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Athlon Sports' College Basketball Top 25 for 2021-22

Gonzaga Bulldogs forward Drew Timme and Baylor Bears forward Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua during championship game of 2021 NCAA Tournament

After meeting in last season's national title game, both Gonzaga and defending champion Baylor rank among the top contenders once again

The 2021-22 college basketball season is quickly approaching and has the potential to usher in a new group of collegiate powers.

Traditional blue-bloods like Duke, Kentucky, Michigan State, and North Carolina are once again outside of the top five, leaving Kansas as one of the few familiar names atop the rankings. 

Of course, No. 1 Gonzaga is quickly cementing itself as one of the best programs in college basketball, and UCLA is quickly returning to its spot atop the sport after a surprise Final Four run in 2021. But with impressive new coaches, Michigan and Texas could be joining these ranks as well.

The Bulldogs, Bruins, Jayhawks, and Longhorns project as NCAA Tournament No. 1 seeds, but don't sleep on defending champion Baylor, which has to overcome the loss of its top four scorers. And with Purdue returning a pair of All-Americans, there is no shortage of contenders.

1. Gonzaga

2020-21 Record: 31-1 (15-0 WCC)

Top Player: F Drew Timme (19.0 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 2.3 apg)

2. UCLA

2020-21 Record: 22-10 (13-6 Pac-12)

Top Player: G Johnny Juzang (16.0 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 1.6 apg)

3. Kansas

2020-21 Record: 21-9 (12-6 Big 12)

Key Player: F David McCormack (13.4 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 1.0 bpg)

4. Texas

2020-21 Record: 19-8 (11-6 Big 12)

Key Player: G Andrew Jones (14.6 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 2.3 apg)

5. Michigan

2020-21 Record: 23-5 (14-3 Big Ten)

Key Player: C Hunter Dickinson (14.1 ppg, 7.4 rpg, 1.4 bpg)

6. Duke

2020-21 Record: 13-11 (14-6 ACC)

Key Player: G Wendell Moore Jr. (9.7 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 2.7 apg)

7. Villanova

2020-21 Record: 18-7 (11-4 Big East)

Key Player: G Collin Gillespie (14.0 ppg, 4.6 apg, 3.3 rpg)

8. Baylor

2020-21 Record: 28-2 (13-5 Big 12)

Key Player: G Matthew Mayer (8.1 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 1.0 apg)

9. Kentucky

2020-21 Record: 9-16 (8-9 SEC)

Key Player: F Keion Brooks Jr. (10.3 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 1.6 apg)

10. Arkansas

2020-21 Record: 25-7 (13-4 SEC)

Key Player: G JD Notae (12.8 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 1.9 bpg)

11. Purdue

2020-21 Record: 18-10 (13-6 Big Ten)

Key Player: F Trevion Williams (15.5 ppg, 9.1 rpg, 2.3 apg)

12. North Carolina

2020-21 Record: 18-11 (15-1 ACC)

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Top Player: Caleb Love (10.5 ppg, 3.6 apg, 2.6 rpg)

13. Oregon

2020-21 Record: 21-7 (14-4 Pac-12)

Key Player: G Will Richardson (11.3 ppg, 3.9 apg, 3.4 rpg)

14. Ohio State

2020-21 Record: 21-10 (15-5 Big Ten)

Key Player: F E.J. Liddell (16.2 ppg, 6.7 rpg, 1.8 apg)

15. Illinois

2020-21 Record: 24-7 (16-4 Big Ten)

Key Player: C Kofi Cockburn (17.7 ppg, 9.0 rpg, 1.3 bpg)

16. Houston

2020-21 Record: 28-4 (14-3 AAC)

Key Player: G Marcus Sasser (13.7 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 2.2 apg)

17. Florida State

2020-21 Record: 18-7 (11-4 ACC)

Key Player: G Anthony Polite (10.1 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 1.8 apg)

18. Tennessee

2020-21 Record: 18-9 (10-7 SEC)

Key Player: F John Fulkerson (9.5 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 1.7 apg)

19. Maryland

2020-21 Record: 17-14 (19-11 Big Ten)

Key Player: G Erick Ayala (15.1 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 2.2 apg)

20. Alabama

2020-21 Record: 26-7 (16-2 SEC)

Key Player: G Jaden Shackelford (14.0 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 2.0 apg)

21. Connecticut

2020-21 Record: 15-8 (11-6 Big East)

Top Player: G RJ Cole (12.2 ppg, 4.3 apg, 3.0 rpg)

22. USC

2020-21 Record: 25-8 (15-5 Pac-12)

Top Player: F Isaiah Mobley (9.9 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 1.6 apg)

23. Virginia Tech

2020-21 Record: 15-7 (9-4 ACC)

Key Player: F Keve Aluma (15.2 ppg, 7.9 rpg, 2.2 apg)

24. Michigan State

2020-21 Record: 15-13 (9-11 Big Ten)

Key Player: F Joey Hauser (9.7 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 1.4 apg)

25. Auburn

2020-21 Record: 13-14 (7-11 SEC)

Key Player: G Allen Flannigan (14.3 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 2.9 apg)