The top teams fell right into place as expected: Indiana Hoosiers #1, #2 Louisville Cardinals and #3 Kentucky. Indiana has the 2013 NBA Draft's best big man in Cody Zeller, while Louisville and Kentucky boast two of their own in UL's Gorgui Dieng and Nerlens Noel for the Wildcats. Zeller is the best offensive center in the nation, while the nation's Defensive Player of the Year award will likely come down to Dieng versus Noel.
Even without Jared Sullinger and William Buford, Ohio State ranked #4. Defensive stopper Aaron Craft and scoring machine Deshaun Thomas as two key reasons why, but let's not forget about last season's top recruits that failed to crack Thad Matta's tight rotation: point guard Shannon Scott and center Amir Williams.
#5 and #6 are questionable where the Wolverines of Michigan outrank N.C. State, the ACC's top projected team. While we are not doubting the talent is there, Michigan ran a 4-out, 1-in offense last year and lost its top three 3-point shooters this offseason. A new system will likely be inputted as one of the top freshmen big men, Mitch McGary, will don the Blue and Gold this season. Trey Burke is a leader and potential All-American, but we are not sold on Tim Hardaway Jr. on the wing. Glenn Robinson Jr., yes, the son of former-NBA wing, will have a heavy weight on his shoulders. At #6, N.C. State has some lofty expectations behind returnees C.J. Leslie, Richard Howell and Lorenzo Brown. All three have All-ACC possibilities along with incoming freshman wing Rodney Purvis, but this is still a team that barely made it into the NCAA Tournament.
Even without their best players returning, Kansas, Duke Syracuse and Florida round out the top 10. At #12 North Carolina and at #14 Michigan State lost plenty of talent (UNC: Harrison Barnes, John Henson, Tyler Zeller, Kendall Marshall; Michigan State: Draymond Green), but boast underrated talented returning along with some stellar incoming freshmen.
#17 Missouri, #19 UNLV and #20 San Diego State should have all been ranked higher. All lost at least one key player from last year's squads, but all introduce a key transfer or two to bolster the roster. For Missouri, it's Alex Oriakhi, Keion Bell, and Earnest Ross; in Las Vegas, it's Khem Birch (after 10 games) and Bryce Dejean-Jones. And for SDSU, Dwayne Polee and J.J O'Brien lead the charge.
And finally, the coaches finally learned not to give up on a Bo Ryan-coached Wisconsin team. Even without former-All-American point guard Jordan Taylor, the Badgers are ranked #21.