An updated college hoops "Way Too Early Top 25" for 2022-2023 - Version 8.0

Updated: May 3



It's an annual spring tradition: The day the season ends, I always drop my "Way Too Early Top 25" immediately following the national championship game. I then periodically update it throughout the off-season season, as NBA Draft decisions come in and transfers make their portal decisions.


Well, with the deadline to declare for the NBA Draft on Sunday, it felt like a great time to update this bad boy again, with my "Post NBA Draft Deadline Top 25."



That's right, Sunday was the day where players officially had to enter their names if they wanted to be eligible for the draft, with several key players (Caleb Love, Hunter Dickinson, Oscar Tshiebwe, Armando Bacot) electing to return.


And when you add in transfers and a couple high school recruits, again, this felt like the perfect time to give the old Top 25 a tweak.


Here is your updated "Post NBA Draft Deadline Top 25" - with more updates to come throughout the summer.


1. North Carolina Tar Heels

Key Returnees: Caleb Love, Armando Bacot, RJ Davis, Leaky Black, Kerwin Walton, Puff Johnson, Dontrez Styles, Justin McKoy, D'Marco Dunn

Key Departures: Brady Manek, Dawson Garcia (transfer)

Key Additions: Seth Trimble, Jalen Washington, Tyler Nickel


On Sunday it became official, as Caleb Love announced that he will return to college hoops for the 2022-2023 season. He follows in the footsteps of Armando Bacot, Leaky Black and RJ Davis, who all bypassed professional riches for one more run at a national title.


And with it, we have a new No. 1 team in the country as well.


Yes, some will argue that this is an overreaction to the NCAA Tournament - since North Carolina did start out as an eight-seed. But at the end of the day, they were really one of the best teams in college hoops over the final two months of the season. They went 13-3 in their final 16 games overall, which included two wins over Duke (at Cameron and in the Final Four), as well as victories over the defending national champion Baylor and a UCLA team gunning for a second straight Final Four.


Now, four starters and six of the top eight scorers overall are back for a team that was one game short in 2022.


The bottom line: The Tar Heels are the team to beat heading into the 2023 season.


2. Arkansas Razorbacks


Key Returnees: Jaylin Williams, Devo Davis, Jaxson Robinson, Kimani Johnson

Key Departures: JD Notae, Stanley Umude, Chris Lykes, Trey Wade, Au'Diese Toney, Conor Vanover (transfer) KK Robinson (transfer), Chance Moore (transfer)

Key Additions: Nick Smith Jr., Anthony Black, Jordan Walsh, Derrian Ford, Barry Dunning, Joseph Pinion, Trevon Brazile (transfer), Makhel Mitchell (transfer), Makhi Mitchell (transfer), Jalen Graham (transfer)


Arkansas was No. 1 in our first edition of "The Way Too Early Top 25" and stayed there right up until Sunday - but their fall all the way to No. 2 has more to do with North Carolina returning basically everybody. More than us not liking the Hogs.


As a matter of fact, in some ways, you could argue Arkansas might be better today than they were the day the season ended.


Gone is leading scorer JD Notae and key players Stanley Umude, Au'Diese Toney and others from this year's Elite Eight team. But right now we're still projecting Jaylin Williams to return alongside Devo Davis, and boy oh boy will they be surrounded by talent.


First is the No. 2 ranked recruiting class in college hoops, which includes six players - six - in ESPN's Top 100. Nick Smith Jr. is a likely Top 5 pick in the next NBA Draft and Anthony Black isn't far behind, as a big point guard who can lead this offense. Jordan Walsh is a hyper-explosive, athletic wing.


Then there is the portal, and as always, Eric Musselman has cleaned up there. Trevon Brazile is a big forward with NBA potential, Makhel and Makhi Mitchell bring size, length and desperately needed rim protection to this team, and Jalen Graham was All-Pac 12 second team a season ago. They will be nice complimentary pieces for that loaded freshman class.


Can anything stop the Big Pig Invasion? We already know the answer.


3. Creighton Bluejays


Key Returnees: Ryan Kalkbrenner, Arthur Kaluma, Ryan Nembhard, Trey Alexander, Shereef Mitchell, Rati Andronikashvili

Key Departures: Ryan Hawkins, Alex O'Connell, Keyshawn Feazell

Key Additions: Baylor Scheierman (transfer), Francisco Farabello (transfer)


The Jays return four starters off one of the hottest teams in college hoops to end the season, but the one thing they were missing was a stretch four to replace the production of Ryan Hawkins, who averaged 15 per game this season.


Well, they struck in a big way in transfer season - adding South Dakota State star Baylor Scheierman, one of the best players available. Scheierman averaged 16 points and seven boards per game for the Jackrabbits, all while shooting 47 percent from three, and should immediately fill the void left by Hawkins (assuming he doesn't remain in the NBA Draft).


And with it, Scheierman now joins a core that includes one of the best bigs in college hoops (Ryan Kalkbrenner), an emerging wing (Arthur Kaluma) and several dynamic young guards. Ryan Nembhard averaged 11 points and 4.5 assists per game, while Trey Alexander emerged late for the Jays when Nembhard went down.


Still, the Jays needed one more piece and got it. They are the overwhelming Big East favorite, and a legit national title contender.


4. Kansas Jayhawks


Key Returnees: Christian Braun, DaJuan Harris, Jalen Wilson, Joseph Yesufu, Zach Clemence, Bobby Pettiford, KJ Adams

Key Departures: Ochai Agbaji, David McCormack, Remy Martin, Mitch Lightfoot, Jalen Coleman-Lands

Key Additions: MJ Rice, Gradey Dick, Ernest Udeh Jr., Zuby Ejiofor


Kansas was your 2022 NCAA champs, and bad news: They aren't slowing down any time soon.


Yes, Ochai Agbaji is headed for the NBA and David McCormack declared as well. Right now Christian Braun is testing the draft waters and we have him back - and if he is back, that means three starters off this year's title team will return to Lawrence. The Jayhawks also add three McDonald's All-Americans to strengthen the bench and depth.


One thing worth keeping an eye on: The NCAA should finally deliver punishment this summer to Kansas following the FBI probe of several years ago. There's at least a possibility the reigning champ won't be eligible for the 2023 Big Dance.


5. Gonzaga Bulldogs


Key Returnees: Drew Timme, Julian Strawther, Anton Watson, Hunter Sallis, Nolan Hickman, Ben Gregg, Kaden Perry, Dominick Harris (redshirt)

Key Departures: Andrew Nembhard, Chet Holmgren, Rasir Bolton

Key Additions: Efton Reid (transfer)


Another "Too Early" Top 25, another Gonzaga high ranking, and more outrage inevitably coming from you guys. And sadly, after the Zags' Sweet 16 loss this season, I get it.


Drew Timme has declared, but with real NIL money coming in and seemingly limited draft interest it feels like we could get one more year of Timme in Spokane. Same with Julian Strawther, who declared as well. He isn't quite the NIL darling as Timme, but could be a breakout player nationally for the Zags, after averaging 12 points and five boards per game last season.

Hunter Sallis is a former McDonald's All-American who is another breakout candidate and point guard Nolan Hickman could take another step towards stardom as well.


The Zags also struck in the portal this spring, adding former McDonald's All-American Efton Reid, who played at LSU last season.


Whether all this results in the school's first national title next spring remains to be seen.


6. UCLA Bruins


Key Returnees: Tyger Campbell, Jaime Jacquez, Jaylen Clark, Will McClendon (redshirt), Max Etienne, David Singleton

Key Departures: Johnny Juzang, Cody Riley, Jules Bernard, Myles Johnson, Peyton Watson, Jake Kyman (transfer)

Key Additions: Amari Bailey, Adem Bona, Dylan Andrews


The picture on UCLA's 2022-2023 roster is starting to come together. Out are 2021 NCAA Tournament star Johnny Juzang and high-upside freshman Peyton Watson to the pros, while second leading scorer and rebounder Jaime Jacquez announced he will return.


There are still a few decisions to be made, with Jules Bernard testing the draft waters but able to use an extra year of eligibility. Big man Cody Riley and guard David Singleton both have an extra year if they want to use it too.


Yet even without Juzang here is a hot take: The Bruins won't miss a beat, and may in some ways be better. Point guard Tyger Campbell is back and McDonald's All-American Amari Bailey is an attacking guard that should pick up some of the offensive production of Juzang's absence. Down low, Jacquez provides scoring and freshman Adem Bona provides bulk.


Even without Juzang, I like the makeup of this group.


7. Arizona Wildcats


Key Returnees: Kerr Kriisa, Dalen Terry, Pelle Larsson, Oumar Ballo, Azoulas Tubelis, Adama Bal, Shane Nowell

Key Departures: Benn Mathurin, Christian Koloko, Justin Kier

Key Additions: Dylan Anderson, Filip Borovicanin


Tommy Lloyd took the college hoops by storm in his first season as a head coach, and there's no reason to think things will slow down next year.


As expected both Benn Mathurin and Christian Koloko have declared and will go pro, with the next marquee decision coming from guard Dalen Terry. Terry is testing the waters after a great late season surge. Because of his size and skill-set he could be drafted pretty highly. However, if he returns, he could also have a Mathurin-like surge next season for the Wildcats.


Right now we have him returning though, with what should be a pretty talented core. Starting point guard Kerr Kriisa will be back, as will big men Azoulas Tubelis and Oumar Ballo down low - and Ballo should do a good job of filling the shoes of the departed Koloko. Also, with a season's worth of film out there, expect the Wildcats to have success in the transfer portal.


The Wildcats will drop a few spots should Terry elect to go pro - but the foundation is there for another successful 2022-2023 season.


8. Houston Cougars


Key Returnees: Marcus Sasser, Tramon Mark, Jamal Shead, Ramon Walker, Reggie Chaney, J'Wan Roberts

Key Departures: Kyler Edwards, Taze Moore, Fabian White Jr., Josh Carlton

Key Additions: Jarace Walker, Terrance Arceneaux


If you follow me, or really anyone who loves college basketball, you know the respect I have for Kelvin Sampson. In the last three tournaments he has made *at least* the Sweet 16, including a Final Four run in 2021. This year he made the Elite Eight down his two best players.


Well, those two players - Marcus Sasser and Tramon Mark - are back, alongside Jamal Shead, who really made big strides during the Cougars' March run. Sasser has declared for the draft, but coming off a major knee injury, the assumption is that he'll be back next season. The Cougars also add McDonald's All-American Jarace Walker, and like so many other teams, will find the right pieces in the transfer portal.


In Kelvin Sampson I trust, and barring injuries, this should be a Top 10 team most of 2022-2023.


9. Kentucky Wildcats


Key Returnees: Oscar Tshiebwe, Sahvir Wheeler, Keion Brooks, Lance Ware, Daimion Collins

Key Departures: Kellan Grady, Davion Mintz, TyTy Washington, Shaedon Sharpe (redshirt), Dontaie Allen (transfer), Bryce Hopkins (transfer)

Key Additions: Antonio Reeves (transfer), Chris Livingston, Casen Wallace


In late April, John Calipari got the best news he possibly could've: Oscar Tshiebwe, who literally won every National Player of the Year award in college hoops announced he will return for another season in Lexington. There is no bigger decision, anywhere in college hoops, that will impact the sport next year more than that.


On the downside, it also appears almost impossible that the No. 1 player in the high school class - guard Shaedon Sharpe, who redshirted this season - will play at Kentucky. He's draft eligible and testing the waters.


Still, even without Sharpe, this is a talented core that can again compete for an SEC title.


Sahvir Wheeler is back at point guard, and when he was healthy, was one of the best guards in the SEC last year, leading the team in assists. CJ Fredrick is back to add shooting and two McDonald's All-Americans (Chris Livingston and Casen Wallace) arrive on campus, while returning forward Jacob Topping could be a breakout star.


The Wildcats still need a bit more scoring on the wing, but the biggest piece of news they could've gotten all spring was the return to of Tshiebwe. He's officially back. And the Wildcats are in the mix because of it.



10. Duke Blue Devils


Key Returnees: Jeremy Roach

Key Departures: Paolo Banchero, AJ Griffin, Trevor Keels, Mark Williams, Wendell Moore, Theo John

Key Additions: Dereck Lively II, Kyle Filipowski, Dariq Whitehead, Mark Mitchell, Jaden Schutt, Christian Reeves


Man, oh man, oh man, what do we make of Duke.


On the one hand, as you may have heard, for the first time since early 1980, Duke has someone other than Coach K patrolling the sidelines. That of course is Jon Scheyer, who will take over as a first-time, first year head coach. Not easy.


They also return just one key player from this year's team, point guard Jeremy Roach.


On the other hand, Scheyer is, ya know, bringing in the No. 1 class in the country, with a group that includes four McDonald's All-Americans, including massive 7'1 center Dereck Lively II, stretch four Kyle Filipowski and wing Dariq Whitehead.


With a first-year, first-time head coach and a roster full of mostly freshmen, it's tough to put Duke any higher. But they will once again have the talent to win it all in 2022-2023.


11. Michigan Wolverines


Key Returnees: Hunter Dickinson, Caleb Houstan, Moussa Diabate, Terrence Williams, Kobe Bufkin, Jace Howard Key Departures: DeVante Jones, Eli Brooks, Brandon Johns (transfer), Frankie Collins

Key Additions: Jaelyn Llewelyn (transfer), Jett Howard, Tarris Reed, Dug McDaniel, Gregg Glenn


For all the criticism of NIL by everyone (including me), Michigan is a perfect example of the good that could come from it. A year ago, Hunter Dickinson publicly stated (including on the Aaron Torres Podcast) that the 2021-2022 season would be his last in college hoops.


But with NIL money likely flowing in, he made the decision to return to school for another year. And the Wolverines have a rock, and potential preseason All-American down low, who averaged 18 points and 10 rebounds per game.


We still haven't gotten official word yet on wing Caleb Houstan, but it appears as though he'll be back and it's the same with forward Moussa Diabate, meaning that the core of the Wolverines roster returns in 2022-2023. That includes guard Frankie Collins, who played well down the stretch as well.


Finally, there is another solid freshman class, headlined by Juwan Howard's son, Jett and three Top 100 players overall. Expect maybe another guard in the transfer portal, but right now, this is the best team in the Big Ten.


12. Baylor Bears


Key Returnees: Adam Flagler, LJ Cryer, Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua, Flo Thamba, Dale Bonner

Key Departures: James Akinjo, Matthew Mayer, Kendall Brown, Jeremy Sochan

Key Additions: Keyonte George, Joshua Ojianwuna, Jalen Bridges (transfer), Caleb Lohner (transfer)


James Akinjo, Kendall Brown and Jeremy Sochan have all announced their intentions to go pro, but the Bears still have a team capable of competing for a Final Four.


Adam Flagler and LJ Cryer (who missed most of the season with foot injuries) are both back, and assuming they're healthy, can get buckets in the backcourt. Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua (who also dealt with a season-ending injury) and Flo Thamba return in the frontcourt, and McDonald's All-American Keyonte George will arrive in the spring as the lead guard this team desperately needs.


More importantly, the Bears needed help on the wing and got it with West Virginia transfer Jalen Bridges. The former Top 100 recruit is a perfect fit to replace the production of Sochan and Brown. BYU transfer Caleb Lohner will add depth in the frontcourt as well.


13. Tennessee Volunteers


Key Returnees: Santiago Vescovi, Josiah Jordan-James, Zakai Zeigler, Uros Plavsic, Olivier Nkamhoua, Jonas Aidoo

Key Departures: John Fulkerson, Kennedy Chandler, VJ Bailey (transfer), Brandon Huntley-Hatfield (transfer), Justin Powell (transfer)

Key Additions: BJ Edwards, Tyreke Key (transfer)


I'm sorry to do this to you Tennessee fans, I really am. But after a season in which your squad captured your hearts on a way to an SEC Tournament title (and ultimately NCAA Tournament disappointment) it's hard not to look at this team on paper and not see another Final Four contender.


John Fulkerson is (finally) gone, Kennedy Chandler declared for the draft and center Brandon Huntley-Hatfield made the (semi) surprising decision to transfer, but everyone else is back. Zakai Zeigler should take the reins from Chandler and become the full-time starter at point guard with Santiago Vescovi (who is currently testing the draft waters) and Josiah Jordan-James providing pop on the wing. The Vols also added Indiana State transfer Tyreke Key for depth in the backcourt as well. The frontcourt should again be loaded with Uros Plavsic, Jonas Aidoo, all returning, and Olivier Nkamhoua coming back from injury.


I understand what the reaction will be from both Tennessee fans and their rivals when seeing this ranking. But it is justified.


14. TCU Horned Frogs


Key Returnees: Mike Miles, Damion Baugh, Eddie Lampkin, Emanuel Miller, Micah Peavy

Key Departures: Chuck O'Bannon, Francisco Farabello (transfer)

Key Additions: PJ Haggerty


There aren't a lot of memorable moments in TCU basketball history, but the Horned Frogs pushing No. 1 seed Arizona to the wire - in a game they probably should've won - is one of the enduring moments of the NCAA Tournament.


Well now, the core of that team is back.


Star guard Mike Miles had a weird early April, where he declared with the intentions to stay in, only to say that he was testing the waters, and then decided to return altogether (hmm, maybe an NIL deal appeared out of thin air?!). Regardless, his return means that TCU has arguably the best guard in the Big 12 back, after Miles after 15 points and four assists per game, and earned All-Big 12 second team honors. So too is tournament darling Eddie Lampkin, who had 20 points and 14 boards in that near upset over Arizona.


Overall, five of the top six scorers are expected back for a team that was red-hot down the stretch. The Horned Frogs are legit good enough to win the Big 12.


15. UConn Huskies


Key Returnees: Andre Jackson, Adama Sanogo, Jordan Hawkins, Samson Johnson, Alex Karaban (redshirt)

Key Departures: RJ Cole, Tyrese Martin, Isaiah Whaley, Tyler Polley, Jalen Gaffney (transfer), Rashool Diggins (transfer), Akok Akok (transfer), Corey Floyd Jr. (transfer)

Key Additions: Tristen Newton (transfer), Nahiem Alleyne (transfer), Donovan Clinglan


Ok, so this may be my UConn bias showing, but I once again really like this UConn squad.


All-Big East guard RJ Cole is gone, as is do everything wing Tyrese Martin, but a core of All-Big East big man Adama Sanogo and wings Andre Jackson and Jordan Hawkins return. Hawkins has the potential to be a breakout star, after showing flashes as a freshman, and Dan Hurley has said that he believes Hawkins has a future in the NBA.


More importantly, UConn is proving the two-way value of the portal. While the fan-base was initially frustrated at losing some back-end bench players and young guys, Dan Hurley immediately sprung into action and replaced them with two experienced college guards. Tristen Newton is a big lead guard who averaged 18 points, five rebounds and five assists at East Carolina, while Nahiem Alleyne is a dead-eye shooter who hit 37 percent from beyond the arc at Virginia Tech last year. Reshirt Alex Karaban and big man Donovan Clingan will provide depth in the front court.


Hurley has vowed that he wants to play smaller, faster and with more pace next year - and now has a roster to do exactly that.


16. Auburn Tigers


Key Returnees: KD Johnson, Zep Jasper, Wendell Green, Allen Flannigan, Jaylin Williams, Dylan Cardwell

Key Departures: Jabari Smith, Walker Kessler, Devan Cambridge (transfer)

Key Additions: (Johni Broome), Yohan Traore, Chance Westry, Tre Donaldson


Obviously, there are frontcourt pieces to fill after the departures of Jabari Smith and Walker Kessler - and Auburn has done that in a big way.


They added one of the best bigs in the portal, Johni Broome, a monstrous low post presence who averaged 17 points, 10 rebounds and nearly four blocks per game this year. This, in addition to five-star Yohan Traore, a former LSU commit. These two are different than Kessler and Smith, no doubt. But should replace most of their production.


They join the much-maligned backcourt of Wendell Green, Zep Jasper and KD Johnson all return, and Allen Flannigan should be close to 100 percent after injury recovery slowed him this year.


Obviously more consistent guard play will be key. But the Tigers have the pieces to once again be a threat in the SEC.


17. Alabama Crimson Tide


Key Returnees: Jahvon Quinerly, Noah Gurley, Charles Bediako, Darius Miles, Nimari Burnett (redshirt)

Key Departures: Jaden Shackelford, Keon Ellis, James Rojas, JD Davison, Alex Tchikou (transfer), Keon Ambrose-Hylton (transfer), Jusuan Holt (transfer), Juwan Gary (transfer)

Key Additions: Brandon Miller, Jaden Bradley, Rylan Griffen, Noah Clowney, Nick Pringle, Mark Sears (transfer)


The Crimson Tide started at No. 24 in the initial "Too Early Top 25" but in our update, they are one of our biggest movers.


One, Jahvon Quinerly - who suffered a season-ending injury in an NCAA Tournament loss to Notre Dame - decided to return, rather than go pro. He won't be 100 percent to start the season, but you simply can't express how big the addition of a fifth-year point guard will be for this team. Additionally, Mark Sears a 20-point a game scorer at Ohio has committed as well, adding depth to an already talented backcourt.


So when you add those two with the No. 3 recruiting class in the country - headlined by a pair of McDonald's All-Americans - and the fact that transfer Nimari Burnett (a former McDonald's All-American in his own right) is returning from injury, it only felt right to move this team up. Burnett could be the missing piece for this program, as he'll provide toughness, experience, and talent in the backcourt next year, after missing all of 2021-2022 with an ACL injury.


18. Villanova Wildcats


Key Returnees: Brandon Slater, Justin Moore, Eric Dixon, Jordan Longino, Chris Arcidiacono, Bryan Antoine, Nnanna Njoku, Trey Patterson, Angelo Brizzi (redshirt)

Key Departures: Collin Gillespie, Jermaine Samuels, Caleb Daniels, Brandon Slater

Key Additions: Cam Whitmore, Mark Armstrong, Brendan Hausen


Jay Wright is gone, several key pieces left with him, and it really is impossible to know what to make of this team.


Even as long-time assistant Kyle Neptune returns, there are still questions to be answered about this roster. Justin Moore is coming off major injury in the NCAA Tournament, meaning that Eric Dixon and Brandon Slater are really the only marquee players that is guaranteed to return next year, although Caleb Daniels does have an extra year of eligibility if he wants to use it. Soon-to-be sophomore Jordan Longino stepped up late and the hope is that he can improve, and forward Cam Whitmore could be a Day 1 difference-maker (if such a thing exists at Villanova).


Point being, the pieces are there, but it's just impossible to know what to expect from this program next year. Villanova will be one of the more fascinating stories in college hoops in 2022-2023.


19. Michigan State Spartans


Key Returnees: Tyson Walker, AJ Hoggard, Jaden Akins, Max Christie, Joey Hauser, Malik Hall

Key Departures: Gabe Brown, Marcus Bingham Jr., Julius Marble (transfer)

Key Additions: Jaxon Kohler, Tre Holloman


In some ways, I like this Spartans team a lot. In some ways, I don't.


First the good, as, in a very un-Tom Izzo like fasion, well, I love these guards and wings.


Tyson Walker and AJ Hoggard quietly got better as the season went on and both return. Max Christie has the potential to be a breakout star should he return. He's currently testing the NBA Draft waters.


The concern however is in the frontcourt. Marcus Bingham has decided not to use his extra year and Julius Marble elected to transfer. It leaves just not all that much up front, outside of fifth-year senior Joey Hauser.


The fate of this team really does depend quite a bit on if Max Christie returns.


20. Xavier Musketeers


Key Returnees: Jack Nunge, Colby Jones, Zach Freemantle, Adam Kunkel, Jerome Hunter

Key Departures: Paul Scruggs, Nate Johnson, Dwon Odom (transfer)

Key Additions: Souley Boum (transfer), Kam Craft, Desmond Claude


Xavier really was a wild team last season. At one point they were so good they moved into the Top 25, only to completely melt down late, causing the firing of Travis Steele. Then they got to the NIT, and won it all under interim head coach Jonas Hayes.


Well now, the core of that team returns to play for Sean Miller. That includes one of the few consistents from last season in Jack Nunge, wing Colby Jones and three-point shooter Adam Kunkel.


Miller still probably has a piece or two to add in the portal. But depending on what he does, this could be a Top 15 team to start the season.


21. Texas A&M Aggies


Key Returnees: Henry Coleman, Tyrece Radford, Wade Taylor IV, Andre Gordon, Manny Obaseki, Hayden Hefner, Ethan Henderson

Key Departures: Quenton Jackson, Hasaan Diarra (transfer), Aaron Cash (transfer), Marcus Williams (transfer)

Key Additions: Solomon Washington


Some will say this is a preposterously high ranking for the NIT runner's up, to which I say: Well, show me the teams I should definitively put ahead of them?


Keep in mind that the Aggies weren't just good in the NIT but awesome late in the season, where they won at Alabama and beat Auburn and Arkansas in the SEC Tournament before losing to Tennessee in the title game.


Well, basically every key piece from that team minus Quenton Jackson is back, including guys like Henry Coleman and Tyrese Radford, who turned into stars for this team late.


Frankly, this ranking might actually be too low, and if you're selling Aggie stock I'll buy it all.


The Buzz Williams era has officially arrived in College Station.


22. Virginia Cavaliers


Key Returnees: Kihei Clark, Reece Beekman, Armaan Franklin, Jayden Garden, Kadin Shedrick, Francisco Caffaro

Key Departures: Kody Stattman

Key Additions: Isaac Traudt, Isaac McKneely, Leon Bond, Ryan Dunn, Ben Vander Plas (transfer)


Virginia returns its entire starting five and top six scorers from last year's NIT team, meaning there's two distinct ways to look at them. You can either argue that, well, if they made the NIT, how good can they be? Or, you can look at them like Texas A&M and Xavier above, and wonder how much better they can get, with the core from last year intact.


We'll choose to do the latter, especially with a coach who has the track record of Tony Bennett, a guy who has won five ACC regular season titles in the last decade. Plus, while 2022 was clearly a disappointing season, Virginia did beat Duke at Cameron Indoor, eventual ACC Tournament champ Virginia Tech, as well as Providence, which made the Sweet 16.


The bottom line is, with this core, there might be a ceiling to just how far they can go in the tournament. But this team can win a ton of regular season games in 2022-2023.


23. Colorado State Rams


Key Returnees: David Roddy, Isaiah Stevens, Kendel Moore, Jon Tonje, James Moors, Isaiah Rivera

Key Departures: Dischon Thomas (transfer), Adam Thislewood (transfer), Chandler Jacobs

Key Additions: N/A


Leading scorer and Mountain West Player of the Year David Roddy is testing the NBA Draft waters. But assuming he comes back, the core of a group that went 25-6 this season should return intact.


In total, the Rams top four scorers are projected to return, with senior point guard Kendel Moore already announcing his return, and sharpshooter Isaiah Stevens (37 percent shooting on a team-high 114 three-point attempts) should be back too.


Depth will have to come via the transfer portal, with several back-ups electing to leave this off-season.


24. Indiana Hoosiers


Key Returnees: Xavier Johnson, Race Thompson, Jordan Geronimo, Trey Galloway, Tamar Bates, Anthony Leal

Key Departures: Trayce Jackson-Davis, Rob Phinisee (transfer), Khristian Lander (transfer), Parker Stewart (transfer)

Key Additions: Jalen Hood-Schifino, Malik Reneau, CJ Gunn


The Hoosiers were on the fringes of the Top 25 conversation at the end of the season, but a few developments have now moved them to the fringes of the Top 20.


First off, veteran forward Race Thompson announced he would return for another season, this after averaging 11 points and 7.5 rebounds this season. He adds toughness and experience to a frontcourt that also added five-star forward Malik Reneau this week. Reneau and Thompson now join a core that returns point guard Xavier Johnson who was excellent down the stretch, alongside rotation players Jordan Geronimo, Trey Galloway and Tamar Bates. Oh by the way, did I mention that all this is in addition to Jalen Hood-Schifino, a McDonald's All-American who should add scoring pop to the backcourt?


The Hoosiers have rightfully found their way into the Top 25, and there is increasing buzz that forward Trayce Jackson-Davis will return for a senior year. If that happens, the Hoosiers aren't just good - they might be the Big Ten favorite.


Mike F***ing Woodson, baby!


25. Texas Tech Red Raiders


Key Returnees: Kevin Obanor, Davion Warren, Clarence Nadolny, Mylik Wilson, Daniel Batcho, KJ Allen

Key Departures: Bryson Williams, Adonis Arms, Marcus Santos-Silva, Kevin McCullar (transfer), TJ Shannon (transfer), Chibuzo Agbo (transfer)

Key Additions: De'Vion Harmon (transfer), Fardaws Aimaq (transfer), D'Maurian Williams (transfer)Richard Isaacs, Lamar Washington, Robert Jennings,


Year one of the Mark Adams era was a rip-roaring success, and even with significant roster turnover, I don't expect the Red Raiders to miss a beat.


Program stalwarts Kevin McCullar and TJ Shannon both elected to leave the school and Bryson Williams graduates, but head coach Mark Adams has added De'Vion Harmon (Oregon) and Fardaws Aimaq (Utah Valley) through the portal.


This team will look different. But if Mark Adams is coaching, the Red Raiders will be locked in on defense. And won't miss a beat in the Big 12.


Next five:


26. Marquette Golden Eagles

27. Wyoming Cowboys

28. Texas Longhorns

29. Florida State Seminoles

30. San Diego State Aztecs


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