Sports Illustrated's 2016–17 preview is guided by data from our College Basketball Projection System, a collaboration between economist Dan Hanner and SI's Luke Winn and Jeremy Fuchs. We project teams on a player-by-player, lineup-based level and then simulate the season 10,000 times to generate our 1–351 national rankings and conference forecasts.
The final column based on our projection system is a blend of the hypothetical and the analytical. We put 10 what-if scenarios into our model to assess how certain NBA draft decisions, injuries, NCAA eligibility rulings, transfers and coaching changes impacted (or might have impacted) the 2016–17 season. We couldn’t run every possible scenario, so the ones that made the cut either had a direct impact on the national title race, or caused the most extreme shifts in a team’s ranking.