The much anticipated preseason college basketball AP top 25 was finally released for the 2020-21 season. There are some familiar faces in this year’s top five teams, but also some that may surprise you.
Coming in at No. 5 is a team we haven’t seen ranked this high in quite some time. After going 20-11 last year, Iowa is primed for a much improved season in 2020. The Hawkeyes’ success is predicated in large part to the return of Luka Garza who decided to forgo the NBA draft this year. The senior center averaged a near double-double with 23.9 ppg and 9.8 rpg in 2019. All four of the remaining Hawkeyes’ starting five will also return.
The No. 4 ranking goes to the defending champion Virginia Cavaliers. Tony Bennett and the Cavs finished last season with a 23-7 overall record and look to improve this year. UVA returns junior point guard Kihei Clark who’s slowly grown into his role as a solid scorer and playmaker, averaging 10.8 ppg and 5.9 apg. The Cavaliers will also likely get a boost in the scoring department from Marquette transfer Sam Hauser, who averaged nearly 15 ppg last year for the Golden Eagles.
Next comes Villanova at No. 3. Despite losing their leading scorer Saddiq Bey to the draft, the Wildcats return a good bit of talent. Lead-guard Colin Gillespie is primed for a big season this year after averaging over 15 ppg in 2019. Nova also welcomes back two more double-digit scorers in Jermaine Samuels (10.7 ppg) and Jeremiah Robinson-Earl (10.5 ppg).
The Baylor Bears hit the ranks at No. 2. After finishing last season ranked in the top five, the Bears are pretty much reloading their roster heading into 2020. Both of Baylor’s star guards, Jared Butler and MaCio Teague, decided to forgo the draft and return to school this season. The Bears also return two near double-digit scorers in Davion Mitchell and Freddie Gillespie.
Finally, the Gonzaga Bulldogs round out the list at No. 1. While they did lose their Serbian center and best player, Filip Petrusev, to the draft last year, the Bulldogs have a good combo of returning and new talent. Forward Corey Kispert and guard Joel Ayayi both made the decision to return to Gonzaga this year, maintaining a large chunk of the team’s offensive production. The Zags also landed five-star, No. 2 point guard recruit Jalen Suggs in the offseason. The freshman will likely provide the Wildcats with an immediate boost.
Here’s the full top 25:
- Michigan State
- Texas Tech
- West Virginia
- North Carolina
- Arizona State
- Florida State
- Ohio State
For the first time in years, the country’s historical blue-blood teams were all held out of the top five.
Kansas came close with a No. 6 ranking, Duke secured their worst preseason ranking in years at No. 9, Kentucky squeaked into the final spot in the top 10, and North Carolina slid even higher up the list at No. 16.
If college basketball season is anything like the unprecedented NCAA football season we’ve seen so far, there will be a lot of shuffling on this list as the year goes on.
The season can begin as early as Nov. 25, but most teams won’t begin their schedules until December.