In Luke Winn's off-season power rankings, North Carolina is No. 1, while Kentucky, Kansas, Maryland and Virginia round out the top five.

By Luke Winn
May 14, 2015

This is the time of year when college basketball fans and writers are liable to talk themselves into anything: That North Carolina, despite having almost the exact same roster as last season, will solve its shooting and defensive issues and win the national title; or that Kentucky, despite losing seven of the nine players who saw the floor during the Final Four, and not bringing in a blockbuster (by its own standards) recruiting class, will be back near the level it was last season. That Maryland will be a contender due to the sum of its talent, rather than just a slightly better version of the team that finished 10th in the Big Ten in offensive efficiency in 2014-15; or that Kansas will use the addition of a super-freshman as a springboard to a national championship run, rather than what's happened with its blue-chippers over the past two seasons: second-round exits from the NCAA tournament. 

This is also a preseason without a clear No. 1 team, which makes it ripe for over-optimism tinged with delusion. There are many promising-but-flawed national championship candidates; the number depends on how far you're willing to stretch your imagination. The first Power Rankings of 2015-16 do some serious stretching, serving up arguments for why 10 different teams could win it all. The discussion of their flaws can wait 'til the fall.

The Next Tier

11. Arizona
12. Villanova
13. Michigan State
14. Indiana
15. Cal
16. Vanderbilt
17. Notre Dame
18. Baylor
19. SMU
20. Utah
21. Wisconsin
22. Miami
23. Georgetown
24. LSU
25. Texas A&M
26. Xavier
27. West Virginia
28. Texas
29. Michigan
30. San Diego State
31. Louisville
32. Stephen F. Austin

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