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Villanova Wildcats For the second year in a row, graduation losses have hit Villanova hard. This year 'Nova loses both center Malik Allen and guard Brian Lynch. Allen's domination of the inside game paired with Lynch's touch from the outside made the Cats a force to be reckoned with. All eyes are now turned to Kentucky transfer Michael Bradley, a 6'10" sophomore who, after sitting out last season, has potential to add power and stability to an already solid front line. Joining Bradley for the Wildcats are returning starters Brooks Sales, Gary Buchanan and Jermaine Medley. Along with its key group of starters, Villanova is armed with an uncommonly strong bench.

La Salle Explorers The Explorers may have lost Donnie Carr, a standout player and the team's morale booster, but he leaves behind a strong lineup of starters more than able to take up the slack. Veteran coach Speedy Morris' squad has a daunting assemblage of senior starters, all but one of whom check in at over 6'5". A strong court presence in starters and from the reserves, coupled with an international recruiting class with high expectations, makes La Salle a team poised to improve on last year's 11-17 record.

Temple Owls The loss of both Pepe Sanchez and Mark Karcher is not an inconsequential one for this year's Owls, but the return of starters Lynn Greer, Kevin Lyde and Quincy Wadley helps to fill some of the void left by their departing teammates. Coach John Chaney is characteristically modest about his 2000 squad's abilities, but a wild card remains in Greer, who -- though more comfortable as a shooting guard -- will try his hand at the point. Time will tell if this gamble will pay off at the Apollo.

St. Joseph's Hawks After an unprecedented defeat over venerable recruiter John Chaney, Hawks coach Phil Martelli secured in Jameer Nelson the point guard that both the Hawks and Owls so desperately need. Though the team will miss senior guard Na'im Crenshaw for the first two months of the season, the Hawks welcome 7'1" center Alexandre Sazonov, who redshirted last season. Also returning are Damian Reid, Bill Phillips and starting guard Marvin O'Connor. O'Connor promises to be a major factor in the Hawks' success -- if he can keep his quick temper in check.

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