When the Kansas City Royals closed out the World Series on Sunday night, it not only delivered the franchise its first championship in 30 years, it also bumped college basketball off the cover of the next issue of Sports Illustrated. While there are still more than 50 pages of content previewing the new season for both the men and the women—including a ranking of all 351 men's teams, a player of the year breakdown, a profile of Wichita State point guard Fred VanVleet by Luke Winn, and much more—the covers were destined to be lost to history.
Here's what the initial drafts of the three regional covers of the college basketball preview issue looked like like until the Royals' title run forced the magazine to turn its attention to designing a baseball cover. The subjects are senior guard Marcus Paige of No. 1 North Carolina, senior forward Perry Ellis of No. 2 Kansas and senior forward Alex Poythress of No. 3 Kentucky.