1. North Carolina (36-3 in 2007-08)
Upside: Tyler Hansbrough comes back healthy, and a nearly intact Final Four team finishes the job in April.
Downside: The Tar Heels fall apart without “Psycho T” and are a top-10 team rather than unquestioned favorites.
2. Louisville (27-9)
Upside:Rick Pitino puts all the pieces together, and the Cardinals celebrate their first national title since 1986.
Downside: A good - but not great - backcourt slows Louisville in the postseason.
3. Connecticut (24-9)
Upside: Size (Hasheem Thabeet) and vision (A.J. Price) help the Huskies scale the rough Big East.
Downside: Calhoun’s crew isn’t any better than the bunch that muddled through February and March.
4. Pittsburgh (27-10)
Upside: Like every year, the Panthers are big, physical and a threat to make the Sweet 16.
Downside: Howland- and Dixon-era Pitt teams are 0-4 in regional semifinals.
5. UCLA (35-4)
Upside: Point guard Darren Collison is back for his senior year after another Final Four humbling.
Downside: The Bruins will rely heavily on freshmen - albeit extremely talented ones.View Entire Story
Patrick Stevens has covered Maryland and other Mid-Atlantic college sports for more than a decade. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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