10. Ohio State: Deshaun Thomas and Aaron Craft headline the returning players for the Buckeyes, but there's plenty of depth here to work with. This program is in re-load mode, so don't expect drops just because they lose first rounders or All American candidates. This team will once again be elite on defense, and if they can find out how to fill Sully's offense, then they'll once again be competing for a No. 1 seed.
9. North Carolina: Lose four first rounders? No sweat – they might be better. James Michael McAdoo and PJ Hairston are studs waiting to happen, and with players returned from injury and no Kendall Marshall hole on the perimeter, they should play some pretty good defense. They key, unfortunately, is likely the play of frosh point guard Marcus Paige, which is rarely a good thing. But he has the talent (and UNC has the depth) to buck that trend.
8. Kansas: I'm detecting a trend here. Thomas Robinson – perhaps the best player in college last year not named Anthony Davis – as is Tyshawn Taylor. But they have Jeff Withey, who is this year's KU candidate for roll player to All American progression. And if you believe some, perhaps the most skilled player on the roster sat out all of last year.
7. Syracuse: For their Big East encore, the Orangemen will be looking to take down the Big East. Then the Boeheim zone will be off to the ACC. Michael Carter Williams leads the return of four experienced, exceptionally talented players. And this is added to by an excellent freshmen class (including redshirt) which has been drawing rave reveiws from everyone who sees them.
6. Michigan State: No more Draymond Green? Well, don't shed too many tears for Tom Izzo. Now Keith Appling, Branden Dawson, Adreian Payne and Derrick Nix form the corp of the starters, and they're joined by one of the best shooting guard prospects in the nation in Gary Harris. And for a coach as skilled as Tom Izzo, that's just too much talent to expect them to take a step back.