Now that the dust has cleared a little bit, what does your top 5-10 look like coming into next year taking in the recruiting period is over?
1.Michigan State- Coaching, experience, and a young stud in Garry Harris who can continue his development.
2.Kentucky- Though they have alot to prove they have the talent. The returning pieces in Wiltjer, Cauley-Stein, and Alex Poythress don't hurt. Still have to see them on the court as they are mostly unproven, but i'll take their upside and Calipari's ability to maximize talent(except this year)
3.Arizona- Alot of talent. Veteran players. Sean Miller has to show up as this should be the year for a final four run.
4.Florida- Lose Boynton should be addition by subtraction with veteran players. A great defender in Wilbekin. Two top 15 recruits. Great coaching. I like their chances.
5.Duke- Coaching. Young talent. Rodney Hood and Jabari Parker should make for a nice combination, with Quinn Cook running an efficient offense.
As a Arizona fan I think you have Arizona overrated at 3. They have a log jam at the 4-5 position and big question marks at the point guard. I know they're have TJ McConnell but is he enough? Also Grant Jarrett is a big loss for the fact that he was the teams best 3 point shooter and they will lack spacing.
Next year is gonna be great. A few of those teams would've been favorites to win it all last year.
3 Michigan St.
6 OK State
2. Michigan St.
And Loiusville #6
pac 12 weak they should coast in regular season. I think they will play Ashley and Gordon together. I think McConnell has to just manage the game, and get out in transition to run with those athletes. Duke, Michigan, Kansas lost alot so I have them there by default, maybe fla would be above them
1. Kentucky - Probably the most talented freshman group since the Fab Five. And on top of that, Alex Poythress and Willie Cauley-Stein returning, both pretty good as well. This team is stacked, and has been hyped as such since landing Randle. Not much more needs to be said, they'll win alot of games this year based off talent alone. But if they're gonna win a championship like the 2012 team, they're gonna have to build chemistry to go along with that talent.
2. Duke - I'm probably a little higher on this Duke team then most. I think Jabari Parker was made for the college game, and he's been coming on stronger late. I can see him averaging close to 20 in his first season alone. Rodney Hood was a nice addition, and they got 2 more top 40 players in Matt Jones and Semi Ojeleye to go along with Parker. Quinn Cook and Rasheed Suilamon need to put in the work this summer, as does Marshall Plumlee, who has big shoes to try and help fill (his brothers).
3. Michigan State - Most of their key guys are returning. Gary Harris, Adreian Payne, Keith Appling, Branden Dawson. Lots of talent and a good team, no one on this team forces anything.
4. Kansas - If Andrew Wiggins can live up to his immense hype in college, even if only a portion, then this Kansas team just became contenders and one of the most exciting teams in college hoops, if not the most. I was iffy about his choice at first but the more I think about it, the more I like it. He would have had all the attention on FSU, would get constant double teams and would have to carry the scoring load most nights. Here, he's playing with another pretty good perimeter scorer in Wayne Selden, who can help take some of the pressure off Wiggins and create his own shot when time calls. That's a good scoring 1-2 combo, and then the raw yet athletically gifted Joel Embiid should keep the paint protected and get garbage buckets. Perry Ellis and Naadir Thorpe will likely round out the starting 5, while Conner Frankamp is pretty underrated in my opinion and I can see him contributing some points off the bench when needed.
5. Louisville - With the exceptions of Peyton Siva and Giorgi Dieng, most of their key guys returned from their championship run. So you already know they're a good team and well coached. And they've got plenty of firepower to boot. Volume scorer Russ Smith, Luke Hancock, Wayne Blackshear, Montrezl Harrell, Chane Behanan, transfer Chris Jones who should help fill Siva's void, and Kevin Ware, if he can make a recovery. The biggest problem I see with this team is their lack of size. The loss of Dieng has left them very small in the paint with little rim protection, so they'll have some problems with some of these biggest more athletic teams.
6. Arizona - Very talented frontcourt, with Brandon Ashley, Kaleb Tarczewski, high flyer Aaron Gordon and the vastly underappreciated Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, who i'm calling now will be one of the biggest freshman surprises. Nick Johnson gives them an atheltic guard on the wing, and this team will be scary and fun to watch in the open court. Biggest question mark is the point guard.
7. Florida - A surprise return of Patric Young, along with big time recruits Kasey Hill and Chris Walker should have Florida competitive and a big threat to make final 4 this year. Kenny Boyton leaving could prove to be addition by subtraction for this team.
8. Oklahoma State - Marcus Smart returning was probably the biggest surprise of that 2013 draft class. Lebryan Nash and Markel Brown both coming back as well. This team comes back another year older, another year more experienced. If Marcus Smart can develop a reliable three point shot, he could prove to be the most effective PG in college basketball this season.
9. Michigan - They lost their leader in Trey Burke, but got back their young frontcourt of Mitch Mcgary and Glenn Robinson, the former of whom had a terrific run in the tourney and should look to build on that momentum. Both are primed for bigger roles this year, and the return of Nik Stauskas should help keep the floor spread. Zak Irvin could be a nice addition for them on the wings in replacing Hardaway. Unfortunately replacing Trey Burke may be an impossible task for them this year.
10. Marquette - They got back leading scorer Vander Blue and added a pretty solid recruiting class. Todd Mayo, OJ Mayos brother could be primed for a bigger role this season, as should avante Gardner. This team is underrated and forgotten, and could be a sleeper pick come March.
HM: Ohio State - Amir Williams and Laquinton Ross' development is huge. Ross should be primed to help take some of the scoring load lost with the departure of Deshaun Thomas. Craft will continue to lead this team by example at the defensive end. A good balance of veteran leadership and young talent, along with a good coach.
North Carolina: Team has alot of potential, but alot to prove. James Mcadoo was lackluster last year, but still has the physical tools to be a lottery pick if he can work on his game this summer. PJ Hairston is solid offensively, and Isaih Hicks provides an atheletic foward ready to contribute ready away, moreso with shockblocking then anything. Marcus Paige could be the key, he needs to take a big step this summer. I'm not expecting anything besides fouls from Kennedy Meeks, not till he slims down a bit.
Syracuse: Losing alot of talent. James Southerland, Michael Carter Williams and Brandon Triche all out. Jerami Grant has to build off a solid freshman season, and Rakeem Christmas could stand to work on a post game. CJ Fair is returning, and Michael Gbinije transfering from Duke could add a decent scoring punch. A solid recruiting class including Tyler Roberson and Tyler Ennis will also help fill in the holes. Likely not going as far as last season, but should still be a competitive team.
Memphis: Young and athletic. But they have had athletic recruits the past couple years who haven't panned out. Still, a great recruiting class including Austin Nicholes, Nick Young and Kuran Iverson, who I thought was pretty underranked. They've got the talent, but also plenty to prove.
OP: You mention Duke, throwing out names like Rodney Hood and Quinn Cook, but you don't mention Rasheed Sulaimon?
I hope Kentucky drops the ball again this year. So far it looks similar to last year, and I don't see the justification of having them ranked in someones top 5. They are young players with talent, but they haven't proven they can win yet. They could be a good team, but what we learned last year is an elite draft class doesn't always translate to an elite tean/ranking. I would maybe hold off on praising them and ranking them so high until they play, maybe they can make it to the Dance this year.
I believe even if Kentucky doesn't gel the way they want to, there's no way they can be as bad as they were last year. They actually have guards that can shoot this year. But then again, scoring was never their weakness...
They have more depth this year. That's all you can say at this point.
i think kentucky is the clear #1 going into next year. This is a whole new season and people need to overlook how bad it was this past year and how great it can/will be this year. Tons of talent...Thats why after all of those recruits (randle,young,harrison twins, lee, dakari,etc) all commited it was almost like andrew wiggins choice wouldnt really effect what kentucky wants to do...it would be good to get wiggins but i think kentucky is better off in a way that they can focus on the guys they already have rather than letting a bunch of superstars take a back seat to the 'next lebron', not saying getting wiggins wouldnt have been great but i just dont even think it matters at this point.