Well, since all the cool kids are doing it, here we go with the Way Too Early Final Four...
Way too early Final Four
Chapman (shine06) went 22-9 last season and was ousted in the first round of the national tournament. Shine is in his fourth season at the helm of the program with a 56-33 record to show for his first three seasons. Chapman's strength will be down low where seniors Thomas Gallaway and Ronnie Kelley combined to average nearly 17 points per game last season and should push that total higher this season. The team is also well poised with three seniors and five juniors who should be nice and mature in time for the post-season.
Johnson & Wales (spasticity) was 33-2 last year, bookending its season with losses to Millsaps, the latter coming in the national title game. This year's crew starts 55/50/56 in the Ath/Spd/Def trifecta and, like Chapman, has 3 seniors and five juniors on the roster. Unlike Chapman, J-Dub's strength is likely on the perimeter where Mark White and David Nanney both begin the year in the 700 club. Nanney has a ridonkulous 100 perimeter rating, probably why he averaged nearly 19 points per game last season. White was good for another 13 as a redshirt junior. No reason not to expect spas to make another deep run.
Millsaps (brianxavier) ran the table last season with a 35-0 national championship campaign. He could be right back there in the promised land again with a team sporting 10 upperclassmen. The Ath is a solid 58 and the Def, while down from its rating in the 70s last season, is still plenty salty beginning the year at 63. Senior Shon Leos averaged nearly 15 points last season and has almost 1,000 to show for his career already. Pierre Leigh also looks like he could have a monster campaign on the horizon. If there's a vulnerability for teams to exploit while looking to hang an L on Millsaps for the first time in more than a season, could it lie with a team pass rating that's just 30?
Whittier (windixies) was a Final Four program last season with a 29-5 mark. He's got the youngest roster of the four I'm featuring with only seven upperclassmen, but the team is already 54/50/52 to begin the year. Eddie Dickey averaged better than 10 points as a sophomore and looks to work his way up the ladder even more this season. Meanwhile, we don't know who Michal Rykaczewski will haunt more in his senior season, play-by-play announcers or opposing post defenders as he attacks with an LP of 99 and averaged 14 points a year ago.
UNDERRATED....if I had to go darkhorse this season, watch out for No. 16 and Sim-coached Lebanon Valley. The school hasn't danced in the national tournament since Season 39, but has a great superclass setup of six seniors and five juniors. The ATH value is lacking, but it still isn't a school I'd want to see on my schedule this year. We'll get a feel for just how good they are in the non-conference season as a host of humans spotted this power roster for non-conference fodder. Wooster gets first crack.
Staying in the Centennial, I also wouldn't go to sleep on zeuspole and Susquehanna, and not just because it's zeuspole and Susquehanna. Ranked No. 20 in the preseason, the number looks like a sick joke. This is a team that could easily be 10 slots higher and still potentially underrated. The LP rating of 23 might be a bit of a concern, but I'd be stunned not to see this group ranked higher than 20 when the dust settles at season's end for last year's PIT champion.