The late great Skip Prosser used to say “never delay gratitude”.
I am so thankful for so many things around the game as we enter the 2021-2022 season.
Gratitude is the overwhelming feeling after a 2021 season that was tarnished by the global pandemic. There is renewed hope for a return to normalcy this season, which means fans will be in the stands. The game last year was great, even if any matches were played at all. But the environments were far from normal. They were silent, even sterile. They lacked the energy and enthusiasm of a full house. It was like a comedy club with no audience. The comedians’ jokes were just as funny and just as well delivered, but the experience was lacking without people in the audience laughing. Let’s hope the 2021-22 season brings back a full, loud and boisterous crowd to cheer on the players. They deserve it. We all do.
I am also grateful that so many quality players are returning. The game is older and more experienced than in previous seasons, with seniors, “Super Seniors” and higher classes leading the way. We always say we want to, even if it’s more of a value judgment than a reality. And I’m thankful for such a great incoming freshman class, full of so many Uber talented newcomers adding to the mix.
I am grateful for another year to celebrate Mike Krzyzewski, arguably the greatest coach of all time, and to watch his team make another title. I am eternally grateful that we have many more iconic coaches like Tom Izzo, Jay Wright, Mark Few, Tony Bennett and Bill Self. The game has always had excellent coaches and the changing of the older guards doesn’t mean the game isn’t still in the best hands. It is.
I am grateful to have had Roy Williams in the game for so long and to have an outstanding coaching talent in Hubert Davis who has been taking over since his retirement.
And I am eternally grateful to Dick Vitale, who has been the face and voice of the game for over forty years. Dickie V is going through an uphill battle with cancer and is fighting hard through chemotherapy so he can get back to the microphone as soon as possible. I know he will. This Opus is dedicated to the great Dick Vitale, without whom the game simply wouldn’t be the same. Come back soon, Dickie V!
As you all know, the Opus is the definitive, predictive take on the game and offers the most comprehensive perspective of the college basketball landscape in the universe. The Opus is not a ‘preview’, it is the most accurate roadmap of what will happen next season. What gives The Opus such a crystal ball-like panorama of the game? The Bilastrator’s gigantic, supercharged skull, which is packed with more basketball knowledge than all the Hall of Fame coaches (living and dead) combined. The Opus tells you exactly which teams, players and coaches will influence the coming season, and can be used by the masses to bring down every gambling channel on the planet, if one wanted to. So use Opus wisely as it can crash the global economy if used for evil instead of good.
The Opus brings you the best title favorites, the best Final Four candidates, the best mid-majors, All-Americans, top scorers, top defenders and the best basketball environments. Opus is never wrong; it’s always right. The Opus is, without reasonable discussion, the $#!+. Really recognize really. And while we’re on the subject of gratitude, let’s talk about your gratitude for Opus.
Do not mention it.
2021-22 Bilastrator’s Top National Championship Favorites
As is always the case in Opus, the national champion will come from this great group. It never fails as the Opus annually identifies the champion and the real contenders:
Despite what the Zags lost to last season’s spectacular squad that made it to the title match, Gonzaga will be formidable. Back are Drew Timme, the best offensive big man in the nation, and Andrew Nembhard, one of the best game-making guards in the country, add super freshman Chet Holmgren, who can do anything at 6 feet tall, and an upgraded Anton Watson, and you’ve got another Gonzaga team worthy of a No. 1 ranking and tearing down the nets at the end of the season.