INDIANAPOLIS — The 2020-21 men's college basketball season is officially in the books following one of the sport's most challenging years due to COVID-19 postponements and restrictions.
But now that Baylor has cut down the nets and an epic 2021 NCAA Tournament is over, we can look at the season ahead.
Events of the offseason – players entering the NBA draft, transfers and late decisions among incoming freshmen – are sure to shake things up. But for now, here's a look at the teams best positioned to be among the nation's elite come November, when the 2021-22 season tips off:
1. UCLA (22-10). Coach Mick Cronin could lose some of his young roster to the NBA if one (namely Johnny Juzang) tries to capitalize on the epic Final Four showing vs. Gonzaga. But regardless, Cronin knows how to get a team to peak at the right time despite setbacks (losing second-leading scorer Chris Smith eight games in this past season). Tyger Campbell and Jaime Jáquez Jr. (if he stays) are both poised for even bigger seasons as rising juniors.
DOUBTERS LOOK FOOLISH: Baylor's Scott Drew is forever a national champion
STILL GREAT: Gonzaga's case for being one of the best non-champions in men's Division I history
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