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The 65-team NCAA tournament includes 31 automatic bids and 34 at-large selections. SI predicts the 45 teams to round out the field

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By Seth Davis

  TEAM | CONFERENCE | RETURNING STARTERS | SKINNY
21 MEMPHIS I Conference USA I 4 I Exciting freshman point guard Darius Washington Jr. will lend his assets to star forward Sean Banks (17.4-point average).
22 GONZAGA I West Coast I 2 I Martinican forward Ronny Turiaf plays très grand, but can Derek Raivio step up quickly for departed Blake Stepp at point?
23 NOTRE DAME I Big East I 4 I Healthy again, senior point guard Chris Thomas and junior center Torin Francis welcome 6'8" Dennis Latimore from Arizona.
24 STANFORD I Pac-10 I 3 I Coach-on-the-floor Chris Hernandez (4.3 assists a game) must now channel Trent Johnson instead of departed Mike Montgomery.
25 MICHIGAN I Big Ten I 4 I At 6'11", sophomore shot blocker Courtney Sims will trigger the break for dynamic backcourt of Daniel Horton and Dion Harris.
26 FLORIDA I SEC I 5 I Grizzled Gators David Lee, Anthony Roberson and Matt Walsh greet touted recruit Joakim Noah (son of tennis's Yannick).
27 N.C. STATE I ACC I 3 I Reigning ACC player of the year Julius Hodge (18.2 points a game) has added 15 pounds of muscle for rugged conference schedule.
28 PROVIDENCE I Big East I 2 I Friar luck: Forward Ryan Gomes (18.9 points, 9.4 boards a game) forsook the NBA to return for his senior season.
29 INDIANA I Big Ten I 3 I Heralded 6'9" recruit D.J. White has a tall task: hit the boards and help Hoosiers rebound from first losing season in 34 years.
30 SOUTHERN ILLINOIS I Missouri Valley I 2 I Salukis will rely on "Do-It-All" Darren Brooks, the MVC's reigning player of the year and top defensive player.
31 LSU I SEC I 4 I Oh, baby: 6'9", 310-pound freshman Glen (Big Baby) Davis and chiseled 6'8" sophomore Brandon Bass give Tigers size and strength down low.
32 BOSTON COLLEGE I Big East I 4 I Craig Smith, a 6'7", 265-pound junior forward, can be top beast in the East if he ups his 16.9 points, 8.3 boards a game.
33 GEORGE WASHINGTON I Atlantic 10 I 5 I London-born Pops Mensah-Bonsu was the top of the Pops for GW as the A-10's most improved player last year.
34 MISSOURI I Big 12 I 2 I Kalen Grimes, a 6'8" forward, and Jason Horton, a 6-foot guard, are headliners from the Tigers' top 10 recruiting class.
35 WISCONSIN I Big Ten I 2 I Explosive forward Alando Tucker, who missed last season with an injured foot, leads Badgers' try for third Big Ten title in four years.
36 UTEP I WAC I 3 I Top scorer Omar Thomas (15.5 points a game) is back for Miners, who had best turnaround in NCAA history (six wins to 24).
37 CINCINNATI I Conference USA I 3 I Bearcats will be tough inside with 6'7" Jason Maxiell but need better perimeter play from Chadd Moore and James White.
38 VILLANOVA I Big East I 5 I Backcourt of Allan Ray, Randy Foye and Mike Nardi (a combined 40.7 points a game) adds Pennsylvania player of the year Kyle Lowry.
39 EAST TENNESSEE ST. I Southern I 3 I Jet-propelled 5'9" junior guard Tim Smith looks to add to his brace of conference tournament MVP trophies.
40 MARQUETTE I Conference USA I 3 I Point guard Travis Diener (18.8 points a game) and forward Steve Novak (43.0% from the arc) are deadly on perimeter.
41 VERMONT I America East I 4 I Stellar seniors Taylor Coppenrath (twice conference player of the year) and T.J. Sorrentine are ready for third straight NCAA trip.
42 CALIFORNIA I Pac-10 I 4 I Play of guard Richard Midgley and swingman Marquise Kately allows Cal to bear up without forward Leon Powe (knee surgery).
43 OKLAHOMA I Big 12 I 3 I Cat-quick 5'7" guard Drew Lavender gets inside help from 6'8" forward Kevin Bookout, back in the pink after shoulder surgery.
44 IOWA I Big Ten I 3 I Penetrating junior Pierre Pierce is joined in the Hawkeyes' backcourt by Iowa State transfer Adam Haluska, a deadeye shooter.
45 PRINCETON I Ivy I 4 I Two All-Ivies -- Judson Wallace, a forward, and guard Will Venable (son of baseball's Max) -- will ease transition for new coach Joe Scott.
46 TOLEDO I MAC I 5 I Keith Triplett (19.6 points a game), top marksman on MAC's best trey-shooting team, will boost Rockets to first NCAA bid in 25 years.
47 FLORIDA STATE I ACC I 2 I Arrival (at last!) of Diego Romero, Argentine forward ruled ineligible last season, will end Seminoles' 0-24 ACC road rage.
48 UTAH I Mountain West I 5 I Talented Aussie center Andrew Bogut, a 7-foot sophomore, is key for first-year coach Ray Giacoletti, who replaces Rick Majerus.
49 PEPPERDINE I West Coast I 4 I Frontline scorers Yakhouba Diawara and Glen McGowan help Waves push Gonzaga for conference crown.
50 UTAH STATE I Big West I 2 I Snubbed by NCAA last March, aggrieved Aggies will be led by 6'7" defensive ace Nate Harris, the likely league player of the year.
51 WISCONSIN-MILWAUKEE I Horizon I 4 I Can guard Ed McCants (17.1 points, 3.5 boards a game, and no relation to Heels' Rashad) be the McCants of the Year?
52 WICHITA STATE I Missouri Valley I 4 I Shockers can be shockingly good if 6'5" forward Jamar Howard (13.8 points a game, but seven DQs) can avoid fouls.
53 GEORGIA STATE I Atlantic Sun I 2 I Juco transfers Travis DeGroot, a 6'3" point guard, and 6'2" shooting guard Malcolm Manier give Panthers enviable depth.
54 MONTANA I Big Sky I 3 I Former Grizzlies great Larry Krystkowiak, the new coach, will rely on 6'7" forward Kamarr Davis, last year's league newcomer of the year.
55 BIRMINGHAM-SOUTHERN I Big South I 3 I Iceland native Jakob Sigurdarson has the hottest hand on a team that led the nation in three-point shooting (43%).
56 OLD DOMINION I Colonial I 4 I Aussie big men Alex Loughton, a 6'9" junior, and 7'3" freshman Sam Harris will have Monarchs ruling down under the basket.
57 NIAGARA I Metro Atlantic I 3 I Purple Eagles, with MAAC's top big man (Juan Mendez) and point guard (Alvin Cruz), are ready for first Big Dance since 1970.
58 ORAL ROBERTS I Mid-Continent I 4 I Soph duo of 6'7" Caleb Green and 6'1" Ken (King) Tutt -- the nation's top three-point artist -- lead inside-out attack.
59 SOUTH CAROLINA STATE I Mid-Eastern I 5 I Do-it-all forward Thurman Zimmerman led the MEAC on the boards (8.4 a game) and was ninth in assists (2.8).
60 MONMOUTH I Northeast I 3 I Hawks confident that broken left leg Blake Hamilton suffered in June won't slow last year's top scorer (16.3 points a game).
61 MURRAY STATE I Ohio Valley I 1 I Duo of transfer guards Keith Jenifer (Virginia) and Trey Pearson (Ole Miss) is ready to rev up Racers' go-go attack.
62 BUCKNELL I Patriot I 5 I Sharpshooting 6'2" guard Kevin Bettencourt keeps defenses off 6'11" soph Chris McNaughton, a 22-year-old from Germany.
63 SAM HOUSTON STATE I Southland I 4 I Sultan of swats Eddy Fobbs (a school-record 199 blocks in three years) is back after missing last season with torn ACL.
64 MIDDLE TENNESSEE STATE I Sun Belt I 4 I Top scorer Mike Dean (16.2 points a game) reunites with a former Georgia teammate, 6'9" transfer Steve Thomas.
65 SOUTHERN I SWAC I 4 I Money-in-the-bank 6'7" senior Deon Saunders (18.4 points a game on 57.3% shooting) anchors Jaguars' formidable front line.

Issue date: November 22, 2004

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