Reese and Alex Caruso will be a big part in filling the void left by the departure of stalwart guard Dash Harris.
If SLU makes it to the finals, they’ll likely meet the University of Kansas. Last year’s national runner-up, the Kansas Jayhawks, promise to see no major drop in performance after the departure of NBA-lottery pick Thomas Robinson. 7-foot senior Jeff Withey will play a big role in anchoring the Jayhawks down low, as he has always been a solid defender, but something of an enigma on offense, despite averaging nine points per game last season. In addition, blue-chip freshmen Ben McLemore and Perry Ellis will play a big role in the backcourt as the Jayhawks look to win their ninth regular season Big 12 title in a row.
Washington State will be looking to improve upon a mediocre 19-18 campaign last season that saw their season end with a runner-up finish in the College Basketball Invitation Tournament. Senior forward Brock Motum, who averaged 18 points per game last season, seems poised to lead them again after his 23-point performance in their season opener against Eastern Washington. Sophomore guard Davonte Lacy will lead the backcourt, building on his solid freshman season, when he averaged 8.6 points and two assists per game. Washington State was picked to finish 11th in the Pac-12 preseason media poll, as they look to rebuild after two impressive wins to open the season.-