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Filling the Brackets (cont.)
TEAM I CONFERENCE I RETURNING STARTERS I SKINNY
OREGON | PAC-10 | 5 | Ducks were 15-18 in '05-06 but lost eight games by three points or fewer; heady senior point guard Aaron Brooks could lead a turnaround.
OKLAHOMA STATE | BIG 12 | 5 | Juco transfer F-C Mario Boggan was a model of efficiency, leading the Big 12 in FG% (55.2) and FT% (84.6) during league action.
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 ankle surgeries.
KANSAS STATE | BIG 12 | 4 | The crown jewel of Bob Huggins's inaugural squad is SF 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", 270 pounds), from Athens, could lead Billikens to first NCAA tournament since 2000.
MISSOURI STATE | MISSOURI VALLEY | 4 | PG Blake Ahearn is aiming for his fourth straight NCAA free-throw-shooting title after hitting 93.6% as a junior.
PENN STATE | BIG TEN | 4 | Perennial doormats have star power in junior wing Geary Claxton, who scored 15.2 ppg and led the league in offensive rebounding.
AKRON | MAC | 4 | LeBron's old running mates from St. Vincent-St. Mary, PG Dru Joyce 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 defensive general: He led the nation with 105 steals, and the Cougars had an NCAA-best 12.4 spg.
LOYOLA (CHICAGO) | HORIZON | 5 | Blake is back: 6'7" guard Schilb held his own at NBA's predraft camp but returned to push Ramblers toward first dance since '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 stat category.
MARIST | MAAC (METRO ATLANTIC) | 4 | Senior Jared Jordan, who led NCAA in assists (8.5 apg) and percent of minutes played (97.4), is nation's most unsung PG.
BUCKNELL | PATRIOT | 3 | Seniors Chris McNaughton (a 6'11" C) and Abe Badmus (a 5'11" PG) are the long and short of a team that ranked seventh in field goal D.
LONG BEACH STATE | BIG WEST | 3 | Fastest Guns in the West: 49ers, who led nation 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 Ken Tutt are Tulsa institutions who combined for 35.0 ppg last season.
COLLEGE OF CHARLESTON | SOUTHERN | 4 | Senior Dontaye Draper, part of Carmelo Anthony'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 season after averaging 11.0 points, 6.2 rebounds for New Zealand in world championships.
NORTHERN ARIZONA | BIG SKY | 4 | Lumberjacks are led by Renaissance men SF Ruben Boykin (13.3 ppg, student columnist) and SG Steve Sir (11.1 ppg, violist).
PENNSYLVANIA | IVY | 3 | Feared defender Ibrahim Jaaber (fourth nationally in steals) 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, 2.2 assist-to-TO ratio) will help Bulldogs close down 47-year-old Seibert Hall in style.
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 scoring duo.
SAM HOUSTON STATE | SOUTHLAND | 4 | Don't hate the Plair: Juco transfer PG Jejuan Plair (5.6 apg), the league's top newcomer, piloted Bearkats to 22 wins.
ROBERT MORRIS | NORTHEAST | 4 | Versatile PF A.J. Jackson averaged 17.0 points and 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 in 2005 after an off-the-court incident, resurfaces to join the loaded Hornets.
BELMONT | ATLANTIC SUN | 3 | The nickname of 6'11", 260-pound center Boomer Herndon (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 nationally in field goal defense) could win the conference despite a woeful offense.
-- Luke Winn
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