November 8, 2012

College Basketball: Teams, talent ready to emerge

Mid-major teams and players may have a drastic say in who takes the spotlight in March.

By JOHN MARSHALL The Associated Press

(Continued from page 1)

Cody Zeller
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Cody Zeller is expected to make the biggest impact on an Indiana team that’s finally a contender again, ranked No. 1 in the preseason.

The Associated Press

North Carolina at Indiana, Nov. 27. Another power-program showdown, this one will be a gauge for the Hoosiers to see if they live up to the hype.

Florida at Arizona, Dec. 15. They played a memorable overtime game at Florida last season, won by the Gators. This one will feature some of the best groups of big men in the country on the floor at the same time.

Kansas at Ohio State, Dec. 22. Rematch of last year's Final Four game won by Kansas will feature plenty of new players for the Jayhawks and a couple of familiar ones for the Buckeyes.

Kentucky at Louisville, Dec. 29. Another rematch of last year's Final Four with two teams who don't like each other will be a nice late Christmas present.


Nerlens Noel, Kentucky. The bluest of Coach John Calipari's blue chippers this season, the 6-foot-10 forward has an elevated game and the hair to match it.

Jahii Carson, Arizona State. Sun Devils fans have been waiting a year for Carson to be eligible and the sophomore point guard isn't likely to disappoint with that wicked crossover and super hops.

Shabazz Muhammad, UCLA. Bruins Coach Ben Howland landed a stellar recruiting class this season, led by the left-handed Muhammad. The key is getting him on the court; the NCAA is still investigating whether he received improper benefits from boosters of an AAU team.

Grant Jerrett, Arizona. Arizona Coach Sean Miller said Jerrett is as far along as any incoming big man he's seen, and he's seen a few good ones.

Steven Adams, Pittsburgh. The former rugby player from New Zealand should fit right in with the Big East bangers.


Kevin Ollie, Connecticut. Replacing a three-time national champion (Jim Calhoun) won't be easy. Doing it as a first-time coach on a one-year contract will add a degree or two of difficulty.

Larry Brown, Southern Methodist. Of all the options for the 71-year-old Hall of Famer to end up, few saw this one coming.

Frank Martin, South Carolina. With one of the more surprising moves in the offseason, Martin will try to rebuild another program after making Kansas State relevant.

Danny Manning, Tulsa. Danny probably won't need a miracle in his first coaching job. Learned from one of the best as an assistant under Bill Self at Kansas.

Richard Pitino, Florida International. Rick's son has proven to be pretty sharp himself.


Mark Lyons, Arizona. He went to the NCAA's final 16 three times before graduating from Xavier. He's reunited with the coach who recruited him there, giving Sean Miller a heady, quick point guard who won't wither under the spotlight.

Alex Oriakhi, Missouri. Was a key contributor to UConn's 2011 national title run. The powerful big man could have a similar impact on the Tigers.

Aaric Murray, West Virginia. One of the three transfers landed by Coach Bob Huggins, he could have the biggest impact after leading La Salle in scoring at 15.2 points a game and in rebounding at 7.7.

Ryan Harrow, Kentucky. In case the Wildcats didn't have enough talent with another top recruiting class, they added Harrow from North Carolina State. After a year of waiting, he gets his turn to run the show in Lexington.

Trey Zeigler, Pittsburgh. A former McDonald's All-American, he was allowed to leave Central Michigan when his father, Ernie, was let go. Dude can shoot, too, averaging more than 16 points the past two seasons.

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