NBA-DRAFT.COM top 65 College Teams (#15 - 11)

The countdown continues with 15 and heads to 11.....
#15 Missouri

Even with a new coach at the helm, the up-tempo and offensive minded Tigers return all five starters and 92 percent of their scoring from a year ago. Leading scorer Marcus Denmon, a 17-point per game scorer, racked up the 19th best offensive rating per Ken Pomeroy, including the nation's best turnover rate and for a guard who uses a ton of possessions, that's very impressive. He shot 45 percent from behind the arc to boast.

If there is a player that's just as important as Denmon, its backcourt mate Michael Dixon, the slashing point guard who led the team in assist rate, but its his defense that can be counted on. In fact, Denmon, Dixon and rising-sophomore Phil Pressey averaged 6 steals per game between the three. Pressey has loads of talent as a defender, but as a creator with the ball in his hands; he led the team in assists per game, but also turnovers as well.

How far the Tigers go may depend on senior Kim English- a versatile wing that could play the 2 or the 3 and defend multiple positions on the floor; he took a step back as a junior as his numbers dipped across the board dropping from a 14 point per game scorer on 40 percent shooting to 10 points per game and 36 percent from the field.

In the frontcourt, new coach Frank Haith, will focus on getting Laurence Bowers and Ricardo Ratliffe more minutes, where they could be two of the Big 12's best tandems. Ratliffe is the bigger of the two at 240 pounds, proving to be more efficient scoring the basketball around the rim, but surprisingly, the better shooter from outside on the perimeter as well. Bowers, at 210 pounds, is more athletic, getting around the court better, relying on his leaping abilities and quickness to rack up his steal and block numbers.
#14. Arizona

Coach Sean Miller made tremendous strides with the Wildcats in his second-year, bringing them back into the national picture with a Pac-12 championship and within two points of a Final Four appearance. Although two significant contributors in Derrick Williams and MoMo Jones have left the program, three starters return for major minutes as do four role players. Williams stood out on the offensive end (19.5 points, 59.5 percent from the field, including 56.8 from 3-point range), but Arizona has five returnees to average at least five points a game.

But its not these returnees in truth that have Arizona as our favorite for another Pac-12 title, it's the freshmen; Miller brings in a point guard and shooting guard in the backcourt that each ranked in the top five players of their respective position- lead guard Josiah Turner and shooter Nick Johnson. Turner has NBA aspirations with great size and gifted passing instincts and court vision and the ability to create his own shot. Johnson can also play some point, but as an athlete and attacking nature will have him in the starting lineup from Day 1.

Giving Miller a young, but deep lineup are two more freshman in the frontcourt with potential to start on the blocks. 6'8" power forward Angelo Chol, a long, athletic 4, will greatly improve the interior defense, an area where Arizona lacked toughness and shot blocking a year ago; Arizona ranked 3rd in the country in 3-point defense, but 275th in 2-point defense. If these additions, whether it's the growth of a current player or added pressure on the perimeter by the guards or shot-blocking down low by the bigs, can slow down opposing offenses inside the arc, Arizona is poised for another deep March run.
#13. Xavier

Though the Musketeers lost their head coach to the team ranked right behind them, the Chris Mack-led team has not skipped a beat; Xavier has won at least a share of the last five A-10 regular season titles and made three straight Sweet 16 before getting unset by Marquette last season. Coach Mack continues coach Sean Miller's success in bringing in some of the best talent in the country to this A-10 program.

Tu Holloway is the program's most recognized player and rightfully so. The defending conference player of the year averaged 19.7 points, 5.0 rebounds and 5.4 assists last year- one of four players in the nation to average at least 15.0 points, 5.0 rebounds and 5.0 assists. Holloway played nearly 95 percent of his team's minutes and tallying one of the highest offensive ratings in the country despite being a below-average perimeter shooter (34.5 percent from 3-point range), but then again as a team, Xavier is one of the nation's worst from behind the arc, one of their few glaring weaknesses.

Standing out next to Holloway is fellow guard, Mark Lyons, the team's second leading scorer and distributor a year ago, but another poor perimeter shooter. Lyons, like Holloway, is undersized for his position, but is quick enough and strong enough to get into the lane and score around the rim or draw contact in the paint and convert at the foul line.

Returning at center is lumbering 7-footer Kenny Frease, giving Xavier a distinct advantage in league-play. Frease makes about 55 percent of his shots from the field and due to his size and girth, he is one of the nation's best offensive rebounder and a better than average defensive rebounder.

Replacing the likes of Jamel McLean (10.6 points, 8.4 rebounds) and Dante Jackson (8 points, 3.1 rebounds, 2.0 assists) is eased by the addition of four-star wing Dezmine Wells, an athletic wing, but more importantly college-ready body at 6'5" and a strong 220 pounds. But also Justin Martin, last season's stud recruit who sat out after being ruled ineligible by the NCAA; Martin, like Wells, is a big, strong wing, but is more of a perimeter-oriented shooter, something Chris Mack could definitely use to return to the land of the Sweet 16. Lastly, but not least, we should not count out big man Jalen Reynolds, somewhat of a "hot" name as of late in the recruiting ranks with his ability to play in both the high and low post with good athleticism and length.

Xavier will once again be the class of the A-10, but don't discount the Musketeers because they have the talent to knock-off some major programs. We will get a chance to see more of them this year with an outstanding, but difficult non-conference schedule that features the likes of Vanderbilt, Gonzaga, Memphis and Cincinnati.
#12. Kansas

Every year there are people that consistently count out Bill Self's teams and every year, he proves these skeptics wrong by winning 7 straight Big 12 titles. This year, there are more and more that doubt Self with the losses of first-round picks and All-Big 12 selections Marcus (Big 12 Player of the Year) and Markieff Morris, talented, but underachieving freshman Josh Selby, and two impact seniors Tyrel Reed and Brady Morningstar. Including reserve Mario Little, that's six of the team's top eight scorers that must be replaced from a year ago- 61 points and 26 rebounds plus 5.5 field-goal makes a game that are no longer with the team.

Self will be counting on junior forward Thomas Robinson to replace the likes of the Morris twins and is seen by many, including those here at as the Big 12's Player of the Year in 2011-12. Robinson has put forth elite number in limited minutes: 7.6 points, 6.4 rebounds, while shooting 60.1 percent from the field in under 15 minutes a game. Robinson is a rebounding machine and does a great job scoring around the rim, despite not possessing the same versatility Marcus and Markieff had.

Giving the team some senior leadership is four-year starter Tyshawn Taylor; he finally has the chance to run the show after sharing duties with All-American Sherron Collins and a crowded backcourt last season. With his quickness and court vision, Taylor will be one of the top senior guards in the nation this year. He will have junior, Elijah Johnson, a talented, but still-developing point guard playing next to him. Both have the ability to spot-up and knock-down shots, penetrate into the lane to score or kick-out the ball to open shooters.

Although Kansas missed out on its usual crop of high school all-americans, Self secured the talents of guards Ben McLemore and Naadir Tharpe. McLemore is an NBA-caliber athlete and has unlimited potential on the wing. He is an explosive scorer that can lit it up from the perimeter or improved ball-handling to score off the dribble. Tharpe is less of a true-scorer and more of the prototypical pass-first point guard who makes plays for others. But given the lack of depth on this team, both will have a chance to get meaningful rotational minutes from the start.
#11. Pittsburgh

Under Jamie Dixon, Pitt has evolved into one of the nation's toughest teams- one that will fight you for every rebound, dive for every ball and dig in on defense. But last year's team, despite the fact that the lost to Butler early on in the NCAA Tournament (in a more-than-thrilling final few seconds), was not only a top 25 defensive team, but a top five offensive team as well. Due to some high offensive rebound rates, some guards that could all distribute the ball and most of all, wings that could shoot from 3-point range. Could this be the year that Jamie Dixon's recipe for success actually turns into postseason success?

After testing the NBA waters, guard Ashton Gibbs is the returning high scorer in the conference and one of the top ten most accurate players from deep (49.0 percent from 3 in 2010-11). He gained some valuable experience with Team USA at the World University Games this summer as the third leading scorer and high-man in assists.

Gibbs will count heavily on point guard Travon Woodall, a junior with two significant years of experience in the system, to run the offense and feed him the ball on the wing. And with the graduation of Gilbert Brown and Brad Wanamaker, Jamie Dixon's backcourt depth goes from being one of the team's biggest strengths into a big question mark. Wings Durand Johnson and John Johnson will compete for playing time off the bench.

Rebounding, interior toughness and heart and soul are lost with the departure of Gary McGhee- not an extremely talented player, but one who was willing to do whatever needed to get a "W". Dixon will rely on undersized, but versatile forward Nasir Robinson to up his production in his senior year, and a pair of athletic bigs- junior Dante Taylor and sophomore Talib Zanna. Taylor, a former high school All-American, has yet to live up to his lofty expectations, but as he continues to chisel his body, he has the inside track at a starting role. Given the concerns about Taylor's conditioning, Talib Zanna could get some starts again; he is a bouncy, long, lean 4-man who can rebound and get out in transition. The frontcourt depth is completed with the addition of the nation's top center, Khem Birch, and another top center in the class, Malcolm Gilbert. The duo of freshmen not only gives Dixon viable options this season, but in moving toward the future as well.

Pittsburgh's March run will rely heavily on how well Gibbs, Woodall and the guards can take care of the ball offensively, but force teams into turnovers and poor decisions defensively.