1. Duke: Coach Krzyzewski has four seniors, led by guard J.J. Redick and forward Shelden Williams, and a boatload of talented freshmen.

2. Texas: Longhorns have one ingredient Duke doesn't: Daniel Gibson, a silky smooth point guard.

3. Michigan State: Four starters back from last season's Final Four squad; center Paul Davis must continue to improve.

4. Connecticut: Huskies had a laundry list of offseason off-court issues, including loss of point guards A.J. Price, who was dismissed for stealing laptops, and Marcus Williams, out until January for same offense.

5. Gonzaga: Bulldogs have to get better on defense, especially after losing center Ronny Turiaf to graduation.

6. Oklahoma: With Taj Gray, Terrell Everett and Kevin Bookout back, this might be Coach Kelvin Sampson's best team yet.

7. Villanova: Final Four was a possibility for Wildcats until forward Curtis Sumpter suffered another knee injury.

8. Stanford: Cardinal's success depends on health of swingman Dan Grunfeld.

9. Louisville: Francisco Garcia and Ellis Myles are gone, so Coach Rick Pitino is counting on freshmen.

10. Arizona: Guards Hassan Adams and Mustafa Shakur must play bigger roles for Wildcats.

11. Kentucky: Wildcats really need center Randolph Morris, who might not be eligible after entering NBA draft and then pulling out.

12. Boston College: With Craig Smith and Jared Dudley, Eagles might be Duke's biggest challenger in their first ACC season.

13. Memphis: With Louisville leaving for Big East Conference, Tigers are class of Conference USA.

14. UCLA: Former Pittsburgh coach Ben Howland is leading a Bruins' renaissance, but they're still very young.

15. Illinois: Point guard Dee Brown's bad luck will keep Illini near top of Big Ten Conference.

16. Syracuse: Coach Jim Boeheim redesigned offense around guard Gerry McNamara and unproven shooters.

17. Maryland: Terrapins will be very dangerous if D.J. Strawberry provides consistency at point guard.

18. West Virginia: Four starters back from last season's Cinderella team, including sharp-shooting center Kevin Pittsnogle.

19. Alabama: Crimson Tide must get major contribution from freshman forward Richard Hendrix.

20. Iowa: Time for Hawkeyes to starting living up to expectations under Coach Steve Alford.

21. North Carolina State: Herb Sendek is perhaps the most underrated coach in the country.

22. Indiana: Coach Mike Davis can't get a break; star forward D.J. White out six weeks because of a broken foot.

23. Wake Forest: If Justin Gray can replace Chris Paul at point guard, the Demon Deacons will be a threat in ACC.

24. Texas Tech: Red Raiders have eight newcomers so Coach Bob Knight will have to be patient -- yeah, right.

25. Northern Iowa: Panthers have five starters back from last season's NCAA tournament squad.