Final Top 25 Power Ranking for 2013 NCAA Basketball Season
Louisville and Michigan gave us a championship game that we'll be talking about for years. And in the end, it was clear the Cardinals were the undisputed champs.
As you read these rankings and think, "Did this guy even watch the tournament?" remember, the regular season matters too. The recency effect has a definite influence, but you cannot ignore the first four months of the season.
With that in mind, here are your final 2013 rankings from Bleacher Report.
25. Florida Gulf Coast
Final Record: 26-11; eliminated in the Sweet 16 by Florida, 62-50
Why They're Here: Is this too low for a Sweet 16 team? Well, when you consider this was the second-place team in the Atlantic Sun, it might even be too high.
The Eagles earned this spot by not only capturing our imaginations in the NCAA tournament, but by playing a high-flying brand of basketball that was dominant for one weekend.
What's Next: Andy Enfield is gone, but the talent remains. Four of the team's five starters are back, including table-setter Brett Comer at point guard. For now, assistant Marty Richter is the interim head coach.
24. Colorado State
Final Record: 26-9; eliminated in the round of 32 by Louisville, 82-56
Why They're Here: The Rams finished second in the Mountain West in Larry Eustachy's first year with the program. They got there with five seniors and a devotion to rebounding.
CSU went from an average rebounding team to arguably the best in the country, going from 268th to second in offensive rebounding percentage and 68th to first in defensive rebounding percentage (via KenPom.com).
What's Next: Colorado State graduates its entire starting lineup and returns only two players (Daniel Bejarano and Jon Octeus) who were part of the regular rotation this past season.
Reason for hope: Wichita State also graduated its entire starting lineup last season and made it to the Final Four.
Final Record: 23-12; eliminated in the round of 64 by Ole Miss, 57-46
Why They're Here: The Badgers had one ugly showing in the NCAA tournament, but that doesn't change the fact that they beat Indiana (twice), Illinois (twice), Michigan (twice) and Ohio State (once).
Bo Ryan lost starting point guard Josh Gasser before the season to an ACL tear, but nothing ever stops him from winning with his slow, grueling pace.
What's Next: Wisconsin's backcourt will be strong with the return of Gasser to go along with his replacement, Traevon Jackson. Sharpshooter Ben Brust led the team in scoring this past year.
The Badgers also return forward Sam Dekker, who averaged 9.6 points per game as a freshman. He is a tough matchup at 6'7" with the ability to play inside and out.
22. Oklahoma State
Final Record: 24-9; eliminated in the round of 64 by Oregon, 68-55
Why They're Here: Marcus Smart turned the Cowboys into one of the best defensive teams in the Big 12. Because of Smart, the Cowboys were a sleeper pick for the Final Four, but they ran into a hot team right away. The Ducks, a No. 12 seed? That was a bad draw.
What's Next: Most think Smart is gone, but he said via Twitter on Friday that he's undecided.
Assuming no one else goes pro, the Cowboys will return a trio of double-digit scorers in Markel Brown, Le'Bryan Nash and Phil Forte. Travis Ford also signed two guards ranked in Rivals.com's top 100.
21. Kansas State
Final Record: 27-8; eliminated in the round of 64 by La Salle, 63-61
Why They're Here: Bruce Weber's motion offense was a good fit in Manhattan and helped the Wildcats win a share of the Big 12 regular-season title.
That earned K-State the chance to open the NCAA tournament in Kansas City, but the team's uneven performance in that game—trailing 44-26 at half—was a real head-scratcher. Overall, Weber's first season was still a success.
What's Next: The Wildcats lose star Rodney McGruder along with center Jordan Henriquez. Weber does return a good core that will now be led by point guard Angel Rodriguez.
Shane Southwell, a wing who played the 4-spot this season, also returns and could take on more of a scoring role with McGruder no longer around.
Final Record: 28-8; eliminated in the round of 32 by Duke, 66-50
Why They're Here: The Missouri Valley's champion (regular season and postseason) looks even better now after what Wichita State accomplished in the NCAA tournament.
The Bluejays were the MVC team that was getting the love before the Shockers' run, thanks to Doug McDermott and some unreal shooting numbers. He shot 49.7 percent from beyond the arc (sixth in NCAA) and 58.9 percent inside the arc during the regular season.
What's Next: McDermott's decision to go pro or stay in school. With a weak draft class and slim chances that his stock could improve, it makes sense to declare himself eligible for the draft.
Final Record: 27-9; eliminated in the round of 32 by Michigan, 78-53
Why They're Here: When the Rams were not playing Michigan, they were a nightmare for opposing backcourts. VCU led the nation in turnovers forced, taking away the ball on 27.9 percent of opponents' possessions.
It was also the third straight year the team won at least one game in the NCAA tournament, proof that this is a program with some staying power.
What's Next: Havoc isn't going anywhere. Shaka Smart appears committed to the school after turning down UCLA and Minnesota.
He also returns a deep and talented team next season with six players back who averaged more than 10 minutes per game, including leading scorers Treveon Graham and Juvonte Reddic.
18. New Mexico
Final Record: 29-6; lost in the round of 64 to Harvard, 68-62
Why They're Here: The "death to the RPI" crowd has reason to scream after the No. 2 team in that rating system was wiped out by Harvard.
So were the Lobos a fraud? Hardly. They won the Mountain West, which was a solid league, and they were great defensively inside the arc all season. The Lobos' one weakness was they allowed too many threes, and the lack of an adjustment against Harvard sent New Mexico home earlier than expected.
What's Next: Coach Steve Alford is gone, but he left behind better talent at New Mexico than he'll have next season at UCLA. All five starters this past season were underclassmen—although Tony Snell is expected to declare for the NBA draft, according to the Albuquerque Journal.
Even without Snell, former Alford assistant Craig Neal should have the best team in the Mountain West once again.
17. Saint Louis
Final Record: 28-7; eliminated in the round of 32 by Oregon, 74-57
Why They're Here: Jim Crews took over Rick Majerus' squad, and Saint Louis continued to look a lot like a Majerus squad.
The Billikens were solid defensively with the rare ability to both force turnovers and keep shooting percentages low. Offensively, they rarely made mistakes and could score inside and out. Three-point shooting did fail them against Oregon—3-of-21 from distance—while the Ducks made 8-of-11.
What's Next: After the season SLU had, it's likely the school keeps Crews, who was the interim coach this past season. The Billikens return four starters, including leading scorer Dwayne Evans.
Final Record: 27-8; eliminated in the Sweet 16 by Ohio State, 73-70
Why They're Here: Arizona was a lot like Syracuse this season It was great in nonconference play (12-0), didn't look great entering the NCAA tournament (lost five of 10) and then looked great again in the NCAA tourney.
The 'Cats didn't turn that into a Final Four run, but it wasn't that they played poorly in the Sweet 16. They led Ohio State by 10 almost midway through the second half, and it took one of the best comebacks of the tourney to knock them out.
What's Next: Sean Miller is on the verge of turning this program back into the best in the West. Duquesne transfer T.J. McConnell will give Arizona a true point guard.
The team is stacked in the frontcourt and on the wing with the addition of McDonald's All-Americans Aaron Gordon and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson.
Final Record: 28-9; eliminated in the Sweet 16 by Louisville, 77-69
Why They're Here: If any team had legitimate reason to gripe about its seed, it was Oregon. Oklahoma State and Saint Louis can attest. The Ducks, much like Arizona, had struggled during the last half of the Pac-12 schedule, but they had bounced back by winning the Pac-12 tourney.
Their path to the Sweet 16—against OSU and SLU—was as tough as any other team's, and they got there relatively easily. No fault in losing to Louisville. Had the Ducks been out West, they might have been the underdog that got to Atlanta.
What's Next: Oregon graduates four rotation players, but the future is promising with the return of freshmen Dominic Artis and Damyean Dotson in the backcourt. Dotson averaged 17.3 points per game in the tourney.
Final Record: 25-7; eliminated in the round of 64 by Florida Gulf Coast, 78-68
Why They're Here: Let's set the loss to FGCU aside momentarily and remember what the Hoyas accomplished before that. They won a share of the Big East championship, splitting the title with Marquette and Louisville. They won their only meeting with Louisville and took two out of three from Syracuse.
Losing to a double-digit seed—the fifth time in six years for John Thompson III—is troubling because it's definitely become a trend. But it was still a successful year for the Hoyas.
What's Next: Georgetown does not lose one senior. Even if Otto Porter turns pro, Thompson still returns a solid roster that is used to winning.
D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera has the look of a player ready to fill Porter's role as the team's star. Smith-Rivera had a stretch late in his freshman season when he averaged 14.9 points over eight games.
13. Michigan State
Final Record: 27-9; eliminated in the Sweet 16 by Duke, 71-61
Why They're Here: Tom Izzo's team had Final Four talent, but the Spartans never seemed to consistently click. One issue was inconsistent play from point guard Keith Appling, who had zero assists and four turnovers against Duke.
Appling did score 16 points in that game, but his assist numbers were down late in the year. He did not have more than two in any of his final seven games.
What's Next: If everyone comes back, Michigan State will have one of the most talented and experienced rosters in the country. According to MLive.com, Appling, Adreian Payne and Gary Harris are seeking information from the NBA undergraduate advisory committee.
Final Record: 29-7; eliminated in the Sweet 16 by Marquette, 71-61
Why They're Here: Miami had a great team this year, but that was contingent on one thing: Shane Larkin needed to be on. When Marquette was able to take away Larkin by double-teaming him off ball screens in the Sweet 16, the Hurricanes became much closer to average.
What's Next: The majority of Miami's rotation is gone. If Larkin doesn't turn pro, that's enough to put Miami in next year's preseason Top 25. It remains to be seen if he'll have much help.
Final Record: 26-9; eliminated in the Elite Eight by Syracuse, 55-39
Why They're Here: If there were an award for coach of the tournament, Buzz Williams would be up there. He squeaked out a win against Davidson and then got his team all the way to the Elite Eight.
The Golden Eagles' downfall was their three-point shooting—they shot only 29.6 percent all year and 12.5 percent against Syracuse. But the fact that they made it that far and won a share of the Big East title with that kind of shooting speaks to the coaching job Williams did with this team.
What's Next: Three leading scorers, Vander Blue, Davante Gardner and Jamil Wilson, all return. Williams also signed three players ranked in Rivals.com's top 64.
Final Record: 29-8; eliminated in the Elite Eight by Michigan, 79-59
Why They're Here: The Gators had one of the most bizarre seasons ever, going the entire year without winning one game that was decided by single digits. The Gators were too reliant on their guards and outside shooting, which is one reason they struggled in close games.
It made sense why they were so reliant on their guards when you saw what happened against Michigan. Billy Donovan tried to pound the ball inside, and the Gators looked out of sorts trying to do so.
What's Next: The Gators return only two starters—Scottie Wilbekin and Patric Young. Don't cry for Donovan. He picked up two McDonald's All-Americans in guard Kasey Hill and athletic big man Chris Walker.
Final Record: 30-6; eliminated in the Elite Eight by Louisville, 85-63
Why They're Here: Duke was one of the more complete teams in the country this season with scorers at every position and the ability to play fast or play in the half court.
The one weakness of the Blue Devils was they could not keep elite speed out of the paint. Shane Larkin had it, and Miami was a bad matchup. Louisville had it with both Russ Smith and Peyton Siva, and the Devils just couldn't keep up.
What's Next: Duke is loaded on the perimeter with the return of Rasheed Sulaimon along with the addition of three talented freshman wings, including Jabari Parker. The concern for Mike Krzyzewski has to be how he'll replace the inside production from Mason Plumlee and Ryan Kelly.
8. Ohio State
Final Record: 29-8; lost in the Elite Eight to Wichita State, 70-66
Why They're Here: The Buckeyes were slow starters in the NCAA tournament and always finished strong, which was kind of like their season. The Shockers ended what was an 11-game winning streak.
The Buckeyes just dug themselves too big of a hole against Wichita State, which figured out it was wise to make Aaron Craft a jump shooter.
What's Next: Deshaun Thomas is gone, but the Buckeyes should still be a contender in the Big Ten because of the emergence of LaQuinton Ross late in the year. Ross scored at least 17 in each of his last three games. The rest of the starting lineup returns, and Ross will slide in nicely as a replacement for Thomas.
Final Record: 32-3; eliminated in the round of 32 by Wichita State, 76-70
Why They're Here: That loss to Wichita State doesn't look so bad now, huh? But until Gonzaga reaches a Final Four, Mark Few will always have his doubters.
This team was talented enough to get there. The Zags simply ran into a squad that caught fire; the Shockers hit five straight threes in the second half of that game and never really cooled off.
What's Next: Waiting to see if Kelly Olynyk makes the jump to the NBA. If he doesn't, Gonzaga should be a preseason Top Five team.
Sam Dower will slide into the starting lineup for Elias Harris, and the Zags would still have the best front line in college basketball.
6. Wichita State
Final Record: 30-9; eliminated in the Final Four by Louisville, 72-68
Why They're Here: Gregg Marshall had a great line that he kept repeating throughout Final Four week: Cinderella found one glass slipper, not four.
His team may have been the second-best Missouri Valley club in the regular season, but that was no Cinderella. The Shockers played smart ball, and they had the talent to play with the big boys.
What's Next: Marshall returns three starters, including freshmen Ron Baker and Fred VanVleet. Like Butler and VCU, Wichita State is not going anywhere.
Final Record: 29-7; eliminated in the Sweet 16 by Syracuse, 61-50
Why They're Here: (Insert obligatory "Tom Crean is still trying to figure out that Syracuse plays a zone" joke here.)
It's rare that one of the best offenses in college basketball goes splat in the NCAA tournament, but that was the case for the Hoosiers. Only three times during the regular season did they score less than a point per possession, and they did it twice in the NCAA tourney (against Temple and Syracuse).
The Syracuse game was, by far, Indiana's worst offensive game (0.77 points per possession), and it was a bad look for Crean and Cody Zeller (3-of-11 shooting, five of his shots blocked).
What's Next: Waiting on Cody Zeller and Victor Oladipo to decide whether to turn pro.
Final Record: 31-6; eliminated in the Sweet 16 by Michigan, 87-85 (OT)
Why They're Here: Ultimately, Kansas lost a game that it had close to locked up because of shaky point guard play, which is what troubled Kansas all season.
If you don't buy into the statement that KU had the Michigan game locked up, consider that Ken Pomeroy's win-probability formula had KU as a 99.4 percent favorite with 2:33 left and a 10-point lead.
One avoided misstep over that final 2:33, and it may have been Kansas playing for the national title for the second straight season on Monday.
What's Next: Assuming Ben McLemore leaves, Bill Self will have to replace his entire starting lineup. It's a good thing he went out and signed the second-best recruiting class in the country.
Final Record: 30-10; eliminated in Final Four by Michigan, 61-56
Why They're Here: The only two teams to beat Syracuse in the postseason (Big East tournament and NCAA) were the teams that played for the national title on Monday.
Jim Boeheim's defense has never been better, and it's not like Michigan tore it up, scoring only 61 points in the national semifinal. The one piece Boeheim was missing all year was an inside scorer, which was apparent against the Wolverines and Mitch McGary.
What's Next: Waiting to see if sophomore point guard Michael Carter-Williams will return to school.
Final Record: 31-8; lost in national championship to Louisville, 82-76
Why They're Here: Michigan was a worthy runner-up. The Wolverines had loads of talent (some of it was even hiding on the bench all year).
Trey Burke was deserving of his countless individual accolades this year. In the end, the Cardinals just had too many weapons.
What's Next: Waiting to see who will come back. Trey Burke is likely gone, but if John Beilein can convince Mitch McGary and Glenn Robinson III to come back, he'll have another really talented team.
Final Record: 35-5; won national championship over Michigan, 82-76
Why They're Here: The Cardinals just always found a way to win. It didn't matter if Russ Smith was having the worst game of his life or they faced a horrific injury.
What's Next: They celebrate. Then they wait to see if Smith will return for a possible 2014 run. Rick Pitino loses some good players, but he returns enough talent to repeat.