Way Too Early 2017–2018 Top 25
The college basketball season has ended, so now everyone who has ever written about it has to come out with their 2017–18 top 25s. So it is here. In terms of determining who will stay and who will go, I did some basic research (eg google and twitter searching) but if I couldn’t find any news on whether or not someone was a strong lean either way I have them going if they are a projected 1st rounder by DraftExpress.
Who could be leaving: Alonzo Trier, Kobi Simmons, Rawle Atkins, Dusan Ristic, Lauri Markkanen, Kadeem Allen
This ranking depends a lot on two factors: whether Trier is back and whether top ranked recruit DeAndre Ayton enrolls at Arizona and doesn’t go overseas. If that in fact happens, Arizona will have its second best offensive player from 2017 back, a bigtime recruit to fit in nicely next to Dusan Ristic, three other bigtime recruits, and maybe the most talent and depth Sean Miller has ever had.
2. Michigan State
Who could be leaving: Miles Bridges
The Spartans finished an unsightly 40th in KenPom last year thanks to an influx of freshmen, but most of those freshmen will be sophomores next year. Bridges is probably gone, and is projected 11th by DX. But Cassius Winston was 2nd in the nation in assist rate, Nick Ward was one of the best offensive rebounders in the country, Josh Langford had a really good close to the season, and the Spartans also welcome 5 star recruit Jaren Jackson.
Who could be leaving: Donovan Mitchell, Deng Adel, Anas Mahmoud, Jaylen Johnson
I am projecting Mitchell to come back even though he’s in the 21 spot in DX’s mock just based on reading various internet sources (which obviously have varying degrees of reliability). If so, Louisville should be better than 22nd offensively and the Cards should have another top 10 defense. Louisville also has the 7th rated class according to 247, which will add even more talent for Louisville.
Who could be leaving: Jayson Tatum, Harry Giles, Luke Kennard, Grayson Allen, Marques Bolden
After maybe the most disappointing season for any school since the one and done era began, Duke reloads with Wendell Carter, Gary Trent, and Alex O’Connell, as well as the potential to add Mo Bamba, Trevon Duval, and Kevin Knox, so Duke will be fine. They might lack a bit of size inside with Amile Jefferson graduating and Marques Bolden likely transferring, but Frank Jackson looks like a sophomore breakout candidate, Grayson Allen could be back, and they’ll have as much talent as anybody.
Who could be leaving: Justin Leon, Devin Robinson
I sort of think losing Kasey Hill and turning the reins over to some other guys might help the Gators offensively. Defensively Florida was one of the top teams in the country, and they add a top 50ish player in Isaiah Stokes as well as a pair of transfers who should make the Gators deeper than they were this past season, and maybe better as well.
Who could be leaving: Makai Bridges, Jalen Brunson
Even though they lose Josh Hart and Kris Jenkins, I think the other two will be back, which is huge for the Wildcats. Brunson was one of the best point guards in the country last season, and Donte DiVencenzo and he will probably be the best backcourt in the country next season. They’ll also finally get Omari Spellman eligible, who should help quite a bit inside.
Who could be leaving: Josh Jackson, Devonte Graham, Svi Mykhailiuk, Carlton Bragg
Despite losing player of the year Frank Mason and future top 5 pick Josh Jackson, Kansas should be a title favorite again if Graham stays (in fact they probably would have a good argument at #1 if he does stay) but even if he doesn’t (and I don’t think he will) the Jayhawks should be in the running for a 14th straight Big 12 title and another deep run in the tournament. They might get Trevon Duval, they might get Makai Ashton-Langford, they might get a grad transfer, or they might be “forced” to depend on former McDonalds All American Malik Newman and Texas player of the year Marcus Garrett. Oh darn. Up front, Udoka Azubuike looks next in line in terms of great KU big men, and Billy Preston should step into that 4 spot. Also a quick word of advice: buy lots of Lagerald Vick stock.
Who could be leaving: Malik Monk, DeAaron Fox, Wenyen Gabriel, Isaac Humphries, Isaiah Briscoe, Bam Adebayo
Kentucky is 8 because from what I have read their recruiting class, while maybe the best in the country, doesn’t have the same ready to contribute guys as some other classes they have had. I am not a recruiting guy so who knows, but if that’s true Kentucky might be towards the back of the top 10.
9. Wichita State
Who could be leaving: none
Wichita State brings back basically everyone, and might be moving to the AAC. That probably will reduce Conner Frankamp’s effectiveness, but the Shockers should do well there this year. I predict they’ll beat the hell out of a lot of bad teams and then lose a close one to a good team in the NCAA tournament.
10. North Carolina
Who could be leaving: Justin Jackson, Tony Bradley
This is probably underestimating the Tar Heels. I did so all this year and that obviously backfired. Joel Berry should be back, which is huge, but I don’t know how well they’ll survive the loss of two of their three best rebounders (and all 3 if Bradley goes). Also, can Luke Maye transition into being one of the main guys?
11. West Virginia
14. Oregon (although they’ll be higher if Brooks comes back)
16. Notre Dame
18. St Mary’s
20. Wake Forest (if John Collins is back)
22. Michigan (higher if Bamba goes there)
25. SMU (if Ojeleye is back)