A favorite pastime in the preseason of any sport is to put together polls without having actually seen a team play a competitive game.

Matt Nor

lander of CBSsports.com takes the practice to the extreme by ranking all 351 Division 1 men's college basketball teams. Here's where he sees teams of local interest.

  • No. 14 - Northwestern. The Wildcats made the NCAA tournament for the first time in school history last season and return four of its five best players.
  • No. 35 - Wisconsin. The Badgers have been a top 30 for the past 15 seasons and a lot depends on Ethan Happ for keeping that streak intact.
  • No. 74 - Loyola-Chicago. One of the favorites to win the Missouri Valley Conference.
  • No. 85 - Illinois. The first year under Brad Underwood.
  • No. 106 - DePaul. Norlander has DePaul as the Big East's ninth-best team. Oh for the days of Terry Cummings and Mark Aguirre.
  • No. 108 - St. Louis. Fringey Illinois team.
  • No. 109 - Illinois State. ISU was the biggest snub of last year's NCAA committee.
  • No. 110 - Illinois-Chicago. Freeport native Dikembe Dixson gets a shout out here. Dixson, who moved to West Virginia after ninth grade, averaged 19.8 points per game as a freshman and was averaging 20.3 as a sophomore before tearing his ACL. The Flames hope Dixson's knee is sound and that he can take them to their first NCAA in 14 years.
  • No. 155 - Southern Illinois. Lost its top three players from last year.
  • No. 207 - Eastern Illinois. The best thing the Panthers have going for them is that Freeport native Luke Norman is a graduate assistant there.
  • No. 231 - Bradley Braves. Auburn graduate Antoine Pittman is entering his junior season for the Braves. After averaging 8.2 points in 27.4 minutes per game as a freshman, his playing time fell to 17.4 minutes per game and his points to 5.6.
  • No. 244 - Air Force. Boylan star Zach Couper signed a scholarship to play for the Falcons, but he's likely redshirting because he's not on the roster.
  • No. 246 - Northern Illinois. Noah McCarty of Rock Falls is the closest thing to a local on the Huskies roster. Here's a curiosity, NIU has two seven-footers, fifth-year senior Andrew Zelis from Wheaton and Owen Hamilton from Prescott, Wisconsin.
  • No. 274 - Milwaukee Panthers. Boylan graduate Brock Stull is back for his junior year after a big leap in his sophomore season. Stull averaged 2.6 points on 9.1 minutes of playing time as a redshirt freshman. Last year, he started all 35 games and scored 13.5 points per game.
  • No. 320 - Western Illinois. The Leathernecks have a player from the Bahamas.
  • No. 332 - Chicago State. Auburn graduate Delundre Dixon hopes to build on his gains from his sophomore year. Dixon started 13 games last season and averaged 4.6 points per game.
  • No. 335 - SIU-Edwardsville. The Cougars have never won more than 12 games in Division 1.