UConn, Virginia move the needle in Way-Too-Early Top 25 men's college basketball rankings for 2022-23

Sanogo drops career-high 30 points as UConn survives in 2OT (2:15)

No. 22 UConn outlasts No. 19 Auburn in double overtime behind Adama Sanogo's 30-point effort. (2:15)

On the college basketball calendar, July has long been a month dedicated to recruiting. Rosters are usually set by then, and coaches can begin to turn toward the future of their programs before going all-in on the upcoming season.

For obvious reasons, however, 2020 and 2021 brought some changes to the old model, and July became a more hectic month. In 2020, the deadline to withdraw from the NBA draft wasn't even until early August. Last summer, it was early July -- and the transfer portal was still humming in both years.

But this year, with the immediate eligibility transfer deadline coming in early May and the NBA draft withdrawal deadline in early June, there has been very little action from a roster standpoint.

Don't get too comfortable, though. August is a month for reclassifications -- and we already saw potential top-five pick G.G. Jackson decide to reclassify into the 2022 class and commit to play for South Carolina this upcoming season. The Gamecocks are nowhere to be found in this month's Way-Too-Early Top 25, but future decisions could impact the rankings. We have only to look to last summer, when Memphis went from an afterthought to a top-10 team following reclassifications and commitments from Jalen Duren and Emoni Bates.

There aren't many changes to the rankings this month, just a few tweaks here and there after taking a fresh look at rosters.

1. North Carolina Tar Heels

Previous: 1

North Carolina announced its nonconference schedule earlier this month, a slate highlighted by a trip to Bloomington, Indiana, for the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. Indiana is the likely preseason Big Ten favorite, and all eyes will be on the interior matchup between Armando Bacot and Trayce Jackson-Davis.

Right before that, the Tar Heels head to Portland, Oregon, for three games at the Phil Knight Invitational -- potential top-25 teams in Carolina's bracket include Alabama, Oregon, UConn and Villanova. Hubert Davis' team also has a neutral-site game in New York against Ohio State and a short trip to Charlotte, North Carolina, to face either Florida, Michigan or Oklahoma.

Last season, the Tar Heels had major defensive issues during the nonconference slate before ironing out their issues late in the season. Another slow start is unlikely to be in the cards.

Projected starting lineup:

Caleb Love (15.2 PPG)
R.J. Davis (13.4 PPG)
Leaky Black (4.9 PPG)
Pete Nance (14.6 PPG)
Armando Bacot (16.5 PPG)

2. Gonzaga Bulldogs

Previous: 2

Mark Few had contingency plans in place in case the likes of Drew Timme, Julian Strawther and Rasir Bolton all left for the NBA draft. But with all three back, the Bulldogs can go at least eight deep without missing a beat. Off the bench in the backcourt will likely be Hunter Sallis, a former five-star guard whose role petered out toward the end of last season, and who never quite carved out a consistent role. But he was a scorer at the high school level and will be improved with a year of college under his belt.

Anton Watson has been a high-level role player the past two seasons, providing some toughness and physicality when Gonzaga needs to play bigger. And Efton Reid was the theoretical Timme replacement. Another former five-star prospect, the 7-footer had a reputation as an efficient post scorer coming out of high school but couldn't replicate that at LSU. Learning from Timme is a terrific way to take the next step, however.

Projected starting lineup:

Nolan Hickman (5.1 PPG)
Malachi Smith (19.9 PPG at Chattanooga)
Rasir Bolton (11.2 PPG)
Julian Strawther (11.8 PPG)
Drew Timme (18.4 PPG)

3. Houston Cougars

Previous: 3

Even though Houston has ranked in the top 10 nationally in adjusted offensive efficiency in each of the past two seasons, the Cougars might have their most dangerous group of scoring options in the Kelvin Sampson era this season. Marcus Sasser and Tramon Mark should be healthy. Potential breakout star Jamal Shead is also back. Incoming freshman Terrance Arceneaux can really score. But the difference-maker might be top-10 recruit Jarace Walker. Walker continued to improve his game as his high school career progressed, and was playing his best basketball in the second half of his senior season. He'll likely pose major matchup problems given his 6-7 size, strong frame and ability to take defenders off the bounce or finish through them at the rim.

Projected starting lineup:

Jamal Shead (10.0 PPG)
Marcus Sasser (17.7 PPG)
Tramon Mark (10.1 PPG)
Jarace Walker (No. 10 in ESPN 100)
J'Wan Roberts (3.2 PPG)

4. Kentucky Wildcats

Previous: 4

Will Kentucky be more of a threat from the perimeter this season? The Wildcats were one of the least 3-point-reliant teams in the country last season, ranking No. 351 out of 358 teams in 3-point attempt rate at KenPom.com. That's the fourth time in the past five years Kentucky has ranked in the bottom 15 nationally in that category; in fact, the Wildcats have ranked in the bottom 75 nationally in 3-point attempt rate each of the past 11 seasons. Improving the outside shooting would space the floor better for John Calipari's guards. Sahvir Wheeler isn't a good 3-point shooter, but former Iowa transfer CJ Fredrick is one of the best shooters in the country, Illinois State transfer Antonio Reeves shot 39% from 3 last season and freshmen Cason Wallace and Chris Livingston are capable outside shooters.

Projected starting lineup:

Sahvir Wheeler (10.1 PPG)
Cason Wallace (No. 20 in ESPN 100)
Antonio Reeves (20.1 PPG at Illinois State)
Chris Livingston (No. 12 in ESPN 100)
Oscar Tshiebwe (17.4 PPG)

5. Duke Blue Devils

Previous: 5

Jon Scheyer opted not to take it easy on himself in his first nonconference campaign as a head coach. With the Champions Classic pushed back a week, the Blue Devils are getting two games in -- including the season opener against a Jacksonville team that won 21 games last season -- before they face defending national champion Kansas in Indianapolis. They also have an early home game against Delaware, which reached the NCAA tournament last season. Then there are three games at the Phil Knight Legacy, a home game against Ohio State and a neutral-site contest against Iowa -- all in a 12-day span.

Given all the talent on its roster, Duke should be able to navigate the slate, but a young squad and a first-year head coach could experience some growing pains.

Projected starting lineup:

Jeremy Roach (8.6 PPG)
Dariq Whitehead (No. 2 in ESPN 100)
Jacob Grandison (9.6 PPG at Illinois)
Kyle Filipowski (No. 7 in ESPN 100)
Dereck Lively (No. 1 in ESPN 100)

Jalen Wilson skies for big slam

Jalen Wilson skies for big slam

6. Kansas Jayhawks

Previous: 6

Jalen Wilson might hold the key to Kansas' 2022-23 season. After bursting onto the scene early in the 2020-21 campaign with 23-point, 10-rebound performances against Kentucky and Creighton, looking like a surefire NBA player, Wilson has dealt with a variety of issues that have held him back from consistently being that player. But with the departures of Ochai Agbaji, Christian Braun, Remy Martin and David McCormack, Bill Self is going to need some proven offensive production. And Wilson has shown over the past two seasons he can step up.

He wasn't overly efficient on the offensive end during the 2022 NCAA tournament, but his motor ran high and he made an impact at both ends of the floor, averaging 12.0 points and 9.7 rebounds in six games. Throw a couple more points per game onto those averages, and the Jayhawks will be very happy.

Projected starting lineup:

Dajuan Harris Jr. (5.4 PPG)
Gradey Dick (No. 14 in ESPN 100)
Kevin McCullar (10.1 PPG at Texas Tech)
Jalen Wilson (11.0 PPG)
Ernest Udeh (No. 23 in ESPN 100)

7. Creighton Bluejays

Previous: 7

If Ryan Kalkbrenner returns fully healthy from the knee injury he suffered in the first round of the 2022 NCAA tournament, he deserves to be considered among the best centers in college basketball. Over his final 12 games of last season, the 7-1 Missouri native averaged 16.9 points, 9.1 rebounds and 2.2 blocks, shooting better than 68% from the field. He had four double-doubles during that span, including a 22-point, 15-rebound effort against Georgetown and 22 points and 10 rebounds against Adama Sanogo and UConn. Kalkbrenner is a nightmare to defend given his ability to play around the basket and also step out and facilitate for teammates.

Projected starting lineup:

Ryan Nembhard (11.3 PPG)
Trey Alexander (7.4 PPG)
Baylor Scheierman (16.2 PPG at South Dakota State)
Arthur Kaluma (10.4 PPG)
Ryan Kalkbrenner (13.1 PPG)

8. Baylor Bears

Previous: 8

While Baylor was without several of its key players for its trip to Toronto for the Globl Jam, it was easy to see why there's so much offseason hype for Keyonte George -- and why he was considered one of the best guards in the 2022 class. He had 32 points on 18 shots against Italy to open the tournament and proved it wasn't an anomaly, consistently leading the Bears on the offensive end. He also had 37 points on 21 shots in a win over Canada in the semifinals. George showed an advanced scoring package at the high school level, and after some inconsistency during his senior season, he began to hit his stride toward the end of the campaign and carried that over to the summer. He can get his own shot off the bounce, he shoots from the perimeter and his body allows him to make plays in traffic.

Projected starting lineup:

Keyonte George (No. 6 in ESPN 100)
Adam Flagler (13.8 PPG)
LJ Cryer (13.5 PPG)
Jalen Bridges (8.4 PPG at West Virginia)
Flo Thamba (6.2 PPG)

9. Arkansas Razorbacks

Previous: 10

While the three incoming five-star recruits will get most of the attention in the offseason for Arkansas, one transfer who could be a difference-maker for the Razorbacks is Trevon Brazile. Brazile spent one season at Missouri, and while his season-long numbers -- 6.6 points, 5.1 rebounds -- aren't overly impressive, he finished last season on a tear. The 6-9 forward averaged 10.4 points, 8.2 rebounds and 2.0 blocks in his final five games, including 15 points and eight rebounds against LSU in the SEC tournament. He has some face-up game, will make an impact defensively and should thrive in Arkansas' transition game. Eric Musselman will need one of his frontcourt transfers to step up, and Brazile could be the answer.

Projected starting lineup:

Anthony Black (No. 15 in ESPN 100)
Nick Smith (No. 3 in ESPN 100)
Ricky Council IV (12.0 PPG at Wichita State)
Jordan Walsh (No. 11 in ESPN 100)
Makhel Mitchell (10.7 PPG at Rhode Island)

10. UCLA Bruins

Previous: 9

Mick Cronin is going to need freshman center Adem Bona to make an immediate impact. And if his performance at the FIBA U20 European Champions earlier this month is any indication, Bona is ready to contribute right away. Representing Turkey, Bona was one of the best players at the event, leading the competition in rebounding and blocked shots and ranking fourth in scoring. He averaged 17.7 points, 11.0 rebounds and 2.5 blocks, tallying four double-doubles and posting 26 points against Belgium in the final game. With Cody Riley and Myles Johnson gone, there's not much returning production on the interior for UCLA, so there's plenty of opportunity for Bona.

Projected starting lineup:

Tyger Campbell (11.9 PPG)
Amari Bailey (No. 5 in ESPN 100)
Jaylen Clark (6.7 PPG)
Jaime Jaquez Jr. (13.9 PPG)
Adem Bona (No. 16 in ESPN 100)

Timmy Allen comes up with the emphatic block vs. TCU

Texas' Timmy Allen protects the rim with a big-time block vs. TCU.

11. Texas Longhorns

Previous: 11

Lost in the discussion of Texas' backcourt, the arrival of Iowa State transfer Tyrese Hunter and the additions of five-star freshmen Dillon Mitchell and Arterio Morris is the return of Timmy Allen.

One of the more versatile forwards in the Big 12, Allen playing well generally meant Texas playing well. Allen had 24 points and nine rebounds in the home win over Kansas, 26 points and 10 rebounds in a road win at West Virginia and also had 14 points in the win over Virginia Tech in the NCAA tournament. But he was also saddled with foul trouble and had two points in the tourney loss to Purdue and struggled in defeats to Texas Tech and Baylor. He's a player who showed at Utah that he can carry an offense, and while that's not needed in Austin, making sure he's consistently involved is imperative for Chris Beard's guards.

Projected starting lineup:

Tyrese Hunter (11.0 PPG at Iowa State)
Marcus Carr (11.4 PPG)
Dillon Mitchell (No. 4 in ESPN 100)
Timmy Allen (12.1 PPG)
Christian Bishop (7.0 PPG)

12. Tennessee Volunteers

Previous: 13

It will be interesting to see if Rick Barnes goes away from two-big lineups this season. The addition of five-star recruit Julian Phillips gives the Volunteers another versatile wing forward option to go alongside Josiah-Jordan James. And with Zakai Zeigler likely to run the show next to first-team All-SEC returnee Santiago Vescovi, Barnes is going to want his four best players on the floor for the majority of the game. It's likely he opts for more of what he did in 2020-21, with 6-6 Yves Pons in the frontcourt next to James and only one big. That should leave a lesser role for 7-footer Uros Plavsic, while also putting more on the plate of Olivier Nkamhoua, who started 22 games before a left ankle injury sidelined him for the rest of last season. The Finland native had 15 points against both Texas A&M Aggies and Alabama, and was a good defensive rebounder and interior defender.

Projected starting lineup:

Zakai Zeigler (8.8 PPG)
Santiago Vescovi (13.3 PPG)
Julian Phillips (No. 13 in ESPN 100)
Josiah-Jordan James (10.3 PPG)
Olivier Nkamhoua (8.6 PPG)

13. Auburn Tigers

Previous: 12

Bruce Pearl lost two of the most impactful players in college basketball with the departures of top-three pick Jabari Smith and Naismith Defensive Player of the Year Walker Kessler, but he's prepared to replace them with incoming freshman Yohan Traore and Morehead State transfer Johni Broome. How do the newcomers compare to last season's duo? Traore boosted his stock dramatically last spring and summer. He's a versatile 6-11 forward who can run the floor, make shots from the perimeter and even put it on the deck some. Broome has been one of the best shot-blockers and rebounders in the country the past two years, but is also capable of dominating on the offensive end. He has struggled a bit in games against high-major competition, but he was one of the best transfers on the market this spring.

Projected starting lineup:

Wendell Green Jr., (12.0 PPG)
K.D. Johnson (12.3 PPG)
Allen Flanigan (6.3 PPG)
Yohan Traore (No. 27 in ESPN 100)
Johni Broome (16.8 PPG at Morehead State)

14. Villanova Wildcats

Previous: 14

Fortunately for new head coach Kyle Neptune, Villanova's nonconference schedule this season isn't quite the gantlet it was in the 2021-22 campaign. The Wildcats open with Big Five games against La Salle and Temple, before hosting Delaware State at home. With a coaching change for the first time in 21 years and the potential for one or two freshmen to be in the starting lineup, a couple of winnable games to start the season should be beneficial.

The meat of Nova's nonconference slate then begins: at Michigan State, three games at the Phil Knight Invitational in Portland, then a home game against Oklahoma. Depending on how the matchups go at the PKI event, Villanova could play multiple top-25 opponents, including preseason No. 1 North Carolina. A neutral-site game in New Jersey against what should be an improved Boston College team is also on the docket for December.

Projected starting lineup:

Mark Armstrong (No. 61 in ESPN 100)
Caleb Daniels (10.2 PPG)
Brandon Slater (8.3 PPG)
Cameron Whitmore (No. 21 in ESPN 100)
Eric Dixon (9.1 PPG)

15. Indiana Hoosiers

Previous: 15

Given that Indiana lost 14 games last season, barely made the NCAA tournament and lost by 29 to Saint Mary's in the Dance, anointing the Hoosiers as preseason Big Ten favorites seems like a big step. So where will they improve on last season? For one, the Big Ten isn't nearly as strong at the top. The Wisconsin Badgers, Purdue and Iowa all lost top-10 picks, while the Illinois Fighting Illini and Ohio State also lost a ton of talent.

But coach Mike Woodson also brings in two newcomers who should immediately help his team. Jalen Hood-Schifino will give the Hoosiers another playmaker in the backcourt, someone who can get his own shot while also creating for others, while Malik Reneau is a terrific inside scorer who will ensure levels don't drop when Trayce Jackson-Davis heads to the bench. For what it's worth, I'm also high on a third freshman, forward Kaleb Banks.

Projected starting lineup:

Xavier Johnson (12.1 PPG)
Jalen Hood-Schifino (No. 24 in ESPN 100)
Miller Kopp (6.0 PPG)
Race Thompson (11.1 PPG)
Trayce Jackson-Davis (18.3 PPG)

Pelle Larsson goes high off the backboard for 2

Pelle Larsson goes high off the backboard for 2

16. Arizona Wildcats

Previous: 16

The buzz continues to grow for a Pelle Larsson breakout season. Early word coming out of Tucson, Arizona, this offseason was that Larsson was poised to take the next step and become a go-to offensive player for the Wildcats, after a campaign in which he showed his ability -- especially as a shooter -- in flashes. He gained some experience against older players earlier this summer playing for Sweden in two FIBA World Cup European qualifiers, including going up against Luka Doncic. He had seven points and four boards off the bench against Slovenia. Larsson has good size for the perimeter, is a capable passer and shot better than 46% from 3 as a freshman at Utah. With a lot of firepower gone to the NBA draft, Larsson's ability to make shots will be key for coach Tommy Lloyd.

Projected starting lineup:

Kerr Kriisa (9.7 PPG)
Pelle Larsson (7.2 PPG)
Courtney Ramey (9.4 PPG at Texas)
Azuolas Tubelis (13.9 PPG)
Oumar Ballo (6.8 PPG)

17. TCU Horned Frogs

Previous: 17

Returning five starters in today's college basketball landscape is not nearly as common as it was a decade ago. And it's certainly not common for an NCAA tournament team to bring back nearly all of its key players from the season prior. But TCU is bucking the trend, which is why the Horned Frogs ranked No. 1 in ESPN's retention rankings last week. Jamie Dixon is bringing back all five starters from a team that reached the second round of the tournament before falling in overtime to Arizona. Only one player is gone, backup guard Francisco Farabello. One needs only to look at last season's Final Four to see why continuity is important. Kansas, North Carolina and Villanova were all as experienced as anyone in the country, with the core of their teams playing together for multiple seasons. I'm not saying TCU is ready to make a Final Four run, but the Horned Frogs check a lot of boxes.

Projected starting lineup:

Mike Miles (15.4 PPG)
Damion Baugh (10.6 PPG)
Chuck O'Bannon Jr. (9.5 PPG)
Emanuel Miller (10.3 PPG)
Eddie Lampkin (6.8 PPG)

18. Virginia Cavaliers

Previous: 20

TCU ranked No. 1 in ESPN's retention rankings last week, but Virginia wasn't far behind, with the Horned Frogs edging out the Cavaliers due to their success last season. Tony Bennett loses just one total start from last season, and the quartet that did depart combined for only 29 points in the month of March. It's going to be hard to displace any of the starting five, but the Cavaliers brought in plenty of competition for spots, with four four-star recruits and all-conference Ohio transfer Ben Vander Plas, who might be the most intriguing option. He had 17 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 3-pointers when Ohio beat Virginia in the 2021 NCAA tournament, and also went for 20 points against Illinois and 19 against Villanova earlier in his Ohio career. He'll bring a different dimension offensively to Virginia.

Projected starting lineup:

Kihei Clark (10.0 PPG)
Reece Beekman (8.2 PPG)
Armaan Franklin (11.1 PPG)
Jayden Gardner (15.3 PPG)
Kadin Shedrick (6.9 PPG)

19. Oregon Ducks

Previous: 18

Oregon was quietly one of the bigger disappointments in college basketball last season, going from a top-25 team projected to finish second in the Pac-12 to a group that lost five of its final six regular-season games and wasn't even on the NCAA tournament bubble entering Selection Sunday. So what's going to change to put the Ducks back in the national discussion? One, the addition of five-star recruit Kel'el Ware, a projected lottery pick in the 2023 NBA draft who possesses one of the highest ceilings in the freshman class. Plus, Dana Altman went out and secured an experienced backcourt duo in the portal in Keeshawn Barthelemy (Colorado) and Jermaine Couisnard (South Carolina). They both put up double figures at the high-major level and won't need much time to adapt.

Projected starting lineup:

Will Richardson (14.1 PPG)
Keeshawn Barthelemy (11.1 PPG at Colorado)
Quincy Guerrier (10.1 PPG)
Kel'el Ware (No. 8 in ESPN 100)
N'Faly Dante (8.1 PPG)

20. Alabama Crimson Tide

Previous: 19

Nate Oats has dozens of lineup configurations he can use next season, but one intriguing thing to monitor will be what he decides to do up front. When Alabama won the SEC title in 2021, he started Jordan Bruner at the center spot, but Alex Reese -- who attempted 4.6 3s per game over his final two seasons -- and versatile wing forward Herb Jones spent more time than Bruner in that role down the stretch.

Last season, Oats went more traditional, with 7-footer Charles Bediako and post player James Rojas in that spot. The Crimson Tide have more frontcourt versatility this season, with matchup nightmare Brandon Miller and inside-outside option Noah Clowney both entering the program to go with the return of Bediako and Noah Gurley. As I said, there's no shortage of options.

Projected starting lineup:

Mark Sears (19.6 PPG at Ohio)
Jaden Bradley (No. 19 in ESPN 100)
Dominick Welch (12.3 PPG at St. Bonaventure)
Brandon Miller (No. 9 in ESPN 100)
Charles Bediako (6.7 PPG)

21. UConn Huskies

Previous: 24

There's a tremendous amount of post-player talent returning to college basketball next season, with Oscar Tshiebwe, Drew Timme, Armando Bacot, Hunter Dickinson and Trayce Jackson-Davis all eschewing the NBA draft for another year in college. One player who didn't waste any time with his stay-or-go decision -- and who will likely find himself in the same conversation with those aforementioned bigs this season -- is Adama Sanogo. A first-team All-Big East selection last season and the favorite to be preseason Big East Player of the Year this season, Sanogo made huge strides between his freshman and sophomore campaigns. He had 30 points against Auburn's vaunted post defenders, 26 and 18 against St. John's, 24 and 15 against Marquette and 26 and 11 against DePaul. He's ready for another jump.

Projected starting lineup:

Tristen Newton (17.7 PPG at East Carolina)
Jordan Hawkins (5.8 PPG)
Nahiem Alleyne (9.6 PPG at Virginia Tech)
Andre Jackson (6.8 PPG)
Adama Sanogo (14.8 PPG)

22. Dayton Flyers

Previous: 23

The Flyers came in at No. 3 in our retention rankings, but the job Anthony Grant did to keep this team together after last season might have been the most impressive of anyone near the top of that list. Dayton had the youngest rotation in college basketball -- dead last in personnel experience at KenPom.com -- and six of its top seven players had freshman eligibility. Not a single key player opted to transfer out of the program, though, and Grant is geared up for an NCAA tournament run after last season's bubble popped in the Atlantic 10 tournament. The freshmen being a year older should help Dayton avoid being arguably the most inconsistent team in college basketball again in 2022-23. Either way, I don't think the Flyers will be sweating their fate on Selection Sunday again.

Projected starting lineup:

Malachi Smith (9.3 PPG)
Kobe Elvis (8.9 PPG)
R.J. Blakney (6.5 PPG)
Toumani Camara (10.9 PPG)
DaRon Holmes II (12.8 PPG)

23. San Diego State Aztecs

Previous: 21

One of the few teams to have some roster attrition in the past few weeks, San Diego State lost key bench player Chad Baker-Mazara to academic issues in late June. The 6-7 Baker-Mazara had transferred from Duquesne after the 2021 season and won Mountain West Sixth Man of the Year last season. He was very productive in spurts, hitting double figures six times in Mountain West play and then going for 17 points in the NCAA tournament loss to Creighton. The Dominican Republic native is now at Northwest Florida State.

A pair of transfers were likely going to take on big frontcourt roles from day one this season, and Baker's departure will expedite that process. Jaedon LeDee has drawn some positive hype after sitting out last season, while Micah Parrish should be an impactful two-way player at the small forward spot.

Projected starting lineup:

Lamont Butler (7.3 PPG)
Darrion Trammell (17.3 PPG at Seattle)
Matt Bradley (16.9 PPG)
Keshad Johnson (7.2 PPG)
Nathan Mensah (7.0 PPG)

24. Texas Tech Red Raiders

Previous: 22

The Red Raiders should have one of the best frontcourt duos in the Big 12 next season, with Fardaws Aimaq joining Kevin Obanor up front. Having Aimaq, one of the best rebounders in college basketball, in the post should free up Obanor -- who attempted just one fewer 3-pointer than 2-pointer -- even more to create matchup issues for opponents on the perimeter. Mark Adams will need a few of his newcomers to step up on the perimeter, given he'll likely have next to nothing returning in the backcourt. De'Vion Harmon is a proven producer at two high-major schools, and there's plenty of shooting with the addition of D'Maurian Williams (Gardner-Webb) and Kerwin Walton (North Carolina). Recruit Elijah Fisher and Texas transfer Jaylon Tyson are the X factors.

Projected starting lineup:

De'Vion Harmon (10.8 PPG at Oregon)
Kerwin Walton (3.4 PPG at North Carolina)
Elijah Fisher (five-star)
Kevin Obanor (10.0 PPG)
Fardaws Aimaq (18.9 PPG at Utah Valley)

25. Illinois Fighting Illini

Previous: 25

I didn't really address Illinois' addition of French big man Zacharie Perrin in last month's ranking update, but it's worth noting. Perrin won't be needed to produce right off the bat. Dain Dainja will be eligible after transferring from Baylor; he didn't make an impact in Waco, Texas, but he's a former ESPN 100 prospect who is physically capable of playing in the Big Ten. There's also Coleman Hawkins, whose best moments last season came when Kofi Cockburn was suspended, and who might be better suited at the center spot as opposed to at the 4.

But Perrin showed promise overseas, and burst onto the scene last summer playing for the French U18 team at the European championships, backing that performance up this past season in the French Espoirs Pro B League and at the Adidas Next Generation tournament. He's a lefty who can score around the basket.

Projected starting lineup:

Skyy Clark (No. 25 in ESPN 100)
RJ Melendez (3.8 PPG)
Terrence Shannon Jr. (10.4 PPG at Texas Tech)
Matthew Mayer (9.8 PPG at Baylor)
Coleman Hawkins (5.9 PPG)

Dropped out: None

Next in line:

Miami Hurricanes (previous: Next in line)
Saint Louis Billikens (previous: Next in line)
Michigan Wolverines (previous: Next in line)
Xavier Musketeers (previous: Next in line)
Wyoming Cowboys (previous: Unranked)