- Jeff Goodman, ESPN Insider
It’s become more difficult over the last few years to stockpile talent. Players don't want to sit and wait; it’s all about immediately gratification. They understand -- after Butler’s back-to-back appearances in the national title game and seeing other mid-major players like Damian Lillard and Stephen Curry get drafted high and excel -- you can get the necessary exposure just about anywhere. For many college programs, depth isn’t guaranteed these days. It’s also not always a necessity, but it certainly can help. It makes it easier to sustain a key injury, and also allows coaches to push their players in practice. When the NCAA tournament rolls around, coaches commonly shorten their benches and go with seven or eight guys. These are the teams that can go deeper if need be, ranked in order from 1 to 12.
It’s not exactly the 2008 national title team in terms of talent and quality depth, but Bill Self has plenty of players who can help. It starts with freshmen Andrew Wiggins, Wayne Selden and Joel Embiid, continues with sophomore Perry Ellis and senior big man Tarik Black, and also includes junior guard Naadir Tharpe. Sophomore Andrew White is talented and Jamari Traylor can serve a role -- as can big man Landen Lucas. There are also three freshman guards who can all play: Frank Mason, Brannen Greene and Conner Frankamp. Senior Justin Wesley, who averaged nearly 10 minutes a game two seasons ago, returns after missing last season due to injuries. The quality of the bench remains somewhat unknown, but that’s still 13 players if you’re counting at home.
36dJeff Goodman and Jeff Borzello