It's Gulliver among the Lilliputians here again, with CONNECTICUT in the starring role and the switch being that the little creatures are unable to tie this giant down. The UConns have won the Yankee title nine times in the last 10 years and are a cinch to repeat. They led the nation in total team offense last season. They won the Orange Bowl and lost not a game against conference opponents, and most of the power, height and speed that accomplished this is back. Across the front are Billy Schmidt, Al Cooper (two double-figure scorers) and Wayne Davis, who average 6 feet 6 plus; all are strong rebounders and can move. If they need help, which doesn't seem likely, there are 6-foot-4 Paul Kaspar, 6-foot-5 Ed Martin and 6-foot-4 John Pipczynski, the last one of the most promising Huskies in years. There is a slight letdown in backcourt strength, but nothing really serious. Steady, sure-shot Jim O'Connor returns and will have plenty of support from Sophomores Jack Rose, Glenn Cross and Ted Kosior. In brief, Coach Greer should ride his race-horse-style squad into the NCAA tournament again. VERMONT would have been the best of the rest, but will now fight for that dubious honor with MASSACHUSETTS, having lost two sure starters. Captain-elect Charles Isles is out for a year for academic reasons and Center Stan Lefkowitz is on probation for the first semester. However, six other veterans return from a squad that had the best over-all record last season. Three were starters: Clyde Lord, a 21-point average scorer, and Arnold Branch up front, and Bob Kuchar in the back-court. Sophomore hopefuls include Pete Beck, Bob Flance, Frank Giordano and Ray Weiner. Coach Evans has little height available and will depend on speed and outside shooting. Massachusetts returns three starters, three reserves and two ex-servicemen. There is some size in 6-foot-7 reserve Red Porter and 6-foot-6 Sophomore John Lynch. They have two scoring guards in Bucky Adamczyk and Ned Larkin, who can be spelled by Co-captain Paul Kollios. One forward spot belongs to Co-captain Don Akerson and the other is up for grabs among Curt Teeter, Fred Naedele, Bob Eichorn, Mark Apsey and Gerry Glynn. Coach Curran, eying a fast-growing student body which is now close to 5,000, gives Connecticut three more years of supremacy before his Redmen catch up. In the cellar or close to it for years, NEW HAMPSHIRE may finally be on the upgrade with this year's sophomores, who beat the freshman teams of Dartmouth and Harvard last season. This should make up somewhat to Coach Olson for the loss of all his starters but Dick Erricson. The sophomores bring size in Pete Davis and Pete Smilikis, both 6 feet 6, and backcourt men Bobby Hurst and Dick Loiselle. The Wildcats also will have better board strength than some Yankees, but inexperience will keep them around the middle standings. Next year, they may well be in contention—for second place, that is. Both RHODE ISLAND and MAINE were hard hit by graduation also and will recover slowly—not this season. At RI, new Coach (and former star) Ernie Calverley lost the conference's top scorer in Billy Von Weyhe and Ron Marozzi, who averaged about 40 points a game between them. He has only one veteran starter in Steve Madreperla, plus three reserves. Calverley teaches the old but sound five-man weave, which requires good ball handling and speed. The sophomores with whom he starts the rebuilding process are Adrian Chrust, Bill Holland, Tom Harrington, Jim Williamson, all between 6 feet 2 and 6 feet 4, and John Garafalo. Maine rebuilds around old hands Dudley Coyne, Tom Seavey and Dave Deshon. Coach Woodbury must find other starters from among Sophomores Alan Adams, Bill Boomer, Terry Spurling and Dick Sturgeon. It's the old story here: no height, no experience. Unless the UConns quit or some of the strong eastern Independents join, there is no prospect of a real race in this conference for a few more years.
Man to watch: CONNECTICUT'S AL COOPER