Brandon's decision to return to Kansas hasn't gained much national attention yet, but I'd think it would pole-vault us right back in to preseason 1 or 2 status. I'll still miss Julian, but in terms of the components of our team, Brandon would have been the more difficult guy to replace.
(Granted, some polls had us at 1 or 2 preseason last year, but I think this year such a ranking would be more legitimate.)
A couple of caveats: first off, how serious is the injury that presumably sealed Rush's return? The worst-case scenario seems to be that he won't be ready to play again until November; that obviously would hurt his development and preparation going into next season.
The other issue is that there will be more and more pressure to get Sherron into the starting lineup; still, that's a good problem to have.
But assuming Rush is healthy for his junior season, the question is: Are we better than Carolina? The correct answer is: Yes.