Skip to main content

SI's 2017-18 College Basketball Season Preview

Everything there is to know about the 2017-18 college basketball season, from team projections to conference previews to stories and players you need to know, and much more.
  • Author:
  • Publish date:

Sports Illustrated’s College Basketball Projection System is a collaboration between economist Dan Hanner and SI’s Chris Johnson 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. This model has produced more accurate team rankings than similar projections produced by ESPN, CBS Sports and noted analyst Ken Pomeroy for the past three seasons.

Team Projections

Ranking every Division I team, from 1 to 351


Our model uses historical results, recruiting archives and scouting data to reveal how every team in Division I will fare this season.

The Preseason Bracket

Michael Beller breaks down the bracket that would result if all of SI’s projections came true down to the decimal place. Wichita State vs. Kansas for a trip to the Final Four? Yes please.

Top 50 Offenses

It’s fair to question how long the Blue Devils’ freshmen will need to learn how to play together, as well as whether they’ll have enough perimeter shooting. But Mike Krzyzewski has coached a top-10 offense for nine straight seasons, and his Blue Devils top our 2017-18 projections.

Top 50 Defenses

While our defensive forecasts are much less reliable than are offensive ones, it remains clear Tony Bennett’s pack-line defense at Virginia remains a riddle the rest of the country can’t solve.

Player Projections

Top 10 Player of the Year Candidates


Grayson Allen and Devonte’ Graham should be in the thick of the Player of the Year race, but we project Michigan State’s Miles Bridges to rake in national honors at the end of the season.

Top 100 Scorers


For the second year in a row, our projections expect a Davidson player to lead the nation in scoring.

Top Freshmen

Missouri’s Michael Porter Jr. is just one of three SEC freshmen projected among the top five first-year scorers in the country.​

Top Transfers

Transfers are playing a more significant role than ever at high-major hoops programs around the nation. Who will be this year’s best?

Player Profiles


Markus Howard’s deep impact

An unheralded Marquette freshman led the NCAA in three-point % last year. What’s next?

Devontae Cacok, the one-jumper wonder

UNC-Wilmington’s man in the middle may have a limited offensive game, but he still led the nation in field goal percentage. Now he wants more than a record to his name.

Conference Previews



Marvin Bagley III & Co. have garnered all the preseason hype, but Duke isn’t the ACC’s only elite roster.

Atlantic 10

The A-10 is home to three of SI’s projected top 10 scorers in the country—but who will have the best team?​


Our model likes UConn’s sleeper status, UCF’s defense, Houston star Rob Gray’s scoring and newcomer Wichita State’s wealth of experience.

Big East

This league should be Villanova’s to lose again, but Xavier and Seton Hall have the horses to give the Wildcats a run.​

Big Ten

There’s no question Michigan State is the top team in the Big Ten entering this season. How the rest of the league will shake out is far less clear.​

Big 12

Kansas is in line to win a record 14th consecutive league title, but West Virginia and TCU will make the Jayhawks earn it.


Allonzo Trier’s decision to return to school was a major boost for the Wildcats, SI’s preseason No. 1 team and the clear Pac-12 favorite.​


The SEC isn’t made up entirely of five-star freshmen—it only seems that way.​

Mountain West

Nevada has the talent to make a threatening run in the NCAA tournament, but their conference foes feature standout freshmen and impressive defenses