CBB REVIEW RANK 2020-21: TEAMS 35-31
We’re ringing in the college basketball season with a ranking of the top 100 teams heading into 2020! Follow CBB Review Rank all month long.
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*All recruiting and transfer ratings from 247sports.com. All player and team statistics from sportsreference.com*
2019/2020 Record: 19-12 (10-8 AAC)
Key Returns: James Bouknight (13.0 PPG, 4.1 RPG), Tyler Polley (9.5 PPG, 3.2 RPG), Josh Carlton (7.8 PPG, 6.1 RPG), Brendan Adams (7.4 PPG, 2.2 RPG), Isaiah Whaley (6.0 PPG, 5.0 PRG), Akok Akok (5.8 PPG, 5.5 RPG), Jalen Gaffney (3.9 PPG)
Key Losses: Christian Vital (graduated), Alterique Gilbert (transfer to Wichita State), Sidney Wilson (transfer to Southern Illinois)
Key Recruits/Transfers: Andre Jackson (4-star recruit), Adama Sanogo (4-star recruit), Javonte Brown-Ferguson (3-star recruit)
Losing Vital and Gilbert may sting a bit, but many people believe that Bouknight could be the next great guard out of UConn. He sure has a lot of help too, as Polley, Carlton, Akok, and more form a very solid bunch.
Jackson and Sanogo should see playing time as well, giving head coach Danny Hurley a lot of depth, which is a great problem to have.
The big question for the Huskies will be the transition from the American to the Big East. The AAC was a solid conference, but it is still a level up, especially when talking about the Villanova’s, Seton Hall’s, and Creighton’s of the college hoops landscape. If Bouknight can be the player we’re all expecting, UConn will have their name in March and could advance a round or two. But if the transition takes some time, they could be just one year away from truly being competitive with the big boys.
34. Seton Hall
2019/2020 Record: 21-9 (13-5 Big East)
Key Returns: Sandro Mamukelashvili (11.9 PPG, 6.0 RPG), Jared Rhoden (9.1 PPG, 6.4 RPG), Myles Cale (6.0 PPG, 3.7 RPG), Shavar Reynolds (4.2 PPG), Tyrese Samuel (3.2 PPG, 2.7 RPG), Ike Obiagu (2.4 PPG, 2.0 RPG)
Key Losses: Myles Powell (graduated/NBA Draft), Quincy McKnight (graduated), Romaro Gill (graduated), Anthony Nelson (transfer to Manhattan), Taurean Thompson (transfer to Detroit)
Key Recruits/Transfers: Takal Molson (transfer from Canisius), Bryce Aiken (transfer from Harvard), Dimingus Stevens (3-star recruit), Jahari Long (3-star recruit)
This ranking may seem high, as the Hall loses an All-American in Powell to go along with their starting point guard and starting center. Nelson and Thompson could have filled bench roles, but aren’t terrible losses.
What Seton Hall does have is the top stretch-four in the Big East, a slew of solid second options, and two fantastic transfers.
Mamukelashvili will have to take a big step forward. He battled injuries last season, but can certainly average 15 points and 8 rebounds as the main guy this season. Rhoden and Cale can play with more freedom – and will have to now that Powell and McKnight are gone. Reynolds provides a top-notch on-ball defender at the guard position, while Samuel and Obiagu give the Pirates a ton of size to go along with Mamu.
But the big deal about this Pirates team could be their offense at guard. Bryce Aiken averaged a very impressive 16.7 points at Harvard last season, amidst some nagging injuries. But it’s his junior season that Pirates’ fans have their eyes on when Aiken put up an outstanding 22.2 points with the Crimson. Along with Aiken is Takal Molson, who sat out last season with the Pirates program. Molson can also put the ball in the basket, which he did in big numbers at Canisius, with 16.9 points and 5.4 rebounds at the guard position.
With Powell gone, people may take the foot off the gas when playing Seton Hall, but they shouldn’t. Kevin Willard has an excellent group that can extend the streak of consecutive March Madness appearances to five years.
2019/2020 Record: 20-12 (7-11 SEC)
Key Returns: Desi Sills (10.6 PPG, 3.0 RPG)
Key Losses: Mason Jones (NBA Draft), Jimmy Whitt (graduated), Isaiah Joe (NBA Draft), Adrio Bailey (graduated), Jalen Harris (transfer to Georgetown), Reggie Chaney (transfer to Houston)
Key Recruits/Transfers: Jalen Tate (transfer from Northern Kentucky), Vance Jackson (transfer from New Mexico), Justin Smith (transfer from Indiana), JD Notae (transfer from Jacksonville), Connor Vanover (transfer from Cal), Moses Moody (4-star recruit), KK Robinson (4-star recruit), Davonte Davis (4-star recruit), Jaylin Williams (4-star recruit)
Where do you even start with Arkansas? I guess for the Debbie downers, they lost Jones, Whitt, Joe, and others, only leaving Desi Sills as the lone player who averaged at least four points last season. At 10.6 PPG and 3.0 RPG, Sills is worth a big mention and should be a top player in the SEC this season.
And then there’s a handful of players coming in. Four 4-star recruits have Eric Musselman’s class ranked eighth by 247, which will surely create a lot of hype around the Razorbacks. Jalen Tate brings experience from Northern Kentucky, where the guard averaged a solid 13.9 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 3.6 assists last season. His 1.9 steals per game helped him earn the honor of 2019-20 Horizon League DPOY, which has to have Arkansas fans smiling.
Vance Jackson has length and experience in big games. After one year at UConn, he sat one and played two at New Mexico where he was a double-digit point per game scorer both years. Now, he’ll play power-conference basketball with Arkansas. Justin Smith has power-conference experience, has the Indiana transfer averaged 10.4 points and 5.2 rebounds in the Big Ten last year. And then there’s JD Notae and Connor Vanover – two guys who spent a year with the program last year after having to sit out one each. Notae averaged 15.5 points and 5.5 rebounds in two years at Jacksonville, while the 7-foot-3-inch tall Vanover put up a steady 7.5 points, 3.0 rebounds, and 1.3 blocks at Cal.
That’s a lot to take in, but it also is a lot of really good players that Musselman will have to his advantage. Expect the Razorbacks to potentially have trouble at first, but the ability is there for Arkansas to win the SEC in 2020-21.
2019/2020 Record: 19-12 (11-7 SEC)
Key Returns: Keyontae Johnson (14.0 PPG, 7.1 RPG), Noah Locke (10.6 PPG), Scottie Lewis (8.5 PPG, 3.6 RPG), Tre Mann (5.3 PPG)
Key Losses: Kerry Blackshear Jr. (graduated), Andrew Nembhard (transferred to Gonzaga)
Key Recruits/Transfers: Tyree Appelby (transfer from Cleveland State), Anthony Duruji (transfer from Louisiana Tech), Colin Castleton (transfer from Michigan, awaiting waiver appeal), Samson Ruzhentsev (4-star recruit), Niels Lane (3-star recruit), Osayi Osifo (3-star recruit)
The Kerry Blackshear experiment didn’t work out as well as most thought, with the Gators only winning 19 games in 2019-20. However, Keyontae Johnson and Scottie Lewis return, along with two transfers and a top-40 recruiting class. Most of Florida’s success will rely on Johnson and Lewis. If they can combine for around 35 points per game, Florida will be a top team in the SEC. Don’t count out Appelby either, who averaged a touch under 18 points per game at Cleveland State. Mike White will have a lot of scorers this season, and if they can gel, Florida can surely crack the top-25.
2019/2020 Record: 20-12 (9-9 Pac-12)
Key Returns: Oscar Da Silva (15.7 PPG, 6.4 RPG), Spencer Jones (8.8 PPG, 3.2 RPG), Daejon Davis (8.8 PPG, 3.2 RPG), Bryce Willis (7.8 PPG, 4.0 RPG), Jaiden Delaire (6.1 PPG, 2.4 RPG)
Key Losses: Tyrell Terry (NBA Draft), Isaac White (transfer)
Key Recruits/Transfers: Ziaire Williams (5-star recruit, ranked 6th nationally), Michael O’Connell (4-star recruit), Max Murrell (3-star recruit), Noah Taitz (3-star recruit), Brandon Angel (3-star recruit)
Stanford returns practically their entire core from a year ago, with the exception of Terry. Isaac White will also be a loss off the bench, but the Cardinal has the 11th ranked recruiting class according to 247 sports, so replacing them shouldn’t be overly hard. Ziaire Williams is the big name incoming player, and should former a feared backcourt duo with Oscar Da Silva. Micahel O’Connell will also see big playing time, and the Stanford bench has loads of experience and talent. If Terry stayed, this team had Final Four potential, but still could make a deep run in March.
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