Wednesday's deadline for underclassmen to officially declare themselves eligible for the 2016 NBA Draft or to announce their intention to return to school marked the end of the first period of the college basketball offseason. While there's still a bit of moving and shaking that needs to go down on the transfer front, we now have a pretty solid sense of what every major contender in the country is going to look like heading into the 2016-17 season.
Here's a look at the five teams that got hit the hardest by the first two months of the offseason, and the five that came out of the fire unscathed.
The Ducks will be the heavy favorites to repeat as Pac-12 champions and should be right back in mix for a second straight No. 1 seed thanks to the returns of Dillon Brooks, Tyler Dorsey and Chris Boucher. Led by Brooks, who averaged 16.7 points per game and was a first team all-conference performer last season, Dana Altman returns five of his seven leading scorers from a squad that went 31-7 and advanced to the Elite Eight.
Most of the talk this offseason has surrounded, and will likely continue to surround, Duke and Kentucky. It's understandable given the caliber of player that both teams are bringing in, but it also overshadows the fact that Villanova has a very real chance to become college basketball's first back-to-back national champion in a decade.
Losing Ryan Arcidiacono and Daniel Ochefu will hurt, but Josh Hart and "Big Shot" Kris Jenkins (nickname still a work in progress) announcing that they will both be delaying their professional careers by a year means the Wildcats return their two leading scorers from last season. This will be a top five preseason team, and one by the end of the season which should be capable of either defending its crown, or making the next team that gets to sit on the throne go through them to get there.
There's a legitimate argument to be made that Caleb Swanigan returning to Purdue was the most significant decision that any player in the country made over the course of the past two months. With Swanigan back, the Boilermakers should be a preseason top 20 team poised to challenge Michigan State, Wisconsin, Indiana and Maryland in the Big Ten. Without him, their inclusion in any set of preseason rankings would have been difficult to justify. It's also worth mentioning that rising junior Vince Edwards, who averaged 11.3 points and 5.4 rebounds per game, tested the NBA Draft waters before announcing this week that he also would be returning to West Lafayette.
Bronson Koenig's final-minute heroics have made many people forget that Xavier was a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament who, had they not unraveled a bit in the final minute against Wisconsin, had the ability to end their season in the same place that conference brethren Villanova did. They'll have a chance at redemption in 2017 thanks to the returns of first team All-Big East performer Trevon Bluiett and All-Freshman team honoree Edmond Sumner. The decision of junior forward Jalen Reynolds to stay in the draft was a bit of s surprise, but he's the only key contributor not returning from a team that lost just six games last season.
The Bears demand a spot on this list because they have the biggest surprise returnee in college basketball this season with Ivan Rabb. Like Kris Dunn a year ago, Rabb shocked the hoops world by choosing to return to college for one more season despite most mock drafts having him pegged as a lottery pick. Even with Jaylen Brown declaring for the draft as expected and point guard Tyrone Wallace graduating, Rabb's return means that Cal is bringing back 63.1 percent of its offense from a team that won 23 games and earned the highest NCAA Tournament seed (No. 4) in program history.
Duke (Grayson Allen, Amile Jefferson)
Indiana (Thomas Bryant, James Blackmon Jr.)
North Carolina (Justin Jackson, Kennedy Meeks)
Wisconsin (Nigel Hayes)
Connecticut (Amida Brimah, Rodney Purvis)
Andy Enfield appeared poised to field one of the best and most entertaining teams on the West Coast in 2016-17 before a pair of surprising announcements put a hold on all that. First there was point guard Julian Jacobs stunning many by announcing in early May that he was signing with an agent. Then, on deadline day, junior forward Nikola Jovanovic made the same puzzling decision. Enfield is still bringing back a solid core from last year's NCAA Tournament group, but without Jacobs and Jovanovic, it's hard to see the Trojans taking the same step forward that we thought was possible a month ago.
The Huskies are getting a stud this year in five-star point guard Markelle Fultz, but the early defections of Dejounte Murray and Marquese Chriss still might keep Lorenzo Romar from taking a team to the Big Dance for the first time since 2011.
The common thought was that Texas was a year ahead of schedule under Shaka Smart last season and that 2016-17 would be the campaign where they really made a national splash. Those prospects don't seem quite as shiny now that point guard Isaiah Taylor is skipping his senior season in favor of playing the game for money. Smart has plenty of young talent to cushion this blow, but Taylor had both the skill set and the experience to thrive in his second season of "havoc."
Two seasons ago, Louisville ranked 350th out of 351 Division-I teams in production from the center position. Chinanu Onuaku changed all that in 2015-16, recording 11 double-doubles, including six straight at one point during the heart of ACC play. The Cardinals do return three big men with experience this season, but none with polish or the bruising size of Onuaku.
Syracuse's run to the Final Four was an unexpected gift for a program that had been forced to sit out the NCAA Tournament the season before. It also might wind up being an unexpected gift that keeps the Orange from being able to make a similar run in 2017. The reason for that is because the Orange's March run was spearheaded by Malachi Richardson, whose unexpected star turn gave him the ammunition to turn pro a year earlier than anyone had previously thought.
West Virginia (Devin Williams)
UNLV (Stephen Zimmerman, Derrick Jones, Chris Obekpa, Patrick McCaw)
Seton Hall (Isaiah Whitehead)
Oakland (Kay Felder)
Providence (Kris Dunn, Ben Bentil)