Much was made of the Cavaliers' experience and their long road to 2014's ACC title sweep, and the team's seniors -- lights-out shooter Joe Harris and imposing forward Akil Mitchell -- were crucial to this season's success. But that's it. Those are Virginia's only two senior contributors. Everybody else is back. Team usage leader Malcolm Brogdon will be a junior, as will Justin Anderson, Anthony Gill and Mike Tobey (the latter of whom looks capable of replacing some of Mitchell's interior work). Freshman London Perrantes shot 44 percent from 3 and should get many more looks with Harris gone; Perrantes is a breakout candidate waiting to happen. And coach Tony Bennett's team is still going to play the same brand of smothering, stifling pack-line defense.
Coach Billy Donovan, as is his wont, has another strategically perfect class coming in. It's a group of four-star players who should be able to contribute and fill needs right away, but they won't necessarily need major minutes or lots of touches right off the bat. That's good, because losing Scottie Wilbekin, Casey Prather and Patric Young creates a need for a smooth, structured transition. The talent is here: Kasey Hill flashed brilliance in a backup role before wilting in the Final Four; Michael Frazier II is a knockdown shooter; Dorian Finney-Smith is a highly skilled forward; and rising sophomore center Chris Walker is a complete athletic freak whose late start to the season gave him no time to develop. When he does, look out. Florida may have some growing pains, but Donovan will get them there.
The general rule with lottery picks -- especially top-five picks -- is to plan for their departure. That's why it seems unlikely Kansas, having already lost Andrew Wiggins to the draft, will keep currently undecided center Joel Embiid on campus for another season. It just doesn't happen often. But if Embiid does leave, a spot would open up for Myles Turner, who has kept Kansas near the top of his list throughout his recruitment. The Jayhawks already have the No. 1 power forward in the country ( Cliff Alexander) signed, as well as No. 4 small forward Kelly Oubre, and will put those two alongside Wayne Selden Jr., Perry Ellis, Naadir Tharpe, Frank Mason, Brannen Greene and Conner Frankamp -- a deep and versatile core. After 10 straight regular-season Big 12 titles, the first rule of Bill Self is to never doubt Bill Self.