Projecting the Hoops Season: Top 25

swBefore putting this up I should link my original top 25 which, after a few games, has already changed.  UCLA looked bad last night against a pretty darn good Miami of Ohio team.  The West is down in basketball this year, well except of course for my beloved Zags.  The Big East is once again the dominant conference from top to bottom...but as usual, the ACC has some of the top teams, including the odds on favorite to win it all.

1.  North Carolina...Hansbrough is hurt but should be back for the bulk of the season.  They are absolutely loaded this year.

2.  Louisville...Rick Pitino may finally have his championship year at Louisville.  Blue-chip recruit Samardo Samuels joins an already talented Cardinals roster.

3.  Connecticut...Barely behind Louisville.  Thabeet is sure talking a lot, hopefully he can back it up on the court.  I hope Harangody beats him up though.

4.  Michigan State...This is my sleeper team.  I love Kalin Lucas, there are not many point guards better than him this season.  Delvon Roe is another freshman to watch.

5.  Pittsburgh...DeJuan Blair is going to be a manchild in the middle and Sam Young has developed into one of the best forwards in the nation.

6.  Oklahoma...This one is for Woodrow.  Willie Warren is going to be the most productive freshman this season.  Blake Griffin will also be the number 1 selection in the upcoming NBA draft.

7.  Notre Dame...Still not completely sure about this one.  I'm not sure if they have enough talent to put together another great season in such a tough Big East.

8.  Gonzaga...This is with as little bias as possible.  The Zags are the best team on the West Coast.  Austin Daye and Josh Heytvelt are the one's to watch along with Jeremy Pargo.

9.  Texas...Damion James does everything for the Longhorns and is one of the most complete players in the nation.  Can they replace DJ Augustin?

10. Duke...I usually think the Blue Devils are overrated but I like this team.  They have an excellent back court.  Kyle Singler is Mr. Fundamental.

See the rest of the Top 25 after the jump...

11.  UCLA...I'm just not impressed by their interior play.  They have talent but not having Kevin Love is going to hurt.  If they had him, they could be challenging Carolina for the top spot.

12. Memphis...The Tigers lost a lot with the departures of Dorsey, Rose, and CDR but they reloading quite nicely. Taggart and Dozier will have to lead this team that will rely on plenty of youngsters.

13. Tennessee
...JP Prince's injury worries me but he should be back healthy for the bulk of the season. Bruce Pearl signed one of the best players in the country in Scotty Hopson and he'll be expected to contribute immediately.

14. Purdue...Robbie Hummel is a top player in college basketball this season. Only a sophomore, Hummel will be counted on to make this team go. If they can stay more consistent this year, they could be great.

15. Georgetown...I'm hoping and praying that the Hoyas and Zags match up this season. Dajuan Summers is bound to break out this year. He's got all the tools to be a top tier player this year.

16. Arizona State...James Harden could wind up being the player of the year in college basketball. The Sun Devils should challenge UCLA in the PAC-10.

17. Florida...Florida should be vastly improved from last year. Jai Lucas has transferred but Nick Calathes could make an All-American team by season's end. The Gators are on their way back to the top of the college basketball world.

18. Villanova...This team is nowhere near the Foye, Lowry, and Allen Ray team but they have the potential to be a very good team by the end of the year.

19. Wake Forest...Three five-star freshman will be taking the floor for Wake and they are all taller than 6'9'', I wish Gonzaga could borrow one. Get to know Al-Faroug Aminu.

20. Marquette...The Eagles have been a consistently solid squad for many years and this year will be no different. Jerel McNeal is one of the best guards in the nation and Dominic James is always reliable.

21. USC...If Davon Jefferson was still in the fold, this would be an elite team but now they are forced to rely on freshman DeMar Derozan.

22. Miami...It feels odd to me to put Miami in a top 25 for basketball but they should be a force this season in the ACC.

23. UNLV...I think this is going to be a very special season for Lon Kruger's team. Wink Adams is one of the top guards in the nation and redshirt freshman Beas Hamga should be a man in the middle.

24. Xavier
...There will be plenty of new faces in the max for the Musketeers but they have some solid returning players like B.J. Raymond.

25. Saint Mary's...The Gaels deserve a spot in the Top 25 as they have one of the best combos in the nation with Diamon Simpson and Patty Mills. Mills should become a household name by seasons end.

Who Just Missed: I'm not ready to put Kansas in the Top 25 yet. They lost so much from last year's championship team that they'll have to prove it first. The fact that San Diego only got one vote combined in the two major polls is stunning. I have them pegged as a top 30-35 team to start the year. The loss of Jason Richards is going to hurt Davidson a lot more than people like to think. Stephen Curry is a much better player when he can move without the ball. As the point man, he's not going to have that luxury very much. I struggled leaving Baylor out of the top 25. Curtis Jerrells is about as good as it gets in the Big 12. Syracuse has a whole ton of talent but I'm not convinced that Jim Boeheim is going to be able to harness it all.

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