Monday, July 18, 2011
Updated: July 20, 3:44 PM ET
Dickie V Preseason Top 40: 21-30
By Dick Vitale
21. Michigan: John Beilein's team surprised many people last season, but they will have even higher expectations this time around. Led by sophomore shooting guard, Tim Hardaway Jr., look for the Wolverines to be a force in the Big Ten this season.
22. Texas A&M: New coach Billy Kennedy takes over for Mark Turgeon and will have forward Khris Middleton up front for the Aggies.
23. Butler: Brad Stevens lost Matt Howard and Shelvin Mack but will work his mid-major magic. Look for Khyle Marshall to step up and lead the Bulldogs.
24. Michigan State: Tom Izzo's team will rebound after a rough 2010-11 campaign. Keith Appling will be a big-time performer for the Spartans.
25. Texas: Rick Barnes lost three players to the first round of the NBA draft (Tristan Thompson, Cory Joseph and Jordan Hamilton), but the Longhorns will bring in lots of young talent to balance the team.
26. Gonzaga: Mark Few has a great player in Elias Harris. Look for the Zags to return to the Big Dance for a 14th straight season.
27. George Mason: Paul Hewitt takes over for Jim Larranaga and it should be business as usual in the challenging Colonial Athletic Association.
28. Illinois: Yes, there is some pressure on coach Bruce Weber but his Illini will respond. Brandon Paul and D. J. Richardson will see their roles expanded even further this season.
29. UCLA: Ben Howland has the Wear twins coming in and that will help the Bruins build upon an already talented team.
30. West Virginia: "Huggy Bear," Bob Huggins, has senior guard Kevin Jones returning to a Mountaineer team that will always fight, claw and scrap their way into contention in the Big East.