Men’s College Basketball Way Too Early Top 25

By Jake Gewirtz   April 6, 2023 

Men’s College Basketball Way Too Early Top 25

With the college basketball season wrapping up, it’s time for everybody’s favorite list, the way too early Top 25. With players transferring at an all time rate, and draft decisions to be made, this list is subject to change at any moment. Nevertheless, we’ll rank the top 25 as best as we can.

Where will UConn, the reigning national champions, land on the list? Can FAU, after a surprising Final Four run, make the cut? Will Kentucky break into the top ten, and will the Big East’s dominance continue?

Find out below, with our version of the way too early Men’s Top 25:

1. Duke (Last season: 27-9, Round of 32)

With Kyle Filipowski gone, the Blue Devils will have to fill that role, but with the nation’s number two recruiting class and the return of Tryese Proctor and potentially Jermey roach, Duke should be a top team heading into next season.

2. Marquette (Last season: 29-7, Round of 32)

The Golden Eagles have a chance to return all five starters and some major contributors off the bench. 2022-2023 Big East Player of the Year Tyler Kolek will only get better and with a top 25 recruiting class, all of what made Marquette a top offense is back and a year older, making them a dangerous contender this season.

3. UCONN (Last season: 31-8, National Champion)

Coming off a National Championship, UCONN is ready for another deep run. If star big man Adama Sanogo returns to the Huskies, you’ll see them as number one on this list, returning most of their contributers besides projected lottery pick Jordan Hawkins, as well as the number four recruiting class of the nation entering campus in the fall.

4. Purdue (Last season: 29-6, Round of 64)

This ranking rests on the hope that Zach Edey will return to the Boilermakers in 2023. If the 7 ‘4’’ 2023 Naismith Player of The Year returns he will be joined by a now older and more experienced backcourt of Braden Smith and Fletcher Loyer. Purdue will be the best team in the Big 10 and a sure fire national championship candidate.

5. Creighton (Last season: 24-13, Elite Eight)

Creighton comes in as the third Big East team in our Top five. They will return most if not all of their core that got them within a point of the Final Four. Ryan Nembhard and Ryan Kalkbrenner will for sure be back and out of their three starters that will test the draft waters, even if the Blue Jays lose one, they should have enough to replace him and build off the end of last season to become a dangerous contender.

6. Houston (Last season: 33-4, Sweet 16)

It won’t be easy replacing Marcus Sasser along with other pieces, but Kevin Sampson is still at the helm which means the Cougars should remain elite defensively. Jamal Shead has proven he has what it takes to lead a team and should get help from fellow backcourt mate Emanuel Sharp. With the 18th best recruiting class coming in, and breakout candidates up and down their roster, Houston looks to continue their dominance, even in the Big 12. 

7. Michigan State (Last season: 21-13, Sweet 16)

The Spartans are bringing back the talented duo of AJ Hoggard and Jaden Akins, along with the number three recruiting class consisting of number two center Xavier Booker and another guard Jeremy Fears. Now if reigning leading scorer Tyson Walker returns, this could be the best Michigan State team since the Cassius Winston era and they will skyrocket to near the top of this list.

8. Kansas (Last Season: 28-8, Round of 32)

It’s time for Dujuan Harris and KJ Adams to take over. Although the roster turnover isnt great, with Harris ready to lead the team, Ernest Udeh ready to hold it down at center, the fifth best recruiting class, and three scholarship spots open, Bill Self will get his team ready for a deep run.

9. Miami (Last season: 29-8, Final Four)

With Nijel Pack and Norchad Omier returning and only gettin better, the Hurricanes already have a strong start, if star Isiah Wong returns, they can move up this list and will be set up for another long run in March. Look for the Hurricanes to be big players in the transfer and NIL games as they attempt to replace Jordan Miller. 

10. Arizona (Last season: 28-7, Round of 64)

Arizona should bring back Azuolas Tubelis who will be a preseason All-American if he returns, and Oumar Ballo. Pelle Larsson will also be back and is a big breakout candidate. People forget how good this team was before being knocked out by Princeton. If they pick up a guard in the portal, they will be extremely strong yet again.

11. Kentucky (Last Season: 22-12, Round of 32)

Kentucky is going to look very different from how they looked last year. They are most likely going to lose their top five leading scorers, including two-time All-American Oscar Tshiebwe, but they are well prepared to fill those holes. Kentucky is bringing in five top 30 players, including 4 five stars. Look for the Wildcats to be one of the most exciting teams of the 2023-24 season.

12. Arkansas (Last season: 22-14, Sweet 16)

The Razorbacks are in a difficult position with a lot riding on draft decisions. If Ricky Council IV returns along with a healthy Trevon Brazile, Arkansas will be a dangerous team. Eric Musselman will do his usual damage in the transfer portal and they have two five star freshmen coming in, though Mussleman has stated they will have to earn their minutes.

13. Florida Atlantic (Last season: 35-4, Final Four)

FAU is set to return eight of nine contributors barring they lose anyone to the transfer portal. This team won 35 games last year and was a buzzer beater away from reaching the national championship game. They are moving to the AAC, so the schedule will get tougher. It will be interesting to see how Dusty May’s team handles the high expectations.

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14. UCLA (Last Season: 31-6, Sweet 16)

UCLA is starting to go towards the right direction back to their glory days, but they are going to have many holes to fill for next year. Jaime Jaquez and Tyger Campbell are both graduating, and Jaylen Clark declared for the NBA draft, so the Bruins are losing their veteran backcourt. If Amari Bailey and Adam Bona stay in school for one more year, UCLA could be capable of making another deep run.

Mar 18, 2023; Sacramento, CA, USA; UCLA Bruins guard Amari Bailey (5) reacts during the second half against the Northwestern Wildcats at Golden 1 Center. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 18, 2023; Sacramento, CA, USA; UCLA Bruins guard Amari Bailey (5) reacts during the second half against the Northwestern Wildcats at Golden 1 Center. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

15. Alabama (31-6, Sweet 16)

Alabama is losing a lot of star power for next year. Brandon Miller, a likely top 5 pick in the NBA draft, Jahvon Quinerly, Charles Bediako, and Noah Clowney are all leaving. The Tide are going to have to heavily rely on the leadership of Mark Sears, their second leading scorer this past year, and Jaykwon Walton, transfer from Wichita State, if they want to make a deep run next year. 

16. Texas A&M (Last Season: 25-10, Round of 64)

The Aggies finished the season on a tear, ending as one of the hottest teams in the country before their first round lost to Penn State. They are expected to return Henry Coleman along with star guard Wade Taylor IV who will only get better. They are two of four returning starters that will help A&M compete for a title this season.

17. Gonzaga (Last Season: 31-6, Elite Eight)

Despite being one of the top teams in the sport over the last few years, next year could be rough for the Zags. They are losing their four leading scorers, including All-American big man Drew Timme, and unlike years in the past, they have a poor recruiting class that is ranked 36th in the nation. Unless the Bulldogs make a splash in the transfer portal, they could have a difficult time next year.

18. Texas (Last Season: 29-9, Elite Eight)

The Longhorns three leading scorers were all seniors this past season. They are banking on the fact that Dylan Disu returns for his final year of eligibility, and the production of incoming 5 star freshmen, Ron Holland and AJ Johnson. If Holland and Johnson turn out to be the players they are hyped up to be, watchout for Texas next year.

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19. USC (Last Season: 22-11, Round of 64)

USC is losing their two best players, seniors Boogie Ellis and Drew Peterson. They make up for it by bringing in the number one recruit in the nation, point guard Isaiah Collier, the trojans’ highest rated recruit ever. Collier is a playmaker and floor general who makes everyone around him better. He projects to be one of the top picks of the 2024 NBA draft if he has a successful season at USC.

20. Saint Mary’s (Last Season: 27-8, Round of 32)

Saint Mary’s is losing seniors Logan Johnson and Alex Ducas. Freshman Aidan Mahaney will take on the role of the Gaels best player as he put up a solid 13.9 points per game on 40% from three in his first year. If Saint Mary’s can get some veteran presence in the transfer portal, they can give Gonzaga a run for their money in the WCC.

21. North Carolina (Last Season: 20-13, Missed NCAA Tournament)

With Armando Bacot and RJ Davis returning, and Caleb Love departing, the Tar Heels are ready for a more balanced approach that makes them a potentially dangerous team heading into next season. Everyone’s eyes are on the Tar Heels in the transfer portal, which could define their success depending on if Hubert Davis can land some contributors.

22. Maryland (Last season: 22-13, Round of 32)

With Jahmir Young announcing he is coming back to College Park along with Julian Reese, the Terrapins are looking to build off a successful first season for coach Kevin Willard. Willard’s first full class ranks 15th in the nation, adding onto an already strong core. The addition of former Virginia Tech assistant Mike Jones to the staff, makes Maryland potential big players in the portal. There might be some ups and downs, but Maryland looks strong heading into 2023-2024.

23. Baylor (Last season: 23-11, Round of 32)

Baylor will be dealing with some tough losses, and will have to rely on Scott Drew to pull off some magic in the portal. Langston Love is back and will pair with five star freshman Ja’Kobe Walter in the backcourt and Jalen Bridges should be a major contributor. If Drew can find some strong defenders, the Bears could return to their usual top of the nation status.

24. Tennessee (Last season: 25-11, Sweet 16)

The Volunteers are waiting for several impact players to make eligibility decisions, which could change where they land on this list. If Julian Phillips returns that is huge for Tennessee along with a healthy Zakai Zieger, giving them one of the best guards in the SEC. With the number 16 recruiting class, the Volunteers have potential to be one of the better teams in the SEC and dangerous come march.

Tennessee's Julian Phillips (2) at the free-throw line during the NCAA college basketball game against Georgia on Wednesday, January 24, 2023 in Knoxville, Tenn. Gvx Ut Hoops Georgia
Tennessee’s Julian Phillips (2) at the free-throw line during the NCAA college basketball game against Georgia on Wednesday, January 24, 2023 in Knoxville, Tenn. Gvx Ut Hoops Georgia

25. Colorado (Last season: 18-17, Missed NCAA Tournament)

Colorado had a bumpy ride last season, but there were a lot of positive signs. They are bringing in Cody Williams, the eighth overall recruit and former TCU center Eddie Lampkin. They are returning four starters including KJ Williams and Tristan Da Silva who both averaged just under 16.0 a game last year. Look for the Buffaloes to be competitive against everyone and have a 20+ win season.

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