INDIANAPOLIS — The 2020-21 males’s faculty basketball season is formally within the books following one of many sport’s most difficult years attributable to COVID-19 postponements and restrictions.
But now that Baylor has cut down the nets and an epic 2021 NCAA Event is over, we will take a look at the season forward.
Occasions of the offseason – gamers getting into the NBA draft, transfers and late choices amongst incoming freshmen – are positive to shake issues up. However for now, this is a take a look at the groups finest positioned to be among the many nation’s elite come November, when the 2021-22 season suggestions off:
1. UCLA (22-10). Coach Mick Cronin may lose a few of his younger roster to the NBA if one (specifically Johnny Juzang) tries to capitalize on the epic Ultimate 4 displaying vs. Gonzaga. However regardless, Cronin knows how to get a team to peak on the proper time regardless of setbacks (shedding second-leading scorer Chris Smith eight video games on this previous season). Tyger Campbell and Jaime Jáquez Jr. (if he stays) are each poised for even larger seasons as rising juniors.
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2. Duke (13-11). The Blue Devils missed this 12 months’s NCAA Event, the first time since 1995, however are poised to return with a dynamic staff, bringing again Christian Laettner-impersonator Matthew Damage (18.3 ppg), and coach Mike Krzyzewski is welcoming a star-studded recruiting class that options five-stars Paolo Banchero and AJ Griffin.
3. Gonzaga (31-1). The Bulldogs will lose two of their massive three – Jalen Suggs and Corey Kispert – to the NBA draft, together with key position participant Joel Ayayi. It is unclear if NCAA Event star massive man Drew Timme returns. That leaves one certainly returning starter in Andrew Nembhard (9.2 ppg, 4.4 apg) again for coach Mark Few. Reserves Anton Watson and Aaron Cook dinner can play bigger roles, whereas five-star freshman Hunter Sallis can step in immediately. Chet Holmgre, the nation’s No. 1 recruit, is leaning towards the Zags.
4. Michigan (23-5). The Wolverines seemingly lose Isaiah Livers and Franz Wagner to the NBA, however there is a sturdy probability they carry again second-team All-American Hunter Dickinson and key gamers within the nucleus. Coach Juwan Howard has hauled in a No. 1 recruiting class (per 247 Sports) that’s headlined by five-stars Caleb Houstan and Moussa Diabate.
5. Ohio State (21-10). Sadly the 2020-21 Buckeyes might be finest remembered for a first-round NCAA Tournament upset to No. 15 seed Oral Roberts. However OSU figures to return main scorer Duane Washington Jr. (16.4 ppg) for his senior season, whereas rising junior E.J. Liddell (16.2 pgg, 6.7 rpg) entered his identify within the draft however may nonetheless return. Both method, coach Chris Holtmann ought to have ample expertise returning to contend for a Huge Ten title and have a redemptive season.
6. Baylor (28-2). The national champion Bears will lose their backcourt of Jared Butler, Davion Mitchell and MaCio Teague, however which means Adam Flagler (9.0 ppg) could possibly be poised for a breakout junior marketing campaign, and coach Scott Drew will flip a new-look roster right into a contender. Kendall Brown is a five-star freshman who can assist with that.
7. Purdue (18-10). Main scorer Trevion Williams (15.5 ppg, 9.1 rpg) is anticipated to return for his senior season, whereas rising sophomore Jaden Ivey (11. ppg) is able to blossom additional following a promising freshman marketing campaign. Coach Matt Painter could have a way more seasoned staff than the one which was upset by North Texas within the NCAA Event.
8. Alabama (26-7). The Crimson Tide are anticipated to have a variety of expertise returning, beginning with main scorers Jaden Shackelford and Jahvon Quinerly. Nate Oats, USA TODAY Sports activities’ nationwide coach of the 12 months in 2020-21, turned Alabama right into a contender and Candy 16 staff in two seasons. Yr 3 guarantees to observe that trajectory, particularly with top-10 freshman JD Davison within the fold.
9. Kentucky (9-16). The Wildcats’ abysmal 2020-21 season may pave the way in which for a greater 2021-22. UK standouts Isaiah Jackson, Terrence Clarke and Brandon Boston all introduced their intentions to enter the NBA draft, however coach John Calipari has already begun reloading with eligible transfers Kellan Grady (17.1 ppg at Davidson) and Oscar Tshiebwe (8.5 ppg, 7.8 rpg at West Virginia). He is additionally obtained commitments from five-stars Daimion Collins, Bryce Hopkins and Nolan Hickman.
10. Kansas (21-9). Coach Bill Self’s lifetime contract means continuity within the pilot’s chair. What KU’s roster seems to be like in 2021-22 might be much less predictable. There’s an opportunity the Jayhawks lose Ochai Agbaji to the NBA, together with departing senior Marcus Garrett, however David McCormack (13.4 ppg, 6.1 rpg) and Jalen Wilson (11.8 ppg, 7.9 rpg) are set to return. Self will be busy on the recruiting path, the place he is but to land a five-star.
11. Maryland (17-14). Coach Mark Turgeon should not must play his staff off the bubble in 2021-22 as he’ll have a veteran-laden staff contending for a Huge Ten title. Eric Ayala and Aaron Wiggins (14.5 ppg) ought to shine as seniors ought to they each cross on attempting NBA waters, whereas eligible transfers Fatts Russell (18.8 ppg in 2019-20 at Rhode Island) and Qudus Wahab (12.7 ppg, 8.2 rpg at Georgetown) will make this squad totally loaded.
12. Villanova (18-7). The Wildcats lose one co-Huge East participant of the 12 months, departing senior Collin Gillespie, however they could possibly be positioned to return the opposite co-Huge East POY, Jeremiah Robinson-Earl (15.7 ppg, 5.5 rpg) as long as the junior would not leap to the NBA. Coach Jay Wright is bringing in a top-five recruiting class to mesh with a core headed by guard Justin Moore.
13. Michigan State (15-13). Northeastern switch Tyson Walker, probably the greatest mid-major guards within the nation, selected the Spartans over Kansas and Maryland. He averaged 18.8 factors and 4.8 assists and was the CAA defensive participant of the 12 months. He’ll mesh with a returning roster of Joey Hauser and probably main scorer Aaron Henry if he holds off on the NBA. 5-star freshman Max Christie will add rapid scoring.
14. Florida State (18-7). The Seminoles will lose projected lottery choose Scottie Barnes and will additionally lose main scorer MJ Walker to the NBA draft. However coach Leonard Hamilton misplaced two gamers to the NBA final 12 months and nonetheless obtained FSU to the Candy 16. He’ll have returning items to mesh with an elite recruiting class that at the moment ranks second and is headlined by five-star Matthew Cleveland.
15. Texas (19-8). The Longhorns have a new sheriff in town, though he’s extra like a common. Chris Beard, a Bob Knight disciple, was capable of flip the Purple Raiders right into a contender — reaching the nationwide championship sport in 2019. At a win-hungry, larger program that underachieved below Shaka Sensible, anticipate Ultimate Fours below Beard. He’ll inherit a Sensible-recruited staff, however there’s ample expertise to fall into Beard’s defense-first philosophy to be within the combine right here in Yr 1.
16. Syracuse (18-10). Buddy Boeheim (17.8 ppg) went on a three-point taking pictures tear on the finish of 2020-21 to information the Orange off the NCAA Event bubble and into the Candy 16. The sharp-shooting guard might be again, along with his supporting forged of Quincy Guerrier, Alan Griffin and Joseph Girard III. 5-star Benny Williams might be additional ammunition.
17. Memphis (20-8). Coach Penny Hardaway stated after his staff’s NIT title that “it is simply the beginning” for his program that narrowly missed the NCAA Event reduce as a bubble staff. The Tigers are poised to return nearly the entire roster from a gaggle that received 11 of its final 13 video games. Landers Nolley II, DeAndre Williams and Boogie Ellis are all anticipated to return whereas Hardaway has one other top-10 recruiting class coming in.
18. Virginia (18-7). The reigning ACC champion Cavaliers will as soon as once more be within the nationwide equation regardless of shedding their prime two scorers. Veteran level guard Kehi Clark, a freshman on UVA’s 2019 nationwide title staff, is again for yet another season. Rising junior Trey Murphy III is poised for a breakout season and coach Tony Bennett’s system ought to endure for one more promising marketing campaign for the Cavs.
19. North Carolina (18-11). The Hubert Davis period will seemingly get off to a powerful begin as a result of the previous assistant will inherit a staff of gamers he helped recruit. There’s ample returning expertise with Armando Bacot and Caleb Love, however a lot of Davis’ job in Yr 1 might be to inspire and redefine tradition separate from Roy Williams’ legacy.
20. West Virginia. If Miles McBride (15.8 ppg, 4.9 apg) and Derek Culver (14.3 ppg, 9.4 rpg) return and maintain off on the NBA, coach Bob Huggins could have the 1-2 punch again from one in every of his finest defensive groups. The important thing might be getting the Mountaineers to raise again to an elite-defense standing.
21. Wichita State (16-6). Shockers coach Isaac Brown could have a full offseason to get this program into contending kind after he guided WSU to a regular-season American Athletic Convention title and NCAA Event berth after longtime coach Gregg Marshall left this system amid abuse allegations previous to 2020-21. Main scorer Tyson Etienne (16.3 ppg) would be the point of interest for this group.
22. LSU. The Tigers lose Cameron Thomas to the NBA, however determine to convey everybody else again. Trendon Watford (16.3 ppg, 7.4 rpg) would be the key returnee assuming he waits on pursuing the NBA, along with his 30 factors within the SEC Event ultimate vs. Alabama a pattern dimension of his breakout means.
23. Houston. The Cougars could lose main scorer Quentin Grimes to the NBA from its Ultimate 4 squad. However Marcus Sasser (13.7 ppg) is poised for an enormous junior season and coach Kelvin Sampson at all times finds a solution to make Houston contend within the AAC.
24. Tennessee (18-9). Coach Rick Barnes is prone to lose loads within the NBA draft, however there might be sufficient key returnees from a roster that completed fourth within the SEC and had an NCAA Event No. 5 seed. 5-star freshman Kennedy Chandler will make a right away affect.
25. Florida (15-10). Colin Castleton, a 6-11 massive man averaging 12.1 factors a sport and taking pictures 60% from the ground, might be again for coach Mike White. If Keyontae Johnson is ready to play, it will be an enormous increase. Johnson collapsed on the court docket and was in essential situation final December, which stored him out for the remainder of 2020-21, however which means he will not pursue the draft and will keep in Gainesville below shut medical consideration. Brandon McKissic, the Summit League’s defensive participant of the 12 months, is a big-name switch.
Shut calls: Saint Bonaventure, Southern California, UConn, Arkansas, Virginia Tech, Illinois,
Observe faculty basketball reporter Scott Gleeson on Twitter @ScottMGleeson.