There are three at the top here, and the question is how to separate them, since predicting a triple tie is the coward's way out. Here's one way: each of the three has a superstar—INDIANA has Archie Dees, MICHIGAN STATE has Johnny Green, OHIO STATE has Frank Howard. Call them equally valuable and give the edge to the one who seems likely to get the most support. The guess here is Indiana. One big reason is that the 6-foot-8 Dees, who has a fine assortment of shots and moves extremely well for a big or even a little man, will move to forward to make room for 6-foot-8 Sophomore Frank Radovich at center. This makes 415 pounds of muscle and talent under the boards, and the other likely front-court man, veteran Pete Obremskey, is also a good rebounder. The guard spots are sound too: Letterman Gene Flowers and promising Sophomore Allen Schlegelmilch, and all of this is backed by a deep squad led by reserve Jerry Thompson, 6 feet 4, and Sophomore Norbert Witte, 6 feet 8. Coach McCracken should have his fourth title winner in six years. With all due credit to the amazing Green, biggest 6-foot-5 man in college ball today, the key factor in Michigan State's drive to the top last year was the fighting spirit instilled by Coach Anderson. This is a hard thing to repeat, and floor leader George Ferguson will also be difficult to replace. The veteran Jack Quiggle, good dribbler and fine passer, will try, and four other lettermen will back him up: Larry Hedden and Bob Anderegg up front, Chuck Bencie at center, and Guard Dave Scott. Again this year, the Spartans will depend on Green, speed and maneuverability—in that order—to make up for lack of size. Four of Ohio State's starters return and are set at their posts: the 6-foot-6 Howard and 6-foot-5 Ken Sidle up front, 6-foot-6 Center Larry Huston and 6-foot-4 Guard Jim Laughlin; 5-foot-10 Sophomore Joe Carlson will likely be the fifth man. Two other sophomores figure prominently: 6-foot-6 Joe Roberts, whose knee should be well by now, and 6-foot-5 Dick Furry. The added depth and experience will make this squad of accurate shooters better than last season; the fine average height, plus Howard, compensate for one particular big man. IOWA and ILLINOIS along with Michigan and Minnesota should be in the second flight. Coach O'Connor's Hawks were green last year, but eight veterans return, and moving up is one of the league's prize sophomores, 6-foot-7 Nolden Gentry. The holdover starters are Forward Dave Gunther, Guard Jim McConnell and Center Tom Payne, who has regained his eligibility. The other backcourt spot will likely go to veteran Clarence Wordlaw. Rebounding should be strong and the bench is solid, but this crew may need another year of seasoning. At least two sophomores—6-foot-5 Ed Perry and Mannie Jackson—will probably start at Illinois, while the veteran and great jump shooter Don Ohl will move to a guard slot in a lineup that will be shuffled by Coach Combes through the first 10 games. Veterans John Paul and Roger Taylor return in the backcourt also; aside from them and 6-foot-7 Ted Caiazza, the squad will be largely sophomores: Forwards Bruce Bunkenberg, John Homeier, Govoner Vaughn and Lou Landt; Guards Lee Frandsen, Alan Gosnell, Jim Dorris and Tom Adams; Center Ernie McMillon. The depth is apparent and there is good speed here, but no big men in sight and not enough experience. MINNESOTA seems to be another club capable of a middle finish, despite the loss of three starters. The reasons are two: shooting of veteran Forward George Kline, a 19-point average scorer last year, and the promise of much-heralded Ronald Johnson as an all-round performer who will be tried first at center. Juniors Bob Anderstrom, 6-foot-7 Warren Jeppeson and Bob Olson may not even make the first five, though old hand Whitey Johnson will probably start at guard. The sophomores scrambling for a berth include Forward Tom Benson and Guards Mario Miller and David Pflepson. Over-all, the Gophers will be green; Coach Cowles is rebuilding. MICHIGAN has some experience this year, but no one to replace Ron Kramer. The first five look to be 6-foot-6 Pete Tillotson at center, Jack Lewis and Sophomore Terry Miller in the backcourt and M. C. Burton and George Lee up front. Lee is the class of this crew, the best scorer and versatile enough to fill in at forward after a season at guard. Waldo Fisher found out last year how tough it is to go with sophomores in this conference; he had to, and NORTHWESTERN finished in the cellar for the second year in a row. New Coach Bill Rohr is slated for the same experience this year. Three probable starters are juniors, but the other two and the bench will be almost all green. The veterans: 6-foot-9 Joe Ruklick who hooks well but hasn't learned to do much else, Guard Nick Mantis who could be a fine floor leader but wasn't last year, and Forward Phil Warren. The two probable sophomore starters are Willie Jones up front and Guard Floyd Campbell; both are fast and their rebounding potential will come in handy, PURDUE and WISCONSIN have won or shared in more titles (13 each) than any other Big Ten team, but they seem headed for a two-way battle to avoid the cellar this year. Gloomy preseason estimates, however, may spur them on. (Remember Michigan State last season.) Coach Eddy's Boilermakers have good over-all height, anyway: 6-foot-6 Bill Greve and 6-foot-3 Ed McCormick up front; 6-foot-6 Bob Fehrman trying center this year; 6-foot-5 Willie Merriweather and 6-foot-1 Harvey Austin at guard. This leaves 6-foot-5 Jake Eisen and 6-foot Charley Kehrt as top reserves. The shooting has been good in practice, as it was last season. Coach Foster has his starting five intact at Wisconsin, but they did poorly enough last year and as many as three of them apparently will lose their jobs to sophomores. John Stack, 6 feet 8, will replace Ray Gross; Fred Clow moves in on Glen Borland; Bob Serbiak ousts Walter Holt. The veterans who remain are Forward Bob Litzow and Guard Brian Kulas. This is essentially a man-to-man defense and fast break, single post offense conference—and has been for some time.
INDIANA'S ARCHIE DEES
Man to watch: OHIO STATE'S FRANK HOWARD