As college basketball teams across the country begin practice, here are thumbnail looks at the Bay Area six men's and six women squads:

Men

CAL

Last season: 24-10, 13-5/tied 2nd in Pac-12

What's new: The Bears' first order of business is sorting out their backcourt after projected starter Ricky Kreklow, a transfer from Missouri, was sidelined for about two months by foot surgery. The Bears expect senior Brandon Smith, who struggled last season, to return to his form of 2010-11. He figures to get plugged in at the point, with Justin Cobbs sliding to the wing. Freshman Tyrone Wallace's role could be escalated.

Schedule: http://www.calbears.com/sports/m-baskbl/sched/cal-m-baskbl-sched.html

STANFORD

Last season: 26-11, 10-8/7th in Pac-12

What's new: Coming off a postseason run to the NIT championship, the Cardinal looks to move into the upper echelon of the Pac-12. A key will be finding replacements for graduated post players Josh Owens and Andrew Zimmerman. One candidate is 6-11 sophomore Stefan Nastic, who had three double-figure scoring games for Serbia this summer at the FIBA U20 European Championships.

Schedule: http://www.gostanford.com/sports/m-baskbl/sched/stan-m-baskbl-sched.html

SAINT MARY'S

Last season: 27-6, 14-2/1st in WCC

What's new: The Gaels open camp amid reports of an NCAA investigation for possible unspecified violations. College officials are not commenting on the nature of the investigation or a timetable for resolution. On the court, the defending WCC champs will be led by Australian Olympic team starter Matthew Dellavedova, the reigning WCC Player of the Year. James Walker, a transfer shooting guard from Utah State, figures to be in the mix after averaging 19 points at Citrus JC.

Schedule: http://www.smcgaels.com/SportSelect.dbml?&;DB_OEM_ID=21400&SPID=12536&SPSID=101611

SANTA CLARA

Last season: 8-22, 0-16/last in WCC

What's new: The Broncos figure to rebound emphatically from a season in which virtually everything went wrong. Senior guard Kevin Foster -- who has made 311 career 3-pointers -- has returned in good shape after being suspended the final 11 games last season after an arrest for suspicion of driving under the influence. Also back is senior forward Marc Trasolini, healthy and stronger a year after tearing his ACL during a Sept. 2011 summer tour to Canada.

Schedule: http://www.santaclarabroncos.com/sports/m-baskbl/2012-13/schedule

SAN JOSE STATE

Last season: 9-22, 1-13/last in WAC

What's new: A season after ending a 17-year streak without a winning record, the Spartans took a big step backward, failing to beat a team with an RPI rating higher than No. 198. Point guard Keith Shamburger, who averaged 13.1 points and was second in the WAC in assists at 5.2 per game, transferred to Hawaii. Five freshmen and Santa Clara transfer Chris Cunningham will help SJSU reload.

Schedule: http://www.sjsuspartans.com/SportSelect.dbml?&;DB_OEM_ID=5600&SPID=2292&SPSID=29326

USF

Last season: 20-14, 8-8/5th in WCC

What's new: Coach Rex Walters' fifth season will be critical after six would-be returning players -- including double-digit scorers Perris Blackwell and Mikey Williams -- left after last season. On the court, the Dons enjoyed a breakthrough season, winning 20 games for the first time in 30 years. Former City College of San Francisco star De'End Parker, who briefly was at UCLA, was granted immediate eligibility and will help in the backcourt.

Schedule: http://www.usfdons.com/schedule.aspx?path=mbball

Women

CAL

Last season: 25-10, 13-5/2nd in Pac-12

What's new: The Bears, rated No. 14 by Lindy's and Athlon Sports in preseason national polls, return with much of their team intact and seem positioned to perhaps challenge Stanford at the top of the Pac-12. Among the returnees is junior forward Gennifer Brandon, whose 346 rebounds last season were the most by any Cal player -- men or women -- in 40 years.

Schedule: http://www.calbears.com/sports/w-baskbl/sched/cal-w-baskbl-sched.html

STANFORD

Last season: 35-2, 18-0/1st in Pac-12

What's new: The Cardinal has won 78 consecutive games against Pac-12 opponents and advanced to five straight Final Fours. Now they try without Nneka Ogwumike, recently named WNBA Rookie of the Year. Her sister, junior Chiney Ogwumike, slides into the headliner's role. Sophomore Jasmine Camp, back after missing most of last season with a stress fracture in her foot, will compete with Amber Orrange and Toni Kokenis for a guard spot.

Schedule: http://www.gostanford.com/sports/w-baskbl/sched/stan-w-baskbl-sched.html

SAINT MARY'S

Last season: 22-11, 11-5/4th in WCC

What's new: The Gaels welcome back two former starters sidelined by injury. Junior Kate Gaze, who averaged 11.0 points in 2010-11, missed all but eight games last season with an ankle injury. The wait has been longer still for junior Ashlee Smith, who missed most of the past two years due to an ankle ailment.

Schedule: http://www.smcgaels.com/SportSelect.dbml?&;DB_OEM_ID=21400&SPID=12537&SPSID=101622

SANTA CLARA

Last season: 12-17, 5-11/6th in WCC

What's new: Three double-figure scorers are back, led by center Ruta Zurauskyte, a 6-foot-4 junior from Lithuania, who was averaging 12.8 points and 7.8 rebounds and scored 33 points against UC Irvine before tearing her ACL on Dec. 15. Seniors Meagan Fulps (11.1 ppg) and Lindsay Leo (10.4 ppg) also return.

Schedule: http://www.santaclarabroncos.com/sports/w-baskbl/2012-13/schedule

SAN JOSE STATE

Last season: 11-19, 6-8/tied 4th in WAC

What's new: The Spartans were competitive in coach Tim La Kose's first season after winning just 13 games combined the previous four years. Nine of their losses were by single digits. They'll try to take the next step with just nine scholarship players, only one of whom (sophomore Ta'Rea Cunnigan) played last season. The roster features six freshmen and no seniors.

Schedule: http://www.sjsuspartans.com/SportSelect.dbml?&;DB_OEM_ID=5600&SPID=2293&SPSID=29337

USF

Last season: 5-25, 3-13 WCC

What's new: Third-year coach Jennifer Azzi, the former Stanford and U.S. Olympic team star, hopes the Dons take a step forward after posting a combined 9-50 record her first two seasons. Guard Taj Winston, who averaged 9.9 points last season as a freshman, currently is sidelined with by injury. The team's most experienced player is senior guard Mel Khlok, who averaged 8.0 points per game.

Schedule: http://www.usfdons.com/schedule.aspx?path=wbball