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H&R: WAYYY Too Early Top 25 - 1.0

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Just a Hammer and Rails version of the way too early top 25 for next year.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Midwest Regional-Purdue vs Kansas Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

We are tired of everyone not giving us respect. Not in a way too early top 25 here, there, everywhere. The only one I found that we were preseason ranked was CBS . Where they have us ranked 24th.

Why the disrespect? Even if we lose Biggie, we will more than likely start four seniors and an explosive sophomore, with a pretty good freshman class coming in. It is insane to me. But, I will do 1-25. Enjoy.

1. Kentucky Wildcats

Key players definitely gone: De’Aaron Fox, Derek Willis, Mychal Mulder, Dominique Hawkins

Key players expected to leave: Malik Monk, Bam Adebayo

Key players expected to return: Isaiah Briscoe, Wenyen Gabriel, Isaac Humphries, Sacha Kileya-Jones, Tai Wynyard

Key newcomers: Hamidou Diallo, P.J. Washington, Nick Richards, Quade Green, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Jarred Vanderbilt

Why?: They return some really talented players, especially with Isaiah Briscoe. But, they bode the number one recruiting class for 2017, once again. They are bringing in five 5* players and one 4* player. They will be deep again, it will take a bit for them to gel as always, but they always seem to be in the Sweet 16 year in and year out. Diallo has been there since January and is already getting stronger, he will be great.

2. North Carolina Tar Heels

Key players definitely gone: Kennedy Meeks, Isaiah Hicks, Nate Britt

Key players expected to leave: Justin Jackson

Key players also expected to return: Joel Berry, Tony Bradley, Kenny Williams, Theo Pinson, Luke Maye, Seventh Woods, Brandon Robinson

Key newcomers: Jalek Felton, Brandon Huffman, Andrew Platek, Sterling Manley

Why?: UNC, other than the classroom scandal, does it right on the basketball court. You do not see Roy Williams have a bunch of one and dones, that is why they have great continuity, where their players seem to gel really well. Justin Jackson is projected mid first round, but he could be back. Returning Joel Berry, Luke Maye and Theo Pinson brings a great core back to UNC. Their recruiting class, according to 247 sports, is 29th, with one 4* and three 3* players. That is fine with Williams, as they will buy in. I can’t rank a team that has been to back to back National Championships with winning one lower than this.

3. Kansas Jayhawks

Key players definitely gone: Frank Mason, Landen Lucas

Key players expected to leave: Josh Jackson

Key players expected to return: Devonte’ Graham, Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk, Lagerald Vick, Carlton Bragg, Udoka Azubuike, Dwight Coleby

Key newcomers: Malik Newman, Sam Cunliffe, Billy Preston, Marcus Garrett

Why?: Bill Self always has his team ready to go. He dominates the Big 12. Losing Frank Mason and Josh Jackson will be huge holes to fill, but they can. Malik Newman, a transfer from Mississippi State, sat out last year and can fill the scoring hole that Mason will leave. He is bigger, more of a wing and can defend like Jackson. He was dominate his freshman year at State. Graham returning will probably slide him over to the point guard spot.

4. Arizona Wildcats

Key players definitely gone: Lauri Markkanen, Kadeem Allen

Key players expected to leave: Kobi Simmons

Key players expected to return: Allonzo Trier, Rawle Alkins, Dusan Ristic, Chance Comanche, Parker Jackson-Cartwright, Keanu Pinder

Key newcomers: DeAndre Ayton, Brandon Randolph, Ira Lee, Alex Barcello, Dylan Smith

Why?: They lose a lot of front court length, but they return a solid core. According to 247, they have the 2nd best recruiting class with one 5*& two 4*. Zona is a team that is always there, but just seems like they can’t get over that hump. Ayton is a 7’ forward, that will replace the front court length they will lose. He is a rim protector.

5. Louisville Cardinals

Key players definitely gone: Mangok Mathiang, Tony Hicks, David Levitch

Key players expected to leave: Donovan Mitchell

Key players expected to return: Quentin Snider, Deng Adel, Jaylen Johnson, Ray Spalding, Anas Mahmoud, V.J. King

Key newcomers: Malik Williams, Darius Perry, Jordan Nwora, Lance Thomas

Why?: Louisville has become a staple in the top 10 in recent years. They are bringing in Malik Williams from our state, that can score, protect the rim and post up. He is a typical Louisville big man. If Mitchell comes back, they can push for number 1 in preseason.

6. Duke Blue Devils

Key players definitely gone: Jayson Tatum, Harry Giles, Amile Jefferson, Matt Jones, Chase Jeter

Key players expected to leave: Luke Kennard

Key players expected to return: Grayson Allen, Frank Jackson, Marques Bolden, Jack White, Antonio Vrankovic

Key newcomers: Wendell Carter, Gary Trent Jr, Alex O’Connell

Why?: This will be Grayson Allen’s team, unless he trips over the opportunity (get it?). He will score a bunch, as long as he stays healthy. Chase Jeter didn’t work out there and will transfer for a better chance. Giles & Tatum will be first round picks. Wendell will fill the forward spot and Trent Jr, can play next to Allen. With Coach K at the helm, they will always be jealous.

7. Florida Gators

Key players definitely gone: Canyon Barry, Kasey Hill, Justin Leon

Key players expected to leave: None

Key players expected to return: KeVaughn Allen, Devin Robinson, John Egbunu, Chris Chiozza, Kevarrius Hayes, Keith Stone

Key newcomers: Jalen Hudson, DeAundrae Ballard, Isaiah Stokes, Chase Johnson, Mike Okauru

Why?: They return a solid core with Allen, Robinson and Egbunu, with noone leaving early for the draft. They also bring in a freshman class that has two four* and two 3*. Florida is as consistent as any team in the nation. They had a nice run this year in the tournament and I would expect them to get there again this upcoming year.

8. Gonzaga Bulldogs

Key players definitely gone: Przemek Karnowski, Jordan Matthews

Key players expected to leave: Zach Collins

Key players expected to return: Nigel Williams-Goss, Johnathan Williams, Josh Perkins, Silas Nelson, Killian Tillie

Notable newcomers: Corey Kispert

Why?: Williams-Goss, Williams and Perkins is enough to rank them in the top 10 . Losing Karnowski is a huge loss, and if they lose Collins their front court would lack depth next season. Kispert coming in as a 6’6” wing brings nice versatility to the team. They will be solid again next year, but expect more than 2 losses.

9. Baylor Bears

Key players definitely gone: Ishmael Wainwright, Al Freeman

Key players expected to leave: None

Key players expected to return: Johnathan Motley, Manu Leconte, Jo Lual-Acuil, Terry Maston, King McClure, Jake Lindsey, Nuni Omot, Wendell Mitchell

Key newcomers: Tristan Clark

Why?: Motley returning dictates this really. Coach Drew returns the main players from a 27 win team. Tristan Clark brings some more size to the front court to play with Motley.

10. Wichita State Shockers

Notable players definitely gone: None

Notable players expected to leave: None

Notable players expected to return: Markis McDuffie, Landry Shamet, Darral Willis, Shaquille Morris, Conner Frankamp, Zach Brown, Rashard Kelly, Rauno Nurger, Daishon Smith, Austin Reaves

Notable newcomers: Asbjorn Midtgaard, Samajae Jones

Why?: Wichita literally returns everyone. They were ranked in the top 10 in KenPom at the end of the year and lose no one. I have a hard time rankings a MVC team this high. They will win a ton of games with their team back. Rumor is they might move to the American Conference, even there they could win that league, but it would be a tougher road.

11. Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Key players definitely gone: V.J. Beachem, Steve Vasturia, Matt Ryan

Key players expected to leave: None

Key players expected to return: Bonzie Colson, Matt Farrell, Rex Pflueger, Austin Torres, Temple Gibbs, Martinas Geben

Key newcomers: D.J. Harvey

Why?: Losing Vasturia and Beachem will hurt. But, they return undersized Center/Forward Bonzie Colson and do it all Matt Farrell. Coach Brey has them in the top 25 every year, Farrell and Colson could push them to another sweet 16. DJ Harvey is a versatile wing coming in.

12. Michigan State Spartans

Key players definitely gone: Eron Harris, Alvin Ellis

Key players expected to leave: Miles Bridges

Key players expected to return: Nick Ward, Joshua Langford, Cassius Winston, Matt McQuaid, Tum Tum Nairn, Kenny Goins, Gavin Schilling, Ben Carter

Key newcomers: Jaren Jackson, Xavier Tillman

Why?: I think Miles Bridges is gone no matter what. He will be a lottery pick. Izzo doesn’t have to rely on freshman this year, after a bumpy middle of the season, but of course finishing strong. Nick Ward, Winston, Tum Tum and Goins will be good. Jaren Jackson will make an instant impact and Tillman is really really good. They will be a problem next year. Probably the early favorite to win the B1G.

13. Villanova Wildcats

Key players definitely gone: Josh Hart, Kris Jenkins, Darryl Reynolds

Key players expected to leave: None

Key players expected to return: Jalen Brunson, Mikal Bridges, Donte DiVincenzo, Eric Paschall, Phil Booth

Key newcomers: Omari Spellman, Jermain Samuels, Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree

Why?: At this point they are always in the top 25. Brunson is one of the nations best point guard and Bridges is really good. Spellman and Booth didn’t play last year and will make an impact this coming season. Samuels is a nice wing piece for them coming in for the 2017 class. Probably not as good as the past few years, but still really good.

14. USC Trojans

Key players definitely gone: Charles Buggs

Key players expected to leave: None

Key players expected to return: Bennie Boatwright, Chimezie Metu, Jordan McLaughlin, Elijah Stewart, De’Anthony Melton, Shaqquan Aaron, Jonah Mathews, Nick Rakocevic

Key newcomers: Derrick Thornton, Charles O’Bannon Jr., Jordan Usher, Victor Uyaelunmo

Why?: They have a great chance of winning the Pac-12 this upcoming season. USC shoudl return everyone besides Buggs. They bring in some nice wing pieces as freshman that can help right away and Uyaelunmo is a 7’ rim protector.

15. UCLA Bruins

Key players definitely gone: Lonzo Ball, TJ Leaf, Bryce Alford, Isaac Hamilton

Key players also expected to leave: None

Key players expected to return: Aaron Holiday, Thomas Welsh, Ike Anigbogu, Gyorgy Goloman

Key newcomers: Kris Wilkes, Jaylen Hands, Cody Riley, Jalen Hill, Chris Smith, LiAngelo Ball

Why?: They lose a lot. Ball, Leaf and Alford leave huge holes. But, they have 3 top 40 recruits coming in. One coming from Indiana, in Kris Wilkes, who I wish we snagged. Wilkes, Hands and Riley will be a great freshman trio, they will help push them all season. Bringing back Holiday is a good start to their core. They will be young, but talented as hell.

16. West Virginia Moutaineers

Key players definitely gone: Nathan Adrian, Tarik Phillip, Teyvon Myers, Brandon Watkins

Key players also expected to leave: None

Key players expected to return: Jevon Carter, Esa Ahmad, Daxter Miles, Elijah Macon, Lamont West, Sagaba Konate

Key newcomers: Derek Culver, Brandon Knapper, D’Angelo Hunter, Teddy Allen, Wesley Harris

Why?: Not going to go in to too much depth here. Bob Huggins brings in athletes for his press defense, it causes turnovers, which leads to wins. Simple as that. It works well and will continue to.

17. Purdue Boilermakers

Key players definitely gone: Spike Albrecht

Key players also expected to leave: Caleb Swanigan

Key players expected to return: Isaac Haas, Carsen Edwards, Vince Edwards, Dakota Mathias, P.J. Thompson, Ryan Cline, Carsen Edwards

Key newcomers: Nojel Eastern, Sasha Stefanovic, Aaron Wheeler, Eden Ewing, Matt Haarms

Why?: We are all assuming that we are going to lose Caleb Swanigan to the draft. If he does return for some reason, we will be a top 5 preseason team. Returning four Seniors as starters is what wins games in the season and the tournament. Then throw in another shooter with Cline and the speedy Carsen, we can make teams be in trouble. I don’t think all of the freshman class will play next year, but Eastern, Ewing, Wheeler will get some minutes, Haarms might out of front court necessity if Taylor is still hurt and Sasha is a great shooter, but should get a redshirt year. “Experts” not having us in the top 25 is crazy, Caleb will be a huge loss, but the starting lineup up PJ, Carsen, Dakota, Vince, Haas makes me excited. Then bring, Cline, Taylor/Haarms, Wheeler, Ewing, and Eastern. Oh boy. Eastern is a 6’6” point guard, by the way.

18. Butler Bulldogs

Key players definitely gone: Andrew Chrabascz, Avery Woodson, Kethan Savage, Tyler Lewis

Key players expected to leave: None

Key players expected to return: Kelan Martin, Kamar Baldwin, Tyler Wideman, Nate Fowler, Sean McDermott

Key newcomers: Paul Jorgensen, Kyle Young, Christian David, Cooper Neese, Jerald Butler

Why?: Butler is a main stay in the top 25 at this point. Martin and Baldwin will push them to the tournament again, they also have a solid incoming class.

19. Northwestern Wildcats

Key players definitely gone: Sanjay Lumpkin, Nathan Taphorn

Key players expected to leave: None

Key players expected to return: Bryant McIntosh, Scottie Lindsey, Vic Law, Dererk Pardon, Isiah Brown, Gavin Skelly

Key newcomers: Anthony Gaines

Why?: Their top 5 scorers return. There I am done. They made the tournament for the first time every this ast season and will probably do it again this coming season. McIntosh is one of the best points in college and is perfect for their system, he does it all.

20. Minnesota Golden Gophers

Key players definitely gone: Akeem Springs

Key players expected to leave: None

Key players expected to return: Nate Mason, Amir Coffey, Jordan Murphy, Dupree McBrayer, Reggie Lynch, Eric Curry, Bakary Donate, Davonte Fitzgerald

Key newcomers: Isaiah Washington, Jamir Harris

Why?: I am skeptical to put them here, but they return some good ball players. Reggie Lynch, who is prone to fouling out every so often (1/3 of their games basically) was DPOY in the B1G. Nate Mason is solid, as we saw first hand when he dropped 30 on us this past season. Little Pitino can coach a little bit, they will probably float in and out of the top 25.

21. Xavier Musketeers

Key players definitely gone: Edmond Sumner, Rashid Gaston, Malcolm Bernard

Key players also expected to leave: None

Key players expected to return: Trevon Bluiett, J.P. Macura, Sean Omara, Kaiser Gates, Quintin Goodin, Tyrique Jones

Key newcomers: Paul Scruggs, Naji Marshall, Elias Harden, Jared Ridder, Kentrevious Jones, Brady Ernst

Why?: They were the darlings of the NCAA tournament this year, making it to the elite 8 as an 11 seed. Trevon Bluiett is really good and can push them to the tournament. Paul Scruggs, a point guard out of Southport High School is going there, he is really talented.

22. Cincinnati Bearcats

Key players definitely gone: Troy Caupain, Kevin Johnson

Key players expected to leave: None

Key players expected to return: Jacob Evans, Kyle Washington, Gary Clark, Jarron Cumberland, Trey Scott, Justin Jenifer, Nysier Brooks, Quadri Moore

Key newcomers: Cane Broome, Keith Williams, Trevor Moore, Eliel Nsoseme

Why?: They have been to 7 straight NCAA tournaments. They will make it an 8th, will probably win the AAC too. EVans, Washington, Clark and Cumberland will get them there.

23. Miami Hurricane

Key players definitely gone: Davon Reed, Kamari Murphy

Key players expected to leave: None

Key players expected to return: Ja’Quan Newton, Bruce Brown, Anthony Lawrence Jr., Dejan Vasiljevic, Dewan Huell, Ezbuka Izundu, Rodney Miller

Key newcomers: Lonnie Walker, Chris Lykes, Deng Gak, Sam Waardenburg

Why?: The Hurricanes should probably be higher than this. They return 6 of their top 8 scorers and have a top 10 recruiting class coming in. Lonnie Walker should come in and start right away. A 6’5” shooting guard that can score in volume.

24. Oregon Ducks

Key players definitely gone: Chris Boucher, Dylan Ennis

Key players also expected to leave: Dillon Brooks, Tyler Dorsey

Key players expected to return: Jordan Bell, Payton Pritchard, Casey Benson, Kavell Bigby-Wlliams, Roman Sorkin, Keith Smith

Key newcomers: Troy Brown, Victor Bailey, Abu Kigab, Paul White

Why?: I really doubt that Brooks or Dorsey come back, but if they do, they are a top 5 team preseason. Bell, Pritchard and Benson are pretty good players. They should make the NCAA tournament once again. Troy Brown will come in and fill Brooks spot really well, as he is a 5* freshman.

25. Alabama Crimson Tide

Key players definitely gone: Corban Collins, Nick King, Brandon Austin, Jimmy Taylor, Shannon Hale, Bola Olaniyan

Key players also expected to leave: None

Key players expected to return: Braxton Key, Dazon Ingram, Riley Norris, Avery Johnson Jr., Ar’Mond Davis, Donta Hall

Key newcomers: Collin Sexton, John Petty, Alex Reese, Herb Jones, Galin Smith, Daniel Giddens

Why?: Sure, Avery Johnson loses a lot. But he replaces it with a lot. Collin Sexton, a point guard, can jump out of a gym. According to 247, they have the 5th best recruiting class coming in. Something I never expected from Alabama in basketball. If they can get it all to gel together, they will be one of the best teams in the SEC.

Next 5:

26. South Carolina Gamecocks

27. Maryland Terrapins

28. Michigan Wolverines

29. Vanderbilt Commodores

30. BYU Cougars