(Updated 8Apr) In the wake of the national championship game last night, a number of basketball writers have already produced some top-25 predictions for the 2010-2011 season. It's extremely early in the game, and it is tough to tell at this point where a lot of teams will be come November. Kentucky could lose all but four scholarship players to graduation or the NBA draft this summer. Other underclassmen, like Gordon Hayward, could potentially turn pro, but haven't had the opportunity to do so yet. Still more will declare without hiring an agent, leaving the door open for a return.
As we reported here last month (and since confirmed by Jeff Goodman of FoxSports.com), Corey Fisher is expected to return for his senior season. With no other underclassmen considered NBA prospects this spring, it looks like the Wildcats return everyone but Scottie Reynolds, Reggie Redding and Russell Wooten.
That makes it somewhat easier to predict where Villanova should be next year, compared to other teams, whose rosters may be more in flux. Nonetheless, early predictions are often very far from the realities that are revealed during the season. Few expected Syracuse to be ranked, let alone reach the top of the AP poll, this year.
Among the early polls released overnight:
- Villanova placed fourth in Dick Vitale's early top-six.
- Mike Miller of NBC Sports thinks the 'Cats should open the season at 16.
- Sports Illustrated's Luke Winn has Villanova at number 6.
- The Mercury News' Jon Wilner thinks the Wildcats should be 19th.
- The early top-25 from RushTheCourt.com puts Villanova 20th.*
- At CollegeHoops.net, editor Shawn Siegel thinks the 'Cats will be the 9th-best team heading into the 2010-11 season.*
- The poll at OnlineSportsFanatic.com puts Villanova at 17.*
- Update 4/7: Jeff Goodman of FoxSports.com has weighed in with Villanova as his number-7.*
- 4/7- Andy Katz has 'Nova @ #10*
- 4/7- Mike DeCourcy of the Sporting News ... #8
- 4/8 - Garry Parrish of CBSSports.com put Villanova at #5 in his Top-25 (and one).*
Sports writers and commentators may have a hard time believing that Villanova can replace the scoring of Scottie Reynolds. However, it remains to be seen which Wildcats will step up next year. With a glut of talented freshmen and sophomores, the Main Line's finest still has sky-high potential.
* indicates that the ranking contains a projection of Kentucky's additions in the spring signing period.