In this article, we look at three of the top teams heading into the 2020-21 NCAA Basketball season and why they deserve to be considered candidates to advance to the Final Four.
Gonzaga was a top contender to win the 2020 NCAA Tournament and they’re ready to run it back. Head coach Mark Few did a great job with this group. He had them playing well on both ends of the court by sharing the ball and making an effort on defense.
KenPom’s rankings had Gonzaga as the best team in Adjusted offensive efficiency last season, averaging 121.3 points per 100 possessions. Senior forward Killian Tillie was healthy and he was the perfect complement to Filip Petrusev and Corey Kispert.
A 31-2 record heading into the NCAA Tournament had Gonzaga bound for another No. 1 seed. Most of the team’s core, except Tillie, will come back next season and what they did in 2019-20 will be learning experiences and building blocks to what can be a memorable run.
Their recruiting class was impressive and they also added five-star point guard Andrew Nembhard, who transferred from Florida. Nembhard averaged 11.2 points, 5.6 assists and 3.0 rebounds in 33.2 minutes over 31 games last season. He chose Gonzaga over Duke, Memphis and USC, among other teams. This move can have huge NCAA Tournament implications.
Aaron Cook also came over. The grad transfer from Southern Illinois averaged 15.0 points in 31.2 minutes over just six games. He took a medical redshirt last season after breaking a bone in his right hand earlier in the year.
Leading scorer Saddiq Bey will be part of the NBA Draft but Villanova returns 83.1 percent of their minutes from last year’s team, which went 24-7.
Collin Gillespie averaged 15.1 points and 4.5 assists last year and is expected to lead the way next season. Justin Moore is another player who will have a more prominent role on offense.
Former five-star wing Bryan Antoine rarely played last season while recovering from injuries. Antoine can also help fill Bey’s void. This is a team deep with wing talent. You can find Villanova at +900 to win the 2021 NCAA Tournament at BetOnline.
Tulane transfer Caleb Daniels was an elite scorer as a sophomore, averaging 16.9 points in 30 games before coming over to Villanova and sitting out last season. This team can make the Final Four if Daniels does a good job replacing Bey or provides instant offense off the bench.
North Carolina Tar Heels
North Carolina was undoubtedly the biggest disappointment last season. Cole Anthony played well when healthy and Armando Bacot had a solid freshman season but the supporting cast, except Garrison Brooks, who had a breakout year, struggled.
This team will have a much better roster, as they have the No. 2 overall recruiting class in the country ready to contribute. North Carolina has three five-star commits, including point guard Caleb Love and forwards Walker Kessler and Day’Ron Sharpe. Wings Puff Johnson and Kerwin Walton and top-50 guard R.J. Davis can also help this team right away.
The frontcourt will be scary with Bacot and Brooks coming back, along with the previously mentioned freshmen. The backcourt has question marks though. Caleb Love has to deliver. He will have a lot of pressure and they also need Leaky Black, Anthony Harris and Andrew Platek to help him carry the load while he develops.