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Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Dickie V's Top 40

Top 40

Dick Vitale SPECIAL TO ESPN.COM

When looking at the landscape of college basketball, the 2006-07 season should be excitement galore, baby!

There are so many talented teams out there. I mean just look what happened with George Mason, the Cinderella story making it to the Final Four. Will we see more surprises this season?
It is time to look at my summertime rankings for the upcoming campaign, 10 at a time until I unveil number one. Here we go.

1. North Carolina Roy Williams has a super recruiting class coming in to join Tyler Hansbrough and company. There will be joy on Franklin Street!
2. Florida Joakim Noah, Corey Brewer, Al Horford and company want to be the first repeat champion since Duke. The Gators have a legit shot of doing it.
3. Kansas Rock, chalk, Jayhawk! They will be rocking and rolling in Lawrence as Bill Self's team is loaded.
4. Ohio State Thad Matta needs a healthy Greg Oden. The Buckeyes should be the team to beat in the Big Ten.
5. UCLA Ben Howland is happy Arron Afflalo returned to school. The Bruins are the best in the West.
6. Pittsburgh Jamie Dixon loses guard Carl Krauser but returns Aaron Gray in the middle.
7. LSU Glen Davis decided to stay in school so John Brady has a tough SEC challenger.
8. Georgetown John Thompson III has done a nice job and he has talent up front in Roy Hibbert and Jeff Green.
9. Alabama Ronald Steele is one of the premier point guards in America.
10. Duke Look for big things from Josh McRoberts as he moves into a more natural position up front.
11. Wisconsin Bo Ryan is one of the unsung heroes in the coaching profession. Alando Tucker and Kammron Taylor will make sweet music.
12. Marquette Tom Crean loses Steve Novak but he has a lot of returning talent, including a guy I love in Dominic James.
13. Boston College Jared Dudley and company will be tough in the ACC.
14. Arizona Lute Olson is glad Mustafa Shakur returned. Marcus Williams will be a big-time super soph.
15. Connecticut It is not a rebuilding period for Jim Calhoun ... it is re-loading, baby!
16. Villanova If Curtis Sumpter can return to form, watch out.
17. Memphis John Calipari lost a lot but will still be the team to beat in C-USA.
18. Tennessee Bruce Pearl's squad wasn't a one-hit wonder. Look for big things from Chris Lofton.
19. Texas If Rick Barnes had LaMarcus Aldridge, PJ Tucker and Daniel Gibson back the Longhorns would be in the top three. Instead, Kevin Durant will step in and be a major impact player.
20. Louisville Rick Pitino's team will bounce back with David Padgett a factor up front.
21. Kentucky Big blue fans should relax because Tubby Smith is a flat-out winner.
22. Gonzaga Even without Adam Morrison, Mark Few has built up a consistent program.
23. Texas A&M The Aggies won't sneak up on people any more. This is a Big 12 contender.
24. Georgia Tech Paul Hewitt's club will bounce back big time as diaper dandies Thaddeus Young and Javaris Crittenton shine immediately.
25. Xavier Drew Lavender is eligible after transferring from Oklahoma.
26. Oklahoma State Sean Sutton's first full season as coach will be special, led by JamesOn Curry.
27. Illinois With names like McBride, Pruitt and Frazier, this team will be better than people think.
28. Washington Even without Brandon Roy, Lorenzo Romar has a team that will make noise in the Pac-10.
29. Southern Illinois Could this be this year's George Mason?
30. San Diego State If Marcus Slaughter had returned to school, this would have been a Top 20 team.
31. Wichita State Even without MVC most outstanding player Paul Miller, this squad will be dangerous.
32. Creighton Nate Funk's return has opponents in a funk.
33. California If Leon Powe had returned ...
34. Texas Tech The General, Robert Montgomery Knight, enjoys a record-breaking season.
35. Nevada Coach Mark Fox is smiling as Nick Fazekas is back.
36. Arkansas The fans in Razorback country will be in hog heaven with this squad.
37. Michigan Even without Daniel Horton, coach Tommy Amaker knows he has a team with potential.
38. Florida State Leonard Hamilton will rely on his guards. Former Auburn star Toney Douglas will have an impact.
39. South Carolina Dave Odom's team wants to build on its NIT success.
40. Maryland Gary Williams' club will bounce back strong.

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