Before the men’s 2021 NCAA tournament bracket was unveiled, I made 68 March Madness predictions in honor of the 68 teams in the tournament. I went 29-38, with one pick — that Gonzaga’s Jalen Suggs would be the highest-drafted player among those who competed in this year’s Final Four — still to be determined.
There were correct picks (No. 1 Gonzaga and No. 2 Baylor would meet in the national championship; at least one of Iowa or Ohio State would not make it past the second round; nine double-digit seeds would win in the first round) and there were lots of wrong picks, too.
Now it’s time to look forward to the 2021-22 men’s basketball season and make some way-too-early predictions.
1. There will be more Pac-12 teams will be ranked in the preseason AP Top 25 poll in 2021 than there were in 2020, when there were three.
2. Every team selected for the 2022 NCAA tournament will have at least two losses.
3. Only one of the four No. 1 seeds in the 2021 NCAA tournament will earn a No. 1 seed in 2022 — Gonzaga.
4. UCLA will earn a protected seed next season. That means a No. 1, No. 2, No. 3 or No. 4 seed.
5. Duke, Indiana, Kentucky and Louisville will return to the NCAA tournament next season.
6. Just like the 2020-21 season, only one consensus All-American will return from the previous season, and it’ll either be Michigan’s Hunter Dickinson or Gonzaga’s Drew Timme.
7. Gonzaga’s five-season streak of winning at least 30 games in a season will extend to six seasons.
8. There will be just one First Team All-American in 2022 who’s a freshman.
9. Villanova will win the Big East regular-season title by multiple games, lose in the Big East tournament final, then enter the NCAA tournament as a top-four seed.
10. Texas will win more games in its first season under new head coach Chris Beard than it has since at least 2015. All it takes is 22 wins.
11. The Pac-12 will have at least two teams seeded as high as its highest-seeded team in 2021 — No. 5 seed Colorado — but the conference won’t win as many NCAA tournament games in 2022 as it did in 2021.
12. The Big Ten will win at least two more NCAA tournament games in 2022 compared to the eight it won in 2021.
13. Purdue will win at least a share of the Big Ten regular-season title.
14. The Atlantic 10 will be responsible for at least three NCAA tournament bids in 2022.
15. Memphis will make the NCAA tournament for the first time under coach Penny Hardaway by earning a No. 9 seed or better.
16. Utah State will make its third consecutive NCAA tournament appearance, something the Aggies have only accomplished twice before in program history (1962-64 and 2009-11).
17. Alabama will have at least twice as many conference losses in 2022 as it had in 2021 (two), but it will still win at least a share of the SEC regular-season title.
18. At least two more programs in the Big East will make the NCAA tournament in 2022 compared to 2021 (four).
19. While there might be a first-time national champion head coach in 2022, it won’t be at a first-time national champion school.
20. There will be at least one team in the Final Four who starts at least two players who transferred into the program.
21. The ACC will finish with the most teams ranked in the final AP Top 25 poll, but the Big 12 and Big Ten will compete to be the most efficient conference in the country, per kenpom.com.
22. Home-court advantage will be at least three percentage points higher next season compared to 2021.