The Pac-12 Conference stands as one of the biggest postseason winners, with the majority of its top talents opting to remain in college instead of heading to the NBA draft.
As expected, UCLA's Shabazz Muhammad and Cal's Allen Crabbe are gone -- the former as one of the most overvalued players in the draft, the latter as a likely late-first rounder.
But UCLA's Kyle Anderson, Stanford's Dwight Powell, Arizona State's Jahii Carson are returning, and Colorado's Andre Roberson might be coming back, as well.
(The NBA's declaration deadline is April 28, so the lack of Roberson news to this point doesn't guarantee his return.)
Since success from November—March is often predicated on what happens in April, the league is positioned to have its best season in several years and continue to recover from the epic failure of 2011-12.
The following projections will be tweaked if late-April draft news dictates.
The Wildcats will have their best roster since at least 2004-05 (Frye, Stoudamire, Adams; Illinois meltdown) and should be a preseason top-five pick. They're a threat to win the league by several games and claim a No. 1-2 seed if point guard (and Duquesne transfer T.J. McDonnell) can keep everyone happy.
Arguably the league's best inside-outside combo with Roberson and guard Spencer Dinwiddie. Add sophomores Josh Scott and Xavier Johnson, plus Tad Boyle's coaching, and the Buffs look like the best of the rest. (If Roberson leaves for the NBA, the Buffs will be slotted a few spots lower.)
Kyle Anderson, Jordan Adams, Norman Powell and the Wears form a nice core for new coach Steve Alford. Look for Anderson to spend more time with the ball in his hands as the Bruins attempt to replace their most valuable player, Larry Drew II. Will Alford let 'em run, or insist they grind?
The Bears lost Crabbe but return point guard Justin Cobbs and wing Tyrone Wallace and add McDonald's All-American Jabari Bird, who will have plenty of opportunities to assert himself offensively. Coach Mike Montgomery has finished fourth or better in his last 14 seasons in the conference. Pick against him at your risk.
Based on talent and experience, the Cardinal should finish in the top three. But coach Johnny Dawkins hasn't finished higher than sixth (a four-way tie for sixth, to be exact) during his disappointing tenure. Maybe the Cardinal contends next season -- I'll believe it when I see it. (And if we don't see it, it will be the last we see of Dawkins.)
6. Arizona State
Carson's return means the Sun Devils will have the league's best player and best point guard. Whether Carrick Felix-less ASU finishes in the middle of the Pac or the bottom tier depends on Carson's supporting cast, particularly Eric Gordon.
Picking a Dana Altman team to finish this low probably isn't wise, and he has a nice group of perimeter players (Dotson, Artis, Loyd). But I'm not sold on the Ducks' frontline, and the conference will be good enough to expose it.
The Huskies lose three of their best players and are counting on a freshman, Nigel Williams-Goss, to run the team. If he's as good as billed -- the best prep point guard in the west -- and C.J. Wilcox continues to score consistently, UW should be in the mix.
Like Oregon, the Trojans are more than capable of finishing 2-3 spots above their projection, especially if new coach Andy Enfield is able to mesh his system with the existing talent.
Larry Krystkowiak has gotten as much out of his roster the past two years as any coach in the conference; it's just that he has had far less talent than any coach in the league. With sophomore forward Jordan Loveridge, that's changing.
11. Oregon State
Eric Moreland's decision to pull out of the draft is a boost. But the Beavers have so many holes, I'm not sure Moreland's presence gets them out of the bottom third.
12. Washington State
The Cougs finished last in 2012-13 and lost their best player. Confidence in Ken Bone making the most of what little talent he has: Zero.