Although many months away from the regular season, college basketball news is still popping up around the country. Let’s dive in and look at some of the recent headlines.
NCAA Considers Early Start
The National Collegiate Athletic Association asked conference leaders to consider an early start to the 2020-21 basketball season. The proposal would be a two-week early start to give the NCAA scheduling flexibility if there is a winter disturbance.
Currently, the basketball season is scheduled to begin contests on Nov. 10, which would mean moving the first contests to Oct. 27. A movement in the start of the season would also involve the shuffling of practices, which is set to being on Sept. 29. The goal of the early start is to give teams the best chance to play a full set of games given the uncertainty that surrounds the current collegiate athletic landscape.
With college campuses across the country already planning to shut down prior to Thanksgiving and before the start of second semester in January, it is almost a given that a handful of games over that timeframe will be canceled.
Starting earlier would allow for some of the high profile contests scheduled during the academic break to take place over the early start. Another option would allow teams in close proximity to play each other during the break to limit team travel.
Odds to Win
With all the uncertainty surrounding the basketball season, it is still worth getting an early look at teams that are favored to win the 2021 national championship. The opening lines are sure to fluctuate prior to the start of the season, given the near-certainty that schedules will change, but let us dive into who Vegas sees as the early favorites.
Villanova (+900) is the summer favorite, according to Vegas. The Wildcats return four of its five starters from last season’s 24-7 squad.
A surprise squad, the Iowa Hawkeyes (+1000), currently have the second-best odds along with the Kentucky Wildcats (+1000). This line is solely based on the return of last season’s player of the year Luka Garza. Garza currently has his name in the NBA draft pool but does have one year of eligibility remaining if he were to chose to stay in Iowa City.
Kentucky, followed by basketball bluebloods Gonzaga (+1100), and Virginia (+1100) round out the early top five. Kentucky will welcome the nation’s top recruiting class that features two five-star and four-star-rated prospects into their program.
The Zags welcome back a solid core of talent returning from last season as long as those players that tested the draft waters return. Coach Mark Few and company also signed arguably the program’s best recruiting class in school history.
Virginia, the last program to hoist the national championship trophy, finished last season with a 23-7 overall record. The Cavaliers return a majority of last’s season young squad and will welcome in two four-star prospects to bolster the lineup.