Looking at the final poll, next year will be one of the more challenging pre-season polls in recent memory, I would have to think. Whitewater will be a strong pre-season number one, returning Young, Evans, Odegaard, plus some young guys who are no doubt ready to step up. Williams will still be very good, a top-10 caliber team (at least in next year's climate of uncertainty) led by Duncan Robinson, but Mayer just dominated the entire NCAA tourney and is a huge loss. IWU loses a ton of talent up front, although will have a strong perimeter game and also still looks like a top-10 team. Amherst is minus Toomey plus two other stellar starters, and the Jeffs have their most question marks in years. It's hard to imagine Stevens Point even in the top 25 in light of who they graduate and the limited production returning, but perhaps they get there just out of respect for the program. Same goes for Wash U. and Mary Washington. St. Norbert graduates four starters including the top two players. Wooster loses Thorpe, Dickinson Honig, Albertus Watson, Calvin Kruis, Emory Davis, Wheaton Peters, Wesley Langan, UTD Schleigh, VWU Woodmore, and on and on. Cabrini seems to return the most other than Whitewater, but Cabrini did not look great late in the season and in the tourney, and there aren't any other returning top-20 teams that won't feature enormous uncertainties.
This year featured a simply awesome group of seniors in Division 3, and a lot of teams are going to be decimated. Meanwhile, next year's group of seniors seems strangely shallow in talent. I know that to be the case in NESCAC, the league I (obviously) most closely follow, where there were three underclassmen, but only one junior, on the all conference teams. But it seems that way nationally, too -- there is Walton-Moss, KJ Evans, Ross Danzig, Xavier Brown, but that is about the extent (maybe a few others, but not a ton) of returning guys are look like surefire nationally elite kind of players. All that combines, in my view, to make next year the most wide open year in Division 3 in recent memory, after a clear number one, all bets are off.
One school in the final poll that might not be in bad shape next year is Sweet 16 team, Plattsburgh State. They had an 8 man rotation that averaged from 12 to 29 minutes per game. They only lose 3 players from that rotation and in an unusual occurrence they will be re-acquiring 3 players that didn't play this year but were major contributors during the 2012-13 season.
One of those players, Jordan Moody, did play in 6 games this year but left the team before Christmas to do an internship that left him unable to complete the season. He averaged 10.0 ppg last year and was averaging 11.8 ppg this year when he had to call it quits. Jordan is a 6'2" senior guard who has speed, hops and the quickest first step on the team. He has started 28 of the last 35 games he played in and averaged over 22 minutes per game.
Another player that didn't play this year will be 5th year senior Reggie Williams. Reggie fractured a bone in his foot before the season started and when he was unable to practice by January the decision was made to wait till next year. Reggie is a 6'6" 240 lb forward who had been promoted to the starting lineup toward the end of the 2012-13 season, when an injury to another player opened up a spot for him. In the last 8 games of that season Reggie averaged 10 ppg and 6 rpg while getting 21 minutes of court time per game.
The 3rd player that the Cardinals will get back from the 2012-13 season is Kalik Parker, a 6'4" senior G/F who led the team with 52 three pointers that season. Kalik had double figures in 12 games and ended up with a 7.6 ppg average while grabbing 3.4 rpg.
To lose three senior starters and have them replaced by, essentially, 3 returning senior starters, is rather unheard of. Plattsburgh will be deeper next year than they were this year without even adding any new recruits. The coaching staff is trying to get a 6'8" junior college transfer that is a rebounding machine and a 6"4" G/F/ out of NYC, but if the returning players from this year's team improve, as they should, that, along with the three from the 2012-13 season, should keep the Cardinals in the mix as a Top 25 team. Any decent recruits will just be a bonus.