1. Indiana (27-9, Sweet 16). Top five scorers back and they might have the best player in the country.
2. Louisville (30-10, Final 4). Eager to see the leap Dieng makes this summer.
3. NC State (24-13, Sweet 16). It feels too high, but on paper this is the ACC’s best team.
4. Florida (26-11, Elite 8 ). Return four of their top six players and were an epic collapse away from the Final Four. Yes, they’ll be better than UK.
5. Michigan (24-10, First Round). Trey Burke is staying!
6. Missouri (30-5, First Round). The Pressey-Dixon-Bowers-Oriakhi quartet will be formidable. Tigers were a glaring omission from the previous Top 25.
7. Syracuse (34-3, Elite 8 ). Probably a bit high for a team losing four starters.
8. Creighton (29-6, 2nd round). Let me guess – you’re laughing at the veteran Blue Jays over the defending champs?
9. Kentucky (38-2, National Champs). You can’t lose your top six players and not take a significant step back. Yes, I’m aware how strong the incoming recruits are. Expect a nice March run but a loss to a veteran team before the Final 4.
10. UCLA (19-14, NIT). Two of the country’s Top 10 recruits will make the Bruins relevant again.
16. Maryland (17-15). Best case scenario – finish 2nd in the ACC, ahead of UNC and Duke.
17. UNLV (26-9, 1st round). Moser’s back, and Birch, the transfer from Pittsburgh, should have a big impact.
18. Butler (22-15, NIT). Top four scorers back plus high-impact transfer in Clarke.
19. Miami (20-13, NIT). Four of top five scorers return, and the Hurricanes are kind of a sleeper in the ACC.
20. Arizona (23-12, NIT). Might have the 2nd best recruiting class in the nation.
21. Minnesota (23-15, NIT) – Top five scorers return for Tubby Smith’s … last hurrah before taking another job?
22. Michigan State (29-8, Sweet 16). It’s Izzo. They’ll be fine despite losing Green.
23. San Diego State (26-8, First Round). Top three scorers are back.
24. BYU (26-9, First Round). West Coast resurgence!
25. Harvard (26-5, First Round). They’ll win a game in the NCAA tournament.