By Gabe Goldman
College Basketball is back, and we are due for another superb season full of heartbreakers, buzzer beaters, and upsets. The talent this year is like no other, and excitement is soaring as the fans are back, and they are LOUD!
After last year’s whirlwind of an NCAA tournament, Gonzaga and UCLA topped the preseason rankings for the 2021-2022 season. After losing freshman phenomenon Jalen Suggs, and 3 point-specialist Corey Kispert, Gonzaga lucked out when superstar center Drew Timme decided not to declare for the draft, as well as picking up the number 1 recruit in the class of 2021, 7-foot-1 Chet Holmgren. UCLA on the other hand is a very similar team to the one that had made the final four last year. 2020 NCAA Tournament MVP, Johnny Juzang made the critical decision to stay at UCLA, and other role players including Jaime Jaquez Jr. decided the same. Both teams are very much title contenders, and so far have looked fantastic.
After a painful season last year for Duke (missing the NCAA tournament because of COVID-19 protocol), their team wants it more than ever when long time, legendary coach Mike Krzyzewski announced that he is going to retire after this season. Now, in Week 4, Duke (7-1) is leading the AP Top 25, with wins over No. 10 Kentucky, and former No. 1 Gonzaga, truly proving their point.
In the BIG 10 conference, Michigan (5-3) started the season in the top 5 of the AP Top 25. Going into the year, hopes were very high– Michigan had the 3rd best-recruiting class bringing in 5-star recruits Caleb Houstan (SF) and Moussa Diabate (PF/C) under 2nd-year coach, Juwan Howard. However, they have just not been living up to their expectations, losing to Seton Hall, Arizona, and UNC. After being asked to describe Michigan basketball this year in 3 words, superfan and freshman at Byram Hills Aidan Schissler said, “Skilled but discombobulated.” Also in the BIG 10, Purdue (8-0), led by sophomore Jaden Ivey, has looked magnificent, climbing up the polls to the No. 2 spot with wins over No. 5 Villanova, UNC, and Iowa.
This is going to be a thrilling college basketball season, so maybe instead of binge-watching your favorite Netflix show, flip to a game, grab your college gear, and have some fun watching these teams duel it out!