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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16. Tennessee Volunteers

Like other SEC teams, the Vols lost some key pieces this offseason, including SEC Player of the Year guard, Dalton Knecht. Jonas Aidoo and Josiah-Jordan James departing the frontcourt also hurts. Point guard Zakai Zeigler is the lone returning starter but the hope is that the transfer core can have a big impact.

Felix Okpara and Igor Milicic are the new big men on the roster, while Chaz Lanier and Darlinstone Dubar are two of the top wing scorers from the portal. If this group can defend at the level expected of Rick Barnes teams, then the Vols shouldn’t have much of a drop-off at all.

15. Xavier Musketeers

Despite losing Desmond Claude to the portal, Xavier gets its leading scorer back from the season prior in Zach Freemantle. He and Jerome Hunter (assuming he gets cleared) make up a rebuilt frontcourt, including transfers, Cam’ Ron Fletcher, John Hugley, and Lassina Traore. 

The backcourt has plenty of potential as well, despite not having Claude and leading scorer Quincy Olivari. DayVion McKnight is back, joined but incoming guard transfers, Dante Maddox Jr., Roddie Anderson, and Ryan Conwell. Health is a major question with this group entering next season but if they stay intact, the Musketeers will be a good bet to get back into NCAA Tournament contention.