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Villanova Wildcats 2011-12 Preview

by - Published November 11, 2011 in Conference Notes

Villanova Wildcats

 

Last Year:

21-12 overall, 9-9 Big East (T-9th)

Coach:

Jay Wright (11th season, 224-110)

Projected starting five:

G: Maalik Wayns, Jr.
G: James Bell, So.
F: Dominic Cheek, Jr.
F: Maurice Sutton, Jr.
C: Mouphtaou Yarou, Jr.

Important departures:

Corey Fisher 15.6 ppg, 2.8, rpg, 4.8 apg, 33.4 mpg
Corey Stokes 14.9, 3.3 rpg, 33.0 mpg
Antonio Pena 9.8 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 32.8 mpg

Inside the numbers:

43 percent scoring returning
56 percent rebounding returning

Additions:

G: Tyrone Johnson, 6’3”, 185 – Rivals #52
G: Achraf Yacoubou, 6’3”, 200 – Rivals #126
C: Markus Kennedy, 6’9”, 270

Schedule:

Toughest nonconference game: 12/6 at (25) Missouri
Toughest in-conference stretch: 1/25 – 2/5 at (8) Louisville, vs. (21) Marquette, at (11) Pittsburgh

Prediction:

10th in BE; 20 wins; NCAA Tournament Bubble

What to expect:

Villanova is flying under the radar in the Big East coming into 2011 mostly because of the departure of the Coreys – Corey Fisher and Corey Stokes. The Wildcats also said goodbye to Antonio Pena. Losing three of their top four scorers as well as Isaiah Armwood (transfer), Nova will rely heavily on Maalik Wayns and Mouphtaou Yarou to carry the load.

Welcoming in four new recruits, Villanova does not have a senior on scholarship on their roster. While the future of basketball in Philly looks bright, Wildcat fans should rest assured that Jay Wright should have his team overachieving this year.

Aside from Yarou and Wayns, look for Maurice Sutton and Dominic Cheek to play a lot of minutes. The only question in the starting lineup is who will man the two-guard spot. James Bell looks to be getting the early go-ahead, but incoming freshman Tyrone Johnson and Achraf Yacoubou could be inserted into the lineup as the year goes on.

Next: West Virginia Volunteers

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West Virginia Mountaineers 2011-12 Preview

by - Published November 11, 2011 in Conference Notes

West Virginia Mountaineers

 

Last Year:

21-12 overall, 11-7 Big East (T-6th)

Coach:

Bob Huggins (5th season, 101-42)

Projected starting five:

G: Jabarie Hinds, Fr.
G: Truck Bryant, Sr.
F: Kevin Jones, Sr.
F: Kevin Noreen, Fr.
F: Deniz Kilicli, Jr.

Important departures:

Casey Mitchell 13.6 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 1.1 apg
John Flowers 9.2 ppg, 6.2 rpg
Joe Mazzulla 7.7 ppg, 3.8 rpg

Inside the numbers:

45 percent scoring returning
47 percent rebounding returning

Additions:

G: Jabarie Hinds, 6’0”. 160 – Rivals #93
F: Tommie McCune 6’7”, 185 – Rivals #102
G: Gary Browne, 6’1”, 185

Schedule:

Toughest nonconference game: 12/23 at (12) Baylor
Toughest in-conference stretch: 2/11 – 2/22 vs. (8) Louisville, at (11) Pittsburgh, at Notre Dame

Prediction:

7th in BE; 20+ wins; Second round of NCAA Tournament

What to expect:

West Virginia will have a tall task ahead if they want to return to the NCAA Tournament. Losing three starters, Casey Mitchell, John Flowers and Joe Mazzulla, Huggins will look to Kevin Jones to be his go-to guy.

Jones struggled last year to score at times, but in typical Huggins fashion, their defense kept them in most games long enough for someone to hit a shot. Familiar faces Truck Bryant and Deniz Kilicli, two players who can take the load off of him scoring-wise, will join Jones in the starting five. Bryant will play more two-guard this year to concentrate more on scoring than assisting. Freshman Jabarie Hinds and Gary Browne will take over point guard duties for the Mountaineers.

Hovering around the middle of the road in the BE, Huggins will need to do a solid coaching job to get this hodge-podge group of players into the Big Dance.

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Bradley Braves 2011-12 Preview

by - Published November 10, 2011 in Conference Notes

Bradley Braves (12-20, 4-14)

 

 

 

 

Projected starting five:

Jr. G Dyricus Simms-Edwards
Sr. F/C Will Egolf
So. F Jordan Prosser
Sr. F Taylor Brown
So. G Walt Lemon Jr.

Important departures:

Andrew Warren: 18.8 ppg, 5.5 rpg
Dodie Dunson: 10.5 ppg, 3.9 rpg
Sam Maniscalco: 9.7 ppg, 3 rpg

Percent returning:

Starts: 56.9 percent
Minutes: 56.0 percent
Scoring: 48.1 percent
Rebounding: 63.6 percent

Additions:

Bradley will bring in 6’6” forward Shayok Shayok from Pendleton School at IMG Academies in Bradenton, Fla., where he averaged 18 points and 10 rebounds per game. Freshman guard Donivine Stewart, a four-time Illinois all-state selection, also joins the Braves. Stewart racked up almost 2,300 points in four years at Limestone Community High School.

Toughest nonconference match ups:

Nov. 22 vs. Wofford
Nov. 25 vs. No. 14 Wisconsin
Dec. 17 at Drexel
Dec. 22 at No. 18 Michigan

Outlook:

“Disappointment” was the word to describe last season for Bradley, although injuries did have a great deal to do with the last-place finish. Considered a contender for the conference title before the season began, BU’s 4-14 struggle ended up costing head coach Jim Les his job. The obstacle for the Braves and new head coach Geno Ford in 2011-12 will be filling in the void from the departures of Andrew Warren, Dodie Dunson and Sam Maniscalco. Almost 40 points a game departed with those seniors. A bright spot in the lineup will be the return of senior forward Taylor Brown. Brown was forced to sit out last season to undergo a series of cardiac tests, but he has been cleared to play this winter. He was the captain of the MVC Most Improved Team in 2009-10 after increasing his points and rebounds from 3.4/3.0 per game the previous season to 13.5/6.9. Bradley does have the talent left for an upper-half finish if they can find a way to fill in for the large losses of last season’s seniors.

Prediction: Sixth

Next: Creighton Bluejays

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Creighton Bluejays 2011-12 Preview

by - Published November 10, 2011 in Conference Notes

Creighton Bluejays (23-16, 10-8)

 

 

 

 

Projected starting five:

So. F Doug McDermott
Sr. G Antoine Young
Jr. C Gregory Echenique
So. G Jahenns Manigat
Jr. G Josh Jones

Important departures:

Kenny Lawson Jr.: 9.2 ppg, 5.5 rpg
Darryl Ashford: 4.4 ppg
Kaleb Korver: 4.3 ppg

Percent returning:

Starts: 64.1 percent
Minutes: 60.8
Scoring: 72.3 percent
Rebounding: 60.1 percent

Additions:

Creighton has a very strong list of incoming freshmen. Center Geoff Groselle joins the Bluejays from Plano West High School, Texas, after breaking his high school’s record for blocks and rebounds in a season. Groselle was considered one of the top 25 prospects in Texas. Avery Dingman broke his school’s record for points in a season with 597 as a junior at Branson High School, Mo. Then the guard broke it again with 705 points in his senior campaign. Rounding out a fearsome trio is guard/forward, Nevin Johnson, who also considered Bradley and Wichita State.

Toughest nonconference match ups:

Nov. 30 at San Diego State

Outlook:

The preseason hype is there in Omaha, and it should be. Three players who averaged double figures in scoring last season return for Creighton. The Bluejays also had two players sit in the MVC top ten for scoring and rebounding last season, with all of them returning. So it should come as no surprise that Creighton is on the verge of its first top 25 ranking since 2006-07. How the bench and newcomers perform will determine whether it’s the Bluejays or Indiana State hoisting the conference crown in March though. Outside of the starting lineup, there’s not a lot of experience sitting on the bench. Nevertheless, look for Creighton to dance this season, as head coach Greg McDermott makes it back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since he led Northern Iowa there in 2006.

Prediction: Second

Next: Drake Bulldogs

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Drake Bulldogs 2011-12 Preview

by - Published November 10, 2011 in Conference Notes

Drake Bulldogs (13-18, 7-11)

 

 

 

 

Projected starting five:

So. G Rayvonte Rice
Jr. F Ben Simons
Sr. G Kurt Alexander
Jr. F Jordan Clarke
Sr. F Kraidon Woods

* Jr. C Seth Vandeest should start after returning from shoulder surgery, and he is expected to be out at least one month.

Important departures:

Ryan Wedel: 10.9 ppg

Percent returning:

Starts: 73.5 percent
Minutes: 80.7 percent
Scoring: 80.6 percent
Rebounding: 88.3 percent

Additions:

Judd Welfringer joins the roster after being named first team all-state for Waukee High School, Iowa.

Toughest nonconference match ups:

Nov. 18 vs. Mississippi
Nov. 30 at Boise State

Outlook:

Drake returns the most experience, points and rebounds of any team in the MVC. However, how quickly Seth Vandeest returns from his injury will determine how far the Bulldogs climb the ladder in 2011-12. The expectation is that the junior center will miss the first month. This squad will definitely be dangerous as February rolls around. And even better news: only two seniors occupy the roster this season.

Prediction: Ninth

Next: Evansville Aces

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Evansville Aces 2011-12 Preview

by - Published November 10, 2011 in Conference Notes

Evansville Aces (16-16, 9-9)

 

 

 

 

Projected starting five:

Jr. G/F Colt Ryan
Sr. G/F Kenneth
Sr. G/F Denver Holmes
Jr. G Ned Cox
Jr. G/F Lewis Jones

Important departures:

Clint Hopf: 6 ppg
Pieter Van Tongeren: 6 ppg
Kavon Lacey: 5.1 ppg

Percent returning:

Starts: 60.0 percent
Minutes: 70.3 percent
Scoring: 74.6 percent
Rebounding: 71.4 percent

Additions:

Freshman forward Ryan Sawvell joins the Aces from Mundelein High School, Ill., where he averaged 20 points, 11.1 rebounds, 2.8 blocks and 1.8 steals per game as a senior.

Toughest nonconference match ups:

Nov. 12 vs. Butler
Dec. 6 at No. 1 North Carolina

Outlook:

Evansville will definitely enter the conference season tested, as the Aces play last year’s national runner-up and the top-ranked team in the country. Although UE lost two starters from last season, Jordan Jahr, Lewis Jones and Troy Taylor saw a lot of playing time last season to return enough depth and experience to make the Aces a postseason lock. To be considered a serious threat for the conference crown, Evansville will need to improve on last season’s 4-7 record against the MVC’s upper division. UE looks good enough at first glance to get consideration for the NIT.

Prediction: Fourth

Next: Illinois State Redbirds

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Illinois State Redbirds 2011-12 Preview

by - Published November 10, 2011 in Conference Notes

Illinois State Redbirds (12-19, 4-14)

 

 

 

 

Projected starting five:

Jr. F Jackie Carmichael
Jr. G John Wilkins
Jr. G Anthony Cousin
So. F Jon Ekey
Jr. G Justin Clark

Important departures:

Austin Hill: 10.5 ppg
Tony Lewis: 7.1 ppg, 6.6 rpg

Percent returning:

Starts: 63.2 percent
Minutes: 61.3 percent
Scoring: 60.2 percent
Rebounding: 59.4 percent

Additions:

The 2011 Indiana Mr. Basketball runner-up joins the Redbirds in guard Nic Moore. Moore averaged 27.2 points and 3.5 rebounds per game as a senior at Warsaw High School and also dished out almost five assists per contest. Illinois State also welcomes two-time Illinois all-stater, Johnny Hill, a guard from Glenbard East High School.

Toughest nonconference match ups:

Nov. 22 vs. Rutgers
Dec. 7 at Morehead State

Outlook:

After a rebuilding project last season, Illinois State could be this year’s surprise team in the Valley. Though the Redbirds lost a good deal of experience with Austin Hill, Tony Lewis and Alex Rubin gone, ISU returns three of its top five scorers from last winter, who accounted for 24 points a game. The Redbirds should take the next step this season and could be good enough to snag a couple surprise wins to finish near the upper half of the MVC in 2011-12.

Prediction: Seventh

Next: Indiana State Sycamores

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Indiana State Sycamores 2011-12 Preview

by - Published November 10, 2011 in Conference Notes

Indiana State Sycamores (20-14, 12-6)

 

 

 

 

Projected starting five:

Sr. G Dwayne Lathan
Sr. G/F Carl Richard
So. G Jake Odum
Sr. C Myles Walker
So. G Steve McWhorter

Important departures:

Jake Kelly: 8.8 ppg
Aaron Carter: 8.6 ppg

Percent returning:

Starts: 78.2 percent
Minutes: 77.3 percent
Scoring: 72.6 percent
Rebounding: 77.9 percent

Additions:

The Sycamores’ two top incoming freshmen include guard Brandon Burnett from Cinega High School, Ariz., and Justin Grant, a center from Terre Haute North Vigo High School, Ind. Burnett was a McDonald’s All-American nominee as a senior.

Toughest nonconference match ups:

Nov. 24 vs. Texas Tech
Dec. 3 at Boise State
Dec. 17 at No. 7 Vanderbilt

Outlook:

The Sycamores should be tabbed to win the MVC, as only one team in the league returns more points and rebounds per game this season (Drake). Out of all the teams that finished first through sixth last season, only Evansville comes close to returning as much experience as Indiana State. Dwayne Lathan, Carl Richard, Jake Odum and Myles Walker form a dangerous quartet that seems to be overlooked by many, something that could work in the Sycamores’ favor. The starting five, along with a deep bench, make Indiana State the conference favorite and a threat to capture a win or two in the NCAA Tournament.

Prediction: First

Next: Missouri State Bears

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Missouri State Bears 2011-12 Preview

by - Published November 10, 2011 in Conference Notes

Missouri State Bears (26-9, 15-3)

 

 

 

 

Projected starting five:

Sr. F Kyle Weems
Sr. C Caleb Patterson
So. F Nathan Scheer
So. G Corey Copeland
So. G Keith Pickens

Important departures:

Jermaine Mallet: 11.7 ppg, 6 rpg
Will Creekmore:11.3 ppg, 6.5 rpg
Adam Leonard: 10.1 ppg
Nafis Ricks: 9.3 ppg, 4.4 rpg

Percent returning:

Starts: 20.0 percent
Minutes: 37.2 percent
Scoring: 39.2 percent
Rebounding: 39.5 percent

Additions:

Missouri State brings in several transfers to help replace the four seniors from last season. Junior guard Anthony Downing, guard/forward Jamar Gulley and forward Drew Wilson enter to try to help the Bears defend their conference crown. Freshman guard and serious 3-point threat Dorrian Williams will also join the lineup this winter, as will freshman forward Christian Kirk, who was regarded as one of the state of Missouri’s top high school seniors.

Toughest nonconference match ups:

Dec. 3 at New Mexico
Dec. 7 vs. Oklahoma State
Dec. 22 vs. West Virginia
Dec. 23 vs. St. Mary’s

Outlook:

The defending MVC champions could be in rebuilding mode this winter with the departure of four starters and its head coach. Head coach Cuonzo Martin bolted for the opportunity to take Tennessee’s head coaching position, leaving new MSU head coach Paul Lusk to replace four players who started all 35 of the Bears’ games in 2010-11, as well as two other players who transferred. Missouri State has one of the conference’s most dangerous players on its roster, but the departures of so many might be too much to overcome in 2011-12.

Prediction: Eighth

Next: Northern Iowa Panthers

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Northern Iowa Panthers 2011-12 Preview

by - Published November 10, 2011 in Conference Notes

Northern Iowa Panthers (20-14, 10-8)

 

 

 

 

Projected starting five:

Jr. G Anthony James
Jr. F Jake Koch
Sr. G Johnny Moran
Jr. G Marc Sonnen
Jr. C Austin Pehl

Important departures:

Kwadzo Ahelegbe: 14.1 ppg
Lucas O’ Rear: 6.9 ppg, 5.7 rpg

Percent returning:

Starts: 64.7 percent
Minutes: 68.7 percent
Scoring: 64.7 percent
Rebounding: 66.1 percent

Additions:

Northern Iowa is bringing in a freshman class that looks like it will have a bright future. Matt Bohannon, a 6’4” guard, led his high school to a perfect record and the Iowa class 4-A title as a senior. Forward Seth Tuttle was a three-time all-state selection at West Fork High School, Iowa, and basically rewrote the season and all-time record book at his school for points, rebounds, blocks and assists. From Hopkins High School in Minnesota, 6’6” forward Marvin Singleton was named the State Tournament MVP two years in a row, as Hopkins won three consecutive state titles. He averaged 20 points and 12 rebounds per game as a senior.

Toughest nonconference match ups:

Nov. 12 at Old Dominion
Nov. 14 at St. Mary’s

Outlook:

On paper, the Panthers return three starters and a lot of depth. However, one of those players not returning is Lucas O’ Rear, and it was clear how much of an impact he had on the team. Before O’ Rear went down with a season-ending injury in the beginning of February last season, UNI was in the hunt for the conference title. After the injury, the Panthers dropped six of their final seven regular season contests. The Panthers also must account for the loss of Kwadzo Ahelegbe, the team’s top scorer and fifth-best in the MVC. The talent and experience are there to compete for a conference crown. How Northern Iowa responds to the loss of those two players will make the difference between an MVC title or a second middle-of-the-pack finish in as many seasons.

Prediction: Fifth

Next: Southern Illinois Salukis

Back to Missouri Valley preview

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