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Baylor earns No. 1 spot in preseason men’s basketball poll
USA TODAY Sports’ Scott Gleeson breaks down the latest men’s basketball coaches poll.
The USA TODAY Sports preseason men’s basketball coaches poll has been unveiled for the 2020-21 season, set to tip off in two weeks.
While the votes for the poll are based on returning and incoming talent, and the strength of an overall program, there’s always a handful of teams left out that were on the cusp of the top 25 and are deserving based on their potential.
A look at five snubbed teams from this year’s preseason poll:
Michigan (19-12 in 2019-20): Juwan Howard proved he can coach last season, keeping the Wolverines in the national conversation. He also proved he can recruit, as Michigan currently has the No. 1 recruiting class for 2021 per 247 Sports Composite list. But largely the reason this year’s roster doesn’t crack this preseason list is Howard’s top-two 2020 recruits he was close to finalizing opted to go different directions (five-star Joshua Christopher chose Arizona State over Michigan at the last minute and five-star Isaiah Todd opted to go to the G-League). Still, there’s enough talent here from returners Isaiah Livers, Franz Wagner and Eli Brooks to compete in the Big Ten. Wake Forest transfer Chaundee Brown and freshman Hunter Dickinson should help fill in the gaps.
Florida (19-12): Coach Michael White went out and got the nation’s top junior college transfer in Osayi Osifo, a 6-8 versatile forward. He’ll join a returning nucleus of Keyontae Johnson, Tre Mann and Noah Locke. Rising sophomore Scottie Lewis held off jumping to the NBA and is due for a breakout campaign.
PRESEASON POLL: Baylor narrowly edges Gonzaga, Villanova for top spot
TEAM OUTLOOKS: Analyzing each of the Top 25 teams in the preseason poll
LSU (21-10): Coach Will Wade brings back plenty of talent – including several players averaging double figures like Trendon Watford and Javonte Smart – and welcomes five-star guard Cameron Thomas. This group should be well positioned to vie for the SEC title. Transfer Shareef O’Neal, Shaquille O’Neal’s son and a former five-star talent, could be an X-Factor for this team.
Oklahoma State (18-14): The Cowboys are ineligible for the NCAA tournament but welcome the nation’s top recruit, Cade Cunningham (No. 1 per 247 Sports Composite list) to a roster that will have size and athleticism. Guard Isaac Likekele, the team’s second-leading scorer, could be an ideal sidekick to Cunningham.
Louisville (24-7): Rising sophomoresDavid Johnson and Samuell Williamson are poised to take major steps, and coach Chris Mack will position this team as a contender in the ACC. Graduate transfer Carlik Jones averaged 20 points a game at Radford and brings much-needed scoring.
Follow college basketball reporter Scott Gleeson on Twitter @ScottMGleeson.