College Basketball: 2013-14 Preseason NCAA Top 25 Rankings
2013-14 Preseason NCAA Basketball Top 25 Rankings
On Monday night, the Louisville Cardinals cut down the nets in celebration of their third NCAA Tournament championship in school history.
On the heels of Louisville's win over Michigan, we conclude the 2012-13 season, but is it really ever too early to dive into the top teams in college basketball for next season?
For these early 2013-14 Top 25 rankings, keep in mind a few things -- some of these teams will lose additional talent to the NBA Draft, while a few late commitments may boost others. Keep in mind, the nation's top high school recruit in Andrew Wiggins has yet to choose a school. Keep in mind, some of the top, expected selections in this June's NBA Draft have yet to make decisions regarding their future.
But hey, that's the fun in these ridiculously early, top 25 rankings.
Oklahoma State: The Cowboys have LeBryan Nash coming back, but the NBA draft decisions of Marcus Smart (likely gone) and Markel Brown will be key.
UNLV: Anthony Bennett is already bound for the NBA Draft and Mike Moser is leaning towards a transfer, but don't count the Rebels out of anything in 2013-14.
San Diego State: If Jamaal Franklin returns to SDSU, the Aztecs will be loaded in 2013-14. It's a roster that certainly has the talent to stake its claim within the top 25 for most of next season.
Without further ado, let's take a look at the "Day After the Title" 2013-14 Preseason NCAA Basketball Top 25 Rankings:
Follow Paul Seaver on Twitter: @PaulSeaverRS
Bonus - No. 26 Creighton
The tipping point for the Creighton Bluejays' potential next season is the man pictured above. If Doug McDermott returns for his senior season, then Creighton will once again be in the mix for a spot within the top 25.
No. 25- Miami (FL)
Key Losses: Reggie Johnson, Kenny Kadji, Julian Gamble, Durand Scott, Trey McKinney Jones
Miami won't be nearly as talented as they were this past season, but Shane Larkin is expected to return and the Hurricanes should expect bigger things from Rion Brown.
No. 24- Oregon
Key Losses: Arsalan Kazemi, E.J. Singler, Carlos Emory, Tony Woods
Oregon loses their entire front court, but a freshman back court of Damyean Dotson and Dominic Artis should increasing promise throughout this past season.
No. 23- Ole Miss
Key Losses: Reginald Buckner, Murphy Holloway, Nick Williams
Ole Miss suffers a few losses from this past season, but the Rebels had one of their better teams in recent memory. The main reason why? Marshall Henderson. And college basketball's most polarizing player will be back in 2013-14.
No. 22- UCLA
Key Losses: Shabazz Muhammad, Larry Drew II
It's a new era for UCLA and head coach Steve Alford will have his work cut out for him right from the get-go. Kyle Anderson and Jordan Adams could be superstars in 2013-14 and with less baggage handing around this team, the Bruins could be in store for a nice season next year.
No. 21- Gonzaga
Key Losses: Elias Harris
Anticipated Losses: Kelly Olynyk
Gonzaga had their best season in program history this past year and despite some expected losses this off-season, the Bulldogs will still be one of the most talented squads out west.
No. 20- UConn
Key Losses: None
UConn will once again feature one of the nation's top back courts in 2013-14 and now that they are once again eligible for the postseason, watch out for the Huskies next year. Shabazz Muhammad, Ryan Boatright and Omar Calhoun are quite the three-headed monster.
No. 19- Indiana
Key Losses: Christian Watford, Jordan Hulls
Anticipated Losses: Cody Zeller, Victor Oladipo
Indiana has been bounced in the Sweet 16 in each of the past two seasons and if Cody Zeller and Victor Oladipo do declare for the NBA Draft, the Hoosiers will be forced to replace a number of key weapons from this past season. Don't worry though, Indiana will still be talented enough to compete within the upper half of the Big Ten Conference.
No. 18- Notre Dame
Key Losses: Scott Martin, Jack Cooley, Tom Knight
Notre Dame loses some key inside talent, but the Fighting Irish return a plethora of talent on the outside and will welcome in one of the nation's top guards in Demetrius Jackson. Keep an eye on Notre Dame in 2013-14.
No. 17- Michigan
Anticipated Losses: Trey Burke, Tim Hardaway Jr., Glenn Robinson III, Mitch McGary
Mitch McGary is the biggest key for Michigan's potential next season. Now although he could be an anticipated loss, McGary could very easily make the decision to return to Ann Arbor in 2013-14. If he does, he could be a perennial All-American candidate. Throw the returns of Spike Albrecht, Nik Stauskas, Jordan Morgan, Jon Horford and Caris LeVert into the mix as well. Michigan has a bright future under the guidance of John Beilein.
No. 16- Kansas
Key Losses: Jeff Withey, Elijah Johnson, Travis Releford, Kevin Young
Anticipated Losses: Ben McLemore
Kansas will have to overcome its losses from this past season and it won't be easy. But, if we've learned anything from the Jayhawks and more important head coach Bill Self -- don't ever count Kansas out.
No. 15- VCU
Key Losses: Darius Theus, Troy Daniels
VCU and head coach Shaka Smart will once again be in the thick of things in 2013-14. Aided by the returns of Briante Weber, Juvonte Reddic Rob Brandenberg and Treveon Graham, the Rams will be loaded yet again.
No. 14- Syracuse
Key Losses: Brandon Triche, James Southerland
Expected Losses: Michael Carter-Williams
Syracuse will have to re-warp the top of its 2-3 zone considering Michael Carter-Williams indeed bolts for the NBA. A deep and loaded front court however, will have the Orange back in the hunt in 2013-14.
No. 13- Wichita State
Key Losses: Malcolm Armstead, Demetric Williams, Carl Hall
The losses of Carl Hall and Malcolm Armstead will be tough to replace, but think about this -- the Shockers advanced to the Final Four this past season after replacing their top five scorers from the 2011-12 season. The returns of Cleanthony Early, Ron Baker, Tekele Cotton, Nick Wiggins and Fred VanVleet will have Wichita State in the spotlight yet again in 2013-14.
No. 12- New Mexico
Anticipated Losses: Tony Snell
Tony Snell could still return next season, but he has already entered his name in the NBA Draft pool. Either way, New Mexico and newly appointed head coach Craig Neal feature plenty of returning. From Kendall Williams on the perimeter to Alex Kirk down low, the Lobos will be ready to make some noise next season.
No. 11- North Carolina
Key Losses: Dexter Strickland
Anticipated Losses: James Michael McAdoo
James Michael McAdoo is the tipping point for North Carolina. P.J. Hairston is reportedly set to return, so head coach Roy Williams could be looking at quite the roster in 2013-14 if McAdoo come backs. He's a first round pick however, so the Tar Heels will be playing the waiting game in that regard.
No. 10- Memphis
Key Losses: Tarik Black, Adonis Thomas, D.J. Stephens
Memphis head coach Josh Pastner has a loaded recruiting class coming to town next year and a solid mix of returning talent makes the Tigers a legitimate Final Four threat. It also helps that Conference USA Player of the Year Joe Jackson will also be back on campus.
No. 9- Marquette
Key Losses: Trent Lockett, Junior Cadougan
Marquette head coach Buzz Williams did a terrific job with Marquette this past season and the Golden Eagles have now been to three consecutive Sweet 16s. Vander Blue is a legitimate candidate for Big East Player of the Year in 2013-14, so keep an eye on Marquette in 2013-14.
No. 8- Florida
Key Losses: Kenny Boynton, Michael Rosario, Erik Murphy
Patric Young's decision to return to Gainesville is crucial and even despite the aforementioned losses, the Gators will once again be loaded in 2013-14. Incoming freshmen Kasey Hill and Chris Walker could both be instant impact performers and throw into the mix the fact that Bill Donovan has taken the Gators to three consecutive Elite 8 appearances. Florida has a recipe for success next season.
No. 7- Louisville
Key Losses: Peyton Siva
Anticipated Losses: Gorgui Dieng, Russ Smith
The defending national champion Louisville Cardinals may very well face the difficulty of replacing their three biggest weapons in 2013-14. However, from Chane Behanan to Luke Hancock to a nice incoming freshmen recruiting class, the Cardinals have the talent to make a run at a third consecutive Final Four.
No. 6- Duke
Key Losses: Mason Plumlee, Seth Curry, Ryan Kelly
Oh sure, Duke will have to replace their three biggest weapons heading into next season, but don't worry Blue Devil fans, there's plenty of talent coming back. Quinn Cook's leadership ability will be crucial, while sophomore Rasheed Sulaimon could be ready for a breakout season in 2013-14. Throw in a third Plumlee, an emerging Amile Jefferson and one of the top high school prospects (Jabari Parker)in quite some time -- yea, Duke will be loaded in 2013-14.
No. 5 Georgetown
Anticipated Losses: Otto Porter, Jr.
Georgetown is expected to loss Otto Porter to the NBA Draft, but don't fret Hoya fans, the returning talent is through the roof. A developing front court will be keyed by the guard play of Markel Starks, D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera and Jabril Trawick.
No. 4- Ohio State
Key Losses: Deshaun Thomas
Ohio State returns nearly every key player expect for Deshaun Thomas, who is off to the NBA, in 2013-14. From Aaron Craft to Sam Thompson and Amir Williams, the Buckeyes will be loaded in 2013-14. Junior-to-be LaQuinton Ross is a budding superstar in Columbus.
No. 3- Michigan State
Key Losses: Derrick Nix
Anticipated Losses: Gary Harris
Gary Harris is looking like a likely lottery pick in this June's NBA Draft, so he very well could bolt after one season. If Harris ever made the decision to return however, this Michigan State squad just got that much more dangerous. The Spartans will return Keith Appling, Adreian Payne and Branden Dawson and we know that head coach Tom Izzo always has Michigan State in the hunt.
No. 2- Arizona
Key Losses: Solomon Hill, Mark Lyons, Kevin Parrom
Arizona could very well have the best front court in America in 2013-14. Kaleb Tarczewski, Brandon Ashley and Grant Jerrett all return, while the recent commitment of Aaron Gordon has taken expectations to another level. Head coach Sean Miller is also welcoming back Jordin Mayes, Gabe York and Nick Johnson on the perimeter. Point guard play or lack thereof will be something to monitor throughout the season, however.
No. 1- Kentucky
Key Losses: Archie Goodwin, Ryan Harrow
Anticipated Losses: Nerlens Noel
There should be no questioning next year's preseason No. 1 squad. Kentucky features a group of high school prospects that could very well be the best recruiting class of all-time. That freshmen class include four of the top six, five of the top 11 and six of the top 18 members of the class of 2013, according to ESPNU. Throw in the fact that Kyle Wiltjer, Willie Cauley-Stein and Alex Poythress have all pledged their return -- yea, the Wildcats will be the favorite to win their second National Championship in three seasons heading into 2013-14.