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Hofstra Pride 2015-16 Preview

by - Published November 15, 2015 in Conference Notes
hofstra

Hofstra Pride (20-14 overall, 10-8 conference)

 

 

 

Projected starting five:

Sr. G Juan’ya Green
Jr. G Brian Bernardi
Sr. F Ameen Tanksley
Sr. F Denton Koon
Sr. F Malik Nichols

Important departures:

G Dion Nesmith and F Moussa Kone are the key departures from last season’s team.

Returning:

76.1 percent of scoring and 79.1 percent of rebounding

Additions:

Fr. G Desure Buie
Sr. F-C Ibrahim Djanbo (transfer from Clemson)
Sr. F Denton Koon (transfer from Princeton)
Fr. G Justin Wright-Foreman

Schedule Highlights:

The Pride’s non-conference schedule isn’t bad, but it’s not loaded with chances for quality wins to increase an NCAA Tournament profile. They have four home games, headlined by a visit from America East contender Stony Brook. They play in the Paradise Jam, opening with Florida State, then have trips to St. Bonaventure, La Salle and Siena. In CAA play, they open at Delaware, then get three straight at home against teams picked in the lower half of the conference, so they could get some early momentum going. In February, they have a big three-game homestand with visits from James Madison, William & Mary and Delaware.

Projected finish and outlook:

As soon as Joe Mihalich took the job and transfers started pouring in, this season was what they were especially gearing up for. The Pride have the team to beat with their star power, experience and depth, especially with the additions of Djanbo and Koon up front to complement the best perimeter unit in the conference. Green and Tanksley are two of the conference’s best players and have played together for years. Bernardi was deadly behind the arc last season and should be once again, and Koon should help as a glue guy. Indicative of how deep they are is that it’s easy to forget the presence of Jamall Robinson, an All-Rookie selection two years ago, but he’s very capable off the bench and has played a key role in the past. The Pride led the conference in scoring last season, and there’s every reason to expect a repeat of that with so much of the personnel returning. They’ll need to maintain their level of play a bit longer, as they were hot coming into CAA play and started 4-0 before cooling off after losing an early showdown at Northeastern. Hofstra lost a heart-breaker in the CAA Tournament semifinals last season, a game for the ages. This year there’s every reason to expect they’ll get a little further and win it all.

Next: James Madison Dukes

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James Madison Dukes 2015-16 Preview

by - Published November 15, 2015 in Conference Notes
jamesmadison

James Madison Dukes (19-14 overall, 12-6 conference)

 

 

 

Projected starting five:

Sr. G Ron Curry
Sr. G Winston Grays
Jr. G Jackson Kent
Jr. F Yohanny Dalembert
Jr. F Tom Vodanovich

Important departures:

No starters are gone from last season’s team, and the only player of any consequence who doesn’t return is F Hari Hall.

Returning:

89.9 percent of scoring and 92.3 percent of rebounding

Additions:

Jr. F Shakir Brown
Fr. G Kevin Kangni
Jr. G Devontae Morgan (transfer from Butler)

Schedule Highlights:

An impressive nine home games highlight the non-conference schedule, including five straight to close out non-conference play. They host the Men Against Breast Cancer Classic, with four games, then later host the likes of Western Michigan, Marshall, East Carolina and Northeast contender Mount St. Mary’s. They open the season at Richmond, play West Virginia in Charleston, WV, and also travel to Marshall. CAA play starts with a chance for some early momentum: three of the first four are at home, and all of the home games are against teams that will be picked in the bottom half of the conference. Right after that is a big weekend: a road trip to Northeastern and Hofstra.

Projected finish and outlook:

The Dukes appeared to be a year away last season, but were part of a four-way tie for first and now return almost everyone. No team in the conference returns as much statistically, with the inside-outside tandem of Curry and Dalembert leading the way. The latter’s development was a key, as it wasn’t a given he would make the big steps forward he did as a sophomore. Grays and Kent complement Curry well, while Vodanovich leads a front line with some depth and lineup options that include juniors Dimitrije Cabarkapa and Paulius Satkus. Curry and Kent were second and third, respectively, in three-point field goal percentage last season, so that figures to be a strong point for this team. The Dukes were not great or terrible in any one area last season, but they did have more turnovers than assists. Improvement there wouldn’t hurt their attempt to get a little further this season.

Next: Northeastern Huskies

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Northeastern Huskies 2015-16 Preview

by - Published November 15, 2015 in Conference Notes
northeastern

Northeastern Huskies (23-12 overall, 12-6 conference)

 

 

 

Projected starting five:

Jr. G T.J. Williams
Sr. G David Walker
Sr. G-F Zach Stahl
Sr. F Quincy Ford
Fr. F-C Anthony Green

Important departures:

F Scott Eatherton is the only starter from last season who has departed, although the Huskies will also miss F Reggie Spencer, who also graduated.

Returning:

70.6 percent of scoring and 72.2 percent of rebounding

Additions:

Fr. F Sajon Ford
Fr. F-C Anthony Green
Fr. G Donnell Gresham Jr.
Fr. G Brandom Kamga
Fr. F-C Jeremy Miller

Schedule Highlights:

The Huskies’ non-conference schedule is once again a challenge, and features five home games. While they have one against Division III neighbor Wentworth, the other four are all tough ones: Harvard, Stony Brook, Michigan State and Vermont, the last three right in a row before Christmas. They open at arch-rival Boston University, play three at Miami (Ohio) in the Men Against Breast Cancer Classic, and head south to play ACC foes Miami and NC State. CAA play starts off with a tough stretch: three of four on the road, and they play more of the teams picked near the top early than late. From late January into mid-February, they play six of eight at home.

Projected finish and outlook:

Though the Huskies lose a key player in Eatherton, Bill Coen’s team welcomes back just about everyone else and has a strong recruiting class that will keep them right in contention. Quincy Ford looked more like the player many thought he would be late last season, especially in the CAA Tournament, and he should be primed for a big year. Walker became more aggressive last year while remaining fundamentally the same intelligent, tough player, while Williams had a nice year and Stahl is a unique player that fits this team so well. The freshmen up front will get a chance to play, especially if redshirt junior Kwesi Abakah isn’t ready to jump into a bigger role, and all are capable of helping this team. Devon Begley and Caleb Donnelly will help off the bench, with the former at times making a nice impact as a freshman last year while the latter can be a designated shooter. The biggest knock on last season’s team was that they led the CAA in turnovers, something they won’t want to repeat this year. They led the conference in field goal percentage to make up for it.

Next: Towson Tigers

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Towson Tigers 2015-16 Preview

by - Published November 15, 2015 in Conference Notes
towson

Towson Tigers (12-20 overall, 5-13 conference)

 

 

 

Projected starting five:

So. G Byron Hawkins
So. G Mike Morsell
Jr. F John Davis
Sr. F Timajh Parker-Rivera
Jr. F-C Walter Foster

Important departures:

G Four McGlynn (transferred to Rhode Island) is the only starter who is gone from last season.

Returning:

71 percent of scoring and 82.9 percent of rebounding

Additions:

Jr. F Arnaud William Adala Moto (transfer from Wake Forest)
Fr. F Alex Thomas
Fr. F Dennis Tunstall

Schedule Highlights:

The Tigers have six home games in a non-conference slate that is quite manageable, including a visit from former conference foe George Mason. They play three games in the Charleston Classic, starting with Oklahoma State. CAA play features a stretch a few weeks in where they play four of five on the road, followed by four of five at home. The latter will be a brutal stretch: Northeastern and William & Mary at home, at Hofstra, then Elon and James Madison at home.

Projected finish and outlook:

If there’s a potential sleeper in the conference, it’s Pat Skerry’s team. Towson has some talent, especially among its young perimeter players, but is a tough team to figure. They could just as easily make a big leap as they could finish right where they did last year with a lot of this cast back. Morsell came on late last year and could be primed for a breakout season alongside Hawkins, who showed steady progress. Davis could continue to come off the bench if he doesn’t improve defensively, but either way he should produce as he led the CAA with 12 double-doubles last season. Parker-Rivera and Foster are steady contributors up front, and they’ll get good help from the newcomers. Don’t be surprised if Adala Moto grabs a lot of minutes early, while Thomas will have to wait his turn but has the potential to be a nice player down the road. The Tigers were a solid defensive team last season, something that doesn’t always happen for such a young team. If they can replicate that, the offense should only get better, and the Tigers could make a jump well into the first division.

Next: UNCW Seahawks

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UNCW Seahawks 2015-16 Preview

by - Published November 15, 2015 in Conference Notes
uncwilmington

UNCW Seahawks (18-14 overall, 12-6 conference)

 

 

 

Projected starting five:

Sr. G Craig Ponder
So. G Jordon Talley
Jr. G Denzel Ingram
So. F Marcus Bryan
Sr. F Dylan Sherwood

Important departures:

Three starters are gone from last season’s team: G Freddie Jackson, F Addison Spruill and F Cedrick Williams.

Returning:

47 percent of scoring and 46.8 percent of rebounding

Additions:

So. F Marcus Bryan (transfer from Charlotte)
Fr. G C.J. Bryce
Fr. F Devontae Cacok
Jr. G Chris Flemmings (junior college transfer)
Fr. G Trey Grundy
Jr. G Denzel Ingram (transfer from Charlotte)
Fr. G Mark Matthews

Schedule Highlights:

The Seahawks have five home games in non-conference play, highlighted by visits from defending Ohio Valley champ Eastern Kentucky and Western Michigan. They open with three straight at home. They go on the road to play at Georgetown and East Carolina, and will play two games in the Billy Minardi Classic in Louisville. After opening CAA play with two straight on the road, they play the next three at home. They start February with a key weekend at home, welcoming Hofstra and then Northeastern.

Projected finish and outlook:

Keatts did a terrific job turning around the mindset of the program in his first year. Year two is always a challenge, and this one will be a little different. The Seahawks will have more talent, but less experience, and the three starters they lose all meant a great deal to the team. They also dismissed Jarvis Haywood in October, and he figured to be an impact transfer, although he had been suspended for the first semester. But there’s still plenty of talent, and this team could certainly finish higher than they’ve been picked just like last year. Ponder, who Keatts coached at Hargrave Military Academy, had a nice season last year, while Talley made a big impact as a freshman and could make the leap to be an all-conference player this year. Transfers Ingram, Bryan and Flemmings should all help right away. There is more proven depth on the perimeter than up front, and in college basketball that is always a plus. With Keatts getting his program in place and the team adopting the attitude he wanted, the culture has changed and the Seahawks are once again a dangerous team with a homecourt that is tough for visiting teams.

Next: William & Mary Tribe

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William & Mary Tribe 2015-16 Preview

by - Published November 15, 2015 in Conference Notes
williammary

William & Mary Tribe (20-13 overall, 12-6 conference)

 

 

 

Projected starting five:

Jr. G Omar Prewitt
Jr. G Daniel Dixon
So. G Greg Malinowski
Sr. F Terry Tarpey
Sr. F Sean Sheldon

Important departures:

G Marcus Thornton graduated and was drafted in the second round of the NBA Draft.

Returning:

68.4 percent of scoring and 85.4 percent of rebounding

Additions:

So. G David Cohn (transfer from Colorado State)
Fr. F Hunter Seacat

Schedule Highlights:

The Tribe has a challenging non-conference schedule that features six home games, including three straight to close it out. Included are visits from former CAA foe Old Dominion, Big South contender High Point and MAC contender Central Michigan. They also travel to NC State in the season opener, then Dayton and Virginia. CAA play begins with three of four at home, followed by four of five on the road.

Projected finish and outlook:

Tony Shaver continues to produce contending teams, and while the Tribe lose their all-time leading scorer in Thornton, they return a core that has been to two straight CAA championship games. That experience should certainly count for something from an intangibles standpoint, and they should be formidable. Tarpey is a tough do-everything player who led the conference in rebounding and steals and was a close second in blocked shots, while Prewitt didn’t have a sophomore slump after winning the league’s Rookie of the Year and Dixon is their best defender and a capable offensive player who could break out. Sheldon is steady inside, along with some reserves, while Malinowski seems the most likely holdover to snag the last starting guard spot unless Cohn grabs it. Oliver Tot is an intriguing prospect on the perimeter who now has a year of college under his belt, and classmate Connor Burchfield will be in the mix on the perimeter as well. William & Mary ran a great offense last season, and even without Thornton they should still be pretty good at that end since they all know how to play. They will be more balanced and should still get good shots, which they should make a good percentage of the time.

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The Morning Dish – Saturday, November 14, 2015

by - Published November 14, 2015 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-yellow

It’s here at last. The college basketball season began on Friday. Amidst the excitement, however, we were reminded that as much as we love the game, there are many other things of paramount concern. A series of terrorist attacks in Paris captured everyone’s attention, with well over 100 people killed. As we take a look at college basketball on the day, we extend our thoughts and prayers to those who lost loved ones.

As usual, there were plenty of mismatches, along with some very good matchups, and with the latter came surprises. There was also an unfortunate early end to one of two games played outside the country.

… Continue Reading

Big East looks the same in some ways and quite different in other ways

by - Published November 13, 2015 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
bigeast

The Big East still has its name and logo. It has several brand-name programs from its history, like Georgetown, Providence, St. John’s and Villanova. It has a Thompson coaching at Georgetown, and a legend from St. John’s is now coaching them. The tournament is still at Madison Square Garden, as if it could ever be anywhere else.

It sounds like little has changed. But something is missing as the third year of the current alignment tips off.

… Continue Reading

The Most Important Players in America in 2015-16

by - Published November 12, 2015 in Columns
author_kasiecki

Many teams have players who might not be their best player, or even one of their best players, but their season will hinge largely on what that player does. Oftentimes, it is a player who is in a new role, but complementary players or backups at a key position can also be among the most important players. Considering how important a point guard is to a team, it’s not a surprise that point guards lead the way on this list.

Here is a look at ten players around the country who figure to have an outsize impact on their teams’ success, or lack thereof, this season.

… Continue Reading

Best Players No One Knows About

by - Published November 11, 2015 in Columns
author_kasiecki

Hassan Martin isn’t one of those players who was always on the radar of college coaches. Rather, he’s more like your classic late bloomer. In an age where many players repeat a year of high school at some point, or even repeat in junior high, and come into college at least at the age of 19, Martin was 17 years old at the beginning of his freshman season in college. This year, the junior forward will be a key cog on a team that will contend in the Atlantic 10.

While E.C. Matthews gets a lot of attention, and understandably so, Rhode Island doesn’t win solely from him. Martin is long, very athletic and has developed the way teams often hope a player with his body and skill set would. He was first a defensive star, blocking a lot of shots, and his offense has come along. This season, he will at least move into second all-time in blocked shots in program history, with an outside shot at surpassing all-time leader Kenny Green (Martin comes into the season with 183, while Green had 328; Martin had 103 last season).

… Continue Reading

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