NCAA basketball rankings: Gonzaga, Villanova, Virginia headline Top 25

Kansas basketball coach Bill Self. (Photo by David K Purdy/Getty Images)
Kansas basketball coach Bill Self. (Photo by David K Purdy/Getty Images) /
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25. Louisville

Louisville might be the most controversial pick on this list, so it makes sense to start with them. They lost basically their entire starting roster from last season. They replaced them with reigning Big South Player of the Year Carlik Jones as a grad transfer and Charles Minlend, Jr. from the University of San Francisco. They have some work to do, but they have the talent to make it happen.

24. UCLA

UCLA took a major hit when they lost Daishen Nix to the NBA G League despite him already committing to the Bruins. The five-star point guard was supposed to be a game-changer for a UCLA team that’s missing a direction. Then, Jalen Hill declared for the NBA Draft. It’s been a really rough week for UCLA. Still, if Chris Smith returns, there’s some upside with this team. They are returning all five starters, and the team drastically improved last season. They’ll take another step this season in the Pac 12.

23. Ohio State

At one point last season, the Ohio State Buckeyes were the No. 2 team in the country. They were pretty quickly exposed even before conference play and now it’s tough to know what to expect from them next season. What makes it even harder to predict is Kaleb Wesson, C.J. Walker and Alonzo Gaffney all announced possible intentions to join the NBA Draft class. Some may come back, especially Walker. They added Seth Towns, a former Ivy League Player of the Year at Harvard, and Jimmy Sotos through the transfer portal to help ease some of the losses.

22. Florida

The Florida Gators were supposed to be an amazing team this past season, but something just didn’t click despite all their talent. There’s a possibility that could be a blessing in disguise. Keyontae Johnson and Andrew Nembhard both decided to return to school. The only two players in the NBA Draft pool is Andrew Nembhard and Tre Mann, who both will likely fall outside the top 60 and return to school. They could be really good next season, despite losing their best player in Kerry Blackshear. They could replace him with Michigan transfer Colin Castleton, but they need to hope the transfer rules ease due to the pandemic.

21. Texas

This may end up being too low for Texas, who welcome five-star recruit Greg Brown to a team that seemed on the upswing last season. Jericho Sims decided to return despite an injury-plagued season and Courtney Ramey‘s late-season breakout could build to something better. Shaka Smart is probably in need of an NCAA Tournament berth or bust and that might bring out the best in him. Getting a second chance at life and getting Brown in the process could have Texas making some noise in the Big 12 unexpectedly.