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Next Year's Top-5

It's also time of the year when we are going to see writers from all over the internets writing up their top-5 for next. I think at this point lot of these speculations are pre-mature because we don't know who is staying or who is leaving. With that in mind I think Luke Wynn's (SI) list of top-5 is probably as reasonable it gets assuming everyone but AA will return next season (in the case of UCLA). Here is Luke's list based on the assumptions that Oden is leaving but Hansborough is coming back:

1. NORTH CAROLINA Provided Tyler Hansbrough passes on the draft to work on his offensive repertoire, he'll be back with a vengeance for his junior season. After coming within a Georgetown three-pointer of the Final Four in '07, the Tar Heels' baby backcourt of sophomores Ty Lawson and Wayne Ellington has matured enough to help Psycho T take Carolina all the way.

2. UCLA Junior point guard Darren Collison, who was snubbed for All-America honors in '07, will emerge from Afflalo's shadow to become a household name. With five-star freshman power forward Kevin Love -- an old-school post player who's been college-ready since 16 -- adding an offensive dimension inside, a third straight Final Four and coach Ben Howland's first national title are well within reach.

3. KANSAS For the second consecutive season the Jayhawks will be the best team on paper -- but can they get it done in March? Ballhawks Russell Robinson and Mario Chalmers will ensure the D remains fierce, but bullish guard Sherron Collins and elastic forward Julian Wright need to become scoring stars. Collins' painful knee injury -- he was said to be crying in practice the day before facing UCLA in the Elite Eight -- may have been the difference between KU heading home, or packing for Atlanta.

4. MEMPHIS Chicago phenom Derrick Rose,'s top-ranked point guard in the Class of 2007, joins one of the nation's deepest, most athletic rosters and should form a devastating duo in the backcourt with slasher Chris Douglas-Roberts. Look for another undefeated Conference USA season, and a serious run toward San Antonio.

5. OHIO STATE As long as ultrasteady point guard Mike Conley Jr. returns -- and that's no lock -- the Buckeyes will survive without their bearded baron of the paint. Incoming 7-foot freshman Kosta Koufos will try to fill Oden's shoes, while guards Jamar Butler and Daequan Cook, who played auxiliary roles in '07, will shoulder more of the scoring load.
Make sure to read rest of his post on his blog over at CNNSI.

As I said above I am not all that worried. After all the draft talk settles down I am quiet confident that we are going to have a team that will be in position to put together another great season next season. Out of five teams from that list and the remaining ones (if you read Luke's entire post) we are probably best situated in terms of sustaining a key hit (AA) to the NBA draft. I am not all that worried about losing Shipp or DC. I will put up my notes on the lineups once I feel like I have a better picture on what is going on in terms of draft issues. Either way I feel pretty good about Coach Howland's ability to mold his team into a squad that will be giving everything it has and competing hard for a league championship and putting itself in position to make another run next season.

Can't ask for much more as a UCLA basketball fan. I get to root for a team which will put itself in a position to compete hard for league and national title almost every year. So awesome.