Friday, November 25, 2005

Teams 25-21

25. Illinois [Big Ten]: C 6-10 James Augustine, PF 6-8 Marcus Arnold**, SF 6-8 Brian Randle**, SG 6-3 Richard McBride, PG 6-0 Dee Brown:

Bench: 6-9 Shaun Pruitt~, 6-9 Warren Carter, 6-5 Calvin Brock**, 6-2 Chester Frazier*, 6-3 Jamar Smith*, 6-8 Charles Jackson*

Coach: Bruce Weber

Indiana Fan’s take:

Second-place. That’ll haunt Bruce Weber for some time yet, after being only seconds away from running the regular season undefeated. His team will be okay this year as he’s got personnel to somewhat fill in the gaps for the massive losses. Redshirts Brian Randle and Calvin Brock should take over at the 3-spot, and Richard McBride will stepping into a starting role in the backcourt next to Player-of -the-Year candidate Dee Brown. Illinois State transfer Marcus Arnold should get Roger Powell’s minutes, but it’s doubtful that he’ll display any of Powell’s diversity. Warren Carter and Shaun Pruitt were begging for more minutes last season, and now that Jack Ingram and Nick Smith have graduated, they should get their wish. If they can’t handle it, frosh Charles Jackson should step up, and fellow freshmen Jamar Smith and Brown should provide some depth at guard.

Newcomer to watch: Illinois State transfer Marcus Arnold will not be the inside-outside presence Roger Powell was, but if he helps on the boards and is a solid low-post threat, the Illini might be able to function with a more traditional offense.

Top returning players: Brown (13.8ppg/2.7rpg/4.8apg/2s), Augustine (10.1ppg/7.1rpg/1.3apg/ 1.4bpg), McBride (3.1ppg/1.5rpg)

Major Losses: Deron Williams (12.5ppg/3.5rpg/6.8apg/1s), Luther Head (16.4ppg/3.8rpg/3.7apg/ 1.8s), Roger Powell (12.4ppg/5.1rpg/apg)

24. Texas Tech [Big 12]: C 6-9 Darryl Dora, PF 6-8 Damir Suljagic, SF 6-5 Martin Zeno, SG 6-2 Drew Coffman, PG 6-1 Jarrius Jackson:

Bench: 6-8 John Ofoegbu, 6-6 Dior Lowhorn*, 6-6 Tanner Ogden, 6-5 Terry Martin Jr.*, 6-1 LucQuente White~, 6-8 Phillip Harbaugh**, 6-8 Justin Wilkinson*, 6-7 Dazzmon Thornton*, 6-7 Jeremy Buttell*, 6-9 Jon Plefka*, 6-6 Michael Prince*, 6-2 Alan Voskuil*

Coach: Bob Knight

Indiana Fan’s take:

The Red Raiders should be tough, even after losing all-everything guard Ronald Ross, but that was the case last year when Coach Knight had seen Andre Emmett graduate. Who will step up this season? Probably it’s Martin Zeno’s time to shine, as Jarrius Jackson can score but is a better set-up man for Knight’s motion offense. Darryl Dora and Damir Suljagic need to show more menace in the paint, but expect the defense to be tough and the newcomers to find their roles.

Newcomer to watch:

Dior Lowhorn is needed inside more than Terry Martin Jr. will be needed on the perimeter, although redshirt Phillip Harbaugh may be able to alleviate some of that pressure.

Top returning players: Jackson (15.3ppg/3.4rpg/3.5apg), Zeno (12.5ppg/4.2rpg/3.4apg), Dora (6.2ppg/4.2rpg/2apg)

Major Losses: Ross (17.5ppg/5.5rpg/3apg), Giles (11.3ppg/6.5rpg/1.1apg)

23. Georgetown [Big East]: C 6-8 Jeff Green, PF 6-8 Brandon Bowman, SF 6-6 Darrel Owens, SG 6-3 Ashanti Cook, PG 6-1 Jonathan Wallace:

Bench: 7-2 Roy Hibbert, 6-7 Octavius Spann*, 6-5 Marc Edgerson*, 6-3 Tyler Crawford, 6-3 Jesse Sapp*, 6-2 Josh Thornton*, 6-8 Sead Dizdarevic~, 6-8 Amadou Kilkenny-Diaw~, 6-8 Kenny Izzo~, 6-5 Ryan Beal~

Coach: John Thompson III

Indiana Fan’s take:

Next year, coach John Thompson (III) will coach Patrick Ewing (Jr.) again. But for this year, the Hoyas should be one of the tougher teams in the Big East, and that’s saying a lot. Five starters return from a team that had 19 wins and an at-large bid to the Big Dance in its sites and faltered down the stretch. I doubt that’ll happen again, and Jeff Green and Brandon Bowman will present an inside tandem that will bedevil opponents. Ashanti Cook would’ve given them enough support as a combo guard, but the return of Darrel Owens for one more Senior year is vital to this team’s top 25 hopes. The recruits will get plenty of chances to prove themselves, and don’t be surprised if they make the most of those minutes, especially forward Octavius Spann. The Hoyas are making a national name for themselves again, and don’t look to go away anytime soon.

Newcomer to watch: Octavius Spann will get every chance to help out inside, as the only other bigs on the bench are stiffs like Roy Hibbert (I wouldn’t believe the offseason hype about him, fyi) and Amadou Kilkenny-Diaw. Coach Thompson should pray that Spann can beat these ne’er-do-wells out in the rotation, or foul trouble will be an unseemly factor again.

Top returning players: Bowman (15.1ppg/6.1rpg/2.2apg), Green (13.1ppg/6.6rpg/2.9apg/1spg/ 1.6bpg), Cook (10.8ppg/2.8rpg/2.5apg), Owens (7.3ppg/3rpg/1.6apg)

Major Losses: Reyshawn Reed (2.4ppg/1.6rpg/1.5apg)

22. Wisconsin-Milwaukee [Horizon]; C 6-10 Derrick Ford, PF 6-7 Adrian Tigert, SF 6-5 Joah Tucker, SG 6-3 Ronald Davis, PG 5-10 Chris Hill:

Bench: 6-10 Walter Waters*, 6-9 Jason McCoy, 6-6 Kevin Massiah**, 6-3 Mark Pancratz, 6-0 Allan Hanson~, 6-6 Nick Hansen~, 6-4 Derrick Wimmer~, 6-3 Luke Homan~, 6-3 Myles MacKay**, 6-7 Michael Bendall~

Coach: Rob Jeter

Indiana Fan’s take:

At some point, Bruce Pearl will wish he had stayed in Milwaukee this season. The Panthers return enough talent from their Sweet Sixteen team to be a top 25 presence all year long, and will be dangerous in the postseason. UWM loses big scorer Ed McCants, but almost everyone else returns, and they pick former Pittsburgh recruit Walter Waters from junior college. New coach Rob Jeter inherits a veteran, hard-nosed club that knows how to win, so all he has to do is just not spoil the chemistry.

Newcomer to watch: Former Pittsburgh recruit Walter Waters might be starting by season’s end. One thing Jeter doesn’t need to teach is height, something he’ll have to work with that Pearl just didn’t need.

Top returning players: Tucker (16.2ppg/5.7rpg/2.3apg), Davis (10.2ppg/3.2rpg/1.3apg), Tigert (9.2ppg/6.7rpg/2.3apg), Hill (7.8ppg/3rpg/3.2apg), Ford (3.2ppg/1.8rpg/1.1bpg)

Major Losses: Ed McCants (17.4ppg/2.8rpg/1.8apg/1.5spg), James Wright (4ppg/4.1rpg)

21. California [Pac-10]: C 6-8 Rod Benson, PF 6-8 Leon Powe**, SF 6-4 Omar Wilkes**, SG 6-3 Ayinde Ukuba, PG 5-10 Richard Midgley:

Bench: 6-10 Jordi Geli**, 6-9 DeVon Hardin, 6-7 Eric Vierneisel, 6-5 Marquise Kately, 5-11 Martin Smith, 6-10 Jordan Wilkes*, 6-4 Alex Pribble~, 6-6 Steve Panawek~, 6-4 Christian Prelle~, 6-3 Jason Gant~, 6-6 Brett Lowenthal~, 7-0 Sam Rayburn**, 6-5 Theo Robertson*

Coach: Ben Braun

Indiana Fan’s take:

Could go either way. I'm betting the Golden Bears return to national prominence. Cal should bounce back from a down with the return of all-conference Forward Leon Powe Kansas transfer Omar Wilkes can play all three perimeter spots, but wasn’t getting the PT in Lawrence. Combine these with solid point guard Richard Midgely and productive center Rob Benson, and I have a hard time seeing Cal not competing for the Sweet 16. The defense will have to click, and losing Marquise Kately has made the preseason hype surrounding former Kansas wing Omar Wilkes all necessary to become reality. But it says here that’s what happens.

Newcomer to watch: Kansas transfer Omar Wilkes can play all three spots, but wasn’t getting the PT in Lawrence. He’s getting rave reviews in the preseason, but we’ll see how he performs when the pressure’s on.

Top returning players: Powe (15.1ppg/9.5rpg)(2004), Benson (13.3ppg/6.3rpg/1.1apg), Midgely (12.9ppg/3.2rpg/2.8apg)

Major Losses: Dominic McGuire (7.2ppg/4.9rpg/1.7apg/1.1bpg)


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