With the men’s and women’s national champions crowned the past two days, the 2020-21 college basketball season is now officially over and it is time to start looking ahead to next season. Following in tradition, ESPN released its men’s and women’s Way-Too-Early Top 25 rankings last night and both lists featured the Mountaineers.
— WVU Women's Basketball (@WVUWBB) April 6, 2021
The WVU women ranked higher, coming in at No. 16. Despite the loss of leading scorer Kysre Gondrezick to the WNBA, ESPN likes the Mountaineers’ core of returners in KK Deans, Esmery Martinez, Kari Niblack and Madisen Smith. They also like coach Mike Carey’s recent additions of Xavier transfer Ari Gray and Mississippi State transfer Yemiyah Morris.
ESPN is much lower on the WVU men, however. With questions abound about who the Mountaineers will actually bring back to next season’s team, ESPN put WVU last on the list at No. 25.
Way-Too-Early Top 25:
4. Ohio State
9. Florida State
10. Virginia Tech
The rest ⬇️https://t.co/KMSgUg7TqE
— Jeff Borzello (@jeffborzello) April 6, 2021
With Jordan McCabe and Emmitt Matthews already gone, ESPN also predicted that the Mountaineers will lose Miles “Deuce” McBride to the NBA and that Taz Sherman will not return for an extra season. That would leave WVU’s best returners being First Team All-big 12 forward Derek Culver and sharpshooter Sean McNeil. Gabe Osabuohien has already announced he will come back for an extra year and underclassman Jalen Bridges should progress as well, but ESPN’s outlook of the team appropriately ends with: “There are some questions in Morgantown.”