In a season of parity, these five teams are the class of the field--but it's a long way till March
KANSAS With big man Wayne Simien sidelined (thumb surgery), stalwarts like senior point guard Aaron Miles (above) have held the fort for the 11-0 Jayhawks, aided by freshmen Alex Galindo and C.J. Giles.
WAKE FOREST Losers only to Illinois, the Demon Deacons boast a seasoned, well-rounded cast led by nonpareil sophomore point guard Chris Paul (left). Wake showed its gumption in an 89-88 win over No. 10 Texas on Dec. 18.
ILLINOIS The No. 1 Illini (16-0) have barely had to break a sweat. The heralded junior backcourt of Dee Brown (11) and Deron Williams has performed to expectations, while two key senior role players, guard Luther Head and forward Roger Powell (43), have exceeded them.
OKLAHOMA STATE Their loss to Gonzaga may have exposed the 11-1 Cowboys' vulnerability on the inside, but their run 'n' gun attack, with old hands like senior Daniel Bobik(above), demoralizes foes.
NORTH CAROLINA Seven of the 13-1 Tar Heels' wins have been by more than 30 points. Junior swingman Rashad McCants (right) scored 19 to lead seven players in double figures in the 109-75 dismantling of Maryland.