Alabama's Steele to have second knee surgery (ESPN)
This seems like a really long time ago (I guess it kind of is), but on December 4th last year, Alabama was in the top 5 in both polls. This is notable because they finished the year 8th in the SEC, and lost in the first round of the SEC tournament. They didn't even make the NCAAs, and lost to UMass in the first round of the NIT.
A big reason for this was Steele. He was bothered by both tendinitis in his knee and a high ankle sprain all year, averaging only 8.6 ppg, missing full games, and playing 12 minutes or less in three others. This was quite a disappointment, as he had averaged 14.3 ppg and made the All-SEC team in his sophomore year, and was actually a preseason All-American prior to the 06-07 season.
It looks like it's going to be a tough year for Alabama, as Jermareo Davidson (who averaged 14 points and 8 boards) graduated. They say Steele will be ready for the season, but there are certainly no guarantees with him at this point. They do have two heralded recruits, in PG Rico Pickett and SG Senario Hillman.
Brandon Rush Is Healing Quickly (FanHouse, KU Sports) This team is scary. Kansas returns everyone but Julian Wright. They also have freshman center Cole Aldrich (30th on the Rivals150) coming in to fill the position that was Kansas' only real weakness in '06-'07.
Rush had surgery on his right ACL on June 1. His supposed timetable of coming back between Nov. 1 and Jan. 1 hasn't changed, but that doesn't really tell us much, as it's a two month window. But as long as he returns before their Big 12 opener against Nebraska on January 12th.
Rush (13.8 points, 5.6 rebounds, .431 3P%) is the guy that really stands out, but the Jayhawks' strength is their depth. Fellow junior Mario Chalmers was impressive last year, averaging 12 points, 3 rebounds and 3 assists while shooting 49% from the floor. They also have Darrell Arthur (9.8 ppg, .538 FG%), Sherron Collins (9.3 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 2.9 apg) and Russell Robinson (7.2, 3.1, 4.4) returning.
07-08 ACC Schedules Released (FanHouse, News & Observer)
Some of the non conference highlights:
November 17: Virginia @ Arizona
November 23: Florida State @ Florida
November 27: Wisconsin @ Duke
November 28: NC State @ Michigan State, North Carolina @ Ohio State
December 1: Duke vs. Davidson (Charlotte Bobcats' arena), North Carolina @ Kentucky
December 15: Florida St. vs. Butler (Indianapolis)
December 18: Kansas @ Georgia Tech
December 20: Duke vs. Pittsburgh (Madison Square Garden, so essentially a home game for Duke)
December 21: Davidson @ NC State
January 5: Kansas @ Boston College
January 9: Georgia Tech @ Georgia
February 9: Georgia Tech @ UConn
The ACC Tournament will be in Charlotte, March 13-15. Those two Davidson games fascinate me. Last year the Wildcats, led by freshman Stephen Curry (pronounced STEFF-en; 21.5 ppg), went 29-5 before losing to Maryland in the first round of the NCAAs despite Curry's 30 points. They have everybody returning this year, and could go undefeated in the Southern Conference (they were 17-1 last year). Here's a good article on Davidson by Kyle Whelliston.
Photos taken from here, here, and here. All stats from ESPN.