Name you know: 6-6 junior forward Jordan Swing (14.7 ppg, .446 3-pointers).
Name to learn: 6-5 juco forward Rod Rucker (14.0 ppg, 7.9 rpg).
Comments: Jerod Haase, a first-year head coach but a longtime Roy Williams disciple, has to be an improvement over Mike Davis on the Blazers' bench. Non-conference schedule was reasonably strong, but Blazers didn't beat any of the tough foes.
6. Tulsa (9-6, 1-0)
The pretty: 72-68 win at Oral Roberts.
The ugly: 57-41 loss at Stephen F. Austin.
Name you know: Scottie Haralson (9.8 ppg, 32 made 3-pointers).
Name to learn: James Woodard (14.2 ppg, multiple freshman-of-the-week honoree).
Comments: Under new coach Danny Manning, the Golden Hurricane survived a 13-point second half Sunday night to beat Larry Brown's Southern Methodist team, 47-46. Old NFL fans will recognize the name of juco transfer Pat Swilling Jr., who hit the winning 3-pointer, but there isn't much familiar with this team after the firing of coach Doug Wojcik.
7. East Carolina (9-4)
The pretty: 93-87 loss to North Carolina.
The ugly: 86-81 overtime loss to Campbell.
Name you know: 6-8 forward Maurice Kemp (18.1 ppg, 8.8 rpg, 2.5 apg, 22 steals).
Name to learn: 6-foot junior Akeem Richmond (.429 3-pointers), Rhode Island transfer.
Comments: This, not Tulane, is truly my hold-your-nose pick. Jeff Lebo's Pirates fattened up on four non-Division I teams, but losses were respectable - until they chunked one to the Camels. Typical ECU.
8. Marshall (7-8)
The pretty: 89-82 win over Nevada, a game not nearly that close.
The ugly: 94-57 loss to Ohio, a game not nearly that close.
Comments: Kane may be two weeks or more away from pain-free use of his right hand, and defenders will exploit that. As mentioned, the biggest problem right now is a lack of hunger.
9. SMU (10-6, 0-1)
The pretty: 62-55 win over Utah.
The ugly: 72-50 loss at Rhode Island.
Name you know: Jalen Jones (14.5 ppg, 8.3 rpg).
Name to learn: Nick Russell (14.2 ppg, 4.2 apg), Kansas State transfer.
Comments: Expect legendary coach Brown to take a few coaches to school despite a severe lack of depth. If nothing else, the Mustangs showed tenacity in overcoming a 34-17 halftime deficit before losing to Tulsa.
10. Houston (11-2)
The pretty: 77-75 win at San Jose State.
The ugly: 81-80 loss at Prairie View.
Name you know: 6-8 sophomore forward TaShawn Thomas (18.0 ppg, 10.5 rpg, 28 blocks).
Name to learn: 6-7 freshman Danuel House (12.5 ppg, 5.0 rpg, multiple freshman-of-the-week honoree).
Comments: Same tune, different year - young, athletic team with fluffy non-conference schedule, dangerous enough to take seriously yet too flawed to contend.
11. Rice (3-10)
The pretty: 63-60 win over Chicago State. In overtime.
The ugly: 97-70 loss to LIU-Brooklyn.
Name you know: Tamir Jackson (17.2 ppg, 6.8 rpg).
Name to learn: Austin Ramljak (7.6 ppg, .357 3-pointers).
Comments: Player of the year candidate Arsalan Kazemi transferred to Oregon, 7-foot Egyptian Omar Oraby left for Southern Cal and four others left the program, a development linked to coach Ben Braun's release of assistant Marco Morcos. As you witness this disaster, remember this: The Owls were the last C-USA team playing last March, making the CIT quarterfinals.
With UCF serving that postseason ban, only 11 teams will play in the C-USA tournament in Tulsa. That means the top five teams receive first-round byes and the sixth-place team faces Rice.
As recently as a month ago, one would have figured Marshall to be a shoo-in for the top six, but recent results have cast doubt on that. And a reminder: I nailed the Herd's No. 6 tournament seed last year.
But this is no time to gloat. If this Thundering Herd team can't regain its hunger, can't fight adversity, can't hold onto the ball any better at all positions, I am afraid my prediction will be woefully wrong.
On the optimistic side.
Reach Doug Smock at 304-348-5130 or dougsm...@wvgazette.com or follow him at twitter.com/dougsmock.