NBA-DRAFT.COM top 65 College Teams (#45 - 41)

The countdown continues with 45 and heads to 41....
#45 St. Mary's

For two years running, Randy Bennett has run one of the most efficient offenses in the country. Granted two key pieces from these teams are gone (Omar Samhan, Mickey McConnell), but the Gaels have four returning starters and three more rotational players back in the fold. Point guard Matthew Dellavedova takes over full-time after splitting the role with McConnell the past few seasons and he'll have several weapons on the wing like forward Rob Jones and Clint Steindl.

With all of the shots going up, it's surprising to see that the Gaels posted the fifth best effective field-goal percentage in 2010-11 by knocking down nearly 40 percent of their 3-point attempts, opening up the lane, where St. Mary's shot 53.6 percent from inside the arc.
#44. Texas

At the beginning of this offseason, the Longhorns had the making of a top five or a top three team when Jordan Hamilton, Tristan Thompson and Cory Joseph all appeared to be returning for at least one more season of Texas-basketball. Playing alongside one of the top two recruited point guard, Myck Kabongo, Texas would have be the run-away favorite in the Big 12, but this was not the case as all three upperclassmen declared for the 2011 NBA Draft and were subsequent first round picks. In fact, Rick Barnes has just one major contributor back in shooting guard J'Covan Brown, leading Barnes to have a major rebuilding effort, especially on the defensive front where the Longhorns ranked second nationally last season.

With Kabongo starting at the point, six more freshman will grace the rotation, giving Barnes another top recruiting class. Two shooting guards, Sheldon McClellan and Julien Lewis, both top-100 commits, will vie for backup time, but should be significant contributors at that. Two forwards, Jonathan Holmes, an in-state product, and Jaylen Bond, a one-time Pittsburgh commit, could start in the frontcourt.
#43. Purdue

Purdue seniors JaJuan Johnson and E'Twaun Moore won 107 combined games together, but Matt Painter will now have to do without that dynamic duo that scored 4,000+ career points and grabbed nearly 1,500 career rebounds. Fifth-year senior Robbie Hummel will give Painter that leadership and a good portion of the production if his knee (coming off two ACL surgeries in the last year) can hold up. Early signs point to yes, but Hummel will get lots of help from his guards as well. Lewis Jackson is one of the top point guards in the rugged Big Ten and Ryne Smith is one of the best pure shooters in the country (offensive rating of 133.6).  Painter will also increase the role of sophomore Terone Johnson to replace Moore.

Purdue's biggest weakness without a doubt is in the frontcourt where it will be very difficult to replace an All-American post presence and interior defender in JaJuan Johnson. The only rotational big man on the roster, Patrick Bade, has left the basketball team for the university's football team. The remaining options are little-used returners (Sandi Marcius and Travis Caroll) and unheralded three-star recruits (Jacob Lawson and Donnie Hale).
#42. Villanova

Only two starters return to the Villanova lineup, which is both a good and bad thing depending on how you look at it; sure, you would love to have guys like Corey Stokes and Corey Fisher back in uniform, but with that backcourt, the team lost 10 of its final 15 games in 2010-11.

Point guard Maalik Wayns and center Mouphtaou Yarou will be carry a bulk of the load on the perimeter and inside respectively. Taking up starting roles on the wing will be Dominic Cheek, a former high school All-American and James Bell, a reserve guard for Team USA's U-19 team this summer. If power forward Maurice Sutton can stay on the floor (called for 7.4 fouls per 40 minutes a year ago), he offers the length and athleticism to get up and down the court on offense, but also block and alter a ton of shots on the defensive end (11.2 block percentage). Jayvaughn Pinkston will fill in and earn some minutes.

Jay Wright brings in another solid recruiting class including point guard Tyrone Johnson, (broken foot, will miss team's tour of Europe) and four-star shooting guard Achraf Yacoubou and center Markus Kennedy could also fill-in in the rotation.
#41. St. John's

Steve Lavin had the third-most experienced team a year go with five senior starters and three more earning significant minutes. That's 68.1 points out of their 70.1 points per game that are no longer on the roster.

All eight have graduated and another, Dwayne Polee, has transferred, leading way to Lavin's nine-man incoming class ranking amongst the nation's best. The highlights of the class are Dom Pointer, Jakarr Samspon and Maurice Harkless- three very athletic wings who could all start right away. At perhaps the most important position, Nurideen Lindsey has the job at point guard of leading the team and running the offense. Lindsey is a "tweener", but a long, athletic guard with terrific quickness and excels at slashing to the rim and setting up his teammates.

With nine new faces on the roster and one of the most difficult schedules in the country in front of them, Lavin and the Red Storm have a difficult and uncertain road ahead of them.