We did a Top 25 for 2018-2019 the day after Villanova defeated Michigan for the title. Now that everyone has announced whether they’re going to the NBA or returning to school, we’ve tweaked the Top 25. Villanova was hit hard; Nevada and Syracuse were big winners.
1. Duke (29-8, Lost in Elite 8) – Entire starting lineup is gone, but they’ve got three of the top five recruits in the country, led by 2019 projected #1 NBA pick RJ Barrett, and human highlight reel Zion Williamson.
2. Kansas (31-8, Lost in Final 4) – Four impact transfers keep the Jayhawks here despite losing their three best players from last year’s overachieving team.
4. Nevada (29-8, Lost in the Sweet 16) – This will be the best Wolfpack team in school history. Jordan Caroline and the Martin Twins are coming back, plus three impact transfers arrive and they got a 5-star recruit in forward Jordan Brown.
5. Loyola-Chicago (32-6, Lost in the Final 4) – They won’t take anyone by surprise, but coach Porter Moser should get back to the Final 4, especially with All-American candidate Clayon Custer leading the way.
6. Tennessee (26-9, Lost in the 2nd Round) – Tons of value on Rick Barnes to take this team to the Final 4 next year. Grant Williams and Admiral Schofield are among the best 1-2 punches in the country.
7. Syracuse (23-14, Lost in the Sweet 16) – Tyus Battle came close to leaving for the NBA, but his return means Jim Boeheim can get back to the Final 4. Is Marek Dolezaj the best glue guy in the country?
8. Kentucky (26-11, Lost in the Sweet 16) – Another stacked recruiting class, plus a couple under-the-radar players returning (Nick Richards, Quade Green, PJ Washington), and they should fight for SEC supremacy, again. If they get Stanford Travis Reid (19.5 ppg, 8.7 rpg) to help up front, they’ll be a fringe title contender.
9. Kansas State (25-12, Lost in the Elite Eight) – All five starters are back for the defensive-minded team that shocked Kentucky in the Sweet 16.
10. Villanova (36-4, Won National Title) – Nobody was hurt more by losses than the Wildcats, who lost their four best players. Donte DiVincenzo and Omari Spellman hurt the most, because they could have been 1st Team All-American candidates. But Jay Wright still has four contributors back, plus 5-star point guard Jahvon Quinerly.