Early Preseason Top 50

April 9th, 2007

1. UCLA - Back to back Final Four trips could yield championship if Afflalo returns.
2. Kansas - Even if one of Rush or Wright go pro, this is a top 5 team.. but there's a good chance they wont win it all.
3. North Carolina - This assumes Wright is gone but Hansbrough returns. This team is still loaded regardless.
4. Memphis - Even without Derrick Rose, Calipari's squad is primed for a Final Four run.
5. Louisville - With continued improvement from Derrick Caracter, there's no limit to the Cards success.
6. Tennessee - If Lofton returns, the Vols lone flaw is lacking a dominant defensive center.
7. Ohio State - Without Oden, unheralded reserves like Hunter and Lighty will emerge as big time players.
8. USC - If Nick Young leaves, the Trojans would drop some, but Tim Floyd is stockpiling athletes.
9. Texas - Even without Durant, the Longhorns are in good hands with stud point guard DJ Augustin.
10. Michigan State - Last year Neitzel became a star, next year Raymar Morgan becomes one.
11. Duke - McRoberts was never a go to player anyways, the Blue Devils are primed for a major bounce back.
12. Marquette - No major losses here. The only thing holding the Eagles back is James' shooting %.
13. Arkansas - Whoever gets this job walks into an automatic NCAA Tournament bid.
14. Alabama - Maybe they'll make me look bad again, but a healthy Steele would make all the difference.
15. Washington State - I don't love this team by any means, but no big losses from a 26 win squad.
16. Georgia Tech - Forget Young, Crittenton might score 20 a game and they have all the pieces.
17. Clemson - This team should finally break out like Oregon did last year.
18. Notre Dame - Irish lose two top scorers, but the inside play of Kurz and Harangody is best in Big East.
19. Indiana - Some have this team higher, but the Hoosiers won't be that much better than last year.
20. Stanford - Cardinal had no business being in tourney, but are legit Sweet 16 team in 08.
21. West Virginia - Huggins' style is different from Beilein's, but he'll find a way to win as always.
22. Kansas State - Walker's the real deal, but this depends on Beasley ending up in Manhattan or not.
23. Mississippi State - I love Jamont Gordon's game. Key might be better play from Varnado.
24. Gonzaga - Raivio was never a big game player anyways, the return of Heytvelt has this team back in polls.
25. Pittsburgh - Lose of Gray alone can be offset, but Graves and Kendall were also major contributors.
26. UCONN - Young Huskies flopped, but Calhoun won't let that happen again.. right?
27. Butler - With Graves and Green back, Bulldogs will be good again.. but they're due for some bad luck.
28. Oregon - Loss of Brooks shouldn't be understated, and Ducks are only a year removed from mediocrity.
29. Kentucky - Loss of Morris stings, but Gillispie is proving to be a coaching magician.
30. Washington - Too bad Hawes is gone, this could have been a top 15 team.
31. Oklahoma State - Loss of Boggan hurts, but Curry and added depth will keep Cowboys competitive.
32. Georgetown - I'm still feeling both Hibbert and Green will go.. with one back, things obviously change.
33. NC State - Late run was exciting, but still.. they only won 5 conference games last year.
34. Southern Illinois - Some have Salukis Top 25, but like Brooks above, loss of Tatum is big deal.
35. Xavier - With Burrell and Lavender back, still the top team top to bottom in the A10.
36. New Mexico State - Fringe tournament team returns 5 of 6 top scorers.
37. Maryland - Terps will be young, but look for big year from improving Osby.
38. Nevada - Big man's gone, but Kemp and Sessions are one of the country's underrated tandems.
39. Syracuse - Lack of bigs hurt, but emergence of Rautins gives Cuse a nice 3-guard rotation.
40. Davidson - Its hard not to jump on the Stephen Curry bandwagon.

Next 10: Arizona, BYU, DePaul, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Providence, Texas A&M, Villanova, Wichita State