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Rival Views: Is Duke the favorite for 2018 NCAA title with Bagley?


Marvin Bagley III, the No. 1 player in the class of 2018, announced Monday night that he's headed to Duke and reclassifying to the 2017 class. With Bagley suiting up for the Blue Devils this season, does that make Duke the favorite to win the 2018 NCAA championship? Rivals.com recruiting analysts Eric Bossi and Corey Evans debate that question.


The addition of Marvin Bagley is certainly a huge one for Duke and there is no doubt that he could make the Blue Devils an even more viable contender to win the 2018 national championship. But it doesn't make them the favorites. I've been high on Michigan State as the preseason favorite and despite the addition of Bagley for Duke, I'm still rolling with Tom Izzo's crew.

In Miles Bridges, the Spartans have a potential All-American and National Player of the Year candidate. But, it's not just about Bridges. It's about the combination of depth, experience and weapons at all positions that will be surrounding Bridges. In particular, I love the Spartans' frontline. Nick Ward will really break out as a sophomore, Jaren Jackson has star potential as a freshman and there is perimeter help to surround those guys.

So, for now, I still like the Spartans as the preseason favorites to cut down the nets in 2018.

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A week ago, I would have said that Arizona is the favorite, but with the reclassification and commitment news of Marvin Bagley III on Monday, Duke looks to be ahead of the pack.

Bagley is one of the top talents to come through high school basketball within recent years, and he is joining such a talented roster. Add in one of the best basketball coaches ever in Mike Krzyzewski, and Duke has to be the national championship favorite entering the new school year.

The talk entering last season surrounded the point guard position and who would take the reins of the most important position on the floor. That pessimism no longer exists with 2017’s top-ranked point guard, Trevon Duval. Put Duval alongside two of the most polished scoring wings in the country, Grayson Allen and Gary Trent Jr., and putting points on the scoreboard will not be an issue.

There may be concern with Duke's depth. However, there is a ton of exchangeable pieces, especially in the frontcourt, that should cause major headaches for its opposition. Toss Bagley next to five-star center Wendell Carter, and the returns of Marques Bolden and Javin DeLaurier, and not only does the best frontline, but also the best team resides in Durham.

Associated Press