Early 2012-13 Ranking: Teams 31 to 45
Continuing with the Early 2012-13 Ranking, here are teams 31 to 45.
Its worth repeating that I had to make many assumptions about the NBA Draft in compiling the following list, and I've noted which assumptions I've made. This ranking will be updated later in the summer once players have made their official draft decisions. Also uncertain is where some remaining unsigned recruits will end up, and how the coaching carousel will take form. I purposely made no assumptions about where unsigned prospects will end up. (All prospect rankings are according to the Rivals 150 ranking.)
Early 2012-13 Ranking: Teams 31-45
31 UNLV UNLV loses two starters, though returnees Mike Moser and Anthony Marshall are two of the MWC's top talents. The hope is that incoming freshman Katin Reinhardt (7th best shooting guard by Rivals) helps offset the loss of sharp-shooter Chace Stanback.
32 ArizonaWhile Solomon Hill and Nick Johnson are solid returning players, its really all about the newcomers. In Brandon Ashley, Kaleb Tarczewski, Gabe York, and Grant Jerrett, Arizona welcomes 4 Top 50 recruits with pro potential. The team's lack of star point guard could hold them back however.
33 Davidson Already the Southern Conference's elite team, Davidson should be even better next year with everyone of note returning. De'Mon Brooks and Jake Cohen form a solid inside-outside tandem, and with a little bit of luck in non-conference play, Davidson could be a Top 25 team. This is the year Davidson reaps the rewards of the Steph Curry recruiting bounce.
34 TennesseeOnce Jarnell Stokes joined the team, Tennessee played like an NCAA Tournament team down the stretch. With the likes of Golden and Maymom returning, the Vols could even surpass this projection.
35 Ohio Everyone returns from a team that was just a few possessions away from the Elite Eight. Despite that, Ohio will not be a lock for the MAC title with solid squads returning across the league. Perhaps the league can potentially return to multiple-bid territory?
36 WashingtonIt all comes down to the Draft for Washington. Freshman Tony Wroten and sophomore Terrence Ross are potential 1st Round Draft picks. I'm assuming for this prediction, that one of the two returns. If both return, UW could certainly make a push for the Pac-12 title.
37 Georgetown While Georgetown had a Top 15 season, they lose their best guard in Jason Clark and best big in Henry Sims. Hollis Thompson should return along with emerging talent Otto Porter to form a solid frontcourt. 5-star recruit D'Vauntes Smith Rivera (ranked 22nd by Rivals) is the key however. He replaces Clark as the team's main cog in the backcourt.
38 Cincinnati Cincinnati heads into next season without seniors Yancy Gates and Dion Dixon. Besides losing their 2nd and 3rd leading scorers, Gates was also their leading rebounder and main interior presence. With little recruiting help on the way, it will be key that Sean Kilpatrick continues to emerge as a bona fine star.
39 Colorado St The Rams were probably never as good as their RPI suggested, but they still had a damn good season. Will Bell is a minor loss, but the key cogs return for another shot at an MWC title. A pair of 3-star recruits join the fray as well, a better recruiting haul than usual.
40 St. Joseph'sWith the entire roster returning, St. Joseph's should be a contender for the Atlantic 10 crown. Anything less than a tourney bid would be extremely disappointing.
41 Murray StAlthough Isaiah Canaan is a star, others will need to step up now that Donte Poole, Ivan Aska, and Jewaun Long depart. In those three seniors, Murray loses almost 45% of its scoring. The program does potentially welcome the OVC's best recruiting class however.
42 UMASSAlthough leading rebounder Sean Carter graduates, UMASS should be in the A10's upper echelon. Do-everything sophomore guard Chaz Williams has been lighting up the NIT, and will be a contender for next season's A10 Player of the Year.
43 South Dakota StWith no seniors on the roster, South Dakota St will be hoping to improve on their 1st round NCAA Tournament loss. Although Nate Wolters improved his all-around game this year, he needs to recapture the long-range shot that propelled him to 40% from three his sophomore year.
44 PurdueIn Robbie Hummel, Lewis Jackson, and Ryne Smith, Purdue loses almost 50% of its scoring production, as well as their leaders in rebounds, assists, blocks, and steals. Although there is young talent waiting to breakout and a top-25 recruiting class on the way, Purdue will need another year before they're a major contender.
45 Missouri Frank Haith will somehow try and rebound from this year's shock 1st round exit without Denmon, English, Ratliffe, or Pressey. Although Missouri is loading up on solid (though not amazing) freshmen, it will take another year or two before the new squad finds its identity.