TEAM |CONFERENCE | RETURNING STARTERS | SKINNY
MARQUETTE | BIG EAST | 3 | Swift and small is the new M.O. at MU, led by thebackcourt troika of Dominic James, Jerel McNeal and Wes Matthews.
BOSTON COLLEGE | ACC | 3 | Swat-master Sean Williams (55 blocks, 3.1 ppg) mustdo more on offense for the Eagles, who lost beastly Craig Smith's 17.6 ppg.
TENNESSEE | SEC | 2 | Bruce Pearl needs big things from his first recruitingclass; Ramar Smith and Wayne Chism should start--and run--from Day One.
November 20, 2006
SOUTHERN ILLINOIS | MISSOURI VALLEY | 5 | Salukis have MVC's most seasonedbackcourt (seniors Jamaal Tatum and Tony Young) and stingiest D (56.5 ppg).
UCONN | BIG EAST | 0 | Arrival of point guard A.J. Price, delayed since 2004 bymedical problems and a suspension, keeps Huskies in the conference hunt.
NEVADA | WAC | 4 | Triple crown? 6'11" senior Nick Fazekas (21.8 ppg, 10.4rpg) passed on NBA draft and could win his third league player-of-the-yearhonor.
TEXAS | BIG 12 | 0 | The ultimate reloading tool? 6'9" super frosh KevinDurant--who's been compared with Kevin Garnett--could take the conference bystorm.
GEORGIA TECH | ACC | 4 | Homegrown freshman point Javaris Crittenton and fellowMcDonald's All-American Thaddeus Young will help revive an 11--17 team.
XAVIER | ATLANTIC 10 | 3 | Muskies hope peewee PG Drew Lavender--a 5'7"transfer from Oklahoma--will ignite a fast-paced run at an A-10 title.
KENTUCKY | SEC | 3 | Is this Bobby Perry's breakout year? Senior SF scored 45points in two NCAA tournament games after averaging just 7.1 for season.
SAN DIEGO STATE | MOUNTAIN WEST | 4 | Returning conference POY Brandon Heathhas a scary sidekick in 6'6" transfer Lorrenzo Wade, the Aztecs' topathlete.
VILLANOVA | BIG EAST | 2 | Small ball is out, Curtis Sumpter is in: Surgicallyrepaired 6'7" forward averaged 15.3 points, 7.2 boards in '04--05 beforeknee injury.
HOFSTRA | CAA | 3 | Pride is potent on the perimeter with preseason POY pickLoren Stokes (17.4 ppg), Antoine Agudio (17.2 ppg) and Carlos Rivera (11.7ppg).
SYRACUSE | BIG EAST | 4 | G-Mac Era gives way to one year of Paul (Harris)Power: Chiseled 6'5" athlete could be the nation's top freshman, then boltto the NBA.
FLORIDA STATE | ACC | 3 | Sophomore guard Toney Douglas should score inbunches: He averaged 16.9 points as a freshman at Auburn beforetransferring.
LOUISVILLE | BIG EAST | 4 | Double-wide freshman PF Derrick Caracter hasdropped 38 pounds, to 285, since arriving on campus and will play majorminutes.
ILLINOIS | BIG TEN | 3 | Speedy sophomore Chester Frazier (2.4 assist-to-TOratio) inherits the starting point guard job from former road roommate DeeBrown.
INDIANA | BIG TEN | 2 | A healthy D.J. White could make Kelvin Sampson's firstyear a hit: Hoosiers went 5--0 with the 6'9" PF last season, 14--12 withouthim.
VIRGINIA TECH | ACC | 5 | PF Coleman Collins (14.5 ppg) finished his degree inthree years but is sticking around to lead a dark-horse NCAA run.
GONZAGA | WEST COAST | 3 | The 'Stache's scoring responsibility passes to PGDerek Raivio, who's money on FTs (91.2%) but less consistent on threes(35.8%).
MICHIGAN | BIG TEN | 3 | A healthy Lester Abram could key first NCAA trip since'98; the oft-hobbled SF averaged 15.3 points on the Big Ten's summer tour.
DEPAUL | BIG EAST | 4 | PF Wilson Chandler, who scored 28 in Blue Demons' firstexhibition after averaging 11.2 last season, is primed for a monster sophomoreyear.
ARKANSAS | SEC | 2 | Hogs' brand-new backcourt could be dangerous withMississippi State transfer Gary Ervin and blue-chip Chicago recruit PatrickBeverly.
OREGON | PAC-10 | 5 | Ducks were 15--18 in '05--06 but lost eight games bythree points or fewer; heady senior point guard Aaron Brooks could lead aturnaround.
OKLAHOMA STATE | BIG 12 | 5 | Juco transfer F-C Mario Boggan was a model ofefficiency, leading the Big 12 in FG% (55.2) and FT% (84.6) during leagueaction.
AIR FORCE | MOUNTAIN WEST | 4 | Falcons lose top scorer Antoine Hood (14.9 ppg)but regain senior C Nick (Batman) Welch, coming off foot and anklesurgeries.
KANSAS STATE | BIG 12 | 4 | The crown jewel of Bob Huggins's inaugural squad isSF Cartier Martin, who averaged 18.0 ppg and shot 42.7% from long distance.
SAINT LOUIS | A-10 | 4 | Greek revival: Center Ian Vouyoukas (6'10", 270pounds), from Athens, could lead Billikens to first NCAA tournament since2000.
MISSOURI STATE | MISSOURI VALLEY | 4 | PG Blake Ahearn is aiming for his fourthstraight NCAA free-throw-shooting title after hitting 93.6% as a junior.
PENN STATE | BIG TEN | 4 | Perennial doormats have star power in junior wingGeary Claxton, who scored 15.2 ppg and led the league in offensiverebounding.
AKRON | MAC | 4 | LeBron's old running mates from St. Vincent--St. Mary, PG DruJoyce and PF Romeo Travis, form one of the best duos at any mid-major.
HOUSTON | C-USA | 3 | Senior SG Oliver Lafayette is Tom Penders's defensivegeneral: He led the nation with 105 steals, and the Cougars had an NCAA-best12.4 spg.
LOYOLA (CHICAGO) | HORIZON | 5 | Blake is back: 6'7" guard Schilb held hisown at NBA's predraft camp but returned to push Ramblers toward first dancesince '85.
WESTERN KENTUCKY | SUN BELT | 3 | Do-everything wing Courtney Lee (17.4 ppg,6.3 rpg, 2.9 apg, 2.6 spg) could lead Hilltoppers in every major statcategory.
MARIST | MAAC (METRO ATLANTIC) | 4 | Senior Jared Jordan, who led NCAA inassists (8.5 apg) and percent of minutes played (97.4), is nation's most unsungPG.
BUCKNELL | PATRIOT | 3 | Seniors Chris McNaughton (a 6'11" C) and AbeBadmus (a 5'11" PG) are the long and short of a team that ranked seventh infield goal D.
LONG BEACH STATE | BIG WEST | 3 | Fastest Guns in the West: 49ers, who lednation in scoring (83.3 ppg), will run like mad, starting four players 6'3"or smaller.
ORAL ROBERTS | MID-CONTINENT | 2 | Four-year starters PF Caleb Green and SG KenTutt are Tulsa institutions who combined for 35.0 ppg last season.
COLLEGE OF CHARLESTON | SOUTHERN | 4 | Senior Dontaye Draper, part of CarmeloAnthony's crew from Baltimore, moves to the point after scoring 18.5 ppg.
WINTHROP | BIG SOUTH | 4 | C Craig Bradshaw is on the verge of a big seasonafter averaging 11.0 points, 6.2 rebounds for New Zealand in worldchampionships.
NORTHERN ARIZONA | BIG SKY | 4 | Lumberjacks are led by Renaissance men SFRuben Boykin (13.3 ppg, student columnist) and SG Steve Sir (11.1 ppg,violist).
PENNSYLVANIA | IVY | 3 | Feared defender Ibrahim Jaaber (fourth nationally insteals) became a scorer last season, putting up 18.2 ppg on 52.5% shooting.
SAMFORD | OHIO VALLEY | 4 | Euro-style center Travis Peterson (45 treys, 2.2assist-to-TO ratio) will help Bulldogs close down 47-year-old Seibert Hall instyle.
ALBANY | AMERICA EAST | 3 | PG Jamar Wilson (17.7 ppg) and PF Brent Wilson(10.4 ppg), who aren't related, form the league's top returning scoringduo.
SAM HOUSTON STATE | SOUTHLAND | 4 | Don't hate the Plair: Juco transfer PGJejuan Plair (5.6 apg), the league's top newcomer, piloted Bearkats to 22wins.
ROBERT MORRIS | NORTHEAST | 4 | Versatile PF A.J. Jackson averaged 17.0 pointsand 9.2 rebounds last season, with a league-high 14 double doubles.
DELAWARE STATE | MEAC | 5 | SF Roy Bright, who was kicked out of Cincinnati in2005 after an off-the-court incident, resurfaces to join the loadedHornets.
BELMONT | ATLANTIC SUN | 3 | The nickname of 6'11", 260-pound center BoomerHerndon (14.6 ppg, 7.4 rpg) comes from his love of ex--Bengals QB Esiason.
ARKANSAS--PINE BLUFF | SWAC | 3 | League's best defensive team (13th nationallyin field goal defense) could win the conference despite a woeful offense.
Boston College needs center Sean Williams, one of the nation's top shotblockers, to step up his offensive game.