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This past college basketball offseason may have been the most chaotic offseason ever. With all of the uncertainty regarding COVID-19 many people don’t know what to expect for this upcoming season. After missing out on the NCAA tournament last year, many teams are anxious to get back on the hardwood. With many players graduating, leaving early for the NBA draft or transferring schools, there will be many new faces this year. Here is everything you need to know for this season in each of the major conferences:
The ACC (Atlantic Coastal Conference) is always one of the top conferences in college basketball and they will be loaded at the top again this year. University of Virginia has a very experienced group this year, as they will be led by Marquette University transfer Sam Hauser who can score with ease. 5’9 Junior point guard Kihei Clark will be another very key contributor for Tony Bennet’s team. After losing some talent to the NBA, Duke University has brought in many promising freshmen, such as Jeremy Roach and Jalen Johnson who will be key contributors as freshmen. After having a very disappointing season last year, Roy Williams has put together a very good University of North Carolina squad which has a mix of youth and experience. Senior forward Garrison Brooks will be the leader of this team and he will be one of the better players in the country. Caleb Love is also an intriguing freshman to keep an eye on. To round out the top of the conference, University of Louisville should have another solid year under Chris Mack. Grad-transfer Carlik Jones from Radford is a prolific scorer and sophomore David Johnson looks to repeat after a strong freshman campaign. Other teams to keep an eye on in this conference are Florida State, University of Miami and Syracuse University.
The Big Ten is expected to have one of their better years. Many of the top teams in the conference have a lot of returning experience. Iowa will be at the top of the conference this year with star big man Luka Garza returning for his senior season. They will also get a huge lift from senior point guard Jordan Bohannon who is coming off an injury, and he can shoot it from anywhere on the court. University of Illinois is expected to have a great season due in large part to the return of junior guard Ayo Dosunmu and sophomore center Kofi Cockburn. University of Wisconsin returns a majority from their team last year including senior forward Micah Potter who really came on at the end of last season. They will be led on the defensive end by senior point guard Brad Davison who is known for taking charges. Of course, Michigan State can not be forgotten. They are tough every year under Tom Izzo. Aaron Henry will look to have a breakout season in his junior year. Other teams to keep an eye on are Indiana University, University of Michigan, Ohio State and Rutgers University.
The Major news in the Big East is the return of UConn to the conference. Villanova has been dominant in this conference over the last decade and this year we should expect the same. Senior point guard Collin Gillespie will lead Jay Wright’s squad and sophomore Jeremiah Robinson-Earl will be a force in the paint. Creighton will look to contend with Villanova in this conference after having a great season in 2019. Marcus Zegarowski is a national player of the year candidate and the Blue Jays will go as far as he takes them. Although Big East player of the year Myles Powell is gone, Seton Hall brought in a prolific scorer in Bryce Aiken and he will lead the Pirates. UConn and Providence will be other teams to keep and eye on this season.
Before last season,University of Kansas had completely dominated the Big 12 for many years. Last year, Baylor showed that they were a force to be reckoned with. Junior guard Jared Butler returns for Baylor in what they hope will be the best team they have had in program history. Kansas will of course be looking to stop Baylor. Kansas will have a more inexperienced team this year and although Marcus Garrett is known for his stellar defense, he will need to be great on both ends of the floor this season. After having a magical run to the National Championship game two seasons ago, Texas Tech has built another great team. They brought in Mac Mclung, a transfer from Georgetown, who will have an immediate offensive impact for this team. West Virginia and Texas will also have very strong teams this year. Also, look out for star freshman Cade Cunningham with Oklahoma State.
University of Kentucky will be the team to beat in the SEC. They have a great combination of talented freshman and experienced transfers. BJ Boston and Terrence Clarke will be relied on immediately as freshman, while transfers Olivier Sarr and Davion Mintz will provide leadership for this young core. University of Tennessee will have a bounce back season after a down year in 2019. They will be led by senior forwards John Fulkerson and Yves Pons, along with talented freshman guard Jaden Springer. LSU, University of Alabama, and University of Florida are other teams to keep an eye on in the SEC. Keyonte Johnon from Florida is the favorite to win conference player of the year.
Remy Martin returns for his senior season to help lead the Arizona State Sun Devils to their first ever PAC 12 championship title. UCLA will have a very good team in their second season under Mick Cronin. They will be led by Tyger Campbell and Chris Smith. USC’s Evan Mobley is one of the most talented Freshman in the country and he will likely be a one and done player. University of Oregon looks to have another strong campaign under head coach Dana Altman. They will be led by junior guard Will Richardson who is coming off a great sophomore season. Stanford and Washington are other teams to keep an eye on in the conference.