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TOP 10 2014--15

April 14, 2014
April 14, 2014

Table of Contents
April 14, 2014

SI.com
THE MAIL
2014 NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP
  • After they were banned from the NCAA tournament a season ago, coach Kevin Ollie held the Huskies together by giving them a higher sense of purpose. Then he guided the No. 7 seed to upset after upset—and, with a steely win over Kentucky, to the school's second title in four years

  • The season may have just ended, but it's never too early to start thinking about which teams will be at the top of the polls next fall

PATRICK BEVERLEY
BASEBALL
  • The economic landscape is set for this season: The Dodgers sit atop the payroll heap, the Marlins at the bottom. But in an era of LONG CONTRACT EXTENSIONS (this spring everyone from Indians catcher Yan Gomes to Tigers superstar Miguel Cabrera got one) some teams have players signed through 2024. Here's a season-by-season look at each club's salary commitments over the next decade.

  • The seven-year, $215 million extension he signed in January didn't just make Clayton Kershaw the game's HIGHEST-PAID PITCHER—it also made him the ninth player the Dodgers must pay at least through 2017. The Giants and the Reds have L.A. beat on long-term commitments, though: They already have payroll obligations through '21 and '24, respectively.

POINT AFTER
Departments

TOP 10 2014--15

The season may have just ended, but it's never too early to start thinking about which teams will be at the top of the polls next fall

1. DUKE

This is an article from the April 14, 2014 issue Original Layout

Guards Quinn Cook and Rasheed Sulaimon return to lead the nation's top recruiting class, headlined by 6'10" Jahlil Okafor from Chicago, keeping the Blue Devils in the top spot even if Jabari Parker goes pro.

2. WISCONSIN

Frank Kaminsky (13.9 points, 6.3 boards) will be tempted to enter the NBA draft, but if the 7-footer sticks around for his senior season, the Badgers will have four starters back from their Final Four team.

3. ARIZONA

Aaron Gordon is leaving and Nick Johnson may follow, but 6'6" forward Stanley Johnson from Mater Dei High in Santa Ana, Calif., a consensus top five recruit, will be the most versatile scorer in the freshman class.

4. VILLANOVA

The good: The Wildcats have four starters, including 6'11" junior forward Daniel Ochefu, back from a 29-win team. The bad: They won't be able to fly under the radar as they did in 2013--14.

5. N. CAROLINA

Losing James Michael McAdoo (14.2 points, 6.8 rebounds) to the NBA hurts, but the Tar Heels welcome in an elite three-freshman class, led by Justin Jackson, a 6'7" forward from Tomball, Texas.

6. KANSAS

The Jayhawks will be favored to win their 11th consecutive Big 12 crown even if center Joel Embiid turns pro, thanks to the arrival of 6'9" freshman Cliff Alexander from Chicago's Curie High.

7. MICHIGAN

Assuming 6'10" Mitch McGary, the breakout star of the 2013 tournament, returns after missing most of last season because of a back injury, the Wolverines will be loaded.

8. KENTUCKY

This ranking could fluctuate in the coming weeks depending on draft decisions, but John Calipari has again signed a stellar class, featuring 6'10" power forward Trey Lyles and 6'5" shooting guard Devin Booker.

9. COLORADO

If 6'6" senior point guard Spencer Dinwiddie recovers fully from surgery to repair his left ACL, the Buffaloes will have a veteran lineup that includes rising star Josh Scott, a 6'10" junior forward.

10. TEXAS

The Longhorns will have everybody back from one of the most surprising teams of '13--14, led by one of the Big 12's best post players, 6'9", 285-pound sophomore center Cameron Ridley.

TEN PHOTOS