Down
enlarge
College Basketball: What to expect next year
3:23 | College Basketball
College Basketball: What to expect next year
Wednesday April 8th, 2015

They're still cleaning up confetti on the floor of Lucas Oil Stadium, and Duke players have yet to get their championship rings adjusted, but it's time already to take a look at next season in college basketball. Keep in mind that these rankings have to make some assumptions, particularly about what players will end up in the NBA draft and which undecided recruits will sign with what schools. With that in mind, let's get into the list. (NOTE: Unless otherwise indicated, players' listed year is what they will be in 2015-16 season.)

2015-16 Top 25

 
  • 1
    1Virginia Cavaliers
    2015 Record: 30-4
    The Cavaliers lose just one senior (forward Darion Atkins) while returning an experienced lineup that features 6’6” swingman Justin Anderson, a national player of the year candidate.

  • 2
    2North Carolina Tar Heels
    2015 Record: 26-12
    Tar Heels dodged a bullet when 6’8” forward Justin Jackson announced he will return for his sophomore season. UNC could rise higher if it signs high school forwards Brandon Ingram or Jaylen Brown.

  • 3
    3Kentucky Wildcats
    2015 Record: 38-1
    The 'Cats will add another elite recruiting class, but they will probably start another frosh-free lineup headlined by sophomore guards Tyler Ulis and Devin Booker.

  • 4
    4Kansas Jayhawks
    2015 Record: 27-9
    Unlike recent years, the Jayhawks will return most of their rotation. Look for 6’8” sophomore forward Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk to make a huge improvement.

  • 5
    5Maryland Terrapins
    2015 Record: 28-7
    The Terps got two recent great pieces of news: Rising sophomore point guard Melo Trimble is coming back, and 6’10” high school stud Diamond Stone is coming in.

  • 6
    6Iowa State Cyclones
    2015 Record: 25-9
    The Cyclones will return four of their top six scorers, plus Fred Hoibeg adds his usual batch of transfers led by Deonte Burton, a 6’4” junior from Marquette.

  • 7
    7Duke Blue Devils
    2015 Record: 35-4
    Jahlil Okafor and Justise Winslow are likely NBA-bound, but if point guard Tyus Jones returns, he’ll join two elite freshmen in 6’10” forward Chase Jeter and 6’5” guard Luke Kennard.

  • 8
    8Michigan State Spartans
    2015 Record: 27-12
    Senior Denzel Valentine, who could be a preseason All-America, returns to play alongside West Virginia transfer Eron Harris, a 6’3” junior.

  • 9
    9Indiana Hoosiers
    2015 Record: 20-14
    Freshman Thomas Bryant, a 6’10” power forward from New York, will fill the interior void that will allow the Big Ten’s best perimeter corps (spearheaded by 6-foot senior point guard Yogi Ferrell) to flourish.

  • 10
    10Oklahoma Sooners
    2015 Record: 24-11
    If 6’4” guard Buddy Hield, the Big 12’s player of the year, returns for his senior season, the Sooners will again challenge for the conference crown.

  • 11
    11Villanova Wildcats
    2015 Record: 33-3
    Darrun Hilliard and JayVaughn Pinkston are graduating, but 6’1” freshman point guard Jalen Brunson will join a veteran roster loaded with perimeter talent.

  • 12
    12Gonzaga Bulldogs
    2015 Record: 35-3
    Guards Kevin Pangos and Gary Bell Jr. are gone, but the 'Zags could have nation’s best frontcourt in Przemek Karnowski, Domantas Sabonis and Kyle Wiltjer.

  •  13
    13Arizona Wildcats
    2015 Record: 34-4
    Much will be expected of 6’4” Seattle native Allonzo Trier and the rest of the freshmen, because the 'Cats could lose their entire starting five.

  • 14
    14Wichita State Shockers
    2015 Record: 30-5
    The Shockers will miss defensive stalwart Tekele Cotton, but if Fred VanVleet and Ron Baker return for their senior year, there won’t be much dropoff. Much will depend on how quickly 6’8” freshman Markis McDuffie will have an impact.

  • 15
    15Baylor Bears
    2015 Record: 24-10
    The Bears will miss their graduating point guard Kenny Chery, but uber-rebounder (and All-Glue captain) Rico Gathers returns at forward. Scott Drew also added a talented prospect in 6’3” freshman guard King McClure.

  • 16
    16Michigan Wolverines
    2015 Record: 16-16
    The Wolverines had no seniors this year, so if 6’7” Caris LeVert bypasses the NBA and returns to pre-injury form during his senior year, they will be an NCAA tournament team again. Look for Duncan Robinson, a 6’8” Division III transfer, to have an impact as a stretch four.

  • 17
    17Wisconsin Badgers
    2015 Record: 36-4
    Frank Kaminsky is graduating and Sam Dekker is probably NBA-bound, but at Next Man Up U, expect 6’3” junior guard Bronson Koenig and 6’7” junior forward Nigel Hayes to carry on the winning ways.

  • 18
    18UCLA Bruins
    2015 Record: 22-14
    The Bruins will likely lose freshman forward Kevon Looney to the NBA  and guard Norman Powell graduates, but they still return a solid nucleus in junior guards Bryce Alford and Isaac Hamilton, plus 6’9” senior forward Tony Parker.

  • 19
    19Purdue Boilermakers
    2015 Record: 21-13
    If 7-foot center A.J. Hammons returns for his senior year, the Boilermakers can contend for a Big Ten title. Sophomore forward Vince Edwards will have a breakout season if he improves his shooting range.

  • 20
    20Dayton Flyers
    2015 Record: 27-9
    Leading scorer Jordan Sibert is graduating, but everyone else is returning. Archie Miller also added a terrific four-man recruiting class led by John Crosby, a 6’3” combo guard from Baltimore.

  • 21
    21Texas A&M Aggies
    2015 Record: 21-12
    The Aggies return their top three scorers, and Billy Kennedy has landed a top-five recruiting class of four freshmen. The best and biggest is Tyler Davis, a 6’10”, 270-pound center from Plano, Texas.

  • 22
    22Butler Bulldogs
    2015 Record: 23-11
    N.C. State transfer Tyler Lewis, a 5’11” point guard, will direct a potent offense for sharp-shooting guard Kellen Dunham and the unconventional but effective Roosevelt Jones.

  • 23
    2015 Record: 27-9
    The Aztecs will have another outstanding defensive frontcourt in 6’8” senior Winston Shepard and 6’10” senior Skylar Spencer, plus an emerging star in 6’8” sophomore forward Malik Pope.

  • 24
    24Notre Dame Fighting Irish
    2015 Record: 32-6
    The Irish will miss graduating seniors Jerian Grant and Pat Connaughton, but 6’1” junior point guard Demetrius Jackson is poised for a breakout year.

  • 25
    2015 Record: 22-14
    Anthony “Cat” Barber, an ACC player of the year candidate, returns along with three other starters from the squad that knocked off top-seeded Villanova in the NCAA tournament.

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide - from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Seth Davis, and more - delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.