Daniel Ruffin, who nearly doubled his scoring last season (to 13.8 ppg), is the best player in the Missouri Valley Conference.
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?
5 Key faces in new places
DEMARRE CARROLL | 6'8" | JR. | F | MISSOURI ( VANDERBILT)
After averaging 12.1 points and 7.4 rebounds in SEC play as a sophomore, he transferred west to play for his uncle Mike Anderson.
FARNOLD DEGAND | 6'3" | SOPH. | G | NORTH CAROLINA STATE ( IOWA STATE)
Although he hasn't suited up in two seasons (redshirt, transfer), Degand will take over at the point for the graduated Engin Atsur.
DEVAN DOWNEY | 5'9" | SOPH. | G, | SOUTH CAROLINA ( CINCINNATI)
This diminutive point guard made the Big East all-rookie team (12.3 points, 4.1 assists), then left Cincy when Bob Huggins was forced out.