One of the harsh realities that every great (or even good) college basketball program must face from year to year is moving on without some of their best players from the season before.
Whether it's replacing that senior who worked tirelessly to improve his game over his four-year tenure or that one and done freshman who took the nation by storm and moved on to the NBA, it always hurts to lose great players regardless of the circumstances surrounding their exit.
And while it can be sad to see some of the best players in college basketball move on, their departures open the door for other teams and players to step up and prove themselves on a national level.
In addition, it's also very interesting to see how some of the elite programs in the country re-tool their lineups in the wake of some of their best players leaving.
Whether these teams rely on that top rated class of freshmen, transfer students, or building from within the program, there are plenty of different ways to reload after losing some of your best players and the ability to consistently do this is what keeps teams like Duke, Kansas, and Syracuse amongst the nation's elite every season.
So let's take a look at some of the best teams in the nation this season and see how they've replaced (or attempted to replace) their best players from last season who are no longer with the team.
09'-10' stats: 20.4 ppg, 9.2 rpg, 6 apg, and 1.7 spg
Players who have replaced Turner: Jared Sullinger, Aaron Craft, William Buford, David Lighty
When you look at everything that Evan Turner brought to this Ohio State team last season, it's hard to believe that he left for the NBA and the Buckeyes seem to have actually gotten better.
At the same time, it's hard to believe the way that Jared Sullinger has been playing in his freshman season, so I guess it might not be all that shocking that Ohio State is one of the favorites to win it all come March.
And while Sullinger is getting all the headlines, Aaron Craft is also having himself a very nice freshman season and has helped to give Ohio State a true point guard that the team can rely on to make good decisions with the ball.
Craft is currently playing the fifth most minutes on the team, is leading the Buckeyes in assists, and recently had off his best collegiate game, posting 11 points and 7 assists in Ohio State's narrow three-point victory over Minnesota on January 9th.
Of course, Thad Matta also returned the extremely experienced three guard combo of Jon Diebler, William Buford, and David Lighty who have provided this team with great leadership as well as production, all the while having the maturity to allow Sullinger to grab the national headlines and become a superstar.
Ohio State only lost one player of much consequence from last year's Sweet 16 squad, but he was arguably the best player in college basketball so the fact that they've gotten out to such a hot start this season is a testament to their returning players as well as the freshman who have hit the ground running.
09'-10' combined stats: 40.2 ppg, 16.3 rpg, 6.9 apg, and 4.1 bpg
Players who have replaced them: The Morris twins, Josh Selby, Tyshawn Taylor, Tyrel Reed, Thomas Robinson
Losing three players with NBA talent like Collins, Aldrich, and Henry will definitely require a team effort to replace and the Jayhawks have gotten just that in the early going.
Pretty much everyone on Bill Self's roster has stepped up their play in the absence of the three tremendous players this team lost and Kansas is currently ranked third in the nation and well on their way to another magical season.
While it has truly been a team effort to replace this extremely talented trio, the performance of Marcus and Markieff Morris and Josh Selby has played a huge role in helping to propel Kansas to a perfect 16-0 start to the season.
The Morris twins are currently averaging 30 points and over 15 rebounds per game and have combined with Thomas Robinson off the bench to give the Jayhawks one of the best frontcourts in the nation.
Meanwhile, the highly-touted freshman, Josh Selby, doesn't seem to have suffered too many ill-effects from missing the first nine games of the season because the NCAA ruled that he accepted impermissible benefits in the form of clothes, transportation, and lodging before he was a member of the Kansas basketball team.
Selby gives this team an explosive threat from the perimeter and while Tyrel Reed and Tyshawn Taylor are both vital cogs in this Kansas machine, neither player really possesses the scoring prowess that Selby does which has already helped the Jayhawks pull out a couple of close games this season.
This year's version of the Kansas Jayhawks is a lot different than last seasons, as Bill Self's team is more focused on getting the ball into the post and allowing Marcus and Markieff to pound opposing teams in the paint, and so far it's proved virtually impossible to stop.
09'-10' combined stats: 31.4 ppg, 11.8 rpg, 6.9 apg
Players who have replaced them: Tim Abromaitis, Ben Hansbrough, Carleton Scott, Tyrone Nash
Both Luke Harangody and Tory Jackson provided the Fighting Irish with some fantastic production and leadership last season, but Mike Brey's 11th ranked Notre Dame squad seems to have replaced them without much trouble.
Some of Notre Dame's success this season can surely be attributed to the fact that Hansbrough, Scott, Nash, and Abromaitis learned to play without Harangody last season when Luke missed a few games due to injury towards the end of the regular season.
During this stretch of games (and even before), we started to see the emergence of Tim Abromaitis and Ben Hansbrough who have blossomed into two of the best players in the Big East this season.
Along with the perimeter play of Hansbrough and Abromaitis, Carleton Scott and Tyrone Nash have done an admirable job of replacing the production that Harangody gave this team under the basket, and both seniors have taken advantage of their increased opportunities in the Irish playing rotation now that Harangody has moved on to the NBA.
Hansbrough has also done a solid job of taking the reigns as Mike Brey's floor general, a position which was held by Jackson last season, and Ben has combined with freshman Eric Atkins to give the Irish a stable ball handling situation.
As Notre Dame continues its first season without the big numbers of Harangody and Jackson's steady floor leadership, the case could easily be made that they're a better team without those two players, due in large part to the fact that they can now play a more team-oriented game and not worry about getting the ball into the post on every possession.
09'-10' Combined Stats: 40 ppg, 19.1 rpg, 3.6 apg, and 3.6 bpg
Players who have replaced them: Jordan Hamilton, Tristan Thompson, Cory Joseph
Despite all of the exemplary qualities that James, Pittman, and Bradley brought to the table for this Texas squad a year ago, it was clear that something was holding this team back from playing up to their potential.
While it was no doubt a combination of poor decision making, a lack of team chemistry, and an extremely tough Big 12 schedule, last season's Texas squad definitely underperformed when they posted a 10-9 conference record and failed to win a game in the tournament.
So maybe it wasn't the worst thing in the world when the program said goodbye to Damion James, Dexter Pittman, and Avery Bradley, who were all subsequently taken in last April's NBA Draft.
While you really can't argue with the production that these three players gave this Longhorns team, the fact that they combined to average just 3.6 assists per game shows that these three had a tough time getting the rest of a talented roster involved during certain situations last season.
Texas has gotten major contributions from Jordan Hamilton, Tristan Thompson, and Cory Joseph in the absence of these three departed stars and many Longhorn fans around the country might be struggling to remember the names of the team's three leading scorers from a year ago.
Hamilton had a fairly rocky season as a freshman but has clearly emerged as Rick Barnes go-to player over the first 16 games of his sophomore campaign and is averaging over 19 points and 7 rebounds per game for the 14th ranked Longhorns.
Meanwhile, Tristan Thompson and Cory Joseph aren't experiencing any of the freshmen struggles that Hamilton did a year ago, and both have played well beyond their years in the early part of their first collegiate season.
Thompson has given Texas a strong post presence in the place of Dexter Pittman, and Joseph seems to have solved the Longhorns problem at the point, having already proven himself a capable distributor who can also make teams pay with his jumper.
Texas and their young stars still have a brutal stretch of Big 12 games coming up, but with Hamilton, Thompson, and Joseph shouldering a fair amount of the load, the future seems bright in Austin.
09'-10' Combined Stats: 57.3 ppg, 24.7 rpg, 11.3 apg, and 4.9 spg
Players who have replaced them: Terrence Jones, Brandon Knight, Doron Lamb, Josh Harrellson
Many college basketball fans across the country might not recognize this Kentucky team after it lost four of its five starters from last year's team to the NBA.
While it wasn't unexpected that John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, Patrick Patterson, and Eric Bledsoe all turned pro this past April, it seemed like their departures might set John Calipari and Kentucky back for a couple of seasons.
And if this program were operated by anyone besides Calipari, there's little doubt that losing four starters to the NBA would have this team thinking more about rebuilding than another deep run in the tournament.
But Coach Cal worked his recruiting magic once again and landed Terrence Jones, Brandon Knight, and Doron Lamb who have have almost picked up where last season's freshmen left off and thanks in large part to their efforts, this Kentucky team stands at 13-3 and is ranked 15th in the nation.
The Wildcats have also gotten some solid contributions form their senior center Josh Harrellson, who might have a limited offensive game, but currently leads the team in rebounding and is the kind of player who isn't afraid to do the dirty work so the rest of the team can shine.
Even with all of the talent that Jones, Knight, and Lamb bring to the Wildcats, it was going to be nearly impossible to replace the guys who left this Kentucky program a year ago, but all three have either lived up to or exceeded everyone's expectations thus far so don't look for them to go away any time soon.
09'-10' Stats: 19.3 ppg, 7.4 rpg, 1.8 apg, and 1.3spg
Players who have replaced Pondexter: Matthew Bryan-Amaning, Aziz N'Diaye
While Isaiah Thomas was probably the most well-known member of last year's Washington team that made a somewhat surprising run to the Sweet 16, Quincy Pondexter was their best player and a huge part of the teams success.
Pondexter's hustle and toughness around the basket gave Lorenzo Romar a dynamic option in the paint who was an exceptional finisher on offense and an intense competitor on defense.
Pondexter has since moved on to the NBA, but that doesn't mean that the Huskies are without a few viable options in the post.
The 6'9'' London import, Matthew Bryan-Amaning, has seen his scoring, rebounding, and minutes increase this season and has emerged as the second offensive option on this Huskies roster and helped to lighten some of the scoring load off of Thomas.
Meanwhile, Lorenzo Romar has been bringing along Aziz N'Diaye, a seven-footer who transferred from the College of Southern Idaho, along slowly but he's already shown flashes of brilliance in the paint.
N'Diaye was a coveted prospect because of his size, length, and shot blocking ability and as he matures should provide an intimidating inside presence for Washington.
As it stands, the Senegalese native is second on the team in rebounding and first in blocked shots despite playing just over 16 minutes per game in the early going.
It was going to be tough for Washington to replace Pondexter's versatile game but the combination of Bryan-Amaning and the continued maturation of N'Diaye seems to have done the trick so far and has Washington sitting atop the Pac-10 for now.
09'-10' Stats: 16.1 ppg, 9.6 rpg, 3.8 apg, 1.2 spg, and 1.5 bpg
Players who have replaced Monroe: Julian Vaughn, Hollis Thompson
Greg Monroe probably didn't get enough credit for how good and versatile of a player he was at Georgetown last season.
Even if you never watched the 6'11'' center play, you can tell just from looking at his numbers that he was about as skilled a player as there was in the nation last season and his ability to do a little bit of everything made Georgetown a threat to beat pretty much anyone on any given night.
I equate losing a talent like Monroe to the NBA a lot like Ohio State's loss of Evan Turner, yes they played different positions, but both guys were such a big part of what their teams did on a nightly basis that unless you're bringing in a player like Jared Sullinger, it's going to hurt.
Georgetown wasn't nearly as fortunate in recruiting and while returning players like Julian Vaughn and Hollis Thompson have done a solid job down low, it's clear that the Hoyas miss Monroe's production.
In Monroe's absence this season, Vaughn and Thompson have played bigger roles for John Thompson III and while both guys have had their moments in the early going, neither has been terribly consistent and both have failed to give the Hoyas much of a post presence in a few games this season.
Because the Hoyas rely on the backcourt trio of Austin Freeman, Chris Wright, and Jason Clark as their main source of offense, neither Vaughn nor Thompson is really expected to score at a high rate, but it's become clear that those three can't do it all by themselves and they will need Julian Vaughn and Hollis Thompson giving Georgetown productive minutes if they're going to stay competitive in the Big East.
09'-10' stats: 16.6 ppg, 2.4 rpg, and 4.2 apg
Players who have replaced Clemente: Jacob Pullen, Will Spradling, Rodney McGruder, Martavious Irving
The only major contributor missing from a Kansas State team that went to the Elite 8 last season is Denis Clemente, but it's obvious that the Wildcats sorely miss the 6'1'' point guard.
While Clemente put up solid numbers last season, perhaps the biggest qualities that Frank Martin's squad misses about the diminutive playmaker are his leadership and ability to run the Wildcats offense.
Without Clemente, Kansas State has had trouble finding an answer at the point guard position and while Jacob Pullen has tried his best to takeover this unfamiliar role, he's struggled to provide a fairly young Kansas State team with the leadership and playmaking that Clemente brought.
Players like Spradling, McGruder, and Irving have all gotten minutes in the Wildcats backcourt this season as Frank Martin has tried to find a rotation that will work, but a once promising season seems to be slipping away from Kansas State as they now sit at 12-5 and have started 0-2 in the Big 12.
It's hard to quantify exactly what a player like Clemente meant to Kansas State, but it's clear that his penetration, speed, and decision making were what made this team as good as they were last season and what allowed Pullen to blossom into one of the best shooting guards in the country.
It's only the middle of January, so there's plenty of time for the Wildcats to right the ship and work their way out of a disappointing start, but if that's going to happen they will need someone to fill the vacated role that was left by Denis Clemente.
09'-10' Combined Stats: 24 ppg, 8.9 rpg, 6 apg, and 2.1 spg
Players who have replaced them: Dion Dixon, Sean Kilpatrick, Cashmere Wright
The two players who led Cincinnati in scoring last season couldn't have left the program under much different circumstances.
Deonta Vaughn wasn't an overly hyped recruit but he was one of the only players that Mick Cronin could lean upon during a rough four-year rebuilding process which often saw the Bearcats out manned in the always tough Big East.
Meanwhile, Lance Stephenson came to Cincinnati last season as a McDonald's All-American who held the New York State high-school scoring record.
And while Stephenson didn't exactly live up to the immense hype which followed him from Brooklyn to Cincinnati, his performance at times (especially during the Big East Tournament) showed just how talented he could be.
Vaughn graduated as one of the more well-liked players in recent Cincinnati memory because of his willingness to stick by Mick Cronin during some tough seasons, while Stephenson quickly declared for the NBA Draft after playing his mandatory year of college ball and was taken in the second round by Pacers.
While Vaughn and Stephenson left a decent void in this Cincinnati backcourt, players like Dion Dixon, Sean Kilpatrick, and Cashmere Wright have flourished in the early part of this season and along with Yancy Gates have led the Bearcats to an impressive 16-1 record.
Dixon and Wright both played limited roles for this team last season but have taken advantage of their increased playing time and Kilpatrick has established himself as the team's three-point specialist and become instant offense off the bench.
The jury is still out about Cincinnati's hot start, but if Dixon, Kilpatrick, and Wright keep up their early season level of play, the Bearcats will no doubt have their best season in the Big East under Mick Cronin.
09'-10' Combined Stats: 22.2 ppg, 9.9 rpg, 4.4 apg, and 2.8 spg
Players who have replaced them: JaJuan Johnson, E'Twaun Moore, Ryne Smith
The Robbie Hummel situation in Purdue is a little bit different that the other players on this list, but the Boilermakers have still had to move on without one of their best players from a season ago when Hummel went down with another knee injury in the first practice of this season.
In addition to life without Hummel, Matt Painter also lost the teams best defender and one of the Boilermakers most passionate players when Chris Kramer graduated last May.
The Boilermakers have dealt with Hummel's loss in a number of ways, but most notably, Johnson and Moore have seen an increase in their minutes and shots from last season and currently combine for nearly half of Purdue's points.
While Johnson and Moore have definitely been one of the best duo's in the nation, the Boilermakers have been looking for that third scorer to help lighten the load and they may have found him in Ryne Smith.
Before Purdue's loss to Minnesota, the sharpshooting three-point specialist had raised his level of play since Big 10 competition began a few weeks ago and the junior shooting guard reached double figures in Purdue's first four conference games while boosting his three point shooting percentage over 50 for the season.
While Kramer's defensive intensity and intangibles are harder to replace, E'Twaun Moore has steadily improved his play on that side of the ball since his freshman season and both he and JaJuan Johnson have stepped up to become the leaders of a very good Purdue squad that is ranked in the top 10 and looking to make a run in this year's tournament.
09'-10' Combined Stats: 28.4 ppg, 9.1 rpg, and 5.7 apg
Players who have replaced them: Preston Knowles, Peyton Siva, Rakeem Buckles (injured)
Because of a multitude of injuries, Rick Pitino has played musical chairs with his starting lineup during the early part of this season but Preston Knowles and Peyton Siva have been the two consistent playmakers for a Louisville team that's 13-3 and currently ranked 18th in the nation.
After the departures of Samardo Samuels and Edgar Sosa, the Cardinals entered this season without their two leading scorers from a year ago and the team was facing plenty of questions about which players would step up in their absence.
The answer has come in the form of two diminutive guards who didn't play very big roles on this Louisville team a season ago but have made their presence felt in the early going.
Both players have seen big improvements pretty much across the board and Knowles has become the teams go-to scorer who is capable of catching fire from three and taking over a game if necessary.
In terms of replacing Samuels imposing presence under the basket, Rakeem Buckles was off to a nice start in his sophomore season before he suffered a fractured finger on December 30th that required surgery and will keep him out for a few weeks.
Before this injury, Buckles was Louisville's leading rebounder and although he had been inconsistent, the 6'7'' forward recorded double-doubles in victories over Butler and South Alabama earlier in the season.
The big key for this banged up Louisville squad is to get healthy and support Knowles and Siva who have shown in the early going that they're up for the challenge of leading this team through a treacherous Big East schedule.
09'-10' Combined Stats: 23.8 ppg, 11.3 rpg, 5.8 apg, and 2.3 spg
Players who have replaced them: Mason Plumlee, Nolan Smith, Andre Dawkins, Seth Curry, Kyrie Irving (injured)
After watching Kyle Singler and Nolan Smith this season, it might be easy to forget just how important Jon Scheyer was to this Duke team last year.
Scheyer not only led Coach K's team in minutes, scoring, assists, and steals, during his senior season but he was also a great floor leader for the Blue Devils who was essentially an extension of the coaching staff on the court.
After being a big disappointment for most of his time at Duke, Brian Zoubek finally came alive in the second half of his senior season and became a viable inside presence who supported the big three of Singler, Smith, and Scheyer.
As for replacing these two very important players from last year's Duke squad, if Kyrie Irving hadn't injured his toe, you could pretty much start and end the conversation right there.
But as it stands, Irving hasn't played in the last eight games and it doesn't seem like he will be coming back anytime soon.
This has forced Nolan Smith to become more of a ball handler and allowed guys like Andre Dawkins and Seth Curry to see increased floor time and given them a chance to play a bigger role on both offense and defense for Coach K.
Both Dawkins and Curry have had their moments in the early going as they've tried to support Singler and Smith, but a little more consistency on the offensive side of the floor would be nice.
Nolan Smith has definitely turned things on since Irving's injury and has been much more aggressive looking for his shot and it has definitely allowed him to put up some bigger numbers.
At the same time, Duke is asking Smith to play an unfamiliar role in this offense as there really isn't anyone else on the roster who can handle the point and it was clear in their game against Florida State that trying to find a replacement to both Irving and Scheyer will be tough against some of the better teams in the nation.
Mason Plumlee seemed like the answer to replacing Zoubek in the paint early on, but he's struggled recently which has led to both Ryan Kelly and his brother Miles seeing more minutes.
Even though Duke just lost their first game of the season to Florida State, they're still an elite team and while they're currently searching for some tougher inside play and someone to distribute the ball on offense, I don't think anyone's counting them out.
09'-10' Combined Stats: 28.9 ppg, 12.6 rpg, 8.6 apg, 2.1 spg, and 3.7 bpg
Players who have replaced them: Quincy Acy, Perry Jones, A.J. Walton, LaceDarius Dunn
In addition to their interesting names, both Tweety Carter and Ekpe Udoh had some serious talent which helped propel Baylor to their deepest tournament run in nearly 60 years.
Tweety Carter was the teams table setter who ran Scott Drew's offense, but the point guard was a more than capable scorer who was second on the team in points per game a year ago.
Udoh's presence was invaluable on the boards as well as on defense where he blocked an astonishing 3.7 shots per game and gave the Bears some serious inside punch. Carter has since graduated and Udoh left early for the NBA, but Baylor has had quite a few players step up in their absence.
Quincy Acy has gone from the team's top reserve a year ago to their leading rebounder and second leading scorer since being given a chance to play more minutes.
He has teamed with Perry Jones, the best recruit ever signed by this Baylor program, to give the Bears a formidable inside tandem that has plenty of length and athleticism.
On the perimeter, A.J. Walton has stepped into Carter's place at point guard, and although he's not quite the scorer that Tweety was, the sophomore has done a respectable job of spreading the ball around thus far.
Finally, the team's leading scorer, LaceDarius Dunn has taken his game to a new level this season and is averaging 22.5 points per game in trying to make up for the loss of nearly 30 points per game that Carter and Udoh brought to the team last year.
Baylor's off to a solid 12-3 start and even thought they've fallen out of the Top 25, they should be a very competitive team during Big 12 play as long as guys like Acy, Jones, and Walton can continue to replace what the team lost last season.
09'-10' Stats: 18.2 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 3.3 apg, and 1.5 spg
Players who have replaced Reynolds: Corey Fisher, Corey Stokes, Maalik Wayns
Even though Scottie Reynolds impressive career ended with a dud against St. Mary's in the second round of the tournament, he had a great four-year run with Jay Wright.
Reynolds was the unquestioned leader of this Villanova team a season ago and was their first option on offense and the guy that the rest of this team looked to for leadership.
While losing a player of Reynolds caliber is never easy, Corey Fisher, Corey Stokes, and Maalik Wayns have made things as painless as possible for Jay Wright in the early going this season.
Thanks in large part to the contributions of Jay Wright's three-headed monster, the Wildcats are currently 15-1 and ranked 7th in the nation.
Both Corey Stokes and Maalik Wayns have nearly doubled their scoring averages from a year ago and Stokes has cemented himself as a three-point marksman, while Wayns has proven himself as a solid distributor and become very tough to stop in the open court.
Many experts expected big things from Corey Fisher this season and while he isn't one of the top scorers in the country, the 6'1'' senior has played an extremely steady all-around game which has been invaluable to Villanova.
The Wildcats are off to a nice start and Fisher, Stokes, and Wayns are the reason why they're currently ranked in the top 10 despite losing the player who was the cornerstone of this program for the last few seasons.
09'-10' Combined Stats: 39.1 ppg, 17 rpg, 7.7 apg, 4.6 spg, and 3.1 bpg
Players who have replaced them: Kris Joseph, Scoop Jardine, Rick Jackson, Brandon Triche
Jim Boeheim's squad lost three incredible players when Rautins, Onakawu, and Johnson left the program but you wouldn't know it by watching the Orange play this season.
Syracuse is one of the last unbeaten teams in the country thanks to how seamlessly they've replaced three very good players.
First and foremost, Rick Jackson has been nearly unstoppable in the paint and is currently averaging a double-double all the while frustrating opposing bigs down low. The toughness that Jackson has been able to give the Orange has been important in the early going especially after losing a player like Onakawu who was known for having his way under the basket.
Kris Joseph had an incredible year for Syracuse last season and was one of the best 6th men in the country. But this season Joseph has come into his own and he not only leads the team in scoring, but the 6'7'' forward is also doing a lot of the same things on the wing as Wes Johnson did a year ago.
In the backcourt, Jardine and Triche have co-existed very well together and while neither player is nearly the dead-eye long ranger shooter that Rautins was, both guys have shown that they are more than capable of getting their teammates involved as well as putting the ball in the basket themselves.
Considering all of the talent they lost, it seemed doubtful that Syracuse was going to be a contender to take home another national championship, but they're currently 17-0 and ranked 4th in the country thanks to the players above who have stepped up their play, and it seems like these guys and the Orange are for real yet again this season.
09'-10' Combined Stats: 27.4 ppg, 11.7 rpg, and 3.8 apg
Players who have replaced them: Khris Middleton, David Loubeau, Nathan Walkup, B.J. Holmes
Side note: I would have also included Derrick Roland on this list who was second on the team in scoring last season before a gruesome compound fracture ended his season and career with Texas A&M just 12 games into the season, but they played without him for most of last year.
Texas A&M's current start which has them ranked 13th in the nation with a 15-1 record has been one of the most pleasant surprises of the college basketball season thus far and considering they lost Donald Sloan and Bryan Davis, it's even more amazing.
Sloan and Davis combined to make a very potent inside/outside tandem for A&M last season and both seniors were the cornerstones of a team that finished 24-10 and nearly beat Purdue in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
Sloan's play on the perimeter was especially vital to the Aggies, as he was the only guy on the team who averaged double figures (besides Roland) and consistently gave Mark Turgeon a viable scoring threat from night to night.
Even though the team lost both players to graduation, they've found success from a few guys who weren't prominently featured on last seasons squad.
Khris Middleton might not be a household name but the Aggies leading scorer has shown that he has the scoring touch to pick up where Sloan left off a season ago and his play is one of the biggest reasons why the this team is ranked in the top 15 as we approach the middle of January.
Nathan Walkup, David Loubeau, and B.J. Holmes have also been solid for A&M in the early going and have given plenty of support to Middleton especially around the basket, where Walkup and Loubeau have done their part to replace the inside play of Bryan Davis.
Texas A&M has already recorded some nice wins this season but a brutal upcoming stretch of Big 12 games should allow Middleton and Co. to show the nation that they're for real.
09'-10' Combined Stats: 42.3 ppg, 18.4 rpg, 6 apg, 3.8 bpg
Players who have replaced them: Kemba Walker, Alex Oriakhi, Shabazz Napier
Despite having a talented group of seniors, last season was very disappointing for Jim Calhoun and the Huskies.
Dyson, Robinson, and Edwards all had productive years for Connecticut and outside of Kemba Walker, were the teams most consistent and best scorers.
But this production didn't seem to help an underachieving team which finished just 18-16 and failed to make the NCAA tournament for just the second time in the last eight years.
As we all know, Kemba Walker has been the most dynamic player in the nation and has at times, carried this UConn team on his back. The Junior guard has more than replaced what Dyson gave the team from the perimeter last season and his 25.3 points per game rank only behind Jimmer Fredette for tops in the nation.
At the same time, the Huskies have gotten some inspired play out of their sophomore bigman, Alex Oriakhi, who has seen his points per game more than double from a season ago and is now a force on both the glass and as a shot blocker for Jim Calhoun.
In addition to Walker and Oriakhi, freshman Shabazz Napier has had a solid start to his UConn career and although he's been inconsistent at times, he has emerged as one of the go-to players behind Walker when this team needs a bucket.
Connecticut is currently 12-2 and ranked 9th in the nation but both of those losses have come in the Big East and they're going to need the likes of Walker, Oriakhi, and Napier to continue to produce during conference play.
09'-10' Combined Stats: 26.9 ppg, 8.1 rpg, 4.8 apg, 2.6 spg
Players who have replaced them: Jordan Taylor, Jon Leuer
Wisconsin had another above average season last year thanks in large part to the efforts of their senior backcourt of Trevon Hughes and Jason Bohannon.
Both guards were fixtures in Bo Ryan's starting lineup for the entire season and combined to hit nearly 40 percent of their three-pointers which gave the Badgers the ability to stay competitive against pretty much anyone in the country.
Because of this, the departure of Hughes and Bohannon left a few questions about which players would carry the scoring load for Wisconsin this year.
However, it didn't take long for Jon Leuer and Jordan Taylor to take control of this Badgers offense and guide them to a 12-4 record in the early going.
Leuer actually led the Badgers in scoring last season and the 6'10'' senior has raised his game and consistency this year as he leads Wisconsin in scoring yet again and has reached double figures in every game thus far.
Pairing Leuer with Jordan Taylor, who has embraced his full-time starting role in the Badgers backcourt, has given Bo Ryan's squad a potent scoring duo that currently combines for just about half of the team's points.
In addition to their scoring, both Leuer and Taylor contribute to the team in a number of different ways and whether it's grabbing rebounds or dishing out assists, both players games are far from one dimensional
Either guy has the ability to carry this team on a given night and while the Badgers upcoming Big 10 schedule won't make things easier on them, the team can rest assured that the combination of Leuer and Taylor will keep them competitive.