Less than four months away from tip-off of the 2019-20 college basketball season, it appears the ESPN Orlando Invitational could potentially host up to four Top 25 teams
Maryland checks in at #10 in the latest ESPN.com Way-Too-Early Top 25, the second-highest ranked team in the Big Ten. Marquette is #21, USC is #25, and Harvard is listed as the first team “Next In Line”
See what ESPN’s Jeff Borzello had to say about each of the Top 25 teams below:
On paper, the Terrapins have the second-best team in the Big Ten and a clear top-10 team in the country. But they had a similar group last season, and despite finishing with 23 wins, they went just 7-8 in their final 15 games. So Mark Turgeon will have to figure out what ailed them down the stretch in order to reach their potential. Some of the optimism revolves around the expected improvement of Jalen Smith, who could be a first-round pick next spring. He teams with Anthony Cowan to form one of the best inside-outside tandems in the country. Aaron Wiggins is a potential breakout guy to watch.
After entering the offseason No. 2 in these rankings, Marquette plummeted following the surprise departures of Sam Hauser and Joey Hauser — falling completely out of the rankings. The Golden Eagles then slid back into the rankings after landing Utah graduate transfer Jayce Johnson and the reclassification of ESPN 100 guard Symir Torrence. A closer look at the roster moves them a couple of spots higher. Markus Howard is going to be a preseason All-American, but the arrival of Utah State transfer Koby McEwen should ease some of the responsibility Howard has in the backcourt. Sacar Anim and Theo John also return as starters, and they lead Marquette’s defense.
USC has struggled to live up to expectations the past couple of years, missing the NCAA tournament in each of the past two seasons despite having plenty of talent on the roster. Andy Enfield will be hoping this season is different, as he has a loaded team — especially in the frontcourt. Five-star freshmen Isaiah Mobley and Onyeka Okongwu enter the fold, joining double-double machine Nick Rakocevic. Four-star Max Agbonkpolo has a very high ceiling. Jonah Mathews is a returning starter, and Akron graduate transfer Daniel Utomi can really shoot it. The key will be point guard play. Derryck Thornton transferred, leaving returnee Elijah Weaver, Columbia grad transfer Quinton Adlesh and freshman Ethan Anderson to vie for minutes.
To view the complete bracket and schedule for the 2019 ESPN Orlando Invitational click here.