The last time Penny Hardaway secured a commitment from a five-star center, things didn’t go so well. NCAA issues led to a suspension for James Wiseman, who ultimately quit the Memphis team after just three games. Then D.J. Jeffries suffered a season-ending knee injury in the final week of January, meaning the Tigers were suddenly down two of their top three scorers, at which point the season started to go the wrong direction, so much so that Memphis was on the wrong side of the bubble when the 2020 NCAA Tournament was abruptly canceled.
The whole thing was a letdown for Memphis fans.
But genuine hope and optimism reentered the program on Wednesday when five-star prospect Moussa Cisse, a 6-foot-11 center with a 7-4 wingspan, publicly committed to Memphis. Simply put, it’s a massive get for Hardaway, who will now pair the likely one-and-done product with a talented group of sophomores capable of competing with Houston at the top of the American Athletic Conference. And that’s why Memphis is now No. 25 in Version 19.0 of the 2020-21 CBS Sports Preseason Top 25 And 1.
If you’ve been following these updates to the Top 25 And 1, you should know that what I do is assume all consensus projected first-round picks will remain in the NBA Draft, make educated guesses about other underclassmen, and omit (for now) all traditional sit-out transfers. Needless to say, when I need to adjust, I’ll adjust. Version 20.0 is likely right around the corner. But, at this moment, Gonzaga is No. 1 based on the idea that everybody who can return from a team that finished 31-2 will return from a team that finished 31-2. If that happens, the Zags will be led by All-American Filip Petrusev, have three of their top five scorers back, and benefit from a top-15 recruiting class highlighted by five-star guard Jalen Suggs.`
Updated Top 25 And 1 rankings
Multiple Zags are testing the waters – among them frontcourt star Filip Petrusev. But, for these purposes, I’ve projected everybody who can return to return, which would give Mark Few three of the top five scorers back from a team that finished 31-2 and was about to be a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Combine that with a top-10 recruiting class highlighted by 5-star guard Jalen Suggs, and Gonzaga should be considered the favorite to win the 2021 NCAA Tournament.
The top three scorers from a Baylor team that spent multiple weeks ranked No. 1 in the Associated Press Top 25 poll should be back – and that doesn’t even include Mark Vital, a finalist for the Naismith Defense Player of the Year award. Jared Butler is expected to lead the way. He averaged a team-high 16.0 points, 3.1 assists and 1.6 steals per game as a sophomore and is the main reason Scott Drew’s Bears should be the preseason favorite in the Big 12 provided nobody leaves early.
Saddiq Bey’s decision to remain in the NBA Draft hurts but was not unexpected – evidence being that Villanova has always been projected to lose its leading scorer from a team that went 7-1 in its final eight games. But the good news for the Wildcats is that everybody else should be back, which leaves Jay Wright with a talented and experienced roster that’s strong enough to put the future Hall of Fame coach in a position to compete for what would be his third national title in a six-year span.
Virginia should return three starters from a team that closed the regular season with eight consecutive victories thanks to a defense that ranked first nationally in efficiency. Former Marquette standout Sam Hauser, who averaged 14.9 points and 7.2 rebounds two seasons ago, will be eligible after sitting out the 2019-20 campaign. He’ll make an immediate impact and have Tony Bennett in a position to compete for a second national championship in a three-year span.
Luka Garza will be the obvious preseason national player of the year if he returns to Iowa for his senior season, which is among the reasons he’s expected to return to Iowa for his senior season. Presumably, he’ll be joined by the four other starters from a team that finished 23rd at KenPom. And don’t forget: Iowa will get Jordan Bohannon back after a redshirt season. So Fran McCaffery should have the best team he’s ever had in 22 years as a Division I head coach.
Devon Dotson’s decision to enter the NBA Draft after two seasons means the Jayhawks will be without the top two scorers from a team that would’ve been the overall No. 1 seed in the 2020 NCAA Tournament. That’s not ideal. But the arrival of 5-star guard Bryce Thompson, combined with an experienced core of Ochai Agbaji, Marcus Garrett, David McCormack and Christian Braun, should provide Bill Self with enough to compete for yet another Big 12 title.
Vernon Carey, Tre Jones and Cassius Stanley have all announced they’re in the NBA Draft. So the Blue Devils are losing their top three scorers, and four of their top six, from this past season’s team that finished tied for second in the ACC. Still, the return of Matthew Hurt and Wendell Moore should give Mike Krzyzewski two experienced and reliable pieces to pair with a top-two recruiting class highlighted by 5-star prospects Jalen Johnson, Jeremy Roach and DJ Steward. So Coach K winning a sixth national title remains in the cards.
Every player who started a game for Creighton this past season was projected to return – but that changed when Ty-Shon Alexander, the Bluejays’ leading scorer, announced he’s entering the NBA Draft and remaining in it. That’s an unfortunate development for Creighton. But, even with Alexander gone, Greg McDermott should still bring back four starters from a team that was the top seed in the Big East Tournament. So the Bluejays will have a chance to make the Final Four for the first time in school history.
Wisconsin got better after Kobe King quit the team in January – evidence being how the Badgers won eight straight games to close the regular season and shared the Big Ten crown with Maryland and Michigan State. Now the top five scorers from the final-game roster are expected back. The best of the bunch might be Micah Potter, who averaged 10.1 points and 6.2 rebounds while shooting 52.8% from the field. He’s among the reasons Wisconsin will be positioned to secure back-to-back league titles.
If Xavier Tillman decides to return to school, Michigan State will definitely move up. But, for now, the presumption is that the 6-8 forward is done with college basketball, which means the Spartans will likely be without the top two players from a team that shared the Big Ten title with Maryland and Wisconsin. Finding a suitable replacement at point guard for Cassius Winston won’t be easy. But Tom Izzo hasn’t missed the NCAA Tournament since 1997 – and that’ll still be true after next season.
Yves Pons has declared for the NBA Draft. But assuming he returns, Tennessee will be adding 5-star guards Jaden Springer and Keon Johnson to an experienced core that also features John Fulkerson, Santiago Vescovi and Josiah-Jordan James. That’s a strong roster that should result in a bounce-back season for the Vols, who look like the favorite in the SEC thanks to a combination of what they’re enrolling and what Kentucky is losing
The Mountaineers collapsed down the stretch and lost six of their final nine games, but they still finished 10th at KenPom, which suggests they were better than their record. Now West Virginia is expected to return the top three players from that team – most notably Oscar Tshiebwe, who averaged 11.2 points and 9.3 rebounds while shooting 55.2% from the field as a freshman. So Bob Huggins will enter next season with an accomplished roster good enough to compete for a Big 12 title.
Nate Hinton’s decision to leave school early combined with Fabian White’s torn ACL is a blow to Houston’s rotation; it means the Cougars are now losing two of their top four scorers. But four of the top six are still expected to return – most notably Caleb Mills and former McDonald’s All-American Quentin Grimes. So Kelvin Sampson’s team should be strong again and in position to win the American Athletic Conference for what would be the third consecutive season.
The Wildcats are losing the top six scorers from a team that won the SEC by multiple games – most notably SEC Player of the Year Immanuel Quickley and projected first-round pick Tyrese Maxey. That’s rough. But if any program is built to overcome these departures, it’s the one set to enroll the nation’s top-ranked recruiting class featuring 5-star guards Terrence Clarke, BJ Boston and Devin Askew. Exactly what John Calipari will do to further enhance his roster remains unclear. But it’s possible the Wildcats could creep back into the top 10 of the Top 25 And 1 before the season begins if the UK staff secures some solid reinforcements.
Roy Williams just endured what he called the toughest season of his coaching career – one that resulted in five more losses (19) than wins (14). It was rough. But the 2020-21 season will be much better, even with the loss of Cole Anthony, thanks to the arrival of a top-three recruiting class featuring 5-star prospects Day’Ron Sharpe, Walker Kessler and Caleb Love. With Garrison Brooks, Armando Bacot, Anthony Harris and Leaky Black all expected back, UNC will be talented enough to push Virginia and Duke at the top of the ACC.
Ohio State beat Duke for graduate-transfer Seth Towns – a 6-8 forward from Harvard who was the Ivy League Player of the Year in 2018. His arrival alone won’t cancel out the departure of Kaleb Wesson, but it’ll help. Meantime, Duane Washington, CJ Walker and Kyle Young should provide Chris Holtmann with an experienced nucleus on a team that is projected to return five of the top nine scorers from a roster that finished No. 8 at KenPom this past season.
Greg Brown’s commitment means the Longhorns are adding a 5-star freshman to a roster that should return every player who helped Texas go 5-1 in its final six games. That’s among the reasons next season’s UT team could be the best Shaka Smart has coached since taking over in Austin. He’ll have the type of experience and talent that good college teams typically possess.
Texas Tech is losing its top two scorers early – namely one-and-done star Jahmi’us Ramsey and Davide Moretti, the latter of whom decided in late May to pursue overseas opportunities in a development that hurt the Red Raiders. But Chris Beard is still returning three of the top six scorers from a team that finished 21st at KenPom, and he’s combining that nice nucleus with a top-15 recruiting class highlighted by 4-star prospects Nimari Burnett and Micah Peavy, plus VCU grad-transfer Marcus Santos-Silva. So Texas Tech should be talented enough to operate in the top half of the Big 12 again and maybe even compete for the league title.
It’s impossible to overstate what losing somebody like Payton Pritchard will mean to Oregon; he was fabulous and a worthy All-American. But two of the other top-three scorers from the Pac-12 champs are expected back – and Dana Altman has worked the transfer market again. So it would be foolish to assume the Ducks will do anything but compete for another Pac-12 title.
Rutgers should return seven of the top eight scorers from a team that finished 28th at KenPom – most notably double-digit scorers Ron Harper Jr. and Geo Baker. Beyond that, the Scarlet Knights are adding a consensus top-50 prospect in Cliff Omoruyi. So winning at the RAC will once again be a difficult task for opponents because Steve Pikiell should have a team equipped to make the NCAA Tournament for what would be, under normal circumstances, the second straight season.
A late commitment from 5-star wing Ziaire Williams was enough to push Stanford into the Top 25 And 1 under the assumption that Tyrell Terry will ultimately withdraw from the NBA Draft. If that happens, the Cardinal will add a heralded freshman to a roster that would include the top six scorers from this past season’s team that finished in the top 45 at KenPom.
The greatest in-season turnaround of the 2019-20 season belonged to UCLA, which went from 8-9 to 19-12 by going 11-3 in its final 14 games. It was incredible stuff from Mick Cronin and his staff. And now the top five scorers from that team should be back – provided Chris Smith withdraws from the NBA Draft, which is the projection here. Will the Bruins miss Daishen Nix, who decommitted late to join a G League program? Of course. But, on paper, they’ll still be contenders to win the Pac-12.
The late addition of five-star point guard Khristian Lander pushed Indiana’s recruiting class into the top 15 and provided Archie Miller with the perfect compliment to an experienced roster. Justin Smith’s decision to transfer stings a little. But the Hoosiers are still returning seven of the top nine scorers from a team that was projected to make the 2020 NCAA Tournament – and that should be enough to give Indiana a chance to compete at the top of the Big Ten standings.
Arkansas’ 20-12 record this past season is misleading because the Razorbacks were actually 19-7 with Isaiah Joe in the lineup and just 1-5 without him. So he was a real difference-maker. Joe, it should be noted, has entered the NBA Draft – but this ranking projects him to eventually withdraw and return to Arkansas. If that happens, the Hogs will return two of their top four scorers and enroll a top-10 recruiting class that features four four-star high school prospects – most notably Moses Moody – plus Indiana grad-transfer Justin Smith and Northern Kentucky grad-transfer Jalen Tate. So while the early departure of Mason Jones is less than ideal, Eric Musselman should still have Arkansas in the NCAA Tournament and positioned to maybe make the Sweet 16 for the first time since 1996.
The late addition of Moussa Cisse, a five-star center talented enough to be the best rim protector in college basketball as a freshman, is the main reason Memphis is now in the Top 25 And 1. The 6-11 shot blocker could make the Tigers even better defensively than they were last season when they ranked fifth nationally in defensive efficiency. He’ll join a roster highlighted by sophomores D.J. Jeffries, Boogie Ellis and Lester Quinones, all of whom are also former top-60 prospects. So as long as everybody stays healthy, Penny Hardaway should have his alma mater in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2014.
Romello White’s decision to enter the transfer portal means Arizona State is losing its leading rebounder and one of three double-digit scorers who were expected to return from last season’s team. That’s tough. But 5-star guard Josh Christopher joining a nucleus of Remy Martin and Alonzo Verge suggests Bobby Hurley might still have a chance to finish in the top three of the Pac-12 for what would be the third consecutive season.
120-11 Updated Top 25 And 1 roster analysis 1. Gonzaga
Coach: Mark Few
2019-20 record: 31-2
Notable players definitely gone: Killian Tillie, Ryan Woolridge, Admon GilderNotable players expected to also leave: N/ANotable players expected to return: Filip Petrusev, Corey Kispert, Joel Ayayi, Drew Timme, Anton Watson, Pavel Zakharov, Martynas Arlauskas, Will Graves, Matthew LangExpected additions: Jalen Suggs, Julian Strawther, Dominick Harris, Oumar Ballo, Aaron Cook
Coach: Scott Drew
2019-20 record: 26-4
Notable players definitely gone: Freddie Gillespie, Devonte BandooNotable players expected to also leave: N/ANotable players expected to return: Jared Butler, MaCio Teague, Davion Mitchell, Mark Vital, Matthew Mayer, Tristan Clark, Flo ThambaExpected additions: Dain Dainja, LJ Cryer, Zach Loveday, Adam Flagler, Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua
Coach: Jay Wright
2019-20 record: 24-7
Notable players definitely gone: Saddiq Bey Notable players expected to also leave: N/ANotable players expected to return: Collin Gillespie, Justin Moore, Jermaine Samuels, Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, Cole Swider, Brandon Slater, Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree, Bryan AntoineExpected additions: Caleb Daniels, Eric Dixon
Coach: Tony Bennett
2019-20 record: 23-7
Notable players definitely gone: Mamadi Diakite, Braxton KeyNotable players expected to also leave: N/ANotable players expected to return: Kihei Clark, Jay Huff, Tomas Woldetensae, Casey Morsell, Kody Stattman, Francisco Caffaro, Justin McKoyExpected additions: Sam Hauser, Jabri Abdur-Rahim, Reece Beekman, Carson McCorkle, Kadin Shedrick
Coach: Fran McCaffery
2019-20 record: 20-11
Notable players definitely gone: Ryan Kriener, Bakari Evelyn, Cordell PemslNotable players expected to also leave: N/ANotable players expected to return: Luka Garza, Joe Wieskamp, CJ Fredrick, Jordan Bohannon, Joe Toussaint, Connor McCaffery, Jack NungeExpected additions: Ahron Ulis, Tony Perkins, Josh Ogundele, Keegan Murray, Kris Murray
Coach: Bill Self
2019-20 record: 28-3
Notable players definitely gone: Devon Dotson, Udoka Azubuike, Isaiah MossNotable players expected to also leave: N/ANotable players expected to return: Ochai Agbaji, Marcus Garrett, David McCormack, Christian Braun, Silvio De Sousa, Tristan Enaruna, Mitch LightfootExpected additions: Bryce Thompson, Tyon Grant-Foster, Gethro Muscadin, Latrell Jossell
Coach: Mike Krzyzewski
2019-20 record: 25-6
Notable players definitely gone: Vernon Carey, Tre Jones, Cassius Stanley, Alex O’Connell, Javin DeLaurier, Jack WhiteNotable players expected to also leave: N/ANotable players expected to return: Matthew Hurt, Wendell Moore, Joey Baker, Jordan GoldwireExpected additions: Jalen Johnson, Jeremy Roach, DJ Steward, Mark Williams, Jaemyn Brakefield, Henry Coleman
Coach: Greg McDermott
2019-20 record: 24-7
Notable players definitely gone: Ty-Shon Alexander, Kelvin Jones, Davion Mintz, Jalen WindhamNotable players expected to also leave: N/ANotable players expected to return: Marcus Zegarowski, Denzel Mahoney, Mitch Ballock, Jacob Epperson, Damien Jefferson, Christian Bishop, Shareef Mitchell, Jett CanfieldExpected additions: Antwann Jones, Ryan Kalkbrenner, Rati Andronikashvili
Coach: Greg Gard
2019-20 record: 21-10
Notable players definitely gone: Brevin PritzlNotable players expected to also leave: N/ANotable players expected to return: Nate Reuvers, Micah Potter, Brad Davison, D’Mitrik Trice, Aleem Ford, Tyler Wahl, Trevor AndersonExpected additions: Ben Carlson, Johnny Davis, Lorne Bowman, Steven Crowl, Jordan Davis
10. Michigan State
Coach: Tom Izzo
2019-20 record: 22-9
Notable players definitely gone: Cassius Winston, Kyle AhernsNotable players expected to also leave: Xavier TillmanNotable players expected to return: Aaron Henry, Rocket Watts, Gabe Brown, Malik Hall, Marcus Bingham, Thomas Kithier, Foster Loyer, Julius Marble, Joshua LangfordExpected additions: Joey Hauser, Mady Sissoko, AJ Hoggard
Coach: Rick Barnes
2019-20 record: 17-14
Notable players definitely gone: Jordan Bowden, Jalen JohnsonNotable players expected to also leave: N/ANotable players expected to return: John Fulkerson, Yves Pons, Santiago Vescovi, Josiah-Jordan James, Olivier Nkamhoua, Uros Plavsic, Davonte GainesExpected additions: Jaden Springer, Keon Johnson, Corey Walker, Malachi Wideman, Victory Bailey, E.J. Anosike
12. West Virginia
Coach: Bob Huggins
2019-20 record: 21-10
Notable players definitely gone: Jermaine Haley, Chase Harler, Brandon Knapper, Logan Routt, Notable players expected to also leave: N/ANotable players expected to return: Oscar Tshiebwe, Derek Culver, Miles McBride, Emmitt Matthews, Sean McNeil, Taz Sherman, Jordan McCabe, Gabe OsabuohienExpected additions: Isaiah Cottrell, Taj Thweatt, Kedrian Johnson, Jalen Bridges
Coach: Kelvin Sampson
2019-20 record: 23-8
Notable players definitely gone: Nate Hinton,Chris Harris, Fabian White Notable players expected to also leave: N/ANotable players expected to return: Caleb Mills, Quentin Grimes, DeJon Jarreau, Marcus Sasser, Justin Gorham, Brison Gresham, Cedrick AlleyExpected additions: Tramon Mark, Jamal Shead, Kiyron Powell, Cameron Tyson, J’Wan Roberts
Coach: John Calipari
2019-20 record: 25-6
Notable players definitely gone: Immanuel Quickley, Nick Richards,Tyrese Maxey, Ashton Hagans, Nate Sestina, EJ Montgomery, Johnny JuzangNotable players expected to also leave: N/ANotable players expected to return: Keion BrooksExpected additions: Terrence Clarke, BJ Boston, Devin Askew, Isaiah Jackson, Lance Ware, Cam’Ron Fletcher, Davion Mintz
15. North Carolina
Coach: Roy Williams
2019-20 record: 14-19
Notable players definitely gone: Cole Anthony, Brandon Robinson, Christian Keeling, Justin Pierce, Jeremiah FrancisNotable players expected to also leave: N/ANotable players expected to return: Garrison Brooks, Armando Bacot, Anthony Harris, Leaky Black, Andrew Platek, K.J. SmithExpected additions: Day’Ron Sharpe, Walker Kessler, Caleb Love, Puff Johnson, R.J. Davis, Kerwin Walton
16. Ohio State
Coach: Chris Holtmann
2019-20 record: 21-10
Notable players definitely gone: Andre Wesson, D.J. Carton, Luther Muhammad, Alonzo GaffneyNotable players expected to also leave: Kaleb WessonNotable players expected to return: Duane Washington, CJ Walker, Kyle Young, E.J. Liddell, Justin AhrensExpected additions: Seth Towns, Eugene Brown, Zed Key, Justice Sueing
Coach: Shaka Smart
2019-20 record: 19-12
Notable players definitely gone: N/ANotable players expected to also leave: N/ANotable players expected to return: Matt Colemam, Andrew Jones, Courtney Ramey, Jericho Sims, Jase Febres, Gerald Liddell, Kai Jones, Donovan Williams, Kamaka Hepa, Royce Hamm, Will Baker, Brock CunninghamExpected additions: Greg Brown
18. Texas Tech
Coach: Chris Beard
2019-20 record: 18-13
Notable players definitely gone: Davide Moretti, TJ Holyfield, Chris Clarke, Russel TchewaNotable players expected to also leave: Jahmi’us RamseyNotable players expected to return: Kyler Edwards, Terrance Shannon, Kevin McCullar, Clarence Nadolny, Avery BensonExpected additions: Marcus Santos-Silva, Nimari Burnett, Micah Perry, Chibuzo Agbo, Joel Ntambwe, Vladislav Goldin
Coach: Dana Altman
2019-20 record: 24-7
Notable players definitely gone: Payton Pritchard, Shakur Juiston, Anthony Mathis, Francis OkoroNotable players expected to also leave: N/ANotable players expected to return: Chris Duarte, Will Richardson, N’Faly Dante, Addison Patterson, Chandler Lawson, C.J. WalkerExpected additions: Jalen Terry, Eric Williams, Eugene Omoruyi, Amauri Hardy
Coach: Steve Pikiell
2019-20 record: 20-11
Notable players definitely gone: Akwasi Yeboah, Shaq CarterNotable players expected to also leave: N/ANotable players expected to return: Ron Harper Jr., Geo Baker, Jacob Young, Myles Johnson, Montez Mathis, Caleb McConnell, Paul MulcahyExpected additions: Cliff Omoruyi, Mawot Mag, Dean Reiber, Oskar Palmquist
Coach: Jerod Haase
2019-20 record: 20-12
Notable players definitely gone: Isaac WhiteNotable players expected to also leave: N/ANotable players expected to return: Oscar da Silva, Tyrell Terry, Spencer Jones, Daejon Davis, Bryce Willis, Jaiden Delaire, Lukas Kisunas, James KeefeExpected additions: Ziaire Williams, Max Murrell, Noah Taitz, Brandon Angel
Coach: Mick Cronin
2019-20 record: 19-12
Notable players definitely gone: Prince Ali, Alex OlesinskiNotable players expected to also leave: N/ANotable players expected to return: Chris Smith, Jalen Hill, Jaime Jaquez, Cody Riley, Tyger Campbell, Jules Bernard, Jake Kyman, David SingletonExpected additions: Jaylen Clark, Kenneth Nwuba, Johnny Juzang
Coach: Archie Miller
2019-20 record: 20-12
Notable players definitely gone: Devonte Green, Justin Smith, Damezi Anderson, De’Ron Davis Notable players expected to also leave: N/ANotable players expected to return: Trayce Jackson-Davis, Al Durham, Rob Phinisee, Joey Brunk, Jerome Hunter, Armaan Franklin, Race Thompson Expected additions: Khristian Lander, Jordan Geronimo, Anthony Leal, Trey Galloway
Coach: Eric Musselman
2019-20 record: 20-12
Notable players definitely gone: Mason Jones, Jimmy Whitt, Jalen Harris, Adrio Bailey, Jeantal Cylla, Reggie ChaneyNotable players expected to also leave: N/ANotable players expected to return: Isaiah Joe, Desi Sills, Ethan HendersonExpected additions: Moses Moody, KK Robinson, Jaylin Williams, Davonte Davis, J.D. Notae, Connor Vanover, Abayomi Iyiola, Vance Jackson, Jalen Tate, Justin Smith
Coach: Penny Hardaway
2019-20 record: 21-10
Notable players definitely gone: Precious Achiuwa, Tyler Harris, Isaiah MauriceNotable players expected to also leave: N/ANotable players expected to return: D.J. Jeffries, Lester Quinones, Boogie Ellis, Alex Lomax, Lance Thomas, Damion Baugh, Malcolm Dandridge, Jayden HardawayExpected additions: Moussa Cisse, Isaiah Stokes, Ahmad Rand, Conor Glennon
26. Arizona State
Coach: Bobby Hurley
2019-20 record: 20-11
Notable players definitely gone: Rob Edwards, Romello White, Mickey Mitchell, Khalid Thomas Notable players expected to also leave: N/ANotable players expected to return: Remy Martin, Alonzo Verge, Kimani Lawrence, Taeshon Cherry, Jaelen House, Jalen Graham Expected additions: Joshua Christopher, Marcus Bagley