College Hoops Predictions: Is This Gonzaga’s Year?

What sets college basketball apart from college soccer is its unpredictability, unexpected results, and magical moments that no one could have seen coming. Below, Zach Brailler of The Post makes four bold predictions for the upcoming season:

Gonzaga gets the job done

Gonzaga head coach Mark Few talks to Drew Timme on the bench during the game between the Cal State Bakersfield Roadrunners and the Gonzaga Bulldogs at the McCarthey Athletic Center in Spokane, Washington, on Nov. 23, 2019.
Drew Timme and Gonzaga coach Mark Few are back in Spokane to try and take the national title, a title that has been one of college basketball’s most winning programs in recent years.
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Gonzaga has won 127 games in the past four seasons, more than any other DI school. It has reached the title match in two of the last four tournaments. The only thing that is still missing is a national championship – until April. Mark Few’s Zags will finish what last year’s team couldn’t. They won’t be so dominant. They will lose a few regular season games — the non-conference schedule is brutal, including Duke, UCLA, Texas and Alabama — but will eventually win the crown that so many great Zags teams of the past have failed to take. No one will have an answer for the NBA-bound front-court duo of Drew Timme and 7-footer Chet Holmgren, who will be named the Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four — the first freshman to win the honor since Duke’s Tyus Jones in 2015.

Freshmen to follow

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee freshman Patrick Baldwin Jr.
Though he missed most of his final season with an injury, Patrick Baldwin Jr. averaged 24.3 points and 10 rebounds per game as a junior at his Wisconsin high school.
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In what should be one of the funniest stories of the season, freshman freshman Patrick Baldwin Jr. trying to get his father and coach at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Patrick Sr., to his first NCAA tournament. The mega-talented Baldwin, a 6-foot-9 marksman rated the fourth best player in his class by 247Sports.com, passed up the chance to play at Duke to join his father, who still has over .500. in four years as a head coach at the Horizon League school. He will rack up massive numbers in the mid-major league, the highest of any freshman, on his way to becoming a top-five NBA pick next summer.

Max adds to March feats

Max Abmas #3 of the Oral Roberts Golden Eagles will face Moses Moody #5 of the Arkansas Razorbacks in the Sweet Sixteen Round of the 2021 NCAA Division I Mens Basketball Tournament, held at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on March 27, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Max Abmas helped Oral Roberts become one of the surprises of the 2021 NCAA tournament by shooting 35 percent from behind the three-point line in four games.
NCAA Photos via Getty Images

Max Abmas made his name last March by leading Oral Roberts to Ohio and Florida in the NCAA tournament. The junior adds to that this year by becoming the first player to lead the country in consecutive seasons since Reggie Williams at the Virginia Military Institute in 2006-08. The six-foot Abmas, who needs to score even more this year for the Golden Eagles to succeed after Kevin Obanor’s high-scoring departure to Texas Tech, surpasses his 24.5 ppg average a year ago.

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