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The Red Wig
Nov 2, 2008
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Updated preseason top 25 for 2009-10

Now that the NBA Draft deadline is history, we can take a legitimate stab at the 2009-10 preseason top 25.

Preseason top 25


Record: 27-8 (Sweet 16)
Losses: None
Key Returnees: Tyshawn Taylor, Brady Morningstar, Marcus and Markieff Morris, Mario Little
Newcomers: Xavier Henry, Thomas Robinson, Elijah Johnson, Jeff Withey (second semester)

For a while there, it appeared as though Kansas was heads and shoulders above everyone else. Now the Jayhawks have some company near the top with Kentucky. Kansas returns Sherron Collins and Cole Aldrich in addition to arguably the most talented young wing player in America in freshman Xavier Henry. Bill Self returns everyone of note from last season's Sweet 16 team ? and adds Henry, Robinson, an athletic forward, another guard in Johnson, and Withey ? a skilled 7-footer who transferred from Arizona before ever playing a game. This is a deep, talented group that blends experience and also quality young players.


Record: 22-14 (NIT)
Losses: Jodie Meeks, Michael Porter, A.J. Stewart, Kevin Galloway
Key Returnees: Patrick Patterson, Darius Miller, DeAndre Liggins, Ramon Harris, Perry Stevenson, Josh Harrellson
Newcomers: John Wall, Eric Bledsoe, DeMarcus Cousins, Daniel Orton, Jon Hood

Despite the fact that Jodie Meeks decided to leave early for the NBA, the Widcats will still be loaded. Patrick Patterson opted to return to school, the nation's top freshman, point guard John Wall, committed to UK and the Wildcats also added a bunch of talented new faces with Cousins and Orton up front and Bledsoe and Hood in the backcourt. This team is deep enough that Orton, a fringe McDonald's All-American, may not see the floor for any meaningful minutes.


Record: 31-7 (national runner-up)
Losses: Goran Suton, Travis Walton, Marquise Gray
Key Returnees: Kalin Lucas, Raymar Morgan, Delvon Roe, Durrell Summers, Chris Allen, Draymond Green, Korie Lucious
Newcomers: Derrick Nix, Garrick Sherman

Tom Izzo will miss his skilled big man, Suton, and the leadership and defense of Walton. However, the Spartans can get back to the Final Four because everyone else returns. Lucas has quickly become one of the nation's elite point guards, Summers has emerged and Roe will continue to get closer to 100 percent after a major knee injury his senior season in high school. Morgan, when playing well, is among the most talented forwards in the Big Ten. Michigan State may have to go small with Roe in the middle unless one of its freshman bigs ? Nix or Sherman ? progresses quicker than expected.


Record: 23-12 (first round of the NCAA tournament)
Losses: A.J. Abrams, Connor Atchley
Key Returnees: Damion James, Dexter Pittman, Gary Johnson, Justin Mason, Dogus Balbay, Varez Ward
Newcomers: Jai Lucas (transfer from Florida), Jordan Hamilton, Avery Bradley, Shawn Williams, J'Covan Brown (potentially)

With James sticking around for another year, the return of Pittman and Johnson down low, Mason and Ward back on the wings and a group of talented newcomers, there's not much that Rick Barnes' team lacks this season. Bradley is a big-time freshman, and Hamilton has the potential to make a significant impact as well. Balbay isn't a shooter, but he may not need to be this season with all the pieces around him. If Balbay doesn't get it done, Lucas can run the point when he becomes eligible in the second semester.


Record: 34-4 (won national title)
Losses: Tyler Hansbrough, Ty Lawson, Wayne Ellington, Danny Green, Bobby Frasor
Key Returnees: Marcus Ginyard, Ed Davis, Deon Thompson, Tyler Zeller, Larry Drew II, William Graves
Newcomers: John Henson, Dexter Strickland, Leslie McDonald, David and Travis Wear

North Carolina will lose one of the greatest players ever to wear a Tar Heels uniform in Hansbrough. Lawson and Ellington are headed to the NBA after their junior seasons while fellow seniors Green and Frasor are also gone. However, Roy Williams will have Marcus Ginyard back after a medical redshirt season, Ed Davis will take on a prominent role and size won't be an issue with starting forward Deon Thompson, reserve big man Tyler Zeller and talented freshman John Henson coming into the program. The key will be point-guard play, where Larry Drew II will likely get the first crack at taking over for Lawson.


Record: 30-8 (Final Four)
Losses: Dante Cunningham, Dwayne Anderson, Shane Clark
Key Returnees: Scottie Reynolds, Corey Fisher, Reggie Redding, Corey Stokes, Antonio Pena
Newcomers: Taylor King (transferred from Duke), Dominic Cheek, Mouphtauo Yarou, Maalik Wayans, Isaiah Armwood

There's no doubt that the loss of the senior class will be felt on the Main Line. Cunningham, Anderson and Clark were team guys who won games. However, there's still plenty of talent back with a loaded backcourt that includes Reynolds and the Coreys ? Fisher and Stokes. Redding has turned into a heck of a player, former Duke forward Taylor King is eligible, and Jay Wright adds a big-time freshman class with a trio of elite guys ? guards Wayans and Cheek in addition to ultra-talented big man Yarou.


Record: 26-9 (second round of the NCAA tournament)
Losses: Jon Brockman, Justin Dentmon
Key Returnees: Isaiah Thomas, Quincy Pondexter, Venoy Overton, Matthew Bryan-Amaning, Elston Turner, Darnell Gant
Newcomers: Abdul Gaddy, Clarence Trent, Charles Garcia, C.J. Wilcox

Brockman was a special player and Dentmon had a strong finish to his career, but incoming freshman Gaddy will waste no time showing he's one of the top pure point guards in the nation and an upgrade over Dentmon. Thomas and Gaddy will be fun to watch in the backcourt, and Lorenzo Romar has some other pieces. However, he'll need someone to step up on the frontline ? whether it's Gant or Bryan-Amaning ? and soften the blow of Brockman's loss.


Record: 27-10 (Sweet 16)
Losses: Nemanja Calasan, Marcus Green
Key Returnees: Robbie Hummel, E'Twaun Moore, JaJuan Johnson, Chris Kramer, Keaton Grant, Lewis Jackson
Newcomers: Jeff Robinson, D.J. Byrd

For the second straight year, the core of the team remains intact. In fact, all five starters have played together for the past two seasons. The lone significant loss is that of Calasan. Hummel's back shouldn't be a concern next season as it was this past year, Johnson has taken a major step forward and Jackson has a year under his belt. Matt Painter's Boilermakers are now experienced, balanced and have all the pieces.


Record: 21-13 (first round of the NCAA tournament)
Losses: None
Key Returnees: Tyler Smith, Wayne Chism, Scotty Hopson, Bobby Maze, J.P. Prince, Brian Williams, Cameron Tatum, Josh Tabb, Renardo Woolridge, Emmanuel Negedu
Newcomers: Kenny Hall

The Vols don't really lose anything off last season's team after Tyler Smith decided to withdraw from the draft and return for his senior campaign. Chism and Williams give UT size, and the Vols have wings with guys like Prince, Hopson and Tatum. The key comes at the point-guard spot, where Maze didn't live up to expectations last season and needs to become more assertive.


Record: 31-5 (Final Four)
Losses: Hasheem Thabeet, Jeff Adrien, A.J. Price, Craig Austrie
Key Returnees: Jerome Dyson, Kemba Walker, Stanley Robinson, Gavin Edwards
Newcomers: Alex Oriakhi, Jamal Coombs-McDaniel, Ater Majok, Darius Smith, Jamaal Trice

The Huskies will take a significant hit with the loss of Thabeet to the NBA and also the graduation of seniors Price and Adrien. However, UConn still has a strong backcourt with Walker and Dyson, Robinson up front and the addition of talented freshmen Oriakhi and Coombs-McDaniel. The wild card may be Majok, who wasn't eligible last season and tested the NBA waters before deciding to return to Storrs.

11. DUKE

Record: 30-7 (Sweet 16)
Losses: Gerald Henderson, Greg Paulus, David McClure
Key Returnees: Kyle Singler, Jon Scheyer, Lance Thomas, Nolan Smith, Elliott Williams, Brian Zoubek, Miles Plumlee
Newcomers: Ryan Kelley, Mason Plumlee

With Henderson leaving early to the NBA, the Blue Devils will take a significant hit and will be heavily dependent on two players: Singler and Scheyer. Duke missed out on John Wall and will face the same question it did a year ago with questionable point-guard play and also the lack of a low-post scorer. However, the Blue Devils will add a couple of talented freshmen forwards in Kelley and Plumlee.


Record: 26-6 (first round of the NCAA tournament)
Losses: None
Key Returnees: Matt Howard, Gordon Hayward, Shelvin Mack, Ronald Nored, Willie Veasley, Zach Hahn, Avery Jukes, Shawn Vanzant
Newcomers: Andrew Smith

Brad Stevens will return all five starters from a team that won 26 games and lost to LSU in the first round of the Big Dance. Howard, a sophomore, and three talented and productive freshmen ? 6-foot-8 skilled forward Gordon Hayward and guards Shelvin Mack and Ronald Nored ? will also be back for a team that will be heavily favored to win the Horizon League.


Record: 23-12 (first round of the NCAA tournament)
Losses: Alex Ruoff
Key Returnees: Da'Sean Butler, Devin Ebanks, Darryl Bryant, Joe Mazzulla, Kevin Jones, Wellington Smith
Newcomers: Deniz Kilicli, Dan Jennings, Casey Mitchell, Dalton Pepper

The loss of Ruoff will hurt Bob Huggins, but the Mountaineers will likely get Mazzulla back from an early-season injury that cut his year short. Butler and Ebanks give West Virginia a pair of accomplished scorers, and the Mountaineers also will add some much-needed size with Kilicli, an extremely talented big man, and Jennings.


Record: 22-11 (first round of the NCAA tournament)
Losses: None
Key Returnees: Lawrence Westbrook, Damian Johnson, Al Nolen, Blake Hoffarber, Ralph Sampson, Colton Iverson, Devoe Joseph, Paul Carter
Newcomers: Rodney Williams, Royce White, Trevor Mbakwe, Justin Cobbs

Tubby Smith's team didn't exactly have a ton of talent last year, and he still led them to the Big Dance. Now he'll add a talented class, which includes arguably the three most talented on the team in White, Williams and Mbakwe.


Record: 22-11 (first round of the NCAA tournament)
Losses: Jordan Wilkes
Key Returnees: Jerome Randle, Patrick Christopher, Theo Robertson, Jamal Boykin, Jorge Gutierrez, Harper Kamp
Newcomers: Bak Bak, Markuri Sanders-Frison, Brandon Smith

Mike Montgomery brings back his core of Randle, Christopher and Boykin. That's as good a perimeter trio as there is just about anywhere. These guys have a year of postseason experience under their belt and also a year under Montgomery's system.


Record: 24-10 (first round of the NCAA tournament)
Losses: Trent Meacham, Chester Frazier, Calvin Brock
Key Returnees: Demetri McCamey, Mike Davis, Mike Tisdale, Dominique Keller, Alex Legion
Newcomers: D.J. Richardson, Tyler Griffey, Brandon Paul, Joseph Bertrand

No one expected the Illini to accomplish as much as they did this past season. Bruce Weber will lose underrated guards Frazier and Meacham, but he'll bring in a ballyhooed recruiting class headlined by Richardson, Griffey and Paul. McCamey is a quality guard, and Davis and Tisdale have both developed more quickly than anyone anticipated.


Record: 22-11 (first round of the NCAA tournament)
Losses: B.J. Mullens
Key Returnees: Evan Turner, William Buford, David Lighty, Jon Diebler, Dallas Lauderdale, Jeremie Simmons, P.J. Hill
Newcomers: None

The only loss is that of the 7-foot Mullens, who has unlimited potential but didn't exactly set the world on fire in his one season in Columbus. Turner and Buford are a formidable 1-2 punch, but the key is the return of Lighty, who missed most of last season with an injury. Actually, the key to how far the Buckeyes can go is their point-guard situation with Simmons and Hill.


Record: 21-4 (second round of the NCAA tournament)
Losses: C.J. Lee, Kelvin Grady, David Merritt
Key Returnees: Manny Harris, DeShawn Sims, Stu Douglass, Laval Lucas-Perry, Zack Novak, Zack Gibson
Newcomers: Darius Morris. Matt Vogrich, Jordan Morgan, Blake McLimans

The Wolverines went to the second round of the Big Dance and didn't really lose anything of note. Harris, Sims and Douglas are back, Lucas-Perry will improve and John Beilein will add point guard Darius Morris and big-time shooter Matt Vogrich.


Record: 12-19
Losses: Lewis Clinch, Alade Aminu
Key Returnees: Gani Lawal, Iman Shumpert, Zach Pea****, DeAndre Bell, Maurice Miller
Newcomers: Derrick Favors, Mfon Udofia, Brian Oliver, Daniel Miller, Kammeon Holsey, Glen Rice

Gani Lawal decided to come back after testing the NBA waters and that'll give Paul Hewitt & Co. a formidable trio of Lawal, guard Iman Shumpert and incoming freshman Derrick Favors, who is arguably the No. 1 player in the freshman class. The Yellow Jackets also have starting forward Zach Pea**** back, and starting guard DeAndre Bell looks like he'll return after missing all of last season with a spinal injury.


Record: 23-9 (first round of the NCAA tournament)
Losses: K.C. Rivers, Terrence Oglesby, Raymond Sykes
Key Returnees: Trevor Booker, Demontez Stitt, David Potter, Jerai Grant, Andre Young, Tanner Smith
Newcomers: Milton Jennings, Devin Booker, Donte Hill

The loss of Rivers hurts in a number of ways, but coupled with the surprising decision of Oglesby to go to Europe after his sophomore season, the Tigers suffered a major blow to their perimeter shooting. Also in question is who picks up the leadership. Booker is one of the most underrated big men in the country, and his younger brother, incoming freshman Devin Booker, may be even better. Jennings is the most high-profile recruit the program has picked up in years.


Record: 27-8 (Sweet 16)
Losses: Derrick Brown, B.J. Raymond, C.J. Anderson
Key Returnees: Jason Love, Terrell Holloway, Dante Jackson, Jamel McLean, Kenny Frease
Newcomers: Jordan Crawford (transfer from Indiana), Mark Lyons

The Musketeers lost a lot ? their coach and three starters (and top three scorers) in Brown, Raymond and Anderson. However, new head man Chris Mack still has plenty of talent back. Love gives Xavier experience on the frontline, and the Musketeers will add two guards in Crawford and Lyons who will see extensive playing time.


Record: 30-6 (Elite Eight)
Losses: Blake Griffin, Taylor Griffin, Austin Johnson, Juan Pattillo, Omar Leary
Key Returnees: Willie Warren, Tony Crocker, Cade Davis, Ryan Wright
Newcomers: Tommy Mason-Griffin, Keith "Tiny" Gallon, Andrew Fitzgerald, Steven Pledger, Kyle Hardrick

Sure, the Sooners lost the best player in the country in Griffin. However, Jeff Capel will bring back Warren, who will become the focal point of the team, and add a strong freshman class highlighted by point guard Mason-Griffin and big man Gallon. Crocker needs to become more consistent.


Record: 27-8 (second round of the NCAA tournament)
Losses: Kenny Hasbrouck
Key Returnees: Edwin Ubiles, Alex Franklin, Ryan Rossiter, Ronald Moore, Clarence Jackson, Kyle Downey
Newcomers: Oderah Anosike, Jonathan Breeden, Denzel Yard

The only major loss for the Saints was that of Kenny Hasbrouck and his 14.6 points per game. Fran McCaffery still has four starters back ? Ubiles (15 ppg), Franklin (13.6 ppg), Rossiter (10 ppg) and Moore (8.7 ppg) ? from a team that has plenty of postseason experience.

24. UCLA

Record: 26-9 (second round of the NCAA tournament)
Losses: Darren Collison, Jrue Holiday, Josh Shipp, Alfred Aboya
Key Returnees: Nikola Dragovic, Drew Gordon, Michael Roll, Malcolm Lee, James Keefe, Jerime Anderson
Newcomers: Tyler Honeycutt, Reeves Nelson, Mike Moser, Anthony Stover, Brendan Lane

Ben Howland loses three seniors who were critical in their trio of Final Four appearances, and the Bruins also watched Jrue Holiday leave after one ho-hum season. However, UCLA still has a young group next season with guys like Gordon, Lee and Anderson set to receive expanded roles, and the Bruins will welcome in a stellar class led by skilled big man Tyler Honeycutt.


Record: 25-11 (NIT)
Losses: Nick Calathes, Walter Hodge, Allan Chaney
Key Returnees: Alex Tyus, Erving Walker, Chandler Parsons, Dan Werner, Ray Shipman, Eloy Vargas
Newcomers: Kenny Boynton, Erik Murphy, Vernon Macklin

The Gators lost Calathes, who will be difficult to replace, but Billy Donovan will add three new guys who all have the ability to start. Freshman Kenny Boynton is a scoring machine, Erik Murphy is a much-needed skilled forward and Macklin, a Georgetown transfer, gives Florida a low-post presence on both ends of the court. Add in veterans like Tyus, Warner and Parsons and the key may be Erving Walker, the only legitimate point guard on the roster.

Twenty more to watch

Notre Dame: With the return of Luke Harangody and Ben Hansbrough and Scott Martin eligible, the Irish should be back dancing this season.

Mississippi State: If Renardo Sidney and John Riek are cleared by the NCAA.

Louisville: Samardo Samuels in the middle with a bunch of solid guards. Key may be freshman Peyton Siva.

Texas A&M: The loss of Chinemelu Elonu kept the Aggies out of the top 25.

BYU: The return of Jimmer Fredette and Jonathan Tavernari make them the favorite in the Mountain West.

Gonzaga: Despite the loss of Austin Daye, the 'Zags still have enough talent.

Mississippi: The Rebels need to stay healthy this season.

Kansas State: Love their freshman class with Wally Judge and Rodney McGruder.

Dayton: Chris Wright & Co. can challenge Xavier for league supremacy.

Vanderbilt: A.J. Ogilvy needs to become more assertive, but the Commodores' young kids are a year older.

Georgetown: It's a hard group to figure out; chemistry needs to be better.

Nevada: New coach David Carter has a 1-2 punch of Luke Babbitt and Armon Johnson.

Florida State: Love freshman Michael Snaer, but it'll be difficult to replace Toney Douglas.

Tulsa: Doug Wojcik has a 1-2 punch of Jerome Jordan and Ben Uzoh.

South Carolina: Devan Downey and Dominique Archie are back for the Game****s.

Syracuse: Jonny Flynn, Paul Harris and Eric Devendorf are gone. However, the Orange still have plenty of talent.

Maryland: Greivis Vasquez's return makes the Terps a top 40 team ? maybe even higher.

Western Kentucky: The Hilltoppers return three of their top four players, but it'll be tough to replace Orlando Mendez-Valdez.

Seton Hall: Bobby Gonzalez can coach. Now he's got some players with the addition of transfers Herb Pope and Keon Lawrence.

Northern Iowa: The Panthers return all five starters from a team that won 23 games a year ago.
I think we are little low here, but better than getting screwed by Katz!