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Tony Bennett...Velociraptor?

Too-early rankings take notice of Bennett's recruiting abilities.

Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

Now that Kris Jenkins ended the 2015-2016 basketball season in stunning fashion, it's time to put all that behind us and look at 2016-2017.

Although the Hoos lose Malcolm Brogdon, Anthony Gill, Mike Tobey, and Evan Nolte, a talented incoming class is waiting in the wings. Tony Bennett's best recruiting class to date includes McDonald's All American Kyle Guy, Ty Jerome, DeAndre Hunter, and Jay Huff, who will join Mamadi Diakite (currently redshirting) and Austin Nichols (transfer from Memphis).

ESPN's Eamonn Brennan has the Cavaliers at No.7 on his "too-early" rankings, and has arguably the greatest write up on the Hoos since Mark Titus broke out his Lion King comparisons.

"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 Brogdon, Anthony 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."

Experts agree that Virginia will be top-ten again next season. Where do you think the Hoos will start the season?