Men's national preview: Preseason Top 25

Arizona Daily Wildcat
Friday, November 21, 2003


  • Emeka Okafor and Co. look to put the UConn men (one NCAA title) on same level as Diana Taurasi and UConn's women (four NCAA titles).

    2. DUKE (3)

  • Chris Duhon is back for his final year while Luol Deng could be the impact freshman needed to take the Blue Devils all the way.

    3. MICHIGAN ST. (1)

  • The Spartans should be in San Antonio in April if they can keep the injuries to a minimum and keep the ball in guard Chris Hill's hands.

    4. ARIZONA

  • The Wildcats lose leadership but gain talent; freshman Mustafa Shakur could be the impact player this team needs to compete for a title.


  • Quin Snyder and the Tigers start three seniors - including big man Arthur Johnson and sharpshooting Ricky Paulding - on what could be Snyder's best team.

    6. KANSAS (1)

  • Bill Self steps in for departed Roy Williams, but doesn't quite have to start over with juniors Wayne Simein, Keith Langford and Aaron Miles back in gear.


  • Junior Hakim Warrick and sophomore Gerry McNamara give the defending NCAA champs enough firepower to endure losing Carmelo Anthony to the NBA.

    8. FLORIDA

  • Junior David Lee will be able to move back to natural power forward position, but will be expected to carry the Gators into March.


  • Former Kansas coach Roy Williams takes over a disgruntled but talented squad that looks to prove the past two losing seasons were flukes in Chapel Hill.

    10. GONZAGA

  • WCC player of the year Blake Stepp, forward Ronny Turiaf and forward Cory Violette have the Bulldogs in familiar territory - among the nation's elite teams.

    11. KENTUCKY

  • Falling in the Elite Eight after winning 32 games was a disappointment to the Wildcats, and it won't get easier after losing two of their top three scorers.

    12. TEXAS

  • Brandon Mouton, James Thomas and Royal Ivey have enough in their tanks to keep the Horns competitive after losing player of the year T.J. Ford to the NBA.

    13. ILLINOIS

  • Musical coaches may have hit Illinois harder than anyone, but sophomore Dee Brown may take away some of the sting of losing Bill Self to Kansas.

    14. OKLAHOMA

  • Kelvin Sampson has his work cut out for him, with just five players returning to an Elite Eight squad. Good news is one of the nation's best recruiting classes.


  • The Badgers' four returning starters each averaged more than 10 points per game, giving third-year coach Bo Ryan his most depth yet.


  • Rick Pitino looks ready to duplicate his successes at Providence and Kentucky, where it took him two and four years, respectively, to make a Final Four trip.


  • Jameer Nelson and his 20 points per game are back for one last go-round with the Hawks; four starters return to St. Joes deepest team under Phil Martelli.


  • Bob Huggins, the Bearcats' fearless leader, hopes to see his team rebound from a disappointing 17-12 campaign last season.

    19. STANFORD

  • Losing leading scorer Julius Barnes won't hurt as much as it seems as four returning starters have this team poised to pass Arizona atop the Pac-10 again.


  • The Demon Decons lost Josh Howard's 19.5 points per game but return a young team - with no seniors - that can make a tourney run over the next two years.

    21. NOTRE DAME

  • Junior guard Chris Thomas fought through temptations to enter the NBA draft and will lead an Irish squad that can make some noise under up-and-coming coach Mike Brey.


  • Ben Howland left for his dream job at UCLA, leaving loads of talent and a pair of senior leaders - Jaron Brown and Julius Page - behind to keep on rolling.


  • Tom Crean has to deal with losing Dwyane Wade, but the return of junior guard Travis Diener and forward Scott Merritt will keep the Golden Eagles in the Top 25.


  • All-Conference guard Julius Hodge (17.7 ppg, 6.1 rpg) looks poised to take the Wolfpack on a run deep into the ACC and NCAA tournaments.

    25. OKLAHOMA ST.

    Eddie Sutton returns two solid starters - Tony Allen and Ivan McFarlin - but not much else to a team that lost to Syracuse in the NCAA's second round.