Bleacher Report Writers' College Basketball Top 25 Poll, Preseason Edition
With college basketball practices under way and the start of official games approaching, here is the official Bleacher Report Top 25 poll. As expected, Indiana was the near-unanimous No. 1 team. The only other team to receive a No. 1 vote was Kentucky, which filed in at No. 3.
Without further ado, here are college basketball's top 25 teams for the 2012-13 season, as voted by Bleacher Report college basketball writers.
Rank. Team (Total points)
1. Indiana (199)
Indiana returns five starters from last year's team that advanced to the Sweet 16. The Hoosiers are nationally regarded as one of the top three teams in college basketball this year.
2. Louisville (183)
Rick Pitino's club got hot in March last year and advanced all the way to the Final Four. The Cardinals return three starters, including Gorgui Dieng, the best shot-blocker in the Big East.
3. Kentucky (178)
Coming off a national championship, Kentucky will once again compete for the crown. Although Kyle Wiltjer is the only notable returning player, John Calipari has revamped the Wildcats' roster with four top-100 recruits and NC State transfer Ryan Harrow.
4. NC State (170)
NC State has the best inside-outside duo in the ACC with C.J. Leslie and Lorenzo Brown. Brown was No. 2 in the conference in assists last year with 6.3 dimes per game.
5. Kansas (164)
Thomas Robinson and Tyshawn Taylor are gone, but Kansas returns Elijah Johnson, Jeff Withey and Travis Releford while adding freshmen Ben McLemore, Perry Ellis and Andrew White.
6. Michigan (154)
Michigan will have to fill the holes left by the departures of Zack Novak, Stu Douglass and Evan Smotrycz, but Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr. make up the best starting backcourt in the Big Ten.
7. UCLA (136)
UCLA has its best team since 2007-08. The Bruins add four top-100 recruits and UNC transfer Larry Drew to a team that won 19 games last season.
8. Michigan State (133)
Michigan State may have lost Draymond Green, Brandon Wood and Austin Thornton, but you can always count on Tom Izzo's team to be among the best in college basketball.
9. Syracuse (122)
The Orange will rely heavily on role players from last season becoming stars this year. Michael Carter-Williams and Rakeem Christmas, who both played less than 12 minutes per game, will be key to the team's success.
10. Ohio State (121)
Deshaun Thomas will have to replace Jared Sullinger, and Lenzelle Smith Jr. will do the same with William Buford. Leading the team, the Buckeyes have arguably the best point guard in the nation in Aaron Craft.
11. Baylor (111)
Baylor returns only two starters, but Scott Drew added one of the nation's best recruiting classes with top-100 recruits Isaiah Austin, Ricardo Gathers and L.J. Rose. Point guard Pierre Jackson is a potential Big 12 Player of the Year.
T-12. North Carolina (106)
The Tar Heels lost four of their top five scorers but return Reggie Bullock, Dexter Strickland, Leslie McDonald and James Michael McAdoo. McAdoo is expected to have a huge 2012-13 season.
T-12. Duke (106)
Duke lost leading scorer Austin Rivers to the NBA, and the Blue Devils will need to find someone that can consistently be counted on to put up large bunches of points. Inside, they have a great duo with Ryan Kelly and Mason Plumlee.
14. Arizona (105)
A disappointing 2011-12 season ended with a loss in the first round of the NIT. This year, Arizona has improved its roster tremendously with Xavier transfer Mark Lyons and four top-100 recruits.
15. Florida (101)
Florida's backcourt is much thinner this year after the departures of point guard Erving Walker and Bradley Beal. The Gators will rely on Mike Rosario and freshman Michael Frazier to complement Kenny Boynton.
16. Missouri (82)
In its first year in the SEC, Missouri will compete for a conference title. The Tigers lost three starters, but they add three impact transfers in Alex Oriakhi, Keion Bell and Earnest Ross.
17. UNLV (73)
UNLV returns Mike Moser, the favorite for Mountain West Player of the Year. Moser averaged 14 points and 10.5 rebounds last season. Joining him are returnees Anthony Marshall and Justin Hawkins, as well as newcomers Anthony Bennett, Khem Birch and Bryce Jones.
Which unranked team most deserves to be ranked?
18. San Diego State (59)
San Diego State tied with New Mexico last season for the regular-season Mountain West title. The Aztecs return three starters, including reigning Mountain West Player of the Year Jamaal Franklin.
T-19. Memphis (53)
Leading scorer Will Barton is gone, but Memphis returns Joe Jackson, Tarik Black and Adonis Thomas while adding top-100 recruit Shaq Goodwin.
T-19. Creighton (53)
Creighton has a potential National Player of the Year in forward Doug McDermott, the nation's top returning scorer. The only major loss from last year's 29-win team is point guard Antoine Young.
21. Notre Dame (51)
Notre Dame returns five starters from last season's 22-win team. The Fighting Irish don't have a single player that you can label a superstar, but a backcourt of Jerian Grant and Eric Atkins and a frontcourt with Jack Cooley and Scott Martin make them among the best in the Big East.
22. Gonzaga (41)
Some people have predicted that this could be the year Gonzaga finally goes to the Final Four. The Zags have a talented but young backcourt with Kevin Pangos and Gary Bell Jr. Senior forward Elias Harris is a potential WCC Player of the Year.
23. Texas (30)
Texas will rely heavily on underclassmen, but if they deliver, the Longhorns could compete for a Big 12 title.
24. Wisconsin (24)
Wisconsin lost only one starter, but it was an important one. The departure of Jordan Taylor leaves a big hole in the backcourt that the Badgers will need to fill.
25. Minnesota (12)
If Trevor Mbakwe is at full strength, Minnesota is a sure NCAA tournament team.
Other teams receiving votes: Pittsburgh (9), Kansas State (8), Marquette (6), Virginia (6), Maryland (4), Cincinnati (3), Florida State (3), Xavier (3), St. John's (2), VCU (2), Miami FL (1), Murray State (1)
We are always looking for more voters. If you want to be a voter, just message me through B/R. As long as you have substantial experience as a college basketball writer on B/R, you can be part of the weekly rankings.
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