College basketball writer and AP Top 25 voter Scott Richey still has some time before his preseason ballot is due ahead of the 2020-21 season. Illinois’ good fortune this weekend, though, prompted an update of his top 10 (for now):
The argument for the Wildcats in the top spot remains the same as from March. Even with Saddiq Bey’s departure for the draft, Villanova returns four other double-digit scorers and most of the rest of its rotation (including a now healthy Bryan Antoine).
Scott Drew is still waiting on Jared Butler’s draft decision, but the Baylor coach does have the other two of his top three scorers returning for sure along with a potential national defensive player of the year in Mark Vital.
Corey Kipsert is the last moving piece still on the board, but even if he doesn’t return, Gonzaga is in good shape. The Bulldogs bring back Joel Ayayi and Drew Timme, get Oumar Ballo off his redshirt and have a star in the making in freshman Jalen Suggs.
Out go the Blue Devils’ top three scorers. In come a quartet of five-star freshmen. A typical offseason these days for Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, who will still have a roster that can contend for a national title.
Finding enough minutes in a suddenly crowded backcourt is now Illini coach Brad Underwood’s challenge. Sure he’s fine with that since it means Ayo Dosunmu is on board for year three. Expect more four-guard lineups from Illinois during 2020-21.
The yearly turnover isn’t quite as high for Bill Self’s program. Five-star guard Bryce Thompson is the centerpiece of Kansas’ 2020 class, and he’ll join an experienced backcourt that includes Ochai Agbaji and Marcus Garrett.
Luka Garza still hasn’t announced whether he’ll be back for his senior season. Assuming he does, Iowa will have the top candidate for national preseason player of the year honors leading the deepest, most talented team coach Fran McCaffery has ever had.
The Cavaliers relied on prototypical Tony Bennett basketball last season. Best defense in the country. Utterly uninspiring offense. It worked. Virginia brings back three starters and Marquette transfer Sam Hauser is eligible.
9. Michigan State
The other Hauser brother (Joey) will also be eligible for the Spartans, who will need Xavier Tillman Sr. to withdraw from the draft to stay in the Top 10. Replacing Cassius Winston is nigh impossible, but Rocket Watts running the show isn’t a bad consolation prize.
Good news in Omaha, Neb., this weekend, too, with Denzel Mahoney and Damien Jefferson withdrawing from the draft. That gives the Bluejays four returning starters and a pair of incoming four-star freshmen.
Scott Richey is a reporter covering college basketball at The News-Gazette. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org, and you can follow him on Twitter (@srrichey).