East Tennessee St.
Last season: 20-15 overall, fifth at 13-7 in the Atlantic Sun. Lost to Kentucky in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
Outlook: Two starters return, plus wing Mike Smith is back after a stress fracture limited him to four games last season. He's an Atlantic Sun Player of the Year candidate, if healthy. More size and depth have Coach Murry Bartow thinking of a third straight NCAA Tournament appearance. In the last seven years, only Gonzaga, Winthrop, Northern Iowa, Butler, Southern Illinois, VCU and Davidson among mid-major schools have been to more NCAA Tournaments than the Bucs' four. Blue Ribbon Yearbook predicts a third-place finish in the Atlantic Sun.
Never miss a local story.
Last season: 21-11 overall, third at 10-4 in the West Coast. Portland beat Oregon, Minnesota and UCLA.
Outlook: Two Honorable Mention all-league players form a foundation. Shooting guard Jared Stahl led the nation with 47.8-percent shooting accuracy from three-point range. Luke Sikma, son of former NBA star Jack Sikma, is a 6-8 forward. Portland needs to find a point guard to build on two straight winning seasons. Blue Ribbon Yearbook predicts a fourth-place finish in the West Coast Conference.
Last season: 13-18 overall, 11th at 4-12 in the Big 12.
Outlook: Only one starter returns (a fair three-point shooter, Cade Davis) and there are nine newcomers in this transition season. Developing chemistry is a high priority. Romero Osby, a transfer from Mississippi State, is the only player who weighs more than 240 pounds. He's sitting out this season. Abdul Sahour Ahmed, a 6-10 player from London who played in the Canary Islands last season, epitomizes the scramble to find players. Blue Ribbon Yearbook predicts a ninth-place finish in the Big 12.
Last season: 15-16 overall, ninth at 5-11 in the ACC. Last season, first-year coach Tony Bennett suspended star Sylven Landesberg, which contributed to 10 losses in the last 11 games.
Outlook: Three starters are among six returnees with a year's experience in Bennett's disciplined style. The Cavs ranked 13th nationally with an average of only 10.7 turnovers last season. Freshmen KT Harrell (Alabama Class 4A Player of the Year), Washington Mr. Basketball Joe Harris and Billy Baron (son of Rhode Island coach Jim Baron) are expected to contribute. Blue Ribbon Yearbook predicts a 10th-place finish in the ACC.Washington
Last season: 26-10 overall, third at 11-7 in the Pac 10.
Outlook: Leading scorer Quincy Pondexter (19.3 ppg) is gone, but the other four starters return. With 1,134 points in two seasons, junior point guard Isaiah Thomas is on track to be the program's career scoring leader. Venoy Overton is also known as the "Venoyance" because of his defensive prowess. Freshman Terrence Ross was a high school teammate of UK freshman Terrence Jones. Blue Ribbon Yearbook predicts a first-place finish in the Pac-10.
Last season: 21-14 overall, tied for third at 11-5 in the America East. Beat Morehead State en route to College Basketball Invitational semifinals, marking the program's first post-season victories since 1959.
Outlook: Three starters return, including swingman John Holland, a conference Player of the Year candidate. He was the league's Rookie of the Year in 2008 and made all-conference in 2009 and 2010. Forward Jake O'Brien also projects as an all-league player. Blue Ribbon Yearbook predicts a first-place finish in the America East.
Last season: 20-17 overall, tied for ninth at 5-11 in the ACC. Finished second in the NIT to wrap up what Coach Roy Williams called his "most depressing season ever."
Outlook: Two starters return. One, point guard Larry Drew, needs to show vast improvement. Freshmen Harrison Barnes, Kendall Marshall and Reggie Bullock are expected to contribute a lot. If Tyler Zeller stays healthy and John Henson becomes more of a physical presence, the Tar Heels will be, well, the Tar Heels again. Justin Knox, a transfer from Alabama, can give frontcourt depth. Better shooting is needed. Williams wants a more determined, take-no-prisoners attitude. Blue Ribbon Yearbook predicts a second-place finish in the ACC.
Last season: 23-12 overall, tied for seventh at 10-8 in the Big East. Lost in first round of the NCAA Tournament.
Outlook: Luke Harangody, the only player in Big East history to average 20 points and 10 rebounds in his career, is gone. So is point guard Tory Jackson. The Irish are experienced with four seniors and a redshirt junior in their rotation. Tim Abromaitis (16.1 ppg) blossomed last season. Much may depend on the point guard position, where three freshmen join shooting guard Ben Hansbrough as candidates to replace Jackson. Blue Ribbon Yearbook predicts a sixth-place finish in the Big East.
Last season: 10-21 overall, tied for ninth at 4-14 in the Big Ten. Started the season with a 9-9 record, then lost 11 in a row (eight by 15 or more points).
Outlook: Eleven players return, including all eight who started a game last season. That marks a step forward in a rebuilding process that saw Tom Crean have two returning players his first season and six freshmen his second. Maurice Creek, who scored 31 against Kentucky last season, later fractured his left knee. If healthy, he'll be part of IU's point guard by committee. Guy-Marc Michel, a 7-footer from Martinique, can make a big difference (no pun intended) by moving Tom Pritchard and Christian Watford to their more natural positions of power forward and small forward. Blue Ribbon Yearbook predicts an eighth-place finish in the Big Ten.
mississippi Valley St.
Last season: 9-23 overall, tied for sixth at 8-10 in the Southwestern Athletic Conference. In the second season under former UK point guard Sean Woods, Mississippi Valley State won one more conference game and improved nine spots in the RPI.
Outlook: A top-100 recruiting class joins four returning starters to make for higher expectations. Terrance Joyner, who once committed to Arkansas, is among the point guard candidates. A key could be junior-college transfer Paul Crosby, at 6-8 the best low-post presence. A tough schedule (the first home game is Jan. 8) will make this team earn its way. Blue Ribbon Yearbook predicts a seventh-place finish in the SWAC.
Last season: 19-14 overall, third at 12-6 in the Big South. Won the Big South Tournament for the ninth time in the last 12 years.
Outlook: Three starters return, but gone are Mantoris Robinson (the league's defensive player of the year) and Andy Buechart (the team's best frontcourt defender). Defense is key since Winthrop averaged only 61.9 points and shot with 38-percent accuracy (24.8 percent from three-point range) last season. Point guard Reggie Middleton returns. Blue Ribbon Yearbook predicts a third-place finish in the Big South.
Last season: 8-22 overall, 11th at 3-13 in the Mid-Eastern Atlantic Conference. The 22 losses marked the second most in Coach Fang Mitchell's 24 seasons at Coppin State.
Outlook: Only four of the 12 players on last season's team return. Five junior-college transfers give a boost to a new-look team. Among those imports are Akeem Ellis, who played all five positions in junior college; Antonio Williams, who averaged a double-double, and point guard Tony Gallo, who scored 1,000 points in two junior-college seasons. Blue Ribbon Yearbook predicts an eighth-place finish in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference.
Last season: 20-13 overall, tied for fifth at 11-7 in the Big East. Lost in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
Outlook: Samardo Samuels' move to the NBA (free-agent contract with the Cavs) makes this even more of a rebuilding season. Only one starter returns as Louisville hopes some familiar names (Terrence Jennings, Rakeem Buckles, Jared Swopshire, Preston Knowles) go from bench contributors to top-drawer talents. Coach Rick Pitino calls a potential standout player, point guard Peyton Siva, a key in this transition season. Pitino hopes a return to his full-court pressure, broken-floor scrambling style can help the transition. Blue Ribbon Yearbook predicts a seventh-place finish in the Big East.
Last season: 6-22 overall, tied for fifth at 5-9 in the Ivy League. Season slipped away when injuries sidelined two starters in the second game and three other regulars later in the winter.
Outlook: Jerome Allen went from volunteer assistant to interim coach to head coach last season. He'll count on Player of the Year candidate Zach Rosen, who had 100 assists in each of the last two seasons. If Tyler Bernardini stays healthy, Penn expects to have the Ivy League's best backcourt. Among eight freshmen are Dau Jok, a nephew of Manute Bol, and Marin Kukoc, the son of Toni Kukoc. Blue Ribbon Yearbook predicts a third-place finish in the Ivy League.