Northwestern Wins: A College Hoops Blog

An ode to Verne Lundquist’s calls and everything college basketball

2008 Top 15 Mid-Majors

Posted by Patrick on July 19, 2008

(I will not include Gonzaga, C-USA, WAC, or MWC. I will be including A-10, and MVC.)

1.

The Toreros graduated no players in 2007, and they are ready to make another run at a WCC title. Last year’s win against UConn was certainly no fluke and this team is locked and loaded for next season. Led by seniors Brandon Johnson and Gyno Pomar and Coach Bill Grier, don’t expect anything less than an NCAA tourney run from San Diego in ’08.

Projected Starting Lineup:

PG- Trumaine Johnson ( 5.7 PPG, 2.7 APG) So.

SG- Brandon Johnson (16.9 PPG, 4.1 RPG, 3.5 APG) Sr.

G- De’Jon Jackson (7.6 PPG) Jr.

PF- Rob Jones (9 PPG, 5.8 RPG) So.

C- Gyno Pomare (14.1 PPG, 7.4 RPG, 1.3 BPG) Sr.

2.

The reason Davidson isn’t my choice for the number one mid major team is because they lost their point guard in Jason Richards. Of course, they still have Stephen Curry who will be making the transition to point guard this season and probably for the rest of his life as he will pursue an NBA career. This team will rest on Curry, and while that can be a good thing, it can also cause major problems. We’ll see if they are able to build on last year’s success and make another deep tournament run under a very good coach in Bob McKillop.

Projected Starting Lineup:

PG- Stephen Curry (25.9 PPG) Jr.

SG- William Archambault (5 PPG) Jr.

SF- Max Paulhaus-Gosselin (3.5 PPG, 3.6 RPG) Sr.

PF- Stephen Rossiter (3 PPG, 3.3 RPG) Jr.

C- Andrew Lovedale (6.8 PPG, 5.4 RPG) Sr.

3.

Dayton certainly exceeded expectations last year, but as soon as they were looked at as a tournament team their performance began to drop whether it was due to injury or that the A-10 was very underrated last season. They had a great NIT run but this season they should be the favorites in the A-10 and look to get to the NCAA tournament. The loss of Brian Roberts will take its toll on this team, but  have a great coach, so as the season progresses it shouldn’t be too much of a problem.

Projected Starting Lineup:

PG- London Warren (4.3 PPG, 1.9 APG) Jr.

SG- Marcus Johnson (10.1 PPG, 5.1 RPG) Jr.

G- Paul Williams (24 PPG at Renaissance High School in Detroit) Fr.

PF- Chris Wright (10.4 PPG, 5.7 RPG) So.

C- Kurt Huelsman (5.9 PPG, 4 RPG) Jr.

4.

Siena had a great start to last season when they beat Stanford, and then they also had a great end to the season when they destroyed Vanderbilt in the first round of the tournament. This team reminds me of Bucknell the year after they beat Kansas. Siena returns all five starters led by Edwin Ubiles and will look to have an even better season and maybe a Sweet 16 appearance.

Projected Starting Lineup:

PG- Ronald Moore (8.6 PPG, 4.1 RPG, 5.3 APG) Jr.

SG- Kenny Hasbrouck (16.1 PPG, 3.3 RPG) Sr.

SF- Edwin Ubiles (17 PPG, 4.4 RPG) Jr.

PF- Alex Franklin (15.1 PPG, 7.8 RPG) Jr.

C- Josh Duell (5.5 PPG, 3.3 RPG) Sr.

5.

Saint Mary’s didn’t have a great end to the season when they lost two straight games, but they did make the NCAA tournament and they return a lot for next season. Led by Diamon Simpson, and Aussie phenom Patrick Mills, the Gaels look as if they will have another NCAA tournament run.

Projected Starting Lineup:

PG- Patrick Mills (14.8 PPG, 3.5 APG) So.

SG- Carlin Hughes (5.9 PPG, 2.4 APG) Sr.

SF- Ian O’Leary (7.6 PPG, 4.8 RPG) Sr.

PF- Diamon Simpson (13.4 PPG, 9.6 RPG) Sr.

C- Omar Samhan (10.5 PPG, 7.3 RPG) Jr.

6.

Cleveland State took a huge step in the right direction last year when they made the NIT, but this year they are looking for an NCAA tournament birth. Being the favorite in the Horizon League isn’t something CSU fans are used to saying about their team, but in 2008, led by J’Nathan Bullock and Cedric Jackson, there is no reason that the Vikings shouldn’t be Horizon League champions in March.

Projected Starting Lineup:

PG- Cedric Jackson (13.9 PPG, 4.9 RPG, 4.9 APG) Sr.

SG- Joe Davis (8.4 PPG) Jr.

SF- George Tandy (4.2 PPG, 4.2 RPG) Sr.

PF- J’Nathan Bullock (14.8 PPG, 6.6 RPG) Sr.

C- Chris Moore (4.9 PPG, 2.7 RPG) Sr.

7.

Creighton certainly put up a good fight in the Valley last season, and had some games come down to the wire that they couldn’t quite pull out. They had a very rough outing with Florida in the NIT, but when a young team (graduating just 3 seniors) comes off of a 22 win season usually big things are expected next season, In a down year for the MVC, the Blue Jays look like the favorite.

Projected Starting Lineup:

PG- Cavell Witter (9.1 PPG, 2.6 APG) Sr.

SG- P’Allen Stinett (12.6 PPG) So.

G- Booker Woodfox (9.6 PPG) Sr.

PF- Chad Millard (4.1 PPG, 3.2 RPG) Jr.

C- Kenny Lawson Jr. (5.9 PPG, 4.2 APG) So.

8.

VCU definitely didn’t live up to its high expectations last season, but Eric Maynor should send them back in the driver’s seat in the CAA for the 2008-09 season. The only question is if Maynor’s supporting cast can be any good. If they are, VCU has a chance to surprise some teams next season. However, if the rest of the players play like last season VCU may have trouble even winning the CAA.

Projected Starting Lineup:

PG- Eric Maynor (17.9 PPG, 5.5 APG) Sr.

SG- Joey Rodriguez (5.1 PPG) Jr.

SF- Lance Kearse (3.9 PPG) Jr.

PF- Larry Sanders (4.9 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 3 BPG) Jr.

F- T.J. Gwynn (3.4 PPG, 2.8 RPG) Sr.

9.

Some people might be asking why I have the Titans so high, but the play of Josh Akognon last season speaks for itself. He had an amazing game against Wisconsin in the first round scoring 31 points, and averaged over 20 points per game over the course of the season. This kid is probably the most underrated player in the country, and I think he is rivaling Stephen Curry for the best Mid-Major player. This team will ride Akognon to the tournament and maybe even make a good run, but it will be hard as they lost 7 seniors last season and don’t return a lot of good players other than Akognon. They have some solid JUCO prospects that I think will make the transition and play well for CSF.

Projected Starting Lineup:

PG- Marcus Crenshaw (8.6 PPG) Sr.

SG- Josh Akognon (20.2 PPG) Sr.

G- Marcio Lassiter (3.3 PPG) Sr.

SF- Gerard Anderson (DNP last season) Sr.

C- Eddie Lima (1.5 PPG) Sr.

10.

Wright State came very close to another upset over Butler for the Horizon league title, but their play at the beginning of the season was pretty lousy. This year they will be back and trying to pull an upset over Cleveland State by winning the HL. The core of their lineup returns but the main concern will be picking up the rebounding slack left by seniors Scottie Wilson and Jordan Pleiman.

Projected Starting Lineup:

PG- Will Graham (5.9 PPG, 3.5 APG) Sr.

SG- Vaughn Duggins (13.8 PPG) Jr.

G- Todd Brown (12.7 PPG) Jr.

G- Troy Tabler (5 PPG) So.

PF- Cooper Land (3.2 PG) So.

11.

Tennessee-Martin has one heck of a player in Lester Hudson, and will have a good chance to pull some upsets and win the Ohio Valley Conference this season. If they want to have any chance of winning a tournament game they have to play good defense, and that was something that the 07-08 Skyhawks struggled with. That team came within a point of making the OVC finals last year, and are easily the favorites coming into this next season.

Projected Starting Lineup:

PG- Marquis Weddle (17.1 PPG) So.

SG- Lester Hudson (25.7 PPG, 7.8 RPG, 4.5 APG) Sr.

G- Benzor Simmons (5 PPG) So.

PF- Olajide Hay (4.5 PPG, 4.6 RPG) Sr

C- Djero Riedewald (5.3 PPG, 4.4 RPG) Sr.

12.

Drake had an amazing season last year. They were picked 10th in the preseason MVC poll and ended up winning the league and garnering a 5 seed in the tournament only to lose a heartbreak game to Western Kentucky. The Bulldogs lost a lot including their coach Keno Davis, but they do return stellar guard Josh Young who is primed to make another run at the conference title and probably MVC player of the year.

Projected Starting Lineup:

PG- Josh Young (15.9 PPG) Sr.

SG- Jacob Baryenbruch (2.2 PPG) Sr.

SF- Alex White (3.7 PPG, 2.9 RPG) Sr.

PF- Brent Heemskerk (4.7 PPG, 3.3 RPG) Sr.

C- Sean Jones Fr.

13.

Oral Roberts has been a pretty successful basketball program in the last few seasons, and it looks like next year they should make the tournament once again as Summit League favorites. They lost some key seniors but will most likely bounce back on the play from Robert Jarvis. This team has pretty good defense and they won’t run into much trouble in the Summit.

Projected Starting Lineup:

PG- Kelvin Sango (3.8 PPG, 1.3 APG) Sr.

SG- Robert Jarvis (16.1 PPG) Sr.

SF- Marchello Vealy (4.6 PPG, 4.8 RPG) Sr.

PF- Marcus Lewis (8.6 PPG, 5.5 RPG) Sr.

F- Andre Hardy (4.1 PPG, 3.6 RPG) So.

14.

This team is pretty much a lock for winning the Atlantic Sun every season, and last year they almost took it a step further when they played in one of the most thrilling games in the tournament, losing to Duke 71-70. This team will most likely rely on Shane Dansby for the most of the scoring, but usually Belmont is prided on playing great defense and if they continue to play great defense maybe it won’t be long before we see them pulling an upset in the tournament.

Projected Starting Lineup:

PG- Andy Wicke (9.3 PPG, 3 APG) Sr.

SG- Shane Dansby (13.4 PPG, 6.2 RPG) Sr.

SF- Jordan Campbell (7.2 PPG, 5.2 RPG) So.

PF- Matthew Dotson (11.4 PPG, 3.6 RPG) Sr.

C- Will Peeples (4.1 PPG, 3 RPG) Sr.

15.

The reason I don’t have Saint Joseph’s higher is because I think the loss of Pat Calathes will really hurt them. The return of Ahmad Nivins will be key, but this team is really a toss up. They looked as if they weren’t going to make the tournament because they were in that mess that was the middle of the A-10. Then with a high RPI, they got what some people thought was a terrible snub of other teams like Arizona State, and Syracuse. They had a very up and down season and it will be interesting to see if this year’s senior class steps up to the plate and takes on a good leadership role.

Projected Starting Lineup:

PG- Tasheed Carr (10.8 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 5.6 APG) Sr.

SG- Garrett Williamson (5.3 PPG, 2.7 RPG) Jr.

G- Darrin Govens (9.8 PPG) Jr.

PF- Bryant Irwin Fr.

C- Ahmad Nivins (14.4 PPG, 5.8 RPG)

Also Considered: Butler, Robert Morris, William & Mary, South Alabama, Valparaiso, San Francisco, Santa Clara, Temple

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6 Responses to “2008 Top 15 Mid-Majors”

  1. Zach said

    I admit I’m not as much of a mid-major expert around the country as some, but it’s hard to disagree with a lot here. Drake might go through some struggles this season and probably shouldn’t be on the list, but I see why you have them preseason based on last year. The only thing I’d say is Siena and St. Mary’s should probably be ahead of Dayton.

    San Diego at #1 was the right choice. They could give Gonzaga some trouble.

  2. kyle said

    Great article! I think the golden eagles will make a run through the summit. But I must disagree with the supposed ease of it all. IUPUI did lose George Hill but are stacked back up with speed and athleticism. Along with NDSU bringing back all their starters, not to mention a very good Oakland team who could pull over several upsets this year. I think one thing is for sure and that is ORU will pull of another league title.

  3. uwmfreak said

    Great rankings…. I suspect UWM may just be a top 15 mid-major by the end of the ’08-’09 season. They return some really good guard play (and may return Avery Smith- the leading scorer from two years ago who was dismissed last year), and have some newly aquired JuCo’s who could make this team respectable once again. Great blog here (I’ve got it bookmarked now)- keep it up!

    UWM Basketball Blog: http://milwaukeepanthertracks.blogspot.com

    UWM Discussion Board: http://uwmfreak.proboards5.com/index.cgi

  4. UDis4me said

    PG- London Warren (4.3 PPG, 1.9 APG) Sr.
    SG- Marcus Johnson (10.1 PPG, 5.1 RPG) Sr.
    G- Paul Williams (24 PPG at Renaissance High School in Detroit) Fr.
    PF- Chris Wright (10.4 PPG, 5.7 RPG) Jr.
    C- Kurt Huelsman (5.9 PPG, 4 RPG) Sr.

    Dayton is not heavy with seniors. Your classes are wrong.
    Warren Jr.
    Johnson Jr.
    Williams Fr.
    Wright So.
    Huelsman Jr.
    My line-up would be:
    Warren PG Jr.
    Johnson SG Jr.
    Wright SF So.
    Little PF Sr.
    Huelsman C Jr.

  5. […] by Patrick on November 12, 2008 Here’s the link to my first Mid-Major Top […]

  6. Top 15 mid majors 2008.. Reposted it 🙂

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