THE TIME HAS FINALLY COME!
With the AP dropping the 2020-2021 Top 25 poll, the college basketball season is damn near here. For the longest time, we didn’t think we would be able to enjoy this. After last year’s March Madness was ripped away from us, we deserve this and I don’t think this season is going to disappoint at all. Let’s take a dive into the Top 25 and see what we can find.
1. Gonzaga – This is Gonzaga’s first time starting the season as the AP #1. The only thing left that Mark Few has left to do with Gonzaga, is finally win a National Championship. Last year may have been the year they finally did it but Gonzaga is strong and with their lack of strength of schedule, they may be able to coast until they get to the big dance.
2. Baylor – Is this the year Kansas doesn’t win the Big 12 title? Baylor is returning four starters from their team last year that would have been a unanimous #1 seed in the tournament. Look for them to return and finally give Kansas a run for their money.
5. Iowa – Seven players with starting experience. That is what you need to know about the Hawkeyes. And Luke Garza. With covid-19 creating uncertainty and taking players away at any given time, the depth that the Hawkeyes have will help them make a run for not only the Big 10, but a shot at a National Championship
7. Wisconsin – The Badgers were possibly the hottest team in America last year just as Covid stole the season from them. They won a share of the Big Ten title and are returning practically every major player except Brevin Pritzl and added on two nationally ranked recruits in Johnny Davis and Ben Carlson. Expect them right up there with Iowa for the Big 10.
8. Illinois – The dark horse team that no one will talk about because, well, it’s Illinois. They are returning two players that easily could have went pro in Freshman of the year, Kofi Cockburn, and all-conference guard, Ayo Dosunmu. With a year under their belts together, expect them to create havoc this year and improve on their 21-10 record from last year
11. Creighton – This is the most promising Creighton squad for Greg McDermott since his son, Doug, and Grant Gibbs put Creighton on the map back in 2013-14. Creighton is returning the Big East player of the year in Marcus Zegarowski. The team will look to build around him and compete with Villanova for the Big East title this year
13. Michigan St.
14. Texas Tech – Tech has been on the recruiting trail this offseason and boy did it pay off. They brought in Jamarious Burton from Wichita St., Mac McClung from Georgetown, and brought in a 7 footer from Russia in Vladislov Goldin. The Red Raiders may take some time to get on the same page but by the end of the season, if they can bring it all together, expect them to make a deep run in the tournament.
15. West Virginia
16. North Carolina
17. Houston – The lone AAC team to make the Top 25 this year. Sadly, Houston just lost one of their two major returners in Fabian White Jr.. That may make it tough to match their 23-8 record from last season but Kelvin Sampson knows how to coach and he will have his kids competing for the AAC Championship once again.
18. Arizona St.
21. Florida St.
23. Ohio St.
24. Rutgers – RUTGERS?! What is happening over in New Jersey? Rutgers was days away from earning their first NCAA Tournament bid in 29 years before covid took that away. They are back and with that, they landed a highly recruited center, Cliff Omoruyi, to help with their efforts. Rutgers isn’t a team to be overlooked in the Big Ten this year and will compete against every team they come up against. Expect a 20 win season and I will go out on a limb and say they will earn a double bye in the Big Ten tournament this year.
There we have it. Breaking it down by conferences, the Big Ten leads with 7 teams, Big 12 with 5, ACC with 4, PAC 12 with 3, Big East with 2, SEC with 2, West Coast with 1, and finally the AAC with 1.
Expect fireworks this year with covid because this will be the farthest season from normal. Teams with depth with prosper and we will find out quickly who relies on 2-3 players.
My prediction for the four top seeds in the NCAA Tournament will be Gonzaga, Baylor, Iowa, and Texas Tech. I think this is finally the year Mark Few brings it all together and leads Gonzaga to their first National Championship. The games begin November 25 and it can’t get here soon enough!