Basketball Recruiting - McDonald's Nuggets: Top 10 lineups; Virginia; Oklahoma
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McDonald's Nuggets: Top 10 lineups; Virginia; Oklahoma

Baylor senior MaCio Teague
Baylor senior MaCio Teague (AP Images)

In this week’s edition of McDonald’s Nuggets, Dan McDonald breaks down the rosters and starting lineups of the top 10 college basketball teams this season, addresses why good news might be on the horizon for Virginia and names his Team of the Week.

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2021 Rankings: Rivals150 | Team | Position

2022 Rankings: Rivals150 | Team | Position

2023 Rankings: Top 30


WHAT’S ON MY MIND: Interesting stats on the starting lineups of top 10 teams

Gonzaga senior Corey Kispert
Gonzaga senior Corey Kispert (AP Images)

If you listen to college coaches talk publicly or privately, you’ll often hear them use the phrase that they want to “get old and stay old” with their roster. It’s easier said than done to manage a roster that way while also having quality talent, but the current make-up of the top 10 teams tells us that seniority does make a difference in college hoops.

Gonzaga, Baylor, Villanova, Michigan, Texas, Houston, Iowa, Virginia, Alabama and Texas Tech currently make up the top 10 in the AP poll. Of the 50 regular starters on those ten teams, there are 21 seniors in the starting lineups. There are also five redshirt juniors, meaning 26 - and over half - of the starters on top ten teams are in their fourth year of college or more. Of the 21 seniors, there are eight redshirt seniors and one junior (Texas guard Andrew Jones) in their fifth year of college.

On the flip side, we often see teams with an influx of highly ranked incoming freshmen ranked highly in preseason polls. Sometimes they stick up there, but they also sometimes flop, as we’ve seen with some teams this year. Right now, only six true freshmen are starting on top 10 teams: Gonzaga guard Jalen Suggs, Michigan center Hunter Dickinson, Texas forward Greg Brown, Virginia guard Reece Beekman, Alabama guard Josh Primo and Texas Tech forward Micah Peavy. Only Suggs and Brown were ranked as five-star prospects in the 2020 class.

Speaking of five-star prospects, it often feels like in football the only teams that really have a chance at winning a national championship are the ones that reel in five-star caliber talent and top-five classes every year. That’s not necessarily the case in basketball because five-star prospects can leave after a year. In the current top 10, there are only six five-star prospects in the starting lineups: Suggs, Brown, Villanova forward Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, Andrew Jones, Houston guard Quentin Grimes and Alabama guard John Petty.

I don’t see this year’s make-up of top 10 teams being an outlier either. The best teams will usually have juniors and seniors making up their starting lineups. Texas Tech is the only team in the top 10 right now that doesn’t start at least two players in their fourth year of college or more. If you’re die-hard fan of a college basketball team, pray that your coaching staff can manage their roster in a way that keeps them old.


RECRUITING NOTE: Good news on the horizon for Virginia?

Four-star shooting guard Isaac McKneely appears to be the next class of 2022 prospect to come off the board, with an announcement set for Saturday. The West Virginia native will be choosing from a list that includes Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisville, North Carolina, Purdue, Virginia and West Virginia. I put in a FutureCast pick for him to end up at Virginia last July and I will stick with that prediction, which would be significant news for Tony Bennett. Currently No. 57 in his class, McKneely is one of the top shooters in the country, and he has good size for a 6-foot-4 guard.




Jalen Hill
Jalen Hill (AP Images)

Once again, this was a pretty easy call. Nobody had a better week than Lon Kruger’s program. Oklahoma knocked off Kansas at home on Saturday and turned around and beat Texas in Austin on Tuesday night to give the Sooners two wins over top 15 teams in a three-day span. It doesn’t get any easier for the Sooners, though, as they meet up with ninth-ranked Alabama on Saturday, followed by a trip to see 10th-ranked Texas Tech in Lubbock on Monday.