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  • Oklahoma may have lost Buddy Hield, but the Sooners have a bevy of talented players ready to inherit extra minutes and shots.
By Jeremy Fuchs
October 14, 2016

Sports Illustrated's College Basketball Projection System is a collaboration between economist Dan Hanner and SI's Luke Winn and Jeremy Fuchs that produces our 1-351 team rankings, conference predictions and player statistical forecasts. For a deeper look at how the system works, read this explainer.

We simulated the season 10,000 times and generated median stats for every player in the top eight conferences (AAC, ACC, Atlantic 10, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12, SEC) as well as our other forecasted at-large bid candidates (Gonzaga, Saint Mary's, BYU, Wichita State, San Diego State and Princeton). Today we're unveiling our projected top breakout scorers, according to raw points per game, from that set of teams. In the case of teams with significant roster overhaul, we've grouped players together by team in the charts below. A breakdown of the player of the year race and our projected top 100 transfer scorers ran earlier this week on

Rank Name School Conference Proj. PPG Last Year PPG Change
1 Christian James Oklahoma Big 12 12.0 3.0 8.8
and Rashard Odomes Oklahoma Big 12 10.0 1.9 8.1
and Khadeem Lattin Oklahoma Big 12 10.0 5.6 4.8
It’s not easy to replace a transcendent talent like Buddy Hield, but Oklahoma has a solid trio to try. James made 50.0% of his threes last season, while Odomes will see a significant minutes increase. Lattin, already a solid contributor, will get the bulk of the work down low.
2 Carlton Bragg Kansas Big 12 10.9 3.8 7.1
and Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk Kansas Big 12 8.8 5.4 3.4
There were a lot of big men on Kansas last year, but now that Perry Ellis, Jamari Traylor and Hunter Mickelson are gone, Bragg will see a lot of minutes. He made 56.1% of his field goals as a freshman. Mykhailiuk, meanwhile, has been considered a breakout candidate in back-to-back seasons. He shot 40.2% from three last year.
3 Conner Frankamp Wichita St. Missouri Valley 14.0 6.1 7.9
and Landry Shamet Wichita St. Missouri Valley 13 8.7 4.4
and Markis McDuffie Wichita St. Missouri Valley 12 7.4 4.1
Frankamp, a 6' 1" sophomore guard, joined the Shockers last December and posted an offensive rating of 119.6. Now entrenched as a starter, Frankamp will see a big jump in his offensive production. McDuffie and Shamet both played major minutes as freshmen (Shamet's season was cut short due to foot surgery), and they should be focal points of the Shockers' attack this season.
4 Tadric Jackson Georgia Tech ACC 12.6 4.7 7.9
and Ben Lammers Georgia Tech ACC 9.5 3.6 5.9
  Quinton Stephens Georgia Tech ACC 10.6 5.0 5.6
Georgia Tech is in a bit of rebuild, as no player on their roster has scored more than six points per game at the Division I level. But there’s some room to improve under new coach Josh Pastner. Jackson, the 74th-ranked recruit in the class of 2014, should be the prime beneficiary of the inexperience on the roster.
Rank Name School Conference Proj. PPG Last Year PPG Change
5 Dominic Green Washington Pac-12 9.7 2.7 7.0
Green struggled to get on the court for the Huskies for much of the 2015 portion of '15–16, but he made a splash during the Pac-12 season. Expect him to ease some of the scoring burden off freshman sensation Markelle Fultz.
6 Deng Adel Louisville ACC 11.0 4.0 6.9
and Donovan Mitchell Louisville ACC 12.0 7.4 4.4
Adel struggled with a left knee injury in his freshman season at Louisville. Now healthy, the 6' 7" sophomore guard should see a jump in his offensive output. Mitchell, who was a top-40 recruit, should see an improvement in his second season under Rick Pitino's tutelage. 
7 Matthew Hart George Washington A-10 10.6 3.8 6.8
Hart posted a 116.9 offensive rating last year, while making 24 of 57 of his threes. With guards Patricio Garino and Joe McDonalds gone, Hart should see a lot more open looks.
8 Levan Alston Jr. Temple AAC 8.8 2.0 6.8
and Obi Enechionyia Temple AAC 15.0 11.0 4.0
Josh Brown and Trey Lowe are injured, so the next man up is Levan Alston Jr. The 6' 4" guard will be on the floor a lot during the early part of the season. Enechionyia jumped from 5.3 ppg as a freshman to 11.0 ppg as a sophomore, and our projections expect a similar increase this season.
9 Sterling Taplin Tulsa AAC 9.3 2.6 6.7
Tulsa might struggle, but Taplin is one of two returning rotation players from last season. Expect coach Frank Haith to rely heavily on the 6' 1" sophomore guard.
Rank Name School Conference Proj. PPG Last Year PPG Change
10 Stevie Thompson Oregon St. Pac-12 17.0 10.6 6.4
In line to be a starter after numerous wing departures, Thompson was a high volume shooter as a freshman and should continue his offensive progression as a sophomore. He was one of the highest-rated recruits in Beaver history, and this could be the year he lives up to that hype.
11 Cameron Johnson Pittsburgh ACC 11.0 4.8 6.2
Johnson broke out with a 24-point game in the ACC tournament against Syracuse. Now a sophomore, the 6' 8" guard should build off that performance with more consistency during the regular season.
12 Kerwin Roach Jr. Texas Big 12 14.0 7.5 6.5
and Eric Davis Texas Big 12 13.0 7.4 5.6
Roach Jr. and Davis were each top-50 recruits who logged big minutes as freshmen, which make them the ideal candidates to make the classic sophomore leap.
13 K.J. Walton Missouri SEC 12.0 5.3 6.7
Walton returns to Mizzou as one of their most efficient players. Both he and 6' 7" sophomore forward Kevin Puryear will help drive the offense.
14 Admon Gilder Texas A&M SEC 14.0 7.5 6.5
and D.J. Hogg Texas A&M SEC 12.0 6.2 5.8
and Tony Trocha-Morelos Texas A&M SEC 11.0 7.0 4.0
J.J. Caldwell and Deshawn Coprew are ineligible for the Aggies, which means Gilder is going to have to play a ton of perimeter minutes. Texas A&M will probably play bigger lineups to suit their personnel, which will make Hogg's and Trocha-Morelos' three-point shooting essential for the Aggies' floor spacing.
Rank Name School Conference Proj. PPG Last Year PPG Change
15 James Demery St. Joseph’s A-10 14.0 8.1 5.9
and Lamarr Kimble St. Joseph’s A-10 12.0 6.0 6.0
and Shavar Newkirk St. Joseph’s A-10 9.9 4.0 5.9
Demery made 57.0% of his two point shots last year; Kimble made 37.2% of his threes. Look for the inside-out game to continue this season.
16 Brandon Sampson LSU SEC 9.9 4.0 5.9
With Ben Simmons now in the pros, former top recruit Sampson can inherit the Tigers' scoring opportunities along with top dog Antonio Blakeney. Sampson played well as a freshman and will see a jump as a sophomore.
17 Ivan Rabb California Pac-12 18.0 12.5 5.5
and Jabari Bird California Pac-12 16.0 10.4 5.6
Jaylen Brown was the No. 3 overall pick in the draft, even though Rabb was more efficient, a better rebounder and a better shot-blocker. With Bird’s 118.6 offensive rating from last year, the duo could more than make up for the loss of Brown.
18 Jermaine Bishop St. Louis A-10 14.0 8.9 5.1
and Mike Crawford St. Louis A-10 15.0 10.3 4.7
and Davell Robt St. Louis A-10 11.0 6.3 4.7
Bishop became the starting point guard midway through the season and averaged 8.9 points. Crawford, a 6' 4" junior guard, is the Billikens’ most efficient player.
19 OG Anunoby Indiana Big Ten 10.0 4.9 5.1
The sharp-shooting Anunoby is set for a big year. The 6' 8" sophomore forward made 44.8% of his threes and 60.9% of his twos last season.
Rank Name School Conference Proj. PPG Last Year PPG Change
20 Jordan Watkins Davidson A-10 11.0 5.5 5.5
Watkins, the leading candidate to replace guard Brian Sullivan, shot 37.8% of his threes last year. The 6' 1" junior guard will likely see more minutes from coach Bob McKillop.
21 Jared Nickens Maryland Big Ten 11.0 5.4 5.6
With four starters leaving, Nickens is set for a bigger role this season. The 6' 7" junior guard averaged 5.4 points in 19.5 minutes last season.
22 Peter Jok Iowa Big Ten 21.0 16.1 4.9
and Dominique Uhl Iowa Big Ten 11.0 6.0 5.0
Jok and Uhl enter this season as the veterans on a much younger version of the Hawkeyes. Jok had solid efficiency (113.9 offensive rating) on a high shot volume (29.4%) last season and should shoulder a larger scoring load.
23 Riley LaChance Vanderbilt SEC 12.0 6.9 5.1
It was a bit of a down year for LaChance, but he averaged 12.3 points as a freshman, and he’s set for a bounce back.
24 Tyler Lewis Butler Big East 11.0 5.9 5.1
An elite recruit out of high school, Lewis is set to become Butler's primary point guard. He was efficient last year, with a 116.2 offensive rating and a 24.8 assist rate assist rate against only a 13.7 turnover rate.
25 Terry Maston Baylor Big 12 11.0 6.1 4.9
With Rico Gathers and Taurean Prince gone, coach Scott Drew will need Maston to help fill the scoring void. The 6' 8" junior forward shot 56.9% from the field and 82.5% from the line last season.

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