NBA-DRAFT.COM top 65 College Teams (#40 - 36)

The countdown continues with 40 and heads to 36.....
#40 UNLV

As previously mentioned, the Mountain West conference looks a bit different this year not just the faces of the players who have departed, but also two schools with storied basketball histories in BYU and Utah have moved on in the conference alignment tale. UNLV will challenge for a conference title as one of the league's best two teams behind a bevy of remaining starters - Chace Stanback, Anthony Marshall, Quintrell Thomas and Oscar Bellfield.

Thomas, a 6'8" rough, albeit athletic power forward ditched his Kansas uniform for the Rebels and really came on as an impact player over the course of the second half of the season. This year, the talent transfers in as former UCLA forward Mike Moser- a long, athletic inside-outside threat will complement the likes of Thomas and Stanback well.

Replacing top-player Tre'Von Willis, who led the team in scoring and was second in assists per game, so expect a combined increased load from point guard Bellfield (11.2 points, 3.7 assists per game) and Marshall (9.7 points, 3 assists).
#39. West Virginia

Although the 2010-11 Mountaineers did not claim the same success as Bob Huggins' prior squad, the blueprint remained the same and West Virginia struggled finishing games away from home- possessing an 11-2 record at home and an 8-7 record in away/neutral court games. Even with a three starters gone to graduation, Kevin Jones, one of the most versatile forwards in the country, along with a battle-tested senior point guard in Truck Bryant return.

6 rotational players must be replaced for those who have either graduated or transferred. One hole in the lineup will likely be filled by Turkish brut, Deniz Kilicli, a talented low-post scorer and force on the boards if he can remain out of foul trouble.

Huggins is in rebuilding mode this season, relying on Jones, Bryant and Kilicli and seven freshmen, but his teams always play tenacious defense and crash the offensive glass, which gives them a chance on any given night.
#38. UCF

Oh, what a fall from grace it was as UCF won its first 14 games, including victories against in-state foes Florida and Miami (FL) to make their way into the top 25. The Knights responded by not just losing its second C-USA league game, but it's next eight before finally ending up victorious again- a losing streak that lasted over a month.

If Donnie Jones' troops have learned the tale of perseverance and can avoid another catastrophic fall, the Knights could be golden this season. Juniors Marcus Jordan and Keith Clanton are as dangerous inside-outside duo as they come, combing for 29.4 points, 10.5 rebounds, 4.9 assists and 66 made 3s. The team's offense should again run through this duo, but will still include AJ Rompza, PJ Gaynor and Isaac Sosa- all starters a year ago. Rising sophomore Isaiah Sykes, last season's prize recruit and Michael Chandler, this year's 4-star recruit, will be crucial off the bench if UCF wants to have any shot at Memphis for the league title.
#37. Wichita State

Through the first two and a half months of the season, the Shockers of Wichita State boasted a 13-2 record with its only two blotches coming at the hands of national champion UConn and a team that the Huskies bested along the way in the Sweet 16, San Diego State. Not too shabby. But for a team normally dominant on its home court, Wichita State lost three times in league play and another in an ESPN Bracket Busters' matchup with VCU. So why are they in such good shape for this upcoming season?

The Shockers' lose two starters including leading scorer JT Durley and sharp-shooter Graham Hatch, but the three remaining starters are all rising seniors and there is plenty of experience and rotational players to fill in. Gregg Marshall routinely went 10 deep and will have similar depth this year with a recruiting class of six, including one of the Missouri Valley's best catches- power forward Jake White.

One name to watch is Garrett Stutz, a heavy-footed big man of 7-feet, 250 pounds who was only able to contribute in 35 percent of the Shockers' minutes a year ago due to foul troubles. He scores well around the rim due to his sheer size, but has the surprising ability to step out and knock down jumpers with good range. Another name to watch as a potential starter is rising-senior Ben Smith- a 6'5" wing who should help replace Hatch's 3-point shooting. Smith had the 11th best offensive rating in 2010-11.
#36. Belmont

Belmont dominated the Atlantic Sun last season, losing to one conference opponent and to two SEC foes over the course of the regular-season. They accumulated their 2010-11 30-5 record by forcing turnovers on 27.5 percent of their opponents' possessions, including the nation's second-best theft percentage (13.8). Good news: three starters return and the Bruins' most efficient players- Scott Saunders and Kerron Johnson can step right in off the bench to replace two graduated starters. But what Belmont will miss the most is the length and toughness than made Jordan Campbell and Jon House stellar perimeter defenders.

While Kerron Johnson may not have the same size as one of the guards he is replacing at just 6'1", 175 pounds, he is a top-notched overall player, primed for a breakout with an increase in his 18.2 minutes per game from a year ago. Johnson had the best steal percentage in the nation, but also contributed as a playmaker and distributor.