29 Apr

 Houston, North Carolina lead way-too-early Top 25 And 1 for 2024-25 season

It’s never been more difficult to construct the CBS Sports Top 25 And 1 seven months before the start of the next season than it is these days. The transfer portal is full. Massive NIL deals are being offered from coast to coast. John Calipari is changing jobs. There’s a lot going on.

But the uncertainty won’t stop me!

So here is Version 1.0 of the 2024-25 CBS Sports preseason Top 25 And 1, where Houston will start at No. 1 based on the idea that Kelvin Sampson should return his top four scorers — and every rotation player besides Damian Dunn — from a team that won the Big 12 by multiple games and secured a No. 1 seed in the 2024 NCAA Tournament. Truth is, as great as Jamal Shead is at this level, he’s not guaranteed to be picked in the 2024 NBA Draft. So, with no great professional options available, the most financially sensible thing the All-American guard could likely do is return to Kelvin Sampson’s program with nice NIL packages.

If he doesn’t, I’ll adjust — just like always.

But, for now at least, Houston is No. 1 in the Top 25 And 1.

As you’ll see below, I’ve omitted both Kentucky and Arkansas — i.e., Calipari’s former school and current school — from Version 1.0 of the Top 25 And 1 because there’s just so much uncertainty in both places. Arkansas has a coach but no team. Kentucky has neither. So, while it’s possible, if not likely, that the Razorbacks and Wildcats will both eventually end up in the Top 25 And 1, right now there’s just nothing solid to base that on, which is why Kentucky and Arkansas are starting on the outside looking in.

What about UConn?

I’ve placed the Huskies at No. 6 in Version 1.0 even though they’re projected to lose four of their top five scorers — everybody except Alex Karaban. Simply put, that’s just me giving Dan Hurley’s program the benefit of the doubt that it’s earned over the past two seasons as back-to-back national champions. Once UConn starts adding pieces via the transfer portal, my assumption is that they’ll slowly move up the Top 25 And 1 throughout this offseason and find themselves in November positioned to possibly three-peat.

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