The Weekly Roundup: Basketball Is Back

Schedule changes, games to watch, and links to get you ready for the start of the NCAA season

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The week is finally here. It’s been 256 days since the college basketball season was abruptly halted, but only two days remain until the women’s NCAA season tips off for the 2020-21 season. College basketball will soon be a reality, but so are the implications of playing during the coronavirus pandemic. 

In the last week alone, more schools announced they would cancel at least their first game because of COVID-19 related reasons. Oklahoma State, Seton Hall, Kent State, Illinois State, Vanderbilt, and Vermont are just a few teams that have canceled or delayed the start of the season. 

There are still plenty of games being played on opening day, though, including 11 teams ranked in the preseason AP Top 25.

There will also be several ranked matchups over Thanksgiving weekend. A potential UConn-Mississippi State matchup on ESPN Sunday at 3E/12P might be the game of the week, but one other game that day I’ll be keeping an eye on is Maryland and Arkansas’s matchup on the last day of the Gulf Coast Showcase. 

Looking at last season’s stats, Maryland vs. Arkansas features similar potent offenses. Maryland lost all five starters from last year, but still has some decent experience on the team, and Arkansas has four returning starters. Both teams welcome new offensive power — Katie Benzan, Chloe Bibby, and Mimi Collins will suit up for the Terps after transferring into the program and Destiny Slocum will do the same for the Razorbacks. New Terp Angel Reese, the No. 2 overall player in the freshman class and a 6-foot-3 wing, averaged a double-double with points and rebounds over her prep career and should be another exciting addition to watch on Maryland’s revamped team. Here’s a glimpse of the comparison from Lobo’s Look:

What We’re Working On

There’s been a lot of news to digest in the lead up to this season, and we’ve got you covered. Over the last few weeks, our team has come out with a little bit of everything to get you ready for the NCAA season. 

We announced 25 players to watch for the Becky Hammon Mid-Major Player of the Year Award.

We completed our 2020 Reflections and 2021 Forecasts for each WNBA team with the Las Vegas Aces and Seattle Storm (links for all other team reviews are included at the bottom of each article).  

Calvin Wetzel dove into five questions this season should clear up. 

Last Monday, I gathered everything that’s been announced schedule-wise for all 32 Division I teams, as well as some great multi-team matchups you won’t want to miss this weekend. Unsurprisingly, there have already been updates across many different conferences since publishing. 

Gabe Ibrahim previewed William & Mary’s upcoming season amid athletic department scandals, player opt-outs, and bouncing back from a historic season that was cut too short. 

Megan Gauer rounded up a list of the top 20 returning players who recorded the most Win Shares last season. The top returner had an astounding 10.7 Win Shares in the season, and the rest of the top five is not too far behind her. 

Christy Winters-Scott (who dropped the inaugural episode of her new pod Christy’s Court this week! The episode features an interview with the one and only Dawn Staley) and Gabe Ibrahim discuss how the coronavirus might impact the season, the many transfers debuting for new teams this year, and players they’re interested in watching on last week’s episode of Courtside

Jenn Hatfield and Calvin Wetzel joined Megan Gauer on last week’s Unplugged podcast for Her Hoop Stats’ second annual NCAA preview. Hot takes and everyone’s All-American and Final Four preseason picks are just some of the highlights from this episode. 

And Jacob Mox joined Megan on Unplugged a few weeks ago to weigh in on the mid-major landscape

Other recommended reading: 

Mark Bechtel profiled Juju Watkins, the top-ranked prospect in the 2023 class and 2020 SportsKid of the Year for Sports Illustrated. 

PJ Brown details what to expect from Aari McDonald’s upcoming senior season for Arizona

Howard Megdal wrote about Syracuse’s Tiana Mangakahia ahead of her comeback senior season after battling breast cancer last year for FiveThirtyEight.


Looking ahead to this season, I want to share a perspective from Texas A&M head coach Gary Blair on this unprecedented year courtesy of Raoul on Twitter (who is a great follow for women’s college basketball news) that was shared on the Her Hoop Stats internal Slack. 

While I personally can’t wait to be immersed in college basketball again, we are still in the midst of a pandemic and player and team safety and health should be everyone’s top priority during this unpredictable season. No matter how the season goes, let’s all remember to be kind, respectful, and understanding to others. And wear a mask. 

Before you go

Make sure to watch this freestyle from Duke senior Mikayla Boykin. It’s honestly incredible. 

Have a safe Thanksgiving, and enjoy the first week of college basketball!


Thanks for reading the Her Hoop Stats Newsletter. If you like our work, be sure to check out our stats site, our podcast, and our social media accounts on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram. You can also buy Her Hoop Stats gear, such as laptop stickers, mugs, and shirts!

Haven’t subscribed to the Her Hoop Stats Newsletter yet?