Duke No. 7 in Way Too Early Top 25

ShawnKrest

Monday night was supposed to be the NCAA National Championship Game, although it had been more than a month since the last basketball game was played.

Still, the day after the scheduled end of the season is a time to look ahead, and Sports Illustrated released its Way Too Early Top 25 for next season.

Two of the teams that were considered possible No. 1 seeds in this year’s tournament are still expected to be in the top four: No. 2 Gonzaga and No. 3 Baylor. They finished behind projected No. 1 Villanova.

Kansas, another favorite for a top seed, is No. 9. Two other teams who were on the verge of program-defining seasons—San Diego State and Dayton—are expected to take steep falls. The Aztecs are No. 19, while the Flyers are not in the Top 25.

Duke is No. 7, with the following commentary from SI’s Jeremy Woo:

“Duke will lose Tre Jones, Vernon Carey and Cassius Stanley to the NBA, but should be able to navigate just fine thanks to another strong recruiting class. Jeremy Roach and D.J. Steward will have to play big minutes immediately but should be quick studies, and if they can get the most out of the versatile Jalen Johnson, there shouldn’t be much drop-off. Wendell Moore and Matthew Hurt should both take steps forward, and there will be options up front, with Columbia grad transfer Patrick Tape and incoming freshmen Henry Coleman, Jaemyn Brakefield and Mark Williams all competing for time. There will be a lot for this group to figure out, but the ceiling is obvious.”

Duke is the second-highest ACC team, behind No. 4 Virginia.

Here’s the Way Too Early Top 25:

1. Villanova

2. Gonzaga

3. Baylor

4. Virginia

5. Creighton

6. Kentucky

7. Duke

8. Iowa

9. Kansas

10. Texas Tech

11. Michigan State

12. Tennessee

13. Houston

14. Wisconsin

15. Florida State

16. Ohio State

17. UCLA

18. Florida

19. San Diego State

20. Michigan

21. North Carolina

22. West Virginia

23. Texas

24. Rutgers

25. Richmond

Next five out: Oregon, LSU, Arizona State, Stanford, Oklahoma State

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