The start of the season finally brings us to where projections end and actual results begin. The beginning of this campaign, though, has been marred by an unusually large number of injuries and suspensions to key members of notable teams. Some teams will have to totally readjust while others just have to wait for their players to return. If form holds, the NCAA selection committee could have an interesting time on its hands in March, as a number of programs may have split profiles, with and without their players as detailed below (listed alphabetically, within their groups):
Lehigh was co-darling of last season's NCAA tournament and a lot of people were excited to see their early-season performances at Baylor and at Pitt (in the NIT). Unfortunately, both Bailey and Knutson missed the game in Waco and Bailey's still not back, so C.J. McCollum and Co. saw a couple of opportunities for huge statement wins go tepidly by the board. An at-large is not reasonable coming from the Patriot League, but possible seeding definitely is in play at this time of the year.
The Grizzlies should have their star guard back from a broken foot by conference play and the solid league favorite will need him if they want to make it back to the NCAAs. They gave it a good effort at Colorado State in their opener, but they're not the same team without him.
A heralded recruit who is expected to provide some needed perimeter shooting, he missed the opener against Albany with a leg injury. Aaron Craft and Lenzelle Smith Jr. rained down threes on Albany is his stead, but having an extra shooter in the rotation will help relieve some of the scoring burden on Deshaun Thomas.
The heralded freshman guard is out with a shoulder injury and has been joined on the pine by Council, leaving the Friars desperately low on major-conference talent for the time being. The only silver lining is both should be back by the start of Big East play.
Gasser tore his ACL in the preseason and is gone for the year, which is a sizable blow to a Badgers team that needed him to fill the point guard void. The Badgers looked ragged offensively (and defensively, in the first half) at Florida Wednesday night in their first test against a major opponent.
Maybe Archie Goodwin will be the
The Bruins' depth and lack of experience is showing without Lamb, who had preseason knee surgery and isn't back yet. Head coach Ben Howland
The second-team all-SEC player last season has knee problems that likely will keep him out through at least the end of November, which means he'll miss the Old Spice Classic. Like last season, when they were without Jarnell Stokes for the first part of the season, the NCAA selection committee may have to evaluate two different Vols teams this season.
Mitchell broke a bone in his left foot and is probably out until January. Things didn't go very well two seasons ago when Mitchell was suspended for the season, and they didn't go well at all Wednesday night when the Billikens were ripped at home by Santa Clara. If SLU is going to live up to preseason hype, the Billikens absolutely need a healthy Mitchell running the show in A-10 play.
I think this is the last Plumlee, and he's currently out with a stress fracture in his foot, leaving the Blue Devils a bit thin in their frontcourt behind older brother Mason. He should be back in December.
The athletic Williams injured his wrist in a fall after a dunk in practice and is expected to miss the season. That's a blow to the Cowboys' hopes of a rebound this season behind Marcus Smart and an improved LeBryan Nash.
The Cyclones crushed two SWAC teams in Babb's absence after he, yup, violated team rules. The premium defender will be expected to step up the scoring load this season for the revamped Clones.
The senior guard was expected to be a very big piece of the revamped Tigers attack this season, but he's missed two exhibition games and two regular-season games for an unspecified violation of team rules. What's more, there
The 49ers graduated a lot of talent from last season's team and need Freeland and King to join James Ennis on this overhauled roster. They're not going to get at-large consideration this season, so it's most important for the transfer duo to be ready to go for the start of league play, which will happen regardless of whether they get an NCAA hardship waiver approved. At worst, they'll be eligible for the Dec. 18 game with UCLA.
You guessed it: Three games. Violation of team rules. The lack of the 12.5 ppg scorer shouldn't hurt the Panthers, though, against low-level competition while he's out.
The juco transfer guard was docked three games for impermissible benefits. If he can stay on the straight and narrow (he's, umm,
Jones was suspended for the Hawks' exhibition game and their first two regular-season games for what was
In one of the
A transfer for Towson who is being docked three games (so one more, against Robert Morris) because he failed to fill out some paperwork before he enrolled at Towson. Yay, bureaucracy! Philmore should help ease the loss of Kenny Frease in the middle for the X-men, who surprised Butler on Tuesday to make an early-season statement
The Hurricanes point guard has missed Miami's first two games and will sit out one more thanks to some impermissible benefits. His absence has already had an impact, as the Canes were
The Aztecs' heralded freshman was
Probably no harm, no foul on this one as the preseason all-SEC guard missed the season opening five-point win over Sam Houston State thanks to a rules violation. If the Hogs have any hope of sneaking into the NCAA tournament, they need a fully functioning Young in the lineup.
VCU lost standout Bradford Burgess after last season, but was poised to add his younger brother to the mix until top-100 recruit Jordan (and Mo) were declared partial qualifiers and ruled ineligible for this season. With four starters back from last season, this is not a crushing blow to the Rams, but it does cut significantly into their expected depth, and with the style they run, that's never a good thing.
Not a high-profile name, but a decent returning scorer for a backcourt-heavy team that
Kabongo is also caught in the netherworld of an NCAA investigation without a finish line. He missed the Horns' opener, which was an incredibly sloppy 55-53 decision over a Fresno State team that staggered past UC Riverside, 39-30, Wednesday night. The Horns clearly must get Kabongo back on the floor if they have any expectation of living up to preseason billing. With him, they're a clear NCAA tournament team.
Ledo combined with Kris Dunn to give the Friars a recruiting class that provided the program with an enormous shot in the arm. Now Dunn is injured and Ledo was ruled
This is obviously the big one in terms of hype and possible impact on the national scene. Muhammad's story keeps getting more sordid, as the
When you're rebuilding after the departure of numerous stars, you can't afford to lose a heralded young returning player, but that's what happened to the Dores when they suspended Parker indefinitely for