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Top 10 College Basketball Teams Most Likely to Win the 2013 National Championship

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Top 10 College Basketball Teams Most Likely to Win the 2013 National Championship

John Calipari
Derick Hingle-US PRESSWIRE

The 2012-13 college basketball season is officially underway, but it's never to early to talk title contenders.

While preseason rankings can become a thing of the past once action begins on the court, the expectations for some remain fluid throughout the year. For some the goal is to make it to the NCAA Tournament, but for some of the nation's top powerhouses, the goal is to win it all.

A season ago, it was Kentucky and head coach John Calipari who looked nearly untouchable on their path to cutting down the nets on that first Monday in April. With a new batch of newcomers ready to rock in Lexington, the Wildcats face the daunting task of repeating as champions. With that being said, the season has now begun, so the list of potential suitors run much deeper than even this countdown can include.

From power conferences across the country, the dreams of winning of a national championship is an accolade that only one group can achieve. It's just another example of how great the NCAA Tournament and its format really is.

You talk about Kentucky, who began the year as one of the nation's top teams and rode their success all the way to a title, but how about two years ago when UConn went from unranked to No. 1? Or, the runs of Butler in 2010 and 2011? Although the Bulldogs never achieved greatness, their runs weren't exactly expected on either occasion.

The single-elimination format gives 68 teams that one shot at making history. Six games (seven for some) is all it takes to retain glory. Yea, it's easier said than done however.

While the list of potential honorable mentions runs deep, let's break down our preseason top ten squads that have the greatest chance to be crowned champions when all is said and done.

Paul Seaver is the College Basketball Network Manager at Rant Sports. You can follow him on Twitter: @TheArenaPulse

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No. 10-UCLA

Travis Wear
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE

Oh sure, the Bruins have uncertain expectations heading into the 2012-13 season, but UCLA features a talented roster nonetheless. The success and opportunity at cutting down the nets in April however, may hinge directly on the potential eligibility of stud freshman, Shabazz Muhammad.

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No. 9-Kansas

Naadir Tharpe

Did the Jayhawks have expectations of a national championship at this point last season. Maybe, but outside of Lawrence, how many really expected them to be one game away from that glory? Kansas fell to Kentucky in the 2012 National Championship, but the Jayhawks showed their capability and ability to make that one special run.

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No. 8-Arizona

Solomon Hil
Gary A. Vasquez-US PRESSWIRE

A highly-touted and heralded freshman class brings the feeling of a new-era to Arizona, as expectations continue to rise heading into 2012-13. The return of some key veterans like Solomon Hill and Nick Johnson bode well for the Wildcats' success and opportunity to make a run in March.

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No. 7-Missouri

Frank Haith

The Missouri Tigers have moved into the SEC and expectations of a conference crown are not out of the question. The status of Michael Dixon Jr. remains in question heading into the season, but a fresh batch of newcomers and eligible transfers make this team a dangerous threat come March. Phil Pressey is back to lead the charge for a squad that was shocked in the Round of 64 a year ago.

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No. 6-Michigan

Trey Burke

The return of sophomore point guard Trey Burke is the sole reason that Michigan makes this list. Burke's leadership capabilities may hold the key to the Wolverines' ability to make a run in March. Can they make their case atop a brutal Big Ten Conference though?

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No. 5-North Carolina State

Lorenzo Brown

After sneaking into the NCAA Tournament a season ago, North Carolina State made a surprise run to the Sweet 16. Now, the Wolfpack look to their veterans, most notably first-team all-conference performers Lorenzo Brown and C.J. Leslie. N.C. State proved to an extent a season ago that they can make a run, but can they extend it further in 2013?

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No. 4-Kentucky

Nerlens Noel

Let's face it, Kentucky is not as talented as they were a year ago. However, the defending national champions certainly have enough firepower to gear up for another run. No team has won back-to-back championships since Florida did it in 2006 and 2007. Can the Wildcats join the elite group?

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No. 3-Ohio State

Thad Matta
Richard Mackson-US PRESSWIRE

No Jared Sullinger, no problem? The Buckeyes have another loaded roster that is capable of returning to the Final Four in 2013. Yet, do they have enough to win a National Championship? Looking ahead the answer is yes, but that will all hinge on Ohio State's junior leaders, Aaron Craft and Deshaun Thomas.

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No. 2-Indiana

Victor Oladipo

Indiana was voted as the team to beat heading into the 2012-13 season by nearly all of the major media outlets. So, why are they number two? Experience. Sure, the Hoosiers have tons of talent returning from a season ago, but they were eliminated in the Sweet 16. A run to a national championship will hinge on the team's ability to buckle down and make a deeper run in 2013.

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No. 1-Louisville

Rick Pitino
Richard Mackson-US PRESSWIRE

The Cardinals are loaded heading into 2012-13 and what they feature is a roster that is fresh off a run to the Final Four. Peyton Siva is the veteran leader in the back court, while junior forward Gorgui Dieng anchors the paint. Head coach Rick Pitino has more than enough depth and firepower to cut down the nets on the first Monday in April.