Less than a week ago, CBS Sports‘ Gary Parrish had Michigan basketball at No. 16 in his “Top 25 plus 1” rankings. The Wolverines are set to lose a trio of talented players, but John Beilein’s presence was a serious steadying force.
Now, with Beilein’s abrupt departure to the Cleveland Cavaliers, there is a lot less faith in the 2019-20 Wolverines… at least until they fill the giant vacancy on the bench.
Not only did Parrish drop Michigan. He took them out of the rankings completely.
He admitted that in another universe, if Michigan had brought people back, the Wolverines could’ve entered the year at No. 1.
It was always an unlikely scenario, I acknowledge. But Michigan could’ve theoretically returned every player from a roster that won 30 games last season and finished sixth at KenPom. With that kind of talent and experience, and John Beilein on the sideline, I would’ve probably made the Wolverines the No. 1 team in the 2019-20 CBS Sports Top 25 And 1 preseason college basketball rankings.
Things didn’t break that way, though.
Instead, Michigan’s top three scorers — Ignas Brazdeikis, Charles Matthews and Jordan Poole — each entered, and made it clear they intend to remain in, the 2019 NBA Draft. And then, on Monday, the program took a real blow when to be the coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers. As a result, I’ve removed the Wolverines from the Top 25 And 1.
Utah State slides into the vacant slot left by Michigan.
Here is the top five of the latest CBS Sports Top 25 And 1 college hoops rankings.
Michigan rival Michigan State leads things off.
Cassius Winston’s decision to return to Michigan State for his senior season was enough to keep Tom Izzo’s team No. 1 in the Top 25 And 1. The Spartans are returning three of the top four scorers from a 32-win team that won the Big Ten regular-season title and Big Ten Tournament title before advancing to the Final Four.
Blue bloods are abound at the top of the list, with Duke, Kentucky, Louisville, and Kansas coming in at two through five. Six is an interesting wild card: the rebuild Memphis squad, that Penny Hardaway has turned into a recruiting power.