Busting Brackets

NCAA Basketball: Alabama, Kentucky rises in latest way-too-early top-25 power rankings for 2024-25

Alabama v Connecticut
Alabama v Connecticut / Christian Petersen/GettyImages
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2. Kansas Jayhawks

There was a two-week period this offseason where the Jayhawks dominated the NCAA Basketball discourse, landing four quality guard transfers. Even though one of the de-committed (Riley Kugel) and freshman Johnny Furphy stayed in the NBA Draft, Kansas still added some big names via the portal. Wisconsin leading scorer AJ Storr, Alabama starter Rylan Griffen, and South Dakota State star and Summit League POY guard Zeke Mayo give them a ton of firepower.

The Jayhawks also bring back three starters, including star center Hunter Dickinson and former Big 12 Defensive POY guard Dajuan Harris Jr. To add to the frontcourt depth is five-star center prospect Flory Bidunga to back up Dickinson. A late portal addition from another team took the No. 1 spot away from the Jayhawks but it’s hard to argue against the overall talent Coach Bill Self will be working with.

1. Alabama Crimson Tide

Just about everything went the way for Coach Nate Oats and Alabama this offseason. The one “negative” was starting guard Rylan Griffen transferring to Kansas but they were able to make up for it with the additions of Houston Mallette and Co-AAC Player of the Year guard Chris Youngblood, while also having top-tier wing commits, Derrion Reid and Naasir Cunningham.

Forwards Grant Nelson and Jarin Stevenson are back and the team was able to upgrade at the center position in Cliff Omoruyi, one of the better interior defenders and shot-blockers in NCAA Basketball. But the big reason why they’re No. 1 is the return of Mark Sears, one of the top scorers in the country last season at 21.5 ppg and 4.0 apg.

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If Auburn transfer Aden Holloway and former Kansas guard commit Labaon Philon can have an impact then it’s hard to find a team with better depth on paper. After making the program’s first Final Four appearance months ago, this team has a good chance to make even more history in 2025.