OHIO STATE/Big Ten/3/Buckeyes expect boost from guard
transfers Tony Stockman (Clemson) and J.J. Sullinger (Arkansas);
forward Velimir Radinovic is heady and steady.
N.C. STATE/ACC/3/Junior swingman Julius Hodge will find
life easier in the Wolfpack's Princeton offense now that
passmaster forward Ilian Evtimov (torn left ACL) is healthy.
ARIZONA STATE/Pac-10/2/We like Ike--All-America forward
Diogu--and point guard Jason Braxton and sweet-shooting freshman
Kevin Kruger (son of Lon) as well.
LSU/SEC/2/Two Parade All-Americas (Brandon Bass and Regis
Koundjia) join Jaime Lloreda (SEC's No. 2 rebounder, with 8.9 a
game) on the Tigers' tough front line.
CAL/Pac-10/3/Middle East meets west as Jerusalem-born
senior center Amit Tamir gets frontline help from Leon Powe, a
freshman tower-of-power forward out of Oakland.
INDIANA/Big Ten/2/Hoosiers are high on freshman forward Pat
Ewing Jr. (6'8") but will ride the back (healed, they hope) of
trey-hoisting sophomore guard Bracey Wright.
MARQUETTE/Conference USA/3/Another Final Four is a long
shot now that Dwyane Wade is gone, but junior point guard Travis
Diener heads a seasoned cast.
UTAH/Mountain West/3/Aussie freshman Andrew Bogut, the
6'10" MVP of the junior world championships, could be Mr. Inside
to senior Nick Jacobson's Mr. Outside.
PITT/Big East/2/Brandin Knight may be gone, but first-year
coach Jamie Dixon can lean on the savvy shoulders of 6'3" junior
guard Julius Page (12.2 points a game).
WAKE FOREST/ACC/4/Boards chairman Vytas Danelius and the
returning nucleus of last year's ACC champs will be boosted by a
heralded hometown recruit, guard Chris Paul.
UNC CHARLOTTE/Conference USA/3/The Demon of Downtown,
senior Demon Brown, is the conference's top trey threat; freshman
Martin Iti shores up the 49ers' frontcourt.
MANHATTAN/Metro Atlantic/4/Jaspers look to repeat as league
champs behind the Big Apple's biggest talent, senior guard Luis
Flores (24.6 points and 5.6 boards a game).
MISSISSIPPI STATE/SEC/2/The Bulldogs will get immediate
help from junior forward Lawrence Roberts, who won't have to sit
out after escaping troubled Baylor.
XAVIER/Atlantic 10/4/Senior guards Romain Sato (18.1 points
a game) and Lionel Chalmers (12.0) are two marvelous Musketeers;
6'9" Anthony Myles could make it three.
PROVIDENCE/Big East/4/Senior guard Abdul Mills, his bad hip
healed, should provide outside help for 6'7" insider Ryan Gomes
(18.4 points and 9.7 rebounds a game).
MARYLAND/ACC/1/Gary Williams rebuilds around sophomores,
forward Nik Caner-Medley and guard John Gilchrist; freshman guard
D.J. Strawberry will get his hacks.
AUBURN/SEC/3/Junior forwards Marco Killingsworth and
Brandon Robinson and senior center Kyle Davis, a swat specialist
(126 blocks), all return from surprise Sweet 16 team.
AKRON/Mid-American/5/Zippy senior backcourt--Derrick Tarver
(20.6 points a game) and Johnny Hollingsworth (4.1
assists)--makes Zips a major mid-major.
FLORIDA STATE/ACC/4/Senior guard Tim Pickett
(conference-best 82 steals) lives up to his name, but best
moniker belongs to prize freshman forward Vakeaton Wafer.
MICHIGAN/Big Ten/4/Guarded optimism: The state's Mr.
Basketball, Dion Harris, joins Daniel Horton (15.2 points a game)
in the backcourt for Wolverines, who are NCAA eligible.
OKLAHOMA STATE/Big 12/2/Cowboys have a slick shooting guard
in Tony Allen and an I-Mac--forward Ivan McFarlin--who's wired
for banging and boarding (7.8 a game).
OREGON/Pac-10/3/One Luke (Ridnour) is gone, but Luke
Jackson (16.0 points, 6.9 boards a game) is back to pair with
5'10" McDonald's All-American Aaron Brooks at guard.
MIAMI (OHIO)/Mid-American/4/Guard Juby Johnson (14.8-point
average) is best of six returning upperclassmen for stingy
RedHawks (No. 3 nationally in scoring defense).
BYU/Mountain West/4/Cougars' confidence stems from rapid
improvement of 6'11", 280-pound Brazilian banger Rafael Araujo
and addition of juco-transfer shooter Mike Hall.
NEVADA/Western Athletic/4/Junior Kirk Snyder, 6'6",
playing both guard spots and small forward, was fourth in WAC
with 16.3 points a game and second in rebounding (8.1).
DAYTON/Atlantic 10/4/Tom Izzo protege Brian Gregory
inherits a solid Flyers core in center Sean Finn, forward Keith
Waleskowski and guard Ramod Marshall, all seniors.
ILLINOIS-CHICAGO/Horizon/5/Senior guards Cedric Banks (19.0
points a game) and Martell Bailey (8.1 assists) have been
together eight years, dating to high school.
TEXAS TECH/Big 12/2/The load borne by Big 12 scoring leader
Andre Emmett will ease with arrival of a corps of General Bob
Knight's recruits, led by 6'1" Jarrius Jackson.
COLLEGE OF CHARLESTON/Southern/3/Forward Thomas Mobley is
player to watch for Cougars, whose .814 winning percentage in
last decade trails only Kansas' .817.
WESTERN KENTUCKY/Sun Belt/2/New coach Darrin Horn relies on
senior Mike Wells, the Hilltopper stopper who is the first guard
ever voted Sun Belt defensive player of the year.
OAKLAND/Mid-Continent/5/Senior guard Mike Helms, the
nation's top returning scorer (26.9 points a game), will get help
from juco point guard DeMarcus Ishmeal.
AUSTIN PEAY/Ohio Valley/5/Governors will lay down the law
on defense, led by two seniors, 6'8" center Josh Lewis (2.6
blocks a game) and pesky guard Corey Gipson.
GEORGE MASON/Colonial Athletic/3/Mark Davis, a 6'5" senior
swingman, is a threat at both ends, having led the Patriots in
scoring (15.5 points a game) and steals (1.9).
UC SANTA BARBARA/Big West/4/Gauchos gotta love senior
swingman Branduinn Fullove (14.6 points a game), the reigning
conference player of the year.
WINTHROP/Big South/4/Big scorer and rebounder Tyrone
Walker, a 6'6" senior forward, should lead Eagles to Big Dance,
which they missed for first time in five years.
WEBER STATE/Big Sky/2/Serbian strongman Slobodan Ocokoljic
(15.3 points and 8.4 boards a game) and hotshot guard Nic Sparrow
must make up for loss of Jermaine Boyette.
GEORGIA STATE/Atlantic Sun/4/Tough schedule should temper
Panthers inside-outside senior combo of forward Nate Williams and
shooting guard Lamont McIntosh.
VERMONT/America East/4/Two juniors, point guard T.J.
Sorrentine and forward Taylor Coppenrath, should catapult the
Catamounts to second straight NCAA tournament.
PRINCETON/Ivy/3/Junior center Judson Wallace has the range
(26 for 72 in treys) to help the Tigers dethrone depleted Penn
and hold off the challenge of Cornell.
WICHITA STATE/Missouri Valley/4/Fiery junior guard Randy
Burns has perfect point man in senior Fridge Holman, who's
running again after a broken foot put him on ice.
HOLY CROSS/Patriot League/2/Senior guard Jave Meade, the
conference leader in assists (6.2 a game) and steals (2.1), heads
crusade for fourth straight NCAA bid.
TEXAS SOUTHERN/SWAC/4/Junior guard Allen Lovett (17.0
points and 7.0 boards a game) is one of 10 returning Tigers
looking to repeat as league champs.
TEXAS-ARLINGTON/Southland/3/Senior center Roy Johnson, who
made a great leap upward last season, gives Mavericks a shot at
their first conference title.
HAMPTON/MEAC/2/Junior swingman Devin Green, who led team in
scoring (14.9 a game), should be amply assisted by juco transfer
point guard Jared Woodley.
QUINNIPIAC/Northeast/4/Senior guard Kason Mims, who tied
for the team scoring lead (13.4 points a game) and led in assists
(4.6), should get Bobcats to first NCAA tournament.