In accordance with Midnight Madness festivities kicking off the 2012-13 college basketball season across the nation, USA Today has unveiled its highly anticipated preseason rankings.
For those who have followed the offseason rumblings and hype surrounding certain squads, most of these rankings will come as no surprise.
The Hoosiers' top billing has to come as nothing short of a coup for Tom Crean. After taking over a program decimated by NCAA violations under Kelvin Sampson, the fifth-year coach gradually brought the team back to prominence.
Led by Naismith Award candidate Cody Zeller, the team also returns 2011-12 stars like Christian Watford and Will Sheehey.
Coming in second is a Louisville squad that may be the deepest in the nation. With Wayne Blackshear supposedly being college basketball's next breakout star, this could be an opportunity for Rick Pitino to get his first national title as the Cardinals' head coach.
Speaking of coaches coming off a first national championship, John Calipari's Kentucky Wildcats come into the preseason rankings at No. 3. Led by a new crop of freshmen, including consensus top recruit Nerlens Noel, the Wildcats will once again have to grow as a team before becoming a force to be reckoned with in March.
Of the most notable big-picture takeaways, it seems that the rankings have pegged the Big Ten as the best in the nation. With five teams inside the Top 25, including three top-five squads, the reign of the Big East may be over.
With that in mind, here is a look at the preseason rankings from USA Today:
|Preseason USA Today Top 25 RANKINGS|
|4. Ohio State|
|6. North Carolina State|
|12. North Carolina|
|14. Michigan State|
|20. San Diego State|
|23. Notre Dame|
|24. Florida State|