When the season ended, ESPN and others posted a Top 25 for 2008-09 which was simply fodder for the message boards since no one knew who would be coming back from the draft. Now that piece of the puzzle is solved, Andy Katz has revised his Top 25 with a lot more meat to it.
ESPN.com's Top 25 poll will get another makeover come the fall based on any summer attrition, injuries or any other issues that befall a program.
But don't expect a change at the top: North Carolina should be the consensus No. 1 now, then and in March when the NCAA tournament field is announced.
The Tar Heels enter the summer as a lock to be tabbed national champs. The only other certainty is that the Big East will dominate the Top 25 and possibly rack up as many as nine NCAA tournament bids come March. So, while the Big East teams slug through a grinder of a league schedule, the Tar Heels should be the top team from Day 1, perhaps going wire-to-wire as the No. 1 team in the country. How does the rest of the Top 25 shake out after the early-entry withdrawal deadline passed Monday?
1. North Carolina
The Tar Heels will be the consensus No. 1 team. If there is a poll and the Tar Heels aren't the No. 1 team, it will be a complete shock or someone will be doing it simply for the shock value. No other team will return as much talent as the Tar Heels. The team will remain essentially intact from its run to the Final Four. A number of other elite teams suffered through a defection or two or three. UNC did not. The Tar Heels will have power presence inside with Tyler Hansbrough and Deon Thompson, a lead guard in Ty Lawson, shooting wings in Wayne Ellington, Danny Green and plenty of pop off the bench. Coach Roy Williams and the Tar Heel nation should have fun with this crew. Start printing the tickets for the 2009 Final Four in Detroit.
The rest of the top ten is as follows: Pitt, UCLA, Notre Dame, Louisville, Duke, Memphis, Miami(????), Gonzaga and Purdue.
Seeing #8 and Miami nearly caused me to drop my laptop. That is pretty high praise but perhaps not totally misplaced. Miami returns a lot of key pieces which should make any trips to Coral Gables interested assuming the unbalanced schedule demands it. Duke finds their way to #6 and it remains to be seen if they can find any sort of interior game to compliment to outside shooters. Wake Forest checks in at #25 and I think that is low for them. The Deacons should be very good given the guard play and the incoming freshman. Katz points out the Big East will have a lot of representation in the poll, especially near the top. And you know what that means? Somehow the NCAA Selection Committee which find a way to put the Zeller Brothers on the court versus each other at some point. Not that they look for those kinds of matchups.
Since this stands to be a long wait to see this team play again, we can only hope the baseball team takes care of business in Omaha and the football team has a great season to pass the time a little quicker.