College basketball is so close, and the prospect of a season with relatively-few COVID-19 interruptions is extremely welcome, to say the least. The Full Court Sound Off podcast discussed some of the top storylines heading into the upcoming campaign on the men’s side of college basketball to preview what we’re all about to witness.
2021-22 Men’s College Basketball Preview
Can UCLA Win a National Championship?
UCLA went from First Four to Final Four in 2021. Pretty much everyone who made that happen is back for 2021-22, and as such, the Bruins are ranked preseason No. 2 in the country, according to the AP. But are they really going to be that good?
Though Justin thinks UCLA will be one of the best in the Pac-12 and will factor into the national conversation, he thinks No. 2 might be a little high. Mick Cronin has been rightly criticized in the past – does one run of games change that? Can Cronin-ball produce an elite team that competes at that level for an entire season? We’ll find out in 2021-22.
Does Gonzaga Get It Done?
One of the elephants in the men’s college basketball room the last few years has been Gonzaga’s getting close but not quite reaching that elusive national title it’s searching for. As the No. 1 team in the country with the No. 1 recruit in the country, is this the year of the Zag?
Solomon and Justin have a spirited debate about whether or not Gonzaga has underachieved over the years. It’s a topic Justin has felt strongly about for years, bucking against the narrative that the Zags are underperformers, while Solomon disagrees.
Is Memphis a Contender?
Memphis has burst onto the national scene this offseason with some big-time signings and enter the season as No. 12 in the nation. To Justin, this is a bit aggressive – sure, the Tigers will be one of the best in the American and should unquestionably be viewed as a tournament team, but he wants to see them do something on the court first before thinking they could be a serious factor in March. He’s seen too many teams get offseason hype off freshmen and a coach who is heralded as a recruiting guru over the years only to watch them not reach the lofty expectations set for them. He’d rather give the benefit of the doubt to some of the other teams that are ranked about Memphis in the AP Poll – like Oregon, Alabama, Arkansas, Ohio State, and Illinois – before hopping on the Tigers bandwagon.