At any other school the loss of four starters and a host of reserves would be catastrophic but at KENTUCKY it is merely regrettable. The reason is, of course, that Coach Adolph Rupp is still there to mold the best possible team out of whatever talent is available. Rupp's sure assets are the deadeye Johnny Cox and veteran subs Phil Johnson, Don Mills and Lowell Hughes. His new talent, in rough order of excellence, includes Bill Lickert, Ned Jennings, junior-college transfer student Sid Cohen, Howard Dardeen, Bobby Slusher, Dick Parsons and Al Robinson. There is nothing missing here but experience, and a few practice sessions with Rupp and Assistant Harry Lancaster make up for that in a hurry. Led by the great Bailey Howell, MISSISSIPPI STATE will field its best squad in history. Coach Babe McCarthy has all of last season's starters available: Howell, Dale Fisher, Charles Hull, Jerry Keeton and Ted Usher. At least one sophomore, Jerry Graves, will break into the first string, and Mike McRaney, Kermit Davis, John Hutchison, Gayle Hatch, Alex Singer and Roger Thomas make up a strong bench. State will be one of Kentucky's chief competitors for the title. Another will be TENNESSEE, tall, seasoned and rich in reserves. Eight of Coach Emmett Lowery's best players return, and seven sophomores are good enough to make the squad. The veterans are led by the superb rebounder, Gene Tormohlen, and include Don Reeverts, Charlie Scott, Ken Coulter, Ray Cooper, Bob Risser, Dalen Showalter (sophomore of the year in the SEC last season), Butch Lowery, Henry Garrison and Glen Anderson. All this bunch needs is a take-charge floor leader. The best freshman team in GEORGIA TECH'S history moves up to the varsity this year, and three from that group—Roger Kaiser, John Hoffman, Wayne Richards—are likely starters. They join veterans Terry Randall, Buddy Blemker, David Denton, Jim Riley and Frank Inman to form a speedy, hot-shooting squad whose only deficiency is over-all size, AUBURN has been seriously hurt by the loss of powerful Manley Johnston, who signed a pro baseball contract, the temporary loss of Rex Frederick because of a knee operation and the indefinite loss of Henry Hart because of a knee injury. Coach Joel Eaves will have to start the season with a first five chosen from among veterans Jimmy Lee, Bill Gregory, Ty Samples and Bayward McManus and sophomores Jimmy Fibbe, Ray Groover, David Vaughn and Porter Gilbert. These are good men, but a really first-rate club was in prospect before the losses. VANDERBILT, always tough under Coach Bob Polk, will be speedy, tall and deep in reserves. Three sophomores—Larry Banks, Bill Depp, John Laurent—are good-enough to push some veterans off the first five, and two others, John Doninger and Warren Fiser, will make the squad. Veterans Jim Henry and Ben Rowan are sure starters, and Don Hinton, Jack Pirrie and Doug Yates will see plenty of action. By mid-season the starting sophomores should prove themselves up to the caliber of play in this strong conference. ALABAMA is probably the best of the remaining half dozen teams. Dr. Eugene Lambert, 'Bama's coach, has some occasional starters back and a few promising newcomers but no really outstanding talent. A first five will come from among Dan Quindazzi, E. B. Homner, Len Kaplan, Jerry Vogel, Floyd Johnson and Clyde Frederick. At LSU Coach Jay McCreary, who had practically nothing to start with last season, has everyone back this time, but there is little height or shooting ability. His regulars are Jim Crisco, Wayne Monson, Joe Comlis, Carey Guglielmo and Lynn Moon. When Joe Hobbs graduated, FLORIDA lost its scoring punch. Coach John Mauer has one good guard, Charlie Pike, and one good forward, Dick Hoban. The other starting berths are up for grabs, with sophomores Bobby Shiver and Lou Merchant and reserve Bob Sherwood the likeliest candidates. A good sophomore crew joins the varsity at GEORGIA, and three are probable starters: John Johnson, Gordon Darrah and either Don Keiser or Pat Casey. Veterans Fred Edmondson and Sonny Poss complete the first five, which, obviously, will be green but has good average size. TULANE should climb to a spot just behind Alabama because of a nucleus of veterans and some sophomores who shoot well. The old hands are Gary Stoll, Vic Klinker, Louie Anderson and Ron Mitchell; the newcomers who may start are Gus Wenzel, Al O'Brien and Wayne Pearl. MISSISSIPPI has Ivan Richmann, a tall, strong rebounder, and a lot of problems in other areas.
Man to watch
BAILEY HOWELL, MISS. STATE
The nation's best shooter as a sophomore, he should be a cinch for All-America for the second year in a row.