College basketball rankings: Alabama falls from top 10 as Rylan Griffen opts to enter transfer portal


Alabama has participated in its first Final Four in history and received a public pledge of allegiance from its coach, Nate Oats, over the past week. Those are two great developments.

But it’s not all good news in Tuscaloosa.

That’s because Rylan Griffen, the Crimson Tide’s fourth-leading scorer, has entered the transfer portal after starting 33 games as a sophomore, which means Alabama is now projected to lose three of the top four scorers — specifically Mark Sears, Aaron Estrada and Griffen — from the team that made the 2024 Final Four. Unsurprisingly, Oats responded to the departure by quickly securing a commitment from Chris Youngblood, a 6-foot-4 guard who averaged 15.3 points this past season at South Florida. But the loss of Griffen and addition of Youngblood is still a net-negative for Alabama, in my opinion, which is why the Crimson Tide are down to No. 12 in Version 3.0 of the 2024-25 CBS Sports preseason Top 25 And 1 college basketball rankings.

Sears could improve that ranking, though.

The All-American guard hasn’t yet announced his intentions for next season and theoretically could return for a fifth year of college basketball. If he does, Alabama will move into the top 10 of the Top 25 And 1, perhaps even the top five. But based on where most analysts have Sears slotted in the 2024 NBA Draft, the prevailing assumption is that he’ll ultimately enter and remain in the 2024 NBA Draft, and Alabama’s projected roster in Version 3.0 of the Top 25 And 1 is a reflection of that belief.

I removed BYU from the Top 25 And 1.

Mark Pope’s decision to leave BYU and replace John Calipari at Kentucky on Friday means the team I had 13th in Version 1.0 of the Top 25 And 1 no longer exists. (Dallin Hall and Aly Khalifa are already in the transfer portal.) Consequently, the Cougars are completely out of the Top 25 And 1 and have been replaced by a Michigan State team projected to return six of the top eight scorers from a roster that just helped Tom Izzo make his 26th consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament.

Needless to say, it’s possible, if not likely, that Pope will eventually build a team worthy of inclusion in the Top 25 And 1 at Kentucky the same way it’s possible, if not likely, Calipari will eventually build a team worthy of inclusion in the Top 25 And 1 at Arkansas. If either does, I’ll adjust, just like always. But, for now, neither Kentucky nor Arkansas have rosters deserving of a spot. That’s why they’re absent.

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Top 25 And 1 rankings

Biggest Movers

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Teams

 

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1


N. Carolina

This ranking is based on Hubert Davis’ Tar Heels returning three of the top five scorers – specifically RJ Davis, Harrison Ingram and Elliot Cadeau – from a team that won the ACC and secured a No. 1 seed in the 2024 NCAA Tournament. UNC is also adding a top-10 recruiting class highlighted by five-star prospects Ian Jackson and Drake Powell that should give the program a chance to make a 22nd appearance in the Final Four. 29-8

2


Duke

This ranking is based on Jon Scheyer’s Blue Devils returning three of the top six scorers — specifically, Jeremy Roach, Caleb Foster and Tyrese Proctor — from a team that secured a No. 4 seed in the 2024 NCAA Tournament. Duke also has the sport’s top-ranked recruiting class headlined by Cooper Flagg, the consensus No. 1 prospect in the Class of 2024 who could quickly develop into college basketball’s biggest attraction. 27-9

3


Houston

This ranking is based on Kelvin Sampson’s Cougars returning eight of the top 10 scorers – everybody besides Jamal Shead and Damian Dunn – from a team that won the Big 12 by two games and earned a No. 1 seed in the 2024 NCAA Tournament. A backcourt of LJ Cryer, Emanuel Sharp and Terrance Arceneaux should make the Cougars the favorite in the Big 12 based off of current roster projections even if the loss of Shead is undeniably important. 32-5

4


Iowa St.

This ranking is based on TJ Otzelberger’s Cyclones returning the top four scorers from a team that won 29 games and earned a No. 2 seed in the 2024 NCAA Tournament. Both Tamin Lipsey and Keshon Gilbert could compete for Big 12 Player of the Year honors and position Iowa State to maybe make what would be the program’s first trip to the Final Four since 1944. 29-8

5


Kansas

This ranking is based on Bill Self’s Jayhawks returning three of the top six scorers – specifically Hunter Dickinson, KJ Adams and Dajuan Harris – from a team that secured a No. 4 seed in the 2024 NCAA Tournament. Kansas has already added Riley Kugel (Florida) and Zeke Mayo (South Dakota State) from the transfer portal and should be back near the top of the Big 12 next season. 23-11

6


UConn

This ranking is based on Dan Hurley’s Huskies returning five of the top nine scorers – namely Alex Karaban, Hassan Diarra, Samson Johnson, Solomon Ball and Jaylin Stewart – from a team that won the 2024 NCAA Tournament. Obviously, UConn has a lot to replace, but some programs deserve the benefit of the doubt, and Hurley’s program is definitely one of them. 37-3

7


Gonzaga

This ranking is based on Mark Few’s Zags returning every rotation piece besides Anton Watson from a team that advanced to the Sweet 16 of the 2024 NCAA Tournament. Gonzaga should be back in the NCAA Tournament for an incredible 26th straight time next March. 27-8

8


Auburn

This ranking is based on Bruce Pearl’s Tigers returning three of the top five scorers – specifically Johni Broome, Chad Baker-Mazara and Denver Jones – from a team that secured a No. 4 seed in the 2024 NCAA Tournament. The addition of five-star freshman Tahaad Pettiford and Furman transfer JP Pegues should have Auburn in contention to maybe make a second Final Four. 27-8

9


Purdue

This ranking is based on Matt Painter’s Boilermakers returning six of the top eight scorers – everybody besides Zach Edey and Lance Jones – from a team that advanced to the title game of the 2024 NCAA Tournament. The Boilermakers have finished in the top 25 at KenPom.com nine straight years, and there’s no reason to think that streak won’t continue next season even without the two-time National Player of the Year. 34-5

10


Creighton

This ranking is based on Greg McDermott’s Bluejays returning every rotation player besides Baylor Scheierman and Francisco Farabello from a team that advanced to the Sweet 16 of the 2024 NCAA Tournament. A trio of Trey Alexander, Ryan Kalkbrenner and Steven Ashworth would make Creighton among the Big East favorites. 1 25-10

11


Arizona

This ranking is based on Tommy Lloyd’s Wildcats returning five of the top eight scorers – everybody besides Oumar Ballo, Keshad Johnson and Kylan Boswell – from a team that won the Pac-12 and secured a No. 2 seed in the 2024 NCAA Tournament. Arizona’s top-five recruiting class headlined by Carter Bryant and Joson Sanon should help make the program’s transition to the Big 12 relatively smooth. 1 27-9

12


Alabama

This ranking is based on Nate Oats’ Crimson Tide returning eight of the top 11 scorers – everybody except Mark Sears, Aaron Estrada and Rylan Griffen – from a team that advanced to the 2024 Final Four. The addition of five-star freshman Derrion Reed and transfers Houston Mallette (Pepperdine) and Chris Youngblood (USF) will help offset the departures — and Alabama will easily move into the top 10 if Sears opts to return rather than enter the 2024 NBA Draft. 2 25-12

13


Saint Mary’s

This ranking is based on Randy Bennett’s Gaels returning every rotation piece besides Alex Ducas from a team that won the West Coast Conference and secured a No. 5 seed in the 2024 NCAA Tournament. The Aidan Mahaney/Augustas Marciulionis backcourt should be one of the best out west. 1 26-8

14


Texas A&M

This ranking is based on Buzz Williams’ Aggies returning four of the top five scorers – everybody except Tyrece Radford – from a team that advanced to the second round of the 2024 NCAA Tournament. Wade Taylor could enter the season as the favorite to win SEC Player of the Year for the second straight season. 1 21-15

15


Marquette

This ranking is based on Shaka Smart’s Golden Eagles returning every rotation player besides Tyler Kolek and Oso Ighodaro from a team that secured a No. 2 seed in the 2024 NCAA Tournament. Kam Jones’ announcement that he’ll return means Marquette will have a fourth-year guard who just averaged 17.2 points per game to build around. 1 27-10

16


Clemson

This ranking is based on Brad Brownell’s Tigers returning five of the top six scorers – everybody besides Joe Girard – from a team that secured a No. 6 seed in the 2024 NCAA Tournament. As long as PJ Hall and Chase Hunter both use their extra years of eligibility to return to Clemson, the Tigers should be a factor in the ACC again. 1 24-12

17


Baylor

This ranking is based on Scott Drew’s Bears returning four of the top seven scorers – everybody except Ja’Kobe Walter, RayJ Dennis and Yves Missi – from a team that secured a No. 3 seed in the 2024 NCAA Tournament. The addition of a top-10 recruiting class headlined by five-star wing VJ Edgecombe should help offset the departures and have Baylor in its sixth straight NCAA Tournament. 1 24-11

18


Tennessee

This ranking is based on Rick Barnes’ Volunteers returning two of the top five scorers — specifically Zakai Zeigler and Jordan Gainey — from a team that won the SEC and secured a No. 2 seed in the 2024 NCAA Tournament. The departures of Dalton Knecht, Jonas Aidoo and Josiah-Jordan James are huge, but Tennessee should still easily make the NCAA Tournament for the fifth straight year. 1 27-9

19


Miami

This ranking is based on Jim Larranaga’s Hurricanes returning three of the top four scorers – everybody except Norchad Omier – from a team that struggled last season and missed the NCAA Tournament but is expected to bounce back strong. Miami’s top-10 recruiting class headlined by five-star guard Jalil Bethea is among the reasons another rough year is not expected. 1 15-17

20


Wisconsin

This ranking is based on Greg Gard’s Badgers returning four of the top six scorers – everybody except AJ Storr and Tyler Wahl – from a team that secured a No. 5 seed in the 2024 NCAA Tournament. Year 10 for Gard should result in a seventh NCAA Tournament appearance, which highlights how he’s successfully followed Naismith Memorial Hall of Famer Bo Ryan at Wisconsin. 1 22-14

21


Rutgers

This ranking is based on Steve Pikiell’s Scarlet Knights only returning one double-digit scorer (Jeremiah Williams) from a team that finished below .500. But the enrollment of five-star prospects Ace Bailey and Dylan Harper will give Rutgers two likely top-10 picks in the 2025 NBA Draft and enough talent to start the season with a number beside its name. 1 15-17

22


Florida

This ranking is based on Todd Golden’s Gators returning six of the top nine scorers – everybody besides Zyon Pullin, Tyrese Samuel and Riley Kugel – from a team that secured a No. 7 seed in the 2024 NCAA Tournament. The addition of Sam Alexis gives Florida a 6-9 forward who averaged 10.8 points and 9.1 rebounds at Chattanooga as a sophomore. 2 24-12

23


Texas

This ranking is based on Rodney Terry’s Longhorns returning four of the top six scorers – everybody except Max Abmas and Dyland Disu – from a team that secured a No. 7 seed in the 2024 NCAA Tournament. Texas is also enrolling a top-15 recruiting class headlined by five-star guard Tre Johnson, who should start in the backcourt alongside Tyrese Hunter. 21-13

24


Seton Hall

This ranking is based on Shaheen Holloway’s Pirates returning five of the top eight scorers – everybody except Al-Amir Dawes, Dre Davis and Jaden Bediako – from a team that won the 2024 NIT. Kadary Richmond should return for a fifth season and emerge as a possible option for Big East Player of the Year. 1 25-12

25


Ohio St.

This ranking is based on Jake Diebler’s Buckeyes returning four of the top nine scorers – namely Bruce Thornton, Felix Okpara, Devin Royal and Evan Mahaffey – from a team that missed the NCAA Tournament but closed with an 8-3 record after Diebler replaced Chris Holtmann in February. The additions of heralded transfer Meechie Johnson and his younger brother, five-star guard Marcus Johnson, should help Ohio State be relevant again in Diebler’s first full season. 1 22-14

26


Michigan St.

This ranking is based on Tom Izzo’s Spartans returning six of the top eight scorers – everybody besides Tyson Walker and Malik Hall – from a team that secured a No. 9 seed in the 2024 NCAA Tournament. That should be enough for Izzo to extend his streak of NCAA Tournament appearances to 27. NR 20-15

In: Michigan State
Out: BYU

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