16. Cincinnati Bearcats
Key losses: Troy Caupain, Kevin Johnson
Key additions: Trevor Moore, Keith Williams, Cane Broome
First Way-Too-Early ranking: 24
Since 2011, Mick Cronin's Bearcats have finished within the top 25 of KenPom.com's adjusted defensive efficiency rankings for seven consecutive seasons. In that stretch, he has lost an abundance of talent, including Octavius Ellis, Sean Kilpatrick and Cashmere Wright. Cincy's identity as one of America's top defensive teams has not changed, but in 2017-18, Cronin might field his most balanced team. Kyle Washington (12.9 PPG, 6.8 RPG, 1.2 BPG), who connected on 53 percent of his shots inside the arc and 36 percent of his 3-point attempts, returns to lead Cincinnati into a battle with Wichita State for the American championship. With Jacob Evans and Gary Clark in the mix, Cronin will have his top three scorers and critical elements of his defense from last season. Jarron Cumberland made 65 percent of his shots inside the arc last season. Now he moves into a more significant role with Troy Caupain and Kevin Johnson gone. This group also adds Sacred Heart transfer Cane Broome, a guard who sat last season after averaging 23.1 points in 2015-16. Another strong year for Cincy? Yes, another strong year for Cincy.
21. Cincinnati (30-6)
Coach Mick Cronin has most of the nucleus back from a 30-win squad, including the top three scorers Jacob Evans, Kyle Washington and Gary Clark. Guard Jarron Cumberland figures to take another step as a sophomore. The key offensive addition is Sacred Heart transfer Cane Broome, who averaged 23.1 points a game in 2015-16 as the Northeast Conference Player of the Year.
Key Losses: Troy Caupain, Kevin Johnson
Key Newcomers: Cane Broome (transfer), Trevor Moore, Keith Williams, Mamodou Diarra
Projected Starting Five:
PG Cane Broome
SG Jacob Evans
SF Jarron Cumberland
PF Gary Clark
C Kyle Washington
Projected Bench: Nysier Brooks, Tre Scott, Justin Jenifer, Trevor Moore, Keith Williams, Mamodou Diarra