The top seed in each region was fairly easy for me to pick out, with Villanova and Baylor returning nearly their whole team, they should be the top 2 teams in the country quite easily.
Virginia and Kansas both return talent, including guys like Kihei Clark and Marcus Garrett. Also, Sam Hauser and Bryce Thompson will be the big additions each team needs to earn a 1 seed this season.
I’m keen on Luka Garza returning, and that would likely mean an all-time great season for the Hawkeyes. A 2 seed would be a great spot, along with conference contenders Michigan State and Wisconsin, and a well-coached Duke team to round out that level.
Tennessee and Kentucky will be battling out in the SEC, and until I see an Olivier Sarr waiver, I don’t think Kentucky deserves any better than a 3 seed. Gonzaga fits the three-line after the loss of Petrusev, and Marcus Zegarowski will have Creighton competing on a national level this year.
I’m also high on the Houston Cougars this year, and I think they’ll be able to snag a 4 seed come tournament time.
Richmond is another experienced team that I am confident in, and I think with the return of Francis, Gilyard, and Golden, this team could have a Dayton-type run this season. Texas Tech is another team I’d like to highlight, as I have them as a 7 seed.
I’m not buying the hype on this team, especially with going 18-13 last season and losing their two best players.
Compared to some, I’m also a bit “low” on Rutgers, having them as an 8 seed. They’ll be a solid team and spend some time in the top 25, but ultimately they don’t have the talent to compete at the top level of the Big Ten.
A couple of surprises in this region could be UConn, Georgia Tech, and Utah State. UConn’s move to the Big East comes at a great time, as guard James Bouknight will be at his best for his senior season. They’ll compete, but I’m not amazed as some people are with the Huskies.
Georgia Tech had a quietly good season last year, and return lots of key pieces. They’ll be a tournament squad come March. Utah State is my favorite to win the MWC, knocking off SDSU, Nevada, UNLV, and others for a third straight season.
With Flynn and Merrill gone, both squads lose their star, but USU’s consistency gives them the edge for me.
Western Kentucky and Loyola-Chicago will be the best of the worst and have perfect 5-12 upset capability. Delaware’s Nate Darling could be the best mid-major player next season and will have Delaware atop the Colonial.
Lipscomb big man Ahsan Asadullah exploded for 40 in last year’s A-Sun tournament and will be back for vengeance in 2020-21. Having a player of Nate or Ahsan’s quality with a quality supporting cast could lead to a big upset.
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