Now that we know who's in and who's out of the NBA Draft, here's an early pre-season College Hoops Top 10 poll for the 2007-2008 season.
1. UNC Tar Heels- The top team for next season definitely has to be the Tar Heels. Tyler Hansbrough, Ty Lawson, and Wayne Ellington all return. They have everybody returning but Reyshawn Terry and Brandan Wright. Wright will be missed greatly but they still have a lot of fire power. Look for UNC to be in the Final Four and possibly that national championship game.
2. Memphis Tigers- The 2007-2008 squad will return 5 of their top 6, plus the additions of recruits Derrick Rose and Jeff Robinson will help a lot. Especially the addition of Rose, he should be able to come in right away and help fill in for the lone loss in Jeremy Hunt. After back to back Elite 8 finishes the past two seasons, Memphis finally has what it takes to get over the hump and into the Final Four. They were the lone team that wasn't affected by the draft deadline date.
3. Kansas Jayhawks- The Jayhawks also have a great number of players returning and will be the top team in the Big 12. With the return of Brandon Rush, Mario Chalmers, freshmen sensation Darrell Arthur, Sherron Collins, Russell Robinson, Sasha Kaun, and Darnell Jackson, KU will barely miss a beat. The decision for Rush to stay is a huge sign of relief for KU and he will benefit from it a lot, unlike his brothers. KU also brings in quality recruit Cole Aldrich to help fill the loss of Julian Wright.
4. Georgetown Hoyas- Roy Hibbert is one of the "Big Two" to return. Jeff Green decided to stay in the draft at the last minute. If Green stays Georgetown is no doubt the top team. The Hoyas will return everyone excluding Green from a team that lost out in the Final Four. Those key returnees are Hibbert, Jon Wallace, DaJuan Summers, Jessie Sapp, Patrick Ewing Jr. and Vernon Macklin. Oh and how about a 5-star stud in Austin Freeman to add to the list.
5. UCLA Bruins- The Bruins will look to make another run at a Final Four berth with nearly everyone back. Their top scorer Aaron Afflalo jumped into the draft and will be missed dearly. But the Bruins return a solid nucleus with Josh Shipp, Darren Collison, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, Lorenzo Mata, Michael Roll, and Alfred Aboya. UCLA lacked a premier post presence this past season, but the addition of 2007 recruit Kevin Love will help and should get immediate playing time. Look for the Bruins to be one of the top teams in the country again.
6. Louisville Cardinals- L'Ville returns 7 of their top 8 and should be one of the premier teams in the Big East. Terrence Williams, Edgar Sosa, David Padgett, Juan Palacios, and Derrick Caracter all return and should be one of the best starting five's in the land. Look for Rick Pitino's Cards to make a great run next season.
7. Washington St. Cougars- The Cougars return everyone but Ivory Clark and should benefit with all the experience returning. Last season was no fluke and the Cougars will show just that by competing for a Pac 10 title and possibly an Elite 8 or even a Final Four berth.
8. Tennessee Volunteers- Remember how the Vols nearly stunned the Buckeyes in the Big Dance? Well the Vols return everyone, including Chris Lofton. Because of Lofton's decision, Tennessee is my early favorite to win the SEC.
9. Indiana Hoosiers- IU should be the early favorite to win the Big Ten. D.J. White is back and should be better than ever. Armon Bassett, AJ Ratliff, Lance Stemler, and Mike White all return as well; you can also add Eric Gordon (inset) to that list, one of the top recruits in the country and he won't disappoint. Not to shabby for Kelvin Sampson's second year.
10. USC Trojans- The Pac-10 will be very tough again next season, which is why I have USC as low as 10 here. Also, the loss of Nick Young and Gabe Pruitt doesn't help either. But Taj Gibson is returning and I heard new signee OJ Mayo is pretty good.
Other teams to keep an eye on:
Marquette, Georgia Tech, Michigan St., Kansas St., Ohio St., Oregon, Gonzaga, Arizona, and Pittsburgh.