As expected, Kentucky completed a season atop (or near the top) of the polls after winning the national championship with a 67-59 win over Kansas that wasn't as close as the score might indicate. The question now for Kentucky is in two parts: how many players will leave for the NBA and who will replace them next season in Lexington?
As for the final poll, after Kentucky, the rest of the top-10 were Kansas, Ohio State, Louisville, Syracuse, North Carolina, Michigan State, Baylor, Florida, and Marquette.
Other than Kentucky's dominance, three other story lines emerged out of this past season:
1. The Big East is still dominant, getting nine teams into the tournament, one to the Final Four (Louisville) for the third straight season and another to the Elite Eight (Syracuse).
2. Kentucky's one-and-done model worked, but its sustainability will still be questioned. John Calipari likes to defend his philosophy but eventually his team is going to tank — and considering this was his first national title, he's still not in the same league as others with multiple championships.
3. The top seeds still dominate. If you look at the past 28 national champs, 16 were captured by No. 1 seeds and, of the remaining 12 teams, only three defeated No. 1 seeds to win the title (not including when No. 1 seeds faced each other). Only two were not a top-four seed and no team outside a BCS conference has won a title since the 1990 UNLV Runnin' Rebels.
Moving forward, every team is affected by players leaving, and that's especially true of the Elite Eight. The main recruiting season is done but there are a few top players who haven't committed yet: ESPN's No. 1 recruit Nerlens Noel, who has narrowed his choices down to Syracuse, Kentucky and Georgetown; ESPN's No. 2 recruit Shabazz Muhammad, who has a longer list of UCLA, USC, Kentucky, Duke, Kansas and UNLV; and ESPN's No. 7 recruit Anthony Bennett, whose choices are Florida, Kentucky, Washington, Oregon and UNLV.
So far, ESPN's top-15 recruiting classes are Arizona, Texas, Baylor, North Carolina, Michigan State, N.C. State, Providence, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, UCLA, Pittsburgh, Xavier, and Syracuse — but that certainly can be changed by any of the players listed above.
With all of that, here's the really early top-25 by ESPN's Andy Katz:
5. Ohio State
6. N.C. State
7. Michigan State
11. North Carolina
17. Notre Dame
20. Kansas State
23. San Diego State
As you can see, teams ranked 2-5 comprised this year's Final Four and four more in the top-15 made it to the Elite Eight. Other changes for next season include Missouri's move to the SEC as well as West Virginia's and TCU's exit to the Big 12. Bigger changes are in store for 2013-14, but we're not even close to discussing that yet.
Enjoy your summer and check back here for occasional updates.