Music City Hoops Report College Basketball Guide
Players to watch, teams to follow, and matchups to look out for.
Welcome to the Music City Hoops Report.
College basketball starts today! There are so many interesting teams and players across the state this year. I picked 10 players to watch as well as a handful of games you should catch during this busy opening week.
10 Players to Watch
Chelsey Perry | UT-Martin WBB | SR | Forward
Perry is not only a contender for best player in the state, she may be the best mid-major player in the country. She was one of only three mid-majors named to the Naismith Award watch list and was also named to the watchlists for the Becky Hammon Mid-Major Player of the Year and Katrina McClain Award (awarded to the best power forward in the country). In addition, she was named the OVC Preseason Player of the Year and was tied with South Carolina’s Aliyah Boston for the most win shares by a returning player in the nation. I wrote about Perry earlier this summer for The Next. The preseason OVC favorites will live and die on Perry’s shoulders.
Terry Taylor | Austin Peay MBB | SR | Forward
Jordyn Adams | Austin Peay MBB | SO | Guard
Taylor and Adams are the most unsung dynamic duo in all of college basketball. Taylor is the reigning OVC Player of the Year, was named to the Jerry West Award watch list for the best shooting guard in the nation, and was voted to the Preseason All-Mid-Major Madness First Team. Meanwhile, Adams decided to return to school after testing the draft waters this offseason to run it back with the Govs. These two are the main reason why the Govs are betting favorites to break up the Belmont-Murray State dynasty in the OVC this season.
Rennia Davis | UT WBB | SR | Guard/Forward
The Lady Vols are predicted to be in the middle of the SEC pack this season, but Davis is slated to be one of the best players in the conference. The senior, like Perry, was named to the Naismith Award watch list. She was also voted to the Preseason All-SEC First Team and was named to the Cheryl Miller award watch list for the best small forward in the nation.
Ahsan Asadullah | Lipscomb MBB | JR | Center
The big man in the middle for the preseason ASUN favorites. Asadullah ended last season playing the best basketball of his life, so expectations are high heading into 2020-21. He was named the ASUN Preseason Player of the Year and to the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar watch list for the best center in the nation. If Lipscomb is going to capitalize on last season’s surprise ASUN title game run to earn the program’s second NCAA bid, Asadullah will need to pick right up where he left off.
Anastasia Hayes | MT WBB | JR | Guard
Aislynn Hayes | MT WBB | SO | Guard
The Lady Raiders are on track to return to their rightful spot atop the C-USA standings thanks in large part to the Hayes sisters. In their first season with MT, the Riverdale products had an immediate impact as Anastasia was named the Newcomer of the Year after transferring from UT and Aislynn was a Freshman All-American. Heading into the current campaign, Anastasia was named the C-USA Preseason Player of the Year and Aislynn joined her on the first team.
Grayson Murphy | Belmont MBB | JR | Guard
Sophomore big man Nick Muszynski is probably the consensus pick here, and he’s a great player no doubt, but I’ll take do-it-all point guard Grayson Murphy. The Independence product and Franklin native has gone under the radar as one of the most well-rounded guards in the country over the past few seasons. Last year, Murphy was the best rebounding point guard in the nation, won the OVC Defensive Player of the Year, and was one of the top passers in the country. M-and-M form one of the best inside-out duos at any level.
Bria Dial | UTC WBB | SR | Guard
UTC were tapped as the SoCon favorites in the league’s preseason media poll. The Mocs are in a good position to defend their regular season title, with the hopes of actually getting to win the conference tournament that they were favored to win in March before the season was cancelled. Dial, a Murfreesboro native and Brentwood Academy product, is expected to steady UTC on the court in a more featured role following the departure of Lakelyn Bouldin.
Yves Pons | UT MBB | SR | Forward
Another tossup decision between Pons, the reigning SEC Defensive Player of the Year and a member of the Naismith Award watch list and the Julius Erving Award watch list for the best small forward in the nation, and John Fulkerson, a member of the Karl Malone award watch list for the best power forward in the nation. In a tight race, I went with The Most Interesting Man in College Basketball. Pons leads a stacked Vols roster that includes a robust freshmen class and was selected as the preseason SEC favorite by the media. Unfortunately, we will not get to watch this crew on the court for a few more weeks.
10 games to watch during Feast Week:
Memphis vs Saint Mary’s at the Bad Boy Mower’s Classic in Sioux Falls - Nov. 25
MT vs Akron MBB at the Gulf Coast Showcase in Florida - Nov. 25
Austin Peay vs Omaha MBB at the Gulf Coast Showcase - Nov. 25
Belmont vs Howard MBB at the Paradise Jam in Washington DC - Nov. 26
UT vs WKU WBB - Nov. 28
Belmont at Kentucky WBB - Nov. 29
Vanderbilt at UConn MBB in the Roman Legends Classic - Dec. 1
ESTU at UT WBB - Dec. 1
Lipscomb at Cincinnati MBB - Dec. 2
Vanderbilt vs Texas Tech WBB - Dec. 2