Preseason College Basketball Rankings 2013: Early Favorites for Next Season

Tim DanielsFeatured ColumnistApril 3, 2012

NEW ORLEANS, LA - APRIL 02:  Head coach John Calipari celebrates after the Wildcats defeat the Kansas Jayhawks 67-59 in the National Championship Game of the 2012 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on April 2, 2012 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

Kentucky cut down the nets last night to claim the school's eighth national championship, which could only mean one thing. It's time to look toward next season. The endless cycle of college basketball continues to move forward.

Let's take a look at some of the early favorites for next season. After all, it's never too early to start thinking about next year's bracket.


PHOENIX, AZ - MARCH 24:  Peyton Siva #3 of the Louisville Cardinals moves the ball in the first half while taking on the Florida Gators during the 2012 NCAA Men's Basketball West Regional Final at US Airways Center on March 24, 2012 in Phoenix, Arizona.
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

1. Louisville Cardinals

The Cardinals made an impressive late charge that included winning the Big East conference tournament and an appearance in the Final Four. They didn't have enough firepower to knock off Kentucky, but next year's setting up well for Louisville.

Most of the team's main contributors are expected to return. Peyton Siva will look to build off the momentum he built up down the stretch with a solid offseason, leading to his biggest season yet. And his supporting cast should be improved.

Replacing the outside shooting ability of Kyle Kuric will be the biggest hurdle Louisville has to overcome, but that shouldn't stop them from being a contender.


2. Kentucky Wildcats

Kentucky will likely lose a sizable chunk of its title-winning roster to the NBA, but John Calipari has proven his one-and-done approach can work. While there had been questions about its ability to run the table, they were answered over the last few weeks.

Even though names like Anthony Davis won't be around, the Wildcats are already lining up another elite recruiting class. Alex Poythress and Archie Goodwin, who are both 5-star recruits, have already committed, according to Rivals. They are also in the mix for Shabazz Muhammad.

When the dust settles after signing day, it's hard to imagine Kentucky looking like anything but a formidable threat to win another title.


ATLANTA, GA - MARCH 23:  Cody Zeller #40 of the Indiana Hoosiers passes against Michael Kidd-Gilchrist #14 of the Kentucky Wildcats during the 2012 NCAA Men's Basketball South Regional Semifinal game at the Georgia Dome on March 23, 2012 in Atlanta, Georg
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

3. Indiana Hoosiers

Indiana was the only team to defeat Kentucky during the regular season and gave the Wildcats another tough test during the tournament before falling just short. The Hoosiers should return nearly their entire group of key players for another season.

The key will be Cody Zeller. He hasn't made a decision about his NBA future, but if the dynamic big man returns for another season the Hoosiers have to love their chances. Rivals reports they already have two 5-star commitments joining the team.

It took longer than most Hoosiers fans were hoping to get the program back on track, but things are certainly looking up heading into next season.