With the 2020 college football season finally in the record books, it is time to switch our focus to hoops.
So in both a catch-up and look-ahead mode, here are our Top 10 question—and hopefully—answers about the 2020-21 college basketball season.
1. Will there even be a Final Four and if so, when?
And, no one really knows.
Let's make one thing clear. They WILL finish the college basketball season this year. The NCAA can't take the financial hit of missing two consecutive March Madness tournaments.
But this COVID-19 business won't go away any time soon, so adjustments are being made on what appears to be a daily basis.
The biggest concession thus far is to hold the ENTIRE tournament in the Indianapolis area over a yet to be determined timeframe.
NCAA officials are willing to postpone the Final Four and tournament as long as it takes to play the games.
2. Who is the Super Major Conference this season?
Right now that would be the Big Ten, which could have as many as 11 invites in the 68-team field.
According to the NCAA's Net Rankings (which are now a major tool used by the NCAA Selection Committee in evaluating teams), the Big Ten has three of the Top Teams (No. 3 Michigan, No. 5 Iowa and No. 7 Illinois), five of the Top 25 (No. 15 Wisconsin and No. 25 Ohio State) and 11 teams (No. 35 Minnesota, No. 39 Maryland, No. 41 Penn State, No. 43 Purdue ,No. 45 Indiana and No. 50 Rutgers) in the Top 50. Northwestern (No. 59) is hovering near the Top 50.
Only traditionally late-closing Michigan State (No. 86 and 8-4) and hapless (in both football and basketball) Nebraska (No. 165, 3-8) are out of the mix right now.
The Big Ten's non-conference record is an impressive 67-14.
As the season progresses, the Big Ten, as is inevitable with all strong Major conferences, will pile up losses against each other.
But that will not diminish the talent of the teams who will emerge from the conference tournament and advance in the Big Ten tournament.
3. In what is already a weird season, what is the strangest event thus far?
Look at the Patriot League, which began the year as a 10 team one division mid-major conference.
Because of COVID-issues, the Patriot split into two three-team and one four-team division based on geography, with a baseball style regular season schedule of multiple in-division games and selected out of division games.
Still, there have been aberrations because of postponed games, the most startling is that two teams from the Patriot Southern Division (American and Loyola-Maryland) will not play their FIRST game of the year until this weekend.
Conference games are held with players wearing masks during the games.
Both American and Loyola had games postponed in December and are currently 0-0.
4. Has anyone seen Harvard Coach Tommy Amaker?
The last time we saw Amaker in his natural surroundings (Harvard men's basketball coach) was last March, when he was preparing his team for another serious run at an Ivy League title and a possible NCAA tournament bid.
Then COVID-19 shut down the college basketball season, and shut down both the football and (again) college basketball seasons in the Ivy League.
That left Amaker in a state of limbo, splitting time between Harvard and his house on Cape Cod with very little to do in the way of college basketball.
Amaker has made Harvard an NCAA bid contender almost every year since arriving in Cambridge 13 years ago. He won in earlier coaching stints at Seton Hall and Michigan.
He has a Duke pedigree.
Hold that thought then look across the Charles River at what is going on at Boston College, where BC, under the guidance of Jim Christian is again sailing towards another well under .500 (single digit victories) season.
Christian has been at BC since 2014 and has produced one winning season and never gotten the Eagles above .500 in the Atlantic Coast Conference
His current team is 3-9 heading into a two game ACC road trip at Notre Dame and at Virginia Tech.
Barring a miraculous turnaround over the next month, Christian's fate at BC appears sealed.
BC athletic director Patrick Kraft should have his ready list in his hands.
What seems obvious is that Amaker should be at the top of the list.
Let's see what happens.
5. Who will be in the Final Four?
Look for lots of chalk in this one. We are going to go with Gonzaga, Baylor, Iowa and Michigan.
6. Which players are must-see watches for the remaining games of the season?
Start with the Big Ten.
It is impossible to ignore Luka Garza at Iowa, who remains the main power source for the Hawkeyes' surge into the Top 10 this season.
The 6-foot-11 inch senior is averaging 27.6 points and 8.6 rebounds a game, which leads the country in scoring.
Illinois guard Ayo Dosunmu is averaging 22.4 points a game and is impossible to ignore whenever the Illini are playing.
Forwards Corey Kispert (21.1 points per game) and Drew Timme (18.5 ppg) are prime reasons why Gonzaga is unbeaten and ranked No. 1 and could make a run at the Top through the entire season.
A sleeper on a fringe NCAA tournament team is Providence guard David Duke who is doing just about everything in keeping the Friars in every game they play.
And, Michigan freshman Hunter Dickerson is a player on the cusp of being a prime-time player. The latest effort by the Wolverines was a rout of Wisconsin in which they outscored the Badgers by a ridiculous 43-26 margin, building a 69-29 edge.
7. What is the biggest surprise of the season, both good and bad?
Kentucky is 4-7, ranked 101 in the latest NET rankings, but has shown signs of life in the SEC, winning three of its first league games. But a 20 point loss to Alabama at Rupp Arena this week has gotten the natives restless about what Coach Cal is doing.
Duke (5-3) and North Carolina (8-4) both are struggling to reach the upper tier of the ACC. Both are NCAA tournament bubble teams right now.
On the good surprise side, Michigan's 11-0 (6-0) start in the Big Ten has been a pleasant surprise in Ann Arbor, especially in a year in which the football team went belly up.
8. Gonzaga is No. 1, but how good is No. 2 and unbeaten Baylor?
We will find out in the next several days. The Bears have a road game at Texas Tech, a home game against Kansas and a road game at Oklahoma State as their next challenges.
If they are still unbeaten after that, they are very much Final Four contenders.
9. Deja vu moment?
Georgetown at Syracuse in an ACC-Big East game last week. The Cuse won 74-69 but the Orange were 8-2, while Georgetown dropped to 3-9.
10. Is there a Cinderella Final Four team out there?
Let's try Drake. The Bulldogs are 13-0, one of only eight unbeaten teams remaining and have jumped to a 4-0 start in the tougher-than-you-think Missouri Valley Conference.
A key to the success? The Bulldogs are shooting 43.5 percent from three point range.