Tom Crean took over an Indiana Hoosier program decimated by Kelvin Sampson's dismal and scandal-plagued run as head coach. Just five years later, he's coming off a run to the Sweet Sixteen and the number one team in the nation.
1. Indiana Hoosiers
Tom Crean's charges will be building on a run to the Sweet Sixteen, where they gave a Kentucky team laden with NBA first-round draft picks their toughest test of their title run. The Hoosiers are bringing back most of the key players from a team that went 27-9 last season - including Cody Zeller, who should be the most complete big man in college hoops this season. One concern: the Hoosiers will be relying heavily on an untested point guard, incoming freshman Yogi Ferrell. Guard play is crucial to any championship run; Ferrell will need to mature quickly for the Hoosiers to reach the Georgia Dome.
2. Louisville CardinalsThis could be a down year for the Big East, with several traditional powers on their way out the door and Connecticut ineligible for the postseason. But the down-on-its-luck conference still has a legit title contender in Louisville. Rick Pitino's club is bringing back all the key players from their 2012 Final Four squad, including shot-blocker extraordinaire Gorgui Dieng and floor leader Peyton Siva.
3. UCLA Bruins
This ranking is based on the assumption that Shabazz Muhammad - the crown jewel in a sterling recruiting class - is cleared to play by the NCAA; that's no sure thing at this point. Without him, embattled coach Ben Howland could be in for another long season in Westwood... and possibly his last.
4. Kentucky WildcatsStop me if you've heard this one before... John Calipari loses just about every key player from last year's team to the NBA, but he's bringing in a new class that looks just as talented. The Wildcats may need a little time to jell, but no one is going to want any part of this team come March.
5. North Carolina State Wolfpack
The Wolfpack got a big boost when C.J. Leslie decided to stay in school for one more season. Combine him with what should be one of the top backcourts in the nation and an incoming class featuring three McDonald's All Americans, and NC State could be the class of the ACC this year.