By: Kyle Morgan
As the College Basketball world braces for its fifth week of regular season action, the 2015-16 season has already seen three different teams take over the number one spot in the polls. The 2014-15 season saw just TWO teams hold that ranking over the season, and it wasn’t until the final rankings of the season that national champion Duke finally dethroned the Kentucky Wildcats, who had held the top spot for the entire campaign en route a 38-1 season.
Unlike the juggernaut that was Kentucky last year, there really is no dominant team that can look to run the table as the number one team for an extended period of time this season. The Michigan State Spartans, the current possessors of the number one ranking, are currently 9-0 and already have wins against number two ranked Kansas, 24th ranked Louisville, and Providence on their resumé. While those are impressive wins this early on in the season, the Spartans have rarely been tested outside the three aforementioned opponents, and they do not play a true road game until December 19th, when they play Nebraska-Omaha.
Michigan State looks to be the team that could be the most dominant throughout the year, but the season is still young, the next domination can arise out of nowhere, and regular season glory does not always equal tournament success (just ask last year’s Kentucky squad).
The lack of dominant teams this year may be the result of a not-so-dominant freshman class. Yes, Ben Simmons is still tearing it up as usual, but the lack of weapons around him has resulted in a sub par start for his team. Unlike last year, where freshmen such as Karl-Anthony Towns, Jahlil Okafor, and D’Angelo Russell were expected to carry the load for their respective teams, there are very few programs that are relying on true freshmen to lead them to the promised land. Top ranked teams like Michigan State, North Carolina, Oklahoma, and Maryland are all depending on sophomores and upperclassmen to guide their teams to victory.
Will we see a team like last year’s Wisconsin Badgers, who started three seniors, a junior, and a sophomore for a majority of the season en route to a national title game appearance? It is very possible, and with the lack of a dominant team thus far, the ball is up for grabs.