IOWA The Favorite to win B1G Title. #5 per AP(Nov9), BEST Preseason Rank in 65 YRS. #6 per USA Today(Nov12) & ESPN(Oct26). #3 per CBS Sports (Oct31)

Franisdaman

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August 12 UPDATE:

The Top 5 Preseason B1G Teams:

#5 Iowa
#6 Wisconsin
#7 Illinois
#13 Michigan State
#23 Ohio State


The Story:


Baylor takes over No. 1 spot in college basketball's Way-Too-Early Top 25 for 2020-21

Jeff Borzello
ESPN Staff Writer
August 12, 2020

1. Baylor Bears
2. Villanova Wildcats
3. Gonzaga Bulldogs
4. Virginia Cavaliers

5. Iowa Hawkeyes
Previous: 5

Luka Garza is back, and so Iowa is looking more and more like a Final Four contender exiting the summer. Garza will be the Wooden Award favorite entering next season after finishing second to Dayton's Obi Toppin last season. After the improvement we've seen from the big man his first three seasons with the Hawkeyes, what can we expect from Garza as a senior? The best guess might be an expanded perimeter game. He attempted only 26 3-pointers in 11 nonconference games but upped it to 83 attempts in 20 Big Ten games. If Iowa is going to live up to its preseason expectations, however, it's not going to be solely because of Garza. It will have to come on the defensive end. The Hawkeyes were 12th out of 14 Big Ten teams last season in defensive efficiency, and the last time they finished inside the top 10 in the league at that end of the floor was 2016. That needs to change.

Projected starting lineup:

Jordan Bohannon (8.8 PPG, 3.3 APG)
CJ Fredrick (10.2 PPG)
Connor McCaffery (6.2 PPG, 4.0 APG)
Joe Wieskamp (14.0 PPG, 6.1 RPG)
Luka Garza (23.9 PPG, 9.8 RPG)


6. Wisconsin Badgers
Previous: 6

While Iowa, Illinois and Michigan State were anxiously waiting out the final days of the draft process, Wisconsin has had its roster and rotation pretty much set all offseason. And the Badgers might have fewer questions entering next season than those teams. The biggest thing for Greg Gard's group is going to be whether it can continue its hot shooting from the end of last season. Wisconsin won its final eight games, going from a team on the brink of its season collapsing to winning a share of the Big Ten title. During that final eight-game stretch, the Badgers shot 41% from 3-point range; for comparison, they shot 35.2% on the season. Brevin Pritzl started five of those final eight games, but he has graduated and probably will be replaced in the lineup by Micah Potter, who started three of those final eight games. Potter gives Wisconsin a brutal matchup problem for opponents: a 6-foot-10, 250-pound big man who shot 46.9% from 3-point range in Big Ten play and was the best defensive rebounder in the league.

Projected starting lineup:

D'Mitrik Trice (9.8 PPG, 4.2 APG)
Brad Davison (9.9 PPG, 4.3 RPG)
Aleem Ford (8.6 PPG, 4.4 RPG)
Nate Reuvers (13.1 PPG, 4.5 RPG)
Micah Potter (10.1 PPG, 6.2 RPG)


7. Illinois Fighting Illini
Previous: Unranked

There might not have been another team that saw as big a boost in its preseason expectations after the draft withdrawal deadline than Illinois, which got both Ayo Dosunmu and Kofi Cockburn back for next season. For much of the spring and early summer, it felt likely the Fighting Illini were going to lose at least one of the two -- and potentially both players. But Brad Underwood now has his two stars back, and Illinois has the pieces to compete for a Big Ten championship. Dosunmu will earn preseason All-American attention, and Cockburn is a dominant big man down low. Illinois returns five players who started at least 22 games last season, and there is going to be competition due to the additions of ESPN 100 guards Adam Miller and Andre Curbelo. While Iowa needs to improve defensively, Illinois is going to need to be more consistent on the offensive end -- especially shooting the ball from the perimeter. The Fighting Illini made just 29.3% of their 3s in Big Ten play.

Projected starting lineup:

Ayo Dosunmu (16.6 PPG, 3.3 APG)
Trent Frazier (9.1 PPG)
Adam Miller (No. 30 in ESPN 100)
Giorgi Bezhanishvili (6.8 PPG, 4.8 RPG)
Kofi Cockburn (13.3 PPG, 8.8 RPG)


8. Kansas Jayhawks
9. Duke Blue Devils
10. Tennessee Volunteers
 
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Franisdaman

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OTHERS:

13. Michigan State Spartans
Previous: 8

There were barely any early departures in the lead-up to deadline day, but unfortunately for Michigan State, the Spartans were one of the few to suffer a massive loss. Aaron Henry returned to East Lansing, as expected, but Xavier Tillman elected to remain in the draft. It wasn't too surprising, but it's going to be a tough task for Tom Izzo to replace him. Izzo has a few different potential scenarios. He could go with ESPN 100 big man Mady Sissoko, who has earned some positive offseason buzz, or he could opt for returnees Marcus Bingham and Thomas Kithier. Bingham started 16 games a season ago and has always shown a tantalizing skill set but hasn't produced consistently, and Kithier started the first five games of last season and provides physicality. If Izzo can figure out the post situation, the rest of the lineup looks very solid. Rocket Watts will be tasked with replacing Cassius Winston, and Gabe Brown, Henry and Malik Hall are all back -- and they add Marquette transfer Joey Hauser. There's also the chance Josh Langford can return in some form next season.

Projected starting lineup:

Rocket Watts (9.0 PPG)
Gabe Brown (6.8 PPG, 3.6 RPG)
Aaron Henry (10.0 PPG, 4.6 RPG)
Joey Hauser (9.7 PPG, 5.3 RPG at Marquette)
Mady Sissoko (No. 40 in ESPN 100)


23. Ohio State Buckeyes
Previous: 20

The Big Ten is going to be the best conference in the country next season, so a projected fifth-place finish in the league would still make the Buckeyes a borderline top-20 team in the country -- and if they stay healthy, that might look low. Three starters are gone from a season ago, but CJ Walker, Duane Washington and Kyle Young are all back after starting at least 15 games, and E.J. Liddell looked the part, especially late in the season, when he scored at least 12 points in three of his last six games and had 17 points and 11 rebounds against Illinois in March. The key will be the arrival of two transfers: Justice Sueing (14.3 PPG, 6.0 RPG at California) and Seth Towns (16.0 PPG, 5.7 RPG at Harvard). Sueing sat out last season in Columbus, but he will be expected to provide immediate scoring punch, and Towns has struggled with injuries for most of the last two seasons but earned Ivy League Player of the Year honors in 2017-18. If Towns is close to his 2017-18 form, he could be the Buckeyes' best offensive player. One of those two will have to step up as a go-to-guy, though.

Projected starting lineup:

C.J. Walker (8.7 PPG, 3.5 APG)
Duane Washington (11.5 PPG)
Seth Towns (16.0 PPG, 5.7 RPG at Harvard)
EJ Liddell (6.7 PPG, 3.8 RPG)
Kyle Young (7.5 PPG, 5.8 RPG)

.............................................................................


Next in line:

#26 Rutgers Scarlet Knights (previous: 22) @MrsScrew

Arkansas Razorbacks (previous: 25)
#28 Indiana Hoosiers (previous: next in line)
Richmond Spiders (previous: next in line)
Louisville Cardinals (previous: next in line)

Dropped out:

Stanford Cardinal (previous: 19)
Michigan Wolverines (previous: next in line)


FULL STORY: https://www.espn.com/mens-college-b...llege-basketball-way-too-early-top-25-2020-21
 
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Franisdaman

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Top 4 Teams in the B1G:
#3 IOWA
#6 Wisconsin
#7 Illinois
#11 Michigan State


Preseason: Early Rothstein 45 for 2021
August 28, 2020
by Jon Rothstein

It’s never too early to start looking ahead to next season.
Check out our list of 45 below.

These will be updated instantly if any current transfers receive waivers from the NCAA to play immediately next season.

1. Villanova
2. Baylor
3. IOWA
Projected Starting 5:

G
Jordan Bohannon
G
CJ Fredrick
G
Joe Wieskamp
G
Connor McCaffery
C
Luka Garza

Key Losses: Bakari Evelyn, Ryan Kreiner

Key Newcomers: Tony Perkins, Ahron Ulis, Patrick McCaffery (redshirt)

Sit Out Transfers: None

Projected Bench: Jack Nunge, Patrick McCaffery, Joe Toussaint, Tony Perkins, Ahron Ulis, Josh Ogundele


4. Gonzaga
5. Virginia
6. Wisconsin
Projected Starting 5:

G
D’Mitrik Trice
G
Brad Davison
F
Aleem Ford
F
Nate Reuvers
C
Micah Potter

Key Losses: Brevin Pritzl

Key Newcomers: Ben Carlson, Lorne Bowman, Johnny Davis, Jordan Davis, Steve Crowl

Sit Out Transfers: None

Projected Bench: Ben Carlson, Lorne Bowman, Johnny Davis, Jordan Davis, Steve Crowl, Tyler Wahl, Trevor Anderson


7. Illinois
Projected Starting 5:

G
Trent Frazier
G Ayo Dosunmu
G Adam Miller
G Da’Monte Williams
C
Kofi Cockburn

Key Losses: Andres Feliz, Kipper Nichols, Alan Griffin

Key Newcomers: Andre Curbelo, Adam Miller, Coleman Hawkins, Jacob Grandison (Holy Cross), Austin Hutcherson (Wesleyan)

Sit Out Transfers: None

Projected Bench: Andre Curbelo, Giorgi Bezhanishvili, Coleman Hawkins, Jacob Grandison, Austin Hutcherson


8. Kansas
9. Duke
10. Creighton

OTHERS:

11. Michigan State
21. Rutgers
26. Ohio State
28. Indiana
37. Michigan
44. Purdue

 

David1979

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How was Micah Potter the best defensive rebounder in the league averaging 6.2 boards total when Luka averaged 6.3 DRB and over 9 TRB

Well for one, Potter played a lot less MPG so his totals were going to be less but he is probably looking at defensive rebounding percentage which was 9% points better than Luka.
 

unoHawkeye

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Well for one, Potter played a lot less MPG so his totals were going to be less but he is probably looking at defensive rebounding percentage which was 9% points better than Luka.
DRB% must be what was used. Calling him the Big Ten’s best defensive rebounder when he most frequently came off the bench (to face other teams’ bench players) and averaged 10 fewer minutes than most teams’ starters make me feel like giving him that title is still a bit of a reach
 
Feb 25, 2008
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DRB% must be what was used. Calling him the Big Ten’s best defensive rebounder when he most frequently came off the bench (to face other teams’ bench players) and averaged 10 fewer minutes than most teams’ starters make me feel like giving him that title is still a bit of a reach
And do you know why?.............


Because f*** Wisconsin, that’s why....
 

Franisdaman

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The Full story:

10 Under-The-Radar Freshmen

*In no particular order

Patrick McCaffery, Iowa (redshirt)

Steven Crowl, Wisconsin

Jordan Geronimo, Indiana

Anthony Leal, Indiana

Trey Galloway, Indiana

Eugene Brown, Ohio State

Mason Gillis, Purdue (redshirt)

Martice Mitchell, Minnesota

Eduardo Andre, Nebraska

Ty Berry, Northwestern
 
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Raptorpeeps

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Iowa can't be the favorite....I'll wait for Raptor to chime in🤣

Don’t know who you are but if you knew anything other than my handle, you’d know that I have multiple posts explaining why Iowa should be the favorite to win the league this season.

Embarrassed for you, bro....whoever you are.
 
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squeezebox

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Don’t know who you are but if you knew anything other than my handle, you’d know that I have multiple posts explaining why Iowa should be the favorite to win the league this season.

Embarrassed for you, bro....whoever you are.
According to you. "Wisconsin has to be the favorite but I agree with your top three. This will obviously be adjusted when the NBA/transfer picture sorts itself out. Even after that, I don't see any way Iowa should be lower than 4th."

I'll just leave this here.
 

Franisdaman

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At least 10 of Iowa's 27 games will be against the Top 44 teams in the country.

This season Iowa will be playing

4. Gonzaga
6. Wisconsin
7. Illinois
11. Michigan State
21. Rutgers (@MrsScrew)
27. Ohio State
29. Indiana
37. Michigan
44. Purdue

For the B1G/ACC Challenge:
24. North Carolina or
33. Louisville

 
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kceasthawk

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I hope Patrick's medical issues are truly behind him.
He sure looks good, so I think they have his meds and workouts figured out. You can tell by looking at him that he's put on at least 25lbs of good weight. The kid has to be absolutely freaking excited to play, so I think Hawk fans are in for a real treat. I think like CMac he's a real utility, do it all player, but with more athletic basketball talent then his brother. Better shooter, 4 inches taller, I can't wait to see his game......
 

IllQChawk

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May 29, 2001
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Rumor had it that Thompson couldn’t read.

Are you saying that there was a chance that Ray could have got his GED after leaving Iowa! It's amazing what comes out, 30+ years after the fact, or rumors as your call it....
 

Franisdaman

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The hype is real.



ElLR0gbWkAESqpg
 
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Franisdaman

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ONE of the 15 players who will become a star during the 20-21 season?

Joe Wieskamp, Iowa:
The collective returns of both Luka Garza and Jordan Bohannon have overshadowed Wieskamp’s abilities. It won’t stay that way for long. If Iowa has the type of season that many expect, this 6-6 wing will play a major role. Wieskamp has NBA caliber size for his position and averaged 14 points and 6.1 rebounds last year as a sophomore.


THE FULL LIST:

 
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Franisdaman

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Kentucky climbs to No. 5, Baylor still No. 1 in Way-Too-Early Top 25 update for 2020-21

Jeff Borzello
ESPN Staff Writer
Oct 26, 2020


1. Baylor
2. Villanova
3. Gonzaga
4. Virginia
5. Kentucky

6. Iowa Hawkeyes
Previous: 5

I'm caught in something of a conundrum with the Hawkeyes. On one hand, I think they enter the season as the Big Ten favorite, and I think they have the highest ceiling of the Iowa/Wisconsin/Illinois trio. On the other hand, I think they have the lowest floor of the three due to their inability to consistently defend. But the preseason is all about optimism, so I'll roll with them atop the league. Luka Garza will enter the season as the clear favorite to win the Wooden Award after running neck-and-neck with Dayton's Obi Toppin for most of last season. The other four starters from last season are also returning, including third-team All-Big Ten selection Joe Wieskamp. Jordan Bohannon is back after playing just 10 games last season due to injury; this is a player who averaged double figures his first three seasons in the program and brings playmaking and shooting to the perimeter. But the Hawkeyes have to defend -- they were 12th in the league in defensive efficiency last season and haven't finished better than fifth at that end of the floor since 2016.

Projected starting lineup:

Jordan Bohannon (8.8 PPG, 3.3 APG)
CJ Fredrick (10.2 PPG)
Connor McCaffery (6.2 PPG, 4.0 APG)
Joe Wieskamp (14.0 PPG, 6.1 RPG)
Luka Garza (23.9 PPG, 9.8 RPG)


7. Wisconsin Badgers
Previous: 6

The Badgers return their top five scorers from a team that earned a share of the Big Ten regular-season title after winning eight straight games to end the season. On paper, it all adds up to what should be a Big Ten title contender once again. But the question will be whether Wisconsin can continue its late-season form. The Badgers shot 41% from 3-point range over those final games but shot 35.2% from 3 for the season. One of the factors in that improvement was the emergence of Micah Potter. He started three of the final eight games and gave Wisconsin an X factor few teams could handle. He's 6-foot-10 and 250 pounds, he shot 46.9% from 3 in Big Ten play and he was the best defensive rebounder in the league. Potter and Nate Reuvers, an all-conference forward who played his best basketball early in the season, should form one of the best frontcourt duos in the Big Ten. Another potential edge for Greg Gard in what will be a strange season: The Badgers will start five seniors.

Projected starting lineup:

D'Mitrik Trice (9.8 PPG, 4.2 APG)
Brad Davison (9.9 PPG, 4.3 RPG)
Aleem Ford (8.6 PPG, 4.4 RPG)
Nate Reuvers (13.1 PPG, 4.5 RPG)
Micah Potter (10.1 PPG, 6.2 RPG)


8. Illinois Fighting Illini
Previous: 7

Illinois skyrocketed up the rankings following August's early-entry withdrawal deadline, when Ayo Dosunmu and Kofi Cockburn both decided to return to Champaign instead of keeping their names in the NBA draft. Dosunmu is a preseason All-America candidate after proving himself as one of the best point guards in the country -- and one of the most clutch players -- last season, while Cockburn showed flashes of being a physically dominant interior force. Coach Brad Underwood also brings back three other starters from last season and welcomes two ESPN 100 guards who will push for big roles immediately. Adam Miller is a terrific offensive player and would have been one of the biggest impact newcomers in the country if Dosunmu stayed in the draft, and Andre Curbelo is a crafty playmaker and passer who comes up big when necessary. The Fighting Illini were tough to break down defensively last season, and the influx of scoring pop should help on the offensive end.

Projected starting lineup:

Ayo Dosunmu (16.6 PPG, 3.3 APG)
Trent Frazier (9.1 PPG)
Adam Miller (No. 30 in ESPN 100)
Giorgi Bezhanishvili (6.8 PPG, 4.8 RPG)
Kofi Cockburn (13.3 PPG, 8.8 RPG)


9. Kansas
10. Duke
11. Tennessee
12. Creighton
 

Franisdaman

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13. Michigan State Spartans
Previous: 13

There are very few certainties with Michigan State's lineup and rotation entering the season. Tom Izzo has to replace All-American point guard Cassius Winston and double-double NBA draft prospect Xavier Tillman, and there just isn't the same level of experience across the board that we've seen in East Lansing in the past. That doesn't mean the roster is without talent and depth. Rocket Watts, who played off the ball last year, will likely get the first shot at replacing Winston, with Gabe Brown and Aaron Henry flanking him on the wings. Up front is a mix of returnees and newcomers looking to take the next step. Malik Hall showed flashes last season, starting nine games, and Marquette transfer Joey Hauser brings shooting and some scoring pop after sitting out last season. Role players Marcus Bingham and Thomas Kithier could see extended minutes early, but keep an eye on ESPN 100 big man Mady Sissoko, who has generated positive buzz in the offseason. Oh, and don't forget about Josh Langford. The former All-Big Ten guard has missed the past season and a half due to foot injuries, but he has a chance to play this season. If he can produce, that's a huge boost for Izzo.

Projected starting lineup:

Rocket Watts (9.0 PPG)
Gabe Brown (6.8 PPG, 3.6 RPG)
Aaron Henry (10.0 PPG, 4.6 RPG)
Joey Hauser (9.7 PPG, 5.3 RPG at Marquette)
Mady Sissoko (No. 40 in ESPN 100)


14. Texas Tech
15. North Carolina
16. Arizona State
17. Oregon
18, West Virginia
19. UCLA
20. Texas
21. Houston
22. LSU
23. Florida State


24. Ohio State Buckeyes
Previous: 23

It's going to be a different-looking Ohio State team this season. The Buckeyes bid farewell to frontcourt anchors Kaleb Wesson and Andre Wesson and veteran guard Luther Muhammad, and they lost budding freshman D.J. Carton toward the end of the season. There are no clear-cut stars on this season's roster. While Wesson might not have been an All-American, the Buckeyes operated most of their offense through his inside-outside ability. So who's going to step up? They'll need one of the returning complementary players to be a major factor, and I think one to keep an eye on is E.J. Liddell. The former ESPN 100 prospect totaled 29 points and 15 rebounds in his final two games last season and should pose a matchup problem. C.J. Walker and Duane Washington will need to shoulder much of the offensive load on the perimeter, too. And then there's transfers Justice Sueing (Cal) and Seth Towns (Harvard). Towns is still battling through his knee injury, meaning Sueing could find himself in a starting role quickly.

Projected starting lineup:

C.J. Walker (8.7 PPG, 3.5 APG)
Duane Washington (11.5 PPG)
Seth Towns (16.0 PPG, 5.7 RPG at Harvard)
E.J. Liddell (6.7 PPG, 3.8 RPG)
Kyle Young (7.5 PPG, 5.8 RPG)



25. Florida


Next in line
UConn Huskies (previous: Unranked)
Rutgers Scarlet Knights (previous: Next in line) @MrsScrew
Memphis Tigers (previous: Unranked)
Louisville Cardinals (previous: Next in line)
Indiana Hoosiers (previous: Next in line)


 

Franisdaman

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Are you ready for some championship basketball?




11. Creighton
12. Michigan State
13. UCLA
14. Florida State
15. Arizona State
16. Tennessee
17. LSU
18. Texas
19. West Virginia
20. Houston
21. Rutgers @MrsScrew
22. Oregon
23. Michigan
24. Texas Tech
25. UConn

OTHERS:
26. North Carolina
29. Ohio State
31. Indiana
44. Purdue
 
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Franisdaman

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AP Top 25 poll (Nov 9)
First-place votes in parentheses:

1. Gonzaga (28)
2. Baylor (24)
3. Villanova (11)
4. Virginia (1)
5. Iowa
6. Kansas
7. Wisconsin
8. Illinois

9. Duke
10. Kentucky
11. Creighton
12. Tennessee
13. Michigan State
14. Texas Tech
15. West Virginia
16. North Carolina
17. Houston
18. Arizona State
19. Texas
20. Oregon
21. Florida State
22. UCLA
23. Ohio State
24. Rutgers @MrsScrew
25. Michigan



Gonzaga Bulldogs open as No. 1 in AP Top 25 college basketball preseason poll

Just about the only thing Gonzaga basketball has left to accomplish under Mark Few is win a national championship.

The Zags scratched another first off the list Monday: They will open the season at No. 1.

Despite losing West Coast Conference Player of the Year Filip Petrusev, the Bulldogs received 28 first-place votes and 1,541 points from a 64-member national media panel. That was just enough to edge Baylor (24 first-place votes) by a single point for the top spot in the college basketball preseason Associated Press Top 25 heading toward the delayed Nov. 25 start of the season.

"It's a great honor to be selected No. 1," Few said. "We understand that it is more a reflection of what our program has accomplished over the years and hope to play up to that standard as we start our season."

Villanova received 11 first-place votes and was third, followed by Virginia with the remaining first-place vote. Iowa was picked fifth behind national Player of the Year front-runner Luka Garza, its highest preseason ranking in school history.

Then came a wave of blue bloods with Kansas, Wisconsin , Illinois, Duke and Kentucky completing the top 10.

The Bulldogs spent four weeks at No. 1 last season before finishing second to the Jayhawks in the final poll, which was taken when the NCAA tournament was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Petrusev's choice to play professionally in Serbia and then enter the draft was a blow, but the Bulldogs still have the pieces to win it all. Corey Kispert and Joel Ayayi provide scoring punch, and the arrival of potential one-and-done guard Jalen Suggs should steady their backcourt.

The Zags certainly scheduled like title contenders. They open Oct. 26 against Kansas at the Fort Myers Tip-Off, where they also will play Auburn, and face Baylor in Indianapolis and Iowa in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

The Bears, who also have their highest preseason ranking, spent five weeks at No. 1 last season and lost only one starter, big man Freddie Gillespie. But coach Scott Drew could have the nation's best backcourt in Jared Butler, Davion Mitchell and MaCio Teague, the best defender in Mark Vital and depth behind top-100 recruit L.J. Cryer and transfer Adam Flagler.

The Bears also built a brutal schedule, playing Illinois and potentially Villanova in the Empire Classic along with Gonzaga.

"I think it starts with experience," Drew said. "Whenever you return a lot of players that were successful, in a season that got moved back and a short summer, you're definitely benefited from having guys that have college experience."

The Wildcats, who matched their highest preseason ranking, having also started at No. 3 in 1995-96, harbored hope that Saddiq Bey would return for another season. But despite losing the versatile forward to the NBA, coach Jay Wright still has standout guard Collin Gillespie, double-double machine Jeremiah Robinson-Earl and solid starter Jermaine Samuels.

After back-to-back 30-win seasons and a national title, Virginia took a slight step back last season, going 23-7 before the season was called off. But coach Tony Bennett's team should again be an ACC favorite behind Marquette transfer Sam Hauser, top-100 prospects Reece Beekman and Jabri Abdur-Rahim, and the Cavs' lockdown defense.

Garza was second to Dayton's Obi Toppin for national Player of the Year last season, and the Iowa big man flirted with the NBA before returning to the Hawkeyes. But he's hardly a one-man show: Joe Wieskamp averaged 14.0 points; CJ Fredrick and Connor McCaffery are experienced; and Jordan Bohannon is healthy after missing all but 10 games last season.

"Having seven players with starting experience provides us with incredible versatility," Hawkeyes coach Fran McCaffery said. "In a year where you may have a player out for a couple weeks [due to COVID-19], depth will be important."


THE SECOND FIVE


The Jayhawks lost Devon Dotson and Udoka Azubuike from a team that was the likely No. 1 overall seed had the NCAA tournament been played, but they return enough firepower to give Baylor a challenge in the Big 12.

Wisconsin and Illinois join the Hawkeyes in giving the Big Ten some fresh flavor atop the poll. Young and rebuilding Duke and Kentucky could take some lumps early in the season but could be championship contenders by March.

THE REST OF THE POLL

Creighton lost Ty-Shon Alexander to the NBA and Davion Mintz to Kentucky but still landed the highest preseason ranking in school history at No. 11, followed by Tennessee, Michigan State, Texas Tech and West Virginia.

North Carolina was next, then Houston at No. 17, its highest preseason ranking since the final Phi Slama Jama team of Hakeem Olajuwon began the 1983-84 season at No. 3. Arizona State, Texas and Oregon finish the first 20 with Florida State, UCLA, Ohio State, Rutgers and Michigan rounding out the Top 25.

ON THE DOORSTEP

LSU was the first team outside the rankings, followed by Memphis, Florida, Alabama and Indiana. San Diego State got six votes after finishing No. 6 in the final poll last season but losing Mountain West Player of the Year Malachi Flynn and two other elite producers. Louisville and Seton Hall also are unranked after finishing in the top 15 last season.

 
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