Champions are expected to repeat, often without good reason. But at KANSAS STATE, keen, affable Coach Tex Winter has a slew of muscular, tall, skilled young men who are the best reasons in the world. They are led by All-America Bob Boozer, who switches to center this year, and include slick ball handler Don Matuszak, rugged Wally Frank, Sonny Ballard, Steve Douglas, Glen Long and Jim Holwerda. If football end Cedric Price can make up six weeks of missed practice, he will be a big asset, up front. Defense is the problem, and Tex is working on it. The choice here for top contender is shrewd, dapper Coach Bill Strannigan's IOWA STATE crew, which is only rated fifth-best by the other coaches in the conference. Only two starters, Ron Baukol and Norm Bergman, are back, but the list of good, tall veteran reserves is long and there is a world of promise in the upcoming sophomores. The old hands include John Krocheski, Gary Davis, Larry Fie, Frank Baber and Larry Swanson. The newcomers are led by 6-foot-11 Terry Roberts, who could be the difference between a good and a great season. He has speed and a good hook shot, must acquire some defensive skill. The others include possible starters Nick Bruno, Henry Whitney and Ted Ecker. This is a very potent outfit. OKLAHOMA STATE makes its debut in regular conference play with Only two sure assets, center Arlen Clark and veteran Coach Hank Iba, whose sharp-passing, defensively tenacious teams are legendary. This one will be no exception to the Iba tradition, despite its obvious inexperience. Lettermen include Don Heffington, Larry Deutschendorf, Dennis Walker and Dick Soergel. Sturdy Bill Clarahan is a likely starter, as are two sophomores, Ray Reins and Iba's son Moe. Teams that beat Iba crews seldom do so by much. At OKLAHOMA the second winning season in eight years is in prospect, despite the loss of last season's two top scorers. Dennis Price, Jack Marsh, Roger Potts, Bill Hammond, Bob Stoermer and Ray Lewis are returning lettermen, and three sophomores, Buddy Hudson, Del Heidebreicht and Phil Leonard, are good enough to be considered for starting berths. This is a typical Big Eight bunch—tall, rugged boardmen, well-coached. At KANSAS personable, meticulous Coach Dick Harp will certainly miss Wilt Chamberlain, but for veteran Ron Loneski this is the opportunity to emerge from the long shadow of Wilt's achievements and earn rightful recognition. If Loneski plays up to his potential and sophomore Bill Bridges fulfills his promise, KU will be tough indeed. Veteran starters are Bob Billings, Alan Donaghue and Bob Hickman, and Monte Johnson will probably alternate at pivot with Bridges. Lack of height, for a change, is the one insurmountable problem here. Coach Sparky Stalcup doesn't have a single starter back at MISSOURI, but despite the fact that the first five will include a sprinkling of untested sophomores the Tigers look tough. Chief reason is a good deal of height in the persons of Al Abrams, Bud Harbin, Cliff Talley, Charles Henke, Lynn Wilkinson, Bob Barker and Bill Kersten. Veteran guards are Glen Forrestall and Mike Kirksey, and much help is expected of junior-college transfers Joe Barksdale and Walter Olsen. If the newcomers develop quickly, Missouri has a good chance of improving last season's poor record. At COLORADO the outlook is somewhat grimmer. Coach Sox Walseth has sparkling Guard Gerry Schroeder, and trouble at nearly every other position. Biggest question marks will be sophomores Bill Wrage at center and Jerry Olson at forward. Both are tall, but must demonstrate scoring ability, which is Colorado's biggest deficiency. Veterans Don Walker and Mick Mansfield will likely start, and reserves include John Musciano, Matt Baskin, Walt Bradley, Billy Lewis, Frank Javernick, Larry Anderson and Russ Lind. Which leaves for final consideration the team that beat both Kansas and Kansas State to end last season in a burst of glory—NEBRASKA. Coach Jerry Bush, an eastern-style, give-and-go exponent (he's a St. John's graduate), has only two starters back, Bob Harry at center and forward Herschell Turner, a strong rebounder though he is only 6 feet 3. Bush will surround them with three other regulars chosen from among two sophomores, Jim Kowalke and Albert Maxey, and veterans Wayne Hester, Bill Lundholm, Dick Shipwright and George Swank. Three other sophomores, Mel Harmon, Dean Prazak and Elmer Walin, are slated for reserve roles. Bush must count on exceptionally good shooting and speed to counterbalance a great deficiency in size and board strength. All in all, the prospects are for another typical close race, with the winner a sure bet to go far in the NCAA tournament.
Man to watch
BILL BRIDGES, KANSAS
He has yet to play his first game, but we predict great things for this strong rebounder and fine shooter.