Posted: Tue April 30, 2013 12:22PM; Updated: Tue April 30, 2013 12:19PM
Luke Winn

Louisville, MSU come out on top in post-draft deadline Power Rankings

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Now that the deadline to declare for the NBA draft has passed, a look at the top 32 teams for 2013-14:

Post-Draft Deadline Power Rankings
1Louisville Cardinals
Russ Smith made the most surprising and impactful stay-in-school decision of this offseason, and he should be considered the early frontrunner for the 2014 Wooden/Naismith Awards. There will be plenty of time for Russ-praising in the lead-up to next season, though, so I'll use this space to look back at one of his teammates' remarkable shooting exhibitions in the NCAA tournament.

No one had a timelier hot streak than Luke Hancock, whose jump shots were worth an absurd 1.789 points per possession during the NCAA tournament -- more than twice their value during the Big East tournament:

That 1.789 PPP figure made Hancock the best jump-shooter in the bracket, by a wide margin:

Hancock stayed on a roll when he returned to Louisville, too: He and teammate Stephan Van Treese raised nearly $9,500 for Relay For Life by shaving off their tourney beards.
2Michigan State Spartans
Adreian Payne's final-day decision pass on the draft significantly boosts the Spartans' title chances, but the bigger reason to be bullish about them is the return of shooting guard Gary Harris, who managed to shoot 41.1 percent from long range as a freshman despite dealing with nagging shoulder injuries. If Harris gets fully healthy, he can be one of the game's best outside shooters -- and a guy who can make athletic plays around the rim. He was often one-dimensional as a freshman because he had to shy away from contact; the multi-dimensional version of him could be an All-American. As coach Tom Izzo said after State was ousted from the NCAA tournament by Duke in the Sweet 16, "You haven't seen the Gary Harris I recruited yet."
3Kentucky Wildcats
Symbolically speaking, no team fell further last season than the Wildcats, who went from national champs to first-round NIT upset victims. I doubt their fans will take any solace in the fact that efficiency-wise, five teams suffered even bigger dropoffs than Kentucky ... but that was the case:

Lamar had it much worse. And Lamar does not have one of the greatest recruiting classes of all-time arriving this summer, as well as three strong frontcourt rotation guys coming back. Things will get better quickly for the Wildcats, who should have an incredible 4-5 combo in freshman Julius Randle (the best of their mega-recruits) and sophomore Willie Cauley-Stein (who's ready to blossom into a star).
4Duke Blue Devils
Last week, Duke's Quinn Cook received an honor more prestigious and cred-boosting than any end-of-season award: Rapper Kendrick Lamar wore Cook's No. 2 jersey* during a campus concert, and the point guard posted shots of it on his Instagram account. The greatest Duke/hip-hop connection happened long ago and will never be topped -- it's Tupac in a Jeff Capel jersey -- but this is as good as it gets in 2013.

(*The fact that Lamar did not opt for "Hood 13" jersey leads me to conclude that Rodney Hood, the transfer swingman from Mississippi State, does not yet have his gear available for concert loans.)

On the hoops front, Duke should be an intriguing team, with Cook setting up a peerless group of wings in Hood, redshirt Andre Dawkins, super-recruit Jabari Parker and sophomore Rasheed Sulaimon. The frontcourt rotation is lacking, but they just need to be serviceable role players who complement all that perimeter firepower.
5Michigan Wolverines
After Mitch McGary had an end-of-freshman-year awakening / diet change, his NCAA tournament splits* were incredible:

McGary's tournament numbers were in the ballpark of what two extremely valuable power forwards -- Ohio State's Jared Sullinger and UCLA's Kevin Love -- posted over their whole freshman seasons:

McGary needed more time to develop than those two did, but his tourney performance did not seem like a fluke. He should be able to play at a similar, or slightly higher, level next season, with an even higher usage rate. And when you have a Sullinger/Love-quality big man, you don't necessarily need a killer point guard to be a top-10 team. Surround him with a competent point guard (Derrick Walton or Spike Albrecht), efficient wing scorer (Glenn Robinson III) and an elite sharpshooter (Nik Stauskas), and you have the makings of a contender.

(*Splits estimated from per-game offensive ratings and game tempos.)
6Ohio State Buckeyes
Last season, only four major-conference teams let one player take more than 32 percent of their shots: Georgia (Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, 33.1), Virginia Tech (Erick Green, 33.0), Louisville (Russ Smith, 32.7), Washington State (Brock Motum, 32.2) and Ohio State (Deshaun Thomas, 32.2). The loss of Thomas leaves an even bigger hole in the Buckeyes' offense than did losing Sullinger in 2012 -- so why are they here?

Because Thomas was not a major factor on defense, and they return perhaps the best duo of defensive guards in the country in Aaron Craft and Shannon Scott. As long as Amir Williams can give them quality minutes as a shot-challenger in the paint, they should be a top-10 defense once again. And if junior LaQuinton Ross blossoms into a high-efficiency, go-to scorer, they'll give Michigan State and Michigan a run for the Big Ten title.
7Arizona Wildcats
The Wildcats' offense will take a hit after losing its ball-dominating guard (Mark Lyons) and its three most efficient forwards (Kevin Parrom, Solomon Hill and Grant Jerrett). But they still have a wealth of athletes, and a new point guard, Duquesne transfer T.J. McConnell, who's far more likely to create transition buckets for teammates than Lyons was. When McConnell ran as a sophomore for the Dukes, 47.1 percent of his possessions were assists, compared to just 10.8 for Lyons last season. There will be more incentive for players like Nick Johnson and Brandon Ashley to take off on the break:

(Chart data from Synergy Sports Technology.)
8Florida Gators
Kenny Boynton, Mike Rosario and Erik Murphy combined to take 546 threes for the Gators last season, and they're all gone for '13-14. What may surprise you, though, is that Florida's best catch-and-shoot scorer is coming back. That would be sophomore Michael Frazier, who scored 1.435 PPP on his 92 attempts last season. Maybe he'll play a Lee Humphrey-like role in a surprise Final Four run?

(Chart data from Synergy Sports Technology.)
9North Carolina Tar Heels
Last year at this time, everyone was hyping power forward James Michael McAdoo as an All-America candidate. It turned out that the Tar Heels' best sophomore was not him but rather two-guard P.J. Hairston, who didn't become a regular starter until mid-February. Hairston's season-long numbers are decent, but if you isolate his 14 starts, he shows real star potential. His usage rate drops from 26.8% to 23.7% when he plays extended minutes, perhaps because he doesn't feel so rushed to take shots, and his offensive rating skyrockets to All-America levels:

10Oklahoma State Cowboys
If Travis Ford doesn't end Bill Self's Big 12 title streak this season, it may never happen. The Cowboys have a clear talent advantage, and sophomore point guard Marcus Smart is the obvious pick for league player of the year as well as a top Naismith/Wooden Award candidate. Although Russ Smith's draft decision had the biggest impact on college hoops rankings, it was Smart's shocking decision that had the biggest impact on the NBA draft. He was likely to go in the top five as the first point guard off the board ... and as Shane Ryan pointed out, Smart is well aware that he left $9-10 million on the table. He doesn't care. He wanted another crack at college after losing to Oregon in his one and only NCAA tournament game. If Smart can add a long-range jumper to his arsenal -- he shot just 29.0 percent on threes as a freshman -- he could feasibly be taken as high as No. 2 in the 2014 draft. (No one is going to unseat Andrew Wiggins at No. 1.)
11Wisconsin Badgers
Bo Ryan has never missed the NCAA tournament during his UW tenure, which means he's adept at solving year-to-year personnel puzzles. I'm curious to see how he accounts for losing his three best defensive rebounders from last season -- Ryan Evans (21.5% DReb rate), Jared Berggren (18.1) and Mike Bruesewitz (15.7). Quality defensive rebounding has been the most consistent component of the Badgers' defensive success, as they've ranked in the top 30 for the past seven seasons:

Ben Brust is one of the better rebounding guards in the game, but he can't be the solution. Swingman Sam Dekker and stretch four Frank Kaminsky, who should both step into the starting lineup, were strong offensive players who didn't do much glass-crashing last season. They'll need to shoulder that burden this time around.
12Virginia Cavaliers
The reason Tony Bennett played point guard Jontel Evans for 30-plus minutes per game, despite him shooting an abysmal 39.2 percent on his twos, was because Evans was an elite on-ball defender in the Cavaliers' Pack-Line D. He will be missed in '13-14. What Virginia should have, though -- for the first time in the Bennett Era -- is the makings of a top-40 offense. Versatile 6-6 scorer Joe Harris should be the early favorite for ACC Player of the Year, Akil Mitchell is an underrated, efficient scorer and sophomore Justin Anderson showed flashes of star potential in the NIT, averaging 19.0 points per game.
13Georgetown Hoyas
I can't wait to see how the Josh Smith Experiment pans out for Georgetown, but he's not the reason the Hoyas are the favorite to capture the New Big East's first title. They're ranked this high because they bring back everyone but Otto Porter, and senior Markel Starks should be the best point guard in that league. All the attention was (justifiably) on Porter last season, but Starks shot 41.7 percent from long range while keeping his turnovers to a minimum and playing solid perimeter defense. He and sophomore shooting guard D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera will form an unsung-yet-formidable backcourt.
14Syracuse Orange
The Orange's offense wasn't always pretty last season, when their two starting guards, Michael Carter-Williams and Brandon Triche, combined to shoot 29.0 percent (84-of-290) from beyond the arc. It's not likely to improve this year, with the backcourt as well as wing sharpshooter James Southerland departing, but the zone defense that dominated in the NCAA tournament should be good enough to guarantee them a third- or fourth-place finish in the new ACC. Rakeem Christmas and Baye Keita, the shot-swatters who helped Syracuse lead the nation in block percentage, are both back, and a healthy DaJuan Coleman should be a dominant force on the glass.
15New Mexico Lobos
The team Steve Alford left behind should be better than the one he's inheriting at UCLA, mostly because the Lobos bring back an elite inside-outside combination in center Alex Kirk and point guard Kendall Williams. Kirk's 7-foot presence in the paint was a key reason why New Mexico ranked seventh nationally in two-point field-goal D last season, and Williams is much, much more talented than the version of him you saw against Harvard in the NCAA tournament. He and Boise State's Derrick Marks figure to be the best floor generals in the Mountain West, where the Broncos need to be regarded as a serious sleeper candidate to win the league.
16UConn Huskies
No perfect, all-encompassing player-value stat exists, but there are some decent attempts at it, such as John Hollinger's PER formula, Ken Pomeroy's kPOY and John Pudner's Value Add. And none of those metrics agrees on who's the most valuable player returning to college hoops.

PER says it's Creighton's Doug McDermott. A reasonable choice, since he'll be on everyone's first-team All-America lists.

kPOY says it's Louisville's Russ Smith. Not a surprising choice, either, given that he's the best player on the defending national champ.

Value Add says that it's UConn's Shabazz Napier. Which is extremely surprising, because no one is talking about Napier as an All-America candidate. UConn's postseason ban did cause Napier's strong junior season to get overlooked, and with something to actually play for as a senior, he should get even better ... but I'm not yet willing to call him a Wooden/Naismith candidate. I am, however, willing to speculate that he can lead the Huskies to a second-place finish in the AAC and a trip back to the NCAAs.

The Next 16: 17. UCLA, 18. Gonzaga, 19. Marquette, 20. Kansas, 21. Boise State, 22. VCU, 23. Tennessee, 24. Memphis, 25. Indiana, 26. Iowa, 27. Wichita State, 28. Creighton, 29. Pittsburgh, 30. Notre Dame, 31. Colorado, 32. St. Louis

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