Busting Brackets

NCAA Basketball: Way-too-early top-25 power rankings for 2024-25 season

Countdown to Craziness
Countdown to Craziness / Lance King/GettyImages
24 of 26

3. Houston Cougars

2023-24 season record: 32-5 (15-3 Big 12)

When compiling a list of teams for this top-25, there were a few who were in contention for the No. 1 spot. One of them was Houston, who had a fantastic debut in the Big 12 Conference this past season, including winning the regular-season title in its first year. There was a chance that they could return everyone for another year and to their credit, “most” have.

The one player who isn’t returning though, is their most important. Starting point guard Jamal Shead averaged 12.9 ppg and 6.3 apg and was both the Big 12 Player of the Year and Conference DPOY as well. Had he not gotten injured in the NCAA Tournament, Houston very well could’ve made the Final Four.

But outside of reserve guard Damian Dunn, everyone else is coming back. That includes leading scorer LJ Cryer (15.5 ppg), as well as forwards, J’Wan Roberts and Ja’Vier Francis. Emanuel Sharp and Mylik Wilson will give the Cougars backcourt depth, along with a healthy Joseph Tugler and Terrance Arceneaux.

The one question for Houston is how the PG position will work out. But everything else, including Hall of Fame HC Kelvin Sampson leading the way, is good enough to be a Final Four contender once again.