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Posts Tagged ‘Dayton Flyers’

Weekend Roundup (11/29-30)

Posted by Zach on December 1, 2008

Tennessee Gonzaga Basketball

Here’s a summary of how an entertaining weekend played out in college hoops…

Five Most Meaningful Outcomes

1. Gonzaga 83, Tennessee 74: Credible experts like Dick Vitale and myself (okay, Dickie V isn’t a credible expert) predicted Gonzaga would make the Final Four this season. Their performance Sunday night in a huge resume building win over Tennessee vaulted them firmly into contention to reach Detroit and established the Zags as a top-five team in the nation. The big differences from a year ago? Jeremy Pargo has listened to NBA scouts advice and molded into a coaches dream for a point guard- one who makes sure his talented teammates are involved before taking over scoring-wise when his team desperately needs a boost. Austin Daye has turned into one of the top shooters in college basketball at 6’10. Josh Heytvelt is clearly the team leader and has advanced post moves and scoring ability some in the NBA don’t even possess. Other players like Goodson, Brown, Bouldin, Downs and Gray (whom I love) all know their roles and stay grounded. Rather than the usual finesse Gonzaga teams of years past, this group is physical, tough and has all the ingredients. They certainly impressed Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl, and these two teams will meet up again next month in Knoxville for a tremendous rematch.

2. Wake Forest 87, Baylor 74: I was extremely impressed with Wake Forest’s performance in a dominating second half over a Baylor team that cleanly beat Arizona State on Friday night. Coach Dino Gaudio allows his athletic team to run the floor and play the fast-paced offense that suits point guard Jeff Teague. Wake grabbed 57 rebounds in the contest led by L.D. Williams, Al Farouq-Aminu, Chas McFarland and James Johnson. Whether Wake can contend with Duke or Carolina in the ACC is still a question mark, but they certainly showed they’re top-4 seed worthy in Anaheim. The question is whether Wake can develop more consistency shooting from the outside as the season wears on (fortunately Baylor shot only 26% from deep in the game).

3. Kentucky 54, West Virginia 43: This one was ugly, but Kentucky coach Billy Gillispie doesn’t care. The Wildcats rebounded from the VMI loss and the UNC thrashing to win the Las Vegas Invitational over the weekend, defeating both Kansas State and NCAA contender West Virginia. Jodie Meeks and Patrick Patterson are constituting pretty much the entire Wildcat offense, with Meeks once again putting the game away at the free throw line and Patterson chipping in with a double-double. These two will need to lead Kentucky if they hope to make the NCAA Tournament and save their coaches job. Kentucky overcame a 26-16 deficit at halftime in this game.

4. Pittsburgh 57, Washington State 43: Two defensive-minded teams met in the final of the Legends Classic in New Jersey as you can tell by the score. Sam Young (15) and Levance Fields (14) forced enough Washington State turnovers (15) and turned them into points for the victory. After a hotly contested first half, Pitt really stiffened their defense in the second stanza. With a weaker Pac-10, the Cougars could find themselves in the NCAA Tournament as a third place finisher, so it’s a nice resume win for Pittsburgh.

5. Georgetown 75, Maryland 48: These crosstown foes finally meet (why they don’t play is a mystery) in the third place game of the Old Spice Classic with Georgetown winning in an impressive rout. It’s fairly clear that John Thompson is simply recruiting on a higher level than Gary Williams in the talent-heavy DC area at this point, with the Hoyas reeling in talent like Austin Freeman, Chris Wright, DaJuan Summers and Jason Clark while the Terrapins settle for second-tier talent such as Eric Hayes, Adrian Bowie, Sean Mosley and Braxton Dupree. And it clearly showed on the basketball court with this game not even being competitive. Still, Maryland showed they’re capable in their shocking victory over Michigan State and Georgetown could be pointing to this convincing win in March.

Top Five Player Performances

1. James Harden– He doesn’t wow you with his leaping ability or blazing speed or strong frame. Heck, he even looks kind of dorky with the long tee-shirt he wears under his Arizona State uniform. But James Harden can definitely play basketball, and if Blake Griffin, Tyler Hansbrough and Stephen Curry didn’t exist, Harden would be Player of the Year. He dropped 32 points on Baylor in a loss and followed it up with 40 in a blowout win over NCAA caliber UTEP, hitting six threes.

2. Kyle McAlarney– Remember his shooting display in Maui against North Carolina? He decided to perform an encore in front of the home fans on Sunday, collecting 32 points on nine threes in the win over Furman. In his last two games, McAlarney has shot 35 threes and made over 50% of them. They’ll need McAlarney to keep shooting the lights out with Luke Harangody sidelined with pneumonia.

3. A.J. Slaughter– In the absolute #1 shocker of the month of November, Western Kentucky flat out dominated #3 Louisville on a neutral floor. This isn’t last years Sweet 16 Hilltopper team, either. Most of the top scorers from that team have departed. A.J. Slaughter played more of a secondary role last year, but certainly looked like a star in the victory, compiling 25 points and 9 rebounds on 8/15 shooting.

4. Sam Young– Mentioned him before in the Legends recap, but Young is the early frontrunner for Big East Player of the Year. He dropped 33 on Belmont, followed it up with 24 in a win over Texas Tech, and then led the way with 15 and 8 against tough Washington State. With Levance Fields also playing well and looking healthy, Pittsburgh is to be feared.

5. Jodie Meeks– Meeks has been flat out unstoppable early for Kentucky. He’s averaging 25.5 PPG, 4.8 RPG, shooting 38% from three and 88% from the line. And he’s been to the line often, hitting 23/25 from the charity stripe in Las Vegas over the weekend, most in high-leverage situations. Meeks turned the ball over nine times against Kansas State, but totaled 37 points, 6 rebounds and 4 steals for the Horse Trailer. Meeks personally told me he is honored.

Five Upset Specials

1. Western Kentucky 68, Louisville 54: If somebody told you he/she saw this coming, they are a liar. In just the third game of the season for the Cardinals and coach Rick Pitino, they were the victims of the most shocking upset of the year to date. Western Kentucky effectively double-teamed Samardo Samuels and caused all kinds of havoc for Louisville guards Edgar Sosa and Andre McGee, who combined to go 0/13 from the floor, 0/9 from three, score 2 points while dishing out 2 assists with 4 turnovers. Yikes. Louisville got three-happy like they often do, shooting 30 from deep and making 6. Earl Clark is showing no signs he wants to be one of the premiere players in college hoops. A reprehensible loss for Louisville.

2. Dayton 89, Marquette 75: Another Big East contender to fall on Saturday was Marquette, losing to upstart Dayton in Chicago in a game where they were thoroughly outplayed. The Flyers used their quickness and a career performance from reserve guard Rob Lowery (21 points) to stun the Golden Eagles and improve to 6-0. Once again, Marquette played no defense, an obvious concern for Buzz Williams. They allowed an Atlantic 10 team to shoot 53% and shoot 39 free throws, while Dominic James continues to regress jump shooting wise.

3. Drake 68, New Mexico 62: The Lobos were supposed to be taking over right about now under coach Steve Alford. Instead he fell in both games at Cancun over the weekend to VCU and Drake, the latter being the more shocking and disappointing. New Mexico even held Drake’s main scorer, Josh Young, to 10 points on 2/10 from the floor and still lost the game, falling behind by as much as 16 in the second half. They’ll need to win the Mountain West now for a tournament bid at 3-4.

4. Cal State Fullerton 92, Charlotte 84: This one isn’t a huge upset (CSF was only a 3-point dog), but Charlotte and coach Bobby Lutz are currently on a major down spiral, finishing last in the Anaheim Classic with this loss and dropping to 1-6 on the season. They looked like at least an NIT contender nearly downing Clemson earlier in the week before losing heartbreakers to Providence and Cal State Fullerton and receiveing a walloping from Arizona State. Can they possibly recover from this?

5. Green Bay 84, Massachusetts 67: Speaking of bad A-10 teams, how about Massachusetts? They have talented players like Chris Lowe, Anthony Gurley and Ricky Harris, but it clearly isn’t materializing at this point for new coach Derrek Kellogg. Most of all they can’t play defense, letting Green Bay have six players in double figures in a performance that dropped the Minutemen to 1-4 on the season.

Bubblicious Wins

  • Texas Tech over Mississippi State at the Legends Classic was a big win for coach Pat Knight and one to possibly place on the resume come March if the Red Raiders are sitting on the bubble
  • Texas A&M taking down MAC contender Kent State on a neutral floor was a nice win for Mark Turgeon and Co. after losing to Tulsa
  • Don’t look now, but Nebraska is still undefeated! They beat MVC favorite Creighton in a hotly contested game over the weekend.
  • Illinois is still undefeated, too. They topped Tulsa who beat A&M the day before.
  • Florida State with two very impressive wins over California and Cincinnati in Las Vegas. The opposite for UNLV, who lost to both of those teams and are now looking weak for an at-large, even with the win at UTEP earlier in the week. Wink Adams went 5/26 with three assists in the two losses.
  • Saint Mary’s looked overwhelmed in their loss to UTEP on Thursday but rebounded with a couple quality victories over Providence and Cal State Fullerton
  • Nevada lost to Portland and is off to a horrific start to the season. Brandon Fields is still trying to get himself into the flow of the offense.

Enjoy the ACC/Big Ten Challenge everyone!

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Final Pre-Season Mid Major Top 15

Posted by Patrick on November 12, 2008

Here’s the link to my first Mid-Major Top 15.

(I will not include: Gonzaga, Xavier, C-USA, WAC, or MWC)

The teams are the same but just some rearranging:

1. Davidson- Curry has obviously made a smooth transition to point guard, as expected, scoring 41 in the Wildcats exhibition game. If Curry plays anything like this during the regular season, those supporting players should be enough to keep Davidson rolling.

2. San Diego- I’m still a strong believer that San Diego is one of the better Non-BCS teams out there. They have a senior heavy lineup led by Gyno Pomare and Brandon Johnson, plus sophomores Trumaine Johnson and Rob Jones are studs that can play with anyone in the nation.

3. Siena- Brings back all five starters from the team that made fools out of Vanderbilt in last year’s tournament. They shouldn’t have too much trouble winning the MAAC, but it will be interesting to see how they stack up against the powerhouses in the Old Spice Classic.

4. Saint Mary’s- Patrick Mills, Omar Samhan, Diamon Simpson, and Ian O’Leary will lead a Gaels team that looks to be back in the NCAA tournament.

5. Saint Joseph’s- This team probably has the best chance to upset Xavier and win the A-10. Ahmad Nivins is the best center in the conference and can give any team a headache thats trying to stop him.

6. Virginia Commonwealth- Eric Maynor is certainly up there with the best point guards in the nation, but will this team choke once again when the conference tournament rolls around.

https://i0.wp.com/blog.cleveland.com/sports/2008/03/medium_jnathanbullock.jpg

7. Cleveland State- This team is one of the more athletic teams in the mid-west and should be the favorites to win the Horizon League. Athletic big man J’Nathan Bullock (above) and stellar point guard Cedric Jackson look to lead the Vikings to the NCAA tournament just two years after posting a terrible conference record.

8. Cal State Fullerton- Keep your eye on Josh Akognon (below) all season, he’s a tremendous player that goes unnoticed for playing in a small conference. As for the rest of the team, they bring back a lot of experience from the squad that made the NCAA tournament last season.

https://i0.wp.com/images.townnews.com/nctimes.com/content/articles/2008/03/21/sports/ncaabasketball/15d1f56ca2a0cda988257413001ac1c9.jpg

9. Creighton- In my opinion, the Blue Jays are the favorites to win the MVC. A team that just lost three seniors a year ago should be poised to make the NCAA tournament after being routed by Florida in the NIT.

10. Dayton- Also a team that can surprise; London Warren and Chris Wright are two very underrated players that should make some noise in the A-10.

11. Wright State- Vaughn Duggins and Todd Brown will try to bring the Raiders back to the NCAA tournament for the 2nd time in 3 seasons. However, it won’t be easy with Cleveland State in their way.

12. Tennessee Martin- Lester Hudson and Marquis Weddle should easily take control of the Ohio Valley Conference from the get go, as long as these two are on the court they will be a tough game for any team.

13. Belmont- Until they prove me wrong, I have to give the Bruins some love for what they almost did to Duke last season. Plus, they have built a dynasty in the Atlantic Sun and I don’t expect any underdog teams to steal their throne.

14. Oral Roberts- Do these guys ever go away? Not when you have players like Robert Jarvis. I don’t see anyone that can contend in the Summit League.

15. Drake- This will be a very tough season for the Bulldogs. With Josh Young running the offense they should still experience success, but certainly not at the magnitude of last season’s.

Also Considered: Santa Clara, Butler, Vermont, Northeastern, Southern Illinois, UMass

Posted in Predictions, Team Rankings | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

Atlantic 10 Preview

Posted by Zach on October 9, 2008

To say the Atlantic 10 had an unusual season in 2007-08 would be the understatement of the century. The league raced to a phenomenal start in non-conference play with Massachusetts and Rhode Island stunning Syracuse, Dayton taking down Louisville in Freedom Hall and Pitt at home, and perennial A-10 powerhouse Xavier bullying their way past Kansas State and Virginia. Unfortunately, the conference season started, beginning the downfall for a team like Dayton. They finished with an impressive RPI of 31 due to their remarkable non-conference slate of victories, but failed to make the NCAA Tournament due to a flurry of devastating injuries and subsequent 8-8 record in the Atlantic 10. Rhode Island is another example of a team that found themselves in the Top 25 in November and an 11 seed in the A-10 tournament in March. Xavier ended up representing the conference well with their march to the Elite Eight.

1. Xavier Musketeers:
Shocking, right? Coach Sean Miller and the Musketeers once again find themselves the near-unanimous favorites to win another Atlantic 10 title. The losses of key seniors and floor leaders like Drew Lavender, Stanley Burrell and Josh Duncan are subtractions hard to stomach, but Miller has enough talent returning to win the conference. The frontcourt will be led by two double-digit scorers, Derrick Brown and C.J. Anderson, who just may be the two best frontcourt players in the conference. Keep an eye on 7’0 freshman Kenny Frease in the middle as someone who will improve mightily with development. Replacing Burrell and Lavender in the backcourt isn’t an easy task, but Miller has a slew of point guards to work with. Jordan Crawford won’t be eligible till next season, but former Indiana mate Terrell Holloway is. Shooter B.J. Raymond and speedster Dante Jackson lead the way for Xavier, teaming up with Brad Redford, Michigan’s Mr. Basketball. A difficult non-conference slate will test this untested Musketeer core right out of the gate.



2. Temple Owls:
The Owls over-achieved last season more than any other Atlantic-10 team, going from a middle-of-the-pack sneaky team to conference tournament champion under coach Frank Dunphy. The Owls will definitely miss their primary ball handler in Mark Tyndale, but return their best player: Dionte Christmas. Christmas is attempting to become the first three-time conference scoring champion in A-10 history after finishing with 19.7 PPG last season and shooting 37% from behind the arc. Three other starters return along with Christmas, including forwards Lavoy Allen and Sergio Olmos, the defensive shot blocker extraordinaire. Allen is more prone to be effective on the offensive end, where he finished with 8.1 PPG on an efficient 56% from the floor. Point guard is the one main concern. Dunphy is hoping either junior Luis Guzman or senior Semaj Inge to emerge in practice and take over for Tyndale. Temple could very well find themselves on the bubble by the time March rolls around.

3. Massachusetts Minutemen:
The loss of coach Travis Ford to Oklahoma State stings, but the Minutemen found a capable replacement in Derek Kellogg, the former UMass point guard and recruiting mastermind at Memphis. That strong suit will be immediately put to the test in normally-barren New England high school basketball. Their best player and 19 PPG scorer, Gary Forbes, is gone, but Massachusetts returns two studs: blossoming Ricky Harris and outstanding senior point guard Chris Lowe. Lowe (6.3 APG) molded into one of the top point guards in the nation, finding three-point specialist Harris behind the arc enough times so he could drain 104 threes. Wake Forest transfer Anthony Gurley also helps immediately, but the offense will clearly revolve around Lowe finding Harris outside with the newly instituted dribble-drive motion offense, or doing most of the scoring on his own. The frontcourt is the clear weakness. It’s possible 7-foot Luke Bonner emerges as he becomes more aggressive inside.

4. Dayton Flyers: As I pointed out in the intro, Dayton’s season was a roller coaster ride last year. They went from defeating Pitt by 25 at home in December to needing to win their last three games just to finish .500 in the conference. Chris Wright appeared to be the next big-time Atlantic 10 player before breaking his ankle in the opener against Rhode Island and missing the rest of the regular season. Having Wright for a full season scoring and rebounding will boost the Flyers immensely. Losing star Brian Roberts hurts dramatically in the backcourt, so they’ll turn to an improved frontcourt at their strength. Marcus Johnson is a personal favorite, an athletic and long forward who could emerge as a 13-7 threat this season.  Senior Charles Little took a step back last year and is hoping to repeat his double-digit scoring output of his sophomore year. Dayton won’t find themselves #14 in the nation any time this year (or 12th in the conference), and the NIT is a likely destination.



5. Charlotte 49ers:
Coach Bobby Lutz has plenty to work with this upcoming season. He returns nine of his top ten players from a group that shocked Clemson OOC and beat Temple and Saint Joe’s. The one player missing happens to be their best from 07-08: Leemire Goldwire, who averaged 18.6 PPG last year starring at shooting guard. Rather than guards, Charlotte’s strength will be in the frontcourt this year. They’re led by a pair of senior forwards, Lamont Mack- who scored 15+ points in 11 of the final 17 games of last season (including 27 at defensively-strong Richmond)- and Charlie Coley- an athletic, scoring forward who also happens to be the team’s most capable rebounding presence. Charlotte has always focused on shooting plenty of three-pointers under Lutz’s tenure. They won’t have any trouble finding open jumpers with the focus on Coley and Mack, along with boasting hoisters such as newcomer Shamarr Bowden and junior transfer Rashad Coleman. While the frontcourt is strong, Lutz may have a difficult time finding an impact player in the backcourt this season.

6. Saint Joseph’s Hawks: Nick Calathes and Rob Ferguson shouldered 29 points and 12 rebounds per game last season for Phil Martelli and Saint Joe’s. Both are gone, so it’s up to all-league forward Ahmad Nivins to take over as a dominant big man for the Hawks. Nivins is a legitimate draft prospect with an exceptional offensive game facing the basket. To help Saint Joe’s contend for a postseason bid, Nivins will have to compliment his scoring with improved defense and rebounding. The backcourt will be led by two returning starters- Tasheed Carr and Darrin Govens. Carr is a strong candidate to improve on his 10.8 PPG from last season with his shooting potential and Govens is more of the steady point guard type. The strengths of Saint Joe’s will be Nivins, coaching, balance, and an impressive freshman class.

7. Richmond Spiders: Richmond and coach Chris Mooney defied expectations and finished in a tie for fourth in the conference, earning a trip to the CBI. Any plans for a postseason tournament were put in serious jeopardy when potential first-team forward Dan Geriot tore his ACL in a summer league game. This is an extremely tough blow for Mooney, who planned on Richmond to sneak up on Xavier, Temple and UMass in the conference. The Spiders do boast 2007-08 Rookie of the Year Kevin Anderson, an excellent scoring guard who also happens to be the team’s strongest passer and defensive player. They hope that sophomore guard Justin Harper can emerge and Richmond can surprise some folks in the Atlantic 10.

8. La Salle Explorers: Could La Salle be the dark horse of the conference? Not unless their defense improves under John Giannini, but they certainly have a chance. Losing the Atlantic 10’s all time leading three point shooter in Darnell Harris is a significant blow. Returning is super-athletic guard/forward Rodney Green, a quick and playmaking wing who led the team in APG and SPG along with 13+ PPG. Vernon Goodridge could be Newcomer of the Year in the A-10. The transfer from Mississippi State will prove a valuable compliment to sophomore Jerrell Williams in the paint. Local Philly star Devon White will see playing time immediately at the forward position.

9. Rhode Island Rams:
Much like Dayton, URI’s season was a roller coaster ride. They began the year defeating three Big East schools, nearly knocking off BC on the road, and entering the Top 25 with a 19-3 record. They ended up losing to Creighton in the NIT. Coach Jim Baron has to be feeling some pressure. URI has never danced under his tutelage and have made the NIT just three times. Losing all-league forward Will Daniels doesn’t help. One of the top players for Baron this season will be Jimmy Baron. Yes, you guessed right, he is the coaches son. He drained 99 three pointers last season. Also leading the way is senior Kahiem Seawright, the team’s leading rebounder who must take on a bigger scoring load with Daniels no longer aiding the effort.

10. Saint Louis Billikens: Other than Kevin Lisch and Tommie Liddell, Rick Majerus and the Billikens are extremely young once again. They move to a new arena with less fanfare, and this could be a profound welcome to a team that finished last in the conference in scoring and managed just 20 points in a stunning loss to George Washington. Lisch and Liddell form a very strong backcourt, but Majerus knows he needs more from other pieces. He hopes freshman point guard Kwamain Mitchell emerges. I saw Mitchell in high school a few times and I think he can develop into a steady player for Saint Louis. An extremely young frontcourt appears to be the clear weakness.

11. Duquesne: Damian Saunders, a top A-10 newcomer last year, looks to emerge in a lean frontcourt
12. George Washington: 27-3 seems like decades ago; hopes ride with a healthy Taylor King at point guard
13. St. Bonaventure: Return of two starters and a promising class give hope to the future, present is ugly
14. Fordham: Rams lost all five of their starting seniors who finished just 6-10 in the conference

First Team All Atlantic-10:
G- Dionte Christmas, Temple
G- Ricky Harris, Massachusetts
F- Derrick Brown, Xavier
F- Chris Wright, Dayton
F- Ahmad Nivins, Saint Joe’s

Coach of the Year- Sean Miller, Xavier
Newcomer of the Year- Vernon Goodridge, La Salle
Sleeper Team- Saint Joseph’s Hawks
NCAA- Xavier
NIT- Temple, Massachusetts, Dayton, Charlotte

Posted in Conference Previews, Predictions | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

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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