Coaches on the hot seatBobby Cremins, Georgia Tech. Yellow...

November 13, 1998

Coaches on the hot seat

Bobby Cremins, Georgia Tech. Yellow Jackets won 19 last season, but lost Dion Glover for the season.

Ron Jirsa, Georgia. After barely scratching out 20 wins with the fully-loaded team Tubby Smith left, Jirsa is in the Dawg house.

Nolan Richardson, Arkansas. Now that his team has the talent to contend in the SEC, the pressure will be back on the head Hog.

Denny Crum, Louisville. Talk about fallen icons. The team is coming off a 12-20 season and is going on NCAA probations.

John MacLeod, Notre Dame. If he had been the football coach, he would have been long gone.

Most underrated players

Peter Sauer, Stanford. Sauer was the glue who kept team from faltering when Mark Madsen got injured.

Wayne Turner, Kentucky. The unsung Turner played key roles in shutting down counterparts Steve Wojciechowski, Arthur Lee and Andre Miller.

Lari Ketner, Massachusetts. Ketner, 6 feet 10, nearly made the Goodwill Games team last summer, but his decidedly low profile might have been a factor.

Ricky Moore, Connecticut. The Huskies' defensive tone is set by the 6-2 senior guard.

Lee Nailon, Texas Christian. After transferring from junior college, Nailon, 6-9, averaged close to 25 points for the shoot-'em-up Horned Frogs.

Best transfers

Scoonie Penn, Ohio State. The 5-10 point guard tagged along with his coach, Jim O'Brien, for the trip from Boston College to Columbus.

Jason Collier, Georgia Tech. With Dion Glover out for the year with a torn ligament in his knee, Collier, a 7-0 transfer from Indiana, could be the team's best outside shooter.

Sam Okey, Iowa. Once a prized recruit at Wisconsin, Okey has seemingly spent more time in the courtroom than on the court.

Gary Saunders, Seton Hall. The former Georgia Tech guard could give Shaheen Holloway some much- needed help in the backcourt.

Courtney Alexander, Fresno State. Alexander never saw a shot he didn't like - or take - during his two years at Virginia.

Freshmen of note

Dan Gadzuric, UCLA. Gadzuric, 6-11, 240 pounds, may give the Bruins something they haven't had in a long time - a center who fancies himself as such.

Erick Barkley, St. John's. The Red Storm has not had a freshman point guard this good since Mark Jackson 15 years ago.

Quentin Richardson, DePaul. The spot for Richardson in the Blue Demons' backcourt opened up when leading scorer Jermaine Watts left school.

Kevin Lyde, Temple. With Lyde, 6-10, 240 pounds, playing center, power forward Lamont Barnes can return to his more natural position.

Vincent Yarbrough, Tennessee. Yar- brough stayed home and passed up a chance to play for Kentucky.

Potential Bryce Drews

Gabe Lewullis, Princeton. The player who helped bring down UCLA with a backdoor layup is now a senior.

Wally Szczerbiak, Miami, Ohio. Was one of the stars of last summer's Goodwill Games team.

Michael Ruffin, Tulsa. With leading scorer Rod Thompson gone, Ruffin could double his production (10.5 points), but he has to keep being a bear on the boards (9.5).

Brad Millard, St. Mary's. After a broken foot last season, the Big Continent is back along with the top 12 scorers from last year's team.

Kevin Ault, Southwest Missouri State. Deadeye shooter (90 percent free throws, 42.9 percent on threes) reminds people of Drew.

Toughest home courts

Allen Fieldhouse, Kansas. As Dorothy told Toto, "There's no place like home" - a Division I-best 60 straight victories.

Walton Arena, Arkansas. The new place is bigger, louder and just as effective as Barnhill, as evidenced by 23 straight wins.

Cameron Indoor Stadium, Duke. When North Carolina comes over, it's still the best show in basketball.

Maples Pavilion, Stanford. Any place where the floor shakes continuously has to be a tough one to play.

Huntsman Center, Utah. Start with the nearly mile-high altitude that has teams sucking wind, then consider the teams Rick Majerus puts on the floor and the defense they play.

Games worth watching

Dec. 5: Michigan State at Connecticut. Considering Connecticut's rather unimposing Big East and nonconference schedule, this could be the biggest challenge the Huskies face in the regular season.

Dec. 12: Maryland at Kentucky. The Terrapins have experience and big-game savvy, but whether they have enough to beat the Wildcats on their home court is another matter.

Dec. 22: Duke vs. Kentucky in East Rutherford, N.J. It was in the Meadowlands that Duke's Christian Laettner beat Connecticut in the East Regional final in 1990.

Jan. 16: Stanford at UCLA. Stanford, the most experienced team in the Pac-10, is coming off a Final Four appearance, and UCLA will be trying to back up the hype of its Fab Five-like recruiting class.

Feb. 27: Duke at North Carolina. What would this list be without one between the Blue Devils and Tar Heels?

Pub Date: 11/13/98

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