THE TIMES’ RANKINGS
*--* Rank Team (rec.) Comments 1 CONNECTICUT (2-0) Emeka Okafor reminds us true student-athletes exist. 2 DUKE (0-0) Get used to the name of freshman Luol Deng. 3 MICHIGAN STATE (0-0) It’s time Tom Izzo got back to the Final Four. 4 MISSOURI (0-0) Rickey Paulding, Arthur Johnson -- and no more Rickey Clemons. 5 SYRACUSE (0-0) Even without Carmelo Anthony, defending champions are pretty good. 6 TEXAS (1-0) No T.J. Ford, but four seniors from Final Four team. 7 KANSAS (0-0) Heavy losses: Kirk Hinrich, Nick Collison and Roy Williams. 8 FLORIDA (0-0) Loaded with young talent, but Gators have underachieved. 9 KENTUCKY (0-0) Tubby Smith stayed in school and got the big contract. 10 ARIZONA (0-0) Wildcats must find leadership without Jason Gardner and Luke Walton. 11 N. CAROLINA (0-0) Watch Tar Heels run with Roy Williams as coach. 12 STANFORD (0-0) Experienced lineup, and point guard Chris Hernandez has healed. 13 ILLINOIS (0-0) Bruce Weber replaces Bill Self. 14 ST. JOSEPH’S (1-0) Jameer Nelson almost had triple-double in first game of season. 15 WAKE FOREST (1-0) Taron Downey lost appendix, scored 20 points. 16 WISCONSIN (0-0) Badgers were in Sweet 16 and Devin Harris is one of Big Ten’s stars. 17 LOUISVILLE (0-0) Keep an eye on sophomore Francisco Garcia. 18 OKLAHOMA (0-0) Freshman Andrew Lavender, only 5 feet 7, is the point guard. 19 CINCINNATI (0-0) Transfers Rob Whaley and James White will have big impact. 20 PITTSBURGH (1-0) Jamie Dixon starts coaching career with a W. 21 MARQUETTE (1-0) Point guard Travis Diener is a gamer. 22 NOTRE DAME (0-0) OK, so it’s a basketball school again. 23 N. CAROLINA ST. (0-0) Julius Hodge is a star, and the return of Ilian Evtimov is big. 24 GONZAGA (0-1) Not top-10 material against St. Joseph’s but give Bulldogs time. 25 CALIFORNIA (0-0) Smooth big man Amit Tamir returns, and freshman Leon Powe draws raves.