Follow these Players, Part I

Harrison Barnes
North Carolina
Sophomore

Key Notes:
• The ninth Tar Heel to earn ACC Rookie of the Year honors
• Averaged 21.0 points and 8.3 rebounds in NCAA tourney play
• Posted the fifth-highest scoring average ever by a UNC freshman

Terrence Jones
Kentucky
Sophomore

Key Notes:
• Started 35 of 38 games, averaging 15.7 points per game and 8.8 rebounds per game
• Joined Sam Bowie as only freshman in UK history with 20-10 game in debut


 

Jeremy Lamb
Connecticut
Sophomore

Key Notes:
• Named to the Big East All-Rookie Team in 2010-11
• Named to the NCAA Final Four All-Tournament Team and averaged 16.2 points and 4.8 rebounds during the NCAA tourney

 

Jared Sullinger
Ohio State
Sophomore

Key Notes:
• Needs to average
just under 16 points a game over the first 23 games to reach 1,000 career points in less than 60 games
• Finalist for the Wooden & Naismith
awards a year ago
 

Jordan Taylor
Wisconsin
Senior

Key Notes:
• Named a second team All-American last season by Associated Press
• Led the nation with a 3.83 assist-to-turnover in 2010-11 for the Badgers
 

 

 

Follow these Players, Part II

Tu Holloway
Xavier
Senior

Key Notes:
• 2010-11 third team AP All-American, just the third Xavier player to earn AP first, second or third team honors
• Was A-10 Player of the Year after averaging 19.7 points per game last season

Kris Joseph
Syracuse
Senior

Key Notes:
• Averaged team-leading 14.3 points and 5.2 rebounds per game in 2010-11 for Orange
• Named to preseason All-Big East First Team in 2011-12
 

Alex Oriakhi
Connecticut
Junior

Key Notes:
• Recorded his 11th double-double of the season in the NCAA title game against Butler with 11 points, 11 rebounds and four blocks
• Finished second in Big East with 8.7 rebounds per game

Thomas Robinson
Kansas
Junior

Key Notes:
• Moves into starting lineup this year after being most productive bench player last season
• Selected as one of 10 finalists for the V Foundation Comeback Award
 

Jeffery Taylor
Vanderbilt
Senior

Key Notes:
• Named a second-team All-SEC player in 2010-11 and 2009-10
• Became 41st VU player to surpass 1,000-point mark last season against Davidson with a 22-point effort

Keep an Eye on These Programs

North Carolina Tar Heels

Noting North Carolina: The Tar Heels got quite the surprise when Harrison Barnes decided he was going to stick around Chapel Hill for another season. It took a good chunk of his freshman season to get going, but when he did, Barnes showed flashes as to why he was named a preseason first team All-American a year ago. He's on that team again, but maybe this time it's a little more deserving after he averaged 15.7 points per game in his first collegiate season. UNC will have the national stage early on when it meets Michigan State in the first Carrier Classic in San Diego, aboard the USS Carl Vinson on Nov. 11 to open each team's season. Thanks to the return of Barnes and others, the Tar Heels have the same starting five as a year ago -- including the likes of center Tyler Zeller. Look for the preseason No. 1 team in the nation to be at the top of the ACC, a year after reaching the regional final of the NCAA tournament.

Kentucky Wildcats

Noting Kentucky: The Wildcats, much like North Carolina, also had the good fortune of players returning to school instead of heading to the NBA after their freshman seasons. Terrence Jones and Doron Lamb fall into that group, off a team that made it to the Final Four a year ago. Lamb spent most of last season coming off the bench, but was still chosen to the SEC coaches' All-Freshman team after averaging 12.3 points per game. Jones was the conference's freshman of the season, after the forward 15.7 points per game. The schedule certainly shapes up nicely for UK, with the Wildcats hosting their three toughest non-conference games -- No. 1 North Carolina, No. 8 Louisville and No. 13 Kansas. The only road game in that portion of the slate is a visit to Indiana.

Ohio State Buckeyes

Noting Ohio State: The Buckeyes are in the preseason top five, mainly because of the return of sophomore forward Jared Sullinger. It's certainly not because of a veteran presence. The Buckeyes have only one senior and one junior transfer mixed in with six sophomores and five freshmen on a team that was the overall No. 1 seed in last season's NCAA tournament before falling to Kentucky in the Sweet Sixteen. As for Sullinger, he earned the Big Ten Freshman of the Week award 11 times. He was also everybody's national freshman of the year and gave BYU guard Jimmer Fredette a run for his money for national player of the year. He also tied the school record for most double-doubles (18) for a freshman.

Connecticut Huskies

Noting Connecticut: It was a year ago that UConn was picked to finish 10th in the Big East preseason poll. All the Huskies did was win five games in five days at the Big East Tournament and then run through the NCAA tournament with relative ease to another national championship. The guy that carried them there is gone -- Kemba Walker. But UConn still has weapons that are back, including sophomore Jeremy Lamb and junior Alex Oriakhi. Lamb really exploded onto the scene in the NCAA tournament last season, averaging 16.2 points per game in the postseason. Oriakhi finished second in the Big East in rebounding with 8.7 per game.

Syracuse Orange

Noting Syracuse: Four of five starters are back for the Orange this season after a third-place finish in the Big East a year ago in addition to nine of the top 10 scorers. One of those is guard Scoop Jardine who led the conference in assists. He will be joined by junior guard Brandon Triche, who started every game over the last two seasons; senior forward Kris Joseph, an All-Big East third-team selection last year; and sophomore center Fab Melo. Head coach Jim Boeheim must replace Rick Jackson, the lone starter gone from last year's team. Jackson led the Big East in rebounding, while also averaging 13.1 points per game.

Keep an eye on these events
vs.

Nov. 11 -- 7 p.m. ET: No. 1 North Carolina vs. Michigan State at San Diego (Carrier Clasic)

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Nov. 29 -- 9:30 p.m. ET: No. 6 Duke at No. 3 Ohio State

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Dec. 2 -- 8:30 p.m. ET: No. 7 Vanderbilt at No. 9 Louisville

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Dec. 2 -- 6:30 p.m. ET: No. 10 Florida at No. 5 Syracuse

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Dec. 3 -- noon ET: No. 1 North Carolina at No. 2 Kentucky

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Dec. 3 -- 4:30 p.m. ET: No. 22 Marquette at No. 15 Wisconsin

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Jan. 5 -- 11 p.m. ET: No. 16 Arizona at No. 17 UCLA

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Feb. 4 -- 1 p.m. ET: No. 14 Xavier at No. 9 Memphis

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Feb. 11 -- 1 p.m. ET: No. 4 Connecticut at No. 5 Syracuse

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Feb. 11 -- 9 p.m. ET: No. 7 Vanderbilt at No. 2 Kentucky

 

 

All photos courtesy of respective school athletic departments.