Busting Brackets

NCAA Basketball: Arizona, Indiana, and Ole Miss rise in updated 2024-25 WTE power rankings

Dayton v Arizona
Dayton v Arizona / Christian Petersen/GettyImages
25 of 26

2. Houston Cougars

After dominating the American Athletic Conference for years, Houston moved over and ended up dominating the Big 12 Conference in its first season. They won the regular-season title and got a 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. And there’s no reason why they can’t repeat that success.

On a team that won 32 games, they only lost two key pieces from the rotation. One was backup guard Damian Dunn but the other was the team’s best player, Jamal Shead. The point guard was the Big 12 Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year so his departure will hurt.

Still, the Cougars have everyone else back. Senior guard LJ Cryer (15.5 ppg) is a contender to keep the Conference POY Award at Houston, while Emanuel Sharp has a chance to have an even bigger role and be an all-league contender. Terrance Arceneaux is back and healthy and the team landed Oklahoma guard transfer Milos Uzan, a two-year starter expected to take over at point.

The entire frontcourt is back as well, led by Ja’Vier Francis and J’Wan Roberts. Josephy Tugler will be healthy also after missing the postseason. As long as Uzan can play at a high level and to Houston’s standards on both ends, don’t expect any kind of drop-off for the Cougars.