Bob Knight is thenew Dean
The alternately brilliant and boorish coach needs just 10 victories to surpassDean Smith for the most wins in men's NCAA history (879).
Blake Ahearn'snumbers game
Missouri State's senior guard could become first player to lead the nation in astatistical category (free throw percentage) for four straight years.
Arizona's march toMarch
The Wildcats should extend their streak of consecutive NCAA tournamentappearances to 23, second alltime behind North Carolina (27).
Tubby Smith'sdrought in Lexington
If Kentucky fails to make it to Atlanta, it will mark the longest stretch (nineyears) the school has gone between Final Four appearances.
Baylor win mightcome Sooner
The Bears have lost 24 straight to Oklahoma, but with Kelvin Sampson'sdeparture from Norman, Baylor should have the upper hand.
THIS YEAR'S GEORGEMASON
With Loren Stokes (17.4 ppg) and Antoine Agudio (17.2 ppg) in the backcourt,the Pride beat George Mason twice last year.
After winning six Big South titles in eight seasons, the Eagles have fastbecome the Gonzaga of the South.
Trying to earn a sixth straight NCAA tournament bid, the Salukis have their topeight scorers returning.
Four starters are back from a 27--6 club, including 6'11" forward NickFazekas, the best mid-major player in the nation.
SAN DIEGO STATE
Guard Brandon Heath (18.4 ppg) leads a lineup that's bolstered by high-flyingtransfer Lorrenzo Wade.
J.R. Giddens | 6'5" | jr. | SG | NEW MEXICO
Acrobatic former McDonald's All-American hit 33.7% of his three-pointers atKansas.
Drew Lavender |5'7" | jr. | PG | XAVIER
Wee playmaker who left Oklahoma will create easy transition buckets for veteranteammates.
Micah Downs |6'8" | soph. | SG | GONZAGA
Rangy sharpshooter never made the rotation at Kansas, but he'll give Zags'attack a sizable lift when he becomes eligible on Dec. 16.
Mike Cook |6'4" | jr. | G-F | PITT
Began at East Carolina and did the unusual: moved to a higher-profile program.Will make a difference once he learns to play Big East D.
Dameon Mason |6'5" | jr. | G-F | LSU
Averaged 11.9 points and 5.6 rebounds as a Marquette sophomore. Adds size,athleticism to a backcourt that has plenty of both.
MAKE OR BREAK
Joe Crawford |6'5" | jr. | SG | KENTUCKY
For Wildcats to challenge in the SEC, versatile scorer must have a breakoutyear.
Malik Hairston |6'6" | jr. | SG | OREGON
Despite career 14.1-point average, has yet to lead Ducks to the NCAAs--or eventhe NIT.
Dion Harris |6'3" | sr. | G | MICHIGAN
Three-year starter and top returning scorer (11.1 ppg) is best hope to deliverWolverines to their first NCAA tournament since 1998.
Terrence Roberts |6'9" | sr. | PF | SYRACUSE
Talented inside player (10.7 ppg, 7.6 rpg, 1.3 bpg in '05--06) has beenmaddeningly inconsistent.
Mustafa Shakur |6'3" | sr. | PG | ARIZONA
Career average of 4.6 assists, but shot just 42.3% from the field in each oflast two years.
Daequan Cook | 6'5" | SG | OHIO STATE
Natural slasher and scorer will be one of a possible quartet of freshmanstarters for Buckeyes after center Greg Oden returns in January from a tornligament in his right wrist.
Javaris Crittenton| 6'5" | PG | GEORGIA TECH
High school teammate of Dwight Howard's brings size, poise and shooting abilityat the point that is reminiscent of Jarrett Jack, who led Jackets to the NCAAtitle game in 2004.
Paul Harris |6'5" | SF | SYRACUSE
Very strong rebounder for his size and can probably play any position butcenter. Will begin career coming off the bench but could be Orange's bestplayer by season's end.
Ty Lawson |5'11" | PG | NORTH CAROLINA
An explosive scorer (23.8 ppg) at Oak Hill Academy in Virginia, now he'll serveas Tar Heels' playmaker. His blazing speed is perfectly suited to RoyWilliams's fast break.
Bill Walker |6'6" | SF | KANSAS STATE
Dominique Wilkins--caliber athlete and dunker who completed his high schooldegree early and is taking classes part-time in Manhattan. Will join Wildcatson Dec. 16.
Jayne Appel |6'4" | F-C | STANFORD
"Great hands, great instincts and the wingspan of a 7-footer," sayscoach Tara VanDerveer. "She can outlet the ball like Wes Unseld, though shedidn't know who he was."
Tina Charles |6'4" | C | CONNECTICUT
The consensus high school player of the year will start from Day One. "Sheknows how to score," says coach Geno Auriemma, "and has a knack forgetting the ball on the rim and finishing."
Brittainey Raven |6'0" | G | TEXAS
Texas's high school player of the year and the preseason pick as the Big 12'stop freshman. Coach Jody Conradt calls her "one of the fastest and quickestplayers in the history of our program."
Dymond Simon |5'5" | G | ARIZONA STATE
"She's got incredible handles and is very skilled offensively for herage," says coach Charli Thorne Turner. "Instead of the Tim Hardawaycrossover, it might become the Simon crossover."
Monica Wright |5'11" | G | VIRGINIA
A versatile scorer, Wright was the No. 4 guard in her class, according to BlueStar Basketball. Says coach Debbie Ryan, "She's going to make a big impacton our program."
SI'S ALL-AMERICAS| MEN
F Tyler Hansbrough| 6'9" | soph. | UNC
F Glen Davis |6'9" | jr. | LSU
C Joakim Noah |6'11" | jr. | FLORIDA
G Brandon Rush |6'6" | soph. | KANSAS
G Ronald Steele |6'2" | jr. | ALABAMA
F Julian Wright |6'8" | soph. | KANSAS
F Al Horford |6'9" | jr. | FLORIDA
C Nick Fazekas |6'11" | sr. | NEVADA
G Arron Afflalo |6'5" | jr. | UCLA
G Dominic James |5'11" | soph. | MARQUETTE
SI'S ALL-AMERICAS| WOMEN
F CrystalLanghorne | 6'2" | jr. | MARYLAND
F Candace Parker |6'4" | soph. | TENNESSEE
C Courtney Paris |6'4" | soph. | OKLAHOMA
G Katie Gearlds |6'1" | sr. | PURDUE
G Ivory Latta |5'6" | sr. | UNC
F Erlana Larkins |6'1" | jr. | UNC
F Tiffany Jackson| 6'3" | sr. | TEXAS
C JessicaDavenport | 6'5" | sr. | OHIO STATE
G Candace Wiggins| 5'111/2" | jr. | STANFORD
G Lindsey Harding| 5'8" | sr. | DUKE
Jason Smith |7'0" | jr. | C | COLORADO STATE
Pro prospect with center size and small forward agility; was fourth in MountainWest in scoring (16.2 ppg) and rebounding (7.3).
Morris Almond |6'6" | sr. | SG | RICE
Led Conference USA in scoring (21.9 ppg), including a C-USA record 25.1 inleague play.
Rodney Stuckey |6'5" | soph. | SG | E. WASH.
Big Sky player of the year finished first in the conference in scoring (24.2ppg), second in steals (2.2) and third in assists (4.1).
Blake Schilb |6'7" | sr. | G | LOYOLA (CHI.)
Can play the one, two, three or four; averaged 19.1 points, 5.2 rebounds and3.9 assists.
Courtney Lee |6'5" | jr. | G-F | W. KENTUCKY
Ranked in the top 10 in Sun Belt Conference in points, rebounds, assists andsteals.
DARREN CARROLL (KNIGHT); AL TIELEMANS (SMITH); JAKE SCHOELLKOPF/AP (GIDDENS); BILL FRAKES (ROBERTS)
KEVIN RIVOLI/AP (HARRIS)
JESSICA HILL/AP (CHARLES)
ROBERT BECK (JAMES); DAMIAN STROHMEYER (LATTA); RONEN ZILBERMAN/AP (SMITH)