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"Too Early Top-25" expert rankings peg the 2016-2017 Virginia Cavaliers as a top-10 team

Though it's never too early to look ahead to next basketball season...

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Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Just minutes after Kris Jenkins's game-winning basket fell through the hoop to earn a national championship for the Villanova Wildcats, experts were already posting their "too-early" Top 25 rankings for the 2016-2017 season.

Of the 7 rankings surveyed, 6 had Virginia as a top-10 team and all had the Hoos in their top 15. The group was unanimous that Duke, Kentucky, and Villanova would be the three teams to beat, in some order. Here's a look around the internet at some early takes on next year's squad.


UVA Rank: #9
Top 3: Duke / Kentucky / Villanova

What they said: "Finding offense will be the biggest issue for a team losing Anthony Gill and ACC Player of the Year Malcolm Brogdon, but there's enough coming back to give the Cavaliers a solid chance to exorcise the demons they created with their second half collapse against Syracuse. Veteran point guard London Perrantes will likely step into a larger scoring role, and the addition of Memphis transfer Austin Nichols will be huge for Tony Bennett's frontcourt."


UVA Rank: #7
Top 3: Duke / Villanova / Kentucky

What they said: "Remember the cafeteria scene in "Jurassic Park?" Of course you do. Dr. Grant asks Dr. Sattler if she's sure a rampant velociraptor has been "contained." "Yes," she replies, "unless they figure out how to open doors." Virginia coach Tony Bennett is that velociraptor. See, Bennett has always relied on player development to make up for the talent gap between his recruits and Duke's or North Carolina's, and now, after three years terrorizing the rest of the ACC, the Cavaliers face personnel losses (Malcolm BrogdonAnthony Gill) that should be beyond their immediate capabilities. Except -- gasp -- Virginia's 2016 recruiting class boasts not one but two top-10 players at their positions, plus Memphis transfer (and former elite prospect) Austin Nichols, plus London Perrantes and the rest of the returners. What is that? "It's ... Bennett. He's inside." "

The Big Lead

UVA Rank: #7
Top 3: Duke / Villanova / Kentucky

What they said: "Have reloaded for three straight years, but will they take a step back next season? ACC POY Malcolm Brogdon and interior force Anthony Gill (plus center Mike Tobey) are out of eligibility. Point guard London Perrantes will be the team leader, and improved sophomore guards Devon Hall and Marial Shayok will be major contributors. Based on recruiting - two Top 50 guards and a 6-foot-7 forward in DeAndre Hunter - and Memphis transfer Austin Nichols, don't expect the Cavaliers to fall far. This is still a Top 20 team."

USA Today

UVA Rank: #8
Top 3: Duke / Kentucky / Villanova

What they said: "With ACC Player of the Year Malcolm Brogdon and fellow seniors Anthony Gill and Mike Tobey departing, only London Perrantes remains from a renaissance era of UVa basketball that's skyrocketed the program to the top of the ACC and decently far in the NCAA tournament. That's an era coach Tony Bennett ushered in and one he plans to keep growing. Perrantes will take on a heavier role running the point and being a top offensive weapon.

Recruiting grade: A."

NBC Sports

UVA Rank: #6
Top 3: Duke / Kentucky / Villanova

What they said: "Losing Anthony Gill and Malcolm Brogdon is a tough blow to overcome, but the Cavaliers now have a program that can survive personnel losses like that. Nichols will shine in that system, and we're expecting one of Perrrantes, Hall, Shayok or Thompson to take a step forward offensively"

CBS Sports

UVA Rank: #10
Top 3: Duke / Kentucky / Villanova

What they said: "The Cavaliers have finished in the top 10 at KenPom each of the past three seasons. Next season should make four straight. The arrival of Memphis transfer Austin Nichols and redshirt freshman Mamadi Diakite will help ease the loss of Anthony Gill and Mike Tobey. And Tony Bennett has a top-10 recruiting class set to enroll, too."

Sporting News

UVA Rank: #13
Top 3: Kentucky / Duke / Villanova

What they said: "Losing bedrock seniors Malcolm Brogdon, Anthony Gill and Mike Tobey will absolutely hurt, no doubt about it. But coach Tony Bennett has always been about building a program based on a defensive-first philosophy, and we'll get to see what type of program depth he's developed next season. Point guard London Perrantes, the outstanding shooter/leader/defender who will be a senior, is a legitimate centerpiece player. And though it was easy to focus on Virginia's big nams the past few years, it's not like the Cavaliers will have to count on four of five newbies who completely lack experience — Marial Shayok, Isaiah Wilkins, Devon Hall and Darius Thompson all averaged 15-20 minutes this season, so it's not a huge jump to the 25-30 range. And Bennett's crop of recruits is ranked 12th in the country by, so reinforcements are on the way.."