Butler: Coach Tony Hinkle brings fundamentals to the game and esprit to his team with individual heroics being cast aside in favor of a complete team effort. Other coaches do too, of course, but so well is this done at tiny Butler that it is known as the Hinkle System. Big Ten coaches hate to take on Hinkle's home-grown teams, as does anyone else with any sense. Three Butler starters are back from a squad that won 22 games last season and went to the NCAA Regional playoffs. Six-foot-6 Jeff Blue, a scrappy rebounder and good scorer, and Gerry Williams, a 5-foot-10 tyke who can high jump 6 feet 6 inches, are the ones to remember.
Creighton: When catlike Paul Silas scored last year Coach Red McManus grinned. When Silas blocked an opposing player's shot, McManus nearly broke out into joyous laughter (he scorns the coach who neglects defense). For most of last season the 6-foot-7 sophomore made McManus one of the happiest men in the business. Silas returns now with the confidence born of an outstanding season. A big forward with the artist's touch under the boards, he may well ruin a number of nights for some nationally ranked teams, and there are plenty of them on Creighton's schedule. Also ready is 6-foot-5 Loren James, a Syracuse University transfer, who has been holding his own against Silas in practice sessions, both offensively and defensively. Any player who can manage that bears watching. So does Creighton.
La Salle: In 1863 the Christian Brothers founded La Salle College—which means this is a centennial year. Colleges feel strongly about such events and La Salle students have the normal awareness of alma mater. No better place to be aware than the field house where Dudey Moore will have his best club since the days of Tom Gola, especially if team leader Bill Raftery is really in top shape again after a back operation. Even without the 6-foot-4 guard, Moore has a big, strong front line and eight well-trained lettermen.
Marquette: Three years ago Dave Erickson, Ron Glaser, Bob Hornak and Dick Nixon came to Marquette to play basketball. By now, quite logically, they think, act and play a most cohesive game. Any team that knows what it is about every minute is going to cause trouble. Erickson, 6 feet 7, is the biggest of the four, and the most important. Since this isn't a tall team he must rebound well. Give these seniors a chance to play their deliberate offense against a favored opponent that isn't too tall, and the favorites will lose.
Michigan: The Big Ten race should be the closest in years, and the eventual winner may be the team that doesn't lose a game to Michigan. Coach Dave Strack will, of course, be delighted to make a shambles of the conference standings. He has a big front line that can do it. There is 6-foot-7 sophomore Bill Buntin to play the pivot, permitting 6-foot-5 John Harris, who was too short to be effective at center last year, to move over to forward where he always belonged anyway. Tom Cole, the 6-foot-7 senior and captain, completes a forecourt that makes the Wolverines hard to handle.
Pittsburgh: When the action is furious and the elbows are flying under the backboards Coach Bob Timmons holds an ace. He is Brian Generalovich, 210 pounds on a 6-foot-4 frame who first made his difficult name familiar as an All-State football tackle. Generalovich relishes body contact. Timmons has some good, if not particularly tall, shooters—Calvin Sheffield is the best—to go with his muscular center. Some Pitt opponents will come out bloodied and bowed.
Princeton: New Coach Willem van Breda Kolff has fast-break plans but little idea who will execute them—except for sophomore Bill Bradley, that is. Bradley (see page 39) could be a starter for any team in the country. He scored 30.6 points a game last year for the freshman team, and as if that were not enough, the 6-foot-5 Missouri boy made his last 57 straight foul shots. Bradley alone makes the Tigers mean.
St. Bonaventure: It has been pretty quiet up in Olean since All-America Tom Stith graduated and Coach Eddie Donovan left for the pros. But things are beginning to stir again. Doctors say Forward Fred Crawford, who was out a year with tuberculosis, is fit. Junior Center Miles Aiken is back and improved. And there's more. Coach Larry Weise fretted all last year while a young guard, Mike Rooney, was breaking all the Bonnies' freshman scoring records by averaging 36.9 points a game. Now Rooney joins the varsity, and his outside shooting means misery for some St. Bonaventure foes. On a hot night in their tiny Olean gym, the Bonnies will score enough to defeat anybody.
Tennessee: The Vols were losers last year (4-19) and no doubt the SEC tailenders will lose some more this season, but look out. Their new coach, Ray Mears, is a man with a winning habit. He is sure to introduce the frustratingly deliberate offense that he made famous at Wittenberg, and underdogs that play carefully win more than their share. In addition, he has some big sophomores, 6-foot-7 A. W. Davis and 6-foot-8 Bobby Hogsett, plus a good little playmaker and outside shooter in transfer student Danny Schultz.
Texas Western: There is a new field house ready for Coach Don Haskins' team and it should be a delightful place to play for such powers as Wichita and Colorado State. The trouble is, visitors can't count on leaving happy. Defense-minded Texas Western won 18 last season, and the entire first team is back. Add to that a 6-foot-8 junior-college transfer, Jim Barnes. This 240-pounder averaged nearly 30 points a game last year for Oklahoma's Cameron Junior College. "Who," they must be wondering at places like Wichita, "ever scheduled us to play Texas Western?"