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Wednesday, November 13
Updated: November 18, 12:09 PM ET
 
OU Didn't Know? Sooners No. 1

Rick Pitino
Sampson and the Sooners are our pick to win it all.

Toughness. That's what it ultimately came down to in anointing Oklahoma No. 1. But our preseason ranking isn't based on perception alone. ESPN.com Power 16 is a complete examination of the country's top teams.
•Case for ... No. 2 Arizona | No. 3 Kansas | Experts' Picks
•ESPNMag: Wild Child | The Bounce | Sweet 16 | Photos

tough squad
The toughest players in the country? ESPN.com found 'em playing with the Big boys and in the Ivy.
Tough Squad
dukelondon
Duke put its own twist on Midnight Madness by taking a trip to London.
Mission accomplished
tough squad
Oklahoma is ESPN.com's preseason No. 1 team. Why? The numbers say so. ESPN.com Power 16


Conference Previews
ACC
Fresh faces, new approach in Virginia?
Team Caps


Atlantic 10
Oh, what a difference a year makes.
Team Caps


Big East
Plenty of balance among plenty of beasts.
Team Caps


Big Ten
Who'll be next Big surprise in March?
Team Caps


Big 12
It doesn't get much tougher than this.
Team Caps


Conference USA
Can anyone change same old Cincy story?
Team Caps


Mountain West
Things will get physical atop Mountain.
Team Caps


Pac-10
Blue-collar Bruins? You better believe it.
Team Caps


SEC
Go ahead, try to pick a favorite. We can't.
Team Caps


WAC
Finding a foreign effect over the Rainbow.
Team Caps


The Toughest ...

Fresh Faces
The ACC is loaded with some of the best, but freshmen around the country will be playing more important roles than ever. Story

Katz: Patience please, at UNC | Vitale's Diaper Dandies
ACC's blue chips 'all in' | Carmelo turning heads at 'Cuse

Players
Hey, tough guys ... ESPN.com's Tough Squad has next! Story
Squad: Coverdale | Onyekwe | Dudley
Okafor | West | Ford | Price

Duos
Whether it's in the backcourt, in the frontcourt, or inside and out, look for these talented pairs to tango all the way to the Big Dance in the Big Easy.Story
Katz: Two Lukes, one tough duo | Vitale's Top Duos
Survey: Toughest Duos

Players to Replace
One Zag won't be asked to fill Dan Dickau's sneakers this season. But, will Gonzaga's depth overcome the loss of arguably the best player in school history? Story
Katz: Missed the most | Vitale: Irreplaceable?
National Survey: Toughest Players to Replace

Practices
Every coach works his team.. A few work 'em a little harder. Then, there are the workouts that give players nightmares -- if they can get any sleep at all. Story
Survey: Toughest practices | Going to 'War' | Selling OU-t

Conference
The Big 12 broke through last year with two Final Four teams. This season, life will be even tougher for contenders who must deal with a conference full of NCAA-caliber teams. Story
Vitale: Toughest Conferences

Expectations
When reaching the Sweet Sixteen doesn't satisfy the fan base, maybe expectations are too high. But that's life in the Commonwealth, where Kentucky can't win enough. Story
Vitale: Tough Expectations | Survey: Toughest Fans

Mid-Majors
When a loss in the first-round in the NCAA Tournament is considered an upset, can a team really be called a "mid-major". Well, yes. But Gonzaga continues to blur the line. Story
Tulsa caught in middle | Philly's best in Ivy
Top 10 | Conference breakdowns
Mid-Majors Toughest: Players | Programs | Vitale's Best




More Features
Courtside With Katz

  • A little 'friendly' help
  • Williams trying to recreate a champion
  • Arizona as good as advertised
  • Leading men in East Lansing
    Great Debate
  • Katz: Champions defined by toughness
  • Case for No. 1: Arizona | Kansas | Oklahoma | What about Duke?
    Importing Talent, Exporting Wins
  • Forde: International intrigue sweeping country
  • Hawaii's melting pot stiring up success
    Kentucky's Finest
  • Curry: Top of Hill | Post Grad
    Midnight Madness
  • Gustafson: Champs christen Comcast
    Bracketology Madness
  • Preseason NCAA Tournament Projections | Bracket Banter






  •  More from ESPN...

    AUDIO/VIDEO
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    Arizona head coach Lute Olson isn't paying too much attention to his team's No. 1 ranking.
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     Bouncing Back
    ESPN's Dick Vitale expects Duke to shake off the loss of key players and keep rolling.
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     Season V-Preview
    ESPN's Dick Vitale weighs in with his conference of the year, player of the year and top diaper dandy.
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