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Division I College Basketball Rankings: Gonzaga Leads Top 25
The 2020-21 college basketball season is only two weeks away, and the Associated Press has released its preseason Top 25 with Gonzaga on top. Despite losing West Coast Conference Player of the Year Filip Petrusev, the Bulldogs received 28 first-place votes and 1,541 points from a 64-member national media panel.
Division I College Basketball Rankings | 2020 Expert AnalysisThe 2020-21 college basketball season is only two weeks away, and the Associated Press has released its preseason Top 25 with Gonzaga on top. Despite losing West Coast Conference Player of the Year Filip Petrusev, the Bulldogs received 28 first-place votes and 1,541 points from a 64-member national media panel.
That was just enough to edge Baylor (24 first-place votes) by a single point for the top spot. It’s the first time Gonzaga has opened a season at No. 1. The Zags are +1000 on the Mybookie college basketball odds to win their first national title.
“It’s a great honor to be selected No. 1,” Coach Mark Few said. “We understand that it is more a reflection of what our program has accomplished over the years and hope to play up to that standard as we start our season.”
It’s the sixth time in program history that Gonzaga receives the No. 1 ranking in the AP poll. Last season, Gonzaga spent four consecutive weeks at No. 1 in the AP poll, before finishing No. 2 with one first-place vote. The Bulldogs opened the season at No. 8 in the preseason AP poll. 4 It’s the seventh time GU has been ranked in the Top-10 in the preseason AP ranking. The Zags earned their previous highest-ever preseason ranking in the 2018 AP Top 25 poll at No. 3 with one first-place vote, before ending the season at No. 4.
Gonzaga opens the season on Nov. 26 against No. 6 Kansas in the Rocket Mortgage Fort Myers (Fla.) Tip-Off. FOX TV will carry that at 1:30 p.m. ET. KU was last year’s No. 1 team in the final Associated Press poll. The Jayhawks won the only other previous meeting between the programs, an 80-66 win at home in Lawrence on Nov. 13, 1998.
In addition to preseason All-American Myles Garrett, Kansas returns juniors Ochai Agbaji and David McCormack, who started 31 and 18 games, respectively, for the Jayhawks last season. KU’s four newcomers include 2020 McDonald’s All-American guard Bryce Thompson along with junior college All-American transfer Tyon Grant-Foster. Kansas is +2000 to win the national title.
As for No. 2 Baylor, the Bears spent the majority of last season atop the AP rankings and return their top three scorers, led by All-America candidate Jared Butler. The preseason ranking is 10 spots higher than any of Baylor’s previous preseason rankings and marks the eighth in the last 11 years the Bears have been ranked in the preseason AP Top 25.
The Bears are projected atop the Big 12 preseason coaches’ poll for the first time in program history, garnering seven of nine potential first-place votes. BU’s Jared Butler was named preseason Big 12 Player of the Year, while Mark Vital and MaCio Teague were honorable mention Preseason All-Big 12. Baylor is +1200 to win its first national title. Baylor will face Gonzaga in the fifth game of the season on Dec. 5 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.
Iowa (+2200) was picked fifth behind national player of the year front-runner Luka Garza, its highest preseason ranking in school history. Garza thought about staying in the NBA draft but opted to return for his senior year. Last season, he finished with 740 points and 305 rebounds, making him one of only 3 players to ever top 700 points and 300 rebounds in the same season in Big Ten history and setting a new school record for points in a single season.
Garza finished the year with 12 games of 20 points, 10 rebounds (2nd nationally), 25 games with 20+ points (2nd) while averaging 23.9 ppg (5th) on five 30-point+ games (10th) and was 19th nationally in double-doubles (15), the third most in Iowa basketball history.
It’s a bit unusual to see Duke and Kentucky outside the preseason Top 5 but that’s the case. Duke comes in at No. 9, just ahead of its ACC/Big Ten Challenge opponent Illinois at No. 8. Kentucky is at No. 10.
For the first time in the near-decade of its existence, the Champions Classic will be held at two separate venues. No. 13 Michigan State will travel to play at Duke on Dec. 1, while Kentucky will face Kansas at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis on the same day.AP Top 25
- Michigan State
- Texas Tech
- West Virginia
- North Carolina
- Arizona State
- Florida State
- Ohio State
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