The Memphis Tigers basketball team is the only school in the country to be ranked in all five of ESPN’s preseason top 25 polls, and they’re projected to finish third in the conference. With a loaded roster and a new coach, Memphis looks poised for a big season.

Memphis is currently ranked at number 25 in the top 25 college basketball rankings for 2021-22. The Tigers are expected to climb higher as they have a strong recruiting class coming in.

The rosters for the 2021-22 collegiate basketball season are finally determined — at least, that’s what we believe. With the signing of Cincinnati transfer Keith Williams by Western Kentucky, every transfer in ESPN’s top 100 rankings has chosen his school. With the exception of Emoni Bates, who committed to Memphis last week, every talent on the ESPN 100 has committed to a college or the G League.

So, barring a last-minute reclassification or transfer, the scenario for the next season is very well determined. And the last month’s events have given us a new moniker for the Final Four and national championship debates.

Memphis was absent from these rankings when they were updated in July. Three starters from last year’s NIT champion Tigers returned, along with three high-major transfers and a strong high school recruiting class. In 2020-21, however, they only had one victory against an NCAA tournament team and lost three players who started at least 11 games. As a result, there were many inquiries. There are significantly fewer questions now than there were a month ago.

Emoni Bates and Jalen Duren, both predicted top-five selections in the following two NBA rounds, were signed by Penny Hardaway. Duren’s acquisition alone would have sent Memphis into the top 20. Getting Bates away from Oregon and the G League, on the other hand, gives the Tigers as much on-paper talent as anybody in the country, putting them firmly in the national conversation.


preceding: 1

Andrew Nembhard’s preseason buzz seems to be quieter than it was last season, when he was cleared to play only days before the season started and was regarded as the Zags’ missing piece in their quest for a national title. However, after a season in which Nembhard stepped into the starting lineup for the final two months of the season and helped lead the Bulldogs to the national championship game, the focus in Spokane, Washington, is on Wooden Award winner Drew Timme, potential No. 1 draft pick Chet Holmgren, and two other five-star recruits arriving in town.

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However, Nembhard is still expected to be a first-round selection in the NBA draft in 2021-22, and he should be one of the greatest point guards in the nation. Last season, his performance was a bit hit-or-miss, which is to be anticipated from a fifth offensive option. Nembhard is a big, fluid guy who is a good fit for his position. And his perimeter shooting seemed to improve: he made 37.5 percent of his shots in West Coast Conference play.

Starting lineups are expected to be as follows:

Hickman, Nolan (No. 22 in ESPN 100) Andrew Nembhard is a writer (9.1 points per game) Sallis, Hunter (No. 14 in ESPN 100) Chet Holmgren is a well-known musician (No. 1 in ESPN 100) Drew Timme is a writer and a musician (19.0 PPG)


2nd Previous:

Kansas has all of the pieces in place to win a national title this season. The Jayhawks had a huge void at point guard entering the summer, so Bill Self went out and recruited Arizona State transfer Remy Martin, who is perhaps the finest transfer in the nation. Self also added ESPN 100 point guard Bobby Pettiford, who had previously committed to Louisville, and Drake transfer Joseph Yesufu, a strong player with backcourt playmaking ability. So there you have it.

What is the most important factor right now? David McCormack, healthy and productive. Last season, McCormack was dominating at times, providing Kansas a clear focal point on the inside to whom it could pass the ball and score a bucket. Much of this occurred during a 12-game conference run in which McCormack averaged 15.8 points and 6.8 rebounds per game. However, there were some inconsistencies. McCormack averaged 11.8 points and 5.1 rebounds in Kansas’ nine defeats; he averaged 14.2 points and 6.6 rebounds in the team’s 20 victories (he missed KU’s Big 12 tournament victory).

Starting lineups are expected to be as follows:

Remy Martin is a well-known singer and songwriter (19.1 PPG at Arizona State) Braun, Christian (9.8 PPG) Agbaji Ochai (14.2 PPG) Wilson, Jalen (12.1 PPG) McCormack, David (13.4 PPG, 6.1 rebounds per game)


preceding: 3

UCLA’s newcomers seem to be being ignored, which is reasonable considering that the Bruins bring back everyone from last season’s Final Four squad. Mick Cronin, on the other hand, went out and addressed a couple of critical gaps, ensuring that UCLA would be deeper and more consistent in the 2021-22 season.

Peyton Watson, who shone during the Iverson Classic workouts in the spring, is predicted to be a top-10 selection in ESPN’s 2022 draft rankings. Watson is a good two-way player who can score from the rim or the perimeter and has improved during his high school career; he should contend with Jules Bernard for a starting position. Will McClendon, an ESPN 100 prospect, could have an immediate impact on defense and fit in well with Cronin’s scheme. After averaging 8.5 rebounds and 2.4 blocks last season, Rutgers graduate transfer Myles Johnson is one of the finest defenders in the Big Ten, bringing size, strength, and tenacity.

Starting lineups are expected to be as follows:

Campbell, Tyger (10.2 PPG) Johnny Juzang is a character in the film Johnny Juzang (15.5 PPG) Watson, Peyton (No. 10 in ESPN 100) Jaime Jaquez Jr. is a character in the film Jaime Jaquez (12.1 PPG) Riley, Cody (9.8 PPG)


preceding: 4

Collin Gillespie, Justin Moore, Caleb Daniels, and Jermaine Samuels are all returning starters for Jay Wright this season. All four players started at least 20 games last season and will return to their regular spots. If the Wildcats want to live up to their top-five position and contend for a national title, Wright will need some of his role players to step up.

We’ve spoken a lot about the frontcourt this summer, with sophomore Eric Dixon and freshman Nnanna Njoku being the main replacements for Jeremiah Robinson-Earl. On the perimeter, though, many newcomers and returning rotation players will compete for minutes. On the defensive end, Brandon Slater offers length and flexibility, while Bryan Antoine has yet to demonstrate the form that made him one of the most sought-after scorers coming out of high school. Trey Patterson is an interesting name; he was a top-40 recruit who only played in two games last season after enrolling during the second semester. Patterson is a big guy with excellent shooting skills.

Starting lineups are expected to be as follows:

Gillespie, Collin (14.0 PPG, 4.6 RPG) Moore, Justin (12.9 PPG) Daniels, Caleb (9.6 PPG) Samuels, Jermaine (12.0 PPG) Dixon, Eric (3.0 PPG)


preceding: 5

One of the most interesting stories to watch throughout the first weeks of the season will be how Chris Beard distributes minutes while keeping everyone pleased. Andrew Jones and Courtey are returning as sure-fire starters for the Longhorns, who have added six of the top 30 transfers in ESPN’s transfer rankings and a top-30 prospect in Jaylon Tyson. In an ideal world, Beard’s first three players off the bench would be Vanderbilt transfer Dylan Disu, who nearly averaged a double-double in the SEC; Creighton transfer Christian Bishop, who shot 69 percent inside the arc and started every game for a Sweet 16 team; and former five-star point guard Devin Askew, who started as a freshman at Kentucky. And the early feedback on Tyson has been overwhelmingly favorable. There will be very few teams that can equal the Longhorns in terms of skill if the newcomers connect right away and everyone buys into their job right away.

Starting lineups are expected to be as follows:

Carr, Marcus (19.4 PPG at Minnesota) Ramey, Courtney (12.2 PPG) Jones, Andrew (14.6 PPG) Timmy Allen is a character in the film Timmy Allen (17.2 PPG at Utah) Mitchell, Tre (18.8 PPG at UMass)


preceding: 6

Will Matt Painter consider playing Zach Edey with preseason All-American Trevion Williams after the 7-foot-4 Canadian’s performance at the FIBA U19 World Cup in Latvia in July? Edey had a strong showing in the World Cup, averaging 15.1 points, 14.1 rebounds, and 2.3 blocks in seven games, including a 16-point, 16-rebound effort in a semifinal defeat to the United States. In only 14.7 minutes per game, Edey averaged 8.7 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 1.1 blocks as a rookie. However, he only appeared in two games, and those were the only two games Williams did not play in.

Painter has previously used two large lines, with Matt Haarms with Williams a few seasons ago and Isaac Haas together Caleb Swanigan and/or AJ Hammons for a few seasons. Purdue has four other players who started at least 23 games last season, but none of them are Jaden Ivey, the clear favorite to be a national breakthrough star this season. There will be no shortage of depth or lineup flexibility.

Starting lineups are expected to be as follows:

Eric Hunter Jr. is a member of the Eric Hunter family (8.5 PPG) Ivey, Jaden (11.1 PPG) Stefanovic, Sasha (9.3 PPG) Mason Gillis is a young man who has a lot (5.2 PPG) Williams, Trevion (15.5 PPG, 9.1 RPG)


before to: unranked

Penny Hardaway now has a plethora of personnel combinations to choose from this season, thanks to the acquisition of Emoni Bates. For a variety of reasons, the quintet listed below is my favorite. We’ve heard that Bates will take on a Hardaway-like position as the team’s point guard, but since he isn’t a natural point guard and struggles with ballhandling at times, a secondary playmaker will be beneficial — and that’s where Earl Timberlake comes in. Timberlake struggled as a freshman at Miami, but he was expected to be a one-and-done NBA selection before to last season and can start off the bounce, much as he did in high school. DeAndre Williams and Justin Timberlake are also great passers. Landers Nolley II and Bates can shoot, while Jalen Duren can take care of the inside. Duren will be a force to be reckoned with, particularly on the defensive end and on the glass. Given their height, length, and flexibility, these five could be extremely dominating defensively even without a real point guard.

Starting lineups are expected to be as follows:

Emoni Bates is a character in the film Emoni Bates (No. 3 in ESPN 100) Earl Timberlake is an American singer and songwriter (9.3 PPG at Miami) Landers Nolley II is a fictional character created by Landers Nolley (13.1 PPG) Williams, DeAndre (11.7 PPG) Duren, Jalen (No. 7 in ESPN 100)


prior to: 7

Despite losing four of its top six players, Michigan’s strongest defense in the Big Ten last season should not see much of a drop-off this season. With fact, in Coastal Carolina transfer DeVante’ Jones and five-star freshman Moussa Diabate, the Wolverines are bringing in at least two high-level individual defenders. Jones recorded almost three thefts per game last season, and because to his length and ability to jump passing lanes, he enhanced his defensive reputation at the G League Elite Camp in June. Diabate was one of the top rebounders in the 2021 class, and his height, length, and aggressiveness make him a strong rim protector. With the return of Eli Brooks (a strong perimeter defender), Hunter Dickinson (who can wall up with his 7-foot-1 height), and Brandon Johns Jr. (who was instrumental in the NCAA tournament run), Juwan Howard could have one of the best defenses in the nation once again. Caleb Houstan, a projected top-five selection, will make an impact with his excellent offensive game, but his 6-foot-8 height should also help.

Starting lineups are expected to be as follows:

Jones, DeVante’ (19.3 PPG at Coastal Carolina) Brooks, Eli (9.5 PPG) Caleb Houstan is a student at Caleb Houstan (No. 7 in ESPN 100) Brandon Johns Jr. is a football player from the United States (4.9 PPG) Dickinson, Hunter (14.1 PPG, 7.4 RPG)


preceding: 8

On paper, the five players I’ve named as Kentucky’s probable starting lineup make the most sense, with one caveat: shooting. Last season, Sahvir Wheeler led the SEC in assists and was one of the league’s greatest playmakers, but he only hit 22.8 percent of his 3-point attempts. TyTy Washington was a five-star recruit and stands 6-foot-4, but he shot 25.7 percent from three-point range in five games at the Geico Nationals and the NIBC Invitational last season. Keion Brooks Jr. offers flexibility and experience, but in 47 career games, he has only hit 11 3-pointers. Transfer of Davidson Kellan Grady is an excellent shooter, but I wouldn’t be surprised if John Calipari used Iowa transfer CJ Fredrick or senior Davion Mintz on the wings for extended periods. Over the last two seasons, Fredrick has been one of the greatest shooters in college basketball, hitting 47 percent of his 3-point attempts. Last season, Mintz hit the most three-pointers for the Wildcats, and he has a lifetime 3-point percentage of 36 percent. Although benching Wheeler or Washington may be tough, the offense may flow easier with two shooters.

Starting lineups are expected to be as follows:

Wheeler, Sahvir (14.0 PPG, 7.4 assists per game at Georgia) Washington, TyTy (No. 12 in ESPN 100) Grady, Kellan (17.1 PPG at Davidson) Brooks, Keion Jr. (10.3 PPG, 6.8 RPG) Oscar Tshiebwe is a member of the Oscar Tshiebwe Foundation (8.5 PPG, 7.8 RPG at West Virginia)


Earlier: 9

While the offensive teams of the previous two seasons have been outstanding, the greatest issue in terms of maintaining the momentum in Waco, Texas, is whether the new-look Bears will be just as strong on defense. On paper, Scott Drew has adequate replacements for Jared Butler, Davion Mitchell, MaCio Teague, and Mark Vital in Jared Butler, Davion Mitchell, MaCio Teague, and Mark Vital: Transfer to Arizona Kendall Brown is a five-star recruit, and James Akinjo was one of the finest point guards in the Pac-12 last season. Adam Flagler and Matthew Mayer played important bench roles last season.

Is this squad, though, capable of dominating on defense? Drew had two of the best individual defenders in the nation in Mitchell and Vital. Mitchell was the greatest on-ball defender we’ve seen in a few years, while Vital was a strong and talented midfielder. These two led a defense that finished fourth in adjusted defensive efficiency in 2020 and was in the top 25 the previous season. Even if Drew has more size to throw at times this season, it’ll be a tough act to follow.

Starting lineups are expected to be as follows:

Akinjo, James (15.6 PPG at Arizona) Flagler, Adam (9.0 PPG) Kendall Brown is a model who is known for her (No. 15 in ESPN 100) Mayer, Matthew (8.2 PPG) Tchamwa Tchatchoua Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua (6.3 PPG, 5.0 RPG)


Earlier: 10

Mark Williams was gaining some good preseason buzz before to last season, with whispers that he might be a surprise one-and-done candidate. While Williams finished the season well, he chose to return to Durham, North Carolina, for his second season, and he is now ranked No. 30 in ESPN’s early NBA draft rankings for 2022. Over the last six games of the season, Williams, a 7-foot center, averaged 16.7 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 1.7 blocks while shooting 74.6 percent from the field. Given that he averaged 3.8 points and 3.3 rebounds in his first 17 games while shooting 56.3 percent from the floor, it was an unexpected run. He’s a great offensive rebounder who can also defend the rim. He’s also a good shot-blocker. There will be few frontcourts with as much size and skill as the Blue Devils’ if Williams can continue his late-season momentum into the 2020-21 season. To give rival teams nightmares, Williams could join up with 6-foot-10 Paolo Banchero and versatile 6-foot-6 forward A.J. Griffin.

Starting lineups are expected to be as follows:

Roach, Jeremy (8.7 PPG) Wendell Moore Jr. is an American actor who is most known for his role in the (9.7 PPG) Griffin, A.J. (No. 26 in ESPN 100) Banchero, Paolo (No. 3 in ESPN 100) Williams, Mark (7.1 PPG, 4.5 RPG)


preceding: 11

If Oregon had acquired Emoni Bates, it would have clearly risen up the rankings, but the Ducks are still well-stocked on the perimeter and could potentially go with a smaller team up top with Eric Williams Jr. and Quincy Guerrier as the only players. Dana Altman, on the other hand, will likely hope that either top-10 freshman Nate Bittle or returnees N’Faly Dante or Franck Kepnang can establish themselves as a consistent force on the low block. Due to injuries and eligibility problems, Dante has only appeared in 18 games over the past two seasons, but the former five-star recruit has showed glimpses, including a 22-point outing against Florida A&M and a double-double against Washington last season. What is his primary concern? He’s still recuperating from a damaged ACL and isn’t fully practicing yet.

Kepnang had probably his finest game of the season in the NCAA tournament defeat to USC, scoring eight points in 11 minutes, but his largest impact came on defense, blocking 18 shots in only 136 minutes. Bittle is a highly regarded prospect who has to bulk up; his shooting skill will cause matchup problems for opponents.

Starting lineups are expected to be as follows:

Richardson, Will (11.3 PPG) De’Vion Harmon is a professional basketball player (12.9 PPG at Oklahoma) Young, Jacob (14.1 PPG at Rutgers) Eric Williams Jr. is a member of the Eric Williams family (10.0 PPG) Quincy Guerrier is a character in the film Quincy (13.7 PPG at Syracuse)


preceding: 12

While Brad Underwood will have the nation’s most dominating physical presence anchoring the squad down low, All-American Ayo Dosunmu was a big part of the Fighting Illini’s success, particularly late in games. Dosunmu, unlike Kofi Cockburn, chose to stay in the NBA draft, thus Underwood will need a new go-to man late in games to generate shots for himself and others. Andre Curbelo is the most probable candidate.

Despite not starting a single game and only playing 21.5 minutes per game, Curbelo was a magician with the ball in his hands, averaging more than four assists per game. Curbelo averaged 12.4 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 5.6 assists in the eight games in which he played at least 27 minutes — a reasonable approximation for a starter’s minutes. He has exceptional vision, is exceptional off the dribble, and regularly gets into the lane. One of Curbelo’s major flaws is his ability to shoot from the outside. Last season, he hit only five of his 31 3-point tries, with three of them coming in the opening seven games.

Starting lineups are expected to be as follows:

Curbelo, Andre (9.1 PPG) Trent Frazier is a professional basketball player (10.2 PPG) Williams, Da’Monte (5.5 PPG) Grandison, Jacob (4.6 PPG) Cockburn, Kofi (17.7 PPG)


preceding: 13

Chris Lykes, a Miami transfer, will be the key to the Razorbacks’ SEC title aspirations this season. Lykes, a 5-foot-7 point guard, played his first four seasons at Coral Gables, Florida, but only appeared in one NCAA tournament game, a first-round loss to Loyola Chicago his rookie year. Since his high school days, Lykes has been a brilliant facilitator off the dribble, and during his time at Miami, he gradually improved his 3-point shooting and reduced his turnovers, becoming a much more efficient offensive player. He seemed to be on track for his most productive season as a senior, with 31 points and 11 assists in two games and a 5-for-11 3-point shooting percentage. Lykes, however, suffered an ankle injury and was forced to sit out the remainder of the season. Lykes now has control of Eric Musselman’s offensive after regaining his health. Given Lykes’ proclivity for attacking with speed off the dribble, he’ll offer a totally different dimension than Jalen Tate did last season (apart from being nearly a foot shorter).

Starting lineups are expected to be as follows:

Lykes, Chris (15.5 PPG at Miami) Davis, Davonte (8.5 PPG) Toney, Au’diese (14.4 PPG at Pittsburgh) Stanley Umude is a character in the film Stanley Umude (21.6 PPG at South Dakota) Williams, Jaylin (3.7 PPG, 4.7 RPG)


preceding: 14

After Memphis’ acquisitions earlier this month, Houston’s quest to return to the top of the AAC rankings (after finishing second to Wichita State last season) became much more difficult, but the Cougars have enough talent of their own to stake their claim as league favorite. Since Penny Hardaway took over in 2018, Kelvin Sampson is 5-1 versus the Tigers, with four of those six games decided by three points or less. Houston’s Tramon Mark made a half-court buzzer-beater to win the first game, then Justin Gorham scored six points in the last 72 seconds to knock Memphis out of the AAC tournament by two points in the second encounter.

The two clubs’ styles will be quite different this season. Memphis’ size was noted previously, but Houston’s offensive output will be mainly provided by its perimeter players. Marcus Sasser and Mark are back, while Kyler Edwards is a familiar face from his days at Texas Tech. Transfer to Cal State Bakersfield Taze Moore, a first-team All-Big West player who combines size, flexibility, and excellent defensive abilities, may be flying under the radar.

Starting lineups are expected to be as follows:

Marcus Sasser is a writer (13.5 PPG) Mark Tramon (8.0 PPG) Kyler Edwards is a young man with a lot of potential (10.1 PPG at Texas Tech) Fabian White Jr. is a member of the Fabian White family (6.3 PPG) Reggie Chaney is a character in the film Reggie Chaney (4.6 PPG)


preceding: 15

The Crimson Tide’s lack of established front-court output isn’t a major worry, given their proclivity for playing quickly, shooting a lot of 3-pointers, and relying largely on their deep and loaded perimeter bunch. At the very least, it’s worth mentioning. Herb Jones and Jordan Bruner, the two players who started every game in the frontcourt last season, are no longer with the team. Alex Reese, the guy who stepped in for Bruner while he was sidelined, is no longer with the team. In June, James Rojas, who appeared in 30 games previous season, was injured due to a damaged ACL.

Juwan Gary, the lone frontcourt returnee with significant experience, saw his role expand significantly in the NCAA tournament, playing in all three games and averaging 6.7 points and 5.3 rebounds. Gary averaged 8.3 minutes, 3.7 points, and 2.7 rebounds in the first 26 games of the season. Nate Oats, on the other hand, is bringing in alternatives. Transfer to Furman Noah Gurley was an all-conference player in the Southern Conference, displaying an effective inside-outside offensive game, while Charles Bediako, a Canada native, was a top-40 prospect with a high potential.

Starting lineups are expected to be as follows:

Quinerly, Jahvon (12.9 PPG, 3.2 APG) Davison, J.D. (No. 13 in ESPN 100) Shackelford, Jaden (14.0 PPG) Gurley, Noah (15.4 PPG at Furman) Bediako, Charles (No. 33 in ESPN 100)


preceding: 16

While Hubert Davis’ acquisition of Marquette transfer Dawson Garcia in early July increased the chance that he would stick with his predecessor’s two-big lines, it should be a more flexible bunch than in the past. And, considering the Tar Heels’ schedule for the first month, that adaptability will come in handy.

North Carolina will play Purdue, Villanova or Tennessee, and Michigan in the first three weeks of the season. Purdue’s Trevion Williams and Zach Edey will put the Tar Heels to the test on the inside, while the Wildcats and Volunteers will likely play smaller. Michigan may go in a variety of directions. Garcia and Oklahoma transfer Brady Manek, on the other hand, should allow Davis to employ larger lineups while still matching up well. Garcia’s length and 6-foot-11 height allow him to create plays with the ball in his hands, hit jumpers from the outside, and defend. Meanwhile, Manek is 6-foot-9, but over his four seasons in Norman, he averaged about two 3-pointers per game and shot 38 percent from outside the arc.

Starting lineups are expected to be as follows:

Caleb Love is a young man who has a lot of (10.5 PPG, 3.6 APG) Kerwin Walton (8.4 PPG) R.J. Davis (8.2 PPG) Garcia, Dawson (13.0 PPG at Marquette) Bacot, Armando (12.3 PPG, 7.8 RPG)


preceding: 17

With the acquisition of New York point guard Zakai Zeigler last week, Tennessee made an under-the-radar roster addition. In July, Zeigler participated in the Nike EYBL circuit with the New Heights Lightning grassroots program, improving his value from an unheralded prospect to one with offers at all levels. Even though he is just 5-foot-10, he had a strong month in July, averaging 12.4 points and 4.8 assists while shooting 44.4 percent from 3-point range. Behind top-ranked freshman point guard Kennedy Chandler, who is anticipated to have the ball in his hands from the start, Zeigler should offer depth.

After turning the it over on at least 18 percent of possessions in each of the previous two seasons, the Volunteers should have plenty of ballhandling this season. With the ball in their hands, Chandler, Zeigler, returning starter Santiago Vescovi, Auburn transfer Justin Powell, and versatile forward Josiah-Jordan James can all make plays.

Starting lineups are expected to be as follows:

Chandler, Kennedy (No. 8 in ESPN 100) Powell, Justin (11.7 PPG at Auburn) Victor Bailey Jr. is a member of the Victor Bailey family (10.9 PPG) James Josiah-Jordan (8.0 PPG) Fulkerson, John (9.5 PPG)


preceding: 18

Last season, Ohio State’s offense was seldom a problem, with the Buckeyes finishing in the top five nationally in adjusted offensive efficiency and scoring less than one point per possession just six times. Chris Holtmann will need a few of players to step up and offer some consistent scoring next to E.J. Liddell sans top scorer Duane Washington Jr. and reasonably steady double-figure scorer CJ Walker.

After averaging roughly 14 points in two seasons at California and 10.7 last season for the Buckeyes, Justice Sueing could shoulder some of those responsibilities. Malaki Branham, a top-40 recruit, and Louisiana transfer Cedric Russell will most likely battle it out on the perimeter. Seth Towns was that kind of player at Harvard, but owing to injuries, he hasn’t fully regained his Ivy form. And, although Justin Ahrens can shoot, he doesn’t have much more to give on the offensive end; in three seasons, he’s tried 233 3-pointers and 24 2-pointers. Branham is tall and athletic, and he’s garnered some attention this summer, while Russell can make shots.

Starting lineups are expected to be as follows:

Wheeler, Jamari (6.8 PPG at Penn State) Justin Ahrens is an American singer-songwriter (5.7 PPG) Justice is pursuing legal action (10.7 PPG) Liddell, E.J. (16.2 PPG) Kyle Young is a young man who has a (8.6 PPG)


preceding: 19

The Terrapins had a scholarship available after losing Aaron Wiggins to the NBA draft around the July deadline, and they also needed experienced depth on the wings. Mark Turgeon’s late-summer acquisition was Old Dominion transfer Xavier Green, not a top-five prospect. Green redshirted his freshman year and then played four seasons for the Monarchs, so he has plenty of collegiate experience. Before seeing his scoring output drop last season, he hit 40.6 percent from three as a sophomore and averaged 12.8 points and 4.2 rebounds as a junior. In each of the previous three seasons, Green started every game and was at the top of Conference USA in minutes. I don’t anticipate him to play nearly as much in the Big Ten, but the Terps needed another perimeter player after losing Wiggins and Darryl Morsell. Green will likely face up against Hakim Hart on the wing.

Starting lineups are expected to be as follows:

Russell Fatts (14.7 PPG at Rhode Island) Ayala, Eric (15.1 PPG) Hart, Hakim (7.1 PPG) Scott, Donta (11.0 PPG) Wahab Qudus (12.7 PPG, 8.2 RPG at Georgetown)


preceding: 20

We’re accustomed to seeing Leonard Hamilton and Florida State use larger lineups and completely dominate opponents with their strength and length. In 11 of the last 13 seasons, the Seminoles have finished in the top 30 nationally in block %, and in nine of those seasons, they have been in the top 40 nationally in defensive 2-point percentage. They’ve been No. 1 in KenPom’s average height metric for the last two years and have only been outside the top seven in that statistic twice in the last 13 seasons (10th and 12th, respectively). All of this is to suggest that I believe the Seminoles will be more successful this season if they play a smaller lineup.

Transfer to Houston Caleb Mills has the potential to be the team’s leading scorer right away, while Jalen Warley and Matt Cleveland were both top 60 prospects in the 2021 class. Anthony Polite, on the other hand, is the team’s best shooter. All four players can play on the perimeter; would Hamilton use all four players on a regular basis? It would be a philosophical shift, but it’s something to keep an eye on.

Starting lineups are expected to be as follows:

Mills, Caleb (9.8 PPG at Houston) Jalen Warley is a professional basketball player (No. 59 in ESPN 100) Cleveland, Matt (No. 28 in ESPN 100) Polite, Anthony (10.1 PPG) Malik Osborne is a rapper from the United States (5.9 PPG, 4.5 RPG)


preceding: 21

The Tigers may take some time to gel, but Bruce Pearl has as much skill as anybody in the nation, particularly in the frontcourt. Last Monday, ESPN draft expert Jonathan Givony revealed his top 100 prospects for the 2022 draft, which included Allen Flanigan, Jabari Smith, and Walker Kessler. Flanigan was rated No. 19 among returning collegiate players, while Smith was ranked No. 7 overall. Kessler was ranked No. 43, having previously been a top-15 recruit. Only Gonzaga had a team with more players rated in the top 100.

There will be some uncertainty in the backcourt, especially at point guard, but Georgia transfer K.D. Johnson will offer plenty of perimeter scoring. Despite not starting a single game and playing just 22.6 minutes per game as a freshman, he averaged 13.5 points per game for the Bulldogs. Johnson scored at least 20 points four times as a bench player and was a top-five free throw shooter in the SEC.

Starting lineups are expected to be as follows:

Wendell Green Jr. is an American politician (15.8 PPG, 5.0 APG at Eastern Kentucky) Johnson, K.D. (13.5 PPG at Georgia) Allen Flanigan is an American actor who is most known for his role (14.3 PPG) Smith, Jabari (No. 5 in ESPN 100) Walker Kessler is a writer (4.4 PPG at North Carolina)


preceding: 22

I’ve received a few inquiries regarding my Cowboys predicted lineup, and I’m not committed to the lineup you see here. Playing Kalib Boone and Moussa Cisse together would provide dominating interior defense, but given where the game is going in 2021, it’ll be tough for the two to line up next to one other on a regular basis. If Mike Boynton wants to add some scoring punch, coach can bring in former five-star guard and McDonald’s All-American Bryce Thompson, who was one of the top scorers in the 2020 class before struggling as a freshman at Kansas. Bryce Williams, an underappreciated Cowboys player, is another possibility; he is seasoned and very physical, and he can contribute on both sides of the field. Last season, Williams started 19 games and was a crucial component in Oklahoma State’s 8-1 run late in the season, scoring in double digits four times in eight games and handing out at least three assists in five of them.

Starting lineups are expected to be as follows:

Likekele, Isaac (9.1 PPG) Anderson, Avery III (12.2 PPG) Moncrieffe, Matthew-Alexander (9.0 PPG) Boone, Kalib (9.4 PPG) Moussa Cisse (Moussa Cisse) (6.6 PPG at Memphis)


preceding: 23

When Emoni Bates committed to the Tigers, Virginia Tech’s Nov. 24 game with Memphis in Brooklyn on Thanksgiving night gained a little more traction. It’s now the most important matchup on the Hokies’ nonconference schedule, which includes at least four NCAA tournament opponents. In addition to Memphis in the NIT Season Tip-Off, the Hokies will play Xavier (who should make the NCAA Tournament this season) or Iowa State in New York. Following that, Virginia Tech will play Maryland in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge in College Park, while St. Bonaventure will compete in the Hall of Fame Shootout in Charlotte, North Carolina, in mid-December. The Hokies kicked out their season a year ago with a victory over Villanova on the first weekend of the season, and victories over the Wildcats and Virginia likely kept them in the field of 68 despite just playing three games between Feb. 6 and the NCAA tournament’s start. This season, they’ll have additional opportunities to improve their resumes.

Starting lineups are expected to be as follows:

Murphy’s Storm (17.8 PPG, 4.3 APG at Wofford) Hunter Cattoor is a character in the game Hunter Cattoor (8.5 PPG) Alleyne, Nahiem (11.1 PPG) Mutts, Justyn (9.5 PPG, 6.4 RPG) Aluma Keve (15.2 PPG, 7.9 RPG)


preceding: 25

I can’t bring myself to remove a Tony Bennett-led squad from the top 25. Since 2013-14, the Cavaliers have finished first, second, fifth, first, first, second (tied), first in the ACC. All of them were in the top 25. On paper, several of those clubs didn’t seem to be very talented. Granted, this is a whole new task for Bennett, but I won’t rule him out until one of his teams fails to meet or surpass expectations.

It won’t be long until we find out whether the Cavaliers have enough skill to be relevant on a national level. On Nov. 16, they go to Houston to play an experienced Cougars team with NCAA tournament aspirations for the second weekend, and then they compete in the Legends Classic in New Jersey against Providence, Georgia, and Northwestern. Virginia should be able to manage the situation. If the Cavaliers finish November with three or four defeats and seem totally adrift, it’s time to rethink things. Kihei Clark, Reece Beekman, Armaan Franklin, and Jayden Gardner are enough to persuade me for the time being.

Starting lineups are expected to be as follows:

Clark, Kihei (9.5 PPG, 4.5 APG) Beekman, Reece (4.7 PPG) Franklin, Armaan (11.4 PPG at Indiana) Gardner, Jayden (18.3 PPG at East Carolina) Caffaro, Francisco (1.2 PPG)

Following in line:

Red Raiders of Texas Tech (previous: No. 24) Bonnies of St. Bonaventure (previous: Next in line) Huskies of UConn (previous: Next in line) Spartans of Michigan State University (previous: Next in line) Rams of Colorado State (previous: Next in line)

Texas Tech (No. 24) and the Belmont Bruins both dropped out (Next in line)

The college basketball preseason rankings 2021-22 is the first ranking for college basketball teams. This list is released in September of each year, and it’s based on how high a team will climb in the next season.

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  • way-too-early top 25 basketball 2021
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