NCAA Basketball Preseason Top 25 Rankings 2013: Post-Andrew Wiggins Signing
Please note in history that May 14 was the day that Andrew Wiggins announced his college decision, and ALLOWED THE REST OF US TO GO ON WITH OUR LIVES!!!
Oh and also make a preseason top 25 that was not full of "well if Wiggins goes here, then so and so will go on to world domination."
Kansas won the Wiggins' sweepstakes and the reward is a climb into the top 10 and wildly increased expectations.
Your reward for making it through what felt like the longest recruitment of all time is a brand spanking new 2013-14 preseason top 25.
Why They’re Here: Colorado would have been in the top 20 if Andre Roberson had not declared for the NBA draft. The loss of Roberson is big hit to CU’s defense and rebounding. The Buffs still have plenty of punch offensively with Spencer Dinwiddie, Askia Booker and Josh Scott.
2014 Prediction: Dinwiddie and Booker have led the Buffs to two straight NCAA tourney appearances. They’ll make it three straight and also move up into the top three of the Pac-12.
Why They’re Here: Every year Georgetown loses one of its best players and another guy slides into a starring role. Sure, it’s been a long time since the Hoyas had a talent like Otto Porter, but his departure is a chance for D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera or Marcus Starks to become that next go-to guy.
2014 Prediction: John Thompson III's team will not experience the same regular-season success as last, but the Hoyas will win a game in the NCAA tournament.
Why They’re Here: On talent alone, Baylor’s frontcourt of Isaiah Austin and Cory Jefferson with Rico Gathers coming off the bench is the best in the country. Scott Drew also added some length on the wing with incoming freshmen Ishmail Wainright and Allerik Freeman, which should pay off the most on the defensive end.
2013 Prediction: Baylor was the most talented team in the country that did not make the NCAA tournament this past season. The same will not be said in 2014. The Bears will benefit from a down year in the Big 12 to finish third in the league and they'll be back in the tourney.
Why They’re Here: The Ducks had the talent in the backcourt to be a Top 25 team. What they lacked was a proven big man. So Dana Altman went out and landed UNLV transfer Mike Moser, who will be eligible to play right away.
2014 Prediction: A lot will depend on whether Moser can return to what he was two years ago when he averaged 14 points and 10.5 rebounds. The Ducks will experience similar regular-season success; only this time around the selection committee will give them some actual love and reward them with a seed much better than a 12.
Why They’re Here: Connecticut was solid in year one of the Kevin Ollie era, finishing 20-10, and that team had nothing to play for but pride. The postseason ban is over and Ollie returns his entire starting lineup, led by Ryan Boatright and Shabazz Napier. The new American Athletic Conference schools are going to have a blast defending those two.
2014 Prediction: The Huskies will return to the postseason and challenge Memphis for best team other than Louisville in the first year of the American Athletic Conference.
20. Saint Louis
Why They’re Here: Saint Louis returns seven key players from the team that won the Atlantic 10 and earned a four seed in the NCAA tournament. Key among them is leading scorer Dwayne Evans, who should be the preseason pick for A-10 player of the year.
2014 Prediction: The Billikens will finish a close second to VCU in the A-10 and be an experienced team that no one wants to see in March.
19. Wichita State
Why They’re Here: Gregg Marshall returns plenty of talent from the Final Four team and the confidence from that run should carry over. Everyone knows now that Marshall can coach and everyone should also know that leading scorer Cleanthony Early is the real deal.
2014 Prediction: Led by Early, the Shockers will dominate a Creighton-less Missouri Valley. They will also earn a higher NCAA tourney seed thanks to their regular-season success and the respect last year’s tourney run earned the program.
18. New Mexico
Why They’re Here: For the short-term, it made a lot of sense for New Mexico to hire Steve Alford’s assistant Craig Neal as the new head coach. The Lobos return four of five starters and there’s no need to make many (if any) changes to what they were doing a year ago.
2014 Prediction: The Lobos will repeat as Mountain West champions, only this year that will not come with as high a RPI rating or with an embarrassing loss in the NCAA tournament.
Why They’re Here: A lot of attention will be paid to the new Big East, which will be beneficial to Memphis and Josh Pastner—not that Pastner needs any help in recruiting. He has another great class coming in, but a lot of the attention coming Memphis’ way will be because of Joe Jackson.
2014 Prediction: Jackson will emerge as one of the best guards in the country and help Memphis finish in second place in the new American Athletic Conference behind Louisville. Jackson will also finish second to Russ Smith for conference player of the year.
Why They’re Here: Not a lot is expected of the Hoosiers because of the loss of Cody Zeller and Victor Oladipo. They’re going to be better than expected, because both Yogi Ferrell and Will Sheehey will be able to lead a much less experienced team that will still have plenty of talent. The key is how quickly incoming freshman big man Noah Vonley develops.
2014 Prediction: The Hoosiers will be up and down, but they’ll pull off some surprising upsets in the Big Ten and get a top five seed in the NCAA tournament.
Why They’re Here: Marquette would be in the top 10 if Vander Blue had decided to stay in school. The loss of Blue hurts, but do not bet against Buzz Williams. A year ago he was replacing his two leading scorers, and the Golden Eagles won a share of the Big East title and made the Elite Eight.
2014 Prediction: Even without Blue, the Golden Eagles will be the first-ever champs in the new Big East thanks to the play of the frontline of Davante Gardner and Jamil Wilson.
Why They’re Here: In the short term, Shaka Smart’s decision to turn down UCLA made sense. Smart has more talent returning on his roster at VCU. He added to that talent with the addition of Florida State transfer forward Terrance Shannon. Shannon gives the Rams another athletic big man and should help fix the one area where they struggled last year: rebounding.
2014 Prediction: Smart and Havoc are not going away. VCU will win the Atlantic 10 and make another run in the NCAA tournament.
Why They’re Here: It used to be that Gonzaga was known for its guard play. In recent years, Mark Few has turned the program into a big-man factory. The Zags lose Kelly Olynyk and Elias Harris, and they will be just fine with Sam Dower and Przemek Karnowski.
2014 Prediction: Dower and Karnowski will become names you need to know. The big men will dominate the West Coast Conference and the Zags will once again be a high seed in the tourney.
Why They’re Here: Jim Boeheim has stockpiled length and athleticism. That means it’s going to be another year of his zone defense being one of the best defenses in the country. C.J. Fair returning to school was also key for Boeheim. Fair was Syracuse’s best player in the team’s run to the Final Four.
2014 Prediction: Syracuse will be in the hunt for the ACC title in its first year in the league, but the lack of experience at the guard position will lead to some ups and downs. How well incoming freshman point guard Tyler Ennis plays will determine how good this team can be.
11. North Carolina
Why They're Here: Andrew Wiggins was the missing piece to put the Tar Heels in the top five. Wiggins and Kansas also bump UNC out of the top 10. The potential is still there to be much improved with a solid recruiting class coming in to complement P.J. Hairston and James Michael McAdoo.
2014 Prediction: The improvement of point guard Marcus Paige along with a full season of Hairston in the starting lineup will lead to a much more consistent season out of the Heels, who will finish second in the ACC.
10. Ohio State
Why They’re Here: Aaron Craft will be a 27th-year senior and the Buckeyes still have a star scorer to ride in LaQuinton Ross. The last time we saw Ross, he was scoring 17 points in back-to-back games of the Sweet 16 and Elite Eight. Go ahead and pencil him in as the most improved player in the Big Ten.
2014 Prediction: The Buckeyes will have a similar Big Ten season to last year. They’ll get off to sort of a slow start and play much better down the stretch and ultimately finish third in the league behind the Michigan schools.
Why They’re Here: The Gators lose a nice luxury in Erik Murphy, a stretch 4 who fit perfectly with Florida’s drive-and-kick guards. Without Murphy, the Gators could be better defensively if that’s possible. They get more athletic at his spot with Will Yeguete and incoming freshman Chris Walker taking up those minutes.
2014 Prediction: Florida and Kentucky will share the SEC regular-season title and the third-place team will not be close to either. Donovan’s team will also make it back to the Elite Eight for the fourth straight year.
8. Oklahoma State
Why They’re Here: Marcus Smart. Marcus Smart. Marcus Smart. Get used to the Marcus Smart lovefest that is about to take place and deservedly so. You’ll hear a lot of things like this: It’s not just his ability that makes the Cowboys great, it’s his presence. How hard Smart plays is contagious. The rest of the Big 12 will have a Marsha complex by the end of the year.
2014 Prediction: The Cowboys would have been pretty talented even without Smart. Markel Brown is one of the most underrated players in the country and Le’Bryan Nash has his moments. Kansas and Oklahoma State are the runaway favorites in the Big 12. Slight edge goes to Kansas because of Bill Self and Andrew Wiggins.
Why They’re Here: The Blue Devils are missing true post players, but don’t cry for Coach K; he has some pretty good options in transfer Rodney Hood and incoming freshman Jabari Parker. Parker will be able to play at both the 3 spot and as a stretch 4, which will make him a matchup nightmare for just about any defense.
2014 Prediction: Duke will be extremely entertaining to watch and Parker will be a stud right away. Look for the Blue Devils to play with some non-conventional lineups, which if any coach can pull it off, it’s Mike Krzyzewski. Coach K’s crew will win the ACC title and he’ll be considered for national coach of the year.
Why They’re Here: Bill Self had a roster full of potential and a lot of question marks. Then he landed Andrew Wiggins. Wiggins is as close to a proven commodity as you can get in a freshman. He gives Kansas a go-to scorer, and Self has plenty of talent to fit around him.
2014 Prediction: Poor Oklahoma State. Just when you think a school has put together a roster equipped to end KU's nine-year Big 12 title streak, Self goes and lands Wiggins. Make it 10 straight for Kansas, which also has enough talent to be in the title chase. Experience is a concern.
Why They’re Here: John Beilein with NBA talent is like giving the guy cheat codes. Beilein would find a way to build a successful offense with lesser talent—because he has throughout his career—and now that he’s pulling in top-tier guys, life is a lot easier for him and much more difficult for the rest of the Big Ten.
2014 Prediction: Incoming freshmen Zakarie Irvin and Derrick Walton will make it easier than anticipated to replace Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr. Mitch McGary also continues his emergence and becomes a first-team All-American. Michigan will finish a close second to Michigan State in the Big Ten and then fall just short of the Final Four this time around.
Why They’re Here: Lots and lots of talent and length. Get to know the name Aaron Gordon. The hype surrounding Gordon is not quite at Andrew Wiggins levels, but Gordon is probably the second-most gifted player in the freshman class. At 6’8”, if he can actually play the three spot effectively, the Wildcats are going to be really good.
2014 Prediction: Arizona will actually follow a great nonconference run with a great run in the conference season. The Wildcats win the Pac-12 and Sean Miller makes his first Final Four.
3. Michigan State
Why They’re Here: Tom Izzo had three players considering leaving for the NBA and had all three return. Usually when that happens, good things follow. (See Florida 2007.)
2014 Prediction: Adreian Payne and Gary Harris look smart for returning and one of the two lands on the All-American team. The Spartans win the Big Ten and make it back to the Final Four for the first time since 2010.
Why They're Here: Don't cry for Big Blue Nation. Kentucky will survive without Andrew Wiggins. In fact, the Wildcats didn't really even need Wiggins to be great. They already have amazing talent and a historical recruiting class.
2014 Prediction: Kentucky is going to have a great season that will go all the way to the national championship game. A certain neighbor will meet UK there, and the best recruiting class since the Fab Five will experience a similar fate.
Why They’re Here: Rick Pitino returns a team that has even more depth and more athleticism than last year’s champions. Pitino also has an older, wiser Russ Smith. (Two words you never thought would be associated with Russdiculous.) The experience of two straight Finals Fours and a national title also shouldn’t hurt the Cardinals.
2014 Prediction: Pitino might not want to make any tattoo promises to his fellas next season. Louisville will go undefeated in the watered down league that was once known as the Big East—now the American Athletic Conference—and will repeat as national champions.