ARIZONA STATE Nickname: Sun Devils Conference: Pac-10 Location: Tempe, Ariz. 2010-11 Record: 12-19
Under the watchful eye of Coach Herb Sendek, Arizona State has become a player in the Pac-10. The Sun Devils, who in 2009-10 allowed 58.7 points per game—the fewest by an ASU team since 1949—will look to continue to rise, sparked by their defense. They also can score, with junior guard Trent Lockett and sophomore shooting guard Keala King. Center Jordan Bachynski stands tall in the pivot at 7-2, the tallest player in Sun Devils history.
DAYTON Nickname: Flyers Conference: Atlantic 10 Location: Dayton, Ohio 2010-11 Record (postseason result): 22-14 (NIT 1st round)
A perennial A-10 power, Dayton won the 2010 NIT Championship. Archie Miller’s Flyers feature junior forward Chris Johnson, the M.O.P. of the 2010 NIT and the A-10’s '09-10 Most Improved Player. Hot-shooting senior Josh Parker, a transfer from Drake, is another player to watch.
DEPAUL Nickname: Blue Demons Conference: Big East Location: Chicago 2010-11 Record: 7-24
The Blue Demons are working their way back up under Oliver Purnell, who will be starting his second year in Chicago. The Blue Demons are led by senior point guard Jeremiah Kelly, who in his first two seasons boasted a 2.5:1 assists-to-turnover ratio, and senior power forward Devin Hill, who has earned his stripes as a big-time shot-blocker.
FAIRFIELD Nickname: Stags Conference: Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) Location: Fairfield, Conn. 2010-11 Record (postseason result): 25-8 (NIT 2nd round)
The powerhouse Stags set a school record by winning 25 games in 2010-11 (48 in the last two seasons and the first MAAC regular-season title in 15 years), but will have a new look in 2011-12, as Head Coach Ed Cooley is headed to Providence. The cupboard is hardly bare for the conference’s third-best shooting and top defensive team in ’10-11, however, as the team returns its two top scorers--Derek Needham, who was First-Team All-MAAC, and Ryan Olander, the team’s second-leading scorer and leading rebounder.
INDIANA STATE Nickname: Sycamores Conference: Missouri Valley Location: Terre Haute, Ind. 2010-11 Record: (postseason result): 20-14 (NCAA 1st round)
In Greg Lansing’s first season at the helm, the Sycamores reached the NCAA Tournament for the first time in a decade by winning the MVC Tournament. They will be looking for more in 2011-12. ISU returns its top three scorers-- seniors Dwayne Lathan and Carl Richard, also the Sycamores’ leading rebounder, and sophomore Jake Odum, who was named Honorable Mention All-MVC, and to the All-Freshman and All-Defensive Teams. Senior Jordan Printy, the MVC’s top three-point shooter, also returns.
MINNESOTA Nickname: GOLDEN GOPHERS Conference: Big Ten Location: Minneapolis 2010-11 Record: 17-13
Minnesota’s string of back-to-back-to-back 20-win seasons and consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances ended in 2010-11, Tubby Smith was not happy about that and has the Golden Gophers ready to get back to 20 wins and the Big Dance. The Big Ten’s top field-goal-defending, rebounding and shot-blocking team is led by senior bigs Trevor Mbakwe, the Big Ten’s top rebounder, a Second-Team All-Big Ten selection and the team’s leading scorer and rebounder; and Ralph Sampson III, the team’s leading returning rebounder, and the conference’s second-leading shot-blocker.
TEXAS TECH Nickname: Red Raiders Conference: Big 12 Location: Lubbock, Texas 2010-11 Record: 13-19
It’ll be a new look for Texas Tech, as most of their starters from 2010-11 are gone, as is head coach Pat Knight. Billy Gillispie runs the show now and will try to bring the Red Raiders back into the Big 12 hunt. Senior center Robert Lewandowski is the top returning scorer. He was fifth in points and second in boards in ’10-11. Sophomore point guard Javarez Willis, who was fourth on the team in assists, is back to run the attack, and redshirt sophomore two-guard Marshall Henderson, another marksman, who saw limited action at the University of Utah, will help the offense.
WAKE FOREST Nickname: Demon Deacons Conference: Atlantic Coast Location: Winston-Salem, N.C. 2010-11 Record: 8-24
Better days should be ahead in Year 2 of the Jeff Bzdelik era at Wake Forest, as the Demon Deacons return four of their top five scorers, including sophomores Travis McKie, the team’s leading scorer and member of the ACC All-Freshman Team, and sharpshooting two-guard J.T. Terrell; and juniors C.J. Harris and Ari Stewart. Wake has a pair of 7-foot shot-blockers in sophomore Carson Desrosiers and senior center Ty Walker, the conference’s second-leading shot-blocker in ’10-11.