Top college basketball teams in recruiting rankings did excellent job in filling holes

Mike Huguenin
Yahoo Sports

There has been a lot of hoopla – warranted, to be sure – about the decisions made during the spring signing period by, among others, Nerlens Noel and Shabazz Muhammad.

Noel signed with Kentucky and Muhammad with UCLA, the teams that rank first and second, respectively, in the team recruiting rankings.

[ Related: Baylor's Quincy Miller has a change of heart and will enter NBA draft ]

But simply looking at recruiting rankings doesn't always give a true picture. The biggest question always should be how the newcomers fit in with what already is on campus.

As you'll see in this report, the teams that recruited well look to have found some new pieces that will seamlessly slide in with what already is on hand.

Here's a look at the teams in the top 10 of the recruiting rankings and their likely starting lineups for next season.

1. Kentucky

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Freshmen who could start: C Nerlens Noel, F Alex Pothyress, G Archie Goodwin
Buzz: UK famously lost its entire starting five and also its top reserve from this past season's national title team. But Noel, Pothyress and Goodwin likely will join holdover Lyle Wilter and transfer Ryan Harrow in the starting lineup next season. Noel is an extremely advanced defender who will provide a big-time shot-blocking presence. Pothyress is a hard-working athletic big man who should be a presence in the low post and on the boards. Goodwin is a good shooter with range and also an ability to slash to the basket. UK's fourth freshman is C Willie Cauley, who seems likely to provide a physical presence off the bench in his first season.

2. UCLA

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Freshmen who could start: G/F Kyle Anderson, G/F Shabazz Muhammad
Buzz: The Bruins have suffered of late, but Ben Howland's incoming class should ease the pain. Muhammad is the nation's top prospect, and as long as Howland loosens the reins on offense, Muhammad should dazzle fans and foes alike. Muhammad is a big-time offensive weapon on the perimeter and in the lane. Anderson can play every position but center and is a gifted passer. He's not the quickest guy around, but he has a high basketball IQ and also is a good rebounder. Those two seem likely to team with PG Larry Drew (a North Carolina transfer), C Josh Smith and F Travis Wear in the starting lineup. The Bruins' other two freshmen are C Tony Parker and F Jordan Adams. Parker could start, too, in place of Smith, who never seems to be able to truly get in shape. Depth is going to be excellent.

3. Arizona

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Freshmen who could start: C Kaleb Tarczewski, F Brandon Ashley, F Grant Jerrett, G Gabe York
Buzz: Tarczewski, Ashley and Jerrett are five-star guys, while York is a four-star recruit. Tarczewski and York look like locks to start, while Ashley and Jerrett seem likely to battle to start opposite holdover F Solomon Hill. York's shooting ability should be a huge plus for the Wildcats, whose Achilles heel could be the lack of a true point guard; it seems likely that sophomore-to-be Nick Johnson will assume those duties. Arizona is another team that is going to have a deep bench thanks to the arrival of a five-man freshman class; JC transfer Matt Korcheck is a big man who should help on the boards.

4. North Carolina State

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Freshmen who could start: G Rodney Purvis, F T.J. Warren
Buzz: Purvis gives the Wolfpack an elite athlete at the shooting guard spot; he also is a prolific scorer who can hit the 3-pointer as well as get to the rim. Warren – like Purvis, a hometown kid – is another high-level athlete who can score and rebound; he gives coach Mark Gottfried another big body to work with in the frontcourt along with C.J. Leslie and Richard Howell. Purvis, meanwhile, should fill the vacancy left by the graduation of C.J. Williams. He and incumbent PG Lorenzo Brown should make for an impressive tandem.

5. Indiana

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Freshmen who could start: PG Kevin Ferrell, F Jeremy Hollowell
Buzz: Ferrell, a five-star prospect from Indianapolis nicknamed "Yogi," should move directly into the starting lineup. The Hoosiers need a point guard, and Ferrell's quickness should enable IU to play even more of an up-tempo game next season. His ability to use that quickness to get into the lane should lead to numerous easy shots for the Hoosiers' big men. Hollowell is versatile (he can play each position except center and point guard), and he might be the most athletic of IU's frontcourt guys next season. Remember, though, that IU returns four starters, which means that except for Ferrell, IU's freshmen likely will be playing complementary roles off the bench.

6. Baylor

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Freshmen who could start: C Isaiah Austin, F Ricardo Gathers
Buzz: The Bears are set in the backcourt with Pierre Jackson and Brady Heslip, which means freshman L.J. Rose will see backup minutes in what should be an excellent backcourt. Austin, the No. 4 player in the class, and the physical Gathers (coach Scott Drew said he has "grown-man strength") look like locks to start, especially now that sophomore-to-be Quincy Miller has decided to turn pro. But the rest of the frontcourt is somewhat questionable.

7. Michigan

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Freshmen who could start: C Mitch McGary, F Glen Robinson III
Buzz: McGary should provide an immediate boost. He gives the Wolverines a big-man threat on both ends, something they haven't had in a while. Robinson, whose dad was the No. 1 pick in the 1994 NBA draft, should provide immediate help, too. He is 6-7 and can hit from the perimeter and get to the rim with equal aplomb. Those two should join incumbent Gs Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr. in the starting lineup. The fifth starter could be F Jordan Morgan, a junior. Freshman G Nick Stauskas, a big-time shooter, also could grab the fifth starting spot. Michigan again figures to be perimeter-oriented, but McGary is expected to provide a nice inside scoring presence.

8. Providence

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Freshmen who could start: G Ricardo Ledo, PG Kris Dunn
Buzz: Providence signed four guards in this recruiting class, giving the Friars an embarrassment of riches in the backcourt. But there are concerns in the frontcourt, which means the Friars are the only team on this list who don't look like a sure-fire NCAA team next season. Still, the backcourt should be excellent. Ledo is the best perimeter scorer in the 2012 class and has every needed physical gift. If there is a complaint about Ledo, it's that his focus seems to wax and wane. Dunn is a big-time point man who is a top-notch defender and a surprisingly good rebounder. Providence returns two double-figure scorers in the backcourt in Vincent Council (15.9 ppg, 7.5 apg, 4.1 rpg, 1.3 spg) and Bryce Cotton (14.3 ppg). Coach Ed Cooley also is bringing in freshman Gs Joshua Fortune (who has great range) and Ian Baker. There likely are going to be some bruised egos in the backcourt, and it wouldn't be a surprise to see Dunn, Ledo and Council make up the starting trio, with Cotton and the other two freshmen coming off the bench. Up front, there's sophomore-to-be LaDontae Henton (14.3 ppg, 8.6 rpg) and no other proven player. It would help if junior-to-be Kadeem Batts can become a consistent player. There isn't much else up front.

9. North Carolina

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Freshmen who could start: C Joel James, F Brice Johnson, PG Markus Paige
Buzz: The Tar Heels lost four starters and are bringing in a celebrated class, but it still wouldn't be a surprise if Paige is the only freshman starter. He needs to live up to his hype, as the Heels need a new point guard with the early departure of Kendall Marshall. James, Johnson and F J.P. Tokoto are the Heels' other freshmen, and Johnson and James have a shot to join sophomore-to-be James Michael McAdoo in the starting lineup in the frontcourt. The Heels seem likely to move from a frontcourt-oriented team to one that depends heavily on its guards, thanks to holdover perimeter players Dexter Strickland, P.J. Hairston, Reggie Bullock and Leslie McDonald.

10. Kansas

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Freshmen who could start: F Perry Ellis, F Andrew White
Buzz: Ellis is considered one of the nation's top incoming power forwards, and he should step right into the starting lineup as the Jayhawks look to replace Thomas Robinson. White's shooting ability could land him in the starting lineup, too. KU used a lot of three-guard sets last season, and two backcourt starters return in Elijah Johnson and Travis Releford. White's shot at a starting job depends on whether KU continues to start three guards.

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