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The Rest of the Best


The following are the 39 schools that SI projects will fill out
the NCAA tournament field. Of the 64 invitations to be awarded
on March 7, Selection Sunday, 30 are automatic bids given to
conference champions, and the remaining 34 are at-large berths.

Rank Team Conference

26 Wake Forest ACC
Sophomore guard Robert O'Kelley (16.1 ppg) is best of Demon
Deacons' dozen underclassmen

27 Miami Big East
Forward Tim James could be first player to lead Hurricanes in
scoring and rebounding three straight seasons

28 Arizona Pac-10
Freshman Richard Jefferson, state's '98 high school player
of the year, reminds many of former Cat Sean Elliott

29 Oklahoma Big 12
NCAA bid comes sooner than expected with arrival of juco
transfer Victor Avila (23.7 ppg, 15.3 rpg)

Six seniors are back for the Blazers, but sophomore point
guard LeAndrew Bass makes the offense go

31 Clemson ACC
Clang some: Tigers must improve last season's 61.4% free
throw shooting, which was ACC's worst

32 Purdue Big Ten
6'3" junior guard Jaraan Cornell shot 50% from behind the
three-point line a year ago

33 Cincinnati C-USA
Bearcats welcome forward Jermaine Tate, an Ohio State
transfer who was the Buckeyes' MVP in 1995-96

34 Minnesota Big Ten
Homegrown 7-foot Joel Przybilla, one of nation's top five
freshman centers, already has Bunyanesque status

35 South Carolina SEC
Senior guard BJ McKie (18.8 ppg) will again be expected to
assume much of the Gamecocks' scoring burden

36 North Carolina State ACC
Sophomore Kenny Inge, the Wolfpack's top rebounder (7.4 per
game), headlines a seniorless roster

37 Memphis C-USA
Introducing, from the program that gave us Baskerville
Holmes, highly touted freshman forward Paris London

38 St. John's Big East
Heralded freshman point guard Erick Barkley's job is to get
ball into hands of forward Ron Artest (11.6 ppg)

39 Princeton Ivy
Tigers had nation's top scoring defense (51.4 ppg) for ninth
straight season

40 Florida SEC
Gators, who averaged nation-best 9.8 treys in '97-98,
welcome high school scoring champ Ted Dupay (41.5 ppg)

41 George Washington Atlantic 10
The Peanut, 5'4" point guard Shawnta Rogers (14.7 ppg, 4.8
apg), runs offense for new coach Tom Penders

42 Detroit Midwestern Collegiate
6'6" forward Michael Jordan didn't score a point in '97-98
but may crack depleted starting lineup this season

43 College of Charleston Southern
Cougars headed for 20th straight winning season behind
senior forward Sedric Webber (15.1 ppg, 7.9 rpg)

44 Murray State Ohio Valley
Racers one of only three Division I teams to shoot above 50%
last season (50.1%)

45 Tulsa WAC
Golden Hurricanes love Michael Ruffin (9.5 rpg) and a
schedule void of WAC powers New Mexico and Utah

46 Coppin State MEAC
On team coached by Fang Mitchell, guard Jerel Seamon's "Mad
Dog" nickname (for his rabid D) is high praise

47 Gonzaga West Coast
Junior guard Matt Santangelo (16.2 ppg) is the best of four
returning starters from last year's 24-10 team

48 Akron MAC
6'6" forward George Phillips, one of five returning
starters, had MAC-best 42 blocks last season

49 Iona Metro Atlantic
Behind '97-98 MAAC Player of the Year Kashif Hameed, Gaels
will blow to fourth straight league title

50 Delaware America East
Providence transfer Ndongo Ndiaye gives the Fightin' Blue
Hens an imposing 7-footer in the paint

51 Valparaiso Mid-Continent
6'7" Czech-born freshman Lubos Barton went for 27 in
Crusaders' '98-99 opener against South Carolina

52 Old Dominion Colonial Athletic
Senior swingman Mark Poag (15.3 ppg) gives Monarchs
three-point threat to go with strong inside game

53 Davidson Southern
Beware of Ides in March: 7'2", 280-pound freshman center
Martin Ides is brutish under the boards

54 Florida International Sun Belt
Top eight scorers are back for the Golden Panthers, who
migrate to new conference

55 Idaho Big West
Avery Curry, who averaged 19.7 points for Vandals after
transferring from Florida State, is league's top defender

56 Northern Arizona Big Sky
Timberrr! Lumberjacks have felled highest percentage of
threes in Division I in each of the last two seasons

57 UNC-Asheville Big South
Three 7-footers, including reserve center Remco Smits, first
cousin of Rik Smits, give Bulldogs plenty of bite

58 Navy Patriot
Midshipmen lost seven players, so opponents will key on
flamboyant guard Skip Victor (8.9 ppg, 1.7 steals)

59 St. Francis (N.Y.) Northeast
Terriers' swingman Richy Dominguez (11.4 ppg), a Colombia
native, was conference's newcomer of the year

60 Southern SWAC
6'4" senior guard Dionte' Harvey, who hit a team-high 80
treys, has excellent shot at SWAC Player of the Year

61 Creighton Missouri Valley
Last year Ryan Sears became first point guard in Blue Jays
history to have more steals (62) than turnovers (59)

62 Southwest Texas Southland
Center Jeff Foster was conference's only double-double
player (12.8 ppg, 10.2 rpg)

63 New Mexico State Big West
Aggies inherit five double-figure scorers from Northeastern
Illinois, which dropped its program after last season

64 Samford Trans America
6'7" forward Reed Rawlings (12.1 ppg) is the best of four
junior starters who excel in Bulldogs' motion offense