Duke, Villanova, Kansas lead early look at top 2019 contenders

American: Expect UCF, Cincinnati and Houston to be the teams to watch early. If Tacko Fall, BJ Taylor and Aubrey Dawkins are all healthy and ready to go, then UCF could be the team to beat. But don’t ever dismiss a Mick Cronin-coached team. Houston loses Rob Gray but the program has elevated itself to NCAA tournament status. Tulsa, Temple and Memphis (with new coach Penny Hardaway) have the personnel to crack the top group, but wouldn’t make the Power 36 in the summer. And I refuse to dismiss Wichita State or SMU. These programs/coaches are too good and have proven that they will be in the mix.

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