Post-draft top 25: Michigan State, Kentucky, Kansas look strongest
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Much has changed since Virginia defeated Texas Tech to put an exclamation point on the 2018-19 season.

For some teams, it's been positive. Kansas, for instance, saw its outlook for the 2019-20 season go from good to great with the news that Devon Dotson, Udoka Azubuike, and Silvio de Sousa will be part of the roster this fall.

Michigan, meanwhile, looked like a preseason top-10 team two months ago, but will instead rebuild with a new coach (Juwan Howard) and without underclassmen Jordan Poole and Ignas Brazdeikis.

Surely, there will be more changes between now and November. But the conclusion of the NBA draft is a good time to look forward and project the top 25 teams for the start of the 2019-20 campaign. And one thing that hasn't changed is the pick for preseason No. 1.

1. Michigan State (Last season: 32-7, Final Four)

The Spartans lost Nick Ward to a professional career, but will return guard Cassius Winston, one of the most accomplished players in college basketball. Winston, along with fellow guard Joshua Langford and forward Xavier Tillman, will lead a strong Michigan State team that also signed four-star recruits Rocket Watts and Malik Hall.

2. Kentucky (30-7, Elite Eight)

This will be one of John Calipari's more experienced Kentucky teams, even after losing PJ Washington, Tyler Herro, and Keldon Johnson to the NBA. Sophomore point guard Ashton Hagans should emerge as the leader, and the Wildcats could make a case for No. 1, especially if uncommitted transfer Kerry Blackshear (Virginia Tech) decides on Lexington.

3. Kansas (26-10, second round)

As mentioned above, no team benefited more from the draft process than the Jayhawks. Dotson, a sophomore point guard, might be the Big 12's preseason Player of the Year favorite. Kansas also added Iowa transfer Isaiah Moss and is expecting improvement from sophomores Ochai Agbaji and David McCormack.

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4. Duke (32-6, Elite Eight)

Another talented freshman class is coming to Durham. And this time, the Blue Devils have an experienced point guard (sophomore Tre Jones) to lead them. Meanwhile, 6-foot-10 Vernon Carey is expected to be the best of Duke's four first-year players.

5. Louisville (20-14, first round)

Coach Chris Mack has led Xavier to four Sweet 16 appearances in nine seasons, but never past the Elite Eight. However, the news that Jordan Nwora will return for his junior season makes the Cardinals a legitimate Final Four contender. Seniors Dwayne Sutton and Steven Enoch add plenty of experience to the mix, while Saint Joseph's transfer Lamarr Kimble (15.6 points per game) is the X-factor.

6. North Carolina (29-7, Sweet 16)

Junior Garrison Brooks (7.9 points per game) is the top returning player, but the Tar Heels will rely heavily on newcomers - both young and old. Five-star freshmen Cole Anthony (6-foot-3) and Armando Bacot (6-foot-10) will play plenty of minutes, while Roy Williams added two of the best mid-major players in the country as graduate transfers: Charleston Southern's Christian Keeling (18.7 points, 6.9 rebounds per game last season) and William and Mary's Justin Pierce (14.9 points, 8.9 rebounds).

7. Maryland (23-11, second round)

Since winning the national title in 2002, Maryland has only reached the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament two times. But anything less in 2019-20 would be a disappointment given that Anthony Cowan (15.6 points per game) and Jalen Smith (11.7) will both be back in College Park. In fact, the Terps are returning every member of their rotation except Bruno Fernando.

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8. Ohio State (20-15, second round)

The Buckeyes are returning plenty of experience, starting with junior Kaleb Wesson (14.6 points, 6.9 rebounds per game). They must get better offensively, though, with the hope being that sophomore guards Luther Muhammad and Duane Washington can become more efficient shooters.

9. Texas Tech (31-7, national runner-up)

The outlook for next season didn't appear promising in April, but coach Chris Beard and his staff have worked hard to transform the roster. Returning guards Davide Moretti and Kyler Edwards will be important pieces, and they'll be joined by Virginia Tech transfer Chris Clarke, Stephen F. Austin transfer TJ Holyfield, and a top-20 recruiting class.

10. Florida (20-16, second round)

Mike White's team lost seven games by five points or less in 2018-19 - one reason the Gators were a top-30 team in Ken Pomeroy's statistical rankings despite their 16 defeats. Andrew Nembhard and Keyontae Johnson should form a dynamic combination as sophomores, while freshman Scottie Lewis, the No. 7 player in his class, is one to watch.

11. Gonzaga (33-4, Elite Eight)

The Bulldogs have lost three underclassmen (Brandon Clarke, Rui Hachimura, and Zach Norvell) to the pros, but Killian Tillie is heading back to Spokane. Mark Few also nabbed one of the best graduate transfers available in former Texas A&M guard Admon Gilder, who helped the Aggies reach Sweet 16s in 2016 and 2018. Look for development from 6-foot-11 sophomore Filip Petrusev, too.

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12. Baylor (20-14, second round)

Coach Scott Drew took the Bears to the NCAA Tournament this year despite a season-ending injury to arguably their best player, 6-foot-9 forward Tristan Clark. He'll be back, and Baylor will have plenty of experience around him. Guard Jared Butler improved over the course of his freshman year, and former All-Big South guard MaCio Teague (UNC Asheville) is now eligible after sitting out last season.

13. Virginia (35-3, national champion)

The Cavaliers lost their "big three" - De'Andre Hunter, Ty Jerome, and Kyle Guy - to the NBA, but Tony Bennett's program has elevated itself to the point where it reloads rather than rebuilds. Seniors Mamadi Diakite and Braxton Key will lead a new-look roster that includes 6-foot-5 guard Tomas Woldetensae, an intriguing addition from junior college.

14. Villanova (26-10, second round)

The Wildcats won't have any seniors in their rotation, but juniors Collin Gillespie and Jermaine Samuels look ready to lead. Coach Jay Wright will need to get production out of a freshman class that ranked fifth in the country, led by 6-foot-8 forward Jeremiah Robinson-Earl.

15. Arizona (17-15, no postseason)

It's a new-look roster for embattled coach Sean Miller after the Wildcats finished in the bottom half of a weak Pac-12. Point guard Nico Mannion is expected to be one of the top freshmen in the country, while Arizona will rely on its young players and a pair of impact transfers in forward Stone Gettings (Cornell) and guard Max Hazzard (UC Irvine).

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16. VCU (25-8, first round)

Want experience? You'll find it with the senior-laden Rams, who ripped off 12 wins in a row to end the regular season last year. A healthy Marcus Evans (13.6 points per game) will combine with De'Riante Jenkins to form one of the better mid-major backcourts around.

17. Saint Mary's (22-12, first round)

The Gaels needed a West Coast Conference tournament championship to get into the Big Dance last year, but coach Randy Bennett's team should be better equipped to challenge Gonzaga in 2019-20. Senior guard Jordan Ford (21.1 points per game) is one of the best-kept secrets in college basketball.

18. Seton Hall (20-14, first round)

It's Seton Hall, not Marquette, that should challenge Villanova at the top of the Big East. That's because Myles Powell, who averaged 23.1 points per game a year ago, elected to return. If things go well, the Pirates could potentially reach their first Sweet 16 since 2000.

19. Purdue (26-10, Elite Eight)

After three consecutive Sweet 16 appearances, Matt Painter and the Boilermakers deserve the benefit of the doubt. Nojel Eastern (7.5 points per game) is the top returning player for a team that lost Carsen Edwards and Ryan Cline. Meanwhile, Purdue added transfer guard Jahaad Proctor, who averaged 19.5 points per game for High Point.

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20. Providence (18-16, NIT)

The Friars will be bolstered by the return of do-everything guard Alpha Diallo. If UMass transfer Luwane Pipkins can handle point guard duties, coach Ed Cooley will have an experienced, talented roster to work with. Providence has made the NCAA Tournament in five of the last six seasons.

21. Memphis (22-14, NIT)

Penny Hardaway's Tigers are the wild card of the 2019-20 season. That's because Memphis is combining little experience (three returning rotation players) with the No. 1 recruiting class in the country. Amazingly, the program boasts seven players from the top 110 of the 2019 class, including No. 1 overall (7-foot center James Wiseman) and No. 14 overall (6-foot-9 forward Precious Achiuwa). Can the youth movement deliver an American Athletic Conference title?

22. Harvard (19-12, NIT)

The Ivy League enjoyed a stretch that saw it produce highly competitive teams from 2010-14, when Cornell reached a Sweet 16 and Harvard won first-round games in back-to-back years. But next season, Tommy Amaker might have one of his best rosters yet, led by guard Bryce Aiken (22.2 points per game). The Crimson are also bringing in the No. 33 recruiting class.

23. Florida State (29-8, Sweet 16)

Coach Leonard Hamilton has been in Tallahassee since 2003, but he and the Seminoles are in the middle of their best run to date. Losing Mfiondu Kabengele and Terance Mann certainly hurts, but Florida State should have enough to stick in the top half of the ACC again. To make that happen, senior Trent Forrest (9.3 points, 4.5 rebounds per game) must elevate into a leading role.

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24. Xavier (19-16, NIT)

It went unnoticed because they missed the NCAA Tournament, but the Musketeers were as good as any team in the Big East down the stretch (6-1 to end the regular season). Xavier will be returning its top four scorers, including forward Naji Marshall, and if coach Travis Steele can keep his program on its upward trajectory, the Musketeers will be dancing in March.

25. Texas (21-16, NIT)

It's a pivotal season for Shaka Smart, who hasn't won an NCAA Tournament game in four years in Austin. Texas lost lottery pick Jaxson Hayes along with Kerwin Roach and Dylan Osetkowski, but talented guards Matt Coleman and Courtney Ramey will return. Meanwhile, the Longhorns will rely on four-star freshmen Will Baker and Kai Jones in the post.

Next five: Marquette, Alabama, Creighton, Cincinnati, Illinois

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Post-draft top 25: Michigan State, Kentucky, Kansas look strongest
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