ESPN.com 2006-07 April Top 25 (11-25)
Not satisfied with just the top 10? Here are the other 15 teams to watch as we turn our focus to the 2006-07 season.
To go back to the top 10, please click here.
Others in consideration:
• Louisville: Loss of Taquan Dean puts them just outside the Top 25.
• NC State: Hard to lock in on the Wolfpack without knowing who the coach is, but the talent is in place with Cedric Simmons.
• Illinois: The Illini will knock on the top 25 door but losing Dee Brown and James Augustine makes the argument tough in April.
• Indiana: We don't know if D.J. White and Robert Vaden are back, and until then it's hard to commit to the Hoosiers.
• Washington: The Huskies lose the Pac-10 player of the year in Brandon Roy, but the talent is in place with a stellar recruiting class led by Spencer Hawes.
• Oregon: The Ducks return the core of their team but this is still a squad that has underachieved for two seasons.
• USC: Don't be surprised to see Tim Floyd get this squad in the Top 25 at some point next season.
• Oklahoma: Have to wait on the new coach, and losing the frontcourt means the Sooners can't be in the Top 25 yet, but Kelvin Sampson did recruit his best class before he bolted to Indiana.
• Kentucky: Rajon Rondo is declaring. Who knows about Randolph Morris? There are too many questions to put them in right now.
• Arkansas: This could be a mistake to keep Arkansas on the outside looking in at this point but we're making an assumption that Ronnie Brewer will declare. If that happens, the Hogs would have lost their top two scorers (with senior Jonathon Modica).
• South Carolina: The Gamecocks are the kings of the NIT and lose Tarence Kinsey, their top scorer. They'll be good with three potential senior starters, but we're not sure how good yet.
• George Washington: The Colonials lose three key seniors in Pops Mensah-Bonsu, Mike Hall and Omar Williams, but should still have a core back with Maureece Rice, Danilo Pinnock and Carl Elliott -- enough to make a run at the top 25.
• Xavier: The Musketeers finished strong, winning the A-10 tournament and nearly taking out Gonzaga in the first round. They could return four of their top five scorers and added a top shooting guard in Adrion Graves.
• Nevada: Not knowing if Nick Fazekas is returning makes it hard to commit to the Wolf Pack in April.
|Five mid-majors who could make a midseason appearance|
These five teams won't start in the Top 25, but could find themselves there at some point next season:
Creighton -- With the return of Nate Funk from injury, coach Dana Altman will be able to run his offense the way he originally wanted to this year. With imposing post presence Nate Tolliver and eye-opening sophomore point guard Josh Dotzler, they could be a very dangerous Valley threat again.
Winthrop -- No, the Eagles never go away. They came within a shot of a 15-over-2 upset against Tennessee and Gregg Marshall's two best players are coming back: oversized shooting guard Torrell Martin and do-everything 6-10 New Zealander Craig Bradshaw. The Eagles will receive some more Big South battle-testing from Buzz Peterson's resurgent Coastal Carolina squad, and if they can secure a good non-conference schedule, they'll have chances to grab some national buzz of their own.
Butler -- The loss of the NCAA tournament's only all-senior starting five at Milwaukee means a vacuum in the Horizon League, and the Bulldogs are best positioned to take advantage. They lose three seniors but the hot-shooting, undersized-but-skilled post players who remain may win the award for "2006-07 roster that looks most like George Mason 2005-06." With their conference runner-up status this season, Butler is back on the upswing toward the run of perennial 20-plus win seasons that ended abruptly in 2003.
Akron -- The Zips will come in with the best senior class in the Mid-American, including two of LeBron's old high school teammates (quick Dru Joyce and wide Romeo Travis), as well as a stack of shoulder chips resulting from their embarrassing MAC semifinal loss to 7-seed Toledo.
George Mason -- The Patriots will have to absorb the loss of leading scorers Tony Skinn, Jai Lewis and Lamar Butler, but the junior class includes NCAA stars Folarin Cambpell and Will Thomas, and they'll get help from two current redshirts -- 6-7 Jesus Urbina (who'll replace Lewis on one block) and hot-shooting swingman John Vaughan, coming back off an ACL tear. And, of course, they have all that championship experience.
-- Kyle Whelliston
To go back to the top 10, please click here.
Andy Katz is a senior writer for ESPN.com.
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