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NCAA men’s basketball top 25 for 2017-18 season

Arizona's Allonzo Trier holds up the trophy for

Arizona's Allonzo Trier holds up the trophy for most outstanding player of the Pac-12 tournament after defeating Oregon in the championship Saturday, March 11, 2017, in Las Vegas. Credit: AP / John Locher

Midnight was the deadline for early entrants to withdraw their names from the NBA draft pool, which means we have a pretty firm idea of what next season’s college basketball rosters will look like. Aside from the handful of uncommitted prospects and transfers, everything is essentially set.

Here is how a top 25 would look as of this Thursday.

(Recruiting information is based on 247sports’ rankings.)

1. Arizona Wildcats

Last season: 32-5, NCAA Sweet 16

Key returnees: G Allonzo Trier, G Rawle Alkins, F Dusan Ristic, PG Parker Jackson-Cartwright

Key losses: F Lauri Markkanen, G Kadeem Allen, G Kobi Simmons

Key newcomers (No. 3 class): PF DeAndre Ayton, SF Emmanuel Akot, SG Brandon Randolph, C Ira Lee, PG Alex Barcello

This group has a tremendous mix of veteran leadership and young talent. Allonzo Trier is a national player of the year candidate, and Rawle Alkins had an impressive freshman year. Yes, the Wildcats lost a potential lottery pick in Markkanen and a senior point guard in Allen, but this recruiting class is deep.

Ayton is the projected No. 3 pick in 2018, according to DraftExpress. Akot’s reclassification to the Class of 2017 gave Sean Miller another 5-star, with 4-stars Randolph, Lee and Barcello all landing in the 247sports Top 100.

2. Michigan State Spartans

Last season: 20-15, NCAA second round

Key returnees: SF Miles Bridges, PG Lourawls Nairn, PF Nick Ward, G Cassius Winston, G Joshua Langford, G Matt McQuaid, F Kenny Goins, F Gavin Schilling, F Ben Carter

Key losses: G Eron Harris, F Alvin Ellis

Key newcomers (No. 44 class): PF Jaren Jackson, PF Xavier Tillman

The Spartans had their share of growing pains last season, but the entire freshman class of Ward, Winston, Langford and — this is the big one — Bridges returned for year two. Bridges could have been a lottery pick in this year’s draft. Instead, he will be the frontrunner for national player of the year. Harris and Ellis were rotation players, but they are replaceable. Tom Izzo’s prized newcomer is Jackson, a McDonald’s All-American, but the lineup gets deeper with the returns of Schilling and Carter, who each missed all of last season with injuries.

3. Kansas Jayhawks

Last season: 31-5, NCAA Elite Eight

Key returnees: G Devonte’ Graham, F Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk, G Lagerald Vick, C Udoka Azubuike

Key losses: PG Frank Mason III, SF Josh Jackson, PF Landen Lucas, F Carlton Bragg

Key newcomers (No. 34 class): G Malik Newman (Mississippi State), PF Billy Preston, G Marcus Garrett, SG Sam Cunliffe (Arizona State, eligible mid-season)

Mason was the Naismith Player of the Year, and Jackson likely will be a top-five pick in June’s NBA Draft. But the Jayhawks remain near the top of the rankings for a few reasons. Graham has All-America potential, and his new backcourt mate, Newman, was a 5-star recruit who landed in the wrong spot for a year.

Those two and Vick will give Kansas one of the country’s elite backcourts. They will have tremendous depth at the position when Cunliffe becomes eligible. As for the frontcourt, it’s not deep but Preston could be a game-changing recruit.

4. Kentucky Wildcats

Last season: 32-6, NCAA Sweet 16

Key returnees: F Wenyen Gabriel, F Sacha Killeya-Jones

Key losses: PG De’Aaron Fox, SG Malik Monk, C Bam Adebayo, F Derek Willis, G Dominique Hawkins, F Isaac Humphries, G Mychal Mulder

Key newcomers (No. 1 class): SG Hamidou Diallo, SF Kevin Knox, SF Jarred Vanderbilt, PF P.J. Washington, C Nick Richards, PG Quade Green, G Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, SG Jemarl Baker

After Diallo’s last-minute decision to withdraw from the NBA draft, the Wildcats will enter 2017-18 with six 5-stars among their group of newcomers. The talent level is absurd. The problem is the most “experienced” players are Gabriel and Killeya-Jones, neither of whom played more than 18 minutes per game last year.

5. Wichita State Shockers

Last season: 31-5, NCAA second round

Key returnees: Everyone

Key losses: None

Key newcomers: G Samajae Jones (JUCO)

Gregg Marshall literally did not lose a single piece of his rotation. The move to the AAC means Wichita State will face a higher level of competition regularly, but the Shockers were a top-10 team by advanced metrics KenPom and Sagarin and nearly defeated Kentucky in the NCAA Tournament. Adding Jones, one of the top junior college recruits, will give Wichita State more depth.

6. Duke Blue Devils

Last season: 28-9, NCAA second round

Key returnees: G Grayson Allen, C Marques Bolden

Key losses: SF Jayson Tatum, G Luke Kennard, G Matt Jones, G Frank Jackson, F Harry Giles, F Chase Jeter

Key newcomers (No. 2 class): PG Trevon Duval, PF Wendell Carter, SG Gary Trent Jr., SG Alex O’Connell, SF Jordan Tucker

Winning the Duval sweepstakes was key for Duke, which has not had a true point guard since Tyus Jones in 2014-15. With Duval in the mix, Allen can play off the ball full time, like he did when he earned All-America third-team honors as a sophomore. The Blue Devils were hit hard by graduations and defections, but only Kentucky had a deeper, more talented recruiting class. Duke will be fine.

7. Louisville Cardinals

Last season: 25-9, NCAA second round

Key returnees: PG Quentin Snider, SF Deng Adel, F Ray Spalding, F Anas Mahmoud, F VJ King

Key losses: SG Donovan Mitchell, C Mangok Mathiang, F Jaylen Johnson

Key newcomers (No. 9 class): C Malik Williams, PG Darius Perry, SF Jordan Nwora, PF Lance Thomas

Adel’s decision to withdraw from the NBA Draft solidified Louisville as a top-10 team. As they have been for years, the Cardinals will be extremely deep up front. Adel gives them an elite wing defender who can also help out a bit in the backcourt.

8. USC Trojans

Last season: 26-10, NCAA second round

Key returnees: F Bennie Boatwright, G Jordan McLaughlin, F Chimezie Metu, G Elijah Stewart, G De’Anthony Melton, G Shaqquan Aaron, G Jonah Mathews, F Nick Rakocevic

Key losses: None

Key newcomers (No. 29 class): SG Charles O’Bannon Jr., SG Jordan Usher

The advanced numbers did not love USC last year, but the Trojans could take a big leap in 2017-18. Boatwright’s decision to withdraw from the NBA Draft was especially important — he is USC’s best player and a solid All-America sleeper pick.

9. North Carolina Tar Heels

Last season: 33-7, NCAA champions

Key returnees: PG Joel Berry, G Theo Pinson, F Luke Maye, G Kenny Williams, G Seventh Woods

Key losses: SF Justin Jackson, F Kennedy Meeks, F Isaiah Hicks, F Tony Bradley, G Nate Britt

Key newcomers (No. 16 class): G Jalek Felton, F Garrison Brooks

Bradley only announced his decision to remain in the NBA Draft a day before the early entry deadline, leaving the reigning champions with little depth in the frontcourt. Even so, the Tar Heels have one of the country’s best point guards in Berry and enough around him to remain a threat for a deep NCAA Tournament run.

10. Miami Hurricanes

Last season: 21-12, NCAA second round

Key returnees: PG Ja’Quan Newton, SG Bruce Brown, SF Anthony Lawrence, SG Dejan Vasiljevic, F Dewan Huell, C Ebuka Izundu

Key losses: G Davon Reed, F Kamari Murphy

Key newcomers (No. 10 class): SG Lonnie Walker, PG Chris Lykes, C Deng Gak

Reed and Murphy were important players, but they were replaceable. Most importantly, Newton and Brown are back, and Walker, a 5-star recruit, gives the Hurricanes one of the country’s best backcourts.

11. Florida Gators

Last season: 27-9, NCAA Elite Eight

Key returnees: G KeVaughn Allen, G Chris Chiozza, C John Egbunu, F/C Kevarrius Hayes, F Keith Stone

Key losses: F Devin Robinson, G Kasey Hill, F Justin Leon, G Canyon Barry

Key newcomers (No. 19 class): PF Chase Johnson, SF DeAundre Ballard, PF Isaiah Stokes, G Jalen Hudson (Virginia Tech)

Had Robinson returned, the Gators would have had a shot of cracking the top 5. Still, Mike White has a solid core of returnees and newcomers.

12. Villanova Wildcats

Last season: 32-4, NCAA second round

Key returnees: G Jalen Brunson, G/F Mikal Bridges, G Donte DiVincenzo, F Eric Paschall

Key losses: G Josh Hart, F Kris Jenkins, F Darryl Reynolds

Key newcomers (No. 24 class): SF Jermaine Samuels, PF Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree, C Omari Spellman (RS)

Hart and Jenkins will go down as all-time Villanova legends. Without them, the Wildcats are not the top-5 team they have been the last few years. But Brunson has All-America potential and Bridges has NBA potential. Villanova gets a nice boost with Spellman, a 5-star recruit, becoming eligible this year.

13. UCLA Bruins

Last season: 31-5, NCAA Sweet 16

Key returnees: G Aaron Holiday, F Thomas Welsh, G Prince Ali, F Gyorgy Goloman, F Alex Olesinski

Key losses: PG Lonzo Ball, SG Bryce Alford, PF T.J. Leaf, SG Isaac Hamilton, C Ike Anigbogu

Key newcomers (No. 4 class): SF Kris Wilkes, PG Jaylen Hands, PF Cody Riley, PF Jalen Hill

The Bruins lost a ton of talent from last year’s team but got good news when Holiday and Welsh decided to withdraw from the NBA Draft just before the early entry deadline. And even if they no longer have Ball — well, they have 3-star LiAngelo Ball, Lonzo’s brother — they still have a dynamic point guard in Hands, one of the top floor generals in the Class of 2017.

14. Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Last season: 26-10, NCAA second round

Key returnees: F Bonzie Colson, PG Matt Farrell, G Temple Gibbs, G Rex Pflueger, F Martinas Geben

Key losses: SG Steve Vasturia, SF VJ Beachem, SF Matt Ryan

Key newcomers (No. 99 class): SF D.J. Harvey

Vasturia and Beachem were cogs in the lineup for the last few years, but Notre Dame returns its two most important players in Colson and Farrell. At the moment, depth would appear to be a weakness. But after they shattered the low expectations set last season, it would be unwise to sleep on the Fighting Irish.

15. St. Mary’s Gaels

Last season: 29-5, NCAA second round

Key returnees: F Jock Landale, G Emmett Naar, SF Calvin Hermanson, F Evan Fitzner, G Tanner Krebs

Key losses: PG Joe Rahon, F Dane Pineau

Key newcomers: G Cullen Neal (Mississippi)

The addition of Neal could go down as one of the most important offseason moves in the country. With him and Naar running the show, the Gaels hardly will miss Rahon, who effectively orchestrated one of America’s most efficient offenses last year. Oh, and Landale is back. He was one of the best frontcourt players in the country last season.

16. Seton Hall Pirates

Last season: 21-12, NCAA first round

Key returnees: F Angel Delgado, G Khadeen Carrington, SF Desi Rodriguez, G Myles Powell, F Ismael Sanogo, F Michael Nzei

Key losses: G Madison Jones

Key newcomers (No. 39 class): SG Myles Cale

Delgado’s decision to return elevates Seton Hall from a fringe tournament team to a top-20 squad. With their double-double machine back in the mix, the only thing the Pirates are missing is a true point guard. Had they landed Trevon Duval, there would have been talk of Seton Hall as a top-10 team.

17. Gonzaga Bulldogs

Last season: 37-2, NCAA runner-up

Key returnees: F Johnathan Williams, G Josh Perkins, G Silas Melson, F Killian Tillie

Key losses: PG Nigel Williams-Goss, C Przemek Karnowski, F Zach Collins, G Jordan Mathews

Key newcomers (No. 110 class): SF Corey Kispert, SG Zach Norvell (RS), PF Jacob Larsen (RS)

The Bulldogs lost their stars to graduation and the NBA, but the four key returnees all played important roles during the Final Four run. If Norvell and Larsen keep up the trend of Gonzaga players excelling after redshirting, the Bulldogs could be a top-25 team all year.

18. Baylor Bears

Last season: 27-8, NCAA Sweet 16

Key returnees: G Manu Lecomte, F Jo Lual-Acuil, G Jake Lindsey, G King McClure, F Terry Maston, F Nuni Omot

Key losses: F Johnathan Motley, F Ishmail Wainright, G Al Freeman

Key newcomers (No. 111 class): PF Tristan Clark, F Mark Vital (RS), G Tyson Jolly (RS)

The Bears, a surprise top-25 team a year ago, return enough to begin the season in the rankings. They don’t look nearly as threatening without Motley and do-it-all role player Wainright, but they have a balanced lineup and a veteran lead guard in Lecomte.

19. Northwestern Wildcats

Last season: 24-12, NCAA second round

Key returnees: PG Bryant McIntosh, G Scottie Lindsey, F Vic Law, F Derek Pardon, F Gavin Skelly, G Isiah Brown, F Barret Benson, F Aaron Falzon

Key losses: F Sanjay Lumpkin, F Nathan Taphorn

Key newcomers (No. 127 class): SG Anthony Gaines, F Rapolas Ivanauskas

With the first NCAA Tournament in program history under their belt, the Wildcats return their three most important players from a year ago in McIntosh, Lindsey and Law. They also get a significant frontcourt boost from the return of Falzon, who redshirted last season.

20. Minnesota Golden Gophers

Last season: 24-10, NCAA first round

Key returnees: PG Nate Mason, F Amir Coffey, G Dupree McBrayer, F Jordan Murphy, C Reggie Lynch, F Eric Curry

Key losses: G/F Akeem Springs

Key newcomers (No. 66 class): PG Isaiah Washington, G Jamir Harris

The Golden Gophers return nearly everyone from last year’s team and add a solid immediate contributor in Washington.

21. Cincinnati Bearcats

Last season: 30-6, NCAA second round

Key returnees: G Jacob Evans, F Gary Clark, F Kyle Washington, G Jarron Cumberland

Key losses: PG Troy Caupain

Key newcomers (No. 62 class): PG Cane Broome (Sacred Heart), SG Keith Williams, SF Mamadou Diarra

Caupain was one of the most underrated guards in the country, but Cincinnati plays a style that makes it easier to replace players such as him. Adding a high-scoring transfer in Broome helps, though the Bearcats would have been fine with the pieces they return.

22. Purdue Boilermakers

Last season: 27-8, NCAA Sweet 16

Key returnees: F Vincent Edwards, G Dakota Mathias, PG Carsen Edwards, G PJ Thompson, G Ryan Cline, C Isaac Haas

Key losses: F Caleb Swanigan, PG Spike Albrecht

Key newcomers (No. 26 class): SF Nojel Eastern, PF Eden Ewing (JUCO)

Even though he delayed his official decision until the final day, Swanigan always was going to be gone. The All-American could not have done much as a junior to send his draft stock any higher. Without him, the Boilermakers still have a decent amount of returning talent. But how good will that talent be without Swanigan attracting swarms of defenders?

23. West Virginia Mountaineers

Last season: 28-9, NCAA Sweet 16

Key returnees: G Jevon Carter, F Esa Ahmad, G Daxter Miles

Key losses: G Tarik Phillip, F Nathan Adrian, G Teyvon Myers, F Elijah Macon

Key newcomers (No. 38 class): PF Derek Culver, SF D’Angelo Hunter (JUCO)

The Mountaineers don’t return much — just a Big 12 Player of the Year sleeper in Carter and two solid pieces in Ahmad and Miles. But when you play Bob Huggins’ pressing style, you don’t need many standouts to be competitive. This is purely a bet on Huggins and his system.

24. Alabama Crimson Tide

Last season: 19-15, NIT first round

Key returnees: F Braxton Key, G Dazon Ingram, G Riley Norris, F Donta Hall, PG Avery Johnson

Key losses: G Corban Collins, F Jimmie Taylor

Key newcomers (No. 6 class): PG Collin Sexton, SG John Petty, PF Alex Reese

Alabama already had a solid nucleus returning. Then Avery Johnson went out and got Sexton, the No. 1 point guard in the Class of 2017, according to 247sports. That addition will help Ingram stay off the ball — where he is much more effective. Expect the Crimson Tide to take a big step forward.

25. Butler Bulldogs

Last season: 25-9, NCAA Sweet 16

Key returnees: F Kelan Martin, G Kamar Baldwin, F Tyler Wideman, F Nate Fowler, G Sean McDermott

Key losses: F Andrew Chrabascz, G Kethan Savage, G Avery Woodson, G Tyler Lewis

Key newcomers (No. 32 class): SF Kyle Young, G Paul Jorgenson (George Washington)

Martin is one of the best players in the Big East, and Baldwin is one of the best returning members of the Class of 2016. The returning core is good enough to be competitive. Adding Jorgenson can only help.

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