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HOOPS '00-01: What to look for as the season starts

Updated:
Some of the players, coaches and games to watch for as the 2000-01 season begins:

Top 10 Non-Conference Games

1. Pepperdine at Indiana, Nov. 14 _ This first-round Preseason NIT game will be Indiana's first without coach Bob Knight and it also is a rematch of the last game he coached for the Hoosiers, a 20-point loss in the opening round of the NCAA tournament.

2. Temple at Memphis, Nov. 17 _ Both teams have to win first-round games in the Preseason NIT, but if they do it's another chance for John Chaney and John Calipari to meet at a postgame news conference.

3. Almost any game in the Maui Invitational, Nov. 20-22 _ This tournament field looks like the second week of an NCAA bracket. Arizona, Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, Dayton, Louisville and UNLV join Chaminade, the Division II host school.

4. Illinois vs. Duke at Greensboro, N.C., Nov. 28 _ This is the premier matchup of the ACC-Big Ten Challenge.

5. Florida at Michigan State, Dec. 6 _ For those with poor memories, this is a rematch of last season's national championship game.

6. Xavier at Cincinnati, Dec. 14 _ This is one of the best intracity rivalries. Cincinnati will remember how Xavier fans celebrated when the Musketeers beat the then-No. 1 Bearcats last season.

7. Arizona vs. Illinois at Chicago, Dec. 16 _ A week earlier Arizona will have played at Connecticut, so these teams will be well-tested by this one.

8. Michigan State at Seton Hall, Dec. 19 _ One of the games in the Jimmy V Classic pits two of the best freshmen classes in the country.

9. Tennessee at Syracuse, Dec. 22 _ Orange you glad they scheduled this one?

10. Duke at St. John's, Feb. 18 _ These teams have split two classics the last two seasons.

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Top 10 Freshmen To Watch

(In alphabetical order)

1. Caron Butler, Connecticut _ a 6-6 small forward with tremendous offensive skills.

2. Chris Duhon, Duke _ just what the Blue Devils need, another versatile guard to join Jason Williams.

3. Eddie Griffin, Seton Hall _ New Jersey hasn't been this excited about anything since the Turnpike opened.

4. Rolando Howell, South Carolina _ at 6-9, 220, a real inside presence.

5. Jared Jeffries, Indiana _ last year's Mr. Basketball stayed in state.

6. Jason Parker, Kentucky _ North Carolina wouldn't admit him and the Wildcats jumped at the chance.

7. Zach Randolph, Michigan State _ he is 6-9, 270 and owns the paint.

8. Marcus Taylor, Michigan State _ he steps right into the sneakers of Mateen Cleaves.

9. Gerald Wallace, Alabama _ most people can't believe this 6-7 slasher didn't go right to the NBA.

10. Three-headed point guard of Andre Barrett, Seton Hall; Taliek Brown, Connecticut; and Omar Cook, St. John's _ these three have to be an entry because they're the best point guards to come out of New York City at once since 1983 when Mark Jackson (St. John's), Kenny Smith (North Carolina) and Pearl Washington (Syracuse) were in the same class.

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Top 10 Transfers of Impact

(In alphabetical order)

1. Michael Bradley, Villanova _ the 6-10 junior was one of the best shooters in the country in his two seasons at Kentucky.

2. Chris Burgess, Utah _ an athletic big man who left Duke after two seasons.

3. Sean Connolly, Ohio State _ a good shooter, he averaged 11 points as a freshman at Providence.

4. Greedy Daniels, Texas Christian _ an excellent defender who learned about up-tempo offense in two seasons at UNLV.

5. Ruben Douglas, New Mexico _ a solid guard who played one season at Arizona and will be eligible in December.

6. Maurice Evans, Texas _ a true scorer, he was ninth in the nation at 22.6 points a game as a sophomore at Wichita State.

7. Adam Harrington, Auburn _ a good 3-point shooter who made the all-ACC freshman team in his only season at North Carolina State.

8. Ryan Humphrey, Notre Dame _ a 6-8 small forward who played three seasons at Oklahoma, he'll help take the defensive attention away from Troy Murphy.

9. Luke Recker, Iowa _ an all-Big Ten player in his two seasons at Indiana, he transferred to Arizona but didn't play there after getting hurt in a car wreck.

10. Victor Williams, Oklahoma State _ he was the Missouri Valley Conference freshman of the year in his only season at Illinois State and now replaces Doug Gottlieb in running the Cowboys.

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TOP 10 COACHING CHANGES TO WATCH

(In alphabetical order)

1. Delaware _ David Henderson steps in with no head coaching experience, but former Mike Krzyzewski assistants Tommy Amaker at Duke and Quin Snyder at Missouri didn't have any, either.

2. Illinois _ Bill Self had the season of a lifetime last year at Tulsa and he inherits a team here with a lot more talent.

3. Indiana _ Mike Davis' first head coaching job will be under a microscope as he follows Bob Knight.

4. Memphis _ John Calipari is back from the NBA, and a basketball crazy city wants to get back into the national championship picture.

5. Miami _ Perry Clark moves from Tulane to a program that Leonard Hamilton moved to the top of the Big East.

6. North Carolina _ Matt Doherty is back where he went to school, following Bill Guthridge, who never received the proper recognition for two Final Fours and 80 wins in three seasons.

7. Northwestern _ Bill Carmody's gaudy 92-25 record in four seasons at Princeton is going to take a hit, but it will be interesting to see if he keeps the same style in the Big Ten.

8. Notre Dame _ Mike Brey had a good thing going at Delaware and he now takes over a program that is ready to return to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1990.

9. Princeton _ John Thompson III moves down the bench to replace Carmody. It's a sure bet things won't change much in style of play as another son follows his father in the business.

10. St. Peter's _ Bob Leckie is the only coach among the 50-plus changes this season in Division I to make the jump from the high school ranks. He coached at Bishop Loughlin in Brooklyn.

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