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: 26-4 (15-3 Big 12)
Key Returns: Jared Butler (16 PPG, 3.1 APG), McCio Teague (13.9 PPG 4.6 RPG), Davion Mitchell (9.9 PPG, 3.8 APG), Mark Vital (6.1 PPG, 6.2 RPG), Matthew Mayer (4.8 PPG, 1.9 RPG), Tristan Clark (4 PPG, 2.4 RPG)
Key Losses: Freddie Gillespie (Graduated), Devonte Bandoo (Graduated)
Key Recruits/Transfers: Adam Flagler (Transfer from Presbyterian), Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua (Transfer from UNLV), Dain Dainja (4-Star recruit), LJ Cryer (4-Star recruit), Zach Loveday (3-Star recruit)
Baylor returns it’s top three scorers from a team that was well positioned to be a number one seed in the 2020 NCAA tournament. The Bears spent the final 13 weeks of the season ranked in the top ten of the AP Poll. Baylor was the seventh-best defense in the NCAA in 2020-2021 allowing only 60.1 PPG much in large part to graduating senior Freddie Gillespie.
Without Gillespie, the Bears will again be solid on defense led by the raucous Mark Vital and his competitive nature mentality. Jared Butler, McCio Teague, and Davion Mitchell provide a solid core returning around the perimeter on both ends of the floor. Matthew Mayer provides much needed scoring from off the bench and will need to improve his defensive game to stay on the floor.
The Bears will add even more perimeter depth with 2019 Big South rookie of the year Adam Flagler. Flagler transferred after one year with Presbyterian averaging 15.9 PPG shooting 38.6% from 3-point range. Flagler spent a year in the Bear’s program with UNLV transfer Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua who both know the Program and have the experience needed to be impactful.
Baylor could become even better depending on which Tristan Clark shows up for the 2020-2021 season. Clark was averaging 14.6 PPG and 2.4 BPG in 2018-2019 before a season-ending injury sidelined him. Clark struggled to get back to that same form last season but wasn’t needed in the same capacity. In order for Baylor to remain a top contender for the NCAA Championship.
2019/2020 Record: 24-7 (13-5 Big East)
Key Returns: Collin Gillespie (15.1 PPg, 3.7 RPG, 4.5 APG), Justin Moore (11.3 PPG, 3.1 RPG), Jeremiah Robinson-Earl (10.5 PPG, 5.4 RPG), Jermaine Samuels (10.7 PPg, 5.5 RPG), Cole Swider (6.1 PPG, 2.9 RPG), Brandon Slater, Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree, Bryan Antoine
Key Losses: Saddiq Bey
Key Recruits/Transfers: Caleb Daniels (Transfer from Tulane)
Villanova sits atop of the CBB Review rankings and is in large part a favorite to win the National Championship because of what Villanova returns. Villanova lost its leading scorer from 2019-2020 in Saddiq Bey to the NBA draft. The rest of the entire roster was with Villanova last season including newcomer Caleb Daniels who practiced with the team last year after transferring from Tulane.
Villanova will be led by Collin Gillespie. Gillespie has steadily improved year after year in both production and leadership and his senior season should be no exception. Gillespie has learned under Jay Wright and learned from some great Villanova point guards who have led teams that resemble this 2020-2021 team to national greatness.
Gillespie will be aided by the return of Jeremiah Robinson-Earl who is poised to make a great leap from his freshman season. Robinson-Earl saw great success as a freshman and will look to continue that success into his sophomore season. With an outstanding season, Robinson-Earl is looking at being a potential lottery pick in the next NBA draft. Justin Moore also had a productive freshman season and should be ready to be in place by the end of the season to take the leadership role from Gillispie.
Villanova also returns Jermaine Samuels and Cole Swider who are productive forwards. If any member is struggling to find their rhythm in a game Villanova has no lack of potential teammates to step up and fill in. Brandon Slater and Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree have done it before and are ready to again. Bryan Antoine will be fully healthy for the entire season and Caleb Daniels will provide great minutes after he averaged 16.9 PPG in his last season at Tulane.
Villanova is loaded top to bottom with potential scoring threats who aren’t afraid to play tough defense. Villanova will share the ball as four of its returning players averaged at least two assists a game. Villanova will be a challenge to any opponent this season and are early favorites to win the NCAA Championship.
Feature Image Credit: Villanova Men’s Basketball (@NovaMBB)