College basketball rankings: Duke jumps up to No. 1 after landing Marvin Bagley
The top recruit in the nation commits to the Blue Devils, who soar to No. 1 in our Top 25 (and 1) rankings
Marvin Bagley's commitment to Duke late Monday could have a big effect on the 2018 NCAA Tournament considering he's trying to graduate early so that he can play college basketball this season.
Emphasis on the word could.
Truth be told, nobody -- not even Bagley himself -- knows for certain whether the NCAA will clear the 6-foot-11 forward for the 2017-18 school year. It's a process that could trickle into the season and/or lead to a disappointing outcome. Time, as they say, will tell. But now that Bagley is officially committed to a school and attempting to play this season, it makes sense to have that reality reflected in the rankings. So the CBS Sports Top 25 (and one) has been updated. And, yes, Mike Krzyzewski's Blue Devils are now No. 1.
Duke is bringing back former All-American Grayson Allen and pairing him with a freshman class that features four five-star prospects -- namely Trevon Duval, Wendell Carter, Gary Trent Jr. and Bagley. So they now have a true point guard (Duval), an experienced and accomplished scorer (Allen), and a dynamic frontcourt presence (Bagley) who is projected to be the No. 1 pick in the 2018 NBA Draft.
And it's why Coach K's sixth national title is possibly on the way.
Here's the complete and updated Top 25 (and one):
|1||Duke||If Marvin Bagley III isn't cleared for freshmen eligibility to start the season, obviously, this ranking will need to be adjusted. But for now I'm operating as if Bagley plays. And, if Bagley plays, he'll be spectacular. He's not just a great prospect, you see? He's also a great player who will be capable of contributing in a big way the moment he steps onto a college basketball court, and he'll benefit from playing with a natural point guard like Trevon Duval who should be able to create easy scoring opportunities for the highly skilled and explosive athlete.||6||9-1|
|2||Arizona||The return of Allonzo Trier, Rawle Alkins and Dusan Ristic means Arizona has three double-digit scorers back to pair with a heralded recruiting class headlined by DeAndre Ayton and Emmanuel Akot. So the Wildcats are both experienced and talented. And that's usually a combination that produces lots of wins and even championships.||1||7-3|
|3||Kansas||Kansas lost both Frank Mason and Josh Jackson. But four of the top eight scorers are back - and the Jayhawks are also adding five-star transfer Malik Newman and five-star freshman Billy Preston. So Bill Self will likely win a 14th straight Big 12 title -- and then some.||1||8-0|
|4||Michigan St.||The most surprising -- and significant -- NBA Draft development was Miles Bridges' decision to return to Michigan State for his sophomore season. It means four of the Spartans' top five scorers are back. And Bridges could now become the favorite to win National Player of the Year - especially if he leads Michigan State to what should be Tom Izzo's eighth Big Ten regular-season title.||1||8-2|
|5||Wichita St.||Almost every relevant player from a Wichita State team that won 31 games and finished eighth at KenPom is back -- most notably Markis McDuffie and Landry Shamet, the latter of whom had foot surgery in July but is expected to be healthy to start the season. Make no mistake: Wichita State will be the favorite in the American Athletic Conference in its first year in the AAC.||1||5-4|
|6||Louisville||If Donovan Mitchell had returned, Louisville would've probably been the preseason No. 1. But he didn't. So Louisville won't. But the Cardinals should still be good enough to compete for a trip to the Final Four -- especially with the late addition of five-star forward Brian Bowen. If it happens, it would be the eighth Final Four of Hall of Famer Rick Pitino's career.||1||7-3|
|7||Kentucky||The late addition of Kevin Knox bolstered an already top-ranked recruiting class that should keep Kentucky competing near the top of the sport. The Wildcats will have eight five-star recruits on their roster -- most notably Hamidou Diallo, who withdrew from the NBA Draft at the deadline. So UK will be incredibly inexperienced, sure. But John Calipari will once again have as much talent as anybody, if not more.||1||7-2|
|8||Villanova||Don't forget that Villanova didn't have a key returning player (Phil Booth) or its best recruit (Omari Spellman) last season. But the Wildcats should have both this season. So a fifth consecutive Big East title seems likely for Jay Wright's program that has become a fixture in the national rankings.||--||8-3|
|9||USC||USC has lost players early because of questionable NBA Draft decisions before. But not this year. So every relevant piece from a team that won a school-record 26 games is back -- most notably Bennie Boatright and Chimezie Metu. Consequently, the Trojans should be in the NCAA Tournament for the third straight year under Andy Enfield. And, if things break right, they just might have a shot at winning their first Pac-12 regular-season title since 1985.||--||5-4|
|10||Florida||Michael White has rebuilt Florida into a real challenger to Kentucky in the SEC. Obviously, the loss of Devin Robinson early to the NBA Draft hurt. But the Gators should still be at or near the top of the league standings again.||--||5-4|
|11||Miami (Fla.)||Six of Miami's top eight scorers are returning -- and they'll be joined by a top-10 recruiting class highlighted by five-star prospect Lonnie Walker, who had knee surgery in July but is expected to be healthy to start the season. If so, watch out. The Hurricanes could challenge for their second ACC regular-season title in a six-year span.||--||5-4|
|12||N. Carolina||Everybody always assumed Justin Jackson was headed to the NBA. So that departure was expected. But the somewhat surprising loss of Tony Bradley after just one season was a big blow to the Tar Heels' back-to-back hopes. Bradley projected as a breakout star and possible double-double guy. So his departure hurts and means the reigning national champions will be replacing four of their top five scorers. But the return of Joel Berry should be enough to keep them relevant.||--||7-2|
|13||Notre Dame||The loss of V.J. Beachem and Steve Vasturia will be noticeable on the court. But Matt Farrell and Bonzie Colson will comprise one of the top returning inside-outside duos in the country. So Mike Brey should have the Irish in the NCAA Tournament for the eighth time in a nine-year stretch.||--||6-3|
|14||Minnesota||Minnesota's fourth-place finish in the Big Ten was one of last season's biggest surprises, and most of the key players from that team are back. So Richard Pitino should return to the NCAA Tournament in 2018 and have a chance to advance to the second weekend.||--||9-2|
|15||Northwestern||Northwestern making the NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history was among the coolest stories on Selection Sunday. Now the Wildcats are headed toward back-to-back Big Dance appearances thanks to the fact that their top five scorers are all returning.||--||7-3|
|16||Cincinnati||Mick Cronin has guided the Bearcats to seven consecutive NCAA Tournaments. And an eighth trip appears on tap considering Jacob Evans, Kyle Washington, Gary Clark and Jarron Cumberland are all back and capable of helping Cincinnati compete at or near the top of the AAC standings again.||--||9-1|
|17||Gonzaga||The early loss of Nigel Williams-Goss and Zach Collins to the NBA Draft will make it difficult for Gonzaga to record a third 35-win season in a four-year span. Regardless, as usual, Mark Few should again have a team that wins the West Coast Conference and makes the NCAA Tournament.||--||9-1|
|18||Baylor||The early loss of Johnathan Motley is huge and will prevent Baylor from having a preseason All-American. But Scott Drew is still returning three of his top five scorers from a 27-win team that made the Sweet 16 and was ranked in the top 10 for much of last season. So the Bears should be in the NCAA Tournament for the fifth straight year.||--||5-3|
|19||Alabama||Nobody knew for sure if Avery Johnson would ever get things going at Alabama. And he still has to do it on the court. But recruiting has gone well. And the result is that Alabama will have one of the SEC's most talented rosters thanks to a top-five class headlined by point guard Collin Sexton.||--||6-3|
|20||UCLA||UCLA lost four starters -- among them one-and-done products Lonzo Ball and TJ Leaf. But Steve Alford has enrolled three top-40 recruits to help offset those departures. So the Bruins should be talented again. Just a matter of meshing the experienced veterans with the talented newcomers, which is always challenging but forever possible.||--||7-2|
|21||W. Virginia||Bob Huggins has had a top-25 team every year since he committed to a pressing style of defense in advance of the 2014-15 season. So there's no real reason to think he won't have one again even if the roster isn't littered with well-known prospects or players.||--||6-3|
|22||Saint Mary's||Saint Mary's proved, in its NCAA Tournament loss to Arizona, that it was a legitimate top-25 team that just didn't match up well with Gonzaga. Now most of the rotation from that team is returning. Thus the Gaels should be back in the NCAA Tournament for the sixth time in 11 years.||--||7-4|
|23||Xavier||Trevon Bluiett's return means Xavier's roster is headlined by an All-American candidate who averaged 18.5 points last season. Combine that with a top-15 recruiting class, and the Musketeers should be Villanova's biggest threat in the Big East.||--||6-4|
|24||Purdue||The early-but-expected loss of Caleb Swanigan is massive in multiple ways. But there are too many other good and experienced winners on Purdue's roster to expect Matt Painter's team to slip too much, if at all.||--||6-4|
|25||Rhode Island||Eight of Rhode Island's top 10 scorers are back from a team that nearly upset Oregon in the Round of 32 of the NCAA Tournament. That's why the Rams are a clear favorite in the Atlantic 10, where Dayton and VCU are both adjusting to offseason coaching changes.||--||4-3|
|26||Providence||Providence returns the top seven scorers from a team that made the NCAA Tournament -- among them four double-digit scorers - and adds a top-20 recruiting class. So Ed Cooley should be in the Field of 68 for the fifth consecutive season. And this could end up being the best team he's ever coached.||--||7-3|
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