21. Stanford Only two players have ever made the All-Pac-10 team
four times, and their names are not Lew Alcindor and Bill Walton. In
fact, the players were not even from UCLA. Cal's Bob McKeen did it in
1952-55 and Oregon's Ron Lee in 1973-76. With another typical, which
is to say outstanding, season, Cardinal guard Todd Lichti, who
averaged 20.1 points and 5.6 rebounds last season, can swell the
honor roll to three. ''I want to make it, but it's not something I
set out to do when I came here,'' Lichti says. ''The first goal is to
win the Pac-10.'' That's not unrealistic, especially since coach Mike
Montgomery has surrounded Lichti with an imposing supporting cast,
including forward Howard Wright and point guard Terry Taylor. Last
season Stanford was the only team to beat Arizona in conference play
(82-74 in Palo Alto). This season it should challenge Sean Elliott
& Co. for its first title since 1962-63.
22. Temple As if it weren't bad enough to lose three starters from
last season's 32-2 team, coach John Chaney also lost a trio of
promising freshmen to academic ineligibility. So Chaney, who
considers Bylaw 5-1-(j) prejudicial to blacks, will have to make do
with the talented duo of sophomore guard Mark Macon and senior
forward Mike Vreeswyk.
Alas, Chaney isn't a miracle man, and he'll be strapped to replace
point guard Howie Evans, Atlantic-10 Player of the Year Tim Perry and
space-eating center Ramon Rivas. Perhaps the most intriguing possible
fill-in is senior forward Shawn Johnson, who didn't play high school
ball and was discovered by Chaney in a Philadelphia church league.
23. Loyola-Marymount By the time you finish reading this sentence,
Loyola- Marymount could have made 76 steals, scored a zillion points
and left another foe bewitched, bothered and beaten. All last year's
team did was average 110 points and run off 25 straight wins until
North Carolina stopped it in the second round of the NCAAs. So what
now? ''We want to take our seven- second offense and get it down to
five seconds,'' says coach Paul Westhead, who has four of his top six
scorers back, including forward Hank Gathers and guard Bo Kimble. If
you like run-and-gun, don't miss the Dec. 17 visit of Marymount to
Oklahoma for what could be the first 220-218 game in college history.
''We hear the Sooners aren't too worried about us,'' says Westhead.
''My comment is, We'll get our average.''
24. SMU When Doug Single was athletic director at Northwestern and
hired a black football coach, it was no big deal. But when he moved
to SMU and hired black basketball coach John Shumate to replace Dave
Bliss, well, let's just say that some ten-gallon hats were lifted
around conservative Dallas so a few folks could scratch their heads.
Of course, if Shumate breaks the Mustang habit of never playing in
the Final Four, nothing else will matter. He has a shot, too, because
Bliss didn't leave the cupboard bare. Returning from last season's
Ponies, who won 28 games on the way to the Southwest Conference
title, are starters Kato Armstrong, Eric Longino and Glenn Puddy. Too
bad for Shumate he doesn't have a center as good as he was when he
worked the paint at Notre Dame in the early 1970s.
25. Wichita State The real shocker at Wichita State isn't that 6
ft. 10 in. Yugoslavian center Sasha Radunovich sometimes thinks he's
a guard, but that $ everybody has so little trouble telling the
Praylow twins apart. Both Dwayne and Dwight are roughly 6 ft. 5 in..
The telltale difference? ''Dwayne is a little bigger,'' says
Radunovich, whose penchant for the perimeter resulted in 12
three-pointers in 30 attempts last season, ''and he's meaner.'' Which
explains why Dwayne plays power forward and Dwight is a shooting
guard who sank a team-record 51 treys for coach Eddie Fogler.
26. Tennessee In the middle of last season, just after the
Volunteers had lost by 28 points to intrastate rival Vanderbilt, the
howls for coach Don DeVoe's scalp were so loud that you would have
thought he was a Tennessee football coach. But somehow DeVoe got the
Vols turned around, and instead of getting fired, he was given a
two-year contract extension as a reward for Tennessee's 16-13 record.
Still, with 25,000 seats to fill in a new on-campus arena and
expectations higher than ever, DeVoe won't be able to relax.
Fortunately, in senior forward Dyron Nix -- he of the flowing curls
and relentless play -- the Volunteers may have the SEC's best player.
27. Pittsburgh So forget Jerome Lane, Demetreus Gore and Charles
Smith. What did Pitt really get out of them except a chronic case of
heartburn in March? Now they're gone, and it's time to welcome the
Messiah, which is how forward Brian Shorter was known on the
playgrounds of Philadelphia. Eligible after a year off because of
Bylaw 5-1-(j), the 6 ft. 6 in. Shorter is longer on potential than
anybody in Pitt history. Says sophomore point guard Sean Miller,
''He's the kind who can come right into the Big East and be a star.''
Is Shorter nervous? ''No big deal,'' he says. ''I've always played
against guys older than I am. We're all on the same level.''
28. South Carolina The Gamecocks, released from the doghouse of
their NCAA probation, should make their strongest national showing
since the early 1970s. They will be inexperienced, with seven
freshmen and sophomores, but once again coach George Felton can rely
on Terry Dozier and John Hudson, his classy pair of senior forwards
who last year combined to average 27 points and 10 rebounds a game.
In the backcourt, sophomores Brent Price and Barry Manning will have
to make some room for 6 ft. 7 in. freshman swingman Troy McKoy, whose
baggage from East Hartford (Conn.) High includes a 29.4 scoring
29. New Mexico When Bob Knight rejected an offer to move to
Albuquerque last spring, the Lobos opted for coach Dave Bliss, a
former Knight assistant. If Dave doesn't find bliss in his new job,
it won't be for lack of talent. Even Knight says he was impressed
with the New Mexico roster. Returnees include a pair of 7-footers,
Rob Loeffel and Luc Longley (a member of the Australian Olympic
team), and last season's WAC Newcomer of the Year, forward Charlie
Thomas. Says Bliss, ''The determining factor in whether we're
successful will be how we're able to play defense.'' Spoken like a
true Knight disciple. Wouldn't it be ironic if the team Knight turned
down has a better season than the one he elected to keep?
30. Indiana Not that Mark McGwire should worry yet, but the
Oakland A's have a promising young first baseman who cracked nine
hits in his first 18 at bats in the Arizona Instructional League.
Before he turns to baseball full-time, however, Joe Hillman will
spend one more season in the backcourt for coach Bob Knight. The
Hoosiers' biggest worry is Jay Edwards, the pressure-proof guard
whose academic shortcomings were compounded in the off-season by an
unspecified substance-abuse problem, the seriousness of which is a
point of contention between coach and player. ''I'm not an addict,''
says Edwards. Knight, who had wanted Edwards to enter a 30-day
treatment program, will watch Edwards's progress before deciding if
and when he can play -- in the second semester at the earliest.
31. Memphis State Are you Memphis State fans concerned that this
season's Tigers may not have enough size to compete in the tough
Metro? Don't worry. Be happy. As long as Larry Finch is coaching,
Memphis State will find a way to win. He already has decided how to
offset the Tigers' lack of height. ''I think we'll use our quickness
well,'' says Finch, whose team is billed in Memphis as the Swarm. The
lead stinger will be sophomore Elliot Perry, who led the league last
season with 71 steals and averaged 13.1 points and 4.1 assists.
32. Colorado State A heavy influx of newcomers, including four
transfers, should help coach Boyd Grant continue the little miracle
he's working in Fort Collins. Before Grant came along from Fresno
State, the small crowds in Colorado State's Moby Gym often
entertained themselves by cheering the opposition. But going into
this season, more than 4,900 season tickets were sold, more than
twice last season's total. The fans come to cheer Grant, amazingly
enough, but there's also Pat Durham, the forward Wyoming coach Benny
Dees rates as ''the best player in our league ((the WAC)).'' Says
Durham, ''Our goal is to win the conference, and I think right now
we have the talent to do it -- and the coach to do it.''
33. West Virginia It has been coach Gale Catlett's belief that a
team needs to play more cautiously on the road because the officials
always seem to call more fouls on the visitors. So instead of using
the upbeat, pressure style the Mountaineers employ at home, Catlett
usually pulls out a half-court offense and zone when his team leaves
town. The result has been a 111-16 record at home in the 1980s, but a
65-60 mark on the road. This year Catlett has the talent to play
up-tempo anywhere, and if his team cooperates, he will. Of his four
returning starters, the best is forward Chris Brooks.
34. Arkansas When Nolan Richardson talks about needing more
''Cadillac players,'' he had better hope the NCAA doesn't get the
wrong idea. What he means, of course, is that the Razorbacks need
more quality personnel. Freshman guards Todd Day and Lee Mayberry
seem to fit Richardson's description, as does junior center Mario
Credit, who may be the Southwest Conference's best big man. And so
did junior forward Ron Huery, until he allegedly pointed a gun at a
student during a frat party last spring, leading the university to
suspend him for the first semester's games. Some deterrent. In late
July, Huery was arrested in Memphis and charged with violations
ranging from drunken driving to carrying a pistol. He may be gone for
35. St. John's The best player has graduated, the starting center
has returned to his native Italy, and another starter dropped out of
school after being declared academically ineligible. So why is St.
John's in the Top 40? Well, coach Lou Carnesecca may have the two
best freshmen he has ever recruited in 6 ft. 11 in. center Robert
Werdann, who averaged 19.8 points at Archbishop Molloy in Queens, and
forward Malik Sealy, New York State's Mr. Basketball at Tolentine
High School in the Bronx. Last season Sealy often asked coach John
Sarandrea to leave the locker room so he could give the pregame talk.
''We were 30-1 and won 21 in a row, so he must have said something
good,'' says Sarandrea.
36. Virginia Tech Bimbo Coles is not the former girlfriend of a
defrocked evangelist but a guard for Virginia Tech who last season
became the first player in Metro history to lead the league in both
scoring and assists. Once again his partner in the backcourt will be
Wally Lancaster, who likes to fire from long range every bit as
much as Bimbo loves to slash to the hoop. Last season Coles (24.2
points a game) and Lancaster (23.4) finished 1-2 in the Metro scoring
race, but Tech was only 19-10. It seems that the Gobblers were
turkeys when it came to rebounding. Coach Frankie Allen can only hope
his players will ignore the final year of Tech's NCAA probation and
work the boards this season.
37. UNC Charlotte Soon after giving up his Chevrolet dealership in
1985 to become coach and athletic director for the 49ers, Jeff
Mullins signed a 5 ft. 11 in., 130-pound youngster who was so highly
sought after that he had narrowed his choices down to mighty Western
Carolina and powerful Pfeiffer. Hardly an auspicious beginning, it
seemed, yet both Mullins and senior guard Byron Dinkins have done
just fine, thank you. This year, thanks to the development of the
frontcourt and the arrival of freshman guard Henry Williams, Dinkins,
the Sun Belt Conference's best player, will be dishing the ball off
more often. Says Mullins, ''He won't be scoring as much, but that
won't bother Byron a bit.''
38. Murray State The Racers proved in last season's NCAA
tournament that there are capable teams in Kentucky other than the
ones directed by Denny Crum and Eddie Sutton. Says coach Steve
Newton, ''We gained some respect, and we're looking for more. The Top
40 is a fair place to start.'' O.K., Coach, you've got it. Now all
you have to do is move forward. Murray State may not be Final Four
material, but it could put a dent in Louisville and Memphis State,
both of which appear on the Racers' schedule. And in senior forward
Jeff Martin, Murray State has an underpublicized talent who will
become the school's alltime leading scorer around midseason.
39. Kentucky The Wildcats lost their best player (Rex Chapman) to
the pros and two prize recruits (Shawn Kemp and Sean Woods) because
of inadequate grades; became the target of an NCAA investigation when
a package to a recruit (Chris Mills) was alleged to have included
$1,000; and had their only returning starter (Eric Manuel) put
himself on the sidelines, pending a review of his entrance exam
score. So damage control, not the Final Four, is the goal for coach
Eddie Sutton, who nevertheless could put together a team good enough
to challenge in the weakened SEC. ''If we're able to use Mills and
Manuel, we could be better than people expect,'' Sutton says.
40. St. Louis Now that Roland Gray can see, there's no telling
what visions of glory he might fulfill for coach Rich Grawer's
Billikens. When his shooting dipped under 50% last season, Gray, a
forward, went to an eye doctor, who said he didn't understand how
Gray ''saw the basket or the blackboard, or how he could drive a
car.'' He prescribed contact lenses, and Gray's eyesight is much
improved. Joining Gray in the frontcourt will be junior Anthony
Bonner, who could blossom into the Midwestern Collegiate Conference's
best player. He may already be the toughest. Last season he scored 18
in an upset of Memphis State despite two sprained ankles. Says Gray,
''We've found out that players from big-name teams are just like us
-- they bleed.'' Spoken like a man who now sees quite clearly.