Mar 23, 2012; St. Louis, MO, USA; Kansas Jayhawks center Jeff Withey (5) grabs a loose ball as he is defended by North Carolina State Wolfpack forward Richard Howell (1) during the second half of the semifinals in the midwest region of the 2012 NCAA men's basketball tournament at the Edward Jones Dome. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-US PRESSWIRE
Kansas and Missouri both check in on the top 10 of this early 2012-2013 power rankings list for college basketball.
The 2012 NCAA spring season is not even in the books, but that doesn't mean it's too soon to look ahead to next year in the world of college hoops.
Sports Illustrated's Luke Winn has done just that, as he compiled his early look at the 2012-2013 season with a power rankings list that includes both Kansas and Missouri in the top 10.
Winn's list has accounted for recrutuing efforts and early departures to the NBA draft, and now that the dust has settled, he has put together an updated glance at what may lie ahead.
Here's his take on Kansas, who checks in at number eight:
The Jayhawks, like the Buckeyes and, higher up on this board, Louisville, will be decidedly in the defense-first club. Center Jeff Withey, with his volleyball-swatting pedigree, finished this season No. 1 in shot-blocking percentage -- at 15.27 percent compared to Anthony Davis' 13.75. If Withey can stay on the floor for longer minutes (he averaged 24.8 per game), he should be able to battle Craft and Kentucky's Nerlens Noel for national defensive player of the year honors, and KU's perimeter duo of Elijah Johnson and Travis Releford is athletic enough to defend any opposing guards. Role concerns are what keep the Jayhawks out of my top five; they had one of the country's most imbalanced scoring attacks, heavily favoring Thomas Robinson (who used 29.7 percent of possessions) and Tyshawn Taylor (27.7 percent), and for the first time in recent memory, there is no natural next-in-line offensive leader.
And Missouri, who Winn has at 10th:
The addition of UConn transfer Alex Oriakhi, who can play immediately due to the Huskies' postseason ban, could have a huge impact on the SEC race. While Oriakhi had a miserable junior season in Storrs, he showed as a sophomore that he can be one of the game's better defensive power forwards -- something the defensively challenged Tigers desperately need. He and fellow senior Laurence Bowers, who missed all of 2011-12 with an ACL tear but was Mizzou's leading shot-blocker the previous season, should form a respectable frontcourt. The Tigers are well-positioned to recover from the losses of hyper-efficient guards Marcus Denmon and Kim English, too, as backup Michael Dixon Jr. is ready to take on a go-to-guy role as a senior. He used a team-high 24.4 percent of possessions when he was on the floor last season, and could be the best isolation player in all of college hoops in '12-13. I ran a filter on Synergy Sports Technology's database for players from multi-bid leagues with at least 50 iso possessions last season, and only Wichita State's Joe Ragland -- whose career is over -- ranked ahead of Dixon. Here's the full top five in isolation efficiency: