2018-19 college basketball rankings: Kentucky adds 2 big pieces, moves to No. 1 in the Top 25 (and 1)

Kentucky lost a lot of players early to the NBA Draft, per usual. But you can still reasonably argue that, all things considered, this has been a great offseason for the Wildcats. PJ Washington and Quade Green returned to school. Ashton Hagans reclassified. And Reid Travis committed. So now John Calipari has an immensely talented roster that's also sprinkled with experience.

That's a great combination.

The Wildcats could have three non-freshmen starters -- two of whom (Washington and Green) are former five-star prospects who combined to average 20.1 points per game last season, the other a 22-year-old graduate transfer who averaged 19.5 points and 8.7 rebounds as a junior at Stanford. Combine that with the nation's second-ranked recruiting class that's highlighted by the top-ranked point guard (Hagans), and it's enough to make Kentucky the No. 1 team in the updated CBS Sports Top 25 (and one).

Yes, you could make a great argument for Kansas -- especially after Lagerald Vick's surprising return. And, yes, I considered swapping the Wildcats and Jayhawks. (I won't blame anybody who does.) But I'm keeping it Kentucky-Kansas in that order, for now -- although UK and KU are really 1A and 1B. I suspect they'll ultimately split first-place votes in the preseason AP poll.

The complete Top 25 (and one) is below.

  • Coach: John Calipari
  • 2017-18 record: 26-11
  • Notable players definitely gone: Kevin Knox, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Hamidou Diallo, Wenyen Gabriel, Jarred Vanderbilt, Sacha Killeya-Jones, Tai Wynyard
  • Other expected departures: None
  • Notable players expected to return: PJ Washington, Quade Green, Nick Richards, Brad Calipari, Jemarl Baker
  • Expected additions: Ashton Hagans, Reid Travis, Keldon Johnson, Immanuel Quickly, Tyler Herro, E.J. Montgomery
  • Why the Wildcats are ranked here: Two of the top five scorers -- specifically PJ Washington and Quade Green -- are back from a team that advanced to the Sweet 16. Plus, graduate-transfer Reid Travis has committed. Plus, the nation's No. 2 recruiting class -- that improved in June when five-star point guard Ashton Hagans reclassified -- is set to enroll. So the Wildcats, on paper, look like the nation's best team.

2. Kansas

  • Coach: Bill Self
  • 2017-18 record: 33-7
  • Notable players definitely gone: Devonte' Graham, Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk, Malik Newman
  • Other expected departures: None
  • Notable players expected to return: Udoka Azubuike, Lagerald Vick, Marcus Garrett, Mitch Lightfoot, Silvio De Sousa, Sam Cunliffe
  • Expected additions: Dedric Lawson, K.J. Lawson, Charlie Moore, Quentin Grimes, Devon Dotson, David McCormack, Ochai Agbaji
  • Why the Jayhawks are ranked here: Bill Self will once again have a roster loaded with talent and experience — the kind that makes the Jayhawks the clear favorite to win a 15th straight Big 12 title. Former Memphis star Dedric Lawson should be a double-double nightmare for opponents right from the jump. And KU will be super-deep in the backcourt thanks to Cal transfer Charlie Moore, the arrival of five-star guards Quentin Grimes and Devon Dotson, and the surprising return of Legerald Vick.

3. Duke

  • Coach: Mike Krzyzewski
  • 2017-18 record: 29-8
  • Notable players definitely gone: Marvin Bagley III, Grayson Allen, Trevon Duval, Gary Trent, Wendell Carter
  • Other expected departures: None
  • Notable players expected to return: Marques Bolden, Javin DeLaurier, Alex O'Connell, Justin Robinson, Antonio Vrankovic, Jordan Goldwire, Jack White
  • Expected additions: R.J. Barrett, Cameron Reddish, Zion Williamson, Tre Jones, Joey Baker
  • Why the Blue Devils are ranked here: Duke is losing its entire starting lineup. But the recruiting class is again loaded thanks to commitments from the No. 1 (R.J. Barrett), No. 2 (Cameron Reddish) and No. 3 (Zion Williamson) prospects in the Class of 2018. So the Blue Devils should be factors on the national stage again. Same old, same old in Durham.
  • Coach: Rick Barnes
  • 2017-18 record: 26-9
  • Notable players definitely gone: James Daniel
  • Other expected departures: None
  • Notable players expected to return: Grant Williams, Admiral Schofield, Lamonte Turner, Jordan Bowden, Jordan Bone, Kyle Alexander, Chris Darrington, John Fulkerson, Derrick Walker, Zach Kent, Jalen Johnson, Yves Pons
  • Expected additions: Khwan Jones
  • Why the Vols are ranked here: Tennessee should return most of the important pieces from a team that shared the SEC regular-season title. More specifically, the top six scorers are back — among them SEC Player of the Year Grant Williams. So it'll come as no surprise when the Vols finish at, or near, the top of the league again.
  • Coach: Mark Few
  • 2017-18 record: 32-5
  • Notable players definitely gone: Johnathan Williams III, Silas Melson, Jesse Wade
  • Others expected to leave: None
  • Notable players expected to return: Killian Tillie, Zach Norvell, Josh Perkins, Rui Hachimura, Corey Kispert, Jacob Larsen, Jeremy Jones
  • Expected additions: Joel Ayayi, Geno Crandall, Brandon Clark, Filip Petrusev, Greg Foster
  • Why the Bulldogs are ranked here: Gonzaga has finished in the top 25 at KenPom each of the past seven years — and in the top 10 in three of the past four. So the Zags are an undeniable benefit-of-the-doubt team. Sure, they lost their leading scorer in Johnathan Williams III. But they'll still be a national power thanks to the fact that Killian Tillie and Rui Hachimura decided to pass on the NBA Draft.

6. Nevada

  • Coach: Eric Musselman
  • 2017-18 record: 29-8
  • Notable players definitely gone: Kendall Stephens, Elijah Foster, Hallice Cooke, Darien Williams, Charlie Tooley
  • Other expected departures: None
  • Notable players expected to return: Caleb Martin, Jordan Caroline, Cody Martin, Lindsey Drew, Josh Hall
  • Expected additions: Jordan Brown, K.J. Hymes, Vincent Lee, Nisre' Zouzoua, Jazz Johnson, Tre'Shawn Thurman, Corey Henson, Trey Porter
  • Why the Wolf Pack are ranked here: The late addition of five-star forward Jordan Brown was a huge development for Nevada -- and something that would've eased the pain if Caleb and Cody Martin had remained in the NBA Draft. But they didn't. The twins withdrew at the deadline. So Nevada is absolutely loaded considering five of the top six scorers from a 29-win team that advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament are expected back. Consequently, it's very reasonable to project Eric Musselman's team to maybe make the first Final Four in school history.
  • Coach: Tony Bennett
  • 2017-18 record: 31-3
  • Notable players definitely gone: Devon Hall, Isaiah Wilkins, Nigel Johnson
  • Other expected departures: None
  • Notable players expected to return: Kyle Guy, Ty Jerome, De'Andre Hunter, Mamadi Diakite, Jack Salt, Jay Huff, Marco Anthony
  • Expected additions: Kody Stattmann, Kihei Clark
  • Why the Cavaliers are ranked here: Virginia's historic loss to UMBC in the NCAA Tournament was a less-than-ideal way to end things. But it shouldn't make anybody forget that Tony Bennett's team put together the nation's best resume in advance of Selection Sunday. They were terrific most of the season. And seven of the top 10 players from that team should be back to help Virginia compete for another ACC title.
  • Coach: Roy Williams
  • 2017-18 record: 26-11
  • Notable players definitely gone: Joel Berry, Theo Pinson
  • Other expected departures: None
  • Notable players expected to return: Luke Maye, Cameron Johnson, Kenny Williams, Sterling Manley, Garrison Brooks, Andrew Platek, Brandon Robinson, Brandon Huffman, Seventh Woods, Shea Rush
  • Expected additions: Nassir Little, Coby White, Rechon Black
  • Why the Tar Heels are ranked here: With the NCAA cloud no longer hovering, UNC is back to recruiting like UNC — evidence being that the Tar Heels secured commitments from five-star prospects Nassir Little and Coby White in the Class of 2018. Those two will pair with veterans like Luke Maye, Cameron Johnson and Kenny Williams to put Roy Williams in a position to perhaps win a fourth national title. And Maye could be a First-Team All-American if he averages 16.9 points and 10.1 rebounds again -- or improves on those numbers, which is possible.
  • Coach: Jay Wright
  • 2017-18 record: 36-4
  • Notable players definitely gone: Jalen Brunson, Mikal Bridges, Donte DiVincenzo, Omari Spellman
  • Other expected departures: None
  • Notable players expected to return: Eric Paschall, Phil Booth, Collin Gillespie, Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree, Jermaine Samuels, Tim Delaney, Dylan Painter
  • Expected additions: Jahvon Quinerly, Cole Swider, Brandon Slater, Joe Cremo
  • Why the Wildcats are ranked here: Villanova is losing Jalen Brunson, Mikal Bridges, Donte DiVincenzo and Omari Spellman to the NBA Draft. That's a lot of good pieces gone. But Eric Paschall, Phil Booth and a top-15 recruiting class -- highlighted by five-star point guard Jahvon Quinerly -- should have Jay Wright's program as Big East favorites again.

10. Auburn

  • Coach: Bruce Pearl
  • 2017-18 record: 26-8
  • Notable players definitely gone: Mustapha Heron, Davion Mitchell, Desean Murray
  • Other expected departures: None
  • Notable players expected to return: Bryce Brown, Austin Wiley, Danjel Purifoy, Jared Harper, Chuma Okeke, Anfernee McLemore, Horace Spencer, Malik Dunbar
  • Expected additions: Samir Doughty
  • Why the Tigers are ranked here: The Tigers are losing Mustapha Heron to transfer, which is surprising. But they were expected to lose him anyway, one way or another, so the end result is the same. And, even with that development, Auburn is still returning six of the top eight scorers from a team that shared the SEC regular-season title last season. So another league championship is very much a possibility.
  • Coach: Tom Izzo
  • 2017-18 record: 30-5
  • Notable players definitely gone: Miles Bridges, Jaren Jackson, Gavin Schilling, Tum Tum Nairn, Ben Carter
  • Other expected departures: None
  • Notable players expected to return: Cassius Winston, Nick Ward, Joshua Langford, Matt McQuaid, Xavier Tillman, Kenny Goins, Kyle Ahrens
  • Expected additions: Marcus Bingham, Foster Loyer, Gabe Brown, Aaron Henry, Thomas Kithier
  • Why the Spartans are ranked here: The losses of Miles Bridges and Jaren Jackson to the NBA Draft will hurt. But it's not like Tom Izzo didn't have time to prepare for that development. And there are still enough nice pieces in East Lansing — plus a top-15 recruiting class on the way — to make the Spartans the favorite to win back-to-back Big Ten regular-season titles. Cassius Winston will be the leading returning scorer. He averaged 12.6 points in 28.1 minutes per game last season.
  • Coach: Bruce Weber
  • 2017-18 record: 25-12
  • Notable players definitely gone: Brian Patrick
  • Other expected departures: None
  • Notable players expected to return: Dean Wade, Barry Brown, Xavier Sneed, Kamau Stokes, Cartier Diarra, Makol Mawien, Mawdo Sallah, Mike McGuirl, Amaad Wainwright, Levi Stockard III
  • Expected additions: Shaun Williams, Austin Trice
  • Why the Wildcats are ranked here: Every relevant player from KSU's 25-win team that advanced to the Elite Eight of the 2018 NCAA Tournament is expected back. So it's hard not to have Bruce Weber's program somewhere in the top 15. Remember, they could've made the Final Four if Dean Wade was never injured. So don't be surprised if Kansas State is the biggest threat to Kansas' string of Big 12 titles.
  • Coach: Buzz Williams
  • 2017-18 record: 21-12
  • Notable players definitely gone: Justin Bibbs, Devin Wilson
  • Other expected departures: None
  • Notable players expected to return: Justin Robinson, Kerry Blackshear Jr., Nickel Alexander-Walker, Ahmed Hill, Chris Clarke, P.J. Horne, Kyrie Jackson, Wabissa Beade, Ty Outlaw
  • Expected additions: Landers Nolley, Jarren McAllister, Jon Kabongo, Khadim Sy
  • Why the Hokies are ranked here: Justin Bibbs was a double-digit scorer. So losing him matters. But just about every other meaningful piece from a team that earned a No. 8 seed in the NCAA Tournament should be back — including Justin Robinson, who averaged 14.0 points in 30.9 minutes per game last season. Bottom line, this is expected to be Buzz Williams' best team in five years at Virginia Tech. A top-four finish in the ACC is very possible.
  • Coach: Leonard Hamilton
  • 2017-18 record: 23-12
  • Notable players definitely gone: Braian Angola, Brandon Allen, CJ Walker, Ike Obiagu
  • Other expected departures: None
  • Notable players expected to return: Phil Cofer, Terance Mann, Trent Forrest, Mfiondu Kabengele, M.J. Walker, PJ Savoy, Christ Koumadje, Wyatt Wilkes, Anthony Polite
  • Expected additions: Devin Vassell, RaiQuan Gray,
  • Why the Seminoles are ranked here: Leonard Hamilton had FSU one win away from the Final Four -- and his top two players from that team are expected back considering Phil Cofer has been granted a fifth year of eligibility. Consequently, odds are, Florida State should be in the NCAA Tournament for the third consecutive year -- and a factor in the ACC once again.
  • Coach: Ben Howland
  • 2017-18 record: 25-12
  • Notable players definitely gone: Xavian Stapleton, Eli Wright
  • Other expected departures: None
  • Notable players expected to return: Quinndary Weatherspoon, Aric Holman, Nick Weatherspoon, Lamar Peters, Tyson Carter, Abdul Ado, Nick Singleton, E.J. Datcher, KeyShawn Feazell
  • Expected additions: Reggie Perry, Robert Woodard, DJ Stewart, Jethro Tshisumpa
  • Why the Bulldogs are ranked here: The top six scorers from a 25-win team that advanced to the semifinals of the NIT should be back, which will make Mississippi State a factor in the SEC and likely NCAA Tournament team for the first time under Ben Howland. Among the returning players is Quinndary Weatherspoon, who averaged a team-high 14.4 points and 6.0 rebounds last season. His brother, Nick, averaged 10.8 points while shooting 47.9 percent from the field.
  • Coach: Bob Huggins
  • 2017-18 record: 26-11
  • Notable players definitely gone: Jevon Carter, Daxter Miles, Teddy Allen, Maciej Bender, D'Angelo Hunter
  • Other expected departures: None
  • Notable players expected to return: Sagaba Konate, Esa Ahmad, Lamont West, James Bolden, Wesley Harris, Chase Harler, Logan Routt
  • Expected additions: Jordan McCabe, Derek Culver, Emmitt Matthews, Trey Doomes, Andrew Gordon, Brandon Knapper, Jermaine Haley
  • Why the Mountaineers are ranked here: The Mountaineers are losing a lot from that 26-win team — most notably Jevon Carter. But West Virginia has never finished outside of the top 25 since Bob Huggins committed to "Press Virginia" before the 2014-15 season. So there's no reason to think they'll slip too much even with key players gone.

17. Oregon

  • Coach: Dana Altman
  • 2017-18 record: 23-13
  • Notable players definitely gone: Elijah Brown, MiKyle McIntosh, Roman Sorkin
  • Other expected departures: Troy Brown
  • Notable players expected to return: Payton Pritchard, Paul White, Victor Bailey, Kenny Wooten, Keith Smith, M.J. Cage, Abu Kigab
  • Expected additions: Bol Bol, Louis King, Will Richardson, Miles Norris
  • Why the Ducks are ranked here: Oregon is set to enroll the nation's No. 3 recruiting class that's highlighted by possible one-and-done prospects Bol Bol and Louis King. Combine that with the return of leading scorer Payton Pritchard, and Dana Altman's Ducks should be the favorite to win the Pac-12 while Arizona goes through something of a rebuild.

18. UCLA

  • Coach: Steve Alford
  • 2017-18 record: 21-12
  • Notable players definitely gone: Aaron Holiday, Thomas Welsh, Gyorgy Goloman
  • Other expected departures: None
  • Notable players expected to return: Kris Wilkes, Jaylen Hands, Prince Ali, Alex Olesinski, Chris Smith, Cody Riley, Jalen Hill
  • Expected additions: Shareef O'Neal, Jules Bernard, David Singleton, Kenneth Nwuba, Moses Brown, Tiger Campbell
  • Why the Bruins are ranked here: Steve Alford has secured consecutive top-five recruiting classes, which gives him the talent necessary to make the NCAA Tournament for the fifth time in six years at UCLA. The star of the class is Moses Brown, a 7-foot center from New York. He's one of five top-75 prospects enrolling at UCLA -- where Kris Wilkes will be the Bruins' leading returning scorer. He averaged 13.7 points and 4.9 rebounds last season.

19. LSU

  • Coach: Will Wade
  • 2017-18 record: 18-15
  • Notable players definitely gone: Duop Reath, Aaron Epps, Randy Onwuasor, Brandon Sampson, Jeremy Combs, Mayan Kiir, Galen Alexander
  • Others expected to leave: None
  • Notable players expected to return: Tremont Waters, Skylar Mays, Daryl Edwards, Wayde Sims, Brandon Rachal,
  • Expected additions: Naz Reid, Ja'Vonte Smart, Darius Days, Emmitt Williams, Kavell Bigby-Williams
  • Why the Tigers are ranked here: Will Wade's effective recruiting has totally rebuilt LSU's roster and made it one of the SEC's most talented. Tremont Waters is terrific and should be an SEC Player of the Year candidate. And the arrival of a top-five recruiting class highlighted by Naz Reid and Emmitt Williams gives the Tigers a real chance to go from the bottom half of the SEC to somewhere near the top in a span of just one year.

20. TCU

  • Coach: Jamie Dixon
  • 2017-18 record: 21-12
  • Notable players definitely gone: Vladimir Brodziansky, Kenrich Williams, Ahmed Hamdy
  • Other expected departures: None
  • Notable players expected to return: Desmond Bane, Jaylen Fisher, Kouat Noi, Alex Robinson, JD Miller, Shawn Olden, RJ Nembhard
  • Expected additions: Kevin Samuel, Kaden Archie, Kendric Davis, Russell Barlow, Yuat Alok, Angus McWilliam, Lat Mayen
  • Why the Horned Frogs are ranked here: Jamie Dixon guided TCU to the NCAA Tournament in just his second season, and he should do it again in this third even though he's losing his top two scorers. Either Desmond Bayne or Jaylen Fisher will emerge as TCU's new leading scorer. Both averaged more than 12 points per game last season as sophomores.
  • Coach: John Beilein
  • 2017-18 record: 33-8
  • Notable players definitely gone: Moritz Wagner, Muhammad-Ali Abdur Rahkman, Duncan Robinson, Jaaron Simmons, Ibi Watson
  • Other expected departures: None
  • Notable players expected to return: Charles Matthews, Zavier Simpson, Jordan Poole, Isaiah Livers, Jon Teske, Eli Brooks, Austin Davis
  • Expected additions: Brandon Johns, Ignas Brazdeikis, David DeJulius, Colin Castleton, Adrien Nunez
  • Why the Wolverines are ranked here: Even with the unsurprising loss of Mo Wagner, Michigan still belongs in the Top 25 (and one) -- especially with Charles Matthews back on the roster. The Kentucky transfer averaged 13.1 points and 5.6 rebounds in 30.1 minutes per game last season. His development under John Beilein, like most players' development under the top-shelf coach, has been noticeable. Matthews could compete for Big Ten Player of the Year honors.
  • Coach: Jim Boeheim
  • 2017-18 record: 23-14
  • Notable players definitely gone: Matthew Moyer
  • Other expected departures: None
  • Notable players expected to return: Tyus Battle, Oshae Brissett, Frank Howard, Marek Dolezaj, Paschal Chukwu, Bourama Sidibe
  • Expected additions: Jalen Carey, Buddy Boeheim, Elijah Hughes
  • Why the Orange are ranked here: The top six scorers from a team that finished 41st at KenPom and advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament should be back --  among them Tyus Battle, who withdrew from the NBA Draft at the deadline. So the Orange should be good enough to make the NCAA Tournament for the third time in a four-year span -- and maybe compete for a trip to the second weekend.
  • Coach: Mark Turgeon
  • 2017-18 record: 19-13
  • Notable players definitely gone: Justin Jackson, Kevin Huerter, Jared Nickens, Michal Cekovsky, Sean Obi, Dion Wiley
  • Other expected departures: None
  • Notable players expected to return: Anthony Cowan, Bruno Fernando, Darryl Morsell, Ivan Bender, Joshua Tomaic
  • Expected additions: Jalen Smith, Aaron Wiggins, Eric Ayala, Schnider Herard, Serrell Smith
  • Why the Terrapins are ranked here: Kevin Huerter's last-day decision to remain in the NBA Draft is a blow to Maryland, undeniably. But the Terrapins are still returning three of the top five scorers from a team that finished 39th at KenPom -- most notably Anthony Cowan, who averaged a team-high 15.8 points and 5.1 assists last season. Combine that with a top-10 recruiting class (highlighted by five-star big Jalen Smith), and Mark Turgeon's Terrapins should remain competitive.

24. Clemson

  • Coach: Brad Brownell
  • 2017-18 record: 25-10
  • Notable players definitely gone: Gabe DeVoe, Donte Grantham, Mark Donnal
  • Other expected departures: None
  • Notable players expected to return: Marcquise Reed, Shelton Mitchell, Elijah Thomas, Aamir Simms, David Skara, Anthony Oliver II, Clyde Trapp, Malik William, Scott Spencer
  • Expected additions: John Newman, Trey Jamison, Hunter Tyson
  • Why the Tigers are ranked here: Clemson is losing two of the top three scorers from a 25-win team that finished in the top 15 at KenPom. But the Tigers played down the stretch without Donte Grantham — meaning they proved to be good even without him. And with four of the top six scorers back — among them Marcquise Reed, who averaged 15.8 points in 34.9 minutes per game last season —the expectation is for Clemson to be good again.

25. Indiana

  • Coach: Archie Miller
  • 2017-18 record: 16-15
  • Notable players definitely gone: Robert Johnson, Josh Newkirk, Freddie McSwain, Colllin Hartman
  • Other expected departures: None
  • Notable players expected to return: Juwan Morgan, De'Ron Davis, Devonte Green, Justin Smith, Aljami Durham, Zach McRoberts
  • Expected additions: Romeo Langford, Jerome Hunter, Damezi, Anderson, Robert Phinisee, Jake Forrester, Race Thompson
  • Why the Hoosiers are ranked here: Archie Miller is returning five of the top seven scorers from a team that got better as the season progressed -- and adding a top-10 recruiting class to the mix highlighted by Indiana high school legend Romeo Langford. If he's a star the way so many project, the Hoosiers should be back in the NCAA Tournament in 2019 for the first time since 2016. 
  • Coach: Mick Cronin
  • 2017-18 record: 31-5
  • Notable players definitely gone: Gary Clark, Kyle Washington, Jacob Evans
  • Other expected departures: None.
  • Notable players expected to return: Jarron Cumberland, Cane Broome, Justin Jenifer, Trevor Moore, Keith Williams, Tre Scott, Nysier Brooks, Eliel Nsoseme, Mamoudou Diarra
  • Expected additions: Logan Johnson, LaQuill Hardnett, Rashawn Fredericks
  • Why the Bearcats are ranked here: The loss of Jacob Evans early to the NBA Draft isn't necessarily a killer. But it hurts. And I realize Cincinnati's roster might not scream Top 25 (and one). But Mick Cronin has led the Bearcats to eight straight NCAA Tournaments, largely with unheralded prospects. So I'm simply trusting him to do it again.
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Gary Parrish is an award-winning college basketball columnist and television analyst for CBS Sports who also hosts the highest-rated afternoon drive radio show in Memphis, where he lives with his wife... Full Bio

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