5 Minute Guide
A fast-break run through the top players, the compelling stories and the underdogs to watch this season
Posted: Tuesday November 13, 2007 9:52AM; Updated: Tuesday November 13, 2007 1:08PM
3 Cinderellas who will be dancing deep into March
Davidson: The Wildcats went 17-1 in the SoCon last year, and three of their four nonconference losses were to Michigan, Missouri and Duke.
George Mason: The Patriots could be this year's George Mason, with every starter returning from a team that lost a heartbreaker in the Colonial Athletic Association title game.
Bradley: Daniel Ruffin, who nearly doubled his scoring last season (to 13.8 ppg), is the best player in the Missouri Valley Conference.
6 Mid-major coaches who could be moving up
Mark Fox | Nevada: In his three seasons in Reno the Wolfpack has gone 81-18 and finished first in the WAC every year.
Anthony Grant | VCU: He would have taken over at Florida had Billy Donovan left, but his '07-08 Rams could be better than the '07-08 Gators.
Darrin Horn | Western Kentucky: The Hilltoppers have won 67 games over the last three years and are poised to make their first trip to March Madness under Horn, who led them to the Sweet 16 as a player.
Chris Lowery | Southern Illinois: The fourth-year coach signed a seven-year extension last spring, but the Salukis can only fend off major-conference suitors for so long.
Sean Miller | Xavier: He'll eventually follow in the footsteps of Pete Gillen, Skip Prosser and Thad Matta and leave the Musketeers for a high-profile job.
Jimmy Patsos | Loyola: Three years ago he took over after a 1-27 season. Now he has the Greyhounds poised to challenge for MAAC crown.
4 Story lines that will keep us guessing
A new Coach O in Tucson?: Lute Olson's indefinite leave of absence fuels speculation that newly hired assistant Kevin O'Neill will be his successor.
The West Coast rising: The Pac-10 enters the season as the consensus top conference; eight NCAA bids are not out of the question.
General's last campaign?: Now that Bob Knight has set the alltime wins record, there's a better-than-even chance that he'll retire next spring and hand the reigns to son Pat.
Bench decorum guidelines: How sternly -- and consistently -- will refs enforce the NCAA's new rules that prohibit coaches' unsportsmanlike behavior?
4 Players you've never heard of... but should get to know
Jamont Gordon | 6' 4" | Jr. | G | Mississippi State
Kentrell Gransberry | 6' 9" | Sr. | C | South Florida
Aleks Maric | 6' 11" | Sr. | C | Nebraska
Jeff Pendergraph | 6' 9" | Jr. | F | Arizona State
5 Key faces in new places
DeMarre Carroll | 6' 8" | Jr. | F | Missouri (Vanderbilt)
Farnold Degand | 6' 3" | Soph. | G | North Carolina State (Iowa State)
Devan Downey | 5' 9" | Soph. | G, | South Carolina (Cincinnati)
Tyler Smith | 6' 7" | Soph. | F | Tennessee (Iowa)
Robert Vaden | 6' 5" | Jr. | G-F | UAB (Indiana)