Busting Brackets

NCAA Basketball: Way-Too-Important top 25 roster holes in 2024 offseason

Purdue v Connecticut
Purdue v Connecticut / Chris Coduto/GettyImages
3 of 5

16. Louisvile - Big Men Who Can Play Now
A bizarre, contenious and somewhat embarrassing coaching search was not the right way to start the offseason, but now that Pat Kelsey is in place, Louisville seems to be back on the path the relevance and NCAA Tournament bids. He quickly filled up the wing rotation, bringing Reyne Smith from Charleston, plus the additions of Sun Belt Player of the Year Terrence Edwards from James Madison and Colorado transfer J'Vonne Hadley. The Cardinals even made the sneaky addition of BYU transfer Aly Khalifa, beating out rival Kentucky and Khalifa's last coach, Mark Pope. Unfortunately, he will take a medical redshirt next season. Louisville needs to assemble the size necessary to be competitive in the ACC this year and take a big step back towards meeting their high expectations.

15. Baylor - Point Guard
Baylor is an offseason winner no matter what, after convincing Scott Drew to stick around instead of taking the crown jewel of coaching jobs at Kentucky. But it is a bit of a reload in Waco, and if Jalen Bridges doesn't use his extra covid year than Jayden Nunn will be the lone returning starter. A stellar freshman class is on its way, three top fifty recruits led by fourth ranked VJ Edgecombe, helping to fill in a deep group behind Nunn and Langston Love. But there is no clear replacement for RayJ Dennis, and in a deep Big 12, the Bears can't compete without an established primary playmaker.

14. Creighton - Three and D Wing
The top end of Creighton's roster is still unclear, as Ryan Kalkbrenner and Steven Ashworth are uncommitted on their extra covid year. Regardless, the Bluejays face a tough question, how do you replace a man who did absolutely everything (Baylor Scheierman)? It may be an impossible task to find his rare combination of elite shooting, four position defensive versatility and once in a generation guard rebounding. Greg McDermott and his staff will likely have to settle for just the first two this time around in looking for a perimeter partner for Trey Alexander and Mason Miller.

13. Purdue - A New Giant
Matt Painter has had a seven-footer on his roster every year since 2012, so long ago that Robbie Hummel was still on the roster. It just so happens that Purdue needs another option at center anyways, unless Painter intends to give Caleb Furst a starting role. Braden Smith will be expected to take on a starring role, with his backcourt mate Fletcher Loyer returning, along with scrappy forward Trey Kaufman-Renn, but thanks to the decade-plus lineage of Hammons, Haas, Haarms and Edey, it will be a big adjustment if Purdue doesn't have a dominant low post presence.

12. Marquette - Versatile Rebounder
Marquette has been untouched by the portal so far, but still needs to replace All-Big East players Tyler Kolek and Oso Ighodaro as they embark on pro careers. Losing Ighodaro is a huge loss down low to the Big East's second worse rebounding team, with no way to replace his physicality on the current roster. Ideally the Golden Eagles also find someone to replicate his off the bounce attacking skills, and keep the stellar offense humming for Kam Jones, David Joplin and Chase Ross.

11. Rutgers - Grad Transfer Center
For the first time, it appears that a group of donors have come together for a one year massive cash influx into Rutgers' NIL fund and a stellar group of one year mercenaries are taking shape. The Scarlet Knights will be centered around three or four guard lineups featuring top three rated freshmen Ace Bailey and Dylan Harper, Eastern Michigan grad transfer Tyson Acuff and returning senior Jeremiah Williams. The frontline remains thin, as another grad transfer, sniper Zach Martini, comes over from Princeton, but at 6'7" he is far too small to hold up on the boards in the Big Ten.