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SI'S 2005 Top 10 Here's our extremely early projection of the teams who'll be battling to reach next year's Final Four in St. Louis

April 12, 2004
April 12, 2004

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April 12, 2004

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SI'S 2005 Top 10 Here's our extremely early projection of the teams who'll be battling to reach next year's Final Four in St. Louis

1 WAKE FOREST This season's Sweet 16 squad, sporting size (center
Eric Williams), shooting (guard Taron Downey) and smarts (point
guard Chris Paul), will return virtually intact.

This is an article from the April 12, 2004 issue Original Layout

2 GEORGIA TECH The Yellow Jackets lose only guard Marvin Lewis
and are the favorites to sign 7-foot center Randolph Morris.

3 ILLINOIS All of the starters from the Elite Eight team are
back, including next season's best set of guards: Dee Brown and
Deron Williams.

4 NORTH CAROLINA The Tar Heels' depth problems disappear if two
signees, guard J.R. Smith and power forward Marvin Williams,
don't go pro.

5 LOUISVILLE Point guard signee Sebastian Telfair is likely
NBA-bound, but the Cards are boosted by the return of injured
forward Ellis Myles.

6 KANSAS If forward Wayne Simien is in Lawrence for his senior
season, the St. Louis Regional finalist Jayhawks are a title
threat.

7 DUKE The Blue Devils have four starters back, but with heralded
recruit Shaun Livingston likely going pro, who will play the
point?

8 TEXAS The Horns love L.A., as in LaMarcus Aldridge, a 7-foot
center who's one of three McDonald's All-Americans they hooked.

9 ALABAMA A surprise Phoenix Regional finalist, the Tide keeps
rolling behind deadeye shooter Kennedy Winston, one of four
returning starters.

10 WASHINGTON The run-and-gun Huskies resume their Pac-10 rise
behind 5'9" spark plug Nate Robinson.

Sleepers: Maryland and Kent State.

--Gene Menez and B.J. Schecter

COLOR PHOTO: MANNY MILLAN PAUL