UPDATED 2013-2014 preseason top 25 college basketball rankings


With the Louisville Cardinals cutting down the nets, the book was officially closed on the 2012-2013 college basketball season.  Hoop junkies like myself are already looking ahead to next season so allow me to present to you my updated way too early 2012-2013 preseason Top 25 college basketball rankings.

So here is my preliminary preseason Top 25 college basketball rankings for next season.  I have updated these rankings since the NBA Draft early entries list is complete and a number of transfers have since been announced.  There is still one major x-factor out there, the undecided Andrew Wiggins who is the #1 prospect in the 2013 class.  Leave a comment below if you think a team is too high, too low, not getting enough respect, or if you notice an error in a projected roster.  (Click here to see how my 2012-13 way too early preseason college basketball rankings turned out.)

1. KENTUCKY WILDCATS (Previous Ranking: 1)
After an extremely disappointing the 2012-13 season in which Kentucky missed out on the NCAA Tournament and lost in their opening round NIT game, the tide will certainly turn next season for John Calipari.  With six McDonald’s All-Americans entering the fold and the return of Willie Cauley-Stein, Alex Poythress, and Kyle Wiltjer, the Wildcats will be absolutely loaded next season.  UK will be the number one ranked team in the preseason college basketball rankings and the favorite to cut down the nets in Arlington.  If they get the #1 recruit in the 2013 class, Andrew Wiggins; it will be disgusting how much talent Big Blue Nation will have.

Projected Depth Chart
C: Willie Cauley-Stein (So)/Dakari Johnson (Fr)/Marcus Lee (Fr)
PF: Julius Randle (Fr)/Kyle Wiltjer (Jr)/Derek Willis (Fr)
SF: Alex Poythress (So)/Jon Hood (Sr)
SG: Andrew Harrison (Fr)/James Young (Fr)
PG: Aaron Harrison (Fr)/Jarrod Polson (Sr)

Gone: F/C-Nerlens Noel, G-Archie Goodwin, SG-Julius Mays, PG-Ryan Harrow (transfer-Georgia State), G-Twany Beckham

2. MICHIGAN STATE SPARTANS (PR: 2)
Tom Izzo returns everybody but Derrick Nix from this season’s team which earned a three seed in the NCAA Tournament.  With Adreian Payne and Gary Harris deciding to return to East Lansing, Sparty should be the team to beat in the Big Ten. Look for Harris to emerge as a big time scorer as well as an increase in playing time for the versatile Denzel Valentine who I really like.

Projected Depth Chart
C: Adreian Payne (Sr)/Alex Gauna (Jr)/Gavin Schilling (Fr)
F: Branden Dawson (Jr)/Matt Costello (So)/Kanny Kaminski (Fr-redshirt?)
G/F: Denzel Valentine (So)/Russell Byrd (Jr)
SG: Gary Harris (So)/Brandan Kearney (Jr)
PG: Keith Appling (Sr)/Travis Trice (Jr)

Gone: C-Derrick Nix

3. OHIO STATE BUCKEYES (PR: 3)
Deshaun Thomas declared for the NBA Draft but Thad Matta still has a lot of talent coming back to Columbus led by point guard Aaron Craft.  Thomas’ exit opens room for LaQuinton Ross to become the top offensive threat which is he more than capable of handling if played like he did in the Big Ten and NCAA Tournament.  There are plenty of role players returning as well that should keep tOSU in the national spotlight.

Projected Depth Chart
C: Amir Williams (Sr)/Trey McDonald (Jr)
F: LaQuinton Ross (Jr)
G/F: Sam Thompson (Jr)/Marc Loving (Fr)
SG: Lenzelle Smith (Sr)/Amedeo Della Valle (So)/Kameron Williams (Fr)
PG: Aaron Craft (Sr)/Shannon Scott (Jr)

Gone: F-Deshaun Thomas, C-Evan Ravenel

4. DUKE BLUE DEVILS (PR: 4)
Even though the Dukies lose three very valuable seniors, they bring in a pair of talented wings in McDonald’s All-American Jabari Parker and Mississippi State transfer Rodney Hood.  Andre Dawkins will also be back after redshirting this past season so Duke will have plenty of shooter to stretch the floor when you factor Rasheed Sulaimon and freshman Matt Jones into the equation.  The biggest question will be whether or not there is enough size and toughness inside.  If Coach K can land Memphis transfer Tarik Black, Duke would jump Ohio State in my rankings.

Projected Depth Chart
F/C: Marshall Plumlee (So)/Josh Hairston (Sr)
F: Rodney Hood (So)/Alex Murphy (So)
SF: Jabari Parker (Fr)/Amile Jefferson (So)/Semi Ojeleye (Fr)
SG: Rasheed Sulaimon (So)/Andre Dawkins (Sr)/Matt Jones (Fr)
PG: Quinn Cook (Jr)/Tyler Thornton (Sr)

Gone: C-Mason Plumlee, G-Seth Curry, PF-Ryan Kelly

5. LOUISVILLE CARDINALS (PR: 9)
As expected, Gorgui Dieng is turning pro but the Cardinals received great news with Russ Smith’s decision to return for his senior year.  Rick Pitino will need Montrezl Harrell to replace Dieng inside and guys like Chane Behanan and Wayne Blackshear must step up.  There are three talented guards joining the Cards in junior college transfer Chris Jones and freshmen Terry Rozier and Anton Gill so the loss of Peyton Siva won’t be monumental.

Projected Depth Chart
F/C: Montrezl Harrell (So)/Zach Price (Jr)
PF: Chane Behanan (Jr)/Akoy Agau (Fr)
SF: Wayne Blackshear (Jr)/Ryan Hancock (Sr)/Angel Nunez (Jr)
G:  Russ Smith (Sr)/Anton Gill (Fr)
PG: Chris Jones (Jr)/Terry Rozier (Fr)

Gone: PG-Peyton Siva, C-Gorgui Dieng, C-Stephan Van Treese

6. FLORIDA GATORS (PR: 5)
With two big time recruits in Kasey Hill and Chris Walker and a pair of key transfers in Virginia Tech’s Dorrian Finney-Smith and South Carolina’s Damontre Harris joining the fray, Billy Donovan should have even more talent on his roster next season especially with Patric Young announcing he’ll return for his senior season.  Replacing the backcourt scoring of Kenny Boynton and Mike Rosario will be the challenge.

Projected Depth Chart
F/C: Patric Young (Sr)/Damontre Harris (Jr)
PF: Will Yeguette (Sr)/Chris Walker (Fr)
SF: Dorrian Finney-Smith (So)/Casey Prather (Sr)/Devon Walker (So)
G: Scottie Wilbekin (Sr)/Michael Frazier (So)/Dillon Graham (So)
PG: Kasey Hill (Fr)/Braxton Ogbueze (So)

Gone: G-Kenny Boynton, SG-Mike Rosario, F/C-Erik Murphy

7. ARIZONA WILDCATS (PR: 6)
Sean Miller does lose three of his top four scorers from last year’s team but adds a key transfer in Duquesne’s T.J. McConnell who will be the true point guard Zona lacked this past season.  There are a talented pair of freshmen forwards coming to Tuscon in McDonald’s All-Americans Aaron Gordon and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson.  Even with Grant Jarrett’s baffling decision to enter the NBA Draft, add them to a long, young frontcourt that should be much improved next season and the Wildcats will be the best team out west.

Projected Depth Chart
C: Kaleb Tarczewski (So)/Angelo Chol (Jr)
PF: Brandon Ashley (So)/Matt Korcheck (Sr)
SF: Aaron Gordon (Fr)/Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (Fr)
SG: Nick Johnson (Jr)/Gabe York (So)/Elliott Pitts (Fr)
PG: T.J. McConnell (Jr)/Jordin Mayes (Sr)

Gone: PG-Mark Lyons, F-Solomon Hill, G/F-Kevin Parrom, PF-Grant Jarrett

8. MICHIGAN WOLVERINES (PR: 14)
Michigan makes a big move up in the rankings with the announcements of Glenn Robinson III and Mitch McGary coming back for their sophomore campaigns.  John Beilein will once again have a young core led by McGary, GR3, and Nik Stauskas.  They will need freshmen Derrick Walton and Zack Irvin to step into major roles, replacing Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr.

Projected Depth Chart
C: Mitch McGary (So)/Jon Horford (Jr)/Jordan Morgan (Sr)
F: Glenn Robinson (So)/Max Bielfeldt (So)/Marc Donnal (Fr)
G/F: Zack Irvin (Fr) or Caris Levert (So)
SG: Nik Stauskas (So)
PG: Spike Albrecht (So) or Derrick Walton (Fr)

Gone: PG-Trey Burke, SG-Tim Hardaway Jr., SG-Matt Vogrich, G-Eso Akunne, PF-Blake McLimans

9. OKLAHOMA STATE COWBOYS (PR: NR)
Travis Ford hit the jackpot with Marcus Smart electing to return for his sophomore season.  As a result, the Cowboys return their top seven scorers from last season including Markel Brown and LeBryan Nash.  OK State should be the favorite to de-throne Kansas from their impressive run of Big 12 Championships.

Projected Depth Chart
F/C: Michael Cobbins (Jr)/Marek Soucek (Jr)/Gary Gaskins (Jr)
F: LeBryan Nash (Jr)/Kamari Murphy (So)/Leyton Hammonds (Fr)
G/F: Brian Williams (Jr)/Jeff Carroll (Fr)
SG: Markel Brown (Sr)/Phil Forte (So)/Detrick Mostella (Fr)
PG: Marcus Smart (So)/Stevie Clark (Fr)/Kirby Gardner (Sr)

Gone: C-Phillip Jurick, G/F-J.P. Olukemi

10. KANSAS JAYHAWKS (PR: 10)
Bill Self doesn’t re-build at Kansas.  He reloads.  That will be the case next year as the Jayhawks lose all five starters but are still projected as a top ten team.  Reserves like Naadir Tharpe and Perry Ellis will become the go-to guys while a group of talented freshmen led by McDonald’s All-American Wayne Selden and impressive big man Joel Embiid, should make an immediate impact.  KU is still in the running for Andrew Wiggins and if he chooses the Jayhawks, I’d bump Kansas into the top five.  Self did pick up a key transfer in Arkansas big man Hunter Mickelson but he will have to sit out next season.

Projected Depth Chart
F/C: Jamari Taylor (So) or Joel Emblid (Fr)/Landen Lucas (Fr)
F: Perry Ellis (So)/Justin Wesley (Sr)
G/F: Wayne Selden (Fr)/Brannen Greene (Fr)
SG: Andrew White (So)/Connor Frankamp (Fr)
PG: Naadir Tharpe (Jr)/Frank Mason (Fr)

Gone: SG-Ben McElmore, C-Jeff Withey, G-Elijah Johnson, SF-Travis Releford, PF-Kevin Young, SG-Rio Adams (transfer)

11. NORTH CAROLINA TAR HEELS (PR: 11)
James Michael McAdoo’s decision to come back to Chapel Hill is a big boost for the Heels but Reggie Bullock is leaving for the NBA Draft. UNC will still have talent on the wing with P.J. Hairston and a year of experience under his belt should make Marcus Paige a more effective playmaker.  The Heels also add needed size inside with McDonald’s All-Americans Kennedy Meeks and Isaiah Hicks.

Projected Depth Chart
F/C: Brice Johnson (So) or Joel James (So)/Kennedy Meeks (Fr)/Desmond Hubert (Jr)
PF: James Michael McAdoo (Jr)/Isaiah Hicks (Fr)/Jackson Simmons (Jr)
G/F: P.J. Hairston (Jr)/J.P. Tokoto (So)
SG:  Leslie McDonald (Sr)
PG: Marcus Paige (So)/Nate Britt (Fr)

Gone: G/F-Reggie Bullock, G-Dexter Strickland

12. GEORGETOWN HOYAS
This might seem a little low with all that talent back on the floor but G-Town will really miss Otto Porter’s ability to do a little bit of everything.  Still, JT3 has everyone returning and should get Greg Whittington back after he missed the second half of the season because he was academically ineligible.  The Hoyas also add UCLA transfer Joshua Smith after the first semester and he could be a huge x-factor if his conditioning is improved.

Projected Depth Chart
F/C: Mikael Hopkins (Jr)/Moses Ayegba (Sr)/Bradley Hayes (So)/Joshua Smith (Jr)
PF:Nate Lubick (Sr)/Brandon Bolden (So)/Reggie Cameron (Fr)
G/F: George Whittington (Jr)/Aaron Bowen (Jr)/Stephen Domingo (So)
SG: Jabril Trawick (Jr)/D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera (So)
PG: Markel Starks (Sr)

Gone: F-Otto Porter

13. SYRACUSE ORANGE
Jim Boeheim will lose three starters as the Orange makes the transition to the ACC.  There will a ton of length and athleticism on the front line with C.J. Fair, Rakeem Christmas, Jerami Grant, and Baye Moussa Keita.  Duke transfer Michael Gbinjie becomes eligible but Cuse’s success will be a direct result of how their new starting backcourt of Tyler Ennis and Trevor Cooney perform.

Projected Depth Chart
C: Rakeem Christmas (Jr)/Baye Moussa Keita (Sr)/DaJuan Coleman (So)/Chinoso Obokoh (Fr)
F: Jerami Grant (So)/Tyler Roberson (Fr)
F: C.J. Fair (Sr)/Michael Gbinjie (Jr)/B.J. Johnson (Fr)
SG: Trevor Cooney (So)/Ron Patterson (Fr)
PG: Tyler Ennis (Fr)

Gone: PG-Michael Carter-Williams, SG-Brandon Triche, F-James Southerland

14. MARQUETTE GOLDEN EAGLES (PR: 7)
MU drops after Vander Blue’s surprising decision to skip his senior season and head to the association.  Still, you can’t underestimate Buzz Williams after three straight trips to the Sweet 16.  Jamil Wilson and Davante Garnder made huge strides as juniors and will be Marquette’s go-to offensive weapons.  The Golden Eagles also add three top 100 recruits and a two-time JUCO All-American in Jameel McKay.  Buzz Williams will have plenty of depth again and MU shouldn’t be overlooked next season like they were for much of this past year.

Projected Depth Chart
C: Chris Otule (Sr)/Davante Gardner (Sr)
F: Jameel McKay (Jr)/Steve Taylor (So)
F: Jamil Wilson (Sr)/Deonte Burton (Fr)
SG: Todd Mayo (Jr) or Jajuan Johnson (Fr)/Jake Thomas (Sr)
PG: Derrick Wilson (Jr) or Duane Wilson (Fr)/John Dawson (Fr)

Gone: SG-Vander Blue, G/F-Trent Lockett, PG-Junior Cadougan, F-Juan Anderson (transfer), Jamal Ferguson (transfer)

15. WISCONSIN BADGERS (PR: 15)
Even though Wisconsin loses their entire starting frontcourt, never ever ever ever ever underestimate Bo Ryan.  The Badgers will rely heavily on their backcourt that gets Josh Gasser back after he missed all of this past season due to a torn ACL.  Sam Dekker should have a breakout season now that he will be inserted into the starting line-up.  The inside play will be a major question mark.

Projected Depth Chart
C: Frank Kaminsky (Jr)/Evan Anderson (Jr)
F: Sam Dekker (So)/Zach Bohannon (Sr)/Nigel Hayes (Fr)/Vitto Brown (Fr)/Duje Dukan (Sr)
G: Josh Gasser (Jr)/Riley Dearing (Fr)
SG: Ben Brust (Jr)/Zak Showalter (So)
PG: Traevon Jackson (Jr)/George Marshall (So)/Bronson Koenig (Fr)

Gone: C-Jared Berggren, F-Ryan Evans, F-Mike Bruesewitz

CLICK HERE FOR TEAMS 16-25 OF MY COLLEGE BASKETBALL RANKINGS AND TO SEE WHO JUST MISSED THE CUT

David Kay is a senior feature NBA DraftNBA, and college basketball writer for the Sports Bank.  He also heads up the NBA and college basketball material at Walter Football.com and is a former contributor at The Washington Times Communities.  David has appeared on numerous national radio programs spanning from Cleveland to New Orleans to Honolulu.  He also had the most accurate 2011 NBA Mock Draft and the most accurate 2012 NBA Mock Draft on the internet (Yup, repeat champ… #humblebrag.)

You can follow him on Twitter at David_Kmiecik.

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