Although March Madness is long gone and the NBA draft has concluded, we can look forward to the next college season of men’s NCAAB basketball to see who might be the top college basketball picks. Many teams made great strides and had great seasons while others underachieved.
Furthermore, we had some standout performances from players who are either progressing into their next college year or have gone on to bigger things in the G League or NBA. In this article, we are looking at NCAAB teams that improved this season and should do well next year too.
The Bluejays 2021-22 season could have ended differently as they gave eventual champions Kansas an incredible battle during March Madness. We expect this team to have excellent success this year as standout players such as Ryan Nembhard and Ryan Kalkbrenner both return. Additionally, they have managed to land Baylor Scheierman who was the Summit League Player of the Year. This should add to their depth and allow them to improve even more.
Kelvin Sampson appears to have found a winning formula at Houston and has built several excellent Cougar squads that have exceeded expectations. Indeed, during 2021-22 March Madness, the Cougars got all the way to the Elite 8 before eventually losing to Villanova.
Their roster appears to be even more loaded this year, however, and we can expect a further improvement. For example, they have returning guard Marcus Sasser, Tramon Mark and Jamal Shead who have each proved themselves as capable scorers and contributors to the team. We expect them to have a similar finish this season if not progressing further to the Final Four.
Arkansas had an excellent 2021-22 season and ended up finishing in the Elite 8 with a close loss to the Duke Blue Devils. During their March Madness run, they beat Vermont and New Mexico State along the way and delivered fantastic performances.
This makes it back-to-back seasons that they have achieved an Elite 8 finish, after a relatively underwhelming three-decade span of missing out. Hopefully this marks a consistent return to form. They have some great talent such as Jalen Graham and Makhi Mitchell to bolster the ranks.
Duke Blue Devils
Obviously the days of Zion Williamson are long gone after his NBA move to the Pelicans, but the Duke Blue Devils are certainly still up there in contention and have even improved since he left. They had a brilliant 2021-22 season and finished in the Final Four – losing to North Carolina in a tight 81-77 battle.
Although some major talent has progressed on to better things, Duke retains Jeremy Roach who played in the final four matches, and we are excited to see how this team develops in November.
Despite Indiana’s relatively disappointing first round exit in the previous March Madness at the hands of Saint Mary’s, they do appear to have found their form. On paper, their team for the next season looks fantastic and is loaded with potential.
They have Trayce Jackson-Davis who is dubbed by many to become a first-team All-American. Moreover, with potential stars like Malik Reneau and Jalen Hood-Schifino, they have a capable squad of perimeter shooters. It is expected that this year they could win the Big Ten and hopefully progress out of the first round of March Madness.
Arizona had a brilliant March Madness and surpassed expectations by finishing in the Sweet 16. They lost to Houston, but during the bracket they beat both Wright State and TCU. This Sweet 16 finish was largely due to Bennedict Mathurin, Dalen Terry and Christian Koloko, who are all off to the NBA, so we can’t expect a similar standing this year.
However, they still have a promising squad led by coach Tommy Lloyd who is looking to make a solid outing for 2022-23. This includes potential talent such as Kerr Kriisa, Oumar Ballo and Pelle Larsson – all of who are returning and have experience from the previous tournament.
We can’t wait for the NCAA Division I basketball season to start and November surely can’t arrive soon enough! Hopefully, the teams we have listed above should perform well and progress far in the brackets, but only time will tell! Our top pick is Arkansas after their excellent Elite 8 finish despite losing to Duke. We expect them to go far again this year with the core talent they have.