Gonzaga Bulldogs up, Villanova Wildcats down in Way-Too-Early Top 25 men’s college basketball rankings for 2022-23


We’re slowly checking off college basketball’s offseason mile markers. There was the NBA draft early-entry deadline on April 24, then the May 1 deadline for players to enter the transfer portal without needing a waiver to play immediately. While there are still a dozen or so impact players in the portal, things are slowing down on that front — although we should see some commitments once players in the draft pool return to school and focus on their recruitments.

The next big date is June 1, the early-entry withdrawal deadline. Plenty of players have officially made their stay-or-go decisions, but a number of them are bringing it down to the wire. We dive deeper into some of the key situations throughout this piece, but here’s a quick look at the biggest names to watch this week that will have the biggest impact on the next Way-Too-Early Top 25 update:

Drew Timme and Julian Strawther, Gonzaga; Trevor Keels, Duke; Dalen Terry, Arizona; Marcus Sasser, Houston; Jalen Wilson and Kevin McCullar, Kansas; Caleb Houstan and Moussa Diabate, Michigan; David Roddy, Colorado State; Jules Bernard, UCLA; and Isaiah Wong, Miami.

As for the newest update, we don’t have a change at the top, with North Carolina staying solid at No. 1. In fact, the entire top five remained the same. There was plenty of movement outside of that group, however, with Texas, Tennessee, Texas Tech and Illinois moving up thanks to key additions, Gonzaga moving into the top 10 with Drew Timme’s pro stock falling, and San Diego State jumping several spots after the return of Nathan Mensah. On the other side, Michigan took a tumble with Houstan boosting his stock and looking more likely to leave, and Villanova dropped after a further look at its potential roster without Justin Moore.

Previous: 1

After a tremendous April that saw the Tar Heels bring four of five starters back and land elite high school junior G.G. Jackson, it was a quieter month of May for Hubert Davis’ program. Kerwin Walton did enter the transfer portal, which could hurt UNC’s perimeter depth, but he played just five minutes in the NCAA tournament and had DNPs in six of the Tar Heels’ final 10 games. It appeared that Carolina was going to pick up a key transfer, but former Baylor forward Matthew Mayer opted for Illinois over the Tar Heels. Do they look elsewhere to find a more experienced forward? Northwestern transfer Pete Nance remains in the portal, but he has yet to withdraw from the NBA draft. The combination of Puff Johnson and Dontrez Styles isn’t a bad fallback plan at all, however. The duo won’t offer the shooting of Brady Manek but would provide versatility, athleticism and some defensive solidity.

Projected starting lineup:

Caleb Love (15.2 PPG)
R.J. Davis (13.4 PPG)
Leaky Black (4.9 PPG)
Puff Johnson (2.8 PPG)
Armando Bacot (16.5 PPG)

Previous: 2

Through 12 games last season, Marcus Sasser was one of the best guards in America, averaging 17.7 points, 2.2 steals and shooting nearly 44% from 3-point range. He then suffered a foot injury and missed the rest of the season, but the Cougars were expecting him back and fully healthy next season. That still might happen, but Sasser had a great performance at the G League Elite Camp, earning a call-up to the NBA draft combine, and he told reporters that he was 50-50 on whether to return to Houston. That would be a difficult loss to swallow. On top of that, Louisiana Tech transfer Kenneth Lofton Jr. — long considered a Houston lean — opted to remain in the NBA draft. Lofton, one of the most productive big men in the country, would have given the Cougars an anchor in the post.

Projected starting lineup:

Jamal Shead (10.0 PPG)
Marcus Sasser (17.7 PPG)
Tramon Mark (10.1 PPG)
Jarace Walker (No. 10 in ESPN 100)
J’Wan Roberts (3.2 PPG)

Previous: 3

Kentucky has only 10 scholarship players on its roster for next season, but the Wildcats might have as talented an eight-man rotation as anyone in the country, making their projected starting lineup something that will constantly be in flux throughout the offseason — and regular season. Returning starters Sahvir Wheeler and Oscar Tshiebwe are locks to be back in the lineup, while five-star guard Cason Wallace fits John Calipari’s preference for having two ball handlers and playmakers in the backcourt. After that, Calipari has options. He could go with high-scoring Illinois State transfer Antonio Reeves on the wing, or elite shooter CJ Fredrick. Up front, he could opt for versatile five-star forward Chris Livingston or potential breakout candidate Jacob Toppin.

Projected starting lineup:

Sahvir Wheeler (10.1 PPG)
Cason Wallace (No. 20 in ESPN 100)
Antonio Reeves (20.1 PPG at Illinois State)
Chris Livingston (No. 12 in ESPN 100)
Oscar Tshiebwe (17.4 PPG)

Previous: 4

With Johnny Juzang entering the NBA draft and Jaime Jaquez Jr. opting to return, the lone UCLA player to watch at the deadline is Jules Bernard. He steadily improved during his four seasons in Westwood, but isn’t projected to be selected and is considering a return to the Bruins for one more year. Bernard’s return would give Mick Cronin another versatile wing with size who can make shots from the perimeter. He finished the season playing some of his best basketball, averaging 15.6 points and 4.6 rebounds while shooting 44.9% from 3-point range over his last nine games. Having an aggressive playmaker like five-star guard Amari Bailey next to Tyger Campbell could open up even more space and shooting opportunities for Bernard next season. If Bernard doesn’t return, Jaylen Clark — who averaged 14.2 points and 6.0 rebounds in six starts — would see a bigger role.

Projected starting lineup:

Tyger Campbell (11.9 PPG)
Amari Bailey (No. 5 in ESPN 100)
Jules Bernard (12.8 PPG)
Jaime Jaquez Jr. (13.9 PPG)
Adem Bona (No. 16 in ESPN 100)

Previous: 5

Creighton skyrocketed in the last update of the rankings, having added South Dakota State transfer Baylor Scheierman — filling the one question mark the Bluejays had in their lineup. They lacked an elite scorer, despite returning four players who started at least 13 games last season. With Scheierman in the mix, Greg McDermott has all the pieces to make a Final Four run come March. One thing worth noting from the past few weeks is the NBA stock of Arthur Kaluma. ESPN released its early 2023 mock draft in early May, and while the first round was mostly filled with incoming freshmen and international prospects, the first returning college player listed was Kaluma, at No. 27. The 6-foot-7 forward had 24 points and 12 rebounds against Kansas in the NCAA tournament, and if he takes the leap forward draftniks are expecting, Creighton could have next season’s breakout star.

Projected starting lineup:

Ryan Nembhard (11.3 PPG)
Trey Alexander (7.4 PPG)
Baylor Scheierman (16.2 PPG at South Dakota State)
Arthur Kaluma (10.4 PPG)
Ryan Kalkbrenner (13.1 PPG)

Previous: 16

Gonzaga rises 10 spots after Drew Timme fell out of the top 60 of ESPN’s draft rankings. It might be a technicality, but players not projected to be selected are considered returning until there is definitive word otherwise. Timme might be the most impactful stay-or-go decision at the deadline, and while he reportedly looked good shooting from the perimeter at the draft combine, he could cap off a truly incredible college career with another season in Spokane. Julian Strawther also has to make a decision. If Timme does leave, Mark Few landed a key reinforcement in LSU transfer Efton Reid, a former five-star recruit who was one of the better post scorers in the 2021 high school class. It could be a stressful few days for Few and the Bulldogs, but they’re going to be the WCC favorite regardless.

Projected starting lineup:

Nolan Hickman (5.1 PPG)
Hunter Sallis (4.3 PPG)
Julian Strawther (11.8 PPG)
Anton Watson (7.3 PPG)
Drew Timme (18.4 PPG)

Previous: 9

Scott Drew won’t have quite the backcourt he had when Baylor won the national championship in 2021, but the Bears’ perimeter group should be one of the best in the country next season. Keyonte George is one of the best incoming freshmen in college basketball, a good scorer with size who has made strides defensively. Adam Flagler, a second-team All-Big 12 selection last season, announced last week he was returning to Waco for another season after initially entering the NBA draft, and a fully healthy LJ Cryer should also be back in the fold. Cryer was on his way to a breakout season, but he suffered multiple foot injuries and missed most of the final two months. He averaged 16.0 points over his final six healthy games. And don’t forget about Langston Love, a former top-30 recruit who missed all of last season after suffering an ACL injury in an October scrimmage.

Projected starting lineup:

Keyonte George (No. 6 in ESPN 100)
Adam Flagler (13.8 PPG)
LJ Cryer (13.5 PPG)
Jalen Bridges (8.4 PPG at West Virginia)
Flo Thamba (6.2 PPG)

Previous: 6

As always, Arkansas remains busy in the transfer market, landing Wichita State transfer Ricky Council IV after seeing Jaxson Robinson enter the portal. It’s a clear upgrade, as Council took a major step forward last season with the Shockers, going from 7.1 points and 3.4 rebounds to 12.0 points and 5.4 rebounds. The question is whether he can regain the shooting stroke he showed as a freshman, when he shot 44.4% from 3 as opposed to the 30.6% he shot last season. Council is an elite athlete and a legitimate NBA prospect, and he will push for an immediate starting spot given his two-way ability. Jaylin Williams was going to be the lone Arkansas name to watch at the deadline, but all spring signs pointed to Williams keeping his name in the draft — and this past weekend, he made it official. That puts some more pressure on Rhode Island transfers Makhel Mitchell and Makhi Mitchell.

Projected starting lineup:

Anthony Black (No. 15 in ESPN 100)
Nick Smith (No. 3 in ESPN 100)
Ricky Council IV (12.0 PPG at Wichita State)
Jordan Walsh (No. 11 in ESPN 100)
Makhel Mitchell (10.7 PPG at Rhode Island)

Previous: 7

As it stands, Jon Scheyer’s first season at the helm will depend almost entirely on an elite group of freshmen, with the Blue Devils expected to start as many as four newcomers from day one. What could change the equation would be either the return of Trevor Keels, who has until June 1 to withdraw from the NBA draft, or the addition of Northern Iowa transfer AJ Green, who is considering Iowa State and Duke as his next destination. Normally, the Blue Devils would be the heavy favorite — but Green’s father is an assistant coach under T.J. Otzelberger in Ames and the Cyclones have been considered his likely landing spot for months. Keels would give Scheyer a go-to scorer, and a return to Durham would likely seal up a first-round draft spot for the powerful guard, while Green is an elite shooter and scorer.

Projected starting lineup:

Jeremy Roach (8.6 PPG)
Dariq Whitehead (No. 2 in ESPN 100)
Mark Mitchell (No. 26 in ESPN 100)
Kyle Filipowski (No. 7 in ESPN 100)
Dereck Lively (No. 1 in ESPN 100)

Previous: 8

One wing out, one wing in. Bill Self watched Christian Braun stay in the draft as expected, but already landed a replacement in Texas Tech transfer Kevin McCullar, who should provide much-needed experience and defensive ability to the Jayhawks’ lineup. McCullar earned honorable mention All-Big 12 honors each of the past two seasons and has established himself as one of the best defenders in the country. He’s also a capable distributor from the wing, and averaged double figures in scoring in 2021 and 2022. Jalen Wilson improved his stock over the course of the past few weeks but is still not projected to be selected in ESPN’s draft rankings. Along with McCullar, who is still in the draft, Wilson is one to watch over the next couple of days, but a return to Lawrence — where he will have an increased role next season — would be beneficial.

Projected starting lineup:

Dajuan Harris Jr. (5.4 PPG)
Gradey Dick (No. 14 in ESPN 100)
Kevin McCullar (10.1 PPG at Texas Tech)
Jalen Wilson (11.0 PPG)
Ernest Udeh (No. 23 in ESPN 100)

Previous: 12

Texas is one of the headliners this month due to the addition of former Iowa State guard Tyrese Hunter, the nation’s top available transfer at the time of commitment. Hunter was Big 12 Freshman of the Year last season, averaging 11.0 points and 4.9 assists, and was one of the best defensive guards in the country. His addition should allow Marcus Carr to play more off the ball, while five-star freshmen Dillon Mitchell and Arterio Morris are also expected to make an immediate impact. Those four should combine to form one of the most explosive perimeter groups in the country, but shooting will be a question mark. None is considered a knockdown shooter, and New Mexico State transfer Sir’Jabari Rice is a career 33.4% shooter from 3. Rowan Brumbaugh might be the best shooter in Texas’ backcourt, but it could be difficult to find minutes.

Projected starting lineup:

Tyrese Hunter (11.0 PPG at Iowa State)
Marcus Carr (11.4 PPG)
Dillon Mitchell (No. 4 in ESPN 100)
Timmy Allen (12.1 PPG)
Christian Bishop (7.0 PPG)

Previous: 11

After missing out on five-star forward Julian Phillips, who picked Tennessee over the Tigers, Auburn will have to hope Allen Flanigan returns to his 2020-21 form and is able to shoulder more of the scoring load on the wing. A projected first-round pick in the 2022 NBA draft last summer, Flanigan underwent a procedure to repair his right Achilles in early September and never found a rhythm once returning to the court. He averaged 14.3 points as a sophomore and was ranked No. 19 in ESPN’s early NBA draft rankings — but didn’t appear in a game until late December and averaged just 6.3 points in 22 games. His shooting numbers were down across the board. If Flanigan regains his old form, he could once again be a go-to guy for Bruce Pearl.

Projected starting lineup:

Wendell Green Jr. (12.0 PPG)
K.D. Johnson (12.3 PPG)
Allen Flanigan (6.3 PPG)
Yohan Traore (No. 27 in ESPN 100)
Johni Broome (16.8 PPG at Morehead State)

Previous: 19

Rick Barnes continued his recruiting hot streak, beating out Auburn for five-star forward Julian Phillips in mid-May. While the Volunteers missed out on Iowa State transfer Tyrese Hunter last week, Phillips was enough to move them up several spots in the rankings. Phillips is a potential one-and-done player and was the X factor Tennessee needed for next season. The Vols also landed four-star recruit D.J. Jefferson, one of the most explosive players in the class. The good news continued when Santiago Vescovi, a first-team All-SEC selection last season, opted to withdraw from the NBA draft and return to Knoxville for another season. The pursuit of Hunter could indicate Barnes wants another ball handler, but with Vescovi, Zakai Zeigler and freshman B.J. Edwards, the Vols shouldn’t be short of playmaking.

Projected starting lineup:

Zakai Zeigler (8.8 PPG)
Santiago Vescovi (13.3 PPG)
Julian Phillips (No. 13 in ESPN 100)
Josiah-Jordan James (10.3 PPG)
Olivier Nkamhoua (8.6 PPG)

Previous: 15

Given that the Hoosiers have finished better than ninth in the Big Ten once since 2016, it feels like a risk saying this, but here goes: With Trayce Jackson-Davis withdrawing from the NBA draft and returning to Bloomington, Indiana will likely enter the season as the Big Ten favorite. Jackson-Davis is a dominant force on the interior and will get preseason All-American recognition in some circles, and he’s leading a core of four returning starters from a team that won 21 games in Mike Woodson’s first campaign at the helm. The Hoosiers are also adding five-star recruits Malik Reneau and Jalen Hood-Schifino, as well as ESPN 100 prospect Kaleb Banks. Expect a step forward from former top-25 prospect Tamar Bates, too. The glaring issue for Indiana is going to be perimeter shooting; the Hoosiers shot just 31.9% from 3 in Big Ten play last season, ranking next-to-last in the league.

Projected starting lineup:

Xavier Johnson (12.1 PPG)
Jalen Hood-Schifino (No. 24 in ESPN 100)
Miller Kopp (6.0 PPG)
Race Thompson (11.1 PPG)
Trayce Jackson-Davis (18.3 PPG)

Previous: 13

We were all set to drop TCU into the 20s following Damion Baugh’s announcement that he planned to pursue his professional options as opposed to returning for another season with the Horned Frogs. It left Jamie Dixon short on perimeter options, and would have been only the second key departure from last season’s team. TCU even went out and landed Oklahoma State transfer Rondel Walker last weekend, which lent more credence to the idea that Baugh was moving on. And then Baugh had a change of heart, saying he was going back to TCU for another season. With Baugh back in the fold, Dixon now has all five starters back from last season — and the addition of Walker and the return to health of Shahada Wells should give the Horned Frogs added options on the perimeter.

Projected starting lineup:

Mike Miles (15.4 PPG)
Damion Baugh (10.6 PPG)
Chuck O’Bannon Jr. (9.5 PPG)
Emanuel Miller (10.3 PPG)
Eddie Lampkin (6.8 PPG)

Previous: 10

Villanova’s fortunes for next season might rest on the point guard spot, and what the Wildcats do if Justin Moore isn’t healthy for the campaign. The rising senior guard tore his right Achilles in the final minute of Villanova’s Elite Eight win over Houston, and it’s unclear whether he’ll be close to 100 percent for the season. Where does new head coach Kyle Neptune turn if Moore isn’t ready? One option will be ESPN 100 prospect Mark Armstrong, a vintage Villanova-type guard who is at his best off the dribble and can create for himself and others in the lane. He changes direction quickly and consistently looks to attack defenses and get into the paint. Redshirt freshman Angelo Brizzi is another option, although Neptune could opt to make Caleb Daniels the primary ball handler and add more size to the lineup.

Projected starting lineup:

Mark Armstrong (No. 61 in ESPN 100)
Caleb Daniels (10.2 PPG)
Brandon Slater (8.3 PPG)
Cameron Whitmore (No. 21 in ESPN 100)
Eric Dixon (9.1 PPG)

Previous: 18

The addition of St. Bonaventure transfer Dominick Welch opens up some options for Nate Oats next season, given his ability to rebound and make shots from the perimeter. He has averaged at least 6.0 rebounds in each of the past three seasons, while making more than two 3-pointers per game at a 37.4% career clip. Even with Jahvon Quinerly recovering from a torn ACL suffered in the NCAA tournament, Oats still has two terrific backcourt options in Ohio transfer Mark Sears — a first-team All-MAC selection — and five-star Jaden Bradley, while Welch could provide a weapon on the wing. There’s also the return of former Texas Tech transfer Nimari Burnett, who suffered a knee injury and missed all of last season. If the Crimson Tide can get a fully healthy perimeter at some point next season, there won’t be too many teams nationally on par with this backcourt group.

Projected starting lineup:

Mark Sears (19.6 PPG at Ohio)
Jaden Bradley (No. 19 in ESPN 100)
Dominick Welch (12.3 PPG at St. Bonaventure)
Brandon Miller (No. 9 in ESPN 100)
Charles Bediako (6.7 PPG)

Previous: 17

Tommy Lloyd will be one of the coaches watching the withdrawal deadline closely, as Dalen Terry has emerged as a legitimate first-round prospect and could opt to stay in the draft as opposed to returning to Tucson. If Terry does become the Wildcats’ third early entrant, following Bennedict Mathurin and Christian Koloko, Lloyd could become even more active in the transfer portal. Arizona hasn’t landed a transfer yet this spring, but is involved with Efe Abogidi (Washington State), Keion Brooks Jr. (Kentucky) and Courtney Ramey (Texas). The Wildcats also just landed international prospect Henri Veesaar, considered the best European entering college next season — and someone compared favorably at this stage of his career to Cleveland Cavaliers forward Lauri Markkanen, who played his college ball at Arizona.

Projected starting lineup:

Kerr Kriisa (9.7 PPG)
Pelle Larsson (7.2 PPG)
Adama Bal (1.5 PPG)
Azuolas Tubelis (13.9 PPG)
Oumar Ballo (6.8 PPG)

Previous: Next in line

No team has benefited more from the extra year of eligibility granted by the NCAA due to the coronavirus-impacted 2020-21 season than San Diego State. The Aztecs already brought back seniors Matt Bradley, Adam Seiko and Aguek Arop, but then elite defender Nathan Mensah announced last week he planned to take advantage of his extra year as well. Mensah is one of the best interior defenders in the country, winning MWC Defensive Player of the Year honors last season after ranking in the top 30 nationally in block percentage for the second season in a row. Earlier in the month, the Aztecs landed Oakland transfer Micah Parrish, a member of the Horizon League’s All-Defensive team. The nation’s second-best defensive team last season according to KenPom.com might be even better in 2022-23.

Projected starting lineup:

Lamont Butler (7.3 PPG)
Darrion Trammell (17.3 PPG at Seattle)
Matt Bradley (16.9 PPG)
Keshad Johnson (7.2 PPG)
Nathan Mensah (7.0 PPG)

Previous: 14

Perhaps the biggest headline coming out of Ann Arbor over the past few weeks was ESPN’s report that the Los Angeles Lakers reached out to Juwan Howard about their head-coaching vacancy, but Howard opted not to discuss the opening. It makes sense, given that Howard is entering a season where he’ll be coaching sons Jett Howard and Jace Howard. NBA rumors are nothing new for Howard, who had interest from the Boston Celtics last spring. It also won’t be the last time an NBA franchise pursues Howard. The reason for the rankings drop, however, is the likely departure of Caleb Houstan. He has moved into the top 50 of ESPN’s draft rankings and also skipped the NBA combine, giving the impression he has a first-round promise. If Houstan does leave, Howard could turn to powerful forward Terrance Williams in the starting lineup.

Projected starting lineup:

Jaelin Llewellyn (15.7 PPG at Princeton)
Jett Howard (No. 41 in ESPN 100)
Terrance Williams II (4.7 PPG)
Moussa Diabate (9.0 PPG)
Hunter Dickinson (18.6 PPG)

Previous: 21

The highest-ranked team on our list that didn’t make the NCAA tournament last season, Virginia’s ranking reflects a combination of much-improved depth and versatility on the Cavaliers’ roster and the idea that back-to-back down years seem unlikely to happen to Tony Bennett. All five starters are back from last season, but Virginia is also adding essentially an entire second line to the roster, which will dramatically improve Bennett’s options. All-MAC forward Ben Vander Plas could make the biggest immediate impact after averaging 14.3 points at Ohio last season, but it’s the quartet of freshmen — ESPN 100 prospects Isaac Traudt, Isaac McKneely and Leon Bond, and four-star recruit Ryan Dunn — that should begin to form the core for the next few years. How quickly the newcomers adapt defensively is likely the biggest question.

Projected starting lineup:

Kihei Clark (10.0 PPG)
Reece Beekman (8.2 PPG)
Armaan Franklin (11.1 PPG)
Jayden Gardner (15.3 PPG)
Kadin Shedrick (6.9 PPG)

Previous: Next in line

Texas Tech was the first team left out of the top 25 last month, but then the Red Raiders went out and landed five-star recruit Elijah Fisher — who also reclassified into the 2022 class and will suit up for Tech next season. We’ll project him in the starting lineup for now, but Mark Adams could also opt for a bit more experience with Clarence Nadolny or more shooting with Gardner-Webb transfer D’Maurian Williams. Reclassified prospects often take more time to adapt to the college game, but Fisher turned 18 in January and also suited up for Canada’s U19 team. With Mylik Wilson entering the portal, however, the major question centers around the point guard spot. De’Vion Harmon will likely be the primary ball handler, but he has been more of a scorer first throughout his college career. Trust in Adams, though.

Projected starting lineup:

De’Vion Harmon (10.8 PPG at Oregon)
Jaylon Tyson (1.8 PPG at Texas)
Elijah Fisher (five-star)
Kevin Obanor (10.0 PPG)
Fardaws Aimaq (18.9 PPG at Utah Valley)

Previous: 20

The Flyers drop a few spots with the three additions to the top 25, but we’re still high on Anthony Grant’s team for the 2022-23 campaign. Only three scholarship players are leaving the program, and those three played a combined 21 minutes in the month of March — two of them weren’t even active at that point. Dayton’s ceiling is awfully enticing, bolstered by the return of a young core whose best days are still clearly ahead of them. There’s also the addition of incoming freshman Mike Sharavjamts, an ESPN 100 prospect whose stock rose across the industry during his final year of high school basketball. He’s 6-foot-7, can really pass the ball and could be something of an X factor for the Flyers next season. The fact he won’t have to be rushed into the lineup is a bonus.

Projected starting lineup:

Malachi Smith (9.3 PPG)
Kobe Elvis (8.9 PPG)
R.J. Blakney (6.5 PPG)
Toumani Camara (10.9 PPG)
DaRon Holmes II (12.8 PPG)

Previous: 24

After eschewing the transfer portal last spring, Dan Hurley has completely revamped his backcourt exclusively using the portal. Starting point guard R.J. Cole departed, as did backups Jalen Gaffney and Rahsool Diggins and redshirt Corey Floyd Jr. But the Huskies went into the portal and landed three transfers: Tristen Newton (East Carolina), Nahiem Alleyne (Virginia Tech) and Hassan Diarra (Texas A&M). Newton was an all-conference performer in the AAC, Alleyne brings perimeter shooting and Diarra is aggressive off the bounce with the ball in his hands. On top of those three, rising sophomore Jordan Hawkins seems poised for a step forward. If the perimeter can mesh well quickly, UConn will become very difficult to defend due to the presence of potential Big East Player of the Year Adama Sanogo down low.

Projected starting lineup:

Tristen Newton (17.7 PPG at East Carolina)
Jordan Hawkins (5.8 PPG)
Nahiem Alleyne (9.6 PPG at Virginia Tech)
Andre Jackson (6.8 PPG)
Adama Sanogo (14.8 PPG)

Previous: Unranked

Illinois makes a big jump, all the way from outside the “next in line” spots to just inside the top 25. It’s primarily due to the addition of Baylor transfer Matthew Mayer, one of the top 10 available transfers at the time. Mayer might not have had the true breakout season many expected following a junior campaign in which he was a key bench piece for the Bears’ national title-winning team, but he brings legitimate size at 6-foot-9 to go with athleticism, versatility and the ability to make shots from the perimeter. He’ll combine with fellow transfer Terrence Shannon Jr. to form the best wing duo in the Big Ten. There was another wrinkle to Illinois’ potential roster last weekend, with Jacob Grandison withdrawing from the draft, though Grandison (who started 23 games for the Illini last season) subsequently entered the transfer portal.

Projected starting lineup:

Skyy Clark (No. 25 in ESPN 100)
Terrence Shannon Jr. (10.4 PPG at Texas Tech)
Matthew Mayer (9.8 PPG at Baylor)
Coleman Hawkins (5.9 PPG)
Dain Dainja (2.0 PPG at Baylor)

Dropped out: Miami Hurricanes (No. 22), Saint Louis Billikens (No. 23), Xavier Musketeers (No. 25)

Next in line:

Miami Hurricanes (previous: No. 22)
Saint Louis Billikens (previous: No. 23)
Xavier Musketeers (previous: No. 25)
Ohio State Buckeyes (previous: Next in line)
Wyoming Cowboys (previous: Next in line)



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