MEN /// BY SETH DAVIS
The freshman class could feature the top two picks in the 2017 NBA draft: forwards Harry Giles (Winston-Salem, N.C.) and Jayson Tatum (St. Louis). All-ACC shooting guard Grayson Allen is likely to return as a junior, and 6'9" forward Amile Jefferson, who missed the second half of this season with a broken right foot, will provide senior leadership.
The Wildcats only lose two of their top eight players, and point guard Jalen Brunson is ready to run the team. Coach Jay Wright is adding another quality recruit in Omari Spellman, a 6'9" forward from North Royalton, Ohio.
John Calipari instructed all his players to test the NBA draft waters, but enough of them will return to put the Wildcats in position to chase another title. Many recruiting experts have ranked their incoming class, headlined by high-scoring 6'5" guard Malik Monk (Bentonville, Ark.), as the nation's best.
Even if 6'4" freshman Tyler Dorsey, goes pro, the Ducks will have enough to prove that their No. 1 tournament seed was no fluke. Versatile guard Dillon Brooks as well as shot blocker Chris Boucher will be back, and so might point guard Dylan Ennis, who has petitioned the NCAA for additional eligibility after missing most of this season with a left-foot injury.
The Jayhawks will be favored to win their 13th consecutive Big 12 title thanks to the return of 6'8" Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk and 6'9" Carlton Bragg. Coach Bill Self is also a finalist for Josh Jackson, the dynamic 6'7" forward from Southfield, Mich.
WOMEN /// BY RICHARD DEITSCH
1 NOTRE DAME
The Irish have the ingredients for a title run with All-America forward Brianna Turner, heady point guard Lindsay Allen and sharpshooter Marina Mabrey. The freshman class incudes Gatorade Player of the Year Erin Boley, a 6'2" forward from Hodgenville, Ky., and Naismith National High School Player of the Year Jackie Young, a 5'11" guard from Princeton, Ind.
An Elite Eight loss to Oregon State will give the Bears plenty of motivation. Led by All-America forward Nina Davis, scoring guard Alexis Jones and post Kalani Brown (daughter of NBA vet P.J. Brown), Baylor also has the nation's top recruit in Lauren Cox, a 6'4" forward from Flower Mound, Texas.
Don't feel too bad for coach Geno Auriemma. After Stewart's graduation he'll build his next group around forward Katie Lou Samuelson and guards Gabby Williams and Kia Nurse. Crystal Dangerfield, the nation's top-ranked point guard prospect, replaces Jefferson.
The Cardinal will have three seniors to provide leadership and scoring: point guard Lili Thompson, forward Erica McCall and shooting guard Karlie Samuelson. Thanks to their typically tough schedule, they'll be ready for March.
5 OHIO STATE
Start with the nation's best scorer—and arguably the best returning player—in 5'8" guard Kelsey Mitchell. Then add a trio of transfers who were McDonald's All-Americans: 6-foot guard Sierra Calhoun (Duke), 5'8" guard Linnae Harper (Kentucky) and 6'3" center Stephanie Mavunga (North Carolina).
GRANT HALVERSON/GETTY IMAGES (JEFFERSON)
ROBERT FRANKLIN/AP (TURNER)