MEMPHIS, Tenn. — How does the saying go? The best laid plans made in 2020 often go awry. That rings ever truer for predictions.
We are less than three weeks away from the start of the 2020-21 college basketball season, and many teams only have partial schedules officially announced, if any at all.
Fewer games and inevitable interruptions are the reality of playing in a pandemic, as college football is experiencing now.
I am proud to announce that I will be one of 65 voters casting a ballot each week for Associated Press Top 25 men's college basketball rankings for this most unusual of seasons.
Here is my Preseason AP Top 25 ballot, followed by my All-America team selections. The full poll was released today.
CLAYTON'S PRESEASON AP TOP 25 BALLOT:
11. Michigan State
14. West Virginia
15. Texas Tech
16. Ohio State
19. North Carolina
25. Arizona State
JUST OUTSIDE: Florida State, Louisville, Florida, Indiana, Alabama
Though the exact order may vary, Baylor, Gonzaga and Villanova will make up the Top 3 for most voters. The Bears return arguably the best backcourt in college basketball, and that makes them my preseason No. 1. Jared Butler, Davion Mitchell and MaCio Teague are all back, and primed to make Baylor a national championship contender for the second-straight season. The loss of center Freddie Gillespie is significant, but Scott Drew has a slew of options to make up for his 9.1 rebounds and 2.2 blocks per game.
Memphis checks in at 22. Last season ended far below the sky-high expectations after the departure of James Wiseman and the season-ending injury to D.J. Jeffries. That coupled with the loss of Precious Achiuwa to the NBA Draft may turn off some voters. But the addition of Lausanne's five-star center Moussa Cisse and Virginia Tech transfer Landers Nolley II to go along with a healthy Jeffries and returners Lester Quinones, Boogie Ellis, Alex Lomax and company make the U of M a must-add and must-see.
PRESEASON ALL-AMERICA BALLOT: (Alphabetical order)
- Jared Butler - Baylor
- Jalen Crutcher - Dayton
- Ayo Dosunmu - Illinois
- Luka Garza - Iowa
- Marcus Zegarowski - Creighton