The college basketball season tips off and a new crop of elite players are poised to become household names alongside the cagers who dominated the sport last year. Here is a scientific ranking of the top 20 players in college basketball.
1. Cassius Winston, Michigan State
Winston returned to East Lansing for one reason and that's to win a national title. One of the smartest point guards the college game has seen in decades, he is an incredible passer and knockdown 3-point shooter. He is a magician at getting the most out of a rather pedestrian body and seems to know every trick in the book. A season in which he averages 20 points and 9 assists per game is not out of the question.
2. Markus Howard, Marquette
The best pure scorer in the college game, the sweet-shooting guard poured in 25 points/game last season and could see that figure climb higher with the departure of some surrounding talent. The 5-foot-11 gunner is capable of going for 45 points on any given night and is virtually unstoppable when he's in the zone.
3. Cole Anthony, North Carolina
Anthony is likely the most college-ready freshman in this year's class. Greg Anthony's son is a well-rounded 6-foot-3 point guard who was named MVP of the McDonald's All-American Game and Nike Hoop Summit, while taking home co-MVP of the Jordan Brand Classic. UNC fans are in for a treat this year.
4. James Wiseman, Memphis
Wiseman is the odds-on favorite to be the No. 1 pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. At 7-foot-1 and 240 pounds with a 7-foot-6 wingspan, he's a prototypical modern big man. He runs the floor well, finishing around the rim with ease, is elite inside of 10 feet on both ends of the court and is a fantastic passer. He'll be great for Memphis this season before departing for the NBA in a few months.
5. Myles Powell, Seton Hall
Powell is a darkhorse contender for National Player of the Year honors and is coming off a stunning campaign in which he averaged 23.1 points, 4.0 rebounds and 2.9 assists. The 6-foot-2 senior is one of those scorers capable of getting his even when the entire kitchen sink is employed in trying to stop him.
6. Devon Dotson, Kansas
Dotson can absolutely fly and excels at rim-running. He is capable of finding buckets and others in transition and is seemingly comfortable in any situation. His sophomore year should bring great strides.
7. Isaiah Stewart, Washington
Stewart is 6-foot-9 and 245 pounds with a 7-foot-4 wingspan as a freshman. He's an active, high-motor post player who plays outstanding defense, rebounds as well as anyone in the freshman class and is an elite finisher in transition and at the rim.
8. Kerry Blackshear Jr.. Florida
The Florida Gators have struck gold getting this transfer. The versatile 6-foot-10 forward averaged 14.9 points and 7.5 boards for Virginia Tech last season and was at his best against top competition. He's also not afraid to get his nose dirty on the defensive end, which will fit right into Mike White's rigorous system.
9. Tre Jones, Duke
Jones is returning to Durham for more seasoning, but was NBA-ready after last season. The 6-foot-2 guard is a dogged defender and above-average facilitator. He shot only 26 percent from deep during his freshman campaign and will have to show strides there if the Blue Devils want to return to the Final Four.
10. Jordan Nwora, Louisville
Nwora is a 6-foot-7 slasher who can knock down the outside jumper and get to the rim. He's arguably the ACC's top returning player and poised to do even bigger things en route to a lottery selection next spring.
11. Ayo Dosunmu, Illinois
He's 6-foot-5, has no conscience and could be the most exciting player in all of college basketball. His freshman campaign was so tantalizing that it's hard not to expect otherworldly things in his sophomore season.
12. Anthony Edwards, Georgia
A top five recruit nationally, Edwards is a well-rounded shooting guard who has excellent size (6-foot-5, 220 pounds). He's an elite scorer who can shoot, handle, pass and find points everywhere. He's worth tuning in to see every night.
13. Jalen Smith, Maryland
Smith was incredibly raw during his first year in College Park, but his shot-blocking and rim-running showed signs of electricity. Bruno Fernando's departure means he'll get a chance to own the paint for the Terrapins, which should be terrifying to opponents.
14. Tyrese Maxey, Kentucky
One of the top freshmen in the country, Kentucky's newest combo guard is a pure scorer who should lead the Wildcats' offense this season before entering the draft in 2020.
15. Sam Merrill, Utah State
What would one of these lists be like without a Mountain West player you can watch late-night get bucket after bucket. The 6-foot-5 senior struggled a bit with his 3-point shooting last year and will be even more lethal if he regains his form from his underclassman years. He's a threat to score 40 every time he steps on the court and is yet a willing and above-average passer.
16. Jarron Cumberland, Cincinnati
Cumberland is a sturdy guard who at times was the only player capable of scoring in Mick Cronin's disastrous offensive system. With new coaching comes new possibilities and Cumberland has the ability to bump his scoring average into the mid-20s.
17. Mamadi Diakite, Virginia
This one may feel like a bit of a reach. But Diakite was excellent when the lights were brightest last year. Remember the buzzer-beater against Purdue? He is a matchup problem on both sides of the floor and loves to play that stingy defense the Cavaliers are known for.
18. Kaleb Wesson, Ohio State
This junior is a 6-foot-9, 270 pound powerhouse. His numbers could go sky-high if he figures out a way to stay out of foul trouble, which too often sidelined him during last season. The Ohio State Buckeyes are supposed to be better this year and that will mean defenses won't be able to key in on Wesson as much. He even showed a nice outside shooting touch, posting a 35 percent figure from beyond the arc.
19. Ashton Hagans, Kansas
This 6-foot-3 guard may end the season with the fewest highlight reel plays. But he is an elite defender and does a little bit of everything; the spark plug role every championship-caliber team needs. Hagans, a sophomore, is looking to add to his 7.7 points/game and weak 3-point shooting. Look for him to be among the nation's leaders in steals come season's end.
20. Xavier Tillman, Michigan State
Tillman made incredible strides during his sophomore year and will be a walking double-double this season. On defense, the 6-foot-8 forward can match up one-through-five and has a relentless motor. His versatility and athleticism allow the Spartans to go uptempo and he's turned himself into an above-average screen-setter for Cassius Winston on the ol' pick-and-roll. Tillman is a classic Tom Izzo crash-the-offensive-glass guy, but if there's a place for him to improve it's the outside jumper.