Last year, the pre-season top 25 hoisted some teams that didn’t last throughout the season. Some were left out the top 25 after a few weeks of college basketball.
I don’t think we will see that kind of performance from any team this year.
The College Basketball rosters are starting to look clear and player’s transfers are starting to calm down.
We are starting to get a taste of who are going to be the contenders and pretenders.
This sets a great basketball season this winter.
You have Harrison Barnes, the best freshmen in the class at North Carolina. Kyrie Irving, the best point guard in the class filling the void Jon Scheyer left at Duke.
But who really has the best rotation in college basketball?
25. Gonzaga Bulldogs
The Bulldogs didn't return their leader Matt Bouldin, but they'll be just fine. They still are equipped with Steven Gray and a almost identical player to Bouldin, as well as Elias Harris.
Their starting roster will not 'wow' a lot of people but that doesn't mean they will not get it done.
Each player on this team will have to step up and fill the void that Bouldin left. If that happens and Harris is dominant, I made the right decision putting them here.
[G - Demetri Goodson, G - Steven Gray, F - Bol Kong, F - Elias Harris, C - Robert Sacre]
24. Wisconsin Badgers
So the Badgers lost Trevon Hughes and Jason Bohannon, but what else? The Badgers returned their strong frontcourt and brought in four recruits that will help out the rotation.
Look for the senior Jon Leur to step up and make plays for the Badgers.
With him, Jordan Taylor and Josh Gasser, I think the Badgers have a pretty decent starting lineup
[G - Jordan Taylor (Watch out for Gasser here), G - Rob Wilson, F - Tim Jarmusz, F - Jon Leur, C - Keaton Nankivil]
23. Arizona Wildcats
The Wildcats are my sleepers this year. They have a lot of sophomore players returning, along with their senior veterans.
The Wildcats gained much needed experience last season and will surprise everybody this year.
With the tandem of Derrick Williams and Lamont Jones, the Wildcats may be brewing a cup of success.
[G - Lamont Jones, G - Josh Fogg, F - Kevin Parrom, F - Jamelle Horne, C - Derrick Williams]
22. Temple Owls
The Temple Owls returned both, Juan Fernandez and Lavoy Allen. Both of these players are on their way to a breakout season.
Not to mention, their tight defense will always be there.
With that said, it's going to be hard keeping them out of the top 25 this year. They lost Ryan Brook and Luis Guzman but still have a chance to create some buzz around their school.
[G - Ramone Moore, G- Juan Fernandez, F - Rahlir Jefferson, F - Lavoy Allen, C - Michael Eric]
21. Virginia Tech
Last season, the Hokies didn't go dancing because of their weak non-conference schedule. However, this upcoming season will be totally different.
The Hokies returned Malcolm Delaney and the rest of their impact players from a season ago.
With basically the same team from last year, the Hokies shouldn't have a problem dancing.
[G - Malcolm Delaney, G - Dorenzo Hudson, F - Terrell Bell, F - Alan Chaney, F - Jeff Allen]
20. Tennessee Volunteers
The Volunteers rode on passion for most of the second half of the season. They went out and out-hustled you and just flat-out wanted it more.
They had a few walk-ons that stepped up big-time for them last season.
Next season, they'll still be equipped with the experience along with a special freshman in the frontcourt.
[G - Melvin Goins, G -Scotty Hopson, F - Renaldo Woolridge, F - Tobias Harris, C - Brian Williams]
The Bulldogs made a magnificent run to the National Championship this past season. However, many people are trying to credit all the success to lottery-pick Gordon Hayward.
However, it was also Shelvin Mack and Matt Howard who contributed as well.
With a freshmen like Kyhle Marshall, the Bulldogs shouldn't have a problem solidifying themselves as contenders again.
With a coach like Brad Stevens, you can achieve anything.
[G - Ronald Nored, G - Shelvin Mack, G - Shawn Vanzant, F - Kyhle Marshall, C - Matt Howard]
18. Baylor Bears
The Baylor Bears seem like they lost a lot this season. Ekpe Udoh was drafted in the lottery, Tweety Carter and Josh Loomers reached their final years of eligibility.
However, they did lure in the highest rated recruit in the school’s history. Perry Jones will be a beast in the post. He is a better version of Udoh.
Along with his are LaceDarius Dunn and Quincy Acey. All three of these players will continue success.
[G -A.J Walton, G - LaceDarius Dunn, F - Anthony Jones, F - Quincy Acey, F - Perry Jones]
17. Memphis Tigers
Josh Pastner was a due a huge recruiting class. He is restoring the Tigers from the shame before. They'll have a freshmen backcourt along with an experienced frontcourt.
Their top recruiting class will be on display this winter. It'll be mostly due to who can step up and take the leadership role in the offense.
[G - Joe Jackson, G - Will Barton, G - Roburt Sallie, F - Wesley Witherspoon, F - Will Coleman]
16. Florida Gators
The Florida Gators was heartbroken in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. They allowed BYU's Jimmer Fredette to single-handily take over the game.
However, this up-coming season, I don't think that will happen. The Gators bring in a McDonalds All-American and another recruit that will make a big splash next season.
Not to mention, Chandler Parsons showed off during the LeBron camp. The Gators are the most improved from last season.
[G - Erving Walker, G - Kenny Boynton, F - Chandler Parsons, F - Alex Tyus/Patric Young, C - Vernon Macklin]
15. Missouri Tigers
If you want to know how to play team defense, watch the Missouri Tigers. I don't think there's a better defense in the NCAA right now.
They use a tight press that creates a lot of turnovers. That's where they score most of their points. In addition, they brought in some sure playmakers that will only add to the defensive success.
[G - Michael Dixon, G - Marcus Denmon, G - Kim English, F - Tony Mitchell, F -Justin Safford]
14. NC State Wolfpack
If anybody pulled in a great recruiting class, it was NC State. The Wolfpack will have three impact players suiting up next season.
With the talent they have installed in their roster, if Sidney Lowe doesn't make this team a contender, he should be done.
[G - Ryan Harrow, G - Lorenzo Brown, F - C.J Leslie, F - Scott Wood, F - Tracy Smith]
13. Kansas Jayhawks
The Jayhawks lost their top three contributors from last season. However, I still believe they'll be fine.
They acquired the electrifying Josh Selby who will have to be the leader of this team. Not to mention, outside of Aldrich, Collins and Henry, everybody else stayed.
[G - Josh Selby, G - Brady Morningstar, F - Mario Little, F - Markieff Morris, F - Marcus Morris]
12. Kentucky Wildcats
It's starting to become a new trend in college basketball. All the top prospects usually favor Kentucky as their college choice. Since five scholarship players left for the 2010 NBA draft, it gave Kentucky more options.
This year they brought in more five-star recruits. However, without Enes Kanter, it will be hard to produce in the paint.
[G - Brandon Knight, G - Doron Lamb, G - Darius Miller, F - Terrence Jones, F - Deandre Liggins]
11. Washington Huskies
The Huskies missed out on a chance to land Terrence Jones, but still they are equipped with a talented team. The Huskies were on the brink of an Elite Eight berth, but just couldn't make enough plays.
However, this year with more playmakers the team will have more than enough scoring to compete at high levels.
[G - Isaiah Thomas, G - Abdul Gaddy, G - Terrence Ross, F - Darnell Gant, F -Matthew Bryant-Armstrong]
10. North Carolina Tar Heels
The Tar Heels were the most disappointing team this past season. They started the season ranked, and ended up in the NIT.
However, with the No. 1 overall recruit going to your school, you have a chance to be something special.
[G - Larry Drew, G - Dexter Strickland, F - Harrison Barnes, F - John Henson, C - Tyler Zeller]
9. Syracuse Orange
Syracuse lost three of their top contributors from last season. Andy Rautins was beneficial to the zone. Now that he is gone, they'll need someone to step up.
With Wesley Johnson gone, they lack a wing threat and Arinze Onuaku will easily be replaced.
Jim Boehim is still on the sideline, and their awesome 2-3 zone will only be that more crisp with more athletic playmakers on the floor.
[G -Scoop Jardine, G - Brandon Triche, F - Kris Joseph, F - Rick Jackson, C - Fab Melo]
8. Villanova Wildcats
Villanova did lose their floor-general Scottie Reynolds but returned more than he lost. Their starting lineup will hoist no freshman; just all experience sophomores and seniors that are ready to play.
The x-factor next season will be Corey Fisher. If he steps up and leads the team, they'll have a productive year.
[G - Corey Fisher, G - Dominic Cheeks, G - Corey Stokes, F - Antonio Pena, F - Mouphtaou Yarou]
7. Illinois Fighting Illini
This past year, the Illini underachieved by a wide-margin. However, with Demetri McCamey and Mike Davis returning, along with a top 10 recruiting class, they'll be a solid contributor next season.
While McCamey cleans up his decision making, the Illini is in prime position to contend for the National title.
[G - Demetri McCamey, G - D.J. Richardson, F - Bill Cole/Jereme Richmond, F - Mike Davis, F - Mike Tisdale]
6. Pittsburgh Panthers
Jamie Dixon has this team playing at high-levels all the time. Last season, nobody expected them to amount to much. However, they did and the Panthers were contenders in the Big East.
Nothing is changing but the season. They lost a few contributors but with Ashton Gibbs and Brad Wanamaker, this team is a top-ten selection
[G - Ashton Gibbs, G - Brad Wanamaker, G - Gilbert Brown, F - Nasir Robinson, F - Gary McGhee]
5. Ohio State Buckeyes
Replacing the Player of the Year isn't that hard for Ohio State. Want to know why? It's because of their recruiting class. Not to mention, David Lighty will make this team a contender.
His range and leadership will all be showcased next season.
[G -Jon Diebler, G - William Buford, F - David Lighty, F - Jared Sullinger, C - Dallas Lauderdale]
4. Kansas State Wildcats
The Wildcats last season was lead by their guards Denis Clemente and Jacob Pullen. One returned and the other graduated.
However, the Wildcats still have one of the best frontcourts in the nation. Agile Curtis Kelly and sixth man Jamar Samuels will be courted with Freddy Asprilla. With this tandem in the frontcourt the Wildcats are my favorites to reach the final four.
[G - Jacob Pullen, G - Rodney McGruder, F - Nino Williams, F - Curtis Kelly, C - Freddy Asprilla]
3. Purdue Boilermakers
Purdue was one their way to a number one ranking in the tournament last season, before the injury of Robbie Hummel. After that, the season went down the drain.
The Boilermakers did return every key player on their roster except Chris Kramer. However, with Jajuan Johnson, E'twaun Moore and Hummel, the Boilermakers are one of my favorites to reach the Final Four.
[G - Lewis Jackson, G - E'twaun Moore, G - Kelsey Barlow, F - Jajuan Johnson, F - Robbie Hummel]
2. Michigan State Spartans
The Spartans were able to make the Final Four without their floor general Kalin Lucas. Next season, Lucas is back, so is Izzo and the Final Four is insight.
The Spartans return everyone from last year's run except Raymar Morgan. They also added a few recruits that'll help out the depth of their roster.
They'll be running at least a 10-man rotation. Yes, they're just that talented.
[G - Kalin Lucas, G - Chris Allen, F - Durrell Summers, F - Delvon Roe, F- Derrick Nix]
1. Duke Blue Devils
The Blue Devils are equipped with one of the most lethal squads in the nation. They returned both Kyle Singler and Nolan Smith. Not to mention they brought in the most complete guard in the country.
They'll be shaky in the frontcourt without their strength from Zoubek, but with their depth, they'll be hard to defeat.
[G - Kyrie Irving, G - Nolan Smith, F - Kyle Singler, F - Miles Plumlee, F - Mason Plumlee]