21. The Big Question
What's wrong with this picture? No Duke? No Indiana? No Louisville? No North Carolina?
No kidding. If this Fab Four falters as expected, it will be the first time that none of them has finished in the Top 20 since 1970. So what happened?
Coach Mike Krzyzewski, who missed most of last season because of a bad back, is one of the few big names returning for Duke, and unfortunately for his team, he doesn't play in the frontcourt, where the Blue Devils will be leaning on untested freshmen. Indiana coach Bob Knight is so desperate to fill the gaps under the Hoosier hoop that he recruited three junior-college players. Louisville has been plagued by off-the-court woes, including academic trouble that will force two first-stringers to begin the season on the bench. Finally, at North Carolina, Dean Smith needs to replace sophomores Jerry Stackhouse and Rasheed Wallace, who went third and fourth, respectively, in this year's NBA draft. Deano might have to rely on two freshmen, Vince Carter and Antawn Jamison, from the plebe class that normally only carries luggage in Chapel Hill.
At least one of these four nouveau pauvre programs has reached the Final Four since '86. Without them, this season's Road to the Final Four at the Meadow-lands will be less congested. So who will emerge victorious?
KU over UK.