New coach Darrin Horn relies on senior Mike Wells, the Hilltopper stopper who is the first guard ever voted Sun Belt defensive player of the year.
Senior guard Mike Helms, the nation's top returning scorer (26.9 points a game), will get help from juco point guard DeMarcus Ishmeal.
Governors will lay down the law on defense, led by two seniors, 6'8" center Josh Lewis (2.6 blocks a game) and pesky guard Corey Gipson.
Mark Davis, a 6'5" senior swingman, is a threat at both ends, having led the Patriots in scoring (15.5 points a game) and steals (1.9).
UC SANTA BARBARA
Gauchos gotta love senior swingman Branduinn Fullove (14.6 points a game), the reigning conference player of the year.
Big scorer and rebounder Tyrone Walker, a 6'6" senior forward, should lead Eagles to Big Dance, which they missed for first time in five years.
Serbian strongman Slobodan Ocokoljic (15.3 points and 8.4 boards a game) and hotshot guard Nic Sparrow must make up for loss of Jermaine Boyette.
Tough schedule should temper Panthers inside-outside senior combo of forward Nate Williams and shooting guard Lamont McIntosh.
Two juniors, point guard T.J. Sorrentine and forward Taylor Coppenrath, should catapult the Catamounts to second straight NCAA tournament.
Junior center Judson Wallace has the range (26 for 72 in treys) to help the Tigers dethrone depleted Penn and hold off the challenge of Cornell.