Top 50 College Basketball Teams for 2017-2018: 26-50

After the NBA Draft deadline has passed, it’s time to start looking at how college basketball teams stack up going into the summer. There are still a few uncommitted recruits and transfers, but as of now, here are the rankings for the top 50 teams in the nation.

50. Vanderbilt

Vanderbilt Projected Rotation

The Commodores finished 19-16 in Bryce Drew’s first season, picking up steam towards the end of the year. Riley LaChance (10.5 ppg, 49% 3PT) and Matthew Fisher-Davis (13.9 ppg) return to lead an experienced backcourt. The summer improvement of sophomore center Djery Baptiste will be important for a Vandy team lacking a post presence. Joseph Toye and Jeff Roberson should provide stability at the forward spots while Drew searches for reliable reserves.

49. Temple

Temple Projected Rotation

An early injury to point guard Josh Brown forced Temple to rely heavily on freshmen. Both Shizz Alston (13.9 ppg) and Quinton Rose (9.7 ppg) showed flashes of greatness in their first seasons. Now the Owls return Brown, in addition to versatile stretch four Obi Enechionyia (13.1 ppg, 5.8 rpg), who started off the year like an AAC Player of the Year candidate. With a lot of talent returning, Temple has a chance to challenge for the American crown.

48. Georgia

Georgia Projected Rotation

Yante Maten’s decision to bypass the NBA, where he would have been a fringe 2nd rounder, makes Georgia relevant in the SEC. He was one of the most underrated players in the nation last year, averaging 18.2 points and 6.8 rebounds. Outside of Maten, fellow senior Juwan Parker will be counted on for offense on the perimeter. The point guard position is still a question mark after losing J.J. Frazier, with Jordan Harris seeming like the likely option. A big cause for optimism is the arrival of highly touted recruit Rayshaun Hammonds, who may be the second best talent on the roster.

47. SMU

SMU Projected Rotation

SMU was going to be in a good spot if Semi Ojeleye returned. But he made a solid business decision and turned pro. Another future pro, Shake Milton, will need to do it all for the Mustangs and improve upon his 13 point average from last year. Arkansas transfer Jimmy Whitt and Jarrey Foster should provide playmaking and scoring, but it may not be able to make up for an inexperienced frontcourt. The good news is that Jahmal McMurray, a lethal scorer from South Florida, will be eligible after the first semester.

46. Florida State

Florida State Projected Rotation

Prior to M.J. Walker’s commitment earlier this week, the Seminoles looked destined for an underwhelming season. The All-American should be a dynamic offensive weapon that will make life easier on C.J. Walker, Terrance Mann, and Trent Forrest. Leonard Hamilton played his bench extensively last year, making this young team more experienced than their age suggests. Freshman big man Ikey Obiagu is a terrific rim protector that could allow the four-guard lineup to thrive.

45. Western Kentucky

Western Kentucky Projected Rotation

Rick Stansbury put together an impressive recruiting year, highlighted by the commitment of star freshman center Mitchell Robinson. But he isn’t the only new piece that will drive the Hilltoppers to new heights this year. Josh Anderson, another talented freshman, should make an immediate impact. Stansbury also gains Buffalo guard Lamonte Bearden (13.7 ppg, 4.2 apg) and Virginia transfer Darius Thompson. Second team CUSA forward Justin Johnson is the key returner after averaging nearly a double-double a year ago.

44. Iowa

Iowa Projected Rotation

Losing Peter Jok is going to hurt, but not for too long. With a lot of youth, a strong freshman class, including Jordan Bohannon (10.9 ppg, 5.1 apg, 42% 3PT) and Tyler Cook (12.3 ppg, 5.3 rpg), was able to gain meaningful experience. Now this group should be ready to take the next step. Junior Nicholas Baer is a lanky, skilled forward that is 15-20 pounds away from being a scary player in the Big 10. While the conference should be deeper, Iowa has a returning core that is used to playing together.

43. Alabama

Alabama Projected Rotation

Alabama may have the best freshmen backcourt in the country with Collin Sexton and John Petty. Sexton is one of the fiercest competitors in the nation, good enough to carry the Tide to a 20-win season. The top three scorers from last year return, with Braxton Key and Dazon Ingram, expected to take big steps this offseason. Ohio State transfer Daniel Giddens will be eligible this season to be the leading shot-blocker and man in the middle.

42. Missouri

Missouri Projected Rotation

A lot of expectations come with having the #1 recruit in the country. Michael Porter Jr. is without a doubt a superstar, but the other pieces at Mizzou will decide how far they go. Terrance Phillips (10.4 ppg, 4.4 apg), Jordan Barnett (12.2 ppg), and Kevin Puryear (11.8 ppg) are all going to maintain roles in the rotation under Cuonzo Martin. Porter’s class includes top 100 recruits Blake Harris, C.J. Roberts, and big man Jeremiah Tillman. Canisius transfer Kassius Robertson is a lights out shooter who should provide leadership. The influx of new talent will easily exceed the 8 wins from last year, but it will take some time to adjust to all the new faces and schemes.

41. Stanford

Stanford Projected Rotation

Stanford had a really mediocre season a year ago. While Reid Travis (17.4 ppg, 8.9 rpg) was a beast in the paint, the Cardinal lacked consistency. Michael Humphrey (9.4 ppg, 6.2 rpg) could have a breakout senior season and form one of the best frontcourt duos in the Pac 12. Dorian Pickens and Marcus Sheffield should continue to score on the wing. The freshmen trio of Kezie Okpala, Daejon Davis, and Oscar Da Silva will give a level of athleticism and versatility that Stanford hasn’t had in a while.

40. Auburn

Auburn Projected Rotation

Bruce Pearl deserves a lot of credit for the youth movement he has created. All top scorers from last year were freshmen, giving him a phenomenal base for the future. Mustapha Herron is a scoring machine, Danjel Purifoy is a versatile forward, and Jared Harper is an ideal floor general. Austin Wiley enrolled early and gave 8.8 points and 4.7 rebounds a game in only 18 minutes. He has serious NBA potential that could be showcased more next season. The x-factor for this season is transfer DeSean Murray, a tenacious forward that averaged 20.2 points and 7.2 rebounds at Presbyterian. Auburn is a dark horse to win the SEC this year.

39. Oklahoma

Oklahoma Projected Rotation

After an 11-20 season, the Sooners are in position to make some noise in the Big 12. Sophomore Kameron McGusty (10.9 ppg) really looks like he can develop into a lethal offensive player. Khadeem Lattin returns as a defensive anchor and Rashard Odomes is effective in the slasher role. The big addition is McDonald’s All-American Trae Young, who will slide into the point guard role. He is a natural playmaker who could realistically be a 4-year starter. With Young stepping in for the only significant positional loss, Lon Krueger’s squad should be back in the Big Dance this year.

38. Nevada

Nevada Projected Rotation

Nevada has turned into Transfer-U. Caleb and Cody Martin (NC State), Kendall Stephens (Purdue), and Hallice Cooke (Iowa State) are all going to play big roles on this team. Cameron Oliver’s early departure should make Jordan Caroline (15.0 ppg, 9.2 rpg) a favorite for Mountain West Player of the Year. The Wolfpack have a bevy of transfers sitting out for next year as well, so expect a few more years of seeing them in your bracket.

37. TCU

TCU Projected Rotation

A few big wins last year hinted towards a bright future for Jamie Dixon’s team. Vladimir Brodziansky (14.1 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 2.1 bpg) should be an All-Big 12 performer again after a breakout year. The young backcourt of Jaylen Fisher and Alex Robinson combined for 9.8 assists a game last year, better than any backcourt in the conference. All top six scorers return for a team that shouldn’t be subjugated to the bubble this year.

36. Virginia

Virginia Projected Rotation

Tony Bennett lost three rotation players to the transfer route as well as mainstay London Perrantes to graduation. Bennett will have to lean heavily on underclassmen. Kyle Guy (50% 3PT) and Ty Jerome (40% 3PT) can be shooting stars in their sophomore seasons. Redshirt freshmen DeAndre Hunter and Jay Huff made good strides in the weight room. Hunter is the best small forward on the team and Huff should be effective spacing the floor and protecting the rim. All was not lost in the offseason, as Devon Hall and Isaiah Wilkins bring their postseason experience to lead the way.

35. Providence

Providence Projected Rotation

After being upset early in the NCAA Tournament, Providence is back with all of their key pieces. Rodney Bullock (15.7 ppg) should have a much better shooting year and lead the Friars in scoring again. Kyron Cartwright (6.7 apg) was a solid playmaker in his first year as a full-time point guard. Incoming freshman Makai Ashton-Langford has the tools to be a terrific two-way player. He’s long (6’8 wingspan) and explosive, capable of playing either guard spot. The Friars have the talent, they just need to put it all together to get out of the first weekend in March.

34. Oregon

Oregon Projected Rotation

Few teams who make the Final Four go into the next year with so few pieces. Thankfully for the Ducks, there are talented arrivals to accompany their promising point guard Payton Pritchard (7.4 ppg, 3.6 apg). New Mexico transfer Elijah Brown (18.8 ppg) and freshman Troy Brown Jr., a consensus top-20 recruit, should be able to make up for some of the lost scoring. Former Georgetown forward Paul White could slide into a point forward role to allow the guards to focus on scoring. Brown Jr. and fellow freshmen Victor Bailey and Kenneth Wooten will infuse the Ducks with athleticism and energy. Without a ton of depth, expect Dana Altman to squeeze the most out of his players.

33. Baylor

Baylor Projected Rotation

The Bears took a significant hit when Johnathan Motley signed an agent. More scoring duties will be placed on Manu Lecomte, a 40% three-point shooter who led the team in assists. Lecomte’s calming presence at point will be especially important to deal with the likely scoring droughts. Jake Lindsey is really good in his pass-first role, so look for Wendell Mitchell and/or King McClure to have increased offensive responsibilities. The toughness of Terry Matson matched with the defensive excellence of Jo Lual-Acuil should provide reliability in the frontcourt. It will be tough to be as good without Motley, but Baylor has enough returning to grind out a good year.

32. Rhode Island

Rhode Island Projected Rotation

Rhode Island will go as far as E.C. Matthews takes them. The senior still has Jared Terrell (12.6 ppg) and Jarvis Garrett (2.9 apg) running in the backcourt with him after losing a one-possession game to eventual national runner-up Oregon. All of the significant reserves also return to collectively make up for the losses of Kuran Iverson and Hassan Martin. Look for redshirt freshman Michael Tertsea to make an impact as the only true center on the roster.

31. Oregon State

Oregon State Projected Rotation

I think the Beavers will have the largest win improvement in the nation. After winning only 5 games last year, an incredibly inexperienced team is coming back as a more mature unit. Tres Tinkle (20.2 ppg) played only 6 games before a season-ending injury. Junior big Drew Eubanks (13.5 ppg, 8.3 rpg, 2.2 bpg) is a rim-rocking, shot-blocking talent who has just scratched the surface of his ability. Tinkle, Eubanks, and Stephen Thompson (16.3 ppg) are all in their third seasons receiving substantial minutes. Add Thompson’s brother, Ethan, an elite recruit, and lanky point guard Jaquori McLaughlin (10.5 ppg) and coach Tinkle might be back in the tourney after a down year.

30. Wisconsin

Wisconsin Projected Rotation

Wisconsin lost four of their top players and leaders to graduation. It’s still hard to bet against a team with an efficient All-American like Ethan Happ (14.0 ppg, 9.0 rpg, 2.8 apg). Without proven weapons around, teams will swarm Happ on his touches. D’Mitrik Trice must balance scoring and playmaking while Khalil Iverson will need to work on his skills to make the most of his freakish athleticism. The difference will be a strong recruiting class. Brad Davison is a tough, heady guard and Kobi King will bring his bucket-getter mentality to a team deprived of perimeter scorers. Nathan Reuvers will be one of the most talented players on the roster, bringing size, athleticism, and skills typical to a Wisconsin big. His shooting ability and perimeter skills will make teams pay for collapsing on Happ. It’s going to be a rebuilding year, but the Badgers shouldn’t be counted out.

29. Maryland

Maryland Projected Rotation

Not seeing Melo Trimble every day will be a new look for the Terrapins. Lucky for them, Mark Turgeon has his best recruiting class ever entering their sophomore season. Anthony Cowan will be one of the best pure point guards that Maryland has seen, able to control pace and set up teammates at a high level. Retaining Justin Jackson (10.5 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 44% 3-PT) from the NBA gives the Terps a mismatch nightmare. The other super sophomore, Kevin Huerter (9.3 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 2.7 apg), is known for his shooting, but he quietly had a strong all-around season. All three should take large steps this summer before terrorizing the Big Ten. Duke transfer Sean Obi may finally get a chance to show his physicality for the Terrapins.

28. Butler

Butler Projected Rotation

If there is one thing you can count on in the Big East, it is to never count out Butler. Kelan Martin (16.0 ppg, 5.8 rpg) is an All-American candidate surrounded by solid players. Kamar Baldwin is a dynamic, competitive guard that will be the second option for the Bulldogs. Tyler Wideman and Nate Fowler are bruisers down low and Sean McDermott looks like a young Kellen Dunham. A good recruiting class of wing players will be able to learn from Martin and provide solid depth at both forward spots.

27. Seton Hall

Seton Hall Projected Rotation

For a while, there were rumors that rebounding expert Angel Delgado (15.2 ppg, 13.0 rpg) was going pro. With his return, there will be understandably high expectations for the Pirates. A senior-laden group is led by Delgado, Khadeem Carrington (17.1 ppg) and Desi Rodriguez (15.7 ppg). The key will be cutting down on the turnovers this year. Incoming freshmen Jordan Walker was more of an under-the-radar late signing, but he knows how to run the show and create good looks. There should be nothing but optimism for the upcoming year.

26. Virginia Tech

Virginia Tech Projected Rotation

It seems like the Hokies have been knocking on the door of being a perennial tournament team. Chris Clarke is the heart and soul of the team, impacting the game in all facets. Kerry Blackshear is in for a big year after missing all of last season with an injury. Double-digit scorers in Ahmed Hill and Justin Robinson should give Buzz Williams some sense of security going into the year. His first elite recruit, combo guard Nickeil Alexander-Walker, is a special player that will be in the starting lineup sooner rather than later.

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