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2021-22 College Sports Madness Top 144 Countdown

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  • 2021-22 College Sports Madness Top 144 Countdown

    MEN'S BASKETBALL TOP 144 PREVIEWS

    https://www.collegesportsmadness.com...p-144-previews

    Check in everyday to see where your team ranks in The College Sports Madness Top 144 team previews. We will unveil a new team each day with an in-depth preview until the announcement of #1 on the opening day of the season.

    Don't just see where your team is ranked, see who they will match up against in the NCAA Tournament. The Madness also projects where teams will appear in the field of 68. When teams are unveiled they will be added to The Madness Bracketology Page.

    #93 Cincinnati Men's Basketball 2021-2022 Preview
    #97 UCF Men's Basketball 2021-2022 Preview
    #131 Tulsa Men's Basketball 2021-2022 Preview
    #135 Prairie View A&M Men's Basketball 2021-2022 Preview
    #136 Kansas State Men's Basketball 2021-2022 Preview
    #139 South Alabama Men's Basketball 2021-2022 Preview
    #140 Norfolk State Men's Basketball 2021-2022 Preview
    Last edited by WuShock Reaper; August 16, 2021, 10:35 PM.

  • #2
    Norfolk State Spartans
    #140 Norfolk State Men's Basketball 2021-2022 Preview
    2021-2022 Overall Rank: #140
    Conference Rank: #1 MEAC


    Norfolk State has a few holes to fill from a team that finished 17-8 overall and 8-4 in MEAC play last season. That group reached the NCAA Tournament and defeated Appalachian State in the First Four before running into a Gonzaga team that crushed the Spartans 98-55. Coach Robert Jones will want to ride that momentum into 2021-2022 and it appears that he has been able to add the pieces he needs to compete for a conference title.

    Projection:
    Ten players averaged at least a dozen minutes per game last season and five of them are back. The senior duo of Joe Bryant Jr. and Jalen Hawkins should lead the way. Bryant ranked second on the team with 11.1 points per game and added 4.2 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.3 steals. Hawkins spent all of last season coming in off the bench and only averaged 17.6 minutes per game, but he proved to be a very prolific scorer during those minutes, averaging 10.1 points per game. Tyrese Jenkins, Daryl Anderson and Chris Ford should again play a role in the rotation. But in order to return to the NCAA Tournament, Norfolk State will need to get production from their five transfers. Kris Bankston comes from Little Rock where the 6-8 senior saw his playing time diminish recently, but back in 2018-2019 he averaged 8.2 points and 4.5 rebounds. The frontcourt also adds Dana Tate. Tate started his collegiate career at Rhode Island where he averaged 4.0 points and 2.9 rebounds as a freshman. Tate only played in a handful of games as a sophomore before heading to Siena, where he did not suit up for the Saints. Tate was a pretty big recruit though and he has the physical tools to make a big impact. The last of the Division I transfers is Christian Ings, a 6-2 guard, who averaged 7.7 points and 2.4 assists at Rider last season.

    Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA

    Comment


    • #3
      Kansas State Wildcats
      #136 Kansas State Men's Basketball 2021-2022 Preview
      2021-2022 Overall Rank: #136
      Conference Rank: #8 Big 12

      Kansas State is coming off their worst season under Bruce Weber after finishing 9-20 last year. The nine wins are their lowest as a program since the 1999-00 season. The Wildcats were likely not quite as bad as their record suggests, but a down year in the always strong Big 12 can lead to a lot of losses. Kansas State did win four of their last six games, including a win over Oklahoma and a competitive six-point loss to eventual national champion Baylor in the Big 12 Tournament. This year, the Wildcats return four starters while also adding three transfers that should help strengthen the roster and lead to a better season.

      Projection:
      Kansas State returns four starters, including both double-digit scorers from last season. Nijel Pack had a strong freshman campaign averaging 12.7 points, 3.8 assists, 3.7 rebounds and 1.2 steals. Meanwhile, Mike McGuirl elected to use his extra year of eligibility to return as a fifth-year senior. McGuirl had his best season last year averaging 11.8 points, 3.8 rebounds and 3.6 assists. Davion Bradford and Selton Miguel both started upward of 20 games as freshmen and will be back as sophomores this season. Kansas State also returns a lot of their depth with five bench players coming back for 2021-22. Additions from the transfer market is where the Wildcats may be most likely to make improvements this season though. Mark Smith is a 6-5 guard from Missouri who also elected to return to college for a fifth season. Smith spent the last three seasons at Missouri where he started 60 games, averaged 10.3 points and shot 37.5% from three. Kansas State was one of the worst shooting teams in the nation last year, so Smith’s shooting is a very welcome addition. Markquis Nowell should also help in the scoring department as a transfer from Little Rock. Nowell played in only 15 games last season, but in 2019-20 he earned All-Sun Belt honors behind 17.2 points, 4.9 assists and 2.2 steals per game. The third transfer is Ismael Massoud who spent the last two seasons at Wake Forest. Massoud started only eight games in his Wake Forest career, but averaged north of 15 points and six rebounds each season. All three transfers mixed with four returning starters puts Kansas State in a position to be much more competitive in the Big 12 this season.

      Projected Postseason Tournament: CBI/CIT

      Comment


      • #4
        Prairie View A&M Panthers
        #135 Prairie View A&M Men's Basketball 2021-2022 Preview
        2021-2022 Overall Rank: #135
        Conference Rank: #1 SWAC

        Prairie View A&M has now won the SWAC regular season title three years in a row. Last season they finished a perfect 13-0, but lost to Texas Southern in the conference tournament final. Missing out on the NCAA Tournament may not last long though. The Panthers return six players from their eight-player regular rotation and Coach Byron Smith picked up a handful of Division I transfers who will help keep Prairie View A&M towards the top of the SWAC standings.

        Projection:
        Losing Cam Mack is a big blow for the Panthers. The point guard averaged 11.2 points, 7.7 assists and 2.7 steals. He made things happen on both ends of the floor. However, five very experienced guards are back to help shoulder the burden. Jawaun Daniels is a big 6-7 wing who led the team with 15.2 points per game and added 6.1 rebounds. Daniels does not take a huge amount of three-pointers since he can do plenty of damage using his size to attack the basket, but he is a very consistent outside shooter and connected on an impressive 42.9 percent of his three-point attempts. Jeremiah Gambrell and D’Rell Roberts are the other shooters on the team, although they do lack consistency in that regard. Faite Williams will be the more direct replacement for Mack. Williams averaged 8.8 points and 3.2 assists in a dozen appearances last season. William Douglas and Christian Guess will add even more options on the perimeter. Guess played just ten games for Samford last season, but averaged 15.1 points, 9.0 rebounds and 2.3 assists in those games. The frontcourt will have to rely on senior Jerroda Briscoe who averaged just 15.3 minutes per game in 2020-2021. The addition of Markedric Bell will provide Coach Smith with a proven SWAC frontcourt player. Bell averaged 7.9 points and 5.2 rebounds with the Golden Lions last season and should be ready to step right into the starting five.

        Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA

        Comment


        • #5
          Tulsa Golden Hurricane
          #131 Tulsa Men's Basketball 2021-2022 Preview
          2021-2022 Overall Rank: #131
          Conference Rank: #7 American

          Tulsa was beginning to look like a potential NCAA Tournament team in 2020 before the season was brought to a halt. However, the Golden Hurricane failed to ever reach that level of play in 2020-21. They were limited to just 23 games due to cancellations which led to the school’s lowest win total since the 2005-06 season. This year, Tulsa loses their top two scorers from last season, but the Golden Hurricane should still be able to compete in the AAC with their returning depth and incoming transfers. Jeriah Horne is back for his second stint after being a key piece for a good Colorado team last season while Sam Griffin joins coming off a double-digit scoring season at UT-Arlington. Frank Haith’s squad should find a way to get back to being competitive this season.

          Projection:
          Losing top scorers Brandon Rachal and Elijah Joiner won’t be easy, but Tulsa will still return four players who averaged more than five points per game last season. Frank Haith’s teams have typically been defensive minded anyways, so heavy scorers leaving shouldn’t affect them to the extent it would for higher scoring teams. Rey Idowu, Darien Jackson, Keyshawn Embery-Simpson and Curtis Haywood are all upperclassmen who averaged more than 20 minutes per game last season. Their returning experience in Haith’s system will help mask the loss of the top scorers. Also helping in that department will be the addition of a couple transfers. Jeriah Horne is back at Tulsa after spending a season at Colorado. Horne was at Tulsa in 2018-19 and 2019-20 where he played 63 games and averaged 10.6 points and 5.0 rebounds. Sam Griffin is a scoring guard from Texas-Arlington who averaged 13.3 points and 2.2 assists last season. Tim Dalger and Nikita Konstantynovskyi are both junior college transfers who averaged double-digit points at that level last season. The Golden Hurricane also add four freshmen, led by top-200 prospect Teafale Lenard. Again, Tulsa’s lack of returning scoring should not lead to the assumption that they’ll be a worse team this season. The Golden Hurricane will continue playing strong defense and have a strong core of experienced players to help them compete in the American Athletic Conference in 2021-22.

          Projected Postseason Tournament: CBI/CIT

          Comment


          • #6
            UCF Knights
            #97 UCF Men's Basketball 2021-2022 Preview
            2021-2022 Overall Rank: #97
            Conference Rank: #6 American


            CF got a lot of national attention during the 2019 NCAA Tournament when they lost to #1 seed Duke in the second round. In the two seasons that followed, the Knights have had mixed results, finishing 16-14 in 2019-2020 and 11-12 in 2020-2021. With everybody back who averaged over double digits in minutes, Coach Johnny Dawkins’ team should be more consistent.

            Projection:
            The backcourt trio of Darius Perry, Brandon Mahan and Darin Green Jr. will do most of the scoring for the Knights. Perry led the team with 14.7 points, 3.4 assists and 1.3 steals. Mahan was very efficient, making 43.8 percent of his three-point attempts and averaging 12.3 points and 5.0 rebounds on the year. Green was the most prolific three-point shooter in 2020-2021, hitting 53 in 23 contests. Tony Johnson will return after missing nearly all of last season with a knee injury. As a freshman two years ago, he earned a couple starts and tallied 3.8 points and 1.5 assists. Dre Fuller is not a shooter, but he is a great glue guys who can do everything. The frontcourt will again be led by Isaiah Adams and C.J. Walker. Adams earned AAC All-Freshman accolades after averaging 9.9 points, 3.9 rebounds and 1.3 steals. Walker is the more traditional big man and led the team in rebounds and blocks. The frontcourt has a little more depth thanks to the addition of Cheikh Mbacke Diong from UNLV. He was a three-year starter with the Rebels and will immediately bring a bigger rebounding and shot blocking presence to UCF.

            Projected Postseason Tournament: CBI/CIT

            Comment


            • #7
              Cincinnati Bearcats
              #93 Cincinnati Men's Basketball 2021-2022 Preview
              2021-2022 Overall Rank: #93
              Conference Rank: #5 American

              Cincinnati has gone downhill since Mick Cronin’s departure after the 2018-19 season. The Bearcats have missed the NCAA Tournament in consecutive seasons after Cronin took them dancing the previous nine years. Now, John Brannen is out and Wes Miller is in as head coach. Miller spent the last ten seasons at UNC Greensboro and went to the NCAA Tournament twice, including last season. Cincinnati returns three of their top four scorers while adding six transfers, three of which followed Miller from UNC Greensboro. Expectations aren’t sky high, but the Bearcats hope to begin improvement in Miller’s first year.

              Projection:
              Top scorer Keith Williams is gone, but Cincinnati returns the next three highest scorers from last season. Jeremiah Davenport is the only double-digit scorer returning after he averaged 11.7 points and 5.0 rebounds last season. David Dejulius and Mika Adams-Woods also return as upperclassmen to give Cincinnati good experience in the backcourt. Mason Madsen and Mike Saunders are the only bench players from last season to return. Both saw extended action as freshmen and should see improvement this season. Viktor Lakhin didn’t see any action last season, but the Russian 6-11 forward averaged 9.8 points and 7.0 rebounds in the 2019 FIBA U18 Championship. Cincinnati’s success this season could ultimately hinge on the play of their six incoming transfers. Three of them played for Wes Miller last year at UNC Greensboro. Hayden Koval, A.J. McGinnis and Jarrett Hensley all have experience with Miller, though none of them played more than 20 minutes per game last season. Abdul Ado spent the last four seasons at Mississippi State and started 130 games there. Last year, Ado earned SEC All-Defense honors, and he’s averaged 1.9 blocks per game in his career. John Newman spent the last three seasons at Clemson and started 40 games in his career there. Newman started all 31 games as a sophomore and averaged 9.5 points, but he struggled as a junior scoring just 3.7 points per game. Lastly, Ody Oguama comes from Wake Forest where he spent two seasons and started 42 games. Oguama averaged 7.6 points and 5.4 rebounds as a sophomore. Cincinnati may not quite be ready to get back to the NCAA Tournament, but Wes Miller should have a roster capable of being competitive in the AAC.

              Projected Postseason Tournament: CBI/CIT

              Comment


              • #8
                In my opinion Cincinnati is not better than UCF. I think UCF is underrated.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by TheShocktocles View Post
                  In my opinion Cincinnati is not better than UCF. I think UCF is underrated.
                  Agreed. I think UCF should be in the mix for the NCAAT this year.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Thanks for these posts WuShock Reaper? Much appreciated.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Both Cinci and UCF have questions and they're relatively close together on this list. Their finish could go either way.

                      I assume we'll see SMU in the 50-60 range, Wichita in the 40-50 range, Memphis in the 20-30 range and Houston in the 10-20 range.

                      Not that I believe the distance between us all is that great.
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                      • #12
                        I think the impact of Wes Miller is under-appreciated.

                        I’ll take Cincy finishing ahead of UCF.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          South Alabama Jaguars
                          #139 South Alabama Men's Basketball 2021-2022 Preview
                          2021-2022 Overall Rank: #139
                          Conference Rank: #2 Sun Belt

                          Coach Richie Riley has done pretty well at South Alabama over the last two seasons. This season could be even better, but it may take some time to get all of the new players on the same page. The Jaguars lost quite a few players to the transfer portal, including star Michael Flowers, but Coach Riley has managed to bring in some big names of his own to rebuild around returning starters Kayo Goncalves and Jamal West.

                          Projection:
                          SEC fans will know quite a few of the new players suiting up for the Jaguars. Charles Manning spent the last two seasons at LSU where foot injuries slowed him. But when healthy, he was a major scoring threat. Jay Jay Chandler comes from Texas A&M where he proved to be an efficient offensive threat. Speedy point guard Tyrell Jones and forward Javon Franklin come from Auburn where they both saw very limited playing time. It does not end with the SEC though. Diante Smith was a key reserve forward for TCU last year and Lance Thomas is finally hoping to show what he can really do after spending time at Louisville and Memphis. Emanuel Littles spent three seasons on the other side of the state, averaging 9.4 points and 9.9 rebounds with North Alabama last season. But the most productive transfer is Greg Parham. As a guard at VMI last year, he averaged 18.4 points and 4.0 assists. Coach Riley has put together a talented roster. Some of that talent is not proven, but if he can get the best out of those players, this will be a South Alabama team that can seriously push for a Sun Belt title.

                          Projected Postseason Tournament: CBI/CIT

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Missouri Tigers
                            #81 Missouri Men's Basketball 2021-2022 Preview
                            2021-2022 Overall Rank: #81
                            Conference Rank: #10 SEC

                            "Missouri had a successful 2020-2021 season, reaching the NCAA Tournament for the second time under Coach Cuonzo Martin. However, the Tigers lose four starters and a big part of their bench and that leaves a lot of questions heading into the 2021-2022 campaign. Coach Martin is bringing in plenty of experienced transfers to help fill the holes, but this is not an experienced group, especially at this level, and it could take some time for the Tigers to reach their full potential.

                            Projection:
                            Kobe Brown is the only returning starter. The 6-7 junior forward averaged 8.0 points and 6.2 rebounds. Brown is very effective attacking the basket and he could turn into a big-time scorer with more consistency with his shooting. Javon Pickett was Mizzou’s sixth man in 2020-2021, averaging 6.2 points per game. Brown and Pickett are quality pieces to build around, but the incoming transfers are going to have to be ready for the grind of the SEC. Ronnie DeGray III will help bolster the frontcourt after a good freshman campaign at Umass. Jarron Coleman spent two seasons as a regular starter at Ball State. In 13 appearances last season, he averaged 13.8 points, 5.2 rebounds and 3.2 assists. Amari Davis is a proven scorer. He averaged 15.9 points two years ago and 17.2 points per game last season at Green Bay. DaJuan Gordon started 22 games for Kansas State last season and averaged 9.1 points and 5.5 rebounds. Coach Martin has brought in some talent, but it remains to be seen how all of the pieces fit together and if there is enough talent to be competitive in the SEC.

                            Projected Postseason Tournament: NIT

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              SMU Mustangs
                              https://www.collegesportsmadness.com/article/19783
                              2021-2022 Overall Rank: #61
                              Conference Rank: #4 American

                              The 11-6 record does not look like much, but SMU had a very good season. Their only losses before the NIT came against Houston, Cincinnati and Memphis. On February 8th the Mustangs were sitting at 11-4. They did not play again for over a month, but nearly knocked off Cincinnati in their AAC Tournament opener. They went on the road in the NIT and nearly upset Boise State. Those were a couple tough losses to end the year, but after a month off nearly beating Cincinnati and Boise State is not a terrible way to head into the 2021-2022 campaign.

                              Projection:
                              Three starters are back and they will form the heart of this team. Kendric Davis was the team’s top scorer last year, averaging 19.0 points, 7.6 assists, 4.2 rebounds and 1.6 steals. The point guard is a consistent outside shooter and can obviously attack the basket and finish or find one of his teammates. Emmanuel Bandoumel led the team with 28 made three-pointers and tallied 10-.2 points per game. Isiah Jasey started 15 games in 2020-2021. The 6-10 forward is not a major scoring threat in the paint, but he is a tough rebounder and a solid shot blocker. Three of the five Division I transfers will join Jasey in the frontcourt. Tristian Clark was a major force at Baylor until a knee injury ended his 2018-2019 season after just 14 games. He has never really gained his pre-injury form, but will get one more chance at SMU. Marcus Weathers spent the last three seasons starting at Duquesne. Last season he averaged 15.3 points and 7.5 rebounds. Franklin Agunanne will add more depth after seeing limited playing with Loyola Chicago. The newcomers in the backcourt have less minutes to go around, but both Zach Nutall and Michael Weathers will still make a big impact. Nutall is a prolific scorer and averaged 19.3 points per game with Sam Houston last season. Michael Weathers will again rejoin his brother Marcus. They began their collegiate careers together at Miami (OH). Michael has since gone to Oklahoma State and Texas Southern before landing at SMU. At Texas Southern last season he averaged 16.5 points, 5.2 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 2.1 steals and 1.0 blocks. Coach Jankovich has done a good job of filling the holes on his team and this group should have plenty of depth. But with so many new pieces, another trip to the NIT would be a good season for SMU.

                              Projected Postseason Tournament: NIT

                              Comment

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