Preseason Stock Report: Buy Now

Posted by Matthew Eisenberg on October 28th, 2021

The first Associated Press Top 25 poll of the season has many familiar faces ranked among the top 25. Here is a look at four teams that did not crack the top 25 to begin the year, but are teams worth buying stock in now.

BYU: In the shadows of Gonzaga sits BYU, a team that won 20 games and earned a #6 seed in last season’s NCAA Tournament. While the Cougars do not return either Brandon Averette or Matt Haarms, they do bring back a pair of All-WCC preseason players in Alex Barcello and Caleb Lohner. Mark Pope’s team also adds a fifth-year senior in Te’Jon Lucas from Milwaukee where Lucas averaged 14 or more points per game, five or more assists per game, and four or more rebounds per game in each of the past two seasons.

Mark Pope Has an Underrated Team Returning (USA Today Images)

Florida: Last season ended in the Second Round of the NCAA Tournament after the Gators were upset by Oral Roberts. It was a season that also included the horrific on-court collapse of Keyontae Johnson. Mike White’s team did not receive a single vote in the preseason AP Poll and have been picked to finish seventh in the SEC by the media. It is a team that returns a trio of seniors in Tyree Appleby (11.3 PPG, 28.4 MPG), Colin Castleton (preseason All-SEC first team selection) and Anthony Duruji (6.1 PPG, 4.4 RPG in 22 MPG). In addition, the Gators add in three impact transfers including Myreon Jones from Penn State, Brandon McKissic from UMKC, and CJ Felder from Boston College. The three newcomers averaged a combined 42.2 points per game last season.

Richmond: A three-game losing streak to end the regular-season was likely what kept the Spiders out of the NCAA Tournament. This was a team that had wins at Kentucky, at Vanderbilt, and on a neutral-court against Loyola-Chicago last season. While leading scorer Blake Francis is gone, Chris Mooney returns nearly everyone else to his squad, including a quartet of players who averaged 12 or more points per game. While Richmond earned a sprinkling of votes in the AP Poll, this is a squad poised to spend time during the season in the Top 25.

Virginia Tech: After going 7-13 in ACC play in Mike Young’s first season in Blacksburg during the 2019-20 season, his Hokies went 9-4 in league play last season. Virginia Tech heads into this season returning Keve Aluma, Justyn Mutts, and Nahiem Alleyne. Aluma averaged 15.2 points and 7.9 rebounds per game last season and was the media’s second pick to win the ACC Player of the Year Award in the preseason poll. Mike Young adds a familiar face in former Wofford guard Storm Murphy, a player who has started 119 college games and is coming off of a season in which he averaged 17.8 points per game and shot 40 percent from deep on 175 attempts.

Matthew Eisenberg (140 Posts)

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