College basketball rankings: With Collin Gillespie and Jermaine Samuels returning Villanova jumps to No. 3

One of the things I’ve consistently noted in recent years is how college basketball’s national champion is usually a team that gets back a player or two who could’ve reasonably moved on but decided, for whatever reason, to return for one more year of college.

Baylor is the most recent example.

Jared Butler and MaCio Teague each initially entered the 2020 NBA Draft. But, as the deadline to withdraw approached, both opted to return to school — and the result was the Bears going 28-2 en route to winning the 2021 NCAA Tournament. I bring this up now because Monday was a great day (for similar reasons) for Villanova. Both Collin Gillespie and Jermaine Samuels announced they’re going to take advantage of the extra year of eligibility the NCAA has granted all seniors, which means the Wildcats are now set to return four of the top five scorers from a team that won the Big East regular-season championship by multiple games. As a result, the Wildcats are up to No. 3 in Version 3.0 of the 2021-22 CBS Sports Preseason Top 25 And 1. They are, on paper, good enough to give Jay Wright a real shot to become just the seventh Division I men’s basketball coach in history to win at least three national titles.

UCLA remains No. 1 in the Top 25 And 1 based on the assumption that every meaningful piece that helped the Bruins make the Final Four, and finish 13th at KenPom.com, will return. Obviously, Johnny Juzang has a decision to make about the NBA Draft. But if he comes back, and picks up right where he left off, UCLA — which is adding five-star prospect Peyton Watson to its experienced core — should have a real chance to win what would be the 12th national title in school history.

Who’s next at Arizona? Did UNC make the right hire in Hubert Davis? The latest Eye on College Basketball podcast looks at the coaching carousel.  

Top 25 And 1 rankings

Biggest Movers

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Teams

 

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1


UCLA

Every meaningful player who helped the Bruins make the Final Four is currently projected back on campus – among them NCAA Tournament star Johnny Juzang. UCLA will add five-star prospect Peyton Watson and should have all of the pieces necessary to win a national title.

22-10

2


Gonzaga

Jalen Suggs and Joel Ayayi are both entering the NBA Draft, but Gonzaga is expected to add two five-star prospects in Chet Holmgren and Hunter Sallis, the former of whom is the consensus No. 1 player in the Class of 2021. Combine them with a possible core of Drew Timme, Andrew Nembhard and Anton Watson, and the Zags should be a Final Four contender again. 31-1

3


Villanova

The return of Collin Gillispie and Jermaine Samuels means the Wildcats will return four of the top five scorers from a team that won the Big East title by multiple games. So Jay Wright will have the pieces necessary to compete for his third national championship. 9 18-7

4


Alabama

The Crimson Tide should return four of the top seven scorers from a team that won the SEC regular-season title and SEC Tournament – most notably Jaden Shackelford and Jahvon Quinerly. The addition of five-star point guard JD Davison and four-star big Charles Bediako gives Nate Oats a chance at back-to-back conference championships.

1 26-7

5


Duke

Duke is the only program expected to add three five-star prospects from the Class of 2021 – among them Paolo Banchero and AJ Griffin, both of whom project as one-and-done top-10 NBA Draft picks. So even if Matthew Hurt joins DJ Steward in the NBA Draft, Mike Krzyzewski should still have enough talent to take the Blue Devils back to the top of the sport.

1 13-11

6


Baylor

The Bears are expected to lose Davion Mitchell and Jared Butler to the NBA Draft. But if Baylor keeps a core of Adam Flagler, Matthew Mayer and Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua, and enrolls its top-10 recruiting class highlighted by five-star wing Kendall Brown, Scott Drew can make a run at another national title. 1 28-2

7


Ohio St.

The projection here is that Ohio State will return the top three scorers – Duane Washington Jr., E.J. Liddell and Justice Sueing – from a team that earned a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Malaki Branham, a consensus top-30 prospect in the Class of 2021, is an incoming recruit who should make an immediate impact.

1 21-10

8


Kansas

Kansas is projected to return four starters from a team that went 9-2 in its final 11 games and advanced in the NCAA Tournament. The recent addition of Joseph Yesufu, a transfer who averaged 12.8 points at Drake this season, will enhance the Jayhawks’ shot-making ability. 1 21-9

9


Arkansas

The Razorbacks are losing a lot – including projected first-round pick Moses Moody. But JD Notae should return as a double-digit scorer, and Eric Musselman is adding at least four experienced double-digit scorers via the transfer market, mostly notably Chris Lykes (Miami) and Au’Diese Toney (Pitt).

1 25-7

10


Florida St.

The Seminoles should be really good again despite the likely losses of MJ Walker, RaiQuan Gray and Scottie Barnes thanks to the expected return of proven pieces like Anthony Polite, Balsa Koprivica and Malik Osborne. To that core, Florida State will add the nation’s second-ranked recruiting class – one highlighted by former Houston standout Caleb Mills and five-star wing Matthew Cleveland.

1 18-7

11


Michigan

This ranking is tied to the idea that Franz Wagner will enter the NBA Draft while Hunter Dickinson returns for his sophomore season at Michigan, where he’ll likely be the preseason Big Ten Player of the Year. The 7-foot-1 center would be the perfect experienced piece to pair with the nation’s top-ranked recruiting class featuring five star prospects Caleb Houstan and Moussa Diabate.

1 23-5

12


Purdue

The Boilermakers have no seniors and zero obvious NBA prospects, meaning everybody who matters should return from a team that received a No. 4 seed in the NCAA Tournament. The star is Trevion Williams, who averaged 15.5 points and 9.1 rebounds as a junior.

1 18-10

13


Houston

As long as Kelvin Sampson remains the coach, Houston will likely be a mainstay in the Top 25 And 1. The early loss of Quentin Grimes will hurt, but probably not too much with Marcus Sasser and Tramon Mark set to return.

28-4

14


Maryland

Mark Turgeon has used the transfer market to add a quality guard (Fatts Russell) and big (Qudus Wahab). That should be enough to offset the loss of Darryl Morsell and get the Terrapins to the Big Dance for the sixth time in a span of seven NCAA Tournaments.

17-14

15


Kentucky

The expected return of Keion Brooks, Dontaie Allen and Jacob Toppin gives John Calipari a core of three players who averaged at least 14 minutes per game this season. He’ll fill out the roster with a top-five recruiting class and at least two impactful transfers – namely Kellan Grady (Davidson) and Oscar Tshiebwe (West Virginia).

9-16

16


N. Carolina

North Carolina’s decision to promote Hubert Davis suggests the school should be able to keep Armando Bacot, Caleb Love and much of the rotation on campus. That’s why Year 1 of the post-Roy Williams era is likely to be successful.

18-11

17


Connecticut

Dan Hurley has rebuilt UConn to the point where it can be a consistent challenger to Villanova in the Big East. Even the early loss of James Bouknight, a projected first-round NBA Draft pick, shouldn’t change that.

15-8

18


Michigan St.

Aaron Henry is following Joshua Langford and Rocket Watts out the door. But the arrival of five-star guard Max Christie and Northeastern transfer Tyson Walker should have Tom Izzo in his 24th straight NCAA Tournament.

15-13

19


St. Bona.

All five starters from a team that won the Atlantic 10 regular-season title and Atlantic 10 Tournament are expected back – most notably Kyle Lofton, who averaged 14.4 points and 5.5 assists as a junior. Wake Forest transfer Quadry Adams will provide depth.

16-5

20


Virginia

Trey Murphy is expected to remain in the NBA Draft, which means Virginia will likely lose its top three scorers. But Kihei Clark will provide Tony Bennett with an experienced point guard capable of keeping the Cavaliers near the top of the ACC, and the addition of East Carolina transfer Jayden Gardner could be a big boost.

1 18-7

21


Auburn

Auburn’s frontcourt of Jabari Smith and Walker Kessler might end up being the best frontcourt in the SEC. That’s two five-star high school prospects joining a roster returning two double-digit scorers.

NR 13-14

22


USC

Andy Enfield should have the Trojans back in the NCAA Tournament – as long as Isaiah Mobley doesn’t join his brother, Evan Mobley, in the NBA Draft. A top-15 recruiting class highlighted by Reese Dixon-Waters and Memphis transfer Boogie Ellis will help offset the departures.

2 25-8

23


Oregon

Dana Altman is among the best at reloading his roster each offseason via the transfer market. So it’s safe to assume he’ll find enough good pieces to supplement a core of Will Richardson and Eric Williams, both of whom averaged double-figures this season.

1 21-7

24


Syracuse

The Orange have three players in the transfer portal – among them Kadary Richmond, a talented freshman guard with size. But the top three scorers from a Sweet 16 team should be back, including Buddy Boeheim, who averaged 22.3 points in the NCAA Tournament.

1 18-10

25


Tennessee

Yves Pons’ decision to join Jaden Springer and Keon Johnson in NBA Draft makes it likely that Tennessee will be replacing four of its top five scorers. But a core of Victor Bailey, Santiago Vescovi and Josiah-Jordan James should pair nicely with a recruiting class highlighted by the best point guard in the Class of 2021 (Kennedy Chandler) and another newcomer who just averaged 11.7 points while shooting 44.2% from 3-point range at Auburn (Justin Powell).

1 18-9

26


Va. Tech

The top four scorers from a team that made the NCAA Tournament are expected to return – among them Keve Aluma, who averaged 15.2 points and 7.9 rebounds this season. They’ll be joined by a pair of transfers (USF’s Michael Durr and Wofford’s Storm Murphy) who should help Virginia Tech compete for the ACC title. 1 15-7

Roster breakdown

1. UCLA

Coach: Mick Cronin

2020-21 record: 22-10

Notable players expected to leave: Chris Smith

Notable players expected to return: Johnny Juzang, Jaime Jaquez, Jules Bernard, Tyger Campbell, Cody Riley, David Singleton, Jake Kyman, Mac Etienne, Jaylen Clark, Kenneth Nwuba

Expected additions: Peyton Watson, Will McClendon

2. GONZAGA

Coach: Mark Few

2020-21 record: 31-1

Notable players expected to leave: Corey Kispert, Jalen Suggs, Joel Ayayi, Aaron Cook, Oumar Ballo, Pavel Zakharov

Notable players expected to return: Drew Timme, Andrew Nembhard, Anton Watson, Julian Strawther, Dominick Harris, Ben Gregg

Expected additions: Chet Holmgren, Hunter Sallis, Kaden Perry

3. VILLANOVA

Coach: Jay Wright

2020-21 record: 18-7

Notable players expected to leave: Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, Cole Swider

Notable players expected to return: Collin Gillespie, Justin Moore, Caleb Daniels, Brandon Slater, Eric Dixon, Bryan Antoine, Chris Arcidiacono, Trey Patterson

Expected additions: Jordan Longino, Nnanna Njoku, Angelo Brizzi

4. ALABAMA

Coach: Nate Oats

2020-21 record: 

Notable players expected to leave: Herb Jones, John Petty, Alex Reese, Jordan Bruner

Notable players expected to return: Jaden Shackelford, Jahvon Quinerly, Joshua Primo, Keon Ellis, Juwan Gary, James Rojas, Darius Miles, Keon Ambrose-Hylton

Expected additions: Noah Gurley, JD Davison, Charles Bediako, Jusaun Holt, Nimari Burnett, Alex Tchikou

5. DUKE

Coach: Mike Krzyzewski

2020-21 record: 13-11

Notable players expected to leave: Matthew Hurt, DJ Steward, Jordan Goldwire, Jaemyn Brakefield, Patrick Tape

Notable players expected to return: Wendell Moore, Jeremy Roach, Mark Williams, Joey Baker, Henry Coleman

Expected additions: Paolo Banchero, AJ Griffin, Trevor Keels

6. BAYLOR

Coach: Scott Drew

2020-21 record: 28-2

Notable players expected to leave: Jared Butler, Davion Mitchell, MaCio Teague, Mark Vital

Notable players expected to return: Adam Flagler, Matthew Mayer, Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchouwa, L.J. Cryer, Flo Thamba, Zach Loveday, Jordan Turner

Expected additions: Kendall Brown, Langston Love, Jeremy Sochan

7. OHIO STATE

Coach: Chris Holtmann

2020-21 record: 21-10

Notable players expected to leave: CJ Walker, Kyle Young, Musa Jallow, Jimmy Sotos

Notable players expected to return: Duane Washington, E.J. Liddell, Justice Sueing, Justin Ahrens, Zed Key, Seth Towns, Meechie Johnson, Eugene Brown

Expected additions: Malaki Branham, Kalen Etzler, Jamari Wheeler

8. KANSAS

Coach: Bill Self

2020-21 record: 21-9

Notable players expected to leave: Marcus Garret, Bryce Thompson, Tyon Grant-Foster, Tristan Enaruna, Gethro Muscadin

Notable players expected to return: Ochai Agbaji, David McCormack, Jalen Wilson, Christian Braun, Bryce Thompson, Mitch Lightfoot, Dajuan Harris, Chris Teahan

Expected additions: Joseph Yesufu, Cam Martin, Zach Clemence, KJ Adams, Bobby Pettiford, Sydney Curry

9. ARKANSAS

Coach: Eric Musselman

2020-21 record: 25-7

Notable players expected to leave: Moses Moody, Justin Smith, Jalen Tate, Desi Sills, Vance Jackson, Ethan Henderson

Notable players expected to return: JD Notae, Davonte Davis, Connor Vanover, Jaylin Williams, Khalen Robinson

Expected additions: Au’Diese Toney, Chris Lykes, Stanley Umode, Kamani Johnson, Chance Moore, Akol Mawein

10. FLORIDA STATE

Coach: Leonard Hamilton

2020-21 record: 18-7

Notable players expected to leave: MJ Walker, RaiQuan Gray, Scottie Barnes, RayQuan Evans, Nathaniel Jack, Tanor Ngom

Notable players expected to return: Anthony Polite, Balsa Koprivica, Malik Osborne, Sardaar Calhoun, Wyatt Wilkes, Quincy Ballard

Expected additions: Caleb Mills, Matthew Cleveland, Jalen Warley, John Butler, Naheem McLeod

11. MICHIGAN

Coach: Juwan Howard

2020-21 record: 23-5

Notable players expected to leave: Isaiah Livers, Franz Wagner, Eli Brooks, Mike Smith, Chaundee Brown, Austin Davis

Notable players expected to return: Hunter Dickinson, Brandon Johns, Terrence Williams, Zeb Jackson, Jace Howard

Expected additions: Caleb Houston, Moussa Diabate, Kobe Bufkin, Frankie Collins, Isaiah Barnes, Will Tschetter

12. PURDUE

Coach: Matt Painter

2020-21 record: 18-10

Notable players expected to leave: Aaron Wheeler, Emmanuel Dowuona

Notable players expected to return: Trevion Williams, Jaden Ivey, Sasha Stefanovic, Zach Edey, Eric Hunter Jr., Brandon Newman, Mason Gillis, Isaiah Thompson, Ethan Morton.

Expected additions: Trey Kaufman, Caleb Furst

13. HOUSTON

Coach: Kelvin Sampson

2020-21 record: 28-4

Notable players expected to leave: Quentin Grimes, Dejon Jarreau, Justin Gorham, Bryson Gresham, Cameron Tyson

Notable players expected to return: Marcus Sasser, Tramon Mark, Fabian White, Reggie Chaney, Jamal Shead, Kiyron Powell, J’Wan Roberts

Expected additions: Ja’Vier Francis, Taze Moore, Ramon Walker, Robbie Armbrester, Josh Carlton

14. MARYLAND

Coach: Mark Turgeon

2020-21 record: 17-14

Notable players expected to leave: Darryl Morsell, Galin Smith, Chol Marial, Aquan Smart, Reese Mona

Notable players expected to return: Eric Ayala, Aaron Wiggins, Donta Scott, Hakim Hart, Jairus Hamilton, James Graham III, Marcus Dockery

Expected additions: Qudus Wahab, Fatts Russell, Julian Reese, Ike Cornish

15. KENTUCKY

Coach: John Caliipari

2020-21 record: 9-16

Notable players expected to leave: Brandon Boston, Olivier Sarr, Terrence Clarke, Isaiah Jackson, Devin Askew, Cam’Ron Fletcher

Notable players expected to return: Davion Mintz, Keion Brooks, Dontaie Allen, Jacob Toppin, Lance Ware

Expected additions: Kellan Grady, Oscar Tshiebwe, Daimion Colliins, Bryce Hopkins, Nolan Hickman

16. NORTH CAROLINA

Coach: Hubert Davis

2020-21 record: 18-11

Notable players expected to leave: Garrison Brooks, Day’Ron Sharpe, Walker Kessler, Andrew Playtek, Sterling Manley

Notable players expected to return: Armando Bacot, Caleb Love, R.J. Davis, Kerwin Walton, Leaky Black, Anthony Harris, Puff Johnson.

Expected additions: Dontrez Styles, D’Marco Dunn, Justin McKoy

17. UCONN

Coach: Dan Hurley

2020-21 record: 15-8

Notable players expected to leave: James Bouknight, Tyler Polley, Brendan Adams, Josh Carlton

Notable players expected to return: R.J. Cole, Tyrese Martin, Isaiah Whaley, Adama Sanogo, Jalen Gaffney, Andre Jackson, Akok Akok, Richie Springs

Expected additions: Rahsool Diggins, Jordan Hawkins, Samson Johnson

18. MICHIGAN STATE

Coach: Tom Izzo

2020-21 record: 15-13

Notable players expected to leave: Aaron Henry, Joshua Langford, Rocket Watts

Notable players expected to return: Joey Hauser, Gabe Brown, Malik Hall, Foster Loyer, Julius Marble, Marcus Bingham, AJ Hoggard, Thomas Kithier, Mady Sissoko

Expected additions: Tyson Walker, Max Christie, Jaden Akins, Pierre Brooks

19. ST. BONAVENTURE

Coach: Mark Schmidt

2020-21 record: 16-5

Notable players expected to leave: Alejandro Vasquez, Jalen Shaw, Jermaine Taggart

Notable players expected to return:  Kyle Lofton, Jaren Holmes, Jalen Adaway, Dominick Welch, Osun Osunniyi, Alpha Okoli, Eddie Creal

Expected additions: Justin Ndjock, Quadry Adams, Abdoul Karim, Coulibaly, Oluwasegun Durosinmi

20. VIRGINIA

Coach: Tony Bennett

2020-21 record: 18-17

Notable players expected to leave: Sam Hauser, Jay Huff, Trey Murphy, Tomas Woldentensae, Jabri Abdur-Rahim, Casey Morsell, Justin McKoy

Notable players expected to return: Kihei Clark, Reece Beekman, Kody Stattman, Kadin Shedrick, Francisco Caffaro, Carson McCorkle, Chase Coleman, Malachi Poindexter

Expected additions: Armaan Franklin, Jayden Gardner, Taine Murray

21. AUBURN

Coach: Bruce Pearl

2020-21 record: 13-14

Notable players expected to leave: Sharife Cooper, Justin Powell, Jamal Johnson, Javon Franklin

Notable players expected to return: Allen Flanigan, Jaylin Williams, JT Thor, Devan Cambridge, Dylan Cardwell, Chris Moore, Babatunde Akingbola

Expected additions: Walker Kessler, Jabari Smith, Zeb Jasper, Wendell Green, Trey Alexander

22. USC

Coach: Andy Enfield

2020-21 record: 25-8

Notable players expected to leave: Evan Mobley, Tahj Eaddy, Isaiah White, Noah Baumann

Notable players expected to return: Isaiah Mobley, Drew Peterson, Ethan Anderson, Chevez Goodwin, Max Agbonkpolo, Reese Waters

Expected additions: Boogie Ellis, Malik Thomas, Harrison Hornery, Kobe Johnson, KJ Allen

23. OREGON

Coach: Dana Altman

2020-21 record: 21-7

Notable players expected to leave: Eugene Omoruyi, Chris Duarte, LJ Figueroa, Chandler Lawson, Amauri Hardy, Will Johnson

Notable players expected to return: Will Richardson, Eric Williams, N’Faly Dante, Aaron Estrada, Jalen Terry, Franck Kepnang, Lok Wur

Expected additions: Nathan Bittle

24. SYRACUSE

Coach: Jim Boeheim

2020-21 record: 18-10

Notable players expected to leave: Marek Dolezaj, Kadary Richmond, Robert Braswell, Bourama Sidibe, John Bol Ajak

Notable players expected to return: Buddy Boeheim, Quincy Guerrier, Alan Griffin, Joseph Girard, Woody Newton, Jesse Edwards, Frank Anselem

Expected additions: Benny Williams, Cole Swider

25. TENNESSEE

Coach: Rick Barnes

2020-21 record: 18-9

Notable players expected to leave: Jaden Springer, Keon Johnson, John Fulkerson, Yves Pons, EJ Anosiki, Davonte Gaines, Drew Pember

Notable players expected to return: Victor Bailey, Santiago Vescovi, Josiah-Jordan James, Olivier Nkamhoua, Uros Plavsic

Expected additions: Kennedy Chandler, Justin Powell, Jahmai Mashack, Quentin Diboundje

26. VIRGINIA TECH

Coach: Mike Young

2020-21 record: 15-7

Notable players expected to leave: Jalen Cone, Wabissa Bede, Joe Bamisile, Cordell Pemsl

Notable players expected to return: Keve Aluma, Tyrece Radford, Nahiem Alleyne, Justyn Mutts, Hunter Cattoor, David N’Guessan, Darius Maddox, John Ojiako

Expected additions: Michael Durr, Storm Murphy, Sean Pedulla