Winner: Big Ten
The Big Ten had a dominant men’s basketball season in the 2019-20 season and was the strongest conference all around. Before March Madness was canceled, the conference was looking at sending around 10 teams to have a chance at the national title.
With many star players returning for another year, including Luka Garza, Ayo Dosunmu, Kofi Cockburn, Isaiah Livers, Marcus Carr, and Aaron Henry, the Big Ten will once again be a juggernaut, and possibly even more talented than last year.
According to NBC’s preseason top 25, six of the fourteen big ten teams rank 21 or higher. NBC’s updated top 25 rankings is post NCAA deadline for underclassmen to withdraw from the 2020 NBA draft, providing a fresh look at the best teams with their set roster for the year.
With some tough competition, and talents through the roof, the Big Ten will be an entertaining ride for 2020.
Losers: Kansas, LSU, and Memphis
In the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic and the close commencement of the 2020 College Basketball season, many teams are uncertain on how the future looks. This holds true to Kansas, LSU and Memphis in particular. These schools have had allegations held against them in the past year for violating NCAA terms. The Independent Accountability Resolution Process(IARP) has been handling infractions cases for each of these schools. However, no ruling is confirmed yet; the resolution has not been established likely due to the difficulties the pandemic has provoked. Punishments could go as far as postseason bans, resulting in these schools not getting an opportunity to play in the 2021 March Madness. So in a matter of two months, these large basketball schools could possibly start a season with no clarity on their future, if the IARP does not come out with concluding statements.
As a No. 1 team in the preseason prediction rankings, according to ESPN, the Baylor Bears have high expectations for the year. Coming off of a 26-4 season, Baylor has had a strong year all around, solidifying themselves as one of the most efficient defensive teams in the nation. They’ll also be getting back a strong core from last season, with Jared Butler and MaCio Teague leading the way. Additionally, Davion Mitchell and Mark Vital, the team’s stingy defensive anchors, return and will strengthen the team’s abilities. All in all, Baylor will definitely be a fun team to watch as the year progresses. They’ll be the team to beat in the BIG 12 and all of college basketball. So while there are some very solid offensive teams in the upcoming 2020-21 season, we all know, “defense wins championships.” We’ll see if Baylor can uphold the saying.
Loser: Oklahoma State
Although Oklahoma State Cowboys received the 2020 No. 1 recruit, according to ESPN, the university was handed a ban of one year from the NCAA men’s basketball tournament due to a scandal. The scandal, which has been classified at the most severe category, involved Lamont Evans, a former assistant coach who pleaded guilty to accepting $22,000 in bribes to direct players to a financial adviser. In spite of the school’s punishments, Cade Cunningham decided against decommitment. He will continue his journey playing under his brother as an assistant coach. As a 5-star combo guard, Cade, who had an unstoppable high school career, brings potential for a bright future. The fans will still get to see the development of possibly the most dominant and talented college basketball freshman in the league this year; however, they won’t be seeing Cunningham’s attempt at a Cinderella story, a major disappointment.
Any avid college basketball fan has heard the name Jay Wright. Thankfully, fans will continue to get to hear his name in future college basketball conversations. Since many NBA teams’ seasons have come to an end, franchises have been in search for a new head coach. Rumors had spread Philapdelhia was heavily considering Wright as a candidate. To Villanova fans’ relief, these rumors were shut down quickly. Wright, via twitter, announced the following in his grateful statement:
“I am not a candidate for the [76ers] job. I am very happy and honored to coach at Villanova.”
Thus, fans will continue to get to see Wright thrive as one of the greatest coaches in the game. The 2010 AP Coach of the Decade has won two of the past four NCAA Tournaments(2016, 2018). With a strong 2020-21 roster, Wright can become just the seventh person in Division I history to win at least three national championships.
The 7-foot prolific scorer Omer Yurtseven is gone to the professional ranks, Mac McClung transferred to Texas Tech and the Hoyas failed to get their top and even secondary transfer targets. Thus, the Hoyas are considered to be at the bottom of the barrel. Especially in the competitive scene of the Big East, things aren’t looking up for Patrick Ewing’s fourth season. Georgetown will be returning just two of its top eight scorers from a year ago, James Akinjo and Josh LeBlanc. Coming off of a disappointing 19-14 season, the Hoyas are in search of a ray of sunshine.
“From Our Haus to Yours”