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College Basketball Sneak Peek 2014-2015

The 2014-2015 season will offer a new wave of great freshman, stunning upsets and jaw-dropping buzzer beaters. Although this year just finished with UConn ending Kentucky's Cinderella-like run and Selection Sunday is 342 days away it is never too early to think about the 2014-2015 year.

1. Duke 26-9 in 2013-2014, lost in second round to Mercer
Rasheed Sulaimon
The Blue Devils' 2014-2015 class is by far the best in the nation, as the Blue Devils managed to reel in No.1 overall recruit Jahlil Okafor, point guard Tyus Jones and small forward Justise Winslow. Okafor is a 6'10" monster who should establish himself down low from the beginning and Jones is a proven playmaker who can change games. Duke will also likely return senior point guard Quinn Cook, who could start over Jones, and will also bring back sharpshooting junior Rasheed Sulaimon and junior big man Amile Jefferson. What could push Duke over the top even more would be if the Blue Devils can convince Jabari Parker to come back. Although he is projected as a Top 3 pick in this year's draft, rumors are Parker could stay at Duke and the upset loss to Mercer might motivate him. Even with the ACC even more competitive than it has been in years (Louisville will join the conference) the Blue Devils are in prime position to make a title run.

2. Arizona 33-5 in 2013-2014, lost in Elite Eight to Wisconsin
If Arizona manages to convince senior guard Nick Johnson to return (projected as late first rounder or second rounder) they should get nearly everyone back from one of the nation's best teams a year ago. Aaron Gordon is likely off to the NBA but the frontcourt still has some pieces to like junior center Kaleb Tarczewski and junior forward Brandon Ashley, who is a dangerous scorer but was injured for the second half of last year. With point guard T.J. McConnell also likely on his way back and junior Gabe York ready for a breakout year, the 'Cats could really dominate a Pac-12 that has been average for years.

3. Wisconsin 30-8 in 2013-2014, lost in Final Four to Kentucky
He may not have been that big of a name until the tournament, but Frank Kaminsky was fantastic all year for the Badgers. Now, the senior center is back along with much of last year's Final Four team. If Kaminsky can add more strength to his frame and continue to improve his mid range game, he could be a popular National Player of the Year candidate. Junior Sam Dekker had a strong sophomore year and he could also be back along with another frontcourt member, Nigel Hayes, who was fantastic off the bench all year for Wisconsin. The backcourt will return senior guard Treveon Jackson and sophomore Bronson Koenig, who could be ready for a breakout year and will hope to offset the loss of three-point bomber Ben Brust. With all those key pieces back and the Big Ten likely taking a step back next year, the Badgers should be the favorite inside the conference in 2014-2015.

4. Kansas 25-10 in 2013-2014, lost in third round to Stanford
Most programs would take a major step back if they lost two of the likely top three picks in the draft. Even with Andrew Wiggins gone and Joel Embiid likely following, the Jayhawks should be right in the national title hunt. They return junior forward Perry Ellis, who quietly had a fantastic year and also welcome back sophomore Wayne Selden, who also had a quiet, but great year. With Naadir Tharpe possibly back at point guard and sophomore Frank Mason also as well, Kansas' backcourt could be great. The Jayhawks' recruiting class is great with the additions of two five-star finds including Cliff Alexander and Kelly Oubre. Alexander is an offensive weapon with a versatile game and Oubre wows with his athleticism and scoring potential.

5. UConn 32-8 in 2013-2014, won National Championship over Kentucky
Shabazz Napier is gone but Kevin Ollie and the "Hungry Huskies" still have the pieces in place to have a real chance at defending their title. Senior guard Ryan Boatright was a fantastic second option in the Huskies' offense last year and he has the potential to put together a big year. Senior forward DeAndre Daniels will also likely be back for UConn. He is a streaky shooter but if his outside game continues to develops and he can find more consistency he could be a fantastic complement to Boatright. Up front as well, the Huskies will lean heavily on sophomore seven-footer Amida Brimah and shot-blocking junior Phillip Nolan, whose offensive game is still evolving. Sophomore guard Terrence Samuel and Lasan Kromah add depth in the backcourt and will help replace senior Niels Giffey. If Boatright and Daniels stay put and somebody else can step up, the Huskies should be in great position in the first year of the post-Napier era.

Others to Watch
SMU- Larry Brown returns a ton from his NCAA tournament snub Mustangs. Junior Nic Moore is a lethal shooter and Brown brings in SMU's best recruiting class in school history, led by McDonald's All-American Emmanuel Mudiay.
UNC- After a rough start to the 2013-2014 season, the Heels were one of the most dangerous teams down the stretch and have a great nucleus back. Junior point guard Marcus Paige is fantastic and the Heels have enough talent to replace James Michael McAdoo.
Michigan- It will be an interesting off season for John Beilein and the Wolverines. Mitch McGary, Glenn Robinson and Nik Stauskas could all leave or could all come back. No matter what happens, junior Caris LaVert keeps the Wolverines in the hunt inside the Big Ten.
Wichita State- 35 straight wins and it was over just like that. The Shockers hope to prove themselves after a disappointing tourney appearance, following a Final Four appearance. Junior guard Fred Van Vleet and Ron Baker are fantastic and Wichita has enough to replace Cleanthony Early, their only big loss.
Florida- The "Core Four" of seniors- Casey Prather, Scottie Wilbekin, Patric Young and Will Yeguete- are gone but the Gators are still major threats inside the SEC. Sophomore Kasey Hill and junior sharpshooter Michael Frazier will hold on to the reigns and if they come back, Chris Walker and Dorian Finney-Smith could have huge years.

Early Player of the Year Candidates:
Jabari Parker*, Duke
Frank Kaminsky, Wisconsin
Nik Stauskas*, Michigan
Jahlil Okafor, Duke
Marcus Paige, UNC
Myles Turner, Undecided
Tyler Haws, BYU
Dakari Johnson*, Kentucky
Siyani Chambers, Harvard
Tyus Jones, Duke
Emmanuel Mudiay, SMU
Ryan Boatright, UConn
Cliff Alexander, Kansas

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