About The New Ratings
But this offseason presents a unique predicament for the game's prognosticators. Along with the typical unknowns related to NBA draft decisions and possible transfers, we're still not sure what further consequences will come of the FBI's investigation into corruption in the sport.
We will go with what we know -- or what we know right now -- in this early look at the top 25 for the season. Again, all of this comes with fine print because the prominent players anchoring their respective teams' rankings could choose to turn pro before the deadline for early entrants. Either way, we're confident we've identified the top teams entering next season. We just completed one of the most improbable Final Four pairings of all time with Loyola-Chicago joining major programs Kansas, Michigan and Villanova on the same stage.
Now it's time to look ahead. He'll have more talent. Yeah, it sounds crazy, but Malik Newman -- if he returns -- will enter next season as a preseason All-American after his dominance in the NCAA tournament.
Lagerald Vick and Udoka Azubuike should also return, joining a top recruiting class that features a pair of five-star guards: Devon Dotson and Quentin Grimes. Self will also add Memphis transfers K. Oh, and Romeo Langford , a top-five recruit who is unsigned, could still pick the Jayhawks, too.
That's a helluva talent pool for Self. For more on how the Jayhawks will look in , check out Kansas' returning players and incoming recruits and ESPN Recruiting's class rankings. Barrett , Zion Williamson and Cam Reddish are ranked first, second and third, respectively, in the class. Add Tre Jones -- the younger, more athletic brother of Tyus Jones , who won most outstanding player honors during Duke's run to the national title -- and you have a terrible matchup for any opponent in America.
The Blue Devils will start the season as national title contenders either way. The team won it all with a young roster. But that group had senior leadership Quinn Cook that next season's team will lack. This lofty position for the national champion depends on the return of Jalen Brunson.
He could win the Wooden Award and still return to chase a third Final Four appearance in four seasons while sustaining his draft position somewhere in the back of the first round or early in the second round. But even if he leaves, the team won't fall far. Plus, Jahvon Quinerly -- the five-star point guard who originally committed to Arizona -- arrives, assuming he's not tied up with any challenges related to the FBI investigation after he was reportedly connected to former Arizona assistant coach Book Richardson.
If the Wildcats get Quinerly and return the key pieces from this season's run, they will enter next season as a real threat to win the Big East and a possible favorite to win a national championship. Remember, Wright hasn't lost back-to-back games in five years.
Consistency is a guarantee under Wright. For more on how the Wildcats will look in , check out Villanova's returning players and incoming recruits and ESPN Recruiting's class rankings. Before that loss to Kansas State in the Sweet 16, however, the Wildcats were in their previous 10 games. It took some time, but Calipari's team figured things out late in the season.
Kevin Knox' s father says the potential lottery pick could return next season, although Shai Gilgeous-Alexander , another lottery prospect, will probably be gone to the next level. Still, Kentucky will add another top-five recruiting class led by Keldon Johnson and Immanuel Quickley , a pair of perimeter players who will ensure Calipari boasts another potent pool of young talent. This group should steal some of the momentum from this season and get off to a better start in For more on how the Wildcats will look in , check out Kentucky's returning players and incoming recruits and ESPN Recruiting's class rankings.
Auburn athletic director Allen Greene gave coach Bruce Pearl a vote of confidence last week. It was a significant gesture of support for the polarizing coach who lost former assistant Chuck Person when he was arrested in the FBI probe and two players, Danjel Purifoy and Austin Wiley , who were both ruled ineligible this season but can return in Despite the drama, Pearl still captured a slice of the SEC title in one of the league's strongest years.
But Pearl could lose a player or two and still enter next season with a stacked roster, one that will also feature a healthy Anfernee McLemore. For more on how the Tigers will look in , check out Auburn's returning players and incoming recruits and ESPN Recruiting's class rankings. The big man who connected on 48 percent of his 3-point attempts this season should come back for another year to impress NBA scouts.
He's not the only intriguing pro prospect on the roster. Rui Hachimura , the 6-foot-8 talent, averaged This group will also get another year from savvy point guard Josh Perkins 5. Brandon Clarke , a transfer eligible next season, averaged For more on how the Zags will look in , check out Gonzaga's returning players and incoming recruits and ESPN Recruiting's class rankings.
History's everlasting stain will never leave this program. The criticism of every hater who questions the promise of Virginia's grind-it-out style in the postseason was validated that day. But that loss does not change what we witnessed last season: For more on how the Cavaliers will look in , check out Virginia's returning players and incoming recruits and ESPN Recruiting's class rankings.
The Vols, who finished the season ranked in the top 10 in adjusted defensive efficiency on KenPom. Admiral Schofield averaged Tennessee will have a talented crew next season. For more on how the Vols will look in , check out Tennessee's returning players and incoming recruits and ESPN Recruiting's class rankings. North Carolina Tar Heels.
Will Cameron Johnson He should -- both to help his personal cause his 3-point shooting dropped from 42 percent to 34 percent and to pursue a national title. The Tar Heels will have the pieces to snatch another ring for Roy Williams. Three of the team's top four scorers will return.
Luke Maye will start next season as a preseason All-American. Coby White is a five-star point guard. Down 22 points against Cincinnati, one of the top defensive teams in America, the Wolf Pack climbed out of the hole to win. If the Martin brothers return for another season, Nevada should have the firepower to sustain its breathtaking offense, which finished in the top 10 in adjusted offensive efficiency on KenPom. The most fascinating element of this team last season was its ability to play at above-average pace while maintaining the lowest turnover rate in America its two turnovers against Cincinnati were the fewest in the past 20 years of the NCAA tournament.
Tom Izzo's team has managed turnover as well as any program in the country during his tenure. Even when the personnel changes, the Spartans maintain the same approach: You can't replace Jaren Jackson Jr.
For more on how the Spartans will look in , check out Michigan State's returning players and incoming recruits and ESPN Recruiting's class rankings.
Again, this is the early, early top Many assumed Moritz Wagner would leave after a strong campaign But he returned for his junior season. Another year seems unlikely, however, after his performance in the Final Four. He'll probably take his talents to the next level. Plus, a top recruiting class features standout Ignas Brazdeikis. Beilein won with an elite defense this season, and if he can maintain those high marks, his team should start the season as Big Ten contender again.
For more on how the Wolverines will look in , check out Michigan's returning players and incoming recruits and ESPN Recruiting's class rankings. Stay up-to-date with the latest news and scores from your favorite teams anywhere and get customized notifications, special offers and much more.
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