- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 11, 2008

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.

Story Continues →