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Our Experts Preview The Top Men’s College Basketball Teams

This is everything you need to know about the top teams in men’s college basketball.

College basketball

The 2020-21 men’s basketball season gets underway on Wednesday, November 25, as the coronavirus pandemic continues to rage on nationwide. The COVID-19 shutdowns began in March of this year as all postseason basketball and then the rest of NCAA sports were canceled en masse.

Well, we’re back, baby!

Kind of. There are already myriad teams that have paused their seasons due to outbreaks within their programs including No. 2 Baylor, No. 12 Tennessee, Ole Miss, and Florida causing some reshuffling of multi-team events or canceling season openers.

But we will have some men’s college basketball action starting, so we’re here to prepare you for the season. We reached out to the experts across our NCAA team communities to get the low down on the 25 teams that are ranked in the 2020-21 preseason AP Poll.

Let’s get to it!

Michigan

Projected lineup: G Mike Smith, G Eli Brooks, F Franz Wagner, F Isaiah Livers, C Austin Davis

This should be a deeper team with an influx of young talent in the form of Juwan Howard’s first recruiting class (No. 1 in Big Ten, No. 15 nationally) and Chaundee Brown and Mike Smith entering the fold as immediately-eligible transfers. Smith and Eli Brooks will handle primary ballhandling duties, while fifth-year senior Austin Davis is expected to have an expanded role as freshman Hunter Dickinson comes along. What this team does still have is one of the best one-two punches in the Big Ten with Isaiah Livers and a still-ascending Franz Wagner, who was arguably Michigan’s best player at the tail end of last season.

Michigan

Rutgers

Projected lineup: G Geo Baker, G Jacob Young, G Montez Mathis, F Ron Harper Jr., F Myles Johnson

An Uncertain But Hopeful Odyssey Begins For Rutgers Men’s Basketball

Great expectations have arrived for the Scarlet Knights. After winning 20 regular season games for the first time in 37 years and producing a winning record in Big Ten play for the first time since joining the league, they have the potential to be even better this season. They are ranked in the preseason for the first time in 42 years. Six of the top eight contributors from last season return and they’ve added a top 40 recruiting class that includes 4-star big man Cliff Omoruyi, as well as 3-star wings Mawot Mag and Oskar Palmquist.

After finishing 6th nationally in defensive efficiency last season, their increased size and versatility give hope they may be even better on that end of the floor. The ceiling for this season will likely be determined by how much they improve offensively, particularly from the free throw line and three-point range. However, Baker is one of the best closing playmakers in the country and Harper Jr. is poised to become a star, giving the program the potential to have its best season since the Final Four run 44 years ago.

College Basketball

Ohio State

Projected lineup: G CJ Walker, G Duane Washington Jr., F E.J. Liddell, F Kyle Young, F Justice Sueing

Having trouble keeping up with who currently plays basketball for Ohio State? Us too. The Buckeyes saw three players leave via transfer during the offseason and three others graduate, leaving a whopping five scholarships open for the taking. Chris Holtmann pulled in combo guard Jimmy Sotos from Bucknell and former Ivy League Player of the Year Seth Towns from Harvard, in addition to the freshman class of Zed Key, Eugene Brown, and Meechie Johnson. While there are still a few holdovers from last year’s team, it may take a little time for fans to get familiar with the new faces.

The main question for Ohio State this season will be the health of key contributors such as Towns, Kyle Young, and Justice Sueing. The Buckeyes have four players who are recovering from various surgeries (yikes), so how they hold up over the course of a full season will largely dictate OSU’s success in the Big Ten conference this season.

 

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