Fox Sports senior writer Jeff Goodman unveiled his preseason Top 25. Four Big 12 schools made the list.
5. KANSAS STATE
Record: 29-8 (Elite Eight)
Lose: Denis Clemente, Luis Colon, Chris Merriewether
Key Returnees: Jacob Pullen, Curtis Kelly, Jamar Samuels, Dominique Sutton, Rodney McGruder, Wally Judge, Jordan Henriquez-Roberts
Newcomers: Freddy Asprilla, Shane Southwell, Will Spradling
The Wildcats will certainly take a hit with the departure of floor leader Clemente, but Pullen will likely return to the point guard spot and he’ll have some experienced frontcourt guys around him in Kelly and Samuels. Senior wing Sutton is also back, and now sophomores McGruder and Judge both have a year under their belts. But the difference-maker could be Asprilla, the FIU transfer who will give Frank Martin the low-post presence K-State lacked this year.
Record: 23-11 (second round of the NCAA tournament)
Lose: J.T. Tiller, Zaire Taylor, Keith Ramsey, Miguel Paul, Tyler Stone
Key Returnees: Kim English, Marcus Denmon, Laurence Bowers, Justin Safford, Michael Dixon
Newcomers: Phil Pressey, Tony Mitchell, Ricardo Ratliffe, Matt Pressey, Kadeem Green, Richy Kreklow
Mike Anderson’s system is proven, and now he’ll add a big-time class — including the Pressey brothers, Mitchell and Ratliffe. Phil Pressey is the ideal floor leader for the up-tempo style, and Mitchell can be a star in Columbia. The Tigers lose Tiller and Taylor — a pair of underrated stars who really got after it defensively — but still have guys like English, Denmon and Bowers who have proven themselves.
Record: 33-3 (lost in second round of NCAA tournament)
Lose: Sherron Collins, Cole Aldrich, Xavier Henry
Key Returnees: Tyshawn Taylor, Brady Morningstar, Marcus and Markieff Morris, Tyrel Reed, Thomas Robinson, Jeff Withey, Elijah Johnson
Newcomers: Josh Selby, Royce Woolridge
Collins graduated, Aldrich is leaving a year early for the NBA and Henry departs after just one season in Lawrence. But Bill Self still has solid guards in Taylor, Morningstar, Reed and sophomore Elijah Johnson — and he also added highly touted freshman point guard Josh Selby. The Morris twins are both back, and Withey and Robinson should both receive expanded roles.
Record: 28-8 (Elite Eight)
Lose: Tweety Carter, Ekpe Udoh, Josh Lomers, Givon Crump
Key Returnees: LaceDarius Dunn, Anthony Jones, Quincy Acy, A.J. Walton, Nolan Dennis
Newcomers: Perry Jones, Stargell Love, Bakari Turner
Scott Drew loses three starters — seniors Carter and Lomers — as well as Udoh, who had a terrific season in Waco after transferring from Michigan. The good news is Dunn is back and Jones will arrive on campus. The key could be the progress of guys like Acy, Jones, Walton and Dennis.