As the 2021-2022 College Basketball season approaches, here is a look at TGH’s picks for the best non-conference games. Here are the top five non-conference games for the 2021-2022 season.
UCLA vs. Gonzaga
A rematch of the epic Final Four game between UCLA and Gonzaga is the headline for the non-conference slate. UCLA returns the best perimeter scorer in the country with Johnny Juzang who had a historic NCAA tournament run. The versatility of Jaime Jaquez who brings the ability to score at all three levels at a high level. Continued, the stability at the point guard position with Tyger Campbell will elevate UCLA on both ends of the floor. Furthermore, the additions will add to this UCLA team with Myles Johnson giving them true rim protection. Peyton Watson also gives UCLA another talented perimeter threat. As for Gonzaga, they return the favorite for National Player of the Year in Drew Timme with his offensive dominance.
Next, Andrew Nembhard will be a focal point for this team giving them major stability at the point guard position. The readiness of Chet Holmgren will give Gonzaga the best front-court duo in the country. Also, freshman Hunter Salis and Nolan Hickman will provide Gonzaga with more talented perimeter threats. This game will be headlined with a massive amount of talent and could showcase a future NCAA tournament matchup.
Villanova vs. UCLA
The showdown between UCLA and Villanova will be a very intriguing matchup with all the perimeter threats both teams have lined up.
It starts with the point guard battle between Collin Gillespie against Tyger Campbell. Both of these players are the foundation to the success of their teams. Justin Moore will need to show the growth in his game on both ends in a matchup with Johnny Juzang. The forward matchup of Jaime Jaquez and Jermaine Samuels will be terrific because of the consistency both players bring.
The matchup that can change this game is the front-court battle between UCLA and Villanova. UCLA brings a veteran presence with Cody Riley and Myles Johnson. As for Villanova, there is less experience with Eric Dixon and Trey Patterson. This will be a high-level game between two elite programs with National Championship aspirations.
Duke vs. Gonzaga
This game will be part of a stretch in which Gonzaga plays in Las Vegas for back-to-back games. This matchup will feature two of the best freshman in the country with Chet Holmgren for Gonzaga and Paolo Banchero for Duke. The versatility of this matchup will be showcased in this game.
The point guard battle with crucial in this game with the veteran of Andrew Nembhard against Jeremy Roach who will need to elevate his play. Drew Timme and the athleticism of Mark Williams providing rim protection will be intriguing to watch.
The newcomers on the perimeter will have a major impact in this game. Duke’s Trevor Keels and AJ Griffin will need to be major contributors offensively. The same can be said with Gonzaga with the impact of Hunter Salis and Nolan Hickman. This Friday night game in Vegas will have massive implications on the rest of the season.
Texas vs. Gonzaga
Gonzaga will continue its strong non-conference slate by hosting a Texas team with high expectations entering the season. The ability for Drew Timme and Chet Holmgren to attack the frontcourt of Christian Bishop and Tre Mitchell will be key for Gonzaga. Andrew Nembhard will need to be at his best against experienced guards in Andrew Jones, Courtney Ramey, and Marcus Carr. The veteran Texas guards could take advantage of the inexperience of Hunter Salis and Nolan Hickman.
Flow and continuity of Texas offensively will be key in this game to match a more synched Gonzaga offense. Texas’ veteran perimeter attacking the youth of the Gonzaga perimeter. The talent within this game is immense and should be teriffic.
North Carolina vs. Purdue
The traditional frontcourt dominance is always displayed by North Carolina, however, the more dominant frontcourt in this game will be Purdue’s. For Purdue, the frontcourt is headlined by Trevion Williams who brings great interior skill and scoring. Zach Edey at 7’4 who should have improved skill and continue to be a more dominant player. Purdue also has one of the best guards in the country with Jaden Ivey. Mason Gillis will need to show his development and add perimeter shooting for Purdue. This game will also have two of the best shooters in the country with Sasha Stefanovic for Purdue and Kerwin Walton for North Carolina.
The development of Armando Bacot must be evient. The skill of Dawson Garcia also has to give North Carolina more frontcourt versatility. The versatility of Justin McKoy will be key for North Carolina especially on the defensive end at the wing position. This will be an intriguing game with two teams trying to prove themselves as contenders.
Images Courtesy of The Spokesman-Review
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