Preseason NCAA Basketball Rankings 2015-16: Super-Early Top 25 Experts' Poll

C.J. Moore@@CJMooreHoopsCollege Basketball National Lead WriterApril 7, 2015

Preseason NCAA Basketball Rankings 2015-16: Super-Early Top 25 Experts' Poll

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    For the second time in four years, a freshmen-heavy roster won the national championship. Duke won Monday night with a squad that came together last spring on the backs of four first-year guys.

    We had an idea a year ago, at this time, that Jahlil Okafor and Co. had the goods to become part of college basketball's elite and win the title.

    But next season? Welcome to the year of the unknown.

    So many of the best rosters will be turning over this offseason; there just isn't a team that jumps out and screams, "We're worthy of No. 1!" North Carolina and Kentucky are the top contenders, but you could poke holes in the selection of either club.

    UNC returns everyone and had moments this season (including the loss to Wisconsin) when it looked to be on the brink of something special. But the Heels were also inconsistent

    Who will come back for the 'Cats? When in doubt, just bank on head coach John Calipari pulling a bunch of McDonald's All-Americans out of his hat. Many top unsigned prospects still list UK and are waiting to see what happens.

    Along with Senior Writer Jason King and College Basketball National Columnist Kerry Miller, we'll try to make assumptions based on who we think will stay or go. So these rankings could look a lot different in a month.

    But hey, it's no fun waiting! Here are your top 25 for the 2015-16 season.

    Also receiving votes: Florida, Buffalo, LSU, UCLA

25. Michigan

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    Why They're Here: John Beilein has never missed two NCAA tournaments in a row at Michigan, and he's coming off a year in which his team had some really bad injury luck. This is not going to be one of his best teams, but he has some intriguing pieces to go along with proven guys like Zak Irvin and Caris LeVert—if he returns—and you have to think this team is due for better luck when it comes to injuries.

    Freshman Aubrey Dawkins came on late in the year—he had a three-game stretch where he scored 70 points and hit 14 threes—and he shot 43.8 percent from deep. Duncan Robinson, a transfer from Division III Williams College, averaged 17.1 points per game in his one year at Williams. Robinson is 6'8" and was one of the best shooters I saw all year.

    Freshman Muhammad Ali Abdur-Rahkman also had some nice moments when he got the chance to play late in the year because of Derrick Walton's toe injury. And Beilein just added a German stretch 4 named Moritz Wagner, who announced his decision Sunday, per ESPN.com's Jeff Borzello.

    Greatest Asset: LeVert and Irvin could be the best 2-3 combo in college basketball next season. Both are future pros.

    Will Change If... LeVert leaves. This team has a much higher ceiling if he returns.

24. Florida State

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    Why They're Here: It's all about potential.

    What's to like about the Seminoles is the talent on the perimeter. Xavier Rathan-Mayes has the chance to be a great scorer—we all saw that when he dropped 30 points in four minutes and 39 seconds against Miami—and Leonard Hamilton signed three other strong perimeter scorers in Dwayne Bacon, Malik Beasley and Terance Mann. Bacon is a 6'6" athletic anomaly who won the McDonald's All-American dunk contest.

    Greatest Asset: The shooting guard and small forward spots. Between Bacon, Beasley and Mann, Hamilton is probably going to get at least two of those guys to have productive freshman seasons. Rathan-Mayes finished the year playing great and could take another step.

    Will Change If... Rathan-Mayes has already said he's coming back, so there's no need to speculate on any big roster changes that could occur.

23. Notre Dame

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    Why They're Here: It's going to be really hard to replace Jerian Grant and Pat Connaughton, but Mike Brey has a nice core returning with Kentucky killer Zach Auguste, Demetrius Jackson, Steve Vasturia, V.J. Beachem and Bonzie Colson. 

    Greatest Asset: A Grant-Auguste pick-and-roll was pretty deadly, and Jackson has the ability to step in and be the Grant for this team. It's his show now, and Brey told me earlier this year that it's been great for him to be able to learn under Grant.

    Will Change If... Any of the core underclassmen leave, though that's hard to see. This team could shoot up the rankings if some of the bench guys like Beachem and Colson make big strides in the offseason.

22. Wisconsin

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    Why They're Here: This is under the assumption that Sam Dekker will leave. If that's the case, the Badgers will lean heavily on Nigel Hayes and Bronson Koenig. Those are two pretty good guys to build around, but the rest of the rotation will be mostly unproven.

    Greatest Asset: Skill development in the program.

    Remember, two years ago no one had any idea Frank Kaminsky was going to be any good. He went from a nobody to winning every National Player of the Year Award thus far as a senior. Some Badger is going to be way better than anticipated.

    Will Change If... Dekker ends up coming back (the Badgers will go up) or if Hayes decides to leave (they'll get dropped from the top 25 completely).

21. Texas

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    Why They're Here: The talent.

    Shaka Smart was an intelligent hire for Texas, but the talent that's there—heavy on bigs, thin on guards—doesn't exactly fit his style. The Longhorns do have good talent returning, led by point guard Isaiah Taylor and all of the bigs—Cameron Ridley, Connor Lammert, Prince Ibeh and Maryland transfer Shaquille Cleare.

    The switch to Havoc could be helpful for guards Demarcus Holland and Kendal Yancy, but Javan Felix is not an ideal fit. It does help that UT has signed two guards, one of which, Kerwin Roach Jr. from Houston, will be a great fit, as a Houston high school coach told me.

    Greatest Asset: Rim protection. Ridley and Ibeh are really good shot-blockers. It'll be interesting to see how Smart uses them.

    Will Change If... Taylor leaves for the NBA or other guys transfer. You never know what kind of roster turnover can occur with a new coach. Taylor should stay in school, but he is considering leaving, according to Mark Rosner of The Associated Press.

20. Texas A&M

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    Why They're Here: If the Aggies had no one of note coming in, they would have still been considered for the top 25, as they have a nice core of Jalen Jones, Danuel House, Alex Caruso and Alex Robinson returning.

    Now about that recruiting class. It's the best in the history of the program and ranks third nationally, according to 247Sports. Tyler Davis and Elijah Thomas are two of the better bigs in the class and will battle it out to start alongside Jones. Davis is one of the most ready-made post players in the 2015 class. He has a good understanding of how to use his big body and score with his back to the basket.

    D.J. Hogg is one of the better wings in the class and is a really solid player who will fit in nicely. I haven't seen Admon Gilder play, but the shooting guard is ranked as the 84th-best player in the class, according to 247Sports. In most years, that would be the best guy in A&M's class. This year, he's fourth.

    Greatest Asset: Scoring from all five spots. House (14.8 PPG), Jones (13.7 PPG) and Caruso (9.1 PPG) have all proved they can score at the college level. Davis has the potential to be a double-double guy down the road, and Hogg is a capable scorer on the wing.

    Will Change If... One of the recruits tries to join Avery Johnson at Alabama. It's not likely, but it's widely known Johnson helped steer this class to A&M to join his son.

19. Duke

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    Why They're Here: Reputation.

    The Blue Devils will be down and could be really hurting if Tyus Jones ends up leaving for the NBA. It's pretty much a given that Jahlil Okafor and Justise Winslow are gone.

    That leaves Duke without much proven scoring. If Jones leaves, Grayson Allen would probably be the man after spending his freshman season a role player. After the way he played in the national title game, maybe he's more prepared than anyone thought.

    Greatest Asset: Shooting. Incoming freshman Luke Kennard is one of the best shooters in the 2015 class. Matt Jones has proved himself as a good college shooter, and Allen has the potential to be a nice shooter.

    The Blue Devils will need their perimeter guys to carry them. Amile Jefferson is not a scorer. I had the chance to watch Chase Jeter quite a bit last summer, and he's kind of like a better version of Jefferson. He plays hard and moves really well for his size (6'11"), but his back-to-the-basket game is a work in progress.

    Duke will also have Rice transfer forward Sean Obi eligible. Obi averaged 11.4 points and 9.3 rebounds at Rice in 2013-14. He could end up as the best big-man scorer on the team.

    Will Change If... Jones leaves. Jones is similar to Tyler Ennis at Syracuse last year. If he goes, it's unlikely he gets much playing time next year. But it might be smart for him to go now, as he's viewed as a first-round pick, and that could change next year if he struggles surrounded by lesser talent.

18. Indiana

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    Why They're Here: Assuming Yogi Ferrell returns, the Hoosiers return their entire rotation from one of the best offenses in college basketball. Indiana should also improve defensively with the addition of big man Thomas Bryant.

    Bryant (6'10") provides some much-needed size, and he has a great motor. He just might be the one missing piece to make IU a Big Ten contender.

    Greatest Asset: Three-point shooting. The Hoosiers shot 40.6 percent from deep this past season and had six players shoot 38 percent or better.

    Will Change If... Ferrell leaves. Ferrell should return, as it's highly unlikely he's a first-round pick, and he could go undrafted entirely.

17. Miami

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    Why They're Here: The Hurricanes return all five starters from a bubble team that ended up finishing as the runner-up in the NIT. The 'Canes had nights this past year when they looked like a top-25 team. I mean, these dudes went into Cameron Indoor Stadium and beat Duke.

    Greatest Asset: Perimeter scoring. Angel Rodriguez and Sheldon McClellan are one of the better scoring duos in the ACC. Rodriguez has a ton of confidence and believes he can score against anyone.

    Will Change If... This roster looks pretty set, so I wouldn't anticipate any big changes from now until the start of the year. Jim Larranaga also added a nice piece in 6'7" wing Anthony Lawrence. He's an athletic player who should help on the defensive end and give Larranaga the flexibility to go to some big lineups.

16. SMU

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    Why They're Here: The Mustangs return three of their top five scorers, and that doesn't include forward Jordan Tolbert, a transfer who started for three seasons at Texas Tech. SMU's players should be extra motivated after losing to UCLA in the round of 64. The Mustangs haven't won an NCAA tournament game since 1988.

    Greatest Asset: Nic Moore is one of the best—and one of the most underrated—point guards in the country. Moore averaged a team-high 14.5 points last season and shot 41.6 percent from three-point range. He forms a nice one-two punch with forward Markus Kennedy (11.9 points, 6.3 rebounds).

    Will Change If... Offseason injuries are a concern with any team along with unexpected transfers. SMU is also hoping an NCAA investigation into alleged academic improprieties doesn't affect its program.

15. Wichita State

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    Why They're Here: Gregg Marshall's back, and it's no wonder he wanted to stay. He returns two guys who are already Wichita State legends, Fred VanVleet and Ron Baker. He also has Kansas transfer guard Conner Frankamp eligible after the first semester and the highest-profile recruiting class he's ever signed coming in.

    Greatest Asset: Baker and VanVleet. Is there a better backcourt in college basketball? I don't think so.

    Will Change If... Baker or VanVleet decide to go to the NBA. The fact that Marshall returned helps Wichita State's cause.

14. Baylor

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    Why They're Here: Four of the top six players return from a squad that earned a No. 3 seed in the NCAA tournament. Losing point guard Kenny Chery, one of the most underrated floor leaders in college basketball, will hurt. But leading scorers Taurean Prince (13.9 PPG) and Rico Gathers (11.6 PPG) are back, and the Bears will be hungry after being upset by No. 14 seed Georgia State in the round of 64.

    Greatest Asset: Baylor's frontcourt should be one of the best in the nation once again thanks to Gathers, who ranked third in the country with 11.6 rebounds per game, and surging forward Johnathan Motley, a sophomore who has more NBA potential than anyone on the roster.

    Will Change If... Gathers enters the draft. This wouldn't be a wise decision for the 6'8", 280-pounder, who would be a second-round pick at best. The Bears could also move up a few spots if they add a transfer to replace Chery at point guard.

13. North Carolina State

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    Why They're Here: The Wolfpack were my NCAA sleeper pick because they were way more talented than an eighth seed. For once, I looked smart! NC State knocked off Villanova and made the Sweet 16.

    Mark Gottfried only loses Ralston Turner, and he returns a roster that is deep with plenty of big bodies up front and two pros (Cat Barber and Trevor Lacey) in the backcourt.

    Greatest Asset: The guards.

    Barber is super quick and can put defenders on skates. Lacey is one of the best one-on-one scorers in the college game and a knockdown shooter. It's crazy that a backcourt this talented with good pieces around it lost 14 games.

    The Wolfpack also will have West Virginia transfer Terry Henderson eligible. Henderson has a nice stroke and averaged 11.7 points as a sophomore at West Virginia. It could be telling, however, that West Virginia wasn't sad to see him and Eron Harris (now at Michigan State) leave the team and got way better without them.

    If Henderson is a bust, the Martin twins (Caleb and Cody) showed some nice flashes as freshmen and give NC State good depth on the perimeter.

    Will Change If... Someone unexpectedly leaves. Lacey and Barber could be pros someday, but it would be surprising to see them jet now.

12. Butler

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    Why They're Here: The Bulldogs return their three double-digit scorers and arguably the best trio in the Big East: Roosevelt Jones, Kellen Dunham and Andrew Chrabascz. It's hard to believe that the baby-faced Dunham is going to be a senior. He'll be motivated this offseason after shooting 2-of-13 in the overtime loss to Notre Dame in the round of 32.

    Greatest Asset: Jones.

    The Bulldogs went 14-17 in 2013-14 without Jones. Last season, they won 23 games and were close to knocking off the Irish. Jones played through a knee injury in that game and still managed to score 23 points. He's as tough and crafty as they come in college basketball.

    Will Change If... One of the Big Three gets hurt. That has to be a constant fear for Butler fans because of the injury problems Jones has had.

11. Michigan State

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    Why They're Here: The Spartans lose two of their top three starters in Travis Trice and Branden Dawson, but every other key piece returns from a squad that shocked the college basketball world by reaching the Final Four. That includes guard Denzel Valentine, who scored 22 points in Michigan State's NCAA semifinal loss to Duke.

    Michigan State also added a high-profile recruit in Deyonta Davis, a 6'8" bruiser who 247Sports ranked as the 23rd-best player in the Class of 2015, and West Virginia transfer guard Eron Harris, who averaged 17.2 points per game his sophomore year.

    Greatest Asset: Let's be honest: The real MVP on the Spartans bench is coach Tom Izzo, who guided one of his worst teams ever (at least in terms of talent) to the Final Four. Thanks to Izzo, Michigan State will also have a chance to do something special next March.

    Will Change If... Valentine turns pro. He definitely turned the heads of some NBA scouts during the postseason, but he'd benefit more from returning for his senior season.

10. Oklahoma

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    Why They're Here: Oklahoma should return four of five starters from its Sweet 16 team, losing only TaShawn Thomas. The Sooners have a worthy replacement in Khadeem Lattin, a bouncy power forward who played well late in the year.

    The backcourt of Jordan Woodard, Buddy Hield and Isaiah Cousins is one of the most experienced and talented in the country.

    Greatest Asset: Defense.

    The Sooners surprisingly turned into one of the better defensive teams in the country last year. They went from 91st in adjusted defensive efficiency in 2013-14 to eighth last year. Really, the difference was a change in effort and attitude. The guards applied pressure, and Ryan Spangler and Thomas did a fine job patrolling the paint. Lattin has potential to become a solid shot-blocker.

    Will Change If... Buddy Hield declares for the draft. Hield is still undecided, and the Sooners would have a tough time replacing his perimeter scoring. They've already lost their best bench scorer with Frank Booker deciding to transfer.

9. Gonzaga

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    Why They're Here: The Zags will be hurting for perimeter experience after graduating Kevin Pangos and Gary Bell, but the frontcourt will be the best on paper in college basketball.

    Kyle Wiltjer was the most efficient frontcourt player in college basketball this year. Przemek Karnowski had a great NCAA tournament. And I'm having a hard time coming up with a team that Domantas Sabonis would not start for in college basketball, and he'll come off the bench for Gonzaga unless Mark Few moves Wiltjer to the 3.

    Greatest Asset: Obviously, it's the bigs. Now let's take this opportunity to address the backcourt, which isn't in awful shape.

    Freshman Josh Perkins was solid over the first five games this past year—he had to sit out the rest of the year after getting kicked in the face and having his jaw wired shut. Kyle Dranginis is athletic with good size—he's 6'5"—and feel for how to play on both ends.

    The Zags should also expect more out of Eric McClellan, the Vandy transfer who became eligible midway through the semester this past year. McClellan never really got enough minutes to show what he could do, but he has ability. He put up 29 points two years ago against Butler, and he was Vandy's leading scorer his sophomore season before transferring.

    Will Change If... The Zags add an impact transfer. Last year in mid-May, the Zags picked up Byron Wesley, who ended up starting all year at small forward. With Pangos, Bell and Wesley graduating, they could be in the market for a transfer guard or wing.

8. Arizona

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    Why They're Here: Sean Miller is the John Calipari out West. His recruiting has been so consistently good that the program can suffer early exits to the NBA and just keep winning. That said, the Wildcats are one of the toughest teams to rank because of the uncertainty of who will return.

    Brandon Ashley will reportedly declare for the NBA draft, according to CBS Sports' Jon Rothstein, but the junior forward said he hasn't made a final decision. Freshman Stanley Johnson is likely gone. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson is projected as a first-round pick and will also likely leave. The Wildcats could also lose Kaleb Tarczewski.

    But again, even if Miller loses all five starters—point guard T.J. McConnell is graduating—he landed one of the top classes in the country, and Boston College transfer Ryan Anderson is eligible. According to 247Sports, the Wildcats have the Class of 2015's No. 15-ranked player (guard Allonzo Trier), No. 16-ranked player (small forward Ray Smith), No. 30 (guard Justin Simon) and No. 50 (big man Chance Comanche). Ivan Rabb, one of the top post players in the class, is also choosing between California and Arizona.

    Greatest Asset: The ability to play through their bigs. Anderson was a really good talent on a bad team at BC. He'll immediately be one of the top 4's in the Pac-12. If Rabb signs, Arizona's frontcourt could still be pretty salty. There are some games Rabb played on the EYBL circuit last summer where you barely noticed he was there, but he has the highest ceiling of any of the true bigs in the class.

    He can finish with either hand and has nice footwork in the post. Sophomore-to-be 7-footer Dusan Ristic also has the potential to be one of the better bigs in the Pac-12. Ristic was solid in limited minutes as a freshman, shooting 61.5 percent from the field, and advanced analytics showed him as Arizona's best defensive rebounder.

    Will Change If... Arizona could go up or down depending on which way all of those NBA decisions go.

7. Kansas

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    Why They're Here: Consistency. Even with losing Kelly Oubre and likely Cliff Alexander, Kansas has a veteran core returning. As long as Perry Ellis doesn't leave for the NBA as well, Bill Self will have four of the five guys back who were starting at the end of the season.

    The Jayhawks will also be banking on a big jump for Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk. Even though he only played 11.2 minutes per game and had 10 DNPs this year, NBA scouts considered the Ukrainian KU's best pro prospect. Mykhailiuk turns 18 in June and has the ability to be an All-Big 12 wing if he's able to relax and just play—he often looked sped up and nervous as a 17-year-old freshman.

    Greatest Asset: Guard play.

    Frank Mason made a huge leap his sophomore season—averaging 12.6 points and 3.9 assists per game—and he should continue to improve. Wayne Selden has been a bit of a disappointment at Kansas because of his inconsistencies, but there's a reason scouts once viewed him as a first-round prospect.

    If Mykhailiuk doesn't assert himself, Self has plenty of options. Backup point guard Devonte' Graham came on strong at the end of the year, and Brannen Greene is a knockdown shooter who is a nice asset when his shot is falling.

    Will Change If... Ellis leaves or Self adds another blue-chipper or two. There are rumblings that Ellis will consider skipping his senior season. Self is also still in the mix for several of the top unsigned players.

6. Villanova

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    Why They're Here: Even with Darrun Hilliard graduating and Dylan Ennis transferring, Villanova has one of the most stacked backcourts in the country. The Wildcats add McDonald's All-American Jalen Brunson, and sophomore-to-be Phil Booth should get more playing time after an impressive freshman season in limited minutes.

    Booth made 48.5 percent of his threes and 64.5 percent of his twos, while Brunson is the best pure point guard in the 2015 class. At last year's Under-18 FIBA Americas Championship in Colorado Springs, Colorado, Brunson outplayed teammate Tyus Jones at point.

    Greatest Asset: The Wildcats went cold in the NCAA tourney loss to NC State, but outside shooting was a strength for most of the year and should be again. Villanova returns shooters Josh Hart (46.4 percent from distance), Ryan Arcidiacono (37.2 percent), Booth (48.5 percent) and Kris Jenkins (37.2 percent). Brunson is also a capable outside shooter.

    Jay Wright will likely go to a more small-ball approach with the loss of JayVaughn Pinkston at the 4, surrounding big man Daniel Ochefu with shooters. Ochefu was one of the most improved post players in the country this past year.

    Will Change If... More players transfer out. The loss of Ennis was surprising, but I wouldn't expect others to follow.

5. Maryland

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    Why They're Here: Maryland's Big Three—Melo Trimble, Jake Layman and 5-star recruit Diamond Stone—could be the best trio in college basketball.

    Trimble is one of the best scoring point guards in the country, Layman is a reliable stretch 4 who is solid on both ends and can also play small forward in big lineups, and Stone gives the Terps the low-post threat they didn't have a year ago. Stone will be able to come in right away and demand double-teams as a true low-post scorer.

    Greatest Asset: Talent and depth. Mark Turgeon has done a great job building this roster through recruiting. The Terps would have been one of the top Big Ten teams next year even without Stone, but he makes them the Big Ten favorite.

    Will Change If... Layman leaves for the NBA. According to InsideMDSports' Josh Stirn, Layman is considering skipping out on his senior year.

4. Iowa State

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    Why They're Here: Before anyone has a knee-jerk reaction to ranking the Cyclones this high because of the round-of-64 loss to UAB, remember that Duke also lost in the round of 64 last year.

    Head coach Fred Hoiberg returns four of his five starters from one of the best offenses in college basketball. The Cyclones also will be able to play a full year next season with big man Justin McKay, who had to sit out the first semester last season. Hoiberg needs to figure out a way to improve his defense, but having McKay on board from the start should help him build a defense around the rim-protector.

    Greatest Asset: This could be Hoiberg's best offense yet. He'll have a motivated Georges Niang as a senior. Point guard Monte Morris has led the country in assist-to-turnover ratio his first two years in school and is going to keep improving every year. 

    Hoiberg added another dead-eye shooter in Hallice Cooke, who shot 45.6 percent from three in 2013-14 as a freshman at Oregon State. The Cyclones will also get another midseason addition with former Marquette forward Deonte Burton available at the end of the first semester. Burton was a high-volume scorer in limited minutes at Marquette, averaging 22 points per 40 minutes two years ago as a freshman.

    The Cyclones only lose one starter (Dustin Hogue) and their sixth man (Bryce Dejean-Jones), but they already have viable replacements on the roster. Don't be surprised if Hoiberg picks up another impact transfer this spring.  

    Will Change If... Hoiberg leaves. Coaching in the NBA is always going to be an option if Hoiberg ever decides he wants to go that route.

3. Virginia

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    Why They're Here: Every college basketball analyst should've learned his or her lesson by now on underrating Virginia at the beginning of the season.

    Last year, we had Virginia ninth on this list. That's too low. The Tony Bennett factor makes it so that wherever you think the Cavaliers should be based on talent, you might as well bump them up five to 10 spots. And the Cavaliers are in pretty good shape on the talent front.

    The backcourt of London Perrantes, Malcolm Brogdon and Justin Anderson all return—assuming Anderson doesn't bolt for the NBA—along with Anthony Gill up front. The only real question mark is who Coach Bennett will be able to count on off the bench with Mike Tobey likely moving into the starting lineup, but he'll figure it out.

    Greatest Asset: The pack-line defense. The more experience Bennett has, the better that defense is going to be. The Cavs were the second-best defense in college basketball this past year. With Willie Cauley-Stein and Karl-Anthony Towns likely off to the NBA, Virginia will unseat Kentucky as the best defense in the country.

    Will Change If... Anderson leaves for the NBA. The Cavaliers were still a good team when Anderson was out with a fractured finger late in the year, but the offense wasn't at the same level. With him, this is a title contender. Without him, someone else is going to have to perform as a secondary scorer next to Brogdon.

2. North Carolina

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    Why They're Here: Roy Williams could pull off a rarity in today's college basketball—a blue blood coming off a Sweet 16 that will return its entire roster.

    Williams has already got word from his most talented player, Justin Jackson, that he'll be back. Jackson's confidence was growing late in the year, and he has the ability to be an All-American. Marcus Paige also has that ability, but he was hobbled by foot issues this past year. An offseason should go a long way toward helping Paige recover.

    Greatest Asset: Familiarity. This group knows each other and knows what it takes to be successful.

    The two areas where the Heels need to improve are perimeter shooting and defense. They have the goods to be a really solid defensive team; the effort and focus just haven't always been there. Jackson's late-season hot streak—he made five of seven three-pointers in the tournament—should help on the perimeter shooting front.

    Will Change If... Anyone expected to stay leaves the program. The two best pro prospects, Jackson and Brice Johnson, have already said they're coming back.

1. Kentucky

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    Why They're Here: The Wildcats will likely once again have better talent than anyone in college basketball next season. This is the hardest team to project, however, because there are so many question marks surrounding NBA decisions.

    Let's assume the worst and say John Calipari only returns Tyler Ulis, Alex Poythress and Marcus Lee. He would still have a potential starting lineup that included Ulis at point guard, Isaiah Briscoe (a McDonald's All-American) at shooting guard, Poythress at small forward, Lee at power forward and Skal Labissiere, one of the top bigs in the 2015 class, at center.

    Calipari is still involved with a number of 2015 prospects who are just waiting to see what dominoes fall. No matter what, UK is going to be stacked.

    Greatest Asset: Ulis.

    The sophomore-to-be point guard should help with the challenges that roster turnover presents. He is so good at getting easy shots for guys, and Kentucky's offense ran more smoothly this year when he was in the game.

    Even if Andrew and Aaron Harrison return, you will likely see Ulis move into the starting lineup and be the primary point guard.

    Will Change If... Everyone leaves. It's hard to imagine Ulis and Poythress leaving early. Sub-6'0" point guards don't leave after one year in college, and Poythress is coming off an ACL tear. I have an inkling that the Harrisons leave, but it would probably be smart for them to return to school as well.

    Lee will likely also return to college, but he could be a transfer candidate based off his lack of playing time the last two years. But again, no matter who comes or who stays, there are plenty of big-time prospects still unsigned with UK on their shortlists. Depth and talent will not be an issue.

    C.J. Moore covers college basketball for Bleacher Report. You can follow him on Twitter @CJMooreBR.