Atlantic 10 Head of the class: Chaz Williams
leads five players in double figures in scoring, but the length and athleticism for UMass makes it tough defensively. Saint Louis' two losses came to Wichita State and Wisconsin by a combined 11 points. The Billikens just don't hurt themselves. VCU (which could sit atop the ACC standings with wins over Virginia, Boston College and Virginia Tech) took some blows early, but appears to be back on track. Honor roll potential:
Dayton got everyone's attention with its defeat of Gonzaga and near-upset of Baylor at the Maui Invitational. Jordan Sibert
can go for 20 any game. Headed for detention:
La Salle returned six of the top seven players in its rotation from last year's Sweet 16 team. The Explorers haven't lived up to high expectations for this season as the losses pile up.
Big East Head of the class:
Villanova's James Bell
and JayVaughn Pinkston
are as tough a duo to guard as any in the nation. Creighton's Doug McDermott
has it poised for a title in its first year in the league. Honor roll potential:
Xavier had early stumbles but is trending in the right direction after winning six straight. Headed for detention:
Marquette coach Buzz Williams' decision to play a challenging schedule backfired when the Golden Eagles failed to win a marquee game. Until they win a game when they're not the favorite, the once-perceived conference front-runner will likely be a middle-of-the-pack team.
Big Ten Head of the class:
Ohio State is void of an individual superstar on offense, but the Buckeyes seem to work better that way. The ability of Wisconsin's Sam Dekker
and Frank Kaminsky
to play inside or out is a headache for opposing coaches doing scouting reports. If Michigan State can stay healthy, coach Tom Izzo will once again have it contending for a national title. Honor roll potential:
Iowa's only two losses came by a combined six points to Villanova in overtime and at Iowa State. Illinois' Rayvonte Rice
and Indiana's Yogi Ferrell
had a scoring duel Tuesday indicative of how close games in the league will be this season. Minnesota coach Richard Pitino is turning the Barn back into a place you don't want to visit. Headed for detention:
Even before the bad news hit that Mitch McGary
needed back surgery, Michigan fell from top 10 to not mentioned at all. The Wolverines are facing withdrawal after being spoiled by the playmaking abilities of Trey Burke last season.