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Athlon Sports' College Basketball Top 25 for 2020-21

Jared Smart and Baylor enter the season No. 1 in the country

The 2020-21 college basketball season will be anything but traditional. In addition to the uncertainty that the COVID-19 pandemic brings, blue-blood teams are not expected to dominate the sport.

 

Programs like Duke, Kentucky, Michigan State, and North Carolina are all outside of our top 10 for the first time in seemingly a generation. Even Kansas sits just at No. 5, with Baylor, Gonzaga, Villanova, and Virginia projected as the No. 1 seeds in the 2021 NCAA Tournament.

 

Baylor will get a chance to make another national championship run after spending five consecutive weeks in January and February ranked as the top team in the nation. With point guard Jared Butler returning, head coach Scott Drew has a dominant defensive team with plenty of experience.

 

Gonzaga, meanwhile, is losing four players who averaged double figures last season, including All-America big man Filip Petrusev, but the Zags still have as much depth and experience as anyone in the nation. They should be one of the better offensive teams in the nation, led by Corey Kispert and Joel Ayayi.

 

Villanova might have been the runaway No. 1 team if not for Saddiq Bey deciding to leave early for the NBA draft. Still, Jay Wright's team returns eight of its other nine top scorers, including four players who had double-digit scoring averages. This veteran team has a bevy of ways to score.

 

Finally, Virginia will enter the season as the defending champions for the second straight season as a result of the canceled NCAA Tournament. Kihei Clark and Jay Huff are the last major contributors left from the 2018-19 title team, but Marquette transfer Sam Hauser is an enormous addition, and the strong defense remains.

 

1. Baylor

2019-20 Record: 26-4 (15-3 Big 12)

Top Player: G Jared Butler (16.0 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 3.1 apg)

 

2. Gonzaga

2019-20 Record: 31-2 (15-1 WCC)

Top Player: F Corey Kispert (13.9 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 2.1 apg)

 

3. Villanova

2019-20 Record: 24-7 (13-5 Big East)

Key Player: G Collin Gillespie (15.1 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 4.5 apg)

 

4. Virginia

2019-20 Record: 23-7 (15-5 ACC)

Key Player: F Sam Hauser (14.9 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 2.4 apg)

 

5. Kansas

2019-20 Record: 28-3 (17-1 Big 12)

Key Player: G Marcus Garrett (9.2 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 4.6 apg)

 

6. Wisconsin

2019-20 Record: 21-10 (14-6 Big Ten)

Key Player: F Nate Reuvers (13.1 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 1.9 bpg)

 

7. Iowa

2019-20 Record: 20-11 (11-9 Big Ten)

Key Player: C Luka Garza (23.9 ppg, 9.8 rpg, 1.8 bpg)

 

8. Creighton

2019-20 Record: 24-7 (13-5 Big East)

Key Player: G Marcus Zegarowski (16.1 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 5.0 apg)

 

9. Illinois

2019-20 Record: 21-10 (13-7 Big Ten)

Key Player: G Ayo Dosunmu (16.6 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 3.3 apg)

 

10. Tennessee

2019-20 Record: 17-14 (9-9 SEC)

Key Player: G/F Yves Pons (10.8 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 2.4 bpg)

 

11. Texas Tech

2019-20 Record: 18-13 (9-9 Big 12)

Key Player: G Terrence Shannon Jr. (9.8 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 0.9 spg)

 

12. Duke

2019-20 Record: 25-6 (15-5 ACC)

Key Player: F Wendell Moore Jr. (7.4 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 1.9 apg)

 

13. Michigan State

2019-20 Record: 22-9 (14-6 Big Ten)

Key Player: F Aaron Henry (10.0 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 2.9 apg)

 

14. UCLA

2019-20 Record: 19-12 (12-6 Pac-12)

Key Player: F/C Jalen Hill (9.0 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 1.1 bpg)

 

15. North Carolina

2019-20 Record: 14-9 (6-14 ACC)

Key Player: F Garrison Brooks (16.9 ppg, 8.5 rpg, 2.0 apg)

 

16. Arizona State

2019-20 Record: 20-11 (11-7 Pac-12)

Key Player: G Remy Martin (19.1 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 4.1 apg)

 

17. Michigan

2019-20 Record: 19-12 (10-10 Big Ten)

Key Player: G Franz Wagner (11.6 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 5.6 apg)

 

18. Kentucky

2019-20 Record: 25-6 (15-3 SEC)

Key Player: G BJ Boston (Freshman)

 

19. Rutgers

2019-20 Record: 20-11 (11-9 Big Ten)

Key Player: G/F Ron Harper Jr. (12.1 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 0.8 bpg)

 

20. West Virginia

2019-20 Record: 21-10 (9-9 Big 12)

Key Player: F Oscar Tshiebwe (11.2 ppg, 9.3 rpg, 1.0 bpg)

 

21. Florida State

2019-20 Record: 26-5 (16-4 ACC)

Key Player: G M.J. Walker (10.6 ppg, 1.7 rpg, 1.5 apg)

 

22. Richmond

2019-20 Record: 24-7 (14-4 A-10)

Key Player: G Blake Francis (17.7 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 2.0 apg)

 

23. LSU

2019-20 Record: 21-10 (12-6 SEC)

Key Player: G Javonte Smart (12.5 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 4.2 apg)

 

24. Auburn

2019-20 Record: 25-6 (12-6 SEC)

Key Player: G Sharife Cooper (Freshman)

 

25. Houston

2019-20 Record: 23-8 (13-5 AAC)

Key Player: G Quentin Grimes (12.1 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 2.6 apg)

 

(Photo courtesy of @BaylorMBB)

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