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Andy Katz | Correspondent | October 19, 2021

Men's basketball rankings: UCLA headlines Andy Katz's final preseason Power 36

College basketball rankings: UCLA heads final Power 36 of the preseason

The AP preseason top 25 poll is in, media days are winding down and the start of the season is a few weeks away, on Nov. 9.

I’m not changing much in my Power 36, but rather just tweaking a few of my top teams. Through conversations at media days in Indianapolis, Charlotte and San Francisco so far through mid-October, my opinions haven’t been altered much. Well, just a tad.

PRESEASON TOP 25: What to know about the first AP poll

So what’s one thing that has me hooked on these teams?

1. UCLA: Johnny Juzang and Jaime Jaquez Jr., confidence and leadership.
2. Gonzaga: Drew Timme’s ability to dominate his position.
3. Texas: Chris Beard can put together a roster of transfers better than most.
4. Kansas: The Jayhawks are stocked with elite college basketball returnees who are all about the now, not what’s next. 
5. Villanova: The Villanova way doesn’t stray. This team’s culture is locked in.
6. Purdue: Trevion Williams isn’t getting the respect he deserves. He could be dominant.
7. Michigan: Hunter Dickinson looked stronger and more focused, and that’s trouble for the Big Ten.
8. Illinois: Andre Curbelo is going to be one of the best point guards in the country.
9. Baylor: The Bears are going to be just as difficult to score on and deal with this season.
10. Duke: Coach K seemed chill, at ease and ready to roll.
11. Kentucky: John Calipari seems driven to get this squad to the top again.
12. Ohio State: Kyle Young is healthy and will be a difference-maker.
13. Alabama: The Tide can roll under Nate Oats. Last season wasn’t a fluke.
14. Indiana: Trayce Jackson-Davis could be the Big Ten Player of the Year.
15. North Carolina: Caleb Love is up for the challenge of being the next great Carolina lead guard.
16. Houston: The Cougars now expect to make a Final Four run.
17. Oregon: The Ducks get better over the course of the season as consistently as any other program.
18. Arkansas: Muss is just loving life and it shows with how at ease his team is in meeting the challenge.
19. Memphis: It's March Madness or bust for the Tigers.
20. Maryland: Eric Ayala and Fatts Russell have played well before together as teens. They’ll do it again as Terps.
21. Syracuse: Not sure I’ve heard Jim Boeheim as high on his team's shooting as he was at ACC media day.
22. USC: The Trojans have been undersold. There is plenty of talent left, led by Drew Peterson and Isaiah Mobley.
23. UConn: Dan Hurley has the Huskies all in on playing tough, defensive-minded basketball.
24. Florida State: Every Seminole interviewed continues to say how much he loves defense.
25. Texas Tech: Kevin Obanor will have a breakout season for the Red Raiders.
26. Virginia: Tony Bennett will have the Cavs ready for a run, but this team is his least experienced in quite some time.
27. Tennessee: The Vols will rely heavily on the return of John Fulkerson.
28. Virginia Tech: Keve Aluma could be the ACC Player of the Year. Mike Young certainly put on a good sell.
29. Florida: Colin Castleton could be one of the best face-up bigs in the SEC.
30. Auburn: Jabari Smith will make his mark early and often at Auburn.
31. Michigan State: The Spartans will have the rip-and-run mentality. Whoever gets it off the backboard is starting the break.
32. Rutgers: Geo Baker and Ron Harper Jr., are great ambassadors for the Scarlet Knights but they’re also high-level players.
33. St. Bonaventure: The Bonnies are back as the team to beat in the A-10.
34. Colorado State: The pick to win the MWC shouldn’t disappoint.
35. Washington State: The Cougars were picked to finish eighth in the Pac-12. I think they could finish fourth.
36. West Virginia: I couldn’t leave Bob Huggins out. He will find a way.

Under consideration

  • Arizona
  • Arizona State
  • Belmont
  • Boise State
  • Colorado
  • Creighton
  • Iowa
  • Louisville
  • Loyola-Chicago
  • Mississippi State
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • Notre Dame
  • Oklahoma
  • Oklahoma State
  • Oral Roberts
  • Oregon State
  • Providence
  • Richmond
  • Saint Louis
  • Saint Mary's
  • San Diego State
  • Seton Hall
  • SMU
  • St. John's
  • VCU
  • Wichita State
  • Wisconsin
  • Xavier

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