With the 2021-2022 college basketball season right around the corner, we’re taking this time to rank the top 100 teams in the country, including a brief preview and projected conference finishes for each team.
This should be used as a foundation for your CBB betting and DFS preparation and can also be used as a starting point for creating your own power rankings.
Let’s take a look.
College Basketball Power Rankings | 1-50
A look at the top 50 teams in the nation, in terms of power rankings from FTN CBB analyst Mike Cutri.
(Projected Big 12 finish: 1)
The Longhorns certainly won the offseason by assembling a college basketball All-Star team, including the poaching of a new coach that I consider top three in the country in hiring Chris Beard from conference rival Texas Tech. Elite backcourt, check. Elite coach, check. Potential for an elite defense, check. Texas checks all the boxes for the criteria I consider when narrowing down teams that can win it all. Starting with the backcourt, the Longhorns are headlined by their prized transfer Marcus Carr, who is arguably the best returning point guard in the country. He will play alongside two crafty veterans in Courtney Ramey and Andrew Jones, who return to Texas after leading them to a No. 3 seed in last year’s NCAA tournament. In the frontcourt, Beard hit the transfer market hard, bringing in four (yes four) top-150 players that all come in averaging close to a double-double with unique skillsets. The talent and depth Texas has this year is endless. Questions regarding lack of continuity and having too many mouths to feed are legitimate, but with the number of veteran leaders and the defensive minded coach that preaches selflessness at the helm, I am a firm believer in backing the Horns this season.
(Projected Big 12 finish: 2)
Kansas brings back four starters from a No. 3-seeded team, while adding one of the best point guards in the country (Remy Martin) and dynamic playmaking and shooting off the bench (Joseph Yesufu and Jalen Coleman-Lands) via the transfer portal. Jayhawk nation should be excited over big man David McCormack's development into Udoka Azubuike-lite, and he should be one of the more efficient players in the country this year. Defense will be the key to their championship hopes, as losing All-World defender Marcus Garrett is a huge blow. But, if Bill Self gets this team to defend at a high level, they should have no problem reaching the Final Four.
(Projected WCC finish: 1)
With everyone and their mother picking Gonzaga as the No. 1 team in the country, I guess I am a bit lower than the market on the Zags. That said, Mark Few's bunch should again be one of the most dynamic continuity offenses in the country behind stud center Drew Timme and the top-rated freshman in the country, unicorn Chet Holmgren. Although they do lose a ton of production, the backcourt is still loaded with talent behind floor general Andrew Nembhard and underrated transfer Rasir Bolton. As always, defense could be the kryptonite for the Zags, but if they can find a way to tighten up the screws with this young core on that end of the floor, it will be the difference between another late exit from the tourney and them finally cutting down the nets.
(Projected Big East finish: 1)
The announcement of leaders Collin Gillespie and Jermaine Samuels returning for another season automatically locked Villanova in as one of the best teams in the country. Replacing a talent like Jeremiah Robinson-Earl will not be easy, but Nova brings back everyone else, and Jay Wright's offense should again be one of the best in country. Interior defense will be a concern for this squad as they uncharacteristically finished 66th in defensive efficiency a year ago. Nova has the experience and backcourt leadership for a deep run in March but will need some new faces to step up and improve on defending the paint.
(Projected SEC finish: 1)
Big Blue Nation wants to forget last year's disaster of a year — John Calipari's first finish outside of the KenPom top 30 since 2013. This year should be a different story, as Calipari hit the transfer portal hard, grabbing Sahvir Wheeler, Oscar Tshiebwe, CJ Frederick and Kellen Grady, giving him his most experienced team in a long time. Add in a few five-star recruits and some key pieces like Keion Brooks and Davion Mintz returning, the Wildcats are loaded with talent. Calipari is no stranger at fitting a lot of new pieces together, and this could be his best shooting team ever. If the defense gels, Kentucky will be sitting atop of the SEC again.
(Projected PAC 12 finish: 1)
UCLA brings back its entire team from a Final Four run while also adding some additional pieces in big man Myles Johnson and five-star freshman Payton Watson. The UCLA preseason hype is certainly warranted, but let’s not forget this was a bubble team a year ago, losing its final four games of the regular season. The Bruins are led by poised floor general Tyger Campbell, who looks to set up some very streaky wing scorers in Johnny Juzang, Jules Bernard and Jaime Jaquez. Big men Cody Riley and Myles Johnson should complement each other very well, with both prone to foul trouble. I love what Mick Cronin has done turning UCLA around and instilling a newfound toughness into the program. That said, last year's tourney run revolved around blazing-hot shooting, and it's hard for me to put them in the same tier as the other best teams in the country. UCLA is an early-season fade for me.
(Projected Big Ten finish: 1)
Losing star guard Ayo Dosunmu is tough to overcome, but let’s not forget the Illini went 3-0 last year with Dosunmu out of the lineup including road wins against Michigan and Wisconsin. Dosunmu's departure opens the door for sophomore maestro Andrew Curbelo to shine, who has the potential to be one of the best point guards in the country. Teaming up with Curbelo is dominant big man Kofi Cockburn along with a slew of veteran sharpshooters including Trent Frazier and transfer Alfonso Plummer. Brad Underwood has shown flashes of coaching brilliance throughout his career, but last year was the first time he was able to put it all together with a cohesive roster on both ends of the floor. Underwood should have the Illini atop the Big Ten again, even after losing Dosunmu.
(Projected Big Ten finish: 2)
Juwan Howard impressively led Michigan to a No. 1 seed in just his second season at the helm in Ann Arbor. Bad news for the Wolverines is they lose three core pieces from last year's team that dominated the Big Ten. The good news for Michigan is that they replaced those losses with the No. 2 recruiting class in the country and heralded transfer DeVante Jones. With veterans Hunter Dickinson and Eli Brooks returning as well, the Wolverines have one of the most talented rosters in the country. Yet it still is a tall task for Howard to put the pieces together with a lot of reliance on freshman Caleb Houston and mid-major transfer Jones.
Purdue continues to be a staple atop the Big Ten standings under Matt Painter. This year should be no different behind the scariest frontcourt in the country consisting of Trevion Williams and Zach Edey. What raises the Boilermakers ceiling this year is the emergence of sophomore guard Jaden Ivey, who really shined over the summer playing for the USA U19 squad. Yet, with Painter's inability to play Edey and Williams on the floor at the same time and still lacking a true point guard in the back court, I am a little lower on Purdue than most.
(Projected SEC finish: 2)
Nate Oats' quest to turn Alabama into a basketball school took a leap forward last year, as he led them to a No. 2 seed in the tournament. The Crimson Tide should again have one of the most exciting backcourts behind Jahvon Quinerly and Jaden Shackelford, while also adding freshman firecracker JD Davison. Even after losing some veteran leadership and a few unfortunate injuries, Oats still has Alabama loaded with talent through the transfer portal and some stud freshmen. Oats has always been known for his run and gun offensive system, but it was Alabama's buy in on the defensive end last year during SEC play that took them to a new level. If he can get this new cast to defend at the same clip as a season ago, the Tide will have no problem reaching the Sweet 16 again.
11. Ohio State
(Projected Big Ten finish: 4)
Even with the losses of Duane Washington and CJ Walker, this Buckeyes team is super deep. Chris Holtmann brought in replacements via the transfer portal to help soften the losses (Jamari Wheeler and Cedric Russell) while also adding an underrated freshman guard Malaki Branham. The offense will run again through the versatile all-league forward EJ Liddell, but it is the bench depth and the intangibles Ohio State brings that make the Buckeyes exciting. I am always a Holtmann backer and expect some new names like Zed Key and Eugene Brown to step up to make significant impacts this year.
(Projected AAC finish: 1)
Memphis was the story of the recruiting trail this offseason as Penny Hardaway was able to grab prized prospect Emoni Bates from the 2022 class and have him reclassify for this upcoming season. Bates, along with the addition of five-star center Jalen Duren, transfers Earl Timberlake and Chandler Lawson and some key returning pieces make Penny's squad one of the most talented in the entire country. Yet, I am pumping the breaks a bit with the Memphis hype. Hardaway has yet to even reach a tournament berth, let alone a Final Four. The defense will be stout again, but can Penny build an offensive system that tailors to his players' strengths, rather than the offense looking like a summer AAU team? He’s hoping that legendary coach Larry Brown can help with that, but ultimately shot selection concerns has me a bit lower on Memphis than most.
(Projected SEC finish: 3)
The Vols looked like a potential Final Four team last year until SEC play, when the offense took a turn for the worse. Some newcomers should help cure some of their offensive woes as Rick Barnes brings in two five-star freshmen and crafty combo guard Justin Powell via the transfer portal. With a strong core back, some new dynamic playmakers and a proven physical defense that finished fifth in the country last year, the ceiling is high for Tennessee. Yet, with Barnes' track record of underachieving, it’s hard to 100% fully get behind Tennessee.
(Projected PAC 12 finish: 2)
Year after year, Dana Altman continues to piece together rosters loaded with talent and potential, and this year is no different. Again, the transfer portal was friendly to the Ducks as they bring in playmakers Jacob Young and De'Vion Harmon along with do-it-all forward Quincy Guerrier. Returning combo guard Will Richardson should finally get a full healthy season under his belt and is primed for a breakout. Altman's system and morphing defenses is as dangerous as there is in the country (ask Iowa), and I wouldn't be surprised if they challenge UCLA atop the PAC 12 this year.
(Projected Big 12 finish: 3)
The defending champs lose their three-headed monster in the backcourt that rained terror throughout college basketball last year. But all hope is not lost for this year's Baylor squad, as some potential breakout candidates in Matthew Mayer and Adam Flager look to emerge from their previous bench roles. The Bears also were able to bring in some reinforcements such as journeyman James Akinjo to lead the offense at point guard and five-star hyper-athletic freshman wing Kendall Brown. Scott Drew has proven that he belongs in the conversation with the elite coaches of college hoops, and he has one of his deepest teams ever at his disposal. It will be nearly impossible to replicate the perimeter defense of last year, but Baylor should still be stout inside, and although it may take some time for the new pieces to gel, Drew's squad has the potential to challenge Texas and Kansas in the Big 12.
(Projected AAC finish: 2)
Kelvin Sampson's brand of bully-ball has quietly turned Houston into a national powerhouse, and we'll see more of the same this year. Although the backcourt sees some turnover, don't expect the nation's best halfcourt defense and offensive rebounding team to have any digression. There are some big shoes to fill in the backcourt after the departures of DeJon Jarreau and Quentin Grimes, but the leadership of veteran Marcus Sasser accompanied with breakout candidate Tramon Mark and Texas Tech import Kyler Edwards have the chops to take the Cougars deep into the tourney again.
(Projected Big East finish: 2)
Maybe the most surprising team in my top 25, the Xavier Musketeers on paper have one of the most talented rosters in the country. The return of veteran do-it-all point guard Paul Scruggs and junior dynamo Zach Freemantle make up one of the best 1-2 punches you'll see. In addition, the young backcourt pieces of Dwon Odom and Colby Jones ooze with potential and showed numerous flashes last year until the wheels fell off toward the end of conference play. The big knock on Xavier is interior defense, which finished an embarrassing 94th in the country a year ago, but Big Ten imports Jack Nunge and Jerome Hunter should bring in some much-needed toughness to this squad. This is a huge year for coach Travis Steele, as he has yet to reach the tournament with a program that is used to success. The table is set for him, and having a major improvement on the defensive end could be the difference of challenging for a Big East title or finding himself on an extremely hot seat.
(Projected ACC finish: 1)
The Hoos never seem to look very good on paper entering the year, but make no mistake that the ACC will continue to go through Virginia. We already know the pack line defense will be elite, but it’s the offensive potential that could make this team scary. Some dynamic imports via the transfer portal of crafty wing Armaan Franklin and wrecking ball Jayden Gardner are proven capable scorers that could thrive in Bennett's mover-blocker motion. Guided by rock solid veteran "glue-guy" Kihei Clark running the show and potential breakout players Reece Beekman and Kadin Shedrick, don't be surprised to see another Tony Bennett team sneak into the top 10.
(Projected ACC finish: 2)
It's Coach K's final season tour, and if you ask me, the Blue Devils are getting some unwarranted hype. Coming off their worst season in the KenPom era and missing on the tournament, it's hard for me to project Duke being the best team in the ACC. They do bring in some reinforcements from an ultra-talented recruiting class headlined by an elite talent in Paolo Banchero, who could be the best player in the entire country. Some veteran leadership does return as well in the form of point guard Jeremy Roach, who showed some flashes of talent a year ago, hot-and-cold workhorse Wendell Moore and 7-footer Mark Williams, who is primed for a breakout year. Yet, with freshman AJ Griffin already showing lingering injury issues and a roster that is not full of shooters or guards who can pressure you on defense in vintage Mike Krzyzewski fashion, there is going to be a ton of reliance on the young Banchero, and we may see another mediocre season (by Duke standards).
20. North Carolina
(Projected ACC finish: 3)
Gone is legendary coach Roy Williams, and in steps longtime Tar Heel assistant (and UNC legend in his own right) Hubert Davis. The new head coach has already been on record saying he wants to play a more 4 out/1 in style of play, so it will be interesting to see if UNC's typical heavy transition/attack-the-offensive-glass style under Roy Williams changes. The Tar Heels both return and bring in some fun pieces in the frontcourt, including dominant big man Armando Bacot and versatile Marquette forward import Dawson Garcia. But it is the progression of Caleb Love that will determine the ceiling of the powder blue this year, and if Davis' vision of opening driving lanes untaps Love's game, the Heels could be sitting atop the ACC standings in his first year.
21. Virginia Tech
(Projected ACC finish: 4)
What a shame it is that Tyrese Radford's off-court troubles led him to transfer out of the program, as the Hokies could be sitting as the preseason No. 1 team in the conference. Coach Mike Young has done a fantastic job taking over the Virginia Tech program after Buzz Williams jolted for Texas A&M two seasons ago, leading them to a No. 3 finish in the ACC. The Hokies return three starters including one of the more surprising improvements in all of college basketball, big man Keve Aluma and versatile forward Justyn Mutts. Young also landed a second Wofford import from his old stomping grounds in Storm Murphy, who already has a high-major game and should take on the lead responsibilities in the backcourt. With a solid returning core and Murphy filling in the missing point guard piece from a year ago, Virginia Tech should find itself toward the top end of the ACC again.
22. Florida State
(Projected ACC finish: 5)
Coach Leonard Hamilton has turned Florida State into one of the more consistent winning programs in all of college basketball over the last few years. He does it through the same philosophy year after year, and that is by bringing in long, athletic, interchangeable personnel who wreak havoc defensively for 40 nonstop minutes. This year will be no different as he continues his recent success on the recruiting trail by bringing in blue-chip wing Matthew Cleveland along with another top-50 guard in Jalen Warley, who both should contribute right away. Hamilton also brings in human microwave Caleb Mills via the transfer portal. Many thought he was Houston's best player a season ago before he was hampered with injuries and left the program midseason. Look for senior veterans Anthony Polite and Malik Osborne to be the leaders of this squad, and they will be trouble for everyone they face this season again.
(Projected SEC finish: 4)
A strange injury-riddled season for Auburn last year led to a mediocre finish and a missed tourney berth for Bruce Pearl. Things look a lot more optimistic this year for the Tigers as they are loaded with talent from top to bottom. Bruce Pearl will have fun piecing together this backcourt with sophomore transfers that can offer lightning in a bottle, Wendell Green, Zep Jasper and KD Johnson, who all should fit into his system perfectly. But the main reason to be excited about Auburn is the frontcourt duo of five-star freshman Jabari Smith and sophomore 7-footer Walker Kessler who will finally get meaningful minutes after being a backup on UNC a season ago. Unfortunately, Auburn's best returning player, Allen Flanigan, will be out the first half of the year with an injury, so it may take until later into the season for this team to hit its stride.
24. Mississippi State
(Projected SEC finish: 5)
Mississippi State is another program that came out of the transfer portal as winners as they bring in a very solid combination of transfers and returnees that could give Ben Howland his most talented team in his six-year tenure in Starkville. The Bulldogs return dynamic combo guard Iverson Molinar to run the show after shooting a smooth 44% from three-point land a season ago along with interior anchor Tolu Smith and breakout candidate wing Derek Fountain. Outside of Texas, this may be the most talented class of transfers in the nation including former ACC first teamer Garrison Brooks, former blue-chip recruits Rocket Watts and D.J. Jeffries and a dynamic guard that is loaded with potential in Shakeel Moore. Everyone forgets Howland coached two Final Four teams back in his UCLA days, and if he could build this team around defense it’s not a crazy thought for him to get back there with a roster as talented as this one.
(Projected Big Ten finish: 5)
Rutgers returns their two best players from a team that was a boxout away from a Sweet 16 berth a year ago. Steve Pikiell's masterful turnaround of this Rutgers basketball program built on toughness and defense is one of the most impressive jobs in the entire country and Rutgers should be primed for another tourney berth this year. With a starting lineup of Mr. Clutch himself — Geo Baker — a healthy Caleb McConnell, Swiss Army knife Paul Mulcahy, the streaky Ron Baker and potential breakout big man candidate Cliff Omoruyi, the Scarlet Knights could have one of the best and highly switchable defenses in the country. The offense will continue to be the piece to worry about for Rutgers, but they should be a much better three-point shooting team than the meager 31% they shot last year.
26. Texas Tech
(Projected Big 12 finish: 4)
Texas Tech is loaded with a combination of returning talent (Terrence Shannon and Kevin McCullar) and newcomers via the transfer portal (Kevin Obanor and Bryson Williams) who can contribute right away in Mark Adams' first year. The question will be whether the new head coach can get this team to gel without a bona fide point guard or playmaker in the backcourt.
27. St. Bonaventure
(Projected Atlantic 10 finish: 1)
Mark Schmidt brings back his entire roster from a No. 9 seed in last year’s tournament. Behind the 1-2 punch of Kyle Lofton and Osun Osunniyi, the Bonnies are the best Mid Major in the country not named Gonzaga.
(Projected SEC finish: 6)
Eric Musselman works his magic again, hitting the transfer portal to replace his three best players from a year ago. The Hogs are here to stay after their Elite Eight run and are loaded with talent yet again headlined by returning combo guard Devo Davis. But expect the Razorback defense to take a slight step back defensively.
(Projected Big Ten finish: 6)
The additions of Fatts Russell and Qudus Wahab should fill some holes and add some excitement in College Park. Led by steady veteran playmaker Eric Ayala, Mark Turgeon and the Terps have high expectations, but they may still be a tier away from the Big Ten elite.
30. Oklahoma State
(Projected Big 12 finish: 5)
The Cowboys are sneakily primed for a big year under young coach Mike Boynton. Everyone is focused on the loss of NBA Draft No. 1 overall pick Cade Cunningham, but this roster is loaded with young returning talent like streaky guard Avery Anderson and versatile forward Matthew-Alexander Moncrieffe.
(Projected ACC finish: 6)
Louisville can't seem to shake the off-court turmoil, as head coach Chris Mack starts the season on a six-game suspension. But that doesn't change the fact that Louisville has one of the deepest rosters in the country, and if Mack could find the right mix between the newcomers and returnees, the ceiling is high.
(Projected Big Ten finish: 7)
The Archie Miller era did not work out too well for Indiana, as they failed to make a tourney appearance over his four-year tenure. In steps former Hoosier great Mike Woodson to try to bring Indiana back to the powerhouse it once was. The return of All-American Trayce Jackson-Davis should ease the transition along with a skilled group of newcomers.
(Projected Big East finish: 3)
The Huskies have the length and toughness to be the best defense in the country but with the loss of James Bouknight production on the offensive end will be a big question mark.
(Projected WCC finish: 2)
Mark Pope continues to impress at BYU coming off a No. 20 finish, per KenPom. All-league point guard Alex Barcello returns alongside Caleb Lohner and Gideon George, who are both primed for breakout years.
The Sean Miller FBI investigations finally come to an end and a new era in Tucson starts with longtime Gonzaga assistant Tommy Lloyd. He inherits a roster that is deep with young talent including two sophomores in Bennedict Mathurin and Azuolas Tubelis who could potentially have the Wildcats competing in the top tier of the PAC 12.
(Projected SEC finish: 7)
Will Wade does it again and fills the LSU roster with high-level recruits (Efton Reid) and dudes who can flat-out score the ball (Xavier Pinson and Adam Miller). Look for the Tigers to remain one of the best offenses in the country but continue to struggle on the defensive end.
37. San Diego State
(Projected Mountain West finish: 1)
The Aztecs remain the class of the Mountain West through Brian Dutcher's elite defensive scheme. California import Matt Bradley should help bring some more offensive pop alongside returning leaders Trey Pulliam and Nathan Mensah.
38. West Virginia
(Projected Big 12 finish: 6)
Bob Huggins loses his two best players from a year ago. But don't count the Mountaineers out —they should be much more guard-oriented this year with a ton of depth in the backcourt. I wouldn't be surprised if we see the good old "Press Virginia" back.
39. Michigan State
(Projected Big Ten finish: 8)
Sparty sneaked into the tourney last year after a very up-and-down season. The loss of Aaron Henry will be tough, but Northeastern import Tyson Walker and five-star freshman Max Christie in the backcourt should lead Michigan State to another tourney berth.
40. St. John’s
(Projected Big East finish: 4)
Mike Anderson has put some jolt back into the Johnnies program with his “40 minutes of hell” pressure defense. The return of their two best players Julien Champagnie and Posh Alexander along with a handful of transfers that fit his system should give the Johnnies their best shot to return to the tourney since 2015.
41. Miami (FL)
(Projected ACC finish: 7)
Miami sneakily has one of the best backcourts in the country including Isaiah Wong, transfer Charlie Moore and Kameron McGusty. Injuries have riddled Jim Larrañaga's squads over the last few seasons, but if they can stay healthy, Miami could be one of the surprise teams of the season.
(Projected SEC finish: 8)
Even with leader Keyontae Johnson still not cleared to play after a scary heart condition held him out the majority of last year, returnees Tyree Appleby and Colin Castleton along with some additions via the transfer portal should lead the Gators to another tournament appearance in March.
43. Seton Hall
(Projected Big East finish: 5)
Some exciting new pieces of Kadary Richmond and Alexis Yetna paired with the developing Jared Rhoden gives the Pirates sky high potential. If Kevin Willard can find some chemistry and piece the puzzle together, we should see Seton Hall near the top of the Big East.
(Projected Missouri Valley finish: 1)
Drake cruised to a red-hot 18-0 start a season ago until their two best players Roman Penn and ShanQquan Hemphill went down with injuries that cooled the Bulldogs a bit. Both Penn and Hemphill are back to build on last year's tourney berth, and Drake should be the class of the Missouri Valley right next to Loyola.
(Projected Mountain West finish: 2)
Colorado State was thought by many to be the big snub by last year's tourney committee. The good news for Rams fans is that Niko Medved brings everyone back, include forward bulldozer David Roddy.
46. Notre Dame
(Projected ACC finish: 8)
Mike Brey brings back basically everyone from a team that we know can score behind stud point guard Prentiss Hubb. Yet, the defensive issues are glaring, and the Fighting Irish need to clean it up on that end to have a shot at a tourney berth.
(Projected PAC 12 finish: 4)
Filling McKinley Wright's shoes will be no easy task, but Tad Boyle should have the defense strong again and their young core including budding star Jabari Walker could have the Buffs on the right side of the bubble.
(Projected Atlantic 10 finish: 2)
The Spiders were a popular pick a year ago to win the A10, especially after beating Kentucky on the road to start the year. Some injuries and poor defensive play stalled Richmond's hopes for a tourney berth, but they bring back five players that averaged over 10 points per game (including Nick Sherod) and should be right in the mix for an A10 title.
49. Arizona State
(Projected PAC 12 finish: 5)
Given the talent Bobby Hurley has had at his disposal the last few years, some could say the Sun Devils have underperformed. Hurley needs to vastly improve on the defensive end for any shot at a tourney berth and again put together a talented roster including transfers Marreon Jackson and Luther Muhammad.
(Projected ACC finish: 9)
It seems like every year the Orange find themselves on the right side of the bubble and Jim Boeheim finds a way in March to make a little run. Syracuse should find themselves in a similar situation this year behind one of the better shooting backcourts in all college basketball (including both of Boeheim's sons) but the patented 2-3 zone defense won't have the same length and athleticism it has had in the past.
College Basketball Power Rankings | 51-100
A look at second part of the top 100 teams in the nation, in terms of power rankings from FTN CBB analyst Mike Cutri.
(Projected PAC 12 finish: 6)
Andy Enfield comes off the best season of his career, but the loss of transcendent big man Evan Mobley is enormous. Can USC keep up their newfound commitment on the defensive end or will they fall back to their old ways?
(Projected Missouri Valley finish: 2)
Loyola comes off an impressive Sweet 16 run and top-10 KenPom finish. Rising star coach Porter Moser and All-American Cameron Krutwig are both gone, but Loyola returns everyone else and should still be in the tourney conversation come March.
53. Wichita State
(Projected AAC finish: 3)
The Shockers were a major surprise last year winning the AAC regular season title and punching an at large ticket behind rookie interim head coach Isaac Brown. A major part of their success was the emergence of lead guard Tyson Etienne, who returns for his junior season.
(Projected Big 12 finish: 7)
Oklahoma looks to keep the program prestige alive after the retirement of legendary coach Lon Kruger. In steps proven rising star Porter Moser from Loyola, who is ready for a new challenge and has enough pieces to make a run at a tourney berth including Big Sky player of the year Tanner Groves.
(Projected Mountain West finish: 3)
One of the more electric backcourts in the country, Grant Sherfield and Devan Cambridge return to Steve Alford's squad hoping to make a run at a Mountain West title and Nevada's first tourney berth since Eric Musselman left the program.
56. Saint Mary’s
(Projected WCC finish: 3)
Randy Bennett returns everyone including point guard Tommy Kuhse from a year where they clearly overachieved. Defense should again be the staple of the Gaels as they hope to compete toward the top of the WCC.
(Projected Big Ten finish: 9)
A ton of roster turnover for the Hawkeyes now that the Luka Garza era has come to an end. Guys like Keegan Murray and Patrick McCaffery are ready to step up for a team that should see some improvement on the defensively end.
(Projected Big East finish: 6)
Butler returns everyone after a disappointing injury-riddled season. With the young core now experienced, if the Bulldogs can stay healthy LaVall Jordan could have Butler sneaking up the Big East standings.
59. Penn State
(Projected Big Ten finish: 10)
Nittany Lions fans should be excited with the hire of Micah Shrewsberry, who comes with an impressive pedigree. It may take him some time to get his feet wet, but Penn State returns a solid core, including big man John Harrar and brings is a few transfers such as versatile Sienna import Jalen Pickett, which should keep them competitive in the Big Ten.
Kevin Keatts hasn't quite lived up to his excitement so far in his four-year tenure at NC State. This year's Pack squad returns big man Manny Bates to patrol the paint and smooth scorer Jericole Hellems, but will need a massive sophomore leap from Cam Hayes to make it to the right side of the bubble.
(Projected C-USA finish: 1)
Former Ole Miss head honcho Andy Kennedy is loaded with high major talent and a solid returning core from a 22-7 team. Defense should again be key to UAB's success that now has the firepower to potentially push for an at-large bid.
(Projected Atlantic Sun finish: 1)
The 13-seeded Flames return basically their entire roster after almost pulling the first-round upset against Oklahoma State. They will again be a dangerous team come March led by flame-throwing point guard Darius McGhee.
63. Georgia Tech
(Projected ACC finish: 11)
What a season it was for Josh Pastner and his infamous face shield, leading the Yellow Jackets to an ACC Tournament title. Yet, with the departures of team leader Jose Alvarado and ACC Player of the Year Moses Wright, a lot is going to be riding on the shoulders of Michael Devoe, and we should see Georgia Tech take a step back this year.
(Projected Big East finish: 7)
Providence will need some significant steps forward from AJ Reeves and Jared Bynum for the Friars to compete with the top half of the Big East post the departure of point guard David Duke. Ed Cooley is always a tough out, especially with big man Nate Watson underneath.
65. Texas A&M
(Projected SEC finish: 9)
Buzz Williams is the king of turning mediocre programs into top-25 teams and we are still waiting for his newest project at Texas A&M to turn the corner. Buzz brings in a ton of interesting pieces via the transfer portal along with a solid nucleus in the backcourt and a top five-star freshman, which could mean this may be the year we see a significant jump.
(Projected Big Ten finish: 11)
This will be a transition year for Greg Gard, who has gotten his fair share of criticism, as Wisconsin loses a ton of veteran leadership from a year ago. Fortunately, sixth-year senior Brad Davison returns to soften the turnover along with potential breakout candidates Jonathan Davis and Tyler Wahl. If a few freshmen can step up and produce for the Badgers, they will be a tough out in Big Ten play.
(Projected ACC finish: 12)
Brad Brownell has worked his tail off bring Clemson out of the ACC cellar and into national relevance over the past few years. Yet, after losing stud forward Aamir Simms and a roster that isn't very exciting, the defense will have to be elite in order for the Tigers to not take a step back this season.
(Projected AAC finish: 4)
UCF returns everyone after showing some flashes a season ago. Having a healthy Darius Perry and seeing big steps forward from CJ Walker and Isaiah Adams will be key to where they finish in the AAC.
(Projected SEC finish: 10)
Kermit Davis and the Rebels found themselves on the wrong side of the bubble a season ago. Replacing longtime point guard Devontae Shuler with a freshman isn't ideal, which makes it hard to see a path anywhere outside a middle-of-the-pack SEC finish for Ole Miss.
70. Washington State
(Projected PAC 12 finish: 7)
Kyle Smith's brand of analytic-driven basketball has worked wonders in his rebuild of this Washington State program, especially defensively. Some young exciting pieces such as Noah Williams and Efe Abogidi return with a chance to bring Wazzu on to the right side of the bubble.
71. Kansas State
(Projected Big 12 finish: 8)
It was a year to forget for Bruce Weber and the Kansas State faithful a year ago that included a stretch of 13 straight losses. I'm not one to put too much weight on one season as the Cats return a talented backcourt that includes Mike McGuirl and Nijel Pack along with some transfer pieces that should make Kansas State a pesky out in the Big 12.
(Projected PAC 12 finish: 8)
Utah finds a perfect replacement for long time coach Larry Krystkowiak in Utah State import Craig Smith. Although the roster isn't very inspiring, Smith has overachieved everywhere he's been, and there is enough talent here to surprise some teams.
(Projected Big Ten finish: 12)
In the middle of a rebuild in Nebraska, Fred Hoiberg was able to grab talented five-star freshman Bryce McGowan along with Arizona State microwave Alonzo Verge. Hoiberg is still a ways away from getting the program to the level he left Iowa State and they will again struggle defensively, but the talent pool continues to grow in Nebraska.
(Projected PAC 12 finish: 9)
Injuries and coronavirus-related absences were the story of Stanford's season a year ago. Coach Jerod Haase has certainly found himself on the hot seat after missing the tourney in five straight seasons. He has to hope five-star freshman Harrison Ingram can help him right the ship.
(Projected Big Ten finish: 13)
Northwestern showed some flashes in the beginning of Big Ten play last year but ultimately found itself back in the Big Ten cellar after a 13-game losing streak. Just about everyone returns for Chris Collins as they will need to show some serious growth to move Northwestern up the Big Ten standings.
(Projected AAC finish: 5)
Electric point guard Kendric Davis returns to SMU along with a slew of transfers to help bolster the Mustang's roster. For Tim Jankovich to have a shot at his first tourney appearance in four years, they will need to vastly improve on the defensive end.
(Projected Big 12 finish: 9)
Eight transfers along with budding star Mike Miles round out this year's roster for Jamie Dixon. TCU showed some promise early in Dixon's tenure but slowly found themselves in the bottom tier of the Big 12, which will be difficult to break out from again this year.
(Projected SEC finish: 11)
Star point guard Scotty Pippen Jr. is back to team up with Big Ten import big Liam Robbins for the Commodores. Should be a step in the right direction for Jerry Stackhouse, but the rest of the roster still needs some work.
(Projected AAC finish: 6)
John Brannen was not able to fill the big shoes left by Mick Cronin in Cincinnati, but in steps rising star Wes Miller. Bearcat fans will love the defensive intensity he will bring back to the program. Miller does return some key pieces but ultimately the lack of offensive firepower will limit their ceiling.
(Projected PAC 12 finish: 10)
I don't know if any other coach in the nation has a seat as hot as Mike Hopkins’ coming off a 5-21 season in Washington. Some exciting veteran pieces enter the fold via the transfer portal, which should bolster the offense, but it may take some time for the patented 2-3 defense to gel.
(Projected MAC finish: 1)
After a magical year that included winning a game in the NCAA tournament, star Jason Preston took his talents to the NBA. But sophomore Mark Sears is primed to fill the void along with a familiar face in Jason Carter, which should have Ohio atop the MAC once again.
(Projected Big East finish: 8)
Creighton may be one of the youngest team in the country this year as the Marcus Zegarowski era ends. Greg McDermott does bring in the best recruiting class in Bluejay history including point guard Ryan Nembhard which may be a year or two away from making some serious noise in the Big East.
83. San Francisco
(Projected WCC finish: 4)
The Dons may have the oldest team in the country led by the veteran backcourt of Jamaree Bouyea and Khalil Shabazz, don't be surprised to see them pull off a few upsets this season.
84. Oregon State
(Projected PAC 12 finish: 11)
There’s some excitement brewing at Oregon State after a surprising PAC 12 title and Elite Eight run by Wayne Tinkle and the Beavers. In reality, it’s hard to believe anything close to that success happens again this year especially after losing stud point guard Ethan Thompson.
85. South Carolina
(Projected SEC finish: 12)
It was a rough season a year ago for Frank Martin, dealing with multiple COVID-19 shutdowns and the team not completely buying into Martin's uber-aggressive defensive scheme. Jermaine Couisnard and Keyshawn Bryant return as the Gamecocks look to hit the reset button and compete in the middle of the SEC.
Star scoring guard Javonte Perkins returns to St. Louis after a very up-and-down year riddled with pandemic-related issues. A combination of a young core and new pieces makes the Billikens roster pretty deep but losses of Jordan Goodwin and Hasahn French puts them a tier below the Bonnies and Richmond in the A10.
87. Western Kentucky
(Projected C-USA finish: 2)
Rick Stansbury again has a roster loaded with talent headlined by prized transfer wing Keith Williams. Yet, it has always been a struggle to completely put it together as the Hilltoppers are yet to see a tourney appearance under Stansbury's reign.
88. Iowa State
(Projected Big 12 finish: 10)
T.J. Otzelberger takes over the rebuild after Steve Prohm left Ames with an 0-18 conference record. The rebuild will take some time but the Cyclones brought in some high major veteran transfers that will keep them competitive in Big 12 play.
89. Northern Iowa
(Projected Missouri Valley finish: 3)
Star A.J. Green returns after having bad injury luck, which significantly raises Northern Iowa's ceiling. His health is a major question mark after hip surgery, which could be the difference from a potential tourney berth and a finish outside the KenPom top 100.
(Projected Ohio Valley finish: 1)
Belmont remains the powerhouse of the Ohio Valley bringing back 97% of their minutes from a 26-4 squad including dynamic duo Grayson Murphy and Nick Muszynski.
91. Louisiana Tech
(Projected C-USA finish: 3)
Led by brickhouse Kenneth Lofton underneath, Louisiana Tech brings back majority of its roster that finished toward the top of Conference USA a season ago. Look for them to be in the mix again for the auto bid.
(Projected Big East finish: 9)
After seven seasons of mediocrity, the Steve Wojciechowski experiment comes to an end and in steps household name Shaka Smart. Marquette will be in rebuilding mode this year with an offense that will struggle but has the potential to become a pretty solid defensive team behind Maryland import Darryl Morsell and breakout candidate Justin Lewis.
93. Missouri State
(Projected Missouri Valley finish: 4)
The 1-2 punch of Isiaih Mosley and Gaige Prim return to a Missouri State squad primed to compete with the top tier of the Missouri Valley Conference.
94. Boise State
(Projected Mountain West finish: 4)
Even after losing their best player in Derrick Alston, Boise State returns a solid nucleus that should be led by a pair of former Arizona transfers in Devonaire Doutrive and Emmanuel Akot.
(Projected Atlantic 10 finish: 4)
Some exciting young talent coupled with a few transfers that will contribute right away raises the ceiling a ton for Anthony Grant. Dayton will certainly improve in the paint, but the loss of star Jalen Crutcher hurts the backcourt.
(Projected MAC finish: 2)
Buffalo may be the most talented team in the MAC behind dynamos Josh Mballa and Jeenathan Williams, but the Buffs will have to clean up their turnovers and poor shooting to beat out Ohio atop of the conference.
97. South Dakota State
(Projected Summit finish: 1)
Loaded with offensive talent led by do-it-all forward Douglas Wilson, the Jackrabbits are easily the favorite to win the Summit League. They have the potential to really make some noise in March if they can show any improvement on the defensive end.
(Projected Atlantic 10 finish: 5)
Luck has not been on Mike Rhoades’ side after the untimely COVID-19 shutdown that forced them to forfeit their Opening Round tournament game a season ago, and now this year the team has already been decimated by a few key injuries. Even with star Bones Hyland gone to the NBA, VCU still is deep enough and has the defensive system to push toward the top tier of the A10 standings.
(Projected MAAC finish: 1)
Rick Pitino made a splash in his first year at the helm for Iona, leading them to a surprising tourney berth. Now with a solid returning core and the addition of a handful of high major transfers, this could be Iona's most talented team ever.
100. Loyola Marymount
(Projected WCC finish: 5)
Led by versatile star forward Eli Scott, Loyola Marymount will look to push the top tier of the WCC.