This upcoming college basketball season has numerous prominent storylines heading into 2021-22 following a year in which the NCAA Tournament returned amid the COVID-19 pandemic and wherein Baylor downed Gonzaga for the Bears’ first title in school history.
It’ll be the first season at the helm for several coaches at prominent schools — Hubert Davis at UNC, Mike Woodson at Indiana, Shaka Smart at Marquette, Tommy Lloyd at Arizona and Porter Moser at Oklahoma, to name a few.
Similarly and perhaps most notably, it’s also the last season of Mike Krzyzewski at Duke, with all eyes on the Blue Devils as Jon Scheyer prepared to take the reins from a college basketball legend in 2022.
At Memphis, Penny Hardaway has one of the nation’s top recruiting classes thanks to Emoni Bates and Jalen Duren and even added Hall of Famer Larry Brown and former NBA All-Star Rasheed Wallace to his coaching staff, making the Tigers one of the more compelling Group of 5 schools and one of the more compelling programs in the Volunteer State.
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Kentucky and Kansas also will look to return to prominence, with the Wildcats not even making last year’s tournament and with Bill Self’s Jayhawk squad getting bounced in the second round.
There will also be several prominent coaches of perennial top 25 teams absent for games — most notably Gonzaga’s Mark Few, who will miss his team’s first game against Dixie State following a DUI arrest and Louisville’s Chris Mack, who will miss six games amid myriad scandals, including ones stemming from Dino Gaudio’s extorition conviction.
The Associated Press released its preseason top 25 poll for the 2021-22 college basketball season on Monday. Here’s a first look at where teams start before play begins Nov. 9.
College basketball rankings for preseason
AP Top 25
|Rank||Team||Record||Points (No. 1 votes)|
Others receiving votes: Michigan State 87; Indiana 41; USC 30; Arizona 26; Virginia Tech 25; Oklahoma State 25; Xavier 22; Texas Tech 17; Richmond 13; Rutgers 11; Colorado State 11; LSU 7; Belmont 7; San Diego State 5; St. John’s 5; Mississippi State 5; Syracuse 5; Drake 4; Colorado 4; BYU 3; Notre Dame 3; Louisville 3