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Rutgers Scarlet Knights 2011-12 Preview

by - Published November 11, 2011 in Conference Notes

Rutgers Scarlet Knights

 

Last Year:

15-17 overall, 5-13 Big East (13th)

Coach:

Mike Rice, Jr. (2nd season, 15-17)

Projected starting five:

G: Myles Mack, Fr.
G: Austin Carroll, So.
F: Dane Miller, Jr.
F: Gilvydas Biruta, So.
C: Austin Johnson, Jr.

Important departures:

Jonathan Mitchell 14.4 ppg, 5.6 rpg
James Beatty 8.8 ppg, 2.9 rpg
Mike Coburn 8.8 ppg, 1.9 rpg

Inside the numbers:

33 percent scoring returning
46 percent rebounding returning

Additions:

G: Myles Mack, 5’9”, 155 – ESPNU #63
F: Kadeem Jack 6’8”, 210 – MaxPreps #77
G: Elijah Carter, 6’2”, 170 – Rivals #114
C: Greg Lewis, 6’9”, 225 – Rivals #139

Schedule:

Toughest nonconference game: 12/29 vs. (10) Florida
Toughest in-conference stretch: 1/7 – 1/14 vs. (4) Connecticut, at (11) Pittsburgh, at West Virginia

Prediction:

11th in BE; 17+ wins; NIT berth

What to expect:

Rutgers made some serious strides last year as the scrappy Scarlet Knights played hard night-in and night-out, turning some heads in the process and making people recognize that they are no longer a gimme win.

While the Scarlet Knights lost three starters from last year’s team, Dane Miller and Gilvydas Biruta are left over to pass on coach Mike Rice’s style of play. The two big men will move Rutgers’ scoring threats primarily down low, but incoming freshman Myles Mack should make an immediate impact from the perimeter.

Austin Carroll will be the Scarlet Knights premium outside scoring threat in an effort to stop teams from closing in on Biruta and Miller in the post. A solid recruiting class has Rutgers looking like they have the tools to build for the future, the question is whether or not they can compete while waiting for their new talent to assimilate.

Next: Seton Hall Pirates

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Seton Hall Pirates 2011-12 Preview

by - Published November 11, 2011 in Conference Notes

Seton Hall Pirates

 

Last Year:

13-18 overall, 7-11 Big East (12th)

Coach:

Kevin Willard (2nd season, 13-17)

Projected starting five:

G: Jordan Theodore, Sr.
G: Fuquan Edwin, So.
G: Aaron Cosby, Fr.
F: Patrick Auda, So.
F: Herb Pope, Sr.

Important departures:

Jeremy Hazell 19.8 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 35.3 mpg
Jeff Robinson 12.1 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 31.7 mpg

Inside the numbers:

46 percent scoring returning
55 percent rebounding returning

Additions:

C: Kevin Johsnon, 6’9”, 225 – ESPNU Pos. #26
G: Aaron Cosby 6’2”, 190 – ESPNU Pos. #39
G: Freddie Wilson, 6’2”, 275 – ESPNU Pos. #83

Schedule:

Toughest nonconference game: 12/10 vs. Wake Forest
Toughest in-conference stretch: 1/28 – 2/4 vs. (8) Louisville, at (21) Marquette, at (4) Connecticut

Prediction:

13th in BE; 15+ wins; NIT berth

What to expect:

Seton Hall caught some bad luck last year with Jeremy Hazell and Herb Pope missing significant time due to non-basketball related injuries. Hazell was shot and Pope had a heart problem.

The Pirates lose Hazell and second-leading scorer Jeff Robinson, but Herb Pope showed signs at the end of last season that he could become the double-double machine he was as a sophomore. Helping Pope out with be senior PG Jordan Theodore, who anchored the backcourt last season while Hazell was out.

Seton Hall also has a host of newcomers who can make an impact, including Aaron Cosby and Freddie Wilson who will likely see playing time as the first guys off the bench. The Pirates will lean on Pope and Theodore heavily for their team’s success.

Next: South Florida Bulls

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South Florida Bulls 2011-12 Preview

by - Published November 11, 2011 in Conference Notes

South Florida Bulls

 

Last Year:

10-23 overall, 3-15 Big East (15th)

Coach:

Stan Heath (5th season, 41-54)

Projected starting five:

G: Blake Nash, So.
G: Shaun Noriega, Jr.
F: Victor Rudd, So.
F: Ron Anderson, Jr., Sr.
C: Augustus Gilchrist, Sr.

Important departures:

Jarrid Famous 8.7 ppg, 5.4 rpg
Shaun Noriega 6.4 ppg

Inside the numbers:

77 percent scoring returning
77 percent rebounding returning

Additions:

C: Jordan Omogbehin, 7’2”, 285 – ESPNU Pos. #30
G: Anthony Collins, 6’1”, 175 – ESPNU Pos. #70

Schedule:

Toughest nonconference game: 12/3 at (13) Kansas
Toughest in-conference stretch: 2/19 – 2/29 at (11) Pittsburgh, at (5) Syracuse, vs. (22) Cincinnati, at (8) Louisville

Prediction:

12th in BE; 17+ wins; NIT berth

What to expect:

After a disappointing 2010-11, the Bulls aren’t much better off going into 2011-12. Their stud, Augustus Gilchrist is one of the most talented big men in the BE, but his run-ins with coach Stan Heath cost him some games last year because of “philosophical differences.”

Still, there are some guys to look forward to. Jawanza Poland will return to the team in December after he recovers from back surgery, and Shaun Noriega can hit from anywhere in the gym if he’s feeling it. The additions of transfers Ron Anderson, Jr. (Kansas State) and Victor Rudd (Arizona State) will give Gilchrist some help of he is up for it.

The chemistry is all off with South Florida, however. They seemed to have the pieces to repeat their bubble-bursting 2010 campaign, but they never got on track. That will be the theme this year as well as Stan Heath tries to put his guys together to reach their potential.

Next: St. John’s Red Storm

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St. John’s Red Storm 2011-12 Preview

by - Published November 11, 2011 in Conference Notes

St. John’s Red Storm

 

Last Year:

21-12 overall, 12-6 Big East (T-3rd)

Coach:

Steve Lavin (2nd season, 21-12)

Projected starting five:

G: Nurideen Lindsey, So.
G: D’Angelo Harrison, Fr.
F: Sir’Dominic Pointer, Fr.
F: Moe Harkless, Fr.
C: God’s Gift Achiuwa, Jr.

Important departures:

Dwight Hardy 18.3 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 1.9 apg
Justin Brownlee 12.3 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 1.9 apg
DJ Kennedy 10.4 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 2.0 apg

Inside the numbers:

4 percent scoring returning
2 percent rebounding returning

Additions:

G: D’Angelo Harrison, 6’3”, 186 – Rivals #40
F: Moe Harkless, 6’6”, 180 – Rivals #41
F: Sir’Dominic Pointer, 6’5” 200 – Rivals #44

Schedule:

Toughest nonconference game(s): 11/17 vs. (16) Arizona, 12/1 at (2) Kentucky
Toughest in-conference stretch: 12/31 – 1/11 at (4) Connecticut, vs. (8) Louisville, at (22) Cincinnati, at (21) Marquette

Prediction:

14th in BE; 15+ wins; NIT Bubble

What to expect:

Steve Lavin came into Queens and turned a lot of heads with an impressive first year at St. John’s. The Red Storm were a little slow out of the gate, but after dismantling Duke at Madison Square Garden, the Johnnies took off, winning nine of their next 11 games.

This year doesn’t promise to be as exciting for St. John’s as they practically lose their entire team to graduation. Lavin did unbelievably in recruiting, bringing in ESPNU’s third-ranked class, but with no senior leadership, it looks to be a rebuilding year for St. John’s.

Another blow came when Lavin was diagnosed with prostate cancer, but the coach has had surgery and hopes to be back for the start of the season. Regardless, not much can be expected from a team starting three freshman and two Juco transfers.

Next: Syracuse Orange

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Syracuse Orange 2011-12 Preview

by - Published November 11, 2011 in Conference Notes

Syracuse Orange

 

Last Year:

27-8 overall, 12-6 Big East (T-3rd)

Coach:

Jim Boeheim (35th season, 856-301)

Projected starting five:

G: Scoop Jardine, Sr.
G: Brandon Triche, Jr.
F: Kris Joseph, Sr.
F: C.J. Fair, So.
C: Fab Melo, So.

Important departures:

Rick Jackson 13.1 ppg, 10.3 rpg, 35 mpg

Inside the numbers:

82 percent scoring returning
72 percent rebounding returning

Additions:

C: Rakeem Christmas, 6’8”, 200 – Rivals #27
G: Michael Carter-Williams, 6’4” 175 – Rivals #29

Schedule:

Toughest nonconference game: 12/2 vs. (10) Florida
Toughest in-conference stretch: 2/8 – 2-13 vs. Georgetown, vs. (4) Connecticut, at (8) Louisville

Prediction:

1st in BE; 25+ wins; Final Four

What to expect:

A lot, frankly. Syracuse lost only Rick Jackson off their 2010-11 roster and added two top 30 recruits in Rakeem Christmas and Michael Carter-Williams. Ranked in the preseason poll at No. 5 in the nation, a talented and experienced Orange are national title contenders.

The one knock on the Cuse last year was that despite being superior athletes in nearly every game, they sometimes played down to their competition. After an 18-0 start and rising to No. 3 in the rankings, the Orange lost six of their next eight games. The most frustrating part was when they decided to play, they could knock off anyone, including eventual national champs UConn.

An upper-class-laden team, this looks to be Syracuse’s best chance for a national title since Carmelo Anthony was there. Scoop Jardine, Kris Joseph, Brandon Triche and Fab Melo all should be NBA prospects, and there is no telling how long they will stick around upstate New York.

Next: Villanova Wildcats

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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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