Early Top 50 College Basketball Teams for 2020-2021

We never got the chance to crown a national champion. Instead, we’ve all been binging Netflix, watching Tik-Tok videos, and reminiscing on the good old days of live basketball. As always, I’m going to take a look at what next year may hold. New information is constantly coming out through draft declarations, transfers, and commitments. This list will be updated over the next few months.

1. Baylor

  • Key Departures: Freddie Gillespie (F), Devonte Bandoo (G)
  • Expected Early Departures: None
  • Projected Lineup: Jared Butler (Jr. G), MaCio Teague (Sr. G), Davion Mitchell (Jr. G), Mark Vital (Sr. F), Tristan Clark (Sr. F)
  • Bench: Adam Flagler (RSSo. G), Matthew Mayer (Jr. G/F), Flo Thamba (Jr. F/C), Jordan Turner (RSFr. G/F), Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua (RSSo. F), Dain Dainja (Fr. F)

Losing their defensive anchor in Gillespie is going to hurt. They still return a multi-positional stopper in Mark Vital and an army of quick, physical, guards that make life brutal on ball-handlers. Jared Butler (16.0 ppg, 3.1 apg, 1.6 spg) has the creativity and shooting ability to carry this experienced team to the Final Four if he passes up on the NBA (projected early second-round pick). MaCio Teague (13.9 ppg), Davion Mitchell (9.9 ppg) and Presbyterian transfer Adam Flagler (15.9 ppg in ’18-’19) can all make plays off the bounce and light it up from three. This team will be primed for a deep run if Butler returns.

2. Gonzaga

  • Key Departures: Killian Tillie (F), Admon Gilder (G), Ryan Woolridge (G)
  • Expected Early Departures: Filip Petrusev (F/C)
  • Projected Lineup: Jalen Suggs (Fr. G), Joel Ayayi (Jr. G), Corey Kispert (Sr. F), Drew Timme (So. F), Oumar Ballo (RSFr. C)
  • Bench: Anton Watson (So. F), Pavel Zakharov (So. F), Dominick Harris (Fr. G), Julian Strawther (Fr. F)

The signing of Jalen Suggs changed the ceiling of next year’s Gonzaga team. He is a true floor general with the leadership, vision, and scoring punch to be a game-changer from day one. He will be able to set up their top returning scorer and WAC POY candidate Corey Kispert (13.9 ppg, 43.8% 3PT) and French sparkplug Joel Ayayi (10.6 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 3.2 apg). With Petrusev likely gone, Drew Timme (9.8 ppg, 5.4 rpg), the highly-efficient post player that looks like an accountant, will be the go-to interior option. Ballo was ruled academically ineligible, but he could be a wild card as a powerful paint presence.

3. Creighton

Paul Kim for Creighton
  • Key Departures: Denzel Mahoney (G), Kelvin Jones (Sr. C)
  • Expected Early Departures: None
  • Projected Lineup: Marcus Zegarowski (Jr. G), Ty-Shon Alexander (Sr. G), Mitchell Ballock (Sr. G), Christian Bishop (Jr. F), Damien Jefferson (Sr. F)
  • Bench: Davion Mintz (RSSr. G), Antwann Jones (So. G), Jacob Epperson (RSJr. C)

After finishing at the top of the Big-East, Creighton returns one of the more lethal trios in the country with Marcus Zegarowski (16.1 ppg, 5.0 apg, 42.4% 3PT), Ty-Shon Alexander (16.9 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 39.9% 3PT), and Mitch Ballock (11.9 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 43.5% 3PT). They are a matchup nightmare, typically playing lineups with five guys that can handle the ball and switch on defense. Creighton is hoping a healthy Jacob Epperson can give them a true rim protector. With all five starters coming back from a top-10 team, the expectations will be understandably high.

4. Villanova

  • Key Departures: None
  • Expected Early Departures: Saddiq Bey (F)
  • Projected Lineup: Collin Gillespie (Sr. G), Justin Moore (So. G), Caleb Daniels (RSSr. G), Jermaine Samuels (Sr. F), Jeremiah Robinson-Earl (So. F)
  • Bench: Cole Swider (Jr. F), Bryan Antoine (So. G), Brandon Slater (Jr. F), Eric Dixon (RSFr. F), Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree (Sr. F)

You expect me to bet against a Jay Wright team? He might lose a first-round talent in Saddiq Bey, but every other key piece should be back. Inside-out forward Jeremiah Robinson-Earl (10.5 ppg, 9.4 rpg, 1.9 apg) has the athleticism and skills to develop into the best all-around player on the team. That’s saying something with Collin Gillespie (15.1 ppg, 4.5 apg) looking like the next premier Nova point guard. They have toughness, depth, and experience. Add multipurpose veteran Jermaine Samuels (10.7 ppg) and a pitbull combo guard like Justin Moore (11.3 ppg), and it’s easy to see the promise. If Bryan Antoine regains form, this ranking will be too low.

5. Kansas

  • Key Departures: Udoka Azubuike (C), Isaiah Moss (G)
  • Expected Early Departures: Devon Dotson (G)
  • Projected Lineup: Marcus Garrett (Sr. G), Ochai Agbaji (Jr. G), Christian Braun (So. G/F), Silvio De Sousa (Sr. F), David McCormack (Jr. C)
  • Bench: Bryce Thompson (Fr. G), Mitch Lightfoot (RSSr. F), Dajuan Harris (RSFr. G), Jalen Wilson (RSFr. F), Tristan Enaruna (So. G/F)

Kansas was the best team in the country when the season ended. Now they have to adjust to life without Azubuike and Doston (probably). Marcus Garrett (9.2 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 4.6 apg) is one of the most versatile players in the country. He will be the best defender in college basketball and should thrive as a full-time point guard. The stage is set for Ochai Agbaji (10.0 ppg) to shine carrying the load on a team lacking scorers. If Bryce Thompson is as skilled as advertised, he could push to start and add a scoring punch. Their defense and athleticism will keep them near the top of polls while they figure out where they can go for points.

6. San Diego State

  • Key Departures: Yanni Wetzell (F/C), KJ Feagin (G)
  • Expected Early Departures: None
  • Projected Lineup: Malachi Flynn (Sr. G), Trey Pulliam (Sr. G), Jordan Schakel (Sr. G), Matt Mitchell (Sr. F), Nathan Mensah (Jr. F/C)
  • Bench: Adam Seiko (Jr. G), Aguek Arop (Jr. F), Keshad Johnson (So. F), Joel Mensah (Jr. F)

The Aztecs took everyone by surprise with their 30-win season. All-American point guard Malachi Flynn (17.6 ppg, 5.1 apg) put the country on notice, facilitating for one of the best shooting teams around. Both Matt Mitchell (12.2 ppg, 39.3% 3PT) and Jordan Schakel (10.0 ppg, 43.6% 3PT) return for their senior years as well. We didn’t see much of Nathan Mensah (6.9 ppg, 6.8 rpg) after a blood clot issue, but he will be a huge piece as a defensive security blanket and rim runner.

7. Michigan State

Mike Mulholland | MLive.com
  • Key Departures: Cassius Winston (G), Kyle Ahrens (G)
  • Expected Early Departures: Joshua Langford (G)
  • Projected Lineup: Rocket Watts (So. G), Aaron Henry (Jr. F), Gabe Brown (Jr. F), Joey Hauser (Jr. F), Xavier Tillman (Sr. F)
  • Bench: Malik Hall (So. F), Marcus Bingham (Jr. F), Foster Loyer (Jr. G), Thomas Kithier (Jr. F), A.J. Hoggard (Fr. G), Mady Sissoko (Fr. C)

By the end of the year, the Spartans looked like a bonafide contender led by Cassius Winston. His presence will be irreplaceable. The good news is that they should get Big Ten DPOY Xavier Tillman (13.7 ppg, 10.3 rpg, 2.1 bpg) back with more responsibilities. After a slow start, Aaron Henry (10.0 ppg, 2.9 apg) will be looking to carry that momentum from the latter part of the year into his junior season. His playmaking should take pressure off of Rocket Watts (9.0 ppg), who showed toughness and poise as a freshman. I look for Joey Hauser to be the x-factor as an excellent outside shooter that can put the ball on the floor at 6-foot-9. Sparty fans have a lot to look forward to next year.

8. Kentucky

  • Key Departures: Nate Sestina (F), Johnny Juzang (G) via transfer
  • Expected Early Departures: Tyrese Maxey (G), Immanuel Quickley (G), Nick Richards (C), Ashton Hagans (G)
  • Projected Lineup: Devin Askew (Fr. G), B.J. Boston (Fr. F), Terrence Clarke (Fr. F), E.J. Montgomery (Jr. F), Isaiah Jackson (Fr. F)
  • Bench: Keion Brooks (So. F), Lance Ware (Fr. F), Cam’Ron Flethcer (Fr. F)

I expect the entire Kentucky backcourt to head to the NBA with Nick Richards. What does that leave? Another Kentucky team driven by freshmen. The wing duo of B.J. Boston and Terrence Clarke is going to be scary. Boston has shades of Brandon Ingram in his game and Clarke has the explosiveness and shooting range that every NBA team covets. Finding some guard depth to help Devin Askew would be a good idea with their expected departures. The hope would be for elder statesman E.J. Montgomery (6.1 ppg, 5.4 rpg) to have a breakout year in a frontcourt looking for a leader.

9. Michigan

  • Key Departures: Zavier Simpson (Sr. G), Jon Teske (Sr. C), Austin Davis (Sr. F/C)
  • Expected Early Departures: None
  • Projected Lineup: Eli Brooks (Sr. G), Franz Wagner (So. G), Isaiah Livers (Sr. F), Brandon Johns Jr. (Jr. F), Isaiah Todd (Fr. F)
  • Bench: David Dejulius (Jr. G), Hunter Dickinson (Fr. C), Zeb Jackson (Fr. G), Terrance Williams (Fr. F)

Juwan Howard is making a name for himself, bringing in a top-5 recruiting class to complement a solid returning core. Isaiah Livers (12.9 ppg) and Eli Brooks (10.6 ppg) will be counted on as leaders. Livers should be an All-Big Ten player if he stays healthy. There’s a lot to like about the potential and skillset of Franz Wagner (11.6 ppg, 5.6 rpg), but even more to like about his tenacity. He’s got an NBA future whenever he decides to leave. The same can be said about incoming freshman Isaiah Todd, a big that will shock people with his agility and versatility on the perimeter. A nice blend of quality returners and strong recruits could make for an exciting season in Ann Arbor.

10. Virginia

  • Key Departures: Mamadi Diakite (F), Braxton Key (F)
  • Expected Early Departures: None
  • Projected Lineup: Kihei Clark (Jr. G), Thomas Woldetensae (Sr. G), Casey Morsell (So. G), Sam Hauser (Sr. F), Jay Huff (Sr. F/C)
  • Bench: Jabri Abdur-Rahim (Fr. G), Reece Beekman (Fr. G), Kody Stattmann (Jr. G/F), Francisco Caffaro (Jr. C)

If your Netflix shows are keeping you up at night, just turn on a few minutes of a Virginia game to do the trick. Don’t expect anything different next season. They will run down the clock until they get a great shot and clamp you up on defense. Kihei Clark (10.8 ppg, 5.9 apg) continues to give hope to undersized floor generals. With the addition of Marquette transfer Sam Hauser (14.9 ppg, 7.2 rpg), Clark will be able to grow in that pass-first role. Hauser is the perfect Virginia go-to scorer: patient, highly-efficient (career 44.5% 3PT), and comfortable scoring off the ball. With two likely All-ACC players, and a budding rim protector in Jay Huff (8.5 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 2.0 bpg), the Hoos will be relevant, per usual.

11. Duke

Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
  • Key Departures: Javin DeLaurier (F), Jack White (F), Alex O’Connell (G) via transfer
  • Expected Early Departures: Tre Jones (G), Vernon Carey Jr. (C), Cassius Stanley (G), Matthew Hurt (So. F)
  • Projected Lineup: Jeremy Roach (Fr. G), Jordan Goldwire (Sr. G), Wendell Moore Jr. (So. F), Joey Baker (Jr. F), Jalen Johnson (Fr. F)
  • Bench: D.J. Steward (Fr. G), Jaemyn Brakefield (Fr. F), Henry Coleman (Fr. F) Mark Williams (Fr. C)

This might end up being Coach K’s biggest turnover in production. Expectations should fall like whoever Grayson Allen was guarding in 2017. Despite lacking a dominant interior presence, they will have a talented, albeit very young, group. Wendell Moore Jr. (7.4 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 1.9 apg) could boost his draft stock as a leader and top two scoring option if he returns. The freshman class is solid, headlined by Jalen Johnson. He has the size and guard skills to be a problem for opposing teams. Hard-nosed point guard Jeremy Roach and Chicago prep star D.J. Steward will look to fill the voids of Tre Jones and Cassius Stanley. I’m guessing there will be a grad transfer or late commit to bump this spot.

12. Texas Tech

  • Key Departures: T.J. Holyfield (F), Chris Clarke (F)
  • Expected Early Departures: Jahmi’us Ramsey (G)
  • Projected Lineup: Davide Moretti (Sr. G), Nimari Burnett (Fr. G), Kyler Edwards (Jr. G), Terrence Shannon (So. G), Joel Ntambwe (So. F)
  • Bench: Kevin McCullar (So. G), Avery Benson (Jr. G), Russel Tchewa (So. C)

Anyone who watched Tech throughout the year knows that they were much better than their record. They will lose their top scorer to the draft and their top two defenders to graduation. Enter long-armed combo guard Nimari Burnett and UNLV transfer Joel Ntambwe (11.8 ppg, 5.5 rpg) to the fray and things start to look brighter in Lubbock. Steady shooter Davide Moretti (13.0 ppg, 38.3% 3PT) is back for what seems like his sixth year with backcourt mate Kyler Edwards (11.4 ppg, 3.1 apg). If Terrence Shannon (9.8 ppg) becomes an All-Big 12 player like I expect him to, the Red Raiders will be a tough out.

13. Wisconsin

  • Key Departures: Brevin Pritzl (G)
  • Expected Early Departures: None
  • Projected Lineup: D’Mitrik Trice (RSSr. G), Brad Davison (Sr. G), Aleem Ford (Sr. F), Micah Potter (Sr. F), Nate Reuvers (Sr. F)
  • Bench: Tyler Wahl (So. F), Ben Carlson (Fr. F), Lorne Bowman (Fr. G), Trevor Anderson (Sr. G)

Wisconsin basketball might be back. The Badgers return their top five scorers from the second half of last season since Micah Potter (10.1 ppg, 6.2 rpg) started playing. No team in the Big Ten has a more experienced backcourt than D’Mitrik Trice (9.8 ppg, 4.2 apg) and Brad Davison (9.9 ppg). Both are gutsy competitors that have made big shots. While guard play is key, the emergence of Nate Reuvers (13.1 ppg, 1.9 bpg) as the focal point proved key to their success. Greg Gard will have to find a way to get Reuvers, Potter, and Aleem Ford (8.6 ppg) on the court together more often. They have a gritty forward in Tyler Wahl along with a pair of nice freshmen in Ben Carlson and Lorne Bowman off the bench.

14. Iowa

  • Key Departures: Ryan Kreiner (F/C), Bakari Evelyn (G), Cordell Pemsl (F) via transfer
  • Expected Early Departures: None
  • Projected Lineup: Jordan Bohannon (RSSr. G), CJ Fredrick (So. G), Connor McCaffery (Jr. G), Joe Wieskamp (Jr. G/F), Luka Garza (Sr. C)
  • Bench: Joe Toussaint (So. G), Patrick McCaffery (RSFr. F), Jack Nunge (Jr. F/C)

When you can bring back a National Player of the Year candidate like Luka Garza (23.9 ppg, 9.8 rpg), you’re going to be competitive. He’s not quite an NBA player yet, so another year terrorizing the Big Ten seems likely. Joe Wieskamp (14.0 ppg, 6.1 rpg) on the other hand might get some serious NBA attention should he test the waters. I’m assuming Jordan Bohannon (8.8 ppg) will be granted an extra year, but even if he’s doesn’t, CJ Fredrick (10.2 ppg, 46.1% 3PT) and Joe Toussaint (6.5 ppg, 2.9 apg) look ready to lead the Iowa backcourt for years to come. The Hawkeyes will light up scoreboards, but their defense was suspect. Expect plenty of shootouts.

15. West Virginia

AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki
  • Key Departures: Jermaine Haley (G/F), Chase Harler (G)
  • Expected Early Departures: None
  • Projected Lineup: Jordan McCabe (Jr. G), Miles McBride (So. G), Emmitt Matthews Jr. (Jr. F), Derek Culver (Jr. F), Oscar Tshiebwe (So. F/C)
  • Bench: Gabe Osabuohien (Sr. F), Sean McNiel (Jr. G), Taz Sherman (Sr. G), Isaiah Cottrell (Fr. F/C), Brandon Knapper (Jr. G)

Bob Huggins is hoping to lean on the two-headed monster of Derek Culver (10.4 ppg, 8.6 rpg) and Oscar Tshiebwe (11.2 ppg, 9.3 rpg) for a few more years. Tshiebwe is testing the draft waters but another year of refining his game could do wonders for his stock. Pressure defense and depth are still the weapons of choice for the Mountaineers. All-Freshman guard Miles McBride (9.5 ppg) should step into the starting lineup as the primary shot creator. They will have the size and ball hawks needed to keep Huggins happy every now and then.

16. UCLA

  • Key Departures: Prince Ali (G)
  • Expected Early Departures: Chris Smith (G)
  • Projected Lineup: Tyger Cambell (RSSo. G), Jules Bernard (Jr. G), Jaime Jaquez (So. G), Cody Riley (RSJr. F), Jalen Hill (RSJr. F)
  • Bench: Daishen Nix (Fr. G), David Singleton (Jr. G), Jake Kyman (So. G)

The Bruins quietly had one of the better ends to the season, rolling to a second-place finish in the Pac-12 with a fairly young team. Cody Riley (8.8 ppg, 4.5) and Jalen Hill (9.0 ppg, 6.9 rpg) have matured on and off the court into an active interior tandem. I love the energy and defensive impact that Jaime Jaquez (8.9 ppg, 1.4 spg) brings on a nightly basis. Jaquez and Jules Bernard look to benefit the most from Chris Smith leaving early. They are my favorite to bring in the top recruit Jalen Green as well, which would put them in the top-10 conversation.

17. Texas

  • Key Departures: None
  • Expected Early Departures: None
  • Projected Lineup: Matt Coleman (Sr. G), Courtney Ramey (Jr. G), Andrew Jones (RSJr. G), Kai Jones (So. F), Jericho Sims (Sr. F)
  • Bench: Jase Febres (Sr. G), Donovan Williams (So. G), Will Baker (So. C), Gerald Liddell (Jr. F), Kamaka Hepa (Jr. F)

I could not be happier than to see Andrew Jones (11.5 ppg) start to look like the first-round NBA prospect he was before his cancer battle. Look for that trajectory to trend up heading into next year playing with the exact same cast. Matt Coleman (12.7 ppg, 3.4) is coming off an All-Big 12 season where he upped his efficiency with increased responsibility. Keep an eye on rising sophomore Kai Jones (3.6 ppg, 1.1 bpg). He has the length, quickness, and supreme athleticism that bodes well for bigs in Shaka Smart’s system. Texas will be 10 deep with experience across the board.

18. Houston

  • Key Departures: Chris Harris (C)
  • Expected Early Departures: None
  • Projected Lineup: Dejon Jarreau (Sr. G), Caleb Mills (So. G), Quentin Grimes (Jr. G), Nate Hinton (Jr. G/F), Fabian White Jr. (Sr. F)
  • Bench: Marcus Sasser (So. G), Cameron Tyson (So. G), Brison Gresham (Sr. F), Justin Gorham (Sr. F)

Houston exceeded many expectations after losing key pieces from a 33-win team. The immediate eligibility of former McDonald’s All-American Quentin Grimes (12.1 ppg, 2.6 apg) definitely didn’t hurt. He is just scratching the surface of where he could be as an offensive player. Without true bigs, the Cougars play with an edge defensively. Dejon Jarreau (9.0 ppg, 3.7 apg) and Nate Hinton (10.6 ppg, 8.7 rpg) lead the charge with their defensive versatility. I’m looking forward to microwave scorer Caleb Mills (13.2 ppg) getting more run after leading the team in scoring as a freshman.

19. North Carolina

Photo by Peyton Williams/UNC/Getty Images
  • Key Departures: Brandon Robinson (G), Christian Keeling (G), Justin Pierce (G/F)
  • Expected Early Departures: Cole Anthony (G)
  • Projected Lineup: Caleb Love (Fr. G), Anthony Harris (So. G), Leaky Black (Jr. G), Garrison Brooks (Sr. F), Armando Bacot (So. F/C)
  • Bench: Day’ron Sharpe (Fr. F/C), Walker Kessler (Fr. C), Andrew Platek (Sr. G), R.J. Davis (Fr. G), Jeremiah Francis (So. G), Puff Johnson (Fr. F)

This year didn’t go as planned for the preseason top-10 Tar Heels. Injuries ravaged their hopes early and often. The one bright spot was the consistent excellence of Garrison Brooks (16.8 ppg, 8.5 rpg), nearly doubling his scoring total from his sophomore year. With Armando Bacot (9.6 ppg, 8.3 rpg) and stud freshmen Day’ron Sharpe and Walker Kessler, they should have the best big man unit in America. Guard play is a question. Incoming freshman Caleb Love can play and Leaky Black (6.5 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 2.6 apg) is a swiss army knife, but where will perimeter points come from? The ceiling will be high if guards step up.

20. Louisville

  • Key Departures: Steven Enoch (C), Dwayne Sutton (F), Ryan McMahaon (G), Lamarr Kimble (G), Darius Perry (G) via transfer
  • Expected Early Departures: Jordan Nwora (F)
  • Projected Lineup: David Johnson (So. G), Jay Scrubb (So. G/F), Samuell Williamson (So. G/F), Aidan Igiehon (So. F), Malik Williams (Sr. F)
  • Bench: Josh Nickelberry (So. G), Jae’lyn Withers (RSFr. F), D’Andre Davis (Fr. F)

When six of your top eight aren’t on campus next year, a certain level of uncertainty is understandable. Outside of Malik Williams (8.5 ppg, 6.1 rpg), this team will be all underclassmen. Thankfully for Cardinal fans, Chris Mack recruited for this moment. After playing bench roles as freshmen, David Johnson (6.3 ppg, 2.8 apg) and Samuell Williamson (4.4 ppg) will emerge as super sophomores. Johnson led the team in assists while showing his ability to finish through contact and Williamson is a smooth scorer that was stuck behind elders. JUCO transfer Jay Scrubb should be a bucket getter from the jump as well.

21. Oregon

  • Key Departures: Payton Pritchard (G), Anthony Mathis (G), Shakur Juiston (F)
  • Expected Early Departures:
  • Projected Lineup: Will Richardson (Jr. G), Chris Duarte (Sr. G), Eric Williams Jr. (Jr. G), Chandler Lawson (So. F), N’Faly Dante (So. C)
  • Bench: Addison Patterson (So. G), C.J. Walker (So. F), Eugene Omoruyi (Sr. F), Francis Okoro (Jr. F/C), Jalen Terry (Fr. G)

Not seeing Payton Pritchard in an Oregon uniform is going to feel strange. Dana Altman and company will have to find a new identity without their floor general. An experienced backcourt like Will Richardson (11.0 ppg) and Chris Duarte (12.9 ppg) is a very good place to start. Both are competent playmakers that can fill it up when called upon (which should be often). They have some solid transfers as usual, but a fully healthy N’Faly Dante (5.8 ppg, 2.8 rpg) is an asset few teams in America possess.

22. Stanford

  • Key Departures: Isaac White (G) via transfer
  • Expected Early Departures: None
  • Projected Lineup: Tyrell Terry (So. G), Daejon Davis (Sr. G), Bryce Wills (Jr. G), Spencer Jones (So. F), Oscar Da Silva (Sr. F)
  • Bench: Jaiden Delaire (Jr. F), Noah Taitz (Fr. G), Lukas Kisunas (Jr. F)

All five starters are back for the Cardinal. We saw how good Oscar Da Silva (15.7 ppg, 6.4 rpg) can be when he plays in a spread offense that allows him to take slower bigs off the bounce. He opens up so much for them as a skilled 6-foot-9 forward. Tyrell Terry (14.6 ppg, 3.2 apg, 40.8% 3PT) is in the mold of the shifty, shot-making point guards that control the game today. He was terrific as a freshman, playing on or off the ball alongside Daejon Davis (8.8 ppg, 3.7 apg). They will hound you defensively and force you into tough shots. Stanford is set up nicely for next year.

23. Richmond

  • Key Departures: None
  • Expected Early Departures: None
  • Projected Lineup: Jacob Gilyard (Sr. G), Blake Francis (Sr. G), Nick Sherod (Sr. G), Nathan Cayo (Sr. F), Grant Golden (Sr. F/C)
  • Bench: Tyler Burton (So. F), Connor Crabtree (So. G), Andre Gustavson (Jr. G), Jake Wojcik (Jr. G)

Richmond was on their way to a tournament appearance before the season cut short. Without any graduates, they will start five seniors. How often do you see that in college basketball? Blake Francis (17.7 ppg) proved to be one of the best scorers in the A10 using his craftiness and toughness to score among the trees. The most entertaining player on the team is scrappy 5-foot-9 Jacob Gilyard (12.7 ppg, 5.7 apg, 3.2 spg), one of the most disruptive defenders in college basketball and a highly intelligent playmaker. It will be more of the same for a team that should win 25-plus games.

24. Illinois

  • Key Departures: Andres Feliz (G), Kipper Nichols (F), Alan Griffin (F) via transfer
  • Expected Early Departures: Ayo Dosunmu (G), Kofi Cockburn (C)
  • Projected Lineup: Trent Frazier (Sr. G), Adam Miller (Fr. G), Austin Hutcherson (Jr. G), Jacob Grandison (Jr. G/F), Giorgi Bezhanishvili (Jr. F)
  • Bench: Andre Curbelo (Fr. G), Da’Monte Williams (Sr. G), Jermaine Hamlin (So. C), Coleman Hawkins (Fr. F)

Cockburn could return, but the Big Ten Freshman of the Year turns 21 this year so I expect him to strike while the iron is hot. Trent Frazier (9.1 ppg) is ready to assume primary playmaking duties. Don’t forget, he’s just a year removed from averaging 13.7 points on 40.6 percent shooting from three. The newcomers are the difference. Top recruit Adam Miller could be a one-and-done with his college-ready body and innate scoring ability. DIII transfer Austin Hutcherson, a lanky shooter with NBA upside, and Jacob Grandison, a Holy Cross transfer that averaged 13.9 points a year ago, are going to make the Illini interesting.

25. Stephen F. Austin

  • Key Departures: Kevon Harris (G), John Comeaux (G), Nathan Bain (F)
  • Expected Early Departures: None
  • Projected Lineup: Roti Ware (Sr. G), David Kachelries (Sr. G), Cameron Johnson (Sr. G), Gavin Kensmil (Sr. F), Charlie Daniels (Sr. F)
  • Bench: Oddyst Walker (Jr. G), Kharee McDaniel (RSFr. G), Calvin Solomon (So. F), Demiere Brown (Jr. F), Sama’zha Hart (So. F)

While I miss the Thomas Walkup Lumberjacks, the full-court blitzing style of play remains. They won 28 games (including a win AT top-ranked Duke) with a very experienced team that will have a decent wave of production coming back. Their attack will be very balanced. Cameron Johnson (11.4 ppg), Gavin Kensmil (11.8 ppg, 6.8 rpg) and Roti Ware (9.5 ppg) all played big minutes. I like the potential of Kharee McDaniel to step into a playmaking role off the bench in his first full season. Nobody will want to see this team next March.

26. Florida

Mandatory Credit: Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports
  • Key Departures: Kerry Blackshear Jr. (F)
  • Expected Early Departures: Scottie Lewis (G)
  • Projected Lineup: Andrew Nembhard (Jr. G), Tre Mann (So. G), Noah Locke (Jr. G), Keyontae Johnson (Jr. F), Anthony Duruji (Jr. F)
  • Bench: Tyree Appleby (Jr. G), Omar Payne (So. F/C), Ques Glover (So. G), Samson Ruzhentsev (Fr. F)

Expectations might have been too high for a team made up of mostly freshmen and sophomores. Scottie Lewis’s return would be huge, but they will still have three starters coming back. Keyontae Johnson (14.0 ppg, 7.1 rpg) continues to add layers to his game. They’ll need Andrew Nembhard (11.2 ppg, 5.6 apg) to have a bounce back year after struggling to find his shot. LA Tech transfer Anthony Duruji is a gifted forward that can stretch the floor and play above the rim.

27. Tennessee

Photo By Andrew Ferguson/Tennessee Athletics
  • Key Departures: Jordan Bowden (G), Lamonte Turner (G), Jalen Johnson (G) via transfer
  • Expected Early Departures: None
  • Projected Lineup: Santiago Vescovi (So. G), Josiah-Jordan James (So. G), Jaden Springer (Fr. G), Yves Pons (Sr. G), John Fulkerson (Sr. F)
  • Bench: Victor Bailey (Jr. G), Keon Johnson (Fr. G), Olivier Nkamhoua (So. F), Davonte Gaines (So. G)

The Vols are a far cry from the powerhouse they were a year ago. They still have John Fulkerson (13.7 ppg, 5.9 rpg) and Yves Pons (10.8 ppg, 5.4 rpg) from that team. Rick Barnes cashed in on the recruiting trail over the last few years. Uruguayan point guard Vescovi (10.7 ppg, 3.7 apg) and do-it-all wing James (7.4 ppg, 5.5 rpg) made their share of freshmen mistakes but gained valuable experience. Five-star freshmen Jaden Springer and Keon Johnson have pro potential that will shine in Knoxville.

28. USC

  • Key Departures: Jonah Matthews (G), Nick Rakocevic (F), Daniel Utomi (G), Quinton Adlesh (G)
  • Expected Early Departures: Onyeka Okongwu (F)
  • Projected Lineup: Ethan Anderson (So. G), Elijah Weaver (Jr. G), Noah Baumann (Jr. G), Isaiah Mobley (So. F), Evan Mobley (Fr. C)
  • Bench: Tahj Eaddy (Gr. G), Max Agbonkpolo (So. F), Drake London (So. G)

Isaiah Mobley (6.2 ppg, 5.3 rpg) could double his numbers playing with his younger brother Evan, the top big in the 2020 class. Evan is an elite shot-blocker, finisher, and open-court athlete. It won’t be a two-man show though, as Ethan Anderson (4.2 apg) and Elijah Weaver (6.6 ppg) played big roles for the 22-win Trojans. San Jose State transfer Noah Baumann (45% career 3PT) has a clip too. Depth may be the main question for a team with ample front-end talent.

29. Belmont

  • Key Departures: Tyler Scanlon (F), Michael Benkert (G)
  • Expected Early Departures: None
  • Projected Lineup: Grayson Murphy (Jr. G), Adam Kunkel (Jr. G), Tate Pierson (Jr. G), Caleb Hollander (Jr. F), Nick Muszynski (Jr. C)
  • Bench: Nick Hopkins (Sr. G), Ben Sheppard (So. G), Mitch Listau (Jr. G), Even Brauns (Fr. C), Frank Jakubicek (Fr. F/C)

The Bruins have the best mid-major trio coming back next year. Point guard Grayson Murphy (9.8 ppg, 7.4 rpg, 6.2 apg) is one of the elite rebounding and defensive guards in the country. His classmate Nick Muszynski (15.3 ppg, 6.4 rpg) has an efficient low post game and three-point marksman Adam Kunkel (16.5 ppg, 39.0% 3PT) had a breakout sophomore year. With the exception of a couple of solid freshman bigs, Belmont will be an experienced team that can score in any and every way.

30. Florida State

  • Key Departures: Trent Forrest (G), Dominik Olejniczak (C)
  • Expected Early Departures: Devin Vassell (G), Patrick Williams (F)
  • Projected Lineup: M.J. Walker (Sr. G), Anthony Polite (Jr. G), Scottie Barnes (Fr. F), Malik Osbourne (Jr. F), Balsa Koprivica (So. C)
  • Bench: Raiquan Gary (Jr. F), RayQuan Evans (Sr. G), Sardaar Calhoun (Jr.,G), Wyatt Wilkes (Jr. F)

Williams and Vassell have already entered the NBA Draft. Top-10 recruit Scottie Barnes is going to carry a heavy load as a point forward on a team without a true lead guard. M.J. Walker (10.6 ppg) will be tasked with more playmaking duties than ever before, but he has the talent to cope. The growth of Koprivica will be key to the success of a team so reliant on having rim protectors.

31. Xavier

  • Key Departures: Tyrique Jones (F), Quentin Goodin (G)
  • Expected Early Departures: None
  • Projected Lineup: Paul Scruggs (Sr. G), Dwon Odom (Fr. G), Naji Marshall (Sr. F), Zach Freemantle (So. F), Jason Carter (Sr. F)
  • Bench: Kyky Tandy (So. G), Dieonte Miles (RSFr. F/C), C.J. Wilcher (Fr. G)

Xavier has Naji Marshall (16.8 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 4.0 apg) and Paul Scruggs (12.7 ppg, 2.9 apg) back for one last ride. Sophomore big Zach Freemantle (7.5 ppg, 4.3 rpg) is going to be a problem for the Big-East for years to come. The Muskies are bringing that typical toughness again next year.

32. Rutgers

  • Key Departures: Akwasi Yeboash (F), Shaq Carter (F)
  • Expected Early Departures: None
  • Projected Lineup: Geo Baker (Sr. G), Montez Mathis (Jr. G), Caleb McConnell (Jr. G/F), Ron Harper Jr. (Jr. G/F), Cliff Omoruyi (Fr. C)
  • Bench: Myles Johnson (Jr. C), Jacob Young (Sr. G), Paul Mulcahy (So. G), Mamadou Doucoure (Sr. F)

A few years ago, Rutgers wouldn’t even be in the discussion for a top 50 team. They had a breakthrough year for the program. Built like a mack truck, Ron Harper Jr. (12.1 ppg, 5.8 rpg) poses a problem for any sized opponent with his shooting ability and strength off the dribble. With Harper balling, Geo Baker (10.9 ppg, 3.5 apg) adjusted in a more secondary role. With the recent addition of Cliff Omoruyi, the powerful Jersey recruit, Rutgers has a rim protector for a team that leans on defense to win low possession games.

33. LSU

  • Key Departures: Skylar Mays (G), Marlon Taylor (G)
  • Expected Early Departures: Trendon Watford (F)
  • Projected Lineup: Ja’vonte Smart (Jr. G), Cam Thomas (Fr. G), Charles Manning (Sr. G), Darius Days (Jr. F), Emmitt Williams (Jr. F)
  • Bench: Josh LeBlanc (Jr. F), Mwani Wilkinson (Fr. F), Jalen Cook (Fr. G), Aundre Hyatt (Jr. G),

Their junior class will carry them next season. Ja’vonte Smart (12.5 ppg, 4.2 apg), Emmitt Williams (13.3 ppg, 6.6 rpg) and Darius Days (11.1 ppg, 6.8 rpg) all have their best basketball ahead of them. Top-30 recruit Cam Thomas should be one of the more impactful freshmen in the SEC. Once the semester turns, they will add Georgetown transfer Josh LeBlanc to the mix as well.

34. Indiana

  • Key Departures: Devonte Green (G), De’Ron Davis (F/C)
  • Expected Early Departures: None
  • Projected Lineup: Rob Phinisee (Jr. G), Aljami Durham (Sr. G), Justin Smith (Sr. F), Trayce Jackson-Davis (So. F), Joey Brunk (Sr. F/C)
  • Bench: Armaan Franklin (So. G), Damezi Anderson (Jr. F), Race Thompson (Jr. F), Jerome Hunter (RSSo. F), Trey Galloway (Fr. G)

After a forgettable season, the Hoosiers should bring back their productive All-Big Ten freshman Trayce Jackson-Davis (13.5 ppg, 8.4 rpg). He will be the top dog once again, and that’s not to discredit what Smith, Durham, and Phinisee bring to the table on the perimeter. They will have good depth to supplement them.

35. Saint Louis

Mike Lawrie/Getty Images/AFP
  • Key Departures:  Tay Weaver (G)
  • Expected Early Departures: None
  • Projected Lineup: Yuri Collins (So. G), Demarius Jacobs (Jr. G), Jordan Goodwin (Sr. G), Hasahn French (Sr. F), Jimmy Bell Jr. (So. F/C)
  • Bench: Javonte Perkins (Sr. G), Terrence Hargrove Jr. (So. G/F), Gibson Jimerson (So. G), Fred Thath Jr. (Jr. G)

I’ll go out on a limb and say Javonte Perkins (15.0 ppg) was the best sixth man in America last year. He seems to thrive in that role. Both Jordan Goodwin (15.5 ppg, 10.4 rpg, 3.1 apg) and Hasahn French (12.4 ppg, 10.4 rpg) have declared for the draft, but I expect they’ll return as a rare double-double duo. For a 6-foot-3 guard, Goodwin sets the tone for a tough, attacking style.

36. Connecticut

  • Key Departures: Christian Vital (G), Alterique Gilbert (G) via transfer
  • Expected Early Departures: None
  • Projected Lineup: R.J. Cole (RSJr. G), James Bouknight (So. G), Tyler Polley (Sr. F), Akot Akok (So. F), Josh Carlton (Sr. F/C)
  • Bench: Brendan Adams (Jr. G), Isaiah Whaley (Sr. F), Andre Jackson (Fr. F), Jalen Gaffney (So. G)

UCONN has scoring dynamo James Bouknight (13.0 ppg) back to pair with high-scoring Howard transfer R.J. Cole. They will look for the offensive production of Akot Akot (2.6 bpg) to catch up to his defensive impact. Dan Hurley has the Huskies moving in the right direction.

37. Purdue

  • Key Departures: Jahaad Proctor (G), Evan Boudreaux (F)
  • Expected Early Departures: None
  • Projected Lineup: Eric Hunter (Jr. G), Sasha Stefanovic (Jr. G), Nojel Eastern (Sr. G/F), Trevion Williams (Jr. F/C), Matt Haarms (Sr. C)
  • Bench: Isaiah Thompson (So. G), Aaron Wheeler (Jr. F), Ethan Morton (Fr. G), Jaden Ivey (Fr. G)

Who wants one more year of Matt Haarms’ hair flips? The 7-foot-3 big saw his role decrease while Trevion Williams (11.5 ppg, 7.6 rpg) turned into a light-footed load in the post. They struggle playing both together, but it’s a good problem to have. Hunter (10.6 ppg, 2.6 apg) and Stefanovic (9.1 ppg) looked like upperclassmen at times. If Nojel Eastern (4.9 ppg, 2.7 apg) can finally find his confidence, this team is dangerous.

38. Memphis

  • Key Departures: Isaiah Maurice (C)
  • Expected Early Departures: Precious Achiuwa (F)
  • Projected Lineup: Boogie Ellis (So. G), Damion Baugh (So. G), Lester Quinones (So. G/F), D.J. Jeffries (So. F), Isaiah Stokes (So. F)
  • Bench: Tyler Harris (Jr. G), Alex Lomax (Jr. G), Lance Thomas (Jr. F), Malcolm Dandridge (So. C)

I expect D.J. Jeffries (10.8 ppg) and Lester Quinones (10.7 ppg) to test draft waters as both could have NBA futures down the line. Quinones projects as the best player on the team next season with his versatility and size. Penny Hardaway has a drove of guards to rotate in and out, but Boogie Ellis (8.0 ppg) is going to need to step up to maximize the potential of this group.

39. Dayton

  • Key Departures: Trey Landers (G), Ryan Mikesell (F)
  • Expected Early Departures: Obi Toppin (F)
  • Projected Lineup: Jalen Crutcher (Sr. G), Rodney Chatman (Sr. G), Ibi Watson (Sr. G), Zimi Nwokeji (RSFr. F), Jordy Tshimanga (Sr. C)
  • Bench: Dwayne Cohill (Jr. G), Moulaye Sissoko (RSFr. C), RJ Blakney (Fr. F)

This is quite a fall from the top-5 ranking that they never got to realize in March. No Obi Toppin is clearly going to hurt. They still have their terrific point guard Jalen Crutcher (15.1 ppg, 4.9 apg, 42.4% 3PT) back. He will have to do a lot, although Rodney Chatman (7.7 ppg, 3.2 apg) and Ibi Watson (10.1 ppg) are proven guards. I trust Anthony Grant’s ability to develop these guys to contend for the an A10 title again.

40. Arkansas

  • Key Departures: Jimmy Whitt (G), Adrio Bailey (G), Jalen Harris (G) via transfer
  • Expected Early Departures: Mason Jones (G)
  • Projected Lineup: JD Notae (Jr. G), Desi Sills (Jr. G), Isaiah Joe (Sr. G), Vance Jackson (Gr. F), Abayomi Iyiola (Jr. F)
  • Bench: Moses Moody (Fr. G), KK Robinson (Fr. G), Connor Vanover (So. C), Reggie Chaney (Jr. F)

Arkansas is going to look like a safe haven for transfers next year. New Mexico wing Vance Jackson (11.1 ppg) just committed to a team that will already feature three transfers who sat out this year. Isaiah Joe (16.9 ppg) should be the best player on the team with Mason Jones leaving early. If all of these new pieces can coexist effectively, this ranking will be an insult.

41. Loyola (IL)

  • Key Departures: None
  • Expected Early Departures: None
  • Projected Lineup: Keith Clemons (Sr. G), Lucas Williamson (Sr. G), Tate Hall (Sr. G/F), Aher Uguak (Sr. F), Cameron Krutwig (Sr. C)
  • Bench: Marquise Kennedy (So. G), *Braden Norris (So. G), Tom Welch (So. F), Cooper Kaifes (So. G), Jalon Pipkins (Sr. G), Paxson Wojcik (So. G)

Loyola has the band back together, led by one of the best passing bigs around in Cam Krutwig (15.1 ppg, 8.1 rpg, 4.2 apg). Williamson (9.0 ppg) is the only other carryover from that Final Four team from a few years ago. UIndy transfer Tate Hall (12.7 ppg, 42.6% 3PT) can shoot it, pass, and is a willing defender. He earned All-MVC in his first year. Look for Marquise Kennedy (9.2 ppg) to take a nice jump for the MVC favorites.

42. Rhode Island

  • Key Departures: Jeff Dowtin (G), Cyril Langevine (F)
  • Expected Early Departures: None
  • Projected Lineup: Fatts Russell (Sr. G), Jeremy Sheppard (Jr. G), Tyrese Martin (Jr. G/F), Jacob Toppin (So. F), Jermaine Harris (Jr. F),
  • Bench: Antwan Walker (Jr. F), Ishmael Leggett (Fr. G), Mekhi Long (So. F), Dana Tate (Jr. F)

Blessed with a great name, Fatts Russell (18.8 ppg, 4.6 apg) is one of the best-kept secrets in college basketball. Contrary to his name, the 165-pound guard is a jet that affects the game in every way. He will be surrounded by a ton of long, active players like Tyrese Martin (12.8 ppg, 7.0 rpg). A tournament bid is an expectation.

43. Ohio State

  • Key Departures: Andre Wesson (F), D.J. Carton (G) via transfer)
  • Expected Early Departures: Kaleb Wesson (F/C)
  • Projected Lineup: CJ Walker (Sr. G), Duane Washington Jr. (Jr. G), Justice Sueing (Jr. F), Seth Towns (GR. F), Kyle Young (Sr. F)
  • Bench: Luther Muhammad (Sr. G), Musa Jallow (RS Jr. G), E.J. Liddell (So. F), Alonzo Gaffney (So. F)

Kaleb Wesson’s decision to turn pro was monumental. The offense will flip to being perimeter-oriented, with CJ Walker (8.7 ppg, 3.5 apg) and Duane Washington (11.5 ppg) leading the backcourt. They managed to snag Seth Towns, a former Ivy League Player of the Year, to soften that loss. Towns is an All-Big Ten talent if he can stay healthy. Cal transfer Justice Sueing (14.3 ppg) is also viewed as an immediate impact player.

44. Syracuse

  • Key Departures: Brycen Goodine (G) via transfer, Jalen Carey (G) via transfer
  • Expected Early Departures: Elijah Hughes (F)
  • Projected Lineup: Joe Girard (So. G), Buddy Boeheim (Jr. G), Marek Dolezaj (Sr. F), Quincy Guerrier (So. F), Bourama Sidibe (Sr. F)
  • Bench: Kadary Richmond (Fr. G), Jesse Edwards (So. C), Woody Newton (Fr. F)

Buddy Boeheim (15.3 ppg, 37.0% 3PT) can really hoop. His growth reading defenses and making plays off the dribble was night and day from his freshman year. With New York prep scoring machine Joe Girard (12.4 ppg, 3.5 apg) running the show and Marek Dolezaj (10.5 ppg, 6.4 rpg) playing 20 pounds bigger than the scale says, the Cuse have hope. Canadian wing Quincy Guerrier (6.9 ppg) has a ton of potential. Rumors are that Columbia grad transfer Patrick Tape will commit soon as well after decommitting from Duke.

45. Northern Iowa

  • Key Departures: Isaiah Brown (G), Spencer Haldeman (G), Justin Dahl (C)
  • Expected Early Departures: None
  • Projected Lineup: A.J. Green (Jr. G), Trae Berhow (Sr. G), Tywhon Pickford (Sr. G), Noah Carter (So. F), Austin Phyfe (Jr. F)
  • Bench: James Betz (So. F), Cole Henry (RSFr. F), Evan Gauger (RSFr. G)

Northern Iowa forged their way to the top of the MVC standings on the back of MVC Player of the Year A.J. Green (19.7 ppg, 3.0 apg, 39.1% 3PT). With a quick first step and good size, he can get wherever he wants on the court. Their best big Austin Phyfe (11.2 ppg, 8.2 rpg) is back along with Trae Berhow (12.5 ppg). The Panthers are full of shooters that spread you out effectively. The MVC race will be tight next year.

46. Butler

  • Key Departures: Kamar Baldwin (G), Sean McDermott (G), Henry Baddley (G), Derrik Smits (C), Khalif Battle (G) via transfer
  • Expected Early Departures: None
  • Projected Lineup: Aaron Thompson (Sr. G), Myles Tate (Fr. G), Jordan Tucker (Sr. F), Bryce Nze (Sr. F), Bryce Golden (Jr. F)
  • Bench: Christian David (Sr. F), JaKobe Coles (Fr. F), Chuck Harris (Fr. G)

Without long-time guard Kamar Baldwin, the Bulldogs will have to look elsewhere for offense. A balanced attack led by Bryce Nze (9.2 ppg, 6.6 rpg), Jordan Tucker (8.9 ppg), and incoming freshman Myles Tate might be the best recipe. They bring back enough from a stingy defensive group to stay competitive.

47. Wright State

  • Key Departures: Billy Wampler (F), Cole Gentry (G), Jordan Ash (G), Skyelar Potter (Jr. G) via transfer
  • Expected Early Departures: None
  • Projected Lineup: Trey Calvin (So. G), Jaylon Hall (Sr. G), Tanner Holden (So. G), Grant Basile (Jr. F), Loudon Love (Sr. C)
  • Bench: Aleksandar Dozic (Sr. F), Jason Manns (Jr. F), Tim Finke (So. G/F)

Coming off a 25-win season, the Raiders lose a steady point guard in Gentry and their second leading scorer in Wampler. Horizon Player of the Year Loudon Love (15.9 ppg, 9.7 rpg) is back though, ready to absorb double teams all year long. Tanner Holden (11.8 ppg, 6.5 rpg) and Jaylon Hall (7.8 ppg, 2.9 apg) also return to an offense that finished in the top-10 nationally in scoring. The Horizon is there for the taking next year.

48. Notre Dame

  • Key Departures: John Mooney (F), T.J. Gibbs (G), Rex Pflueger (G)
  • Expected Early Departures: None
  • Projected Lineup: Prentiss Hubb (Jr. G), Cormac Ryan (So. G), Dane Goodwin (Jr. G), Nate Laszewski (Jr. F), Juwan Durham (Sr. C)
  • Bench: Nik Djogo (RSSr. F), Robby Carmody (RSSo. G/F), Elijah Taylor (Fr. F), Troy Sanders Jr. (Fr. G/F), Matt Zona (Fr. C)

John Mooney was an automatic double-double for the Irish over the last two years. They will likely lean on perimeter play to get the job done. Prentiss Hubb (12.1 ppg, 5.1 apg) played with no fear and was among the top assist men in the ACC. The Irish need more assertiveness out of Dane Goodwin (10.8 ppg), who flirted with a 50/40/90 line for a while. After sitting out a year, Stanford transfer Cormac Ryan will be another ball-handler that can stretch the floor. Depth and post scoring are concerns. Look for Laszewski to up his percentages and Durham to be more aggressive.

49. Oklahoma State

  • Key Departures: Cameron McGriff (F), Lindy Waters (G), Thomas Dziagwa (G), Jonathan Laurent (G)
  • Expected Early Departures: None
  • Projected Lineup: Cade Cunningham (Fr. G), Isaac Likekele (Jr. G), Avery Anderson (So. G), Kalib Boone (So. F), Yor Anei (Jr. F)
  • Bench: Ferron Flavors Jr. (Gr. G), Chris Harris Jr. (So. G), Keylan Boone (So. G/F), Rondel Walker (Fr. G)

Adding the top point guard in the country gives you attention. Cade Cunningham is built like a power forward but is a natural point guard that can do a lot of things on or off the ball. That’s good news playing with the best returning Cowboy Isaac Likekele (10.9 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 4.5 apg). Those two will make for a lot of exciting fast breaks. It won’t be an easy transition, but Cunningham will bring this team together.

50. NC State

  • Key Departures: Markell Johnson (G), C.J. Bryce (G), Pat Andree (F),
  • Expected Early Departures: None
  • Projected Lineup: Braxton Beverly (Sr. G), Devon Daniels (Sr. G), Jericole Hellems (Jr. F), Manny Bates (So. F), DJ Funderburk (Sr. F/C)
  • Bench: Thomas Allen (Jr. G), Josh Hall (Fr. F), Cam Hayes (Fr. G), Ebenezer Dowuona (Fr. C)

NC State had a decent season this year. Devon Daniels (12.7 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 2.2 apg) is back along with Braxton Beverly (7.1 ppg) and DJ Funderburk (12.8 ppg, 6.1 rpg). Beverly will be back to his natural position at point guard. Kevin Keatts brought in a solid recruiting class headlined by Josh Hall, a long, highly skilled forward that looks too gifted to stay for four years.  

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