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WOLFF: Georgia Tech.
KELLY: Georgia Tech.
KIRKPATRICK: Just as I suspected. House guys.
Projected orders of finish, with last season's records. An asterisk denotes a team that did not compete in '84-85.
ACC: "There's a block of three teams, a block of four teams and then us," says new Wake Forest coach Bob Staak. "We've got a lot of work to do." With three senior starters gone from last season's 15-14 NIT club, 5'3" junior Tyrone (Muggsy) Bogues puts the Deacons' dilemma in perspective. "The players look up to me a lot," he says.
EAST COAST: The only certainty here is that defending champ Lehigh and its star Daren Queenan won't again be Little Engineers Who Could. Lehigh, which went 12-19 last season, copped the ECC tourney title, then lost 68-43 in the NCAAs to Georgetown, is without point guard Mike Polaha, who's redshirting because of a knee injury. Watch out instead for Drexel and its sophomore star Michael Anderson; Hofstra, which welcomes Gerald (brother of Bernard and Albert) King; and Rider, whose coaching staff rates its new forward, Penn State transfer Marshall Grier, a better player than Lehigh's Queenan.
SOUTHWESTERN ATHLETIC: Very little added up for Southern until the end of the '84-85 SWAC regular season. A statistician bungled the midseason field goal percentages of three Jaguars, making them so high as to be unbelievable. With the figures corrected, the Jags figured out a way to beat regular-season champion Alcorn State in the SWAC tournament final. Three starters return—including John Staves, whose notarized 63.8% shooting mark was fifth best in the nation—as Southern tries again to make the grade. Former Tulane starter Whitney Dabney plays forward; 6'9" forward Bobby Hendrix, cousin of Jimi, plays the trombone.
PCAA: Utah State has the Pacific Coast's best player, 6'7" Greg Grant, but plays the worst defense. Fresno State usually displays that league's best D, but the Bulldogs will be hard-pressed to press hard, given a green backcourt. Up front, however, three seniors return. San Jose State has 6'8" Ricky Berry, who bolted from Oregon State because he wasn't playing enough. That isn't likely to be a problem with the Spartans; his dad, Bill, is the coach.
WAC: Utah and New Mexico return four starters each in their bids to knock UTEP from its roost. The Utes' returnees are small, but they include guards Kelvin Upshaw and Manny Hendrix (no relation to Jimi), who combined for more, than 30 points a game last season. New Mexico retains high-scoring 6'5" Johnny Brown from its NIT team. A stiff early schedule—Georgetown, Oregon State and Arizona—should leave the Lobos ready for league play.
BIG TEN: In a move that says a lot about this bruising conference, Ohio State may turn 7-foot Brad Sellers, a center last season, into a small forward. That would clear the middle for 6'11" freshman Dave Pletke. When Buckeye foes play zone against all this height, 6-foot frosh Jay Burson, Ohio's alltime schoolboy scorer, will be sent in to launch a few. Minnesota has five bodies of 6'9" or more, but the only one of consequence is 7-foot John Shasky, who improved by leaps but not enough 'bounds (only 6.2 a game) last season. As usual, Purdue is expected to be an also-ran. So, as usual, the Boilermakers will wind up in the Big Ten's top five. Sophs Troy Lewis and Todd Mitchell will make us regret leaving them out of the Top 40. Michigan State unveils Vernon Carr, whose near triple-double averages (19.8 points, 9.8 rebounds, 9.3 assists per game) earned him national juco player of the year honors at Highland Park (Mich.) Community College—and comparisons to a certain Magical Spartan of yore.