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SportsPulse: At the end of Gonzaga̵

7;s unbeaten season, Baylor made history for himself, Mackenzie Salmon details how the Bears won their first national title.

USA Today

INDIANAPOLIS – 2020-21 Men’s College Basketball Season is available in official books after some of the sport’s most challenging years due to shifts and COVID-19 restrictions.

But now Baylor The nets have been reduced and the 2021 NCAA Tournament is over, we can see the season ahead.

The offseason events – players entering NBA draft, transfers and late decisions by incoming freshmen will shake things up for sure. But for now, here’s an overview of the teams best positioned to be among the country’s top picks in November when the 2021-22 season concludes.

1. UCLA (22-10)… Coach Mick Cronin could lose some of his youth roster to the NBA if there was one. (It was Johnny Jusang) trying to take advantage of his grand four-time finale performance against Gonzaga. But regardless of how Cronin knows how to get the team to the top at the right time, despite the setbacks (lost to second-placed scorer Chris Smith in eight games last season), however, Cronin knows how to top the team at the right time. Tyger Campbell and Jaime Jáquez Jr. (if he were) were both ready for an even bigger season as the rising juniors.

The partner looks stupid: Baylor’s Scott Drew is an all-time country champion.

Still great: Gonzaga’s case of being one of the best non-champions in the men’s division history.

2. Duke (13-11)The Blue Devils missed out on this year’s NCAA Tournament, their first since 1995, but is poised to make a comeback with a powerful squad, bringing back Matthew Hurt, imitator Christian Laettner (18.3 ppg), and Coach Mike Krzyzewski is welcoming the renowned recruiting class featuring five-star Paolo Banchero and AJ Griffin.

3. Gonzaga (31-1)The Bulldogs will lose two of their big three, Jalen Suggs and Corey Kispert, to the NBA draft, with lead role-playing Joel Ayayi. It’s unclear if NCAA tournament big man Drew Timme will return. That certainly sets the starter back on Andrew Nembhard (9.2 ppg, 4.4 apg) back for reserve coach Mark Few, Anton Watson and Aaron Cook can play a bigger role as younger Hunter Sullis. A new five-star can step in right away.Chet Holmgre, the country’s No. 1 recruited, is leaning towards the Zags.

4. Michigan (23-5)Wolverine may have lost Isaiah Livers and Franz Wagner to the NBA, but there’s a high chance they’ll bring back All-American Hunter Dickinson, a second team and key players in Nucleus, coach Juwan Howard has joined. # 1 recruiting class (per 247 Sports) headlined by five-star Caleb Houstan and Moussa Diabate.

5. Ohio State (21-10)Sadly, the 2020-21 Buckeyes will be best remembered for an upset NCAA first-round match with 15th Oral Roberts, but the OSU figure will return top scorer Duane Washington Jr. (16.4 ppg) for the season. His senior, as the rising junior EJ Liddell (16.2 pgg, 6.7 rpg) put his name in the draft. But still be able to come back Either way, coach Chris Holtmann should be gifted enough to return to the fight for the Big Ten title and have a redemption season.

6. Baylor (28-2)The Bears, the nation’s champions, will lose their backs to Jared Butler, Davion Mitchell and MaCio Teague, but that means Adam Flagler (9.0 ppg) may be ready for a breakout junior campaign and coach Scott Drew will switch to the roster. Become a competitor. Kendall Brown is a five-star freshman who can help.

7. Purdue (18-10)Leading goalscorer Trevion Williams (15.5 ppg, 9.1 rpg) is expected to return for his senior season, while the second year rising Jaden Ivey (11. ppg) is ready to continue to blossom. After the recruiting campaign, coach Matt Painter will have a more seasoned team than the North Texas teams are upset at the NCAA.

8.Alabama (26-7)Crimson Tide is expected to have a lot of talent back, starting with top scorer Jaden Shackelford and Jahvon Quinerly Nate Oats, USA TODAY Sports National Team Coach of the Year 2020-21, turning Alabama into rival and team Sweet. 16 in two seasons, Year 3 promises to go that trajectory, especially with top 10 freshman JD Davison in the division.

9. Kentucky (9-16)The Wildcats’ chilling 2020-21 season could pave the way for a better 2021-22. Isaiah Jackson, Terrence Clark and UK dominant Brandon Boston are both. Announcing his intention to join the NBA draft, coach John Calipari has started reloading with the transfer of eligible teams Kellan Grady (17.1 ppg at Davidson) and Oscar Tshiebwe (8.5 ppg, 7.8 rpg at West. Virginia), he is also bound by five-star Daimion Collins, Bryce Hopkins and Nolan Hickman.

10. Kansas (21-9)Coach Bill Self’s lifetime promise meant continuity in the pilot’s chair. List of KU. In 2021-22, to be less predictable, there is a chance that the Jayhawks will lose Ochai Agbaji to the NBA with the departed senior Marcus Garrett but David McCormack (13.4 ppg, 6.1 rpg) and Jalen Wilson (11.8 ppg, 7.9 rpg). ) To return, himself must be busy with the recruiting path, where he has not yet received a five-star award.

11.Maryland (17-14)Coach Mark Turgien should not play his team out of the 2021-22 bubble, as he will have a team with a lot of experience battling for the Big Ten title, Eric Ayala and Aaron Wiggins (14.5 ppg) should. Shine as senior if both pass tryouts in NBA waters, while transfers from Fatts Russell (18.8 ppg in 2019-20 at Rhode Island) and Qudus Wahab (12.7 ppg, 8.2 rpg at Georgetown) will bring the squad. This is fully loaded.

12. Villanova (18-7)Wildcats lost one Big East co-player of the year from senior Collin Gillespie, but they could be in a position to reinstate other Big East POY contributors Jeremiah Robinson-Earl (15.7 ppg, 5.5 rpg. As long as the Juniors don’t jump to the NBA, coach Jay Wright is bringing in the top five recruiting classes, with a backbone by defender Justin Moore.

13. Michigan State (15-13) Tyson Walker, a transfer northeast, one of the best mid-rangers in the country, picked the Spartans over Kansas and Maryland. He averaged 18.8 points and made 4.8 assists and is CAA’s Defensive Player of the Year.He will join the returning Joey Hauser and goalscorer Aaron Henry could lead if he wins the NBA. Five-star rookie Max Christie will raise the score immediately

14. Florida State (18-7)Seminoles will lose the anticipated lottery selection to Scottie Barnes and may lose top scorer MJ Walker in the NBA draft, but coach Leonard Hamilton is defeated. Playing two in the NBA last year and still getting FSU to Sweet 16, he will have to make a comeback with a great recruiting class, currently second and headlined by five-star Matthew Cleveland.

15. Texas (19-8)Longhorns has a new sheriff in town, although he’s more like a general. Chris Beard, follower Bob Knight, can turn Red Raiders into contenders – reaching the 2019 national championship game in an even bigger event that can’t be won. Under Shaka Smart expects Final Fours under the Beard he will inherit the smartly recruited team. But there is a lot of talent to fall into Beard’s first defense philosophy to blend in in Year 1.

16. Syracuse (18-10)Buddy Boeheim (17.8 ppg) scored three points in late 2020-21 to guide Orange out of the NCAA Tournament bubble and into Sweet 16, a sharp shot defender will return with his supporting actor Quincy Guerrier. , Alan Griffin and Joseph Girard III five-star Benny Williams will be special ammunition.

17. Memphis (20-8)Coach Penny Hardaway said after his NIT title, “It was just the beginning” for his program that missed out on the NCAA Tournament as a bubble team. The Tigers are poised to return nearly all of the roster from their group that won 11 of their last 13 games, Landers Nolley II, DeAndre Williams and Boogie Ellis are expected to return, while Hardaway has a top 10 recruiting class coming in.

18.Virginia (18-7)The crowned ACC champion Cavaliers are back in the national equation, despite losing two of the top scorers. Veteran freshman Kehe Clarke in the 2019 UVA national team is back for another season, the upcoming junior Trey Murphy III, ready for a breakout season and coach Tony Bennett’s system should continue for Another promising campaign for the Cavs.

19. North Carolina (18-11). The Hubert Davis era is likely to be off to a strong start as the former aide will inherit the squad of players he has helped recruit, Armando Bacot and Caleb Love have ample talent. But most of Davis ‘work in Year 1 was to stimulate and redefine a culture that is separate from Roy Williams’ legacy.

20. West VirginiaIf Miles McBride (15.8 ppg, 4.9 apg) and Derek Culver (14.3 ppg, 9.4 rpg) return and stop NBA action, coach Bob Huggins will get a 1-2 night punch from one of the best defending teams. His The key is to bring the climber back to an excellent defensive state.

21. Wichita State (16-6)Shockers coach Isaac Brown will have a full offseason to get the program into competitive format after he led the WSU to the American Athletic Conference in the regular season and the NCAA Tournament berth after coach Gregg. Marshall has been out of the program for a long time amid abuse allegations ahead of 2020-21, top goal scorer Tyson Etienne (16.3 ppg) will be the focal point for the group.

22. GlossThe Tigers lost to Cameron Thomas in the NBA. But thought to bring the others back, Trendon Watford (16.3 ppg, 7.4 rpg) would be a major comeback, assuming he waited for the NBA with 30 points in the SEC Tournament final with Alabama as a sample size. Of his breakout ability

23. HoustonThe Cougars could lose top scorer Quentin Grimes to the NBA from the last four. But Marcus Sasser (13.7 ppg) is ready for a big season and coach Kelvin Sampson has always figured out how to keep Houston competing in AAC.

24.Tennessee (18-9) Coach Rick Barnes tends to lose a lot in NBA drafts, but there will be enough significant payouts from the roster that finished fourth in the SEC and feature the NCAA Tournament No. 5 Kennedy Shane. The new five-star Dler will make an immediate impact

25. Florida (15-10). Big Man Colin Castleton, 6-11, averaging 12.1 points per game and shooting 60% off the floor will return to coach Mike White.If Keyontae Johnson can play it, it will be a huge boost. Johnson collapsed on court and was in a state of crisis last December that kept him out of the rest of 2020-21, but that meant he would not be following the draft and could be in Gaines. Ville under the supervision of doctors Summit League Defender Brandon McKissic is a big move.

Close call: Saint Bonaventure, Southern California, UConn, Arkansas, Virginia Tech, Illinois,

Follow college basketball reporter Scott Gleeson on Twitter @ScottMGleeson.

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