Last season: 32-5, reached NCAA regional final
Coach: Sean Miller
Who’s gone: F Lauri Markkanen, G Kobi Simmons, G Kareem Allen, F Chance Comanche.
Who’s back: G Allonzo Trier is one of the nation’s best scorers and has taken over the leadership role at Arizona. C Dusan Ristic is adept at scoring with either hand and worked on becoming a better defender. PG Parker Jackson-Cartwright had one of the nation’s best assist-to-turnover ratios a year ago and G Rawle Alkins is a dynamic player, though will be out until December with a broken foot.
Who’s new: F DeAndre Ayton is supremely athletic at 7-foot-1, 260 pounds and could end up being one of the nation’s best players. G Emmanuel Akot’s decision to reclassify for the 2017-18 season gives Arizona’s backcourt a huge boost and G Alex Barcello provides coach Sean Miller lineup options. G Brandon Randolph could be the outside shooter Arizona has missed the past few seasons.
The Skinny: The arrest of assistant coach Emanuel Richardson for allegedly paying a recruit to play at Arizona hangs over the Wildcats as they head into the season and could follow them throughout. The key will be whether it becomes a distraction because, on the court, the Wildcats have as much talent as any team in the country. If everyone remains eligible and the probe does not hit the program any deeper, the Wildcats have the type of roster that could finally get Miller to the Final Four.
For more AP college basketball coverage: http://collegebasketball.ap.org and http://twitter.com/AP_Top25