65 things to watch during the 2009-10 season
With the start of the 2009-10 campaign upon us, we'll give you 65 storylines to watch:
1. Kansas is the consensus No. 1 team in the land to begin the season, and Bill Self's team is loaded with talent. However, the Jayhawks have had their share of off-the-court issues lately. Will this result in a lack of focus and derail the Jayhawks from making a national title run?
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2. How will new Kentucky coach John Calipari mesh the old with the new? Patrick Patterson, Darius Miller and Perry Stevenson must figure out a way to co-exist with the new guys in Lexington — freshmen John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, Eric Bledsoe, Darnell Dodson and Daniel Orton.
3. NBA great Isiah Thomas takes over at Florida International. He has already made a splash on the recruiting trail, but will anyone pay attention after Nov. 9, when FIU plays in Chapel Hill against the defending champs to tip off the college hoops season?
4. How far down has the Pac-10 fallen? It's clearly at the bottom among the BCS conferences this year. There's a legitimate chance Arizona — a team with senior point guard Nic Wise and a bunch of freshmen who signed late with new coach Sean Miller — can realistically vie for third place in the league. That's when you know the conference has taken a significant hit.
5. There's also a chance Arizona's streak of 25 consecutive NCAA tournaments — the longest current streak in the country — could come to a halt.
6. Calipari didn't exactly leave the cupboard full for new Memphis coach Josh Pastner. They'll still have a chance to compete for the league crown thanks to the fact that Duke transfer Elliott Williams is eligible this season, but the Tigers are awfully thin this year.
7. Can Butler pull a George Mason and get to the Final Four? With talented sophomore Gordon Hayward and bruiser Matt Howard in the post, the Bulldogs have as much of a chance as just about anyone not named Kansas, Kentucky or Texas.