Florida's Corey Brewer, Taurean Green, Al Horford and Joakim Noah, Georgetown's
Jeff Green and Roy Hibbert, Kansas's Brandon Rush, North Carolina's Brandan
Wright, Ohio State's Greg Oden, Texas's Kevin Durant, UCLA's Arron Afflalo and
USC's Nick Young all jump to the NBA, this is how next season's rankings shape
1. NORTH CAROLINA
Provided Tyler Hansbrough passes on the draft to work on his offensive
repertoire, he'll be back with a vengeance for his junior season. After coming
within a Georgetown three-pointer of the Final Four in '07, the Tar Heels'
backcourt of sophomores Ty Lawson and Wayne Ellington has matured enough to
help Psycho T take Carolina all the way.
2. UCLA Junior
point guard Darren Collison, who was snubbed for All-America honors in '07,
will emerge from Afflalo's shadow and become a household name. With five-star
freshman power forward Kevin Love adding an offensive dimension inside, a third
straight Final Four and coach Ben Howland's first national title are well
3. KANSAS For the
second straight season the Jayhawks will be the best team on paper--but can
they get it done in March? Ballhawks Russell Robinson and Mario Chalmers will
ensure that the D remains fierce, but bullish guard Sherron Collins and elastic
forward Julian Wright need to become scoring stars.
4. MEMPHIS Chicago
phenom Derrick Rose, Rivals.com's top-ranked point guard, joins one of the
nation's deepest, most athletic rosters and should form a devastating duo in
the backcourt with slasher Chris Douglas-Roberts. Look for another undefeated
Conference USA run.
5. OHIO STATE As
long as ultrasteady point guard Mike Conley Jr. returns, the Buckeyes will
survive without their bearded baron of the paint. Incoming 7-foot freshman
Kosta Koufos will try to fill Oden's shoes, while guards Jamar Butler and
Daequan Cook, who played auxiliary roles in '06-07, will shoulder more of the
6. LOUISVILLE Rick
Pitino's collection of blue-chip youngsters--particularly breakout NCAA
tournament star Edgar Sosa, who dropped 31 on Texas A&M--looks ready to
outduel Marquette and Notre Dame for the Big East title.
STATE Tony Bennett--ball was no one-hit wonder. The coach signed a seven-year
extension, and the Cougars will lose only forward Ivory Clark from their
starting lineup. Led by its Island-Dairyland backcourt blend of Derrick Low
( Honolulu) and Kyle Weaver (Beloit, Wis.), Wazzu will be in the thick of a
tight Pac-10 race.
8. USC The
national spotlight will follow superrecruit O.J. Mayo to Troy, where the
Trojans are already loaded. He'll join Daniel Hackett and Gabe Pruitt in a
three-headed backcourt, and as long as the chemistry clicks--and it doesn't
become the O.J.-only show-- USC will be a force.
Sweet-shooting Chris Lofton, a likely Wooden Award front-runner, should have a
fine swan song in Knoxville after nearly bouncing Ohio State from the bracket
in '07. Look for point guard Ramar Smith, one of four freshmen who played major
minutes, to have a big sophomore season.