Early Preseason Top 40 for 2012-13
With many of the decisions made by players, some going to the draft, others transferring, I tried to put down an early look at next season's top 40. There will be a number of quality teams out there, plus this can serve as fodder for college hoop junkies while we wait months until next season begins.
I know it is early, and my final preseason top 40 in late October or early November will likely have changes due to injuries, ineligible players, etc.
Here we go, my late-April version of the 2012-13 top 40.
2. KENTUCKY SEC
Analysis: John Calipari simply reloads as Big Blue Nation welcomes Nerlens Noel and the top class in America.
4. KANSAS BIG 12
Analysis: Keep an eye on Ben McLemore, who sat out last season. He has pro potential. Bill Self has another Big 12 front-runner.
11. DUKE ACC
Analysis: Even without Austin Rivers, don't count the Dukies out. Coach K will perform more magic.
13. NORTH CAROLINA ACC
Analysis: James Michael McAdoo will step up and become a superstar, baby! Roy Williams gets several players back from injuries.
15. MEMPHIS C-USA
Analysis: Josh Pastner has a talented young nucleus ready to make some noise. Tigers would be higher if Will Barton came back.
17. NOTRE DAME BIG EAST
Analysis: Mike Brey did an incredible job last season. Now his team has more valuable experience and cohesiveness.
18. CREIGHTON MVC
Analysis: Doug McDermott is a PTP'er who will be among the nation's best.
19. FLORIDA SEC
Analysis: The Gators would be higher if Bradley Beal returned to school.
20. TEXAS BIG 12
Analysis: Myck Kabongo is back and Rick Barnes will have a solid squad.
21. NEW MEXICO MWC
Analysis: Keep an eye on Kendall Williams.
22. WISCONSIN BIG TEN
Analysis: Even without Jordan Taylor, Bo Ryan will get the most out of his team.
23. CINCINNATI BIG EAST
Analysis: Mick Cronin has depth in the backcourt. Cincy will miss Yancy Gates but surprise some people.
24. MISSOURI SEC
Analysis: Frank Haith has a ton of talented transfers coming in. The addition of Alex Oriakhi is a big plus.
25. BUTLER HORIZON
Analysis: Brad Stevens' team will be back in the big picture. Rotnei Clarke, the transfer from Arkansas, will help from long range.
26. MURRAY STATE OVC
Analysis: Isaiah Canaan will be an All-Solid Gold selection.
27. FLORIDA STATE ACC
Analysis: I look for good things from Ian Miller in a bigger role.
28. ALABAMA SEC
Analysis: Last season's issues will turn into a surprising plus. A number of youngsters got better with more playing time.
29. GONZAGA WCC
Analysis: Mark Few's team will make noise out west. Kevin Pangos and Gary Bell Jr. will be super as sophs.
30. UNLV MWC
Analysis: Mike Moser returns to key Dave Rice's club.
31. KANSAS STATE BIG 12
Analysis: Bruce Weber inherited a good situation. Rodney McGruder deserves more ink.
32. MARYLAND ACC
Analysis: Mark Turgeon's second season will be a lot better. Alex Len will be there from the start.
33. TENNESSEE SEC
Analysis: The Vols really bought into Cuonzo Martin's system and it paid off late last season.
35. SAINT LOUIS A-10
Analysis: Rick Majerus turned down SMU and the Billikens will prove the tactician right.
36. MIAMI ACC
Analysis: Jim Larranaga will have this program moving in the right direction.
37. OREGON PAC-12
Analysis: E.J. Singler has seen his scoring increase each season; he will be a PTP'er.
38. STANFORD PAC-12
Analysis: From NIT champion to NCAA tourney team.
39. VCU CAA
Analysis: Shaka Smart turned down Illinois because he has something special with the Rams.
40. OKLAHOMA STATE BIG 12
Analysis: Keep an eye on Travis Ford's team. Le'Bryan Nash is back to create havoc in the Big 12.
I am sure there are other teams that believe they belong on this list. This is just an early look as we have a while until the season tips off again. I cannot wait for it all to start again, baby! I know we just went through March Madness, and hopefully this will give fans a fix for a while.
ESPN TOP HEADLINES
- Ravens rally past Browns, earn playoff spot
- Bucs blow big lead, lose to secure No. 1 pick
- Watt sets NFL record with 2nd 20-sack season
- Reports: Manziel party led to Gordon's ban