Busting Brackets

NCAA Basketball: 5 bounce-back teams, 5 teams with question marks entering 2024-25 season

Wright State v Indiana
Wright State v Indiana / Andy Lyons/GettyImages
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Bounce-back team No. 4: UCLA Bruins

It wasn’t all fairy tales and roses in Westwood last season. After a rocky first half of the season -- especially in non-conference play -- UCLA would go on a six-game win streak in early February. However, it wasn't enough to save the season as the Bruins struggled in the later half of February, ultimately finishing their 2023-24 campaign under .500 at 16-17 (10-10).

Freshly equipped with a new-look roster in a new conference, Mick Cronin and the UCLA Bruins have all the pieces in place for a big-time bounce-back year in 2024-25.

Dylan Andrews, the Bruins’ leading scorer, is back. Sebastian Mack, who had a strong freshman season, is also back. To bolster the backcourt, Cronin landed Skyy Clark (Louisville), the Cardinals’ leading scorer, and Kobe Johnson (USC), a versatile, defensive-minded player. Expect both to play pivotal roles.

To replace the loss of Adem Bona (NBA), UCLA will welcome frontcourt pieces in Tyler Bilodeau (Oregon State), Eric Dailey (Oklahoma State) and William Kyle III (South Dakota State), completing a well-rounded roster that should bode well in the 18-team Big Ten.

Bounce-back team No. 5: Maryland Terrapins

After surpassing preseason expectations in year one, Kevin Willard’s Terrapins failed to meet preseason expectations in year two, finishing the year at 16-17 (7-13).

Entering the offseason, Kevin Willard was tasked with replacing the heartbeat of their team, Jahmir Young -- a mighty-tall task given just how impactful Young was in his two seasons with the Terps.

However, Maryland went to work in the portal, welcoming transfers Rodney Rice (Virginia Tech), Selton Miguel (South Florida) and JaKobi Gillespie (Belmont) in the backcourt, hoping to fix many of the perimeter woes the Terrapins faced last season.

In the frontcourt, Maryland received arguably its best offseason news when Julian Reese announced his return to College Park for his senior year. Five-star center Derik Queen will also enter the fold, making the Terps a formidable bounce-back candidate in 2024-25.