Updated early preseason Top 25
The deadline for players to withdraw from the NBA Draft and maintain their college eligibility has come and gone – and that means we have all the info we need to make a final 2011-12 Preseason Top 25.
FOXSports.com's 2011-12 early preseason Top 25:
1. NORTH CAROLINA
Key returnees: Harrison Barnes, John Henson, Tyler Zeller, Kendall Marshall, Dexter Strickland, Leslie McDonald, Reggie Bullock.
Newcomers: James McAdoo, P.J. Hairston.
Note: With the return of Barnes, Henson and Zeller — and everyone else off an Elite Eight team — and the addition of McAdoo and Hairston, the Tar Heels will hold the No. 1 spot.
Lose: Brandon Knight, DeAndre Liggins, Josh Harrellson
Key returnees: Terrence Jones, Doron Lamb, Darius Miller.
Newcomers: Anthony Davis, Michael Gilchrist, Marquis Teague, Kyle Wiltjer.
Note: The top-ranked incoming class in America, along with the return of a trio of holdovers – including Jones – make the Wildcats the co-favorites along with UNC.
3. OHIO STATE
Lose: David Lighty, Jon Diebler, Dallas Lauderdale.
Key returnees: Jared Sullinger, William Buford, Deshaun Thomas, Aaron Craft.
Newcomers: Amir Williams, LaQuinton Ross, Sam Thompson, Shannon Scott, Trey McDonald, Evan Ravenel.
Note: Sullinger and Buford both decided to return to school – and that made the Buckeyes a legitimate Final Four threat again.
Lose: Rick Jackson.
Key returnees: Scoop Jardine, Kris Joseph, Brandon Triche, Dion Waiters, C.J. Fair, James Southerland, Mookie Jones, Fab Melo, Baye Moussa Keita, DaShonte Riley.
Newcomers: Rakeem Christmas, Trevor Cooney, Michael Carter-Williams.
Note: The lone departure of Jackson — and the maturation of Melo and addition of Christmas — should make up for the loss.
Lose: Preston Knowles, Terrence Jennings
Key returnees: Kyle Kuric, Peyton Siva, Chris Smith, Rakeem Buckles, Jared Swopshire, Mike Marra, Gorgui Dieng.
Newcomers: Wayne Blackshear, Chane Behanan, Zach Price, Angel Nunez.
Note: The loss of Knowles – and maybe even Jennings - will hurt, but Rick Pitino brings back a bunch of quality veterans and adds a strong freshman class.
Lose: Nolan Smith, Kyle Singler, Kyrie Irving
Key returnees: Mason Plumlee, Seth Curry, Andre Dawkins, Ryan Kelly, Miles Plumlee.
Newcomers: Austin Rivers, Quinn Cook, Marshall Plumlee, Michael Gbinije, Alex Murphy.
Note: With Irving gone, the Blue Devils will need someone to step up at point guard. But Coach K still has plenty of talent, especially with the arrival of Rivers.
Lose: Kemba Walker, Jamal Coombs-McDaniel, Charles Okwandu, Donnell Beverly.
Key returnees: Jeremy Lamb, Alex Oriakhi, Shabazz Napier, Roscoe Smith, Niels Giffey, Tyler Olander.
Newcomers: Ryan Boatright.
Note: Walker is gone, but look for Napier to step up – and the other young guys will get a chance to expand their roles.
Lose: Andre Walker.
Key returnees: John Jenkins, Jeffery Taylor, Festus Ezeli, Brad Tinsley, Lance Goulbourne, Rod Odom, Steve Tchiengang.
Newcomers: Dai-Jon Parker, Shelby Moats, Kedren Johnson.
Notes: The Commodores have everyone back except for Walker, which means they are a legitimate top-10 club.
Lose: Will Coleman.
Key returnees: Will Barton, Joe Jackson, Tarik Black, Wesley Witherspoon, Antonio Barton, Charles Carmouche, Chris Crawford, Drew Barnham
Newcomers: Adonis Thomas, Ferrakohn Hall (Seton Hall transfer), Stan Simpson.
Note: The Tigers will have some experience this season, and coach Josh Pastner also adds a stud in freshman Thomas.
Lose: Jamel McLean, Dante Jackson,.
Key returnees: Tu Holloway, Mark Lyons, Kenny Frease,
Newcomers: Dezmine Wells, Travis Taylor (Monmouth transfer), Justin Martin (sat out), Jalen Reynolds, Dee Davis.
Note: The Musketeers were short on numbers last season, but Chris Mack has his starting backcourt and big man back — and now he has some depth.
Lose: LaceDarius Dunn.
Key returnees: Perry Jones III, Quincy Acy, Anthony Jones, A.J. Walton, Fred Ellis, J’mison Morgan, Stargell Love.
Newcomers: Quincy Miller, Deuce Bello, Brady Heslip, Pierre Jackson.
Note: Chemistry — and leadership — will be the key since there will be no shortage of talent on this roster.
Lose: Brad Wanamaker, Gilbert Brown, Gary McGhee.
Key returnees: Ashton Gibbs, Nasir Robinson, Dante Taylor, Travon Woodall, Talib Zanna, J.J. Moore, Lamar Patterson, J.J. Richardson, Isaiah Epps.
Newcomers: Khem Birch, Malcolm Gilbert, Durand Johnson, Jaylen Bond, John Johnson.
Note: Jamie Dixon loses three seniors, but will still be able to challenge for Big East supremacy with the return of Gibbs.
13. TEXAS A&M
Lose: B.J. Holmes, Nathan Walkup.
Key returnees: Khris Middleton, David Loubeau, Kourtney Roberson, Naji Hibbert, Dash Harris, Ray Turner.
Newcomers: Jamal Branch, Elston Turner (Washington transfer), Jordan Green.
Note: The search is on for a replacement for Mark Turgeon as coach. Turgeon's successor stands to get a talented guard in Branch, who should come right in and make an impact, along with big-time transfer Turner.
Lose: Chandler Parsons, Vernon Macklin, Alex Tyus.
Key returnees: Kenny Boynton, Erving Walker, Erik Murphy, Patric Young, Scottie Wilbekin, Will Yeguete, Casey Prather, Cody Larson (redshirt).
Newcomers: Bradley Beal, Mike Rosario (Rutgers transfer), Walter Pitchford.
Note: The Gators have talent, but it will be interesting to see how Billy Donovan’s team will fare with a bunch of guards who all love.
Lose: Marcus Morris, Markieff Morris, Josh Selby, Tyrel Reed, Brady Morningstar, Mario Little.
Key returnees: Tyshawn Taylor, Thomas Robinson, Travis Releford, Elijah Johnson, Jeff Withey.
Newcomers: Ben McLemore, Naadir Tharpe.
Note: The Jayhawks will lose a lot with the Morris Twins and Selby all heading early to the NBA, but Bill Self still has enough to win another league title.
Lose: Kalin Lucas, Durrell Summers, Garrick Sherman, Mike Kebler.
Key returnees: Draymond Green, Delvon Roe, Keith Appling, Derrick Nix, Adreian Payne, Russell Byrd (injured).
Newcomers: Branden Dawson, Travis Trice, Dwaun Anderson, Brandan Kearney.
Note: The key here is who will replace Kalin Lucas and run the team. Tom Izzo will have plenty up front and the late addition of one-year Valpo transfer Brandon Wood will help in the backcourt.
Lose: Justin Safford.
Key returnees: Kim English, Laurence Bowers, Marcus Denmon, Phil Pressey, Ricardo Ratliffe, Michael Dixon, Matt Pressey, Ricky Kreklow.
Note: With English and Bowers returning, new coach Frank Haith has a loaded roster. The key will be whether he can get the chemistry right.
Lose: Steven Gray, Demetri Goodson.
Key returnees: Elias Harris, Robert Sacre, Sam Dower, Kelly Olynyk, Marquise Carter, David Stockton.
Newcomers: Gary Bell, Kevin Pangos, Ryan Spangler, Kyle Dranginis.
Note: The 'Zags lose Gray, but still have a couple of studs up front in Harris and Sacre. The key again will be point guard play and whether Pangos can help Stockton and Carter.
Lose: Jon Leuer, Keaton Nankivil, Tim Jarmusz.
Key returnees: Jordan Taylor, Josh Gasser, Mike Bruesewitz, Ryan Evans.
Newcomers: Jarrod Uthoff, Traevon Jackson, Frank Kaminsky, George Marshall.
Note: Bo Ryan lost Leuer, and he’ll be tough to replace, but Taylor is the key, and the Badgers have enough around him to remain near the top of the Big Ten.
20. FLORIDA STATE
Lose: Chris Singleton, Derwin Kitchen.
Key Returnees: Michael Snaer, Bernard James, Deividas Dulkys, Okaro White, Ian Miller, Terrance Shannon, Xavier Gibson, Jon Kreft, Luke Loucks.
Newcomers: Antwan Space, Aaron Thomas, Terry Whisnant, Kiel Turpin.
Note: The Seminoles did just fine without Singleton towards the end of last season and look for Miller to step in and replace Kitchen.
Lose: Senario Hillman, Chris Hines, Charvez Davis.
Key returnees: JaMychal Green, Tony Mitchell, Trevor Releford, Andrew Steele, Charles Hankerson.
Newcomers: Levi Randolph, Nick Jacobs, Moussa Gueye, Rodney Cooper.
Anthony Grant returns his top three players from last year’s team, which barely missed out on an NCAA tournament bid.
Lose: Rashad Bishop, Ibrahima Thomas
Key returnees: Yancy Gates, Sean Kilpatrick, Dion Dixon, Cashmere Wright, Jaquon Parker, Justin Jackson, Anthony McClain
Newcomers: Shaquille Thomas, Jermaine Sanders, Jeremiah Davis, Ge-Lawn Guyn
Note: The Bearcats return most of their talent from a team that lost to the eventual national champs in the second round of the NCAA tournament.
Key returnees: Darius Johnson-Odom, Vander Blue, Jae Crowder, Chris Otule, Junior Cadougan, Davante Gardner.
Newcomers: Jamil Wilson (Oregon transfer), Todd Mayo, Derrick Wilson, Juan Anderson.
Note: Buzz Williams loses Butler, who was a terrific player. But Marquette's big men should take a step forward in their development, and Wilson could become an impact guy after sitting out.
24. GEORGE MASON
Lose: Cam Long, Isaiah Tate.
Key returnees: Ryan Pearson, Luke Hancock, Andre Cornelius, Mike Morrison, Vertrail Vaughns.
Newcomers: Vaughn Gray, Corey Edwards, Sherrod Wright (injured last year).
Note: The Patriots lose Long, their leading scorer, and their coach, but new head man Paul Hewitt still has four of the team’s top five scorers back for a group that is the clear favorite to win the Colonial Athletic Association.
Early departures: Tyler Honeycutt, Malcolm Lee.
Key returnees: Reeves Nelson, Josh Smith, Lazeric Jones, Jerime Anderson, Anthony Stover, Brendan Lane, Tyler Lamb.
Newcomers: David Wear, Travis Wear, Norman Powell, De’End Parker.
Note: The Bruins should still be able to contend for the Pac-12 title even after losing Honeycutt and Lee.
Early departure: Derrick Williams.
Key returnees: Lamont Jones, Kyle Fogg, Solomon Hill, Kevin Parrom, Jesse Perry, Jordin Mayes, Brendon Lavender.
Newcomers: Josiah Turner, Nick Johnson, Angelo Chol, Sidiki Johnson.
The Wildcats have a terrific freshman class coming in — especially in the backcourt — but the loss of Williams will be difficult to sustain.
OTHERS TO WATCH
Villanova, Temple, Michigan, Purdue, Illinois, Creighton, Washington, New Mexico, Notre Dame, Texas, Fairfield, Butler.