Filling the Brackets

Despite enough at-large, mid-major bids to make Billy Packer groan, the Big East and Pac-10 will rule on Selection Sunday
November 19, 2007

TEAM | CONFERENCE| RETURNING STARTERS | SKINNY

21 STANFORD |PAC-10 | 5 | The Cardinal trio of Lawrence Hill and twin 7-footers Brook andRyan Lopez blocked more shots than any other Pac-10 team.

22 ARKANSAS | SEC| 5 | New coach John Pelphrey inherits SEC's freshman of the year, PatrickBeverley, and its defensive player of the year, Steven Hill.

23 SYRACUSE | BIGEAST | 2 | Guard Jonny Flynn and forward Donte' Greene are the Orange's firstpair of McDonald's All-Americans since 1986.

24 NORTH CAROLINASTATE | ACC | 4 | Star recruit J.J. Hickson joins an imposing frontcourt ofBrandon Costner, Ben McCauley and Gavin Grant.

25 PITTSBURGH |BIG EAST | 2 | Point guard Levance Fields could use a few good big men. Enter6' 7" freshman and Iron City native DeJuan Blair.

26 KANSAS STATE |BIG 12 | 2 | The one-year Michael Beasley Era tips off in Manhattan, where thefreshman forward teams has help from a healthy Bill Walker.

27 DAVIDSON |SOUTHERN | 5 | Stephen Curry, son of former NBA sharpshooter Dell, set theDivision I freshman record with 122 threes last season.

28 ARIZONA |PAC-10 | 2 | Behind super 6' 7" soph Chase Budinger and freshman playmakerJerryd Bayless, the Wildcats will get a 24th straight tournament bid.

29 NOTRE DAME |BIG EAST | 3 | Luke Harangody and Rob Kurz are formidable up front; KyleMcAlarney's return from a lengthy suspension bolsters a thin backcourt.

30 FLORIDA | SEC |0 | Billy Donovan has two McDonald's All-Americans, Jai Lucas and NickCalathes. Had he taken the Orlando Magic job, he'd have five.

31 OHIO STATE |BIG TEN | 1 | Can freshman center Kosta Koufos make fans forget about GregOden? And who will fill in for the other two first-round picks?

32 MISSISSIPPISTATE | SEC | 4 | Physical guard Jamont Gordon, who led the SEC infree throw attempts, complements beefy paint presence Charles Rhodes.

33 GEORGE MASON |CAA | 5 | Four solid seniors, plus one dynamic junior playmaker, Andre Smith,point toward a return to the NCAA tournament.

34 CLEMSON | ACC |4 | Versatile forward James Mays is back, but the Tigers' chances hinge on thedevelopment of freshman point guard Demontez Stitt.

35 VILLANOVA | BIGEAST | 2 | Stud freshmen Corey Stokes and Corey Fisher join conference rookieof the year Scottie Reynolds in the backcourt.

36 WISCONSIN | BIGTEN | 2 | Lacking a Devin Harris or Alando Tucker, Bo Ryan needs forward MarcusLandry to lead and forward Brian Butch to stay healthy.

37 BRADLEY | MVC |2 | The Braves have nation's active assist leader (Daniel Ruffin) and lastyear's fifth-most accurate three-point shooter (Jeremy Crouch).

38 BYU | MWC | 2 |Conference freshman of the year Jonathan Tavernari, a swingman, averaged21.4 points in a five-game summer tour through France.

39 PURDUE | BIGTEN | 3 | Matt Painter's looking at a bright future thanks to his heraldedfour-man recruiting class--headed by guard E'Twaun Moore.

40 VIRGINIA | ACC| 3 | After unexpectedly sharing the conference's regular-season title lastyear, the Cavs need to find help for All-ACC guard Sean Singletary.

41 NEW MEXICO ST.| WAC | 3 | Freshman forward Herb Pope and juco transfer Paris Carter willreinforce first-year coach Marvin Menzies's veteran team.

42 VANDERBILT |SEC | 3 | Under-the-radar Aussie big man A.J. Ogilvy is strong inside presence,complementing sweet-shooting senior swingman Shan Foster.

43 VCU | CAA | 3 |Guard Eric Maynor became a March hero against Duke, while coach Anthony Grantjoined the short list of every AD at a major program.

44 UCONN | BIGEAST | 5 | The good news: Everybody's back. The bad news: Erratic team thatfinished 12th in conference play still has a way to go.

45 WASHINGTON |PAC-10 | 4 | The Huskies lost an NBA lottery pick (Spencer Hawes) but retain asavvy guard corps and burly post player Jon Brockman.

46 UAB | C-USA | 3| Ex--Indiana coach Mike Davis welcomes transfers Walter Sharpe (MississippiState), Channing Toney (Georgia) and Robert Vaden (Indiana).

47 WEST VIRGINIA |BIG EAST | 3 | Back at his alma mater, Bob Huggins has point guards (DarrisNichols and Joe Mazzulla) but is short on depth.

48 ST. JOSEPH'S |A-10 | 4 | Coach turned author Phil Martelli has deep frontcourt led by 6'9" junior Ahmad Nivins, who shot 62% last season.

49 BUTLER |HORIZON | 3 | New coach Brad Stevens, promoted from within to take over a Sweet16 team, has topflight guard in A.J. Graves.

50 HIGH POINT |BIG SOUTH | 3 | Senior forward Arizona Reid is the only returning player in thenation who averaged more than 20 points and 9.5 boards.

51 BOSTONUNIVERSITY | AMERICA EAST | 3 | Four sophomores, led by guards Corey Lowe andTyler Morris, has BU going to NCAAs for first time since '02.

52 KENT STATE |MAC | 4 | One of three mid-majors, along with Gonzaga and Creighton, to havewon at least 20 games in nine straight seasons: Make it 10.

53 IUPUI | SUMMIT| 3 | Conference player of the year candidate George Hill is part of toughbackcourt trio with Gary Patterson and Austin Montgomery.

54 CORNELL | IVY |3 | Guard Adam Gore, the conference's rookie of the year in '06, returns afterACL surgery, joining 6-foot USC transfer Collin Robinson.

55 UC SANTABARBARA | BIG WEST | 4 | Prolific inside-out duo of Alex Harris and ChrisDevine led the Gauchos in scoring in 26 of 29 games last season.

56 HOLY CROSS |PATRIOT | 3 | Senior center Tim Clifford, the preseason conference player ofthe year, leads team that's averaged 23.3 wins the last three years.

57 AUSTIN PEAY |OVC | 5 | League's player of the year in '06-07 (Drake Reed), coach of the year(Dave Loos) and top rebounder (Fernandez Lockett) are back.

58 WESTERNKENTUCKY | SUN BELT | 4 | Hilltoppers have 67 wins during ultratalentedswingman Courtney Lee's three years, but have not made Big Dance.

59 MONTANA | BIGSKY | 4 | Strait shooter: Senior Andrew Strait is the nation's seventh-leadingreturning marksman, having shot 61.1% last year.

60 SAM HOUSTONSTATE | SOUTHLAND | 2 | Forward Ryan Bright & Co. open the season with a29-game nonconference home winning streak.

61 HAMPTON | MEAC| 5 | Forward Mike Freeman, who shot 67.8% as a freshman, will help get thePirates to the NCAAs for the fourth time in eight years.

62 EAST TENNESSEESTATE | ATLANTIC SUN | 2 | Division II juco National Player of the YearKevin Tiggs joins conference player of the year, Courtney Pigram.

63 LOYOLA (MD.) |MAAC | 4 | Four years after going 1-27, Greyhounds seek second-ever NCAA berthbehind Gerald Brown, nation's third-leading returning scorer.

64 WAGNER |NORTHEAST | 4 | Weapons aplenty: four double-digit scorers, plus return offorward Durell Vinson (15.2 ppg in '05-06) from yearlong suspension.

65 GRAMBLING |SOUTHWESTERN ATHLETIC | 4 | Point guard Andre' Ratliff and forward AnthonyWilliams lead the Tigers into their new on-campus gym.

PHOTOCHRIS WILLIAMS/ICON SMILONG AND STRONG Hill, who led Stanford in scoring and rebounding, is a cog in one of the most formidable frontlines. PHOTODAMIAN STROHMEYERMAYNOR ATTRACTION The VCU point guard can dish (6.4 apg), but it was his jumper against Duke that gave him national fame.

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Eagle (-2)
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