Louisville's 2013-14 title hopes took a hit when Russ Smith announced he's turning pro. (Getty Images)
All the confetti on the floor at the Georgia Dome hadn't even been picked up yet Monday night when speculation about next year's college basketball season began.
Will Kentucky go from the NIT to preseason No. 1? Can Louisville defend its title? How good can Arizona and Marquette be?
It's too early to answer most of those questions since some top recruits haven't chosen a school, transfer season is only beginning and we don't know which NBA draft prospects are staying in school and which will leave. Nonetheless, based on my best guesses for who's staying and who's going, here's a look at a very early top 10 for the 2013-14 season, along with 15 others worth watching.
Read More »from A way-too-early look at college basketball’s best teams for the 2013-14 season
Key losses: G Julius Mays (graduating), G Ryan Harrow (transferring), C Nerlens Noel (projected to enter NBA draft), G Archie Goodwin (entering NBA draft)
Key returners: F Alex Poythress, C Willie Cauley-Stein, F Kyle Wiltjer
Notable newcomers: F Julius Randle, G Andrew Harrison, G Aaron Harrison, F James Young, C Dakari Johnson, F Marcus Lee
Why they're too high: If the 2011-12 Wildcats proved it was possible to win a championship with a freshman-heavy roster, then the 2012-13 version also showed talent won't translate into victories if the chemistry, work ethic and willingness to sacrifice isn't also there. Next season's Kentucky team has all the talent needed to contend for a championship, but they'll have to jell in a way this season's team never did.
Why they're too low: Well, Kentucky can't start the season any higher than preseason No. 1, but its roster can get deeper and better if No. 1 overall recruit Andrew Wiggins selects the Wildcats over Florida State, Kansas and North Carolina. That would give the Wildcats the No. 1 player at every position in the Class of 2013 to go with a couple other key recruits and three talented returners.