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FILLING THE BRACKETS

Nov. 14, 2011
Nov. 14, 2011

Table of Contents
Nov. 14, 2011

LEADING OFF
Inside: THE WEEK IN SPORTS
LSU-ALABAMA
PRO FOOTBALL
  • As the sidelined Peyton Manning looks on in dismay, the winless Colts are enduring a disastrous season that could put them in position to draft ... his successor. A team and a town are conflicted.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL PREVIEW
DEWAYNE DEDMON
POINT AFTER
Departments

FILLING THE BRACKETS

SI PICKS THE 48 TEAMS THAT WILL JOIN THE TOP 20 IN THE BIG DANCE NEXT MARCH

TEAM / CONFERENCE / RETURNING STARTERS

This is an article from the Nov. 14, 2011 issue

21 MARQUETTE / BIG EAST / 2

All-namer Vander Blue will support tandem of SG Darius Johnson-Odom and forward Jae Crowder as Golden Eagles return to the Big Dance.

22 MICHIGAN / BIG TEN / 4

Point guard is the only question mark as Tim Hardaway Jr. and Zack Novak lead veteran squad to first winning Big Ten record since 2003.

23 CALIFORNIA / PAC-12 / 4

Do-it-all senior guard Jorge Gutierrez (14.6 ppg, 4.5 apg) is Bears' emotional leader, and Cal's starting five is as good as any in the Pac-12.

24 MISSOURI / BIG 12 / 4

New coach Frank Haith will slow pace. Injury to Laurence Bowers hurts, but Big 12's leading returning scorer, Marcus Denmon (16.9 ppg) returns.

25 MICHIGAN STATE / BIG TEN / 2

McDonald's All-American Branden Dawson and Valpo transfer Brandon Wood get Sparty back on track after ugly 2010--11.

26 WASHINGTON / PAC-12 / 2

Return of Abdul Gaddy (torn ACL) and addition of freshman Tony Wroten give Pac-12's highest-scoring team a dynamic backcourt.

27 TEXAS A&M / BIG 12 / 3

In Big 12 farewell, talented Aggies will have to overcome uncertain status of new coach Billy Kennedy as he battles Parkinson's.

28 VIRGINIA / ACC / 4

Powerful Mike Scott returns from ankle injury, and impact freshmen join experienced roster to get Tony Bennett his first NCAA bid with Cavs.

29 TEMPLE / A-10 / 4

PG Juan Fernandez and SG Ramone Moore headline a starting five that features four seniors, as Owls will go dancing for the fifth straight season.

30 PURDUE / BIG TEN / 3

Rebuilding Boilermakers are hoping hard-luck senior forward Robbie Hummel can return to All--Big Ten form after two ACL surgeries.

31 VILLANOVA / BIG EAST / 2

Maalik Wayns is in line to be 'Nova's next great go-to guard—but he'll need help to erase bitter taste of Wildcats' 2011 late-season collapse.

32 OKLAHOMA STATE / BIG 12 / 1

With SF Le'Bryan Nash, a McDonald's All-American, coach Travis Ford will have Cowboys running like his UMass teams used to.

33 BYU / WCC / 3

Life after Jimmer begins in a new league with forwards Brandon Davies and Noah Hartock and enough talented freshmen to secure sixth straight NCAA bid.

34 MISSISSIPPI STATE / SEC / 2

UTEP transfer Arnett Moultrie and Renardo Sidney will make an imposing frontcourt—if Sidney can finally fulfill his vast potential.

35 CREIGHTON / MVC / 3

Jays end four-year NCAA drought thanks to coach's son Doug McDermott (14.9 ppg, 7.2 rpg) and Gregory Echenique (10.5 ppg, 5.8 rpg).

36 GONZAGA / WCC / 2

NCAA return is likely, but a 12th straight WCC title is in jeopardy with inexperienced backcourt and presence of league newcomer BYU.

37 DETROIT / HORIZON / 5

Titans' entire eight-man rotation returns, led by Horizon POY candidate PG Ray McCallum Jr. (13.5 ppg), son of the head coach.

38 UNLV / MWC / 4

New coach Dave Rice will put the run back in Runnin' Rebels and has the talent (swingman Chace Stanback and PG Oscar Bellfield) to win the MWC.

39 WEST VIRGINIA / BIG EAST / 2

Mountaineers will lean on seniors PG Truck Bryant and PF Kevin Jones as Bob Huggins makes it five tourneys in five years at W.Va.

40 WICHITA STATE / MVC / 3

NIT champs return five of top six scorers, including senior SG Toure' Murry (9.4 ppg), who is preseason All-MVC first team.

41 GEORGE MASON / CAA / 3

Do-it-all PF Ryan Pearson (14.4 ppg) leads Patriots as they try to replace their leading scorer (Cam Long) and coach (Jim Larranaga).

42 NEW MEXICO / MWC / 4

Steve Alford welcomes back two of the best players in the league—PF Drew Gordon (10.5 rpg) and SG Kendall Williams (42.6% 3FG).

43 CENTRAL FLORIDA / CUSA / 3

Leading scorer SG Marcus Jordan (15.2 ppg)—son of Michael—will be joined by brother PG Jeff, who transferred from Illinois.

44 TEXAS / BIG 12 / 0

Rick Barnes must start over again after another NBA exodus, but backcourt—led by junior J'Covan Brown—is in very capable hands.

45 DREXEL / CAA / 4

Six of top seven scorers are back, including double double machine PF Samme Givens, for a team that must improve its 61.6% FT shooting.

46 BELMONT / ATLANTIC SUN / 4

Nation's leader in scoring margin (17.5) in 2011 brings back 10 players who averaged at least 10 minutes per game.

47 BUTLER / HORIZON / 2

The magical Brad Stevens must rebuild, with forward Khyle Marshall (51.1% FG), SG Chrishawn Hopkins and veteran PG Ronald Nored.

48 NEVADA / WAC / 5

In farewell to WAC, Pack features transfers from Indiana (SG Malik Story) and Duke (PF Olek Czyz), plus preseason WAC POY Deonte Burton (13.7 ppg).

49 OREGON / PAC-12 / 3

Former Wake big man Tony Woods fortifies frontcourt, while freshman SG Jabari Brown led the Ducks in scoring on preseason tour in Italy.

50 SAINT LOUIS / A-10 / 5

After yearlong suspension, stud PG Kwamain Mitchell (15.9 ppg in '09--10) returns to experienced team that will send Rick Majerus back to NCAAs.

51 NORTHWESTERN / BIG TEN / 4

Wildcats make history with first NCAA bid thanks to veteran frontcourt of John Shurna (16.6 ppg), Luka Mirkovic and Drew Crawford.

52 INDIANA STATE / MVC / 4

Defending MVC tourney champs feature brash PG Jake Odum, senior SG Dwayne Lathan and a deep rotation that's committed to defense.

53 HARVARD / IVY / 5

Five double-digit scorers return, led by Ivy POY Keith Wright and PG Brandyn Curry (Ivy-best 5.9 apg), giving Crimson first NCAA berth since 1946.

54 AUSTIN PEAY / OVC / 4

PF Anthony Campbell, a starter in '09--10, returns from knee injury to team with SG TyShwan Edmondson (17.1 ppg) to form nice one-two punch.

55 WEBER STATE / BIG SKY / 3

PG Damian Lillard, the '09--10 Big Sky MVP, returns after season lost to broken foot to join a rotation featuring two All--Big Sky first-teamers.

56 IONA / MAAC / 3

PG Scott Machado, the nation's top returning assist-man (7.6), PF Mike Glover (18.4 ppg) and Arizona transfer PG Lamont Jones get Gaels back to dance.

57 CENTRAL CONN. STATE / NORTHEAST / 4

After leading league in scoring and blocks, PF Ken Horton, the NEC POY, will get perimeter help from freshman PG Malcolm McMillan.

58 CHATTANOOGA / SOUTHERN / 4

SG Omar Wattad (14.3 ppg) and PG Keegan Bell (5.7 apg) lead veteran squad that leans heavily on the trey (46% of its attempts were threes).

59 KENT STATE / MAC / 4

Golden Flashes return the league's POY (PF Justin Greene), defensive POY (PG Michael Porrini) and sixth man of the year (Carlton Guyton).

60 ORAL ROBERTS / SUMMIT / 5

Four players who averaged at least 12 ppg, led by POY candidate SF Dominique Morrison, are back for team that won 10 of final 12 games.

61 LONG BEACH STATE / BIG WEST / 4

Senior-heavy team led by PG Casper Ware (Big West POY, 17.2 ppg) finally earns NCAA bid after losing Big West final last two years.

62 BOSTON UNIVERSITY / AMERICA EAST / 4

Back-to-back NCAA trips for Terriers for first time as PF Jake O'Brien returns from broken foot to complement guard Darryl Partin.

63 BUCKNELL / PATRIOT / 4

Patriot POY Mike Muscala and defensive POY Bryan Cohen lead experienced, sharp-shooting Bison (40.0% 3FG) to second straight tourney.

64 UNC-ASHEVILLE / BIG SOUTH / 4

Addition of stud recruit SG Keith Hornsby—son of Bruce—helps make Bulldogs the league favorites. That's just the way it is.

65 FLORIDA ATLANTIC / SUN BELT / 4

Mike Jarvis becomes the ninth coach to lead four schools to NCAA tourney thanks to guard-heavy lineup led by 5'6" PG Raymond Taylor.

66 LAMAR / SOUTHLAND / 4

Pat Knight does what he couldn't at Texas Tech—reach the NCAAs—thanks to senior backcourt of Mike James and Anthony Miles (40.0% 3FG).

67 MORGAN STATE / MEAC / 5

Thanks to big man Kevin Thompson, Bears make it three NCAAs in four years—and may get Todd Bozeman a second chance at a big program.

68 MISSISSIPPI VALLEY STATE / SWAC / 4

Improving Delta Devils feature four senior starters, who must survive a schedule that opens with 11 games away from home.

PHOTODAVID E. KLUTHOSOLID GOLDEN EAGLE With the sharp-shooting Johnson-Odom (15.8 points per game) leading the way, Marquette will earn its seventh consecutive NCAA tournament berth.