16. Wisconsin (26-10)
Key losses: Jordan Taylor, Rob Wilson
Key returnees: Jared Berggren, Mike Bruesewitz, Ben Brust, Ryan Evans, John Gasser, Frank Kaminsky
Key newcomers: Zach Bohannon (Air Force transfer) Sam Dekker, George Marshall, Zak Showalter
The skinny: Taylor is gone from the team that gave Syracuse all it could handle in the Sweet 16, but Coach Bo Ryan always has his teams in the mix. Gasser and Brust should form an experienced backcourt, and Dekker, a Wisconsin schoolboy legend, can be one of the top frosh in the Big Ten.
17. ARIZONA (23-12)
Key losses: Kyle Fogg, Jesse Perry, Josiah Turner
Key returnees: Angelo Chol, Solomon Hill, Nick Johnson, Jordin Mayes, Kevin Parrom
Key newcomers: Brandon Ashley, Grant Jerrett, Mark Lyons (Xavier transfer), Kaleb Tarczewski, Gabe York
The skinny: You would think things would be calmer around the Arizona program now that Turner has taken his antics elsewhere. Lyons, a former two guard, will run the point, and Parrom and Mayes are both healthy after injuries. The four frosh bring a lot of size and talent.
18. MICHIGAN (24-10)
Key losses: Stu Douglass, Zack Novak, Evan Smotrycz
Key returnees: Trey Burke, Tim Hardaway, Jr., Jon Horford, Jordan Morgan, Matt Vogrich
Key newcomers: Mitch McGary, Glenn “Tre” Robinson, Nick Stauskas
The skinny: Burke told The Detroit Free Press he believes his team is “national championship contenders.” While we’re not so sure about that, Burke and Hardaway Jr. should be among the best backcourts in the nation, and if McGary lives up to the huge expectations surrounding him, he will be a force in the Big Ten.
19. MEMPHIS (26-9)
Key losses: Will Barton, Wesley Witherspoon
Key returnees: Antonio Barton, Tarik Black, Chris Crawford, Ferrakohn Hall, Joe Jackson, Stan Simpson, Adonis Thomas, Hippolyte Tsafack
Key newcomers: Shaq Goodwin, Geron Johnson, Damien Wilson
The skinny: The Tigers get set to play their final year in Conference USA before jumping to the Big East in 2013. Josh Pastner’s club features a bulked-up Thomas, now listed at 252 pounds, on the wing, but Pastner told the Commercial Appeal he’s not worried. “I think he looks good,” Pastner told the paper. “He’s gonna be just fine.”
20. UNLV (26-9)
Key losses: Oscar Bellfield, Brice Massamba, Chace Stanback, Kendall Wallace
Key returnees: Justin Hawkins, Carlos Lopez, Anthony Marshall, Mike Moser, Reggie Smith, Quintrell Thomas
Key newcomers: Anthony Bennett, Khem Birch (Pitt transfer; mid-year), Daquan Cook, Savon Goodman, Bryce Dejean-Jones (USC transfer), Demetris Morant, Katin Reinhardt
The skinny: Did any team in America have a better offseason than the Rebels? They added Bennett, Birch, Goodman, Cook, Morant and Reinhardt to a team that already includes Moser. Now coach Dave Rice must put all the pieces together and make it work.
21. N.C. STATE (24-13)
Key losses: Alex Johnson, Deshawn Painter, C.J. Williams
Key returnees: Lorenzo Brown, Richard Howell, C.J. Leslie, Scott Wood
Key newcomers: Tyler Lewis, Rodney Purvis, T.J. Warren
The skinny: Leslie’s decision to forego the NBA Draft and return to campus automatically makes the Wolfpack an elite team. Brown and Wood should be one of the top backcourts in the land, and coach Mark Gottfried has added three McDonald’s All-Americans as freshmen.
22. MINNESOTA (23-15)
Key losses: Ralph Sampson III
Key returnees: Joe Collins, Andre Hollins, Austin Hollins, Trevor Mbakwe, Maurice Walker, Julian Welch, Rodney Williams
Key newcomers: Charles Buggs, Wally Ellenson
The skinny: Tubby Smith’s team returns its top five scorers in Mbakwe, Williams, Welch and the Hollins’. Mbakwe’s return was a huge boost after he averaged 14.0 points and 9.1 boards last season.
23. CREIGHTON (29-6)
Key losses: Antoine Young
Key returnees: Gregory Echenique, Grant Gibbs, Doug McDermott, Jahenns Manigat, Ethan Wragge
Key newcomers: Geoffrey Groselle, Nevin Johnson, Andre Yates, Isaiah Zierden
The skinny: McDermott and Echenique should be one of the top frontcourts in the nation, while Manigat and Wragge provide shooting from the perimeter.
24. VCU (29-7)
Key losses: Bradford Burgess
Key returnees: Rob Brandenberg, Troy Daniels, Treveon Graham, D.J. Haley, Juvonte Reddic, Darius Theus, Briante Weber
Key newcomers: Mohamed Alie-Cox, Jordan Burgess, Melvin Johnson, Justin Tuoyo
The skinny: The Rams enter the A-10 with a pedigree of having reached a Final Four in 2011. Theus will run the point with Graham and Daniels as shooters. Jordan Burgess replaces his big brother, Bradford.
25. MIAMI (20-13)
Key losses: DeQuan Jones, Malcolm Grant
Key returnees: Garrius Adams, Rion Brown, Reggie Johnson, Shane Larkin, Trey McKinney-Jones, Durand Scott
Key newcomers: Bishop Daniels, Tonye Jekiri
The skinny: Coach Jim Larranaga lost out on landing scoring guard Melvin Johnson, but the Hurricanes have a nice backcourt combination in Larkin and Scott. Kadji and Johnson form a tough combination at the power forward and center spots.
Five to watch: Gonzaga, St. Louis, Kansas State, Texas, Missouri.