I’ll highlight just my personal three favorites, rather than a long list of talented squads. In my opinion, Gonzaga, Villanova, and Baylor, are the top 3 teams heading into next year. All 3 finished top ten in the AP Poll and will return most of their production.
The Zags’ are my personal choice for preseason number one, returning three double digit scorers in Petrusev, Kispert, and Ayayi. This isn’t even mentioning the Zags’ 11th ranked recruiting class highlighted by top ten prospect Jalen Suggs. Filip Petrusev dominated the WCC averaging 18-8-2 on 56% shooting. It appears that Petrusev has a real shot at NPOY next season.
The mix of experience and talent gives this Gonzaga team a great chance to be labeled the preseason favorite.
The Wildcats aren’t far behind Gonzaga, and will likely return 4 out of 5 every starters, with the only one departing Saddiq Bey. Collin Gillespie could be one of the top point guards in the nation, averaging 15-5-4 last season, and returning his dynamic big men duo of Jeremiah Robinson-Earl and Jermaine Samuels.
Villanova has experience, and is coached by the best coach in basketball right now, which is a recipe for success. The hole of Saddiq Bey (NBA Draft), puts ‘Nova just a tad behind the Zags as of right now.
The Bears spent a good chunk of the season last year at the #1 spot, and will likely return 4 of their 5 starters, losing only Freddie Gillespie. The backcourt trio of Jared Butler, MaCio Teague and Davion Mitchell should all be back next season, and will have Baylor battling Kansas atop the Big 12.
One of the best defenders in the country, Mark Vital, will give the Bears another piece of experience, and can hold this team together on the other side of the court.
All three of these squads make excellent cases for preseason #1, and I think Gonzaga’s mix of talent and experience gives them the slightest of edges over the other two.
Photo: USA Today