College Basketball Top-25 rankings list after commitments of Jalen Duren and Emoni Bates to Memphis.

Rankings

1.) Gonzaga 

PG: Andrew Nembhard

SG: Rasir Bolton

SF: Hunter Sallis

PF: Chet Holmgren

C: Drew Timme

Bench: Anton Watson, Nolan Hickman, Julian Strawther, Ben Gregg, Kaden Perry, Dominick Harris, Martynas Arlauskas

The Zags were ranked first for 99 percent of last season, and despite losing Jalen Suggs, Corey Kispert, and Joel Ayayi — you return preseason national player of the year Drew Timme. In addition to adding the third-ranked recruiting class in the country, headlined by 7-foot-1 unicorn Chet Holmgren and top-ten recruit Hunter Sallis. The Zags could wind up having three All-American players with Timme, Holmgren, and senior guard Andrew Nembhard once again.

2.) Texas

PG: Marcus Carr

SG: Andrew Jones

SF: Timmy Allen

PF: Dylan Disu

C: Tre Mitchell

Bench: Courtney Ramey, Jase Febres, Brock Cunningham, Christian Bishop (Creighton), Jaylon Tyson, Devin Askew (Kentucky)

On the dawn of March 20th, 2021, Joe Pleasent’s two foul shots tickled the twine breaking the hearts of Hoops fans in Austin, which led to examining the future that looked bleak at the time. Less than a week later, Marquette hired Shaka Smart leaving an open vacancy in Texas. How did they fill that? By snagging Texas Tech head coach Chris Beard after an unprecedented run in Lubbock headlined by a final four, quickly, Beard made his presence felt in Austin by adding five valuable transfers from the portal. Three of those five will be starting Timmy Allen from Utah, the SEC’S leading rebounder Dylan Disu from Vandy, and first-team All-A10 player Tre Mitchell from UMass. Adding those three accompanied by the return of guard duo Courtney Ramey and Andrew Jones put the Longhorns in contention for a national championship. Finally, Texas added Minnesota transfer Marcus Carr, adding a different dimension due to scoring creative ability.

3.) Purdue 

PG: Eric Hunter 

SG: Jaden Ivey

SF: Brandon Newman

PF: Caleb Furst

C: Trevion Williams

Bench: Sasha Stefanovic, Zach Edey, Mason Gillis, Ethan Morton, Trey Kaufman

The Boilermakers haven’t been able to get to that ever-elusive Final Four, and there’s no reason why that can’t change this season. Sophomore phenom Jaden Ivey is College Basketball Media’s breakout darling because of his explosiveness. However, his shooting consistency remains a significant question mark, which continued to be a problem during the FIBA U19 world cup. Speaking of the FIBA U19. Purdue being ranked third in the country will predicate on Ivey’s potential breakout season — if that weren’t to occur, the ceiling drastically falls lower for Matt Painter. Even if Ivey doesn’t blossom into All-American caliber, Purdue still has one All-American player in dominant senior forward Trevion Williams — who led the team in scoring and rebounding last year. It wouldn’t be Purdue without a 7-footer, and Zach Edey fills the mold perfectly entering his sophomore season. Purdue’s my team to beat in the Big Ten.

4.) UCLA

PG: Tyger Campbell

SG: Johnny Juzang

SF: Peyton Watson

PF: Jaime Jaquez

C: Myles Johnson (Rutgers)

Bench: Cody Riley, Jules Bernard, Jake Kyman, David Singleton, Jaylen Clark

How often can teams say this? They return every player that logged a minute in a Final Four game, add one of the nation’s top rim-protectors, and add a top-10 recruit. That’s what Mick Cronin can boast next season after Johnny Juzang decided to stay put in Westwood for another season where he’ll be widely considered the Preseason PAC-12 player of the year. The top-ten recruit mentioned is Peyton Watson, who plays three positions while displaying elite defensive prowess, which seamlessly fits the Mick Cronin mold. The duo between Rutgers transfer Myles Johnson and Cody Riley at the five should prove to be one of the nation’s more lethal 1-2 punches — Johnson is a superb defender. At the same time, Riley is an above-average offensive piece. UCLA’s been out of the spotlight for quite some time, but Coach Cronin found the right formula to get the train back on the tracks. 

5.) Michigan

PG: Devante’ Jones

SG: Eli Brooks

SF: Caleb Houstan

PF: Brandon Johns

C: Hunter Dickinson

Bench: Moussa Diabate, Terrence Williams, Kobe Bufkin, Frankie Collins, Will Tschetter, Zeb Jackson, Isaiah Barnes

Last season, the Wolverines lost four integral parts from their Elite Eight team (counting Isaiah Livers, despite injury), but Coach Howard hauls in the country’s top recruiting class for 2021. The lone freshman starter is 6’8 sharpshooting forward Caleb Houston, who played at the prestigious Montverde Academy in Florida. Senior DeVante Jones transferred from Coastal Carolina, where he posted a dazzling 19.3 points, 7.2 rebounds, 2.9, earning him Sun Belt player of the year honors. Jones should slide into Mike Smith’s role last season after he came in from Columbia last season. Speaking of Big Ten player of the year candidates, Hunter Dickinson returns for his sophomore campaign in search of a final four and conference player of the year honors. 

6.) Kansas

PG: Remy Martin (Arizona State)

SG: Ochai Agbaji

SF: Christian Braun

PF: Jalen Wilson

C: David McCormack

Bench: Joe Yesufu (Drake), DaJuan Harris, Cam Martin, Jalen Coleman-Lands (Iowa State), Kyle Cuffe, Bobby Pettiford, Mitch Lightfoot, Zach Clemence, KJ Adams

The Jayhawks four starters from last year’s team, while adding a Remy Martin, who averaged 19 points for Arizona State the past two seasons. My question about this Jayhawks team is whether Remy Martin can focus less on being the go-to scorer and setting the table for others. I think Martin can still be aggressive on the offensive end, but the looseness he displayed at Arizona State could be detrimental to Kansas reaching the pinnacle. One surprise for Bill Self was Ochai Agbaji deciding to withdraw from the NBA draft — Many expected Agbaji to remain in the NBA Draft. Still, his return catapults Kansas into my top ten due to Agbaji’s true 3-and-D impact. The Jayhawks belong in the National Title conversation for 2021-22 with a loaded roster. 

7.) Memphis

PG: Emoni Bates

SG: Lester Quinones

SF: Landers Nolley

PF: DeAndre Williams

C: Jalen Duren

Bench: Alex Lomax, Earl Timberlake, Joshua Minnott, Chandler Lawson, Jonathan Lawson, Malcolm Dandridge, John Camden, Samuel Ayomide-Onu, Tyler Harris

No team in the country is more polarizing than Penny Hardaway’s Memphis Tigers. Either you believe he’s capable of leading his loaded roster deep in the NCAA Tournament, or you think Memphis misses the tournament entirely. This we do know, they’ll be one of the top defenses in the country once again, thanks to their intensity in the run & jump defensive scheme that keeps opposing offenses on their toes. The difference-maker is the point guard play — will they run the point guard by committee or hand the keys to top-prospect Emoni Bates and let him play through mistakes, which occur for all freshman players. Aside from Bates, The Tigers enroll the top recruiting class in the country by also landing reclassified five-star center Jalen Duren. If you told me to pick one Memphis player that’ll make an All-American team — give me DeAndre Williams. His defensive ability is unbelievable, and his offensive game is underrated. Consider me a believer in Penny Hardaway’s ability to lead the Tigers deep in the dance.

8.) Villanova

PG: Collin Gillespie

SG: Caleb Daniels

SF: Justin Moore

PF: Jermaine Samuels

C: Eric Dixon

Bench: Bryan Antoine, Trey Patterson, Brandon Slater, Nnanna Njoku, Angelo Brizzi, Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree

Is Nova the seventh most talented team in the country? Not by a long shot. Will they be an elite team in the country? Absolutely, between the veteran leadership of Collin Gillespie and Jermaine Samuels and the scoring pop of Caleb Daniels and Justin Moore makes this team very intriguing. And their head coach already won two national titles in the past decade and looked to join a premier company in winning his third national title. I’d imagine the actual staring lineup could differ when the next 40 days elapse before the season tips off — whether that’s Brandon Slater sliding into the mix, moving Samuels to the five, or Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree finally getting healthy could slide Dixon out of the starting lineup if his production stalls.

9.) Oregon

PG: Will Richardson

SG: Jacob Young

SF: De’Vion Harmon

PF: Quincy Guerrier

C: Nate Bittle

Bench: N’Faly Dante, Franck Kepnang, Rivaldo Soares, Isaac Johnson, Lok Wur

The Ducks lose Chris Duarte, LJ Figueroa, Eugene Omoruyi to the NBA Draft; however, the team is somehow better? That’s a result of transfer portal aficionado Dana Altman getting three huge pieces to Eugene. Syracuse transfer Quincy Guerrier (13.7 points, 8.4 rebounds in 2020-21), Electrifying guard Jacob Young from Rutgers (14.1 points, 3.4 Assists), and De’Vion Harmon from Oklahoma slotted in at second in scoring for the Sooners last season. The amount of success Altman’s had in the transfer portal continues to pay dividends bolstering the roster with highly impactful players consistently. There’s one question for Oregon, who stands out at the five? There’s a plethora of talent between oft-injured N’Faly Dante, former four-star Franck Kepnang, and versatile 7-footer Nate Bittle. At the moment, I see Bittle starting. Although you can’t ignore the high-billing Dante had entered college, just seemingly nothing has gone his way since getting to college. In a limited eight-game sample due to a torn ACL, Dante averaged 8.2 points, 5.8 rebounds and added a steal/block per game. The Ducks could steal the PAC-12 title from odds-on-favorites UCLA.

10.) Kentucky

PG: Sahvir Wheeler

SG: TyTy Washington

SF: Kellan Grady

PF: Keion Brooks Jr

C: Oscar Tshiebwe

Bench: Damion Collins, Davion Mintz, C.J. Fredrick (Iowa), Lance Ware, Jacob Toppin, Dontaie Allen, Bryce Hopkins

Following a season that spiraled out of control, there were two obvious season-altering issues — the most notable was the lack of point guard play. Well, John Calipari now has three capable point guards, with two newcomers, SEC’s leading assist getter Sahvir Wheeler from Georgia, and major stock riser TyTy Washington, in addition to Davion Mintz returning for another season. Another problem was an issue that’s been a thorn in Coach Cal’s side during his time in Lexington — a complete lack of three-point shooting. Last season, Kentucky shot 33 percent from deep, and only two players shot better than 32 percent from deep. Addressing that issue, Kentucky brings in two sharpshooters, Kellan Grady from Davidson and C.J. Fredrick from Iowa. After the rough season, Kentucky is the favorite in the SEC once again. 

11.) Duke

Lineup

PG: Jeremy Roach

SG: A.J. Griffin

SF: Wendell Moore

PF: Paolo Banchero

C: Mark Williams

Bench: Theo John (Marquette), Joey Baker, Jaylen Blakes, Trevor Keels

Coach K enters his final season at the helm in Durham, ending a 40-year run as Duke’s head coach. Can he get one more title? Sure, Paolo Banchero had a real argument as the top prospect in the class of 2021, slotting in second behind Gonzaga’s Chet Holmgren. In addition to Banchero, Duke adds top-10 recruit, A.J. Griffin into the mix while returning lead guard Jeremy Roach and breakout candidate Mark Williams. Adding an experienced rim protector in Theo John is a sneaky valuable addition. During his days at Marquette, John gradually improved every season, going from a total liability on offense, elite defender, serviceable offensive player, and elite defensive prowess. Furthermore, Duke will be the favorite in the ACC next season.

12.) Illinois

Lineup

PG: Andre Curbelo

SG: Trent Frazier

SF: Austin Hutcherson

PF: Da’Monte Williams

C: Kofi Cockburn

Bench: Alphonso Plummer, Jacob Grandison, Coleman Hawkins, Bradin Podzemski, Luke Goode, R.J. Melendez, 

If there’s one team that skyrocketed up my rankings in the past month, it’s the Fighting Illini; that’s because of getting second-team All-American Kofi Cockburn back to school for his junior season. The two-man game between an elite facilitator in Andre Curbelo, and a powerful force in Kofi Cockburn, who’s elite in the P&R game. You cannot disregard the departure of leading scorer Ayo Dosunmu. Still, Illinois beat a top-five Michigan team sans Dosunmu last season after suffering a facial fracture, a positive sign when looking ahead into next season without Dosunmu. The Illini have two potential All-Americans next season with Cockburn and Curbelo. Pairing them with a steady supporting cast is enough for Brad Underwood’s squad sneaking into my top-15.

13.) Florida State

PG: Caleb Mills (Houston)

SG: Matthew Cleveland

SF: Anthony Polite

PF: Malik Osbourne

C: Tanor Ngom

Bench: Wyatt Wilkes, John Butler, Cam Fletcher (Kentucky), Naheim McLeod, RayQuan Evans, Jalen Warley

The Noles add a highly-coveted transfer in Caleb Mills, the preseason AAC player of Houston, but injuries sidelined Mills before he decided to transfer. Looking ahead to what Mills could accomplish next season is intriguing because of his natural scoring ability combined with sitting out an entire season. His partner at the guard spot will be five-star Matthew Cleveland, an athletic wing that fits Coach Hamilton’s coach philosophy like a glove. The Noles have three players taller than 7-feet tall on the roster, but none are proven to be high-level contributors at the ACC level — how do they end up playing next season? If Ngom can develop in his final college season, that would go a long way for Florida State.

14.) Alabama

PG: Jahvon Quinerly

SG: JD Davison

SF: Jaden Shackelford

PF: Keon Ellis

C: Charles Bediako

BENCH: Noah Gurley (Furman), Keon Ambrose-Hylton, Juwan Gary, Darius Myles, Jusuan Holt, Alex Tchikou

No team in my rankings had moved around more frequently than Alabama — beginning the offseason in my top-five before Joshua Primo went pro. Then Jaden Shackelford left but ultimately came back, and now Nimari Burnett is done with an ACL injury for the season. I wouldn’t expect the Tide’s defense to be top-ten as they were last season without swiss-army-knife Herbert Jones in the mix, but Keon Ellis brings similar qualities to Jones. The guard duo of Shackelford and Jahvon Quinerly forms the SEC’s top backcourt duo, as they’re both capable of dropping 20+ on any given night. One name to monitor is freshman Alex Tchikou, who never suited up last season after suffering a season-ending injury in practice — his athleticism and floor-stretching ability at 6-foot-11 could be the difference-maker for this loaded Crimson Tide roster if healthy. 

15.) Baylor

PG: James Akinjo

SG: Adam Flagler

SF: Matthew Mayer

PF: Kendall Brown

C: Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua

Bench: LJ Cryer, Flo Thamba, Langston Love, Dain Dainja, Jeremy Sochan, Zach Loveday

Baylor got to the pinnacle, winning a national title for the first time in program history — what comes with winning a title? Players moving onto the next level as MaCio Teague, Davion Mitchell, Jared Butler, and Mark Vital all left for the NBA Draft. Addressing the loss of Butler, Coach Drew hauled in an Arizona transfer James Akinjo, who led the PAC-12 in assists last season. One returning player is Matthew Mayer, a skilled 6’9 shot creator who tested the NBA Waters before making his trip back to Waco for another season. Mayer could emerge to be an All-American candidate next season and lead the Bears in scoring. The Bears haul in a stacked recruiting class headlined by five-star forward Kendall Brown, paired with top-50 guard Langston Love, and both will be impactful players. The Bears will be a consistent force again next season.

16.) St Bonaventure

PG: Kyle Lofton

SG: Dom Welch

SF: Jaren Holmes

PF: Jalen Adaway

C: Osun Osunniyi

Bench: Abdul Karim-Coulibaly (Pitt), Quadry Adams, Linton Brown, Oluwasegun Durosinmi, Anouar Mellouk, Joryam Saizonou, Justin Ndjock-Tadjore

The Bonnies played their starting five more minutes than any other team did last season en route to an NCAA Tournament bid before losing to LSU in the Round of 64. Fortifying the bench unit was vital for Coach Schmidt and staff this off-season because playing all starters over 30 minutes per game in a truncated season could work but in a full 30+ game season? That could’ve eventually caused issues. They add two ACC transfers and two highly valuable JUCO transfers, notably Indian River State wing Linton Brown, a 6’5 sharpshooter that’ll play critical bench minutes. Kyle Lofton already graced first-team All-A10 honors twice during his prestigious career in Olean — now could be in the mix for All-American conversations if the Bonnies live up to their lofty expectations. 

17.) Houston

PG: Marcus Sasser

SG: Kyler Edwards (Texas Tech)

SF: Tramon Mark

PF: Josh Carlton

C: Fabian White

Bench: Taze Moore (Bakersfield), Robbie Armbrester, Reggie Chaney, Jamal Shead, Kiy’Ron Powell, J’Wan Roberts

The toughness Houston plays displays makes them a dangerous team face every season, but on the surface, the scoring isn’t going to be what it’s been in the past. You lose Quentin Grimes to the pro’s giving Marcus Sasser a golden opportunity to lead the Cougs in scoring while adding a consistent 3-and-D wing Kyler Edwards from Texas Tech to help shoulder the scoring load. For the Cougars, it’s never the first shot that’s most important. It’s the second chance opportunities that destroy the opposition as the game rolls along, which Houston’s thrived at each of the past two seasons, rebounding their misses at a near 40 percent clip. The Cougs are the safe bet to win the American, but I’ll roll with the wildcard Memphis to win the conference.

18.) North Carolina

PG: Caleb Love

SG: Leaky Black

SF: Kerwin Walton

PF: Dawson Garcia (Marquette)

C: Armando Bacot

Bench: Brady Manek (Oklahoma), R.J. Davis, Puff Johnson, Anthony Harris, Dontrez Styles, D’Marco Dunn

The term I’ve relentlessly used since Hubert Davis got the head job is “Davis will modernize North Carolina basketball” These days, having floor-spacing is a valuable thing, even in College Hoops. Last season, North Carolina rotated four big men who couldn’t shoot, often clogging up the lane, which made matters worse for a team that already struggled to shoot the ball. Davis placed emphasis on adding shooters, especially shooters that can play the four. UNC added two of those, Marquette’s smooth-lefty Dawson Garcia and Brady Manek, a double-digit scorer in all four of his seasons at Oklahoma. You add two above-average shooter from the portal, with Kerwin Walton and Caleb Love improving to make UNC a top shooting team in the conference. 

19.) Texas Tech

PG: Kevin McCullar

SG: Sardaar Calhoun

SF: TJ Shannon

PF: Kevin Obanor

C: Marcus Santos-Silva

Bench: Bryson Williams (UTEP), Clarence Nadolny, Adonis Arms (Winthrop), Davion Warren (Hampton), Mylik Wilson (Louisiana), Bryson Williams (UTEP), Chibuzo Agbo, Daniel Batcho

The new-look Red Raiders don new transfers but return the foundation of their roster with TJ Shannon, Kevin McCullar, and Marcus Santos-Silva returning for another season. The additions of versatile forward Kevin Obanor from Oral Roberts, Bryson Williams from UTEP are valuable pieces, thanks to their versatility on the offensive end stretching out to the perimeter. Three pure wings also come in from the portal, top-ten scorer in the country last season in Davion Warren from Hampton, a sharpshooter from FSU with Sardaar Calhoun, Adonis Arms from Winthrop rounding out the mix. The real question? Point guard play Kevin McCullar is the favorite to lead the charge at the point, but Lousiana transfer Mylik Wilson and French guard Clarence Nadolny could earn more minutes. The Red Raiders are in a tier behind Texas, Kansas, and Baylor, but a dangerous team, next season in Mark Adams, first runs at the helm.

20.) Colorado State

PG: Isaiah Stevens

SG: Kendle Moore

SF: Chandler Jacobs

PF: David Roddy

C: James Moors 

Bench: Adam Thistlewood, John Tonje, James Moors, Dischon Thomas, Baylor Hebb (Loyola)

Are you looking for the most prominent mid-major duo in College Hoops? Look no further than Niko Medved’s Rams — Isaiah Stevens averaged a gaudy 15.3 points, 4.3 rebounds, 5.4 assists during the 2020-21 season, while cohort David Roddy had 15.9 points, 9.4 rebounds for the Rams. Only one player (PJ Byrd) is the lone player returning for Colorado State next season. In the year of the transfer portal, keeping the majority of your roster is incredibly impressive. I’d envision this small-ball lineup I have listed be played for close to half of the game, with the rest being a mix of James Moors/Dischon Thomas at the five spots, but there’s no question the weak spot is at the five, so why not make it a guard-oriented lineup? That lineup could makes the Rams an even more lethal unit.

21.) Arkansas

PG: Devo Davis

SG: Chris Lykes

SF: Au’Diese Toney

PF: Trey Wade (Wichita)

C: Jaylin Williams

Bench: Stanley Umude (South Dakota) JD Notae, KK Robinson, Chance Moore, Kamani Johnson (Little Rock), Jaxson Robinson (Texas A&M)

The Razorbacks appeared in their first Sweet Sixteen since 1996 — while losing guys like Jalen Tate, Moses Moody, and Justin Smith is huge, the pieces are there for Arkansas to make another second-weekend appearance. Scoring against Arkansas could be a trying task when they deploy a lineup of Davis-Notae-Toney-Wade-Williams — all five are plus defenders while three could are top-tier defenders in the entire conference. Miami transfer Chris Lykes had a prestigious career in Coral Gables, but injuries derailed his final 18 months on campus. If Lykes can score 15.4 points, which is similar to his 2019-20 season, he could lead the Razorbacks in scoring. 

22.) Arizona

PG: Kerr Kriisa

SG: Pelle Larsson (Utah)

SF: Bennedict Mathurin

PF: Azuolas Tubelis

C: Christian Koloko

Bench: Justin Kier (Georgia), Dalen Terry, Oumar Ballo, Adama Bal, Shane Nowell

The Wildcats have been on a three-year-run of playing disappointing basketball, ultimately leading to Sean Miller’s dismissal. The Wildcats hired long-time Gonzaga second-in-command Tommy Lloyd to take the reigns. Lloyd has a team more than capable of making legitimate waves next season with a young, talented roster oozing with potential headlined by two potential first-round NBA picks, Bennedict Mathurin and Azuolas Tubelis. Two sophomores occupy the back-court Utah transfer Pelle Larsson and Estonia native Kerr Kriisa. The latter could be a breakout star for the Wildcats in the coming years. 

23.) Nevada

PG: Grant Sherfield

SG: Desmond Cambridge

SF: Tre Coleman

PF: Will Baker

C: Warren Washington

Bench: AJ Bramah, Kenan Blackshear (FAU), Daniel Foster, KJ Hymes, Alem Husenovic, Jalen Weaver, Deandre Henry, Nick Davidson

The Wolf Pack were a thorn in the Mountain West bubble team’s side last season, knocking off Boise State on three separate occasions, and ended Colorado State’s hopes at an at large bid. This season, it’s Nevada’s turn with expectations, returning four starters, one being potential All-American Grant Sherfield, who had a real case at conference player of the year after averaging 18.3 points, 6.1 assists. Robert Morris transfer A.J. Bramah averaged 21 points, hauling in over 10 rebounds per game before entering the transfer portal in February. The addition of Bramah became possible after Addison Patterson left the program, a blow that hurts the overall upside of the Wolf Pack, but in the short term, Bramah is the better option. The main question mark about Nevada is what will former top-40 recruit Will Baker contribute — starting his career in Austin playing for his hometown Longhorns didn’t work out. In the one season Baker played, he was behind six other forwards on the depth chart, two selected in the 2021 NBA Draft. Baker’s 7-foot-frame paired with his intriguing offensive skillset playing alongside athletic rim-running center Warren Washington could be a dangerous duo in the Mountain West.

24.) Ohio State

PG: Jamari Wheeler (Penn State)

SG: Cedric Russell (Louisiana)

SF: Justice Sueing

PF: E.J. Liddell

C: Kyle Young

Bench: Justin Ahrens, Seth Towns (Injured), Zed Key, Malaki Branham, Meechie Johnson, Euegene Brown

Entering the off-season, many had Ohio State ranked in the top ten, but Duane Washington Jr ultimately staying in the NBA Draft changed the team’s trajectory due to uncertainty at the guard spots. Coach Holtmann worked in the portal hauling in Louisiana 17.2 point scoring guard Cedric Russell to find proven guard play. One player who withdrew from the NBA Draft is E.J. Liddell, a contender for conference player of the year if he can improve his perimeter shooting. Overall, Ohio State returns pivotal pieces, including super glue-guy Kyle Young, a player the Buckeyes desperately missed in the loss to Oral Roberts and has a pair of high-upside guards with Meechie Johnson and Malaki Branham. It’s never easy to be on the wrong side of a historic upset, but that’ll have Ohio State motivated heading into an expectation-filled 2021-22.

25.) BYU Cougars

PG: Te’Jon Lucas

SG: Alex Barcello

SF: Gideon George

PF: Caleb Lohner

C: Richard Harward

Bench: Trevin Knell, Fouss Traore, Atiki Ally Atiki, Hunter Erickson, Seneca Knight, Gavin Baxter, Nate Hanson, Spencer Johnson

The Cougs have been top-25 caliber in the first two seasons of Mark Pope’s run in Provo. Last season proved how impressive Pope is as a coach — losing Yoeli Childs, TJ Haws, and Jake Toolson, but the team somehow finished better overall. This season, the main departed player is 7-foot-3 Matt Haarms, who helped transform the Cougs defense with help from returnees Gideon George and Caleb Lohner. BYU will start experienced big-man Richard Harward early in the season — if BYU can reach their ceiling, one of their freshmen forwards, Atiki Ally Atiki or Fouss Traore, have to emerge at the five. Also worth noting, BYU last AP All-America player was Jimmer Fredette in 2010-11, also winning national player of the year. While Alex Barcello won’t be the player of the year, he’ll have a legitimate bid for getting All-American honors if the Cougs finish in the top-25 after averaging 16 points, 4 rebounds, and 4 assists in his junior season.

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