Every year there are teams that shock the college basketball world. This season will be no different. Here are five college basketball teams that could be the biggest surprises of the 2021-2022 season.
Michigan State fell short of their normal standards a year ago losing to UCLA in the First Four. Now, the Spartans will have a true point guard in Tyson Walker, who will have a significant impact on both ends with his offensive playmaking and defensive ability.
There will be growth from the frontcourt as well, with Mady Sissko and Malik Hall coming into their own. The ability for Joey Hauser to bounce back for Michigan State having a productive year offensively will be key for their offensive success. The perimeter play of Gabe Brown and his experience will be important. The dynamic talent of Max Christie will help elevate the Michigan State offense and help lead them back to a top-tier team in the Big Ten.
Expect Michigan State to bounce back in a major way this season and be a factor at the top of the Big Ten.
Mike Anderson is entering year three at St. John’s and has the surrounding talent to be an NCAA tournament team in 2022.
First off, the Red Storm have an All-American caliber player in Julian Champagnie with his versatility and skill set offensively. Next, Posh Alexander is one of the most electric players in the country with the pace he has on both ends and the ability to get to the rim. The veteran experience will be there for St. John’s as well with transfers Montez Mathis and Aaron Wheeler. Mathis and Wheeler will add to their potential defensively and add versatility offensively specifically with Wheeler.
Also, Tareq Coburn will add a dynamic shooting threat for St. John’s being a threat next to Posh Alexander on the perimeter. The pace of St. John’s is what makes them a team that has peaks and valleys throughout games if they become more consistent they will be a threat for the second-best team in the Big East.
Ben Howland should have his best team yet at Mississippi State and should be among the best teams in the SEC.
Iverson Molinar could be one of the best guards in the country and lead Mississippi State offensively. The addition of transfers DJ Jefferies and Garrison Brooks will add to the potential of the Mississippi State.
Now, DJ Jefferies will need to showcase consistency on the offensive end to take the next step as a player. Tolu Smith will provide rim protection and be a major part of their ability to defend. Mississippi State has talent and will have the ability to surprise teams in the SEC to make a run towards the NCAA tournament.
Mark Pope has been very successful in his two seasons at BYU. He has propelled the Cougars to the NCAA tournament and will continue to do so.
The offensive coaching and scheme of BYU has been at an elite level and will continue to elevate the program. Alex Barcello is one of the best players in the country with his shooting and scoring ability. Next, the ability for Barcello to play off the ball will be there with transfer Te’Jon Lucas being a ball distributor for this offense.
The development of players has been key for BYU and that will be the case with Gideon George on the wing becoming a more well-rounded player. The development of the frontcourt of Caleb Lohner and Richard Harward will help elevate BYU to the next level. BYU will be back in the NCAA tournament under Mark Pope for a consecutive season.
Mike Woodson has great potential in year one at Indiana to have great success immediately. This starts with having one of the best players in the country in Trayce Jackson-Davis being a matchup nightmare with his skill set. Also, the addition of Xavier Johnson will fill the backcourt position with scoring.
Miller Kopp will add offensive skill and size to the wing position and the emergence of Kristian Lander should result in him becoming one of the better point guards in the Big Ten. Indiana’s bench could be very good as well with Tamar Bates the talented freshman and the experience of Rob Phinisee will be key for Indiana.
Additionally, Parker Stewart will be an added scorer with experience transferring from UT Martin. The potential is high for Indiana and they will make noise towards the top of the Big Ten.