Featured Image Credit: Creator: Brian Ray | Credit: Brian Ray Copyright: © 2020 Iowa Athletics
The 2020-2021 College Basketball season could be one for the ages. COVID-19 restrictions will limit the ability for certain teams to play others. Some conferences and teams have already canceled it’s winter seasons, like the Ivy League. The AP Top 25 Poll is headlined by Gonzaga, while the Coaches Poll is lead by Baylor. What team could stand out amongst the rest this upcoming season?
Gonzaga Bulldogs –
Gonzaga, last year, was lead by Filip Petrusev who put up 17.5 points, 7.9 rebounds, and 1.5 assists per game last year. Petrusev led the team in points and rebounds, however, Gonzaga will have to find a new top scorer as Filip Petrusev in now in the Basketball League of Serbia. Bulldogs, Guard, Joel Ayayi, didn’t average nearly close to the most points per game for Gonzaga, but he was second in rebounds (6.3) and assists (3.2). Ayayi shot 48.3 percent from the floor and 34.5 from three. The second-highest scorer on the team is returning, in Corey Kispert. Kispert averaged 13.9 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 2.1 assists. Gonzaga lost forward Killian Tillie to the NBA, but the Bulldogs still have a very balanced lineup heading into the 2020-2021 season. Gonzaga is currently the No. 1 ranked team in the country.
Iowa Hawkeyes –
Baylor, Villanova, and Virginia are ranked higher, but the Hawkeyes are returning the National Player of the Year, Luka Garza. The Iowa center averaged 23.9 points, 9.8 rebounds, and 1.2 assists a game last year. He also knocked down 35.8 percent of his threes. Garza could’ve entered the 2020 NBA Draft, however, he elected to return to school for his senior season. Guard, Joe Wieskamp, is back for the Hawkeyes. Wieskamp dropped 14 points a game last year and added another 6.1 assists. Iowa also returns guards CJ Fredrick, Jordan Bohannon, Joe Toussaint, and forward Ryan Kriener. The Hawkeyes are the 5th ranked team in the country, and are one team to look out for this upcoming season.
Illinois Fighting Illini –
The Fighting Illini, currently the 8th ranked team in the AP Poll, should be another Big Ten team to shine this college basketball season. Illinois has last season’s leading scorer, Ayo Dosunmu, back. Dosunmu, averaged 16.6 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 3.3 assists per game last season. Center, Kofi Cockburn is also returning. Cockburn put up the second-most points per game on the team (13.3), and hauled in the most rebounds (8.8). Illinois only had three players average more than 10 points a game last season, but with most of the team returning, players can develop behind Dosunmu and Cockburn.
Creighton Bluejays –
The Bluejays lost the leading scorer of the team to the NBA, Ty-Shon Alexander, but are still set for success. Creighton is the 11th ranked team in the country. Margus Zegarowski led the Bluejays in assists last year (5.0), and even was second in points (16.1). Leading rebounder, Damian Jefferson, is returning for his senior season. Mitch Ballock and Christian Bishop, who both averaged over five rebounds a game, are both returning as well. Despite losing their number one scorer, the Creighton Bluejays are still set for this season.
North Carolina Tar Heels –
Leading scorer, Cole Anthony, left for the NBA draft, but forward, Garrison Brooks, is back. Brooks dropped 18.5 points per game last season and shot 53.5 percent from the floor. Brooks also averaged 8.5 rebounds. Brandon Robinson put up 11.8 points and shot 36.9 percent from three. Sophomore forward, Armando Bacot, put up 9.6 points last season but grabbed 8.3 rebounds per game. The Tar Heels are also bringing in three five-star recruits in Caleb Love, Day’Ron Sharpe, and Walker Kessler. No. 16 North Carolina, had a down season last year but is bound for a better 2020-2021 season.
Arizona State Sun Devils –
The Sun Devils are currently the 18th ranked team in the country according to the AP poll. Guard, Remy Martin, is coming back for his senior season. Martin put up 19.1 points, 3.1 rebounds, and 4.1 assists. Martin scored the most points on the team, by far, with 593. Alonzo Verge Jr. was one of four players for the Sun Devils that averaged double-figures. Arizona State brought in two big-time recruits from the state of California in Josh Christopher and Marcus Bagley. Christopher is 247sports’ 8th ranked player of the 2020 class, while Bagley is the 32nd. Incoming transfer, Holland Woods, could make an immediate impact. Woods dropped 17.7 points per game, last season, at Portland State. The Arizona State Sun Devils could be one of the lower-ranked Top 25 teams that could run the table this season.
It will be interesting to see if college basketball will be able to complete a season, with March Madness being canceled last season. Many teams are worth to look out for, but their could be many that fall. Who will be this year’s national champion? Will the season even finish? We will have to wait and see what the 2020-2021 college basketball season brings us.