No team has more riding on the next 48 hours than Purdue, which would again be a Final Four contender if forward JaJuan Johnson and guard E'Twaun Moore return but would sink into the middle of the Big Ten standings if both leave. Johnson had workouts with Boston and Houston this week, while Moore had one with Portland on Thursday. It's possible an NBA team would take a second-round chance on a springy 6-foot-10 forward like Johnson, but neither are projected as first rounders right now.
2. New Mexico
Darington Hobson's all-around excellence was the major catalyst for the Lobos' rise to the top of the Mountain West this past season. His return would make New Mexico an instant favorite again next year considering the team will also be bolstered by the arrival of UCLA transfer Drew Gordon after first semester. Hobson is projected somewhere from 25 to 40 if he leaves this season, but the 22-year-old's age could be a factor in his draft stock next year if he returns for his senior season.
3. Virginia Tech
Some might have taken the travel fiasco Malcolm Delaney experienced on his way to his workout in Portland on Thursday as a sign to return to school, but the Virginia Tech star doesn't seem to agree. It seems very possible that he could remain in the draft even though he likely wouldn't be selected until at least the latter half of the second round. Delaney's decision could be the difference between Virginia Tech emerging as the second best team in the ACC behind Duke or sweating out another nervous Selection Sunday on the bubble.
There's been no official word from Jordan Crawford, but there's also no reason to believe he'll withdraw from the draft. Crawford has said he intends to turn pro as long as his stock is high enough and he tweeted earlier this week that older brother Joe was right that not being around his college teammates is the toughest part of this process. The Musketeers would return their entire Sweet 16 team except big man Jason Love if Crawford comes back, but they'll likely have to build around point guard Terrell Holloway.
There's no drawback to juniors Demetri McCamey and Mike Davis dipping their toes into the NBA waters, but the potential reward for coming back to school for both could be great. An Illinois team that narrowly missed the NCAA tournament last season would likely contend for the Big Ten title along with Michigan State and perhaps Purdue and Ohio State if both return. McCamey was scheduled to workout for Houston this week and Davis had a workout with Portland. Neither project any higher than the late second round.
6. Mississippi State
It was a surprise when point guard Dee Bost and small forward Ravern Johnson declared for the draft, and now it's also a surprise that they haven't withdrawn yet. Neither is projected to be selected in either the first or second round. Along with soon-to-be-eligible big man Renardo Sidney, Bost and Johnson would form the nucleus of a Mississippi State team that would be the favorite in the SEC West if they return.
It was already critical for BYU to get Jimmer Fredette back for his senior season, but it became even more important after backup point guard Michael Loyd Jr. announced he was transferring last week. Fredette said he was 99 percent certain he would return to school when he initially declared for the draft a few weeks ago. Chances are nothing has changed, but he has received positive feedback after workouts with Oklahoma City and Boston and won't announce his decision until Saturday.
The question for Temple is whether Lavoy Allen is willing to forgo what could be a special senior season to try to fight his way into the latter half of the second round of the draft. That's probably as high as the 6-foot-9 forward could be taken despite a work ethic on the glass that has impressed pro scouts. In Allen's first three seasons at Temple, the Owls have won the Atlantic 10 conference tournament and earned an NCAA tournament berth.
- Virginia Tech