2011: Early Top 50 Ranking

    
April 5th, 2010
Like every year, I had a lot of fun putting together the annual early Top 50 ranking. It might seem too early to rank teams, but I nailed all four of this year's Final Four participants in last April's ranking: Duke #1, Michigan St #5, West Virginia #9, and Butler #10. It goes without saying that a lot can change in coming weeks as final Draft decisions are made and the final recruits get "hired" by their respective programs. A Brandon Knight or a Josh Selby could put a contender over the top.. so there will be an updated off-season Top 50 sometime in May.

 

 

Definitely post your thoughts on places where you agree or differ.. there's certainly many debates to be had.

 

2010-11 Super-Early Top 50 Ranking: April 5th

by Shawn Siegel: Collegehoops.net Editor

 

Team 2010*
1 Purdue 11
If the big 3 return like indicated, then the Boilers will be a true national title contender.
2 Michigan State 18
Morgan is the only senior, and newcomer Payne might be a better forward anyways.
3 Duke 2
Scheyer made this team tic, but there's another load of top-level talent joining the fray.
4 Syracuse 6
Rautins & Johnson are certainly big losses. But Boeheim welcomes the Big East's top class.
5 Kansas St 5
So long as Pullen returns, there's more then enough returning talent to make this squad legit once again.
6 Butler 7
Gordon Hayward is going pro but Matt Howard, Shelvin Mack and Ronald Nored all return. Khyle Marshall is an intriguing freshman at the same position as the departed Hayward.
7 West Virginia 3
Will take a step back without do-everything Da'Sean Butler, but still a quality squad.
8 Pittsburgh 19
The core of the team returns intact, and Dixon has a nice new extension.
9 Villanova 16
Season ended on a sour note, but Cats might go into next season underrated.
10 Xavier 17
I'm counting Jordan Crawford among the returnees.. if he's gone, things get much more dicey.
11 Kansas 1
Assuming both Henry & Aldrich both leave, this team will lack a dominant force. There is young talent hiding on the roster though.
12 Texas 36
Forget the end of the season slump, there's more then enough talent on the roster and Tristan Thompson eases the loss of Damion James.
13 Ohio State 20
The loss of Turner is obviously huge, but the Buckeyes welcome another loaded Matta class.
14 UNC 62
Even moreso then Ed Davis' NBA decision, success will depend on whether the 5-star class excels or plays like the 09 crew.
15 Vanderbilt 27
Despite losing Jermaine Beal, Vandy has a chance to make some serious noise in the SEC.
16 Missouri 43
A couple seniors depart, but this is still an improving team with some underrated freshmen joining the fold.
17 Memphis 58
With Williams returning along with a Top 5 class, Memphis returns to national prominence in 2010.
18 Kentucky 4
Who knows what UK's roster will end up looking like, but you have to assume Calipari will manage to snag at least one of the remaining unsigned studs.
19 San Diego St 25
With everyone of note returning from the MWC champs, Aztecs are one of the best out west.
20 Tennessee 9
Lose Chism, Prince, Maze. Tobias Harris is their name freshman, but Jordan McRae might be the true star.
21 Wisconsin 22
Losing Hughes & Bohanon will hurt, but Bo Ryan always finds a way.
22 Florida 57
Only lose Dan Werner. All of the young talent will eventually gel, and when they do, look out.
23 Baylor 8
Carter was a senior, and Udoh will likely head for the pros. Can Fr Perry Jones offset Udoh's departure?
24 Temple 10
With Fernandez & Allen returning, the Owls will be solid once again.
25 BYU 24
If Fredette returns, Cougars are MWC contenders once again.
26 Georgetown 14
Who will step up in the middle to replace Greg Monroe (who we assume will eventually declare for the Draft)?
27 Illinois 68
Coming off a weak season, Illinois returns everyone of note along with a top-notch 3-man class.
28 Florida State 44
The usual FSU-type team.. good, but not great. A lot of depth, but no dominant players. This assumes Alabi goes pro.
29 Clemson 41
Booker is the big loss, but there's more then enough depth remaining.
30 Ole Miss 50
The Rebels always seem on the verge of making some noise, so maybe this is the year it happens.
31 New Mexico 15
I think Hobson will ultimately enter the Draft, and Martinez is a senior. Though the freshmen are quality, there will be a drop.
32 Richmond 26
Kevin Anderson returns to lead the improving Spiders.
33 Gonzaga 31
The Bouldin loss can be overcome. The big news is that Harris doesn't plan on going pro.
34 Marquette 54
Lazar Hayward is a big loss, but look out for newcomer Vander Blue.
35 Arizona St 72
Glasser is an important loss, but Keala King has a chance to be special, and Herb Sendek knows how to coach.
36 Washington 34
Will be hard to make up for Pondexter loss, but you have to look how this team came together as the season wore on.
37 Utah St 38
Senior Quayle is the only loss, but the Aggies are still the team to beat in the WAC.
38 Maryland 23
Vasquez is the big loss, but 2 other seniors leave. One of the Terps better classes in recent years joins fray.
39 UTEP 42
Except for Derrick Caracter, the core of this underrated team returns. Tim Floyd is a step down though.
40 Texas A&M 12
Lose top 3 players, but the freshmen class is underrated, and A&M can fall back on good team D.
41 Murray St 48
On the verge of becoming the Butler of the OVC?
42 VCU 66
This assumes Sanders returns. If not, they'll still be underrated but not Top 40.
43 Old Dominion 28
With Lee graduating, it will be up the solid core of current juniors to lead the way.
44 Cincinnati 65
All the pieces for a tourney team are there, it's just a matter of putting it all together.
45 Alabama 103
Could be an underrated squad heading into the year. Green & Mitchell have pro talent.
46 Minnesota 61
Loss of Westbrook not that big of a deal. This team will win about 10 games in the Big Ten.
47 Georgia Tech 30
Will likely lose 4 of top 6 scorers. Fr Jason Morris could be an impact ACC player.
48 UAB 47
Elijah Millsap is legit and this is a relatively well-coached team.
49 Wichita St 51
Do lose their best player in Clevin Hannah, but enter the season the MVC favorite in my estimation.
50 St Louis 86
Rick Majerus quietly possesses a young roster that's quickly learning how to win games.

 

**2010 ranking based on Final 4 RPI

 

Next Ten (alphabetical)

Arizona

Nic Wise was the only senior, but newcomer Bejarano has a chance to step in and score from day one.

Louisville

Lose Samuels, Sosa, Smith and the newcomers aren't terribly exciting.

Mississippi St

This squad couldn't even make the dance with Varnado in the middle. His loss will be felt.

Northern Iowa

The core of the team is decimated by graduation, but Jacobson will find a way.

Ohio

With Bassett & Cooper leading the way, and senior departures at other league contenders, Ohio is the team to beat in the MAC.

St. John's

This team is on the verge of returning to the tourney regardless of Lavin.

St Mary's

Graduations decimate the frontcourt, but you can't deny the amount of backcourt quality that returns.

UCLA

Despite the disappointment and turmoil, the pieces are still there for UCLA to once again contend for a Pac-10 title.

UCONN

It was only a matter of time until UCONN's glory run slowly eroded. In the running for some star recruits though, so that would certainly change things.

Virginia Tech

If Delaney returns, then Hokies move up substantially.

5 More to Watch

Notre Dame
Oklahoma St
UNLV
Wake Forest
Wofford

 

Check back soon for individual writer Top 25 lists, and then later in May for our post-NBA decision Top 50 update.