We finally know when the college basketball season will start: Nov. 25.
With that comes a 2020-21 campaign that’s full of promise and intrigue. There are returning stars, like Iowa’s Luka Garza, Illinois’ Ayo Dosunmu and Baylor’s Jared Butler and teams that should be among the nation’s best yet again, like Baylor, Gonzaga and Kansas.
Those players and teams are among the projected standouts who could play their way into the NCAA Division I men’s basketball record book.
Here are seven records or accomplishments that could be broken or reached next season.
1. Consecutive 30-win seasons
Record: Four — Kansas (2010-13), Villanova (2015-18), Gonzaga (2017-present)
Gonzaga (31-2) finished the 2020 season with more wins than any other program in the country and tied for the fewest losses in the country. The Bulldogs’ WCC tournament win over San Francisco in the semifinals of the tournament marked their 30th of the season and allowed Gonzaga to tie Kansas and Villanova with its fourth-consecutive 30-win season, a Division I men’s basketball record.
That makes Gonzaga on the precipice of an NCAA record, if the ‘Zags can reach 30 wins again in 2020-21. It could be more difficult than usual, since college basketball teams are limited to 27 regular-season games and if Gonzaga wins the WCC regular season championship again, the ‘Zags would only have the chance to play two games in its conference tournament. That means that even if Gonzaga only has two or three losses on Selection Sunday, the team might need to make the Elite Eight or Final Four in order to reach 30 wins.
But Mark Few’s squad is certainly capable of such a run as Gonzaga made the national championship game in 2017, the Elite Eight in 2015 and 2019, and the Sweet 16 in 2016 and 2018.
*Memphis won at least 30 games from 2006 through 2009, but its 2008 season was later vacated.
2. Consecutive 20-win seasons
Record: 31 — North Carolina (1971-2001), Kansas (1990-present)
Two of the strongest men’s basketball programs are currently tied atop the NCAA record book with 31 consecutive 20-win seasons. North Carolina’s record was built thanks to the coaching of Dean Smith, and later Bill Guthridge, as well as the play of standouts like Bob McAdoo, George Karl, Mitch Kupchak, Phil Ford, James Worthy, Sam Perkins, Michael Jordan, Brad Daugherty, Kenny Smith, Eric Montross, Jerry Stackhouse, Antawn Jamison and Vince Carter.
However, North Carolina’s streak came to an end after an eight-win season in 2002. The Tar Heels quickly rebuilt their streak, getting to 17 years in a row before last season’s 14-19 campaign.
Now, Kansas is 20 wins away from taking sole possession of the record.
3. 3-pointers made per game by a junior
Record: 4.96 3-pointers per game — Terrence Woods, Florida A&M (2003)
Detroit’s Antoine Davis, the high-scoring son of the school’s coach Mike Davis, holds the record for 3-pointers made per game by a freshman. Davis holds the record for most 3-pointers made in a season by a freshman with 132 — 10 more than Davidson’s Steph Curry, who’s second, 14 more than Oklahoma’s Trae Young and 19 more than Kentucky’s Jamal Murray. So, as a freshman, Davis put up some 3-point shooting numbers that are comparable to some of the NBA’s biggest stars.
Last season, Davis was the nation’s fourth-highest scorer at 24.3 points per game, after he averaged 26.1 points per game as a freshman. His 3-point production dropped some last season — from 4.4 per game to 3.4, and 38 percent to 32.4 percent — but if he can get hack to his freshman-year form, Davis could add his name to the record book again.
4. Lowest field-goal percentage allowed
Record: 35.2 percent — Stanford (2000)
Last season, Virginia’s defense held opponents to 37.5 percent. When the Cavaliers won the national championship in 2019, their defense was slightly better, as opponents made just 37.3 percent of their shots. The 2015 ‘Hoos had a 37.8 percent defensive field-goal percentage.
So, Tony Bennett’s squad has made it a habit of holding opponents below 40-percent shooting for the season, and in the second year of the extended 3-point line, there’s an additional reason why opponents could struggle against Virginia’s pack-line D.
Memphis led the country in defensive field-goal percentage allowed last season at 36.1 percent – just 0.9 percentage points behind Stanford’s record — but the Tigers lost their leading scorer, rebounder and shot-blocker Precious Achiuwa to the NBA.
Kansas (37.7 percent shooting allowed) and Rutgers (38.3 percent) were other teams with stingy defenses that return some key personnel.
5. Gonzaga’s consecutive home victories against San Francisco
Record: 32 wins (1989 to present)
Last season, the longest active head-to-head home winning streak in the sport — North Carolina against Clemson in Chapel Hill — finally ended with Clemson winning in overtime. The Tar Heels had won 59 games in a row against the Tigers before last season, which was 22 more games than the second-longest streak: Syracuse against Colgate.
With North Carolina-Clemson off the list, Gonzaga-San Francisco is now No. 4 on the list of active home winning streaks, with the ‘Zags having won their last 32 games at home against San Francisco.
Last season, the Dons went 22-12 under first-year coach Todd Golden, beating BYU, Yale, Princeton and California along the way. San Francisco’s season ended with an 81-77 loss to Gonzaga in the semifinals of the WCC tournament and the Dons finished the season ranked No. 74 on kenpom.com, with the conference’s No. 2 defense.
The team’s 22 wins last season tied the program’s best mark since it produced a 25-game winner in 1982.
While the team will have to replace leading scorer Charles Minlend, who transferred to Louisville, two of San Francisco’s three other double-figure scorers from last season — Jamaree Bouyea (12.2 ppg) and Khalil Shabazz (10.6 ppg) — return this season, giving the Dons a foundation to potentially build upon their 22-win campaign last season.
6. Double-doubles in a season
Record: 31 double-doubles — David Robinson, Navy (1986)
David Robinson, “The Admiral,” set this record nearly two generations ago. The record still stands, which obviously speaks to the impressiveness and unbreakableness (if that’s a word) of the record. However, Luka Garza appears to be the most likely candidate to make a run at Robinson’s record during the 2020-21 season.
Garza was fifth in the country in scoring last season at 23.9 points per game and 34th nationally in rebounds at 9.8 rebounds per game, which meant he almost averaged a double-double last season. Garza may be the preseason frontrunner for national player of the year this fall and he’ll be the centerpiece of an Iowa team that finished tied for fifth in the Big Ten last season.
In 31 games last season, Garza had 15 double-doubles, but he was just one rebound away from a double-double three times and two rebounds away seven times. He was one point and two rebounds shy of another double-double, which means he was a skip, hop and a jump away from finishing with 26 double-doubles last season.
Of course, a player — Garza or otherwise — would need his team to play as many games as possible to give him as many chances as possible to rack up double-doubles. The NCAA DI Council announced that the maximum number of regular-season games will be capped at 27 this season, which means Garza and Iowa would need to make deep runs in both the Big Ten and NCAA tournaments for him to potentially threaten Robinson’s record.
But nonetheless, if Garza’s rebounding and already impressive consistency can improve as a senior, his double-double total could reach the mid-to-high 20s, which would put him in the neighborhood of Robinson’s 34-year-old record.
7. 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds in a career
Achieved by 113 players through the 2019 season
If Garza makes a serious run at any sort of double-double record, then he’ll almost certainly reached the elite 2,000-point, 1,000-rebound club. Garza enters the 2020-21 season with 1,559 points and 660 rebounds, which means he needs at least 441 points and 340 rebounds to reach the 2k-1k mark.
As a junior, Garza scored 740 points and pulled down 305 rebounds, so he should eclipse the 2,000-point mark with ease, and if his per-game rebounding rate can improve, or if the Hawkeyes simply play more games, he can get there.
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