We’ve made it.
Yesterday Will Maupin wrote about Gonzaga, the number one team in our Other Top 25 preseason rankings, putting an end to our annual preseason countdown. Like every year — but especially this year — there are quite a few talented college basketball programs outside of the traditional seven conferences. Whittling down the list to just 25 teams was incredibly difficult.
By this time tomorrow, our Other Top 25 preseason poll might look silly. Some of these teams will win a couple games, pull an upset or two and make us look like geniuses. Some of these teams will start flat, get walloped by a Power-5 team they technically weren’t supposed to beat, or play non-D1s, for whatever reason. Next week’s Other Top 25 poll might look a lot different from this one, but that’s okay. It’s just how preseason rankings work.
Nevertheless, here is The Other Top 25 preseason poll in its entirety. Links to each of our articles are included, along with an elevator pitch for each team and a couple names to remember as the season progresses.
The Other Top 25 preseason poll
|Rank||School||Our reasoning||Three key players|
|Rank||School||Our reasoning||Three key players|
|1||Gonzaga||The Bulldogs have a top-15 recruiting class, grad transfers in the backcourt and (hopefully) a healthy Killian Tillie for their 22nd-straight NCAA Tournament appearance.||Admon Gilder, Killian Tillie, Corey Kispert|
|2||VCU||Mike Rhoades's elite defense and a plethora of talented upperclassmen are poised to make a deep NCAA Tournament run.||Marcus Evans, Marcus Santos-Silva, Isaac Vann|
|3||Saint Mary's||As if a team with Jordan Ford and Malik Fitts needed a boost, the Gaels get transfers Aaron Menzies and Logan Johnson to build on last year's NCAA Tournament appearance.||Jordan Ford, Malik Fitts, Aaron Menzies|
|4||Utah State||Sam Merrill and Neemias Queta are two of the nation's best — regardless of position or conference — both return to a team that made the NCAA Tournament last year.||Sam Merrill, Neemias Queta,|
|5||Davidson||They return 94% of their minutes from last year's NIT team — including two A-10 Player of the Year candidates in John Axel Gudmundsson and Kellan Grady.||Kellan Grady, Jon Axel Gudmundsson, Luka Brajkovic|
|6||New Mexico State||Chris Jans and his ludicrously deep rotation returns for another year of mollywhopping the WAC.||Terrell Brown, Trevelin Queen, A.J. Harris|
|7||Vermont||Anthony Lamb and co. could make a ton of noise in March — and best of all, John Becker got the perfect grad transfers he needed to complete his team.||Anthony Lamb, Everett Duncan, Stef Smith|
|8||Harvard||The Crimson added one of the best recruiting classes in program history to a roster that already had Bryce Aiken and Seth Townes. Scary.||Bryce Aiken, Seth Towns, Noah Kirkwood|
|9||Dayton||Obi Toppin is the name NBA heads will know, but the Flyers are one of the deepest teams in the Atlantic 10.||Obi Toppin, Jalen Crutcher, Ryan Mikesell|
|10||San Diego State||Malachi Flynn and KJ Feagin make up the Aztecs' new-look backcourt, but the stingy defense and athletic frontcourt is still the same.||Malachi Flynn, KJ Feagin, Matt Mitchell|
|11||East Tennessee State||Steve Forbes has his most talented roster to date, and the Buccaneers could be a trendy upset pick should they make the NCAA Tournament.||Jeromy Rodriguez, Tray Boyd III, Bo Hodges|
|12||Western Kentucky||Charles Bassey put his NBA Draft hopes on hold for one more season, but will Rick Stansbury and his grad transfers make the postseason this time?||Charles Bassey, Camron Justice, Taveion Hollingsworth|
|13||Missouri State||After finishing .500 last season, a bevy of transfers make the Bears the most intruiging Missouri Valley team.||Tulio Da Silva, Keandre Cook, Lamont West|
|14||BYU||The NCAA giveth immediate eligibility to Alex Barcello, yet taketh away Yoeli Childs' first nine games for first-year head coach Mark Pope.||Yoeli Childs, TJ Haws, Jake Toolson|
|15||Rhode Island||A tough non-conference schedule and talented upperclassmen put the Rams in the mix for a multi-bid A-10.||Fatts Russell, Jeff Dowtin, Cyril Langevine|
|16||Furman||To the dismay of the SoCon (and ETSU), the same roster that pushed the Paladins into the AP Top 25 last winter returns.||Jordan Lyons, Clay Mounce, Noah Gurley|
|17||Belmont||New head coach Casey Alexander will not let the Bruins slip after losing Rick Byrd — especially with guys like Nick Muszynski and Grayson Murphy on the roster.||Nick Muszynski, Grayson Murphy, Tyler Scanlon|
|18||Wright State||With three double-digit scorers — including likely conference POY in Loudon Love — the Raiders are the clear favorites in the Horizon League.||Loudon Love, Bill Wampler, Cole Gentry|
|19||UTSA||They're fast. They'll shoot a lot of threes. They have one of the country's highest-scoring backcourt duos in Jhivvan Jackson and Keaton Wallace.||Jhivvan Jackson, Keaton Wallace, Knox Hellums|
|20||Liberty||The defending A-Sun champions bring almost everyone back from last year's second-round team.||Georgie Pacheco-Ortiz, Elijah Cuffee, Scottie James|
|21||UC Irvine||The Anteaters have seven freshmen on the roster, but youth has never been an issue for Russell Turner's teams.||Evan Leonard, Collin Welp, Eyassu Worku|
|22||New Mexico||New Mexico might have the most talented group of transfers in the Mountain West, but will they challenge Utah State?||Vance Jackson, Carlton Bragg, Zane Martin|
|23||Louisiana Tech||On paper, the Bulldogs have one of C-USA's most talented and experienced rosters.||Daquan Bracey, Exavian Christon, Kalob Ledoux|
|24||Pepperdine||Colbey Ross gets the keys to Lorenzo Romar's uptempo offense in year two of Pepperdine's rebuild.||Colbey Ross, Kessler Edwards, Kameron Edwards|
|25||Bowling Green||A year removed from being picked to finish last in the MAC, Justin Turner and co. hope for more than just a MAC Championship appearance.||Justin Turner, Dylan Frye, Michael Laster|