Program! Get your program!
In college basketball, that becomes a more important phrase every year, at some schools more so than others. While there is always turnover even in pro sports, and college sports have seniors who graduate along with incoming freshmen, the amount of turnover seems to only be going up. The biggest part of this is, as has often been discussed, transfers.
And in an Associated Press story, several prominent coaches and officials weighed in.
Rather than dig into this subject further, we will just note that well over 700 players transferred since the end of last season, and that several teams ranked high in preseason polls will have multiple transfers eligible to play this season. While we will spend a lot of time talking about the role freshmen will play, transfers are sure to be right there with them in terms of impact. Transfers nowadays come in all shapes, sizes, abilities and ages.
Continuing our look at conferences:
- Conference USA has in recent years been ruled by the likes of Louisiana Tech, Middle Tennessee and UAB since Memphis departed. With UAB having a coaching change along with personnel losses, that could shake things up a bit at first, but for now the Blazers have been voted favorites again the preseason coaches poll. Middle Tennessee is next, and watch for Western Kentucky to be on the rise again as Rick Stansbury is winning a lot of recruiting battles.
- Valparaiso and Oakland have been the teams to beat in the Horizon League of late, and despite the departure of Bryce Drew from the former, the Crusaders will remain the team to beat this season. They return star forward Alec Peters and more winning experience for first-year head coach Matt Lottich. Oakland has three starters back and will always be well-tested, while Green Bay is an intriguing team with six seniors but also having lost two all-league players.
- Last year will go down as an aberration at Harvard, as the Crimson will be clearly favored to win the Ivy League this year. Harvard gets Siyani Chambers back from injury and adds a terrific recruiting class, and they still have Zena Edosomwan among their holdovers. Yale and Princeton will push them, while Columbia could be a sleeper as they lost a lot and have a coaching change, but it’s a familiar face as Jim Engles was an assistant there before his tenure at NJIT.
- The MAAC should be entertaining as always this season, and that includes what has become quite a rivalry between Iona and Monmouth, who along with Siena comprise the three favorites to win. Teams like St. Peter’s, Fairfield and Manhattan could make a run for the top as well.
More exhibition games were on tap yesterday, with the only surprise being Queens University in Charlotte edging VCU 75-73. Davidson, Dayton, Duke, Iowa, Nevada and Saint Louis all won, and the final result ultimately doesn’t say much because playing time is different for each team in these games than in a regular season game.
Action on the gridiron still takes center stage, but as it’s a weekend day that means it’s perfect for some exhibition games or late scrimmages. Among those with exhibition games on Saturday are Boston College, Gonzaga, Indiana, Mount St. Mary’s and Pittsburgh.