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Original Issue

The Top 40

Syracuse, led by a terrific trio, is No. 1. As for which conference is best—a subject of hot debate among fans—it's the Big Ten

The Top 10

1 Syracuse
Last season's Orangemen were neither lucky nor Smart in the NCAA final. Now it's their turn

2 Indiana
What's a follow-up to a Season in the Pink? Beating out Michigan and Purdue in the Big Ten

3 Missouri
Chievous and company are ideally cast to make the big show in Kansas City

4 Wyoming
Dembo and Leckner—the West's best big man—should put the Pokes in the Final Four

5 Kentucky
In Bennett and Ellis, an erstwhile doughnut team gets the rich filling it lacked

6 Duke
Solid, deep and overachieving. And Coach K is a master at teaching that D

7 Michigan
Frieder has a beaker full of potent talents; the only question is whether the elements will mix

8 Pittsburgh
Quality in depth: Worry too much about Smith and Lane, and other Panthers will claw you

9 North Carolina
Dean Smith will have to work overtime to overcome a parade of preseason troubles

10 Florida
Schintzius and Maxwell give the Gators a center and a star. All they lack is tradition

The Next 10

11 Purdue
Boilermakers burned out late last season. If they find a leader, they stay afire this time

12 Kansas
Yes, Dorothy, Larry Brown is still in Kansas. Even better, so is his main Manning

13 Louisville
Still no proven perimeter players, but rededicated 'Ville should cure its ills

14 Temple
If Macon is everything Chaney says, the Owls could fly even higher in the 1988 tourney

15 Iowa
Everybody knows the Hawkeyes will run you ragged, and you can etch that in Marble

16 Memphis State
With the begoggled Perry and frontcourt whales, Finch's five should float atop the Metro

17 Arizona
All eyes are on Kerr, but the real question is: Can the conference keep the Wildcats sharp?

18 Georgetown
If the Hoyas come through, this will truly be an Olympian year for U.S. coach Thompson

19 Oklahoma
There's a juco gem available at each position, but time will tell if the Sooners will sparkle

20 Bradley
Hawkins is the best you've never seen. Watch for him

The Next 20

21 Georgia
Haven't heard of Willie A.? Wait

22 Illinois
They'll survive loss of Liberty

23 Georgia Tech
It will help to stay closer to home

24 Cleveland State
There's a Mouse in the house

25 N.C. State
Shack and Pack have a lot back

26 Southern Miss
From the NIT to the NCAAs

This time Tark's tears are justified

28 DePaul
Meyer is secure with Rocket Rod

29 Notre Dame
Rivers, now old man, directs flow

30 St. John's
Will real Shelton Jones stand up?

31 Arkansas
Taller than all those Texans

A Pooh will lead the Bruins

33 Xavier
Lord Byron and mates return

34 LSU
Vargas is Mon of the Year

35 Austin Peay
Govs are in the ruling class

36 Kansas State
With Mitch, who needs football?

37 New Orleans
The Privateers are back for more

38 Marshall
The Herd will roam free

39 New Mexico
Out to avenge the '87 NCAA snub

40 La Salle
Simmons can run it for Speedy

The Conferences

1 Big Ten
2 Big East
3 Atlantic Coast
4 Big Eight
5 Southeastern
6 Metro
8 Pac-10
9 Atlantic 10
10 Missouri Valley
11 Sun Belt
13 Southwest
14 Midwestern Coll.
15 American South
16 Colonial
17 Southern
18 Ohio Valley
19 Mid-American
21 Metro Atlantic
22 Big Sky
23 Ivy
24 AMCU-8
25 ECAC Metro
26 ECAC North Atlantic
27 Trans America
28 East Coast
30 Southland
31 Big South