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Towson Tigers 2014-15 Preview

by - Published November 14, 2014 in Conference Notes

Towson Tigers (25-11 overall, 13-3 conference)

 

 

 

Projected starting five:

Jr. G Josh Ivory
Jr. G Four McGlynn
Jr. F Timajh Parker-Rivera
So. F John Davis
So. F Walter Foster

Important departures:

Four big pieces to last season’s team have graduated: F Jerrelle Benimon, F Rafriel Guthrie, F Marcus Damas and G Mike Burwell,

Returning:

26.3 percent of scoring and 30.6 percent of rebounding

Additions:

So. G Alex Astroth (transfer from Vanderbilt)
Sr. F Alex Gavrilovic (transfer from Dayton)
Fr. G Byron Hawkins
Jr. G Josh Ivory (junior college transfer)
Fr. G-F Eddie Keith

Schedule Highlights:

The non-conference schedule has plenty of land mines, as Skerry is challenging them right away. They open at Alabama in the CBE Hall of Fame Classic, which then takes them to Monmouth for three games. They travel to play Georgetown and Temple while welcoming La Salle to SECU Arena. After opening CAA play at James Madison, they play three straight at home, then go over a month before they have back-to-back home games. During that time, they play back-to-back road games three separate times.

Projected finish and outlook:

Only Delaware lost nearly as much from last season as the Tigers, who lost the two-time Player of the Year and three other starters. There is still good talent, but the lack of experience means they’re likely to have some growing pains early on. The backcourt is almost entirely new, as McGlynn is the only returning guard, and his shooting is well-suited to coming off the bench. Ivory is more likely to start at the point over Hawkins, largely because he’s more seasoned, but Hawkins will be very much in the mix. Astroth will compete for minutes on the wing along with Davis, who they are high on but was in and out of practice last season due to illness and injury. Up front, they will hang their hat on Parker-Rivera, their top returning rebounder, and Foster is healthier as well. Gavrilovic and Jamel Flash should be in the mix up front as well, giving them experience. In short order, Pat Skerry has rebuilt this program, and now comes a big challenge with a mostly new cast of characters.

Next: UNC Wilmington Seahawks

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UNCW Seahawks 2014-15 Preview

by - Published November 14, 2014 in Conference Notes

UNCW Seahawks (9-23 overall, 3-13 conference)

 

 

 

Projected starting five:

Jr. G Craig Ponder
Sr. G Freddie Jackson
Sr. G Addison Spruill
Sr. F Cedrick Williams
Jr. C Yemi Makanujuola

Important departures:

G Chris Dixon and F Shane Reybold are key players who have graduated.

Returning:

59.4 percent of scoring and 52.7 percent of rebounding

Additions:

Jr. C Yemi Makanujuola (transfer from Tennessee)
Fr. G Malik Pugh
Fr. G Jordan Talley

Schedule Highlights:

The non-conference slate features just three home games, all coming in a stretch of four games with a trip to Louisville being the only other game. They also have trips to Old Dominion, UNCG, Minnesota and Ohio on tap. CAA play begins with three of four at home, followed by three straight on the road.

Projected finish and outlook:

Buzz Peterson certainly tried to get the program going again, but couldn’t do it in the time he was given, aided in part by APR issues when he started. New head coach Kevin Keatts inherits a better situation, but not by much at first. He has solid coaching and recruiting credentials, in addition to being a high-character man like Peterson, so there’s a lot to like if you’re a Seahawk fan. Keatts coached Ponder at Hargrave Military Academy, so there’s some familiarity there, and his likely running mates in Jackson and Spruill can score, though none of the three has been a great three-point threat. Williams is a three-year starter and should anchor them up front. He’s been a good player, but one gets the impression he can be better than he’s shown thus far. The Seahawks had hoped to have Makanujuola last year, but they get him now and he should boost them up front. There’s a lot of room to improve, and with two players gone who had more assists than turnovers, taking care of the ball could be even more of a challenge this year.

Next: William & Mary Tribe

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William & Mary Tribe 2014-15 Preview

by - Published November 14, 2014 in Conference Notes

William & Mary Tribe (20-12 overall, 10-6 conference)

 

 

 

Projected starting five:

Fr. G Michael Schlotman
Sr. G Marcus Thornton
Jr. G-F Terry Tarpey
So. G-F Omar Prewitt
Jr. F Sean Sheldon

Important departures:

The Tribe lost a good deal of experience and production, as G Julian Boatner, G Brandon Britt, F Kyle Gaillard and F Tim Rusthoven all graduated.

Returning:

57.1 percent of scoring and 63.7 percent of rebounding

Additions:

Fr. G Greg Malinowski
Fr. F Paul Rowley
Fr. G Michael Schlotman (redshirted)
Fr. G Oliver Tot
Fr. F Jack Whitman (redshirted)

Schedule Highlights:

Four home games highlight a non-conference slate that has some challenging road games. The Tribe will go to Florida, Richmond, Old Dominion and North Carolina. The latter part of CAA play includes a stretch with five of seven games on the road, ending with games at Northeastern and at Hofstra.

Projected finish and outlook:

Tony Shaver continues to bring this program to new levels of success, and this year they might maintain things after a run to the conference title game last season. They have the preseason Player of the Year in Thornton, who can get this team a basket when they need one, as a good starting point. They lose a lot, but still have a lot coming back in addition to Thornton. Prewitt was the conference’s top newcomer and has gotten stronger, while Dixon gives them a lot, including defensively. Tarpey is a solid glue guy, and his motor is always running, which allows him to find ways to contribute. Sheldon is likely to start up front, having steadily developed to the point where he’ll anchor the front line. He’s the latest in a line of players under Shaver who have waited their turn for a significant role. They have plenty of other options up front behind him. The one question mark is at the point guard spot with the departure of Britt, and that could go to Schlotman, who had earned a spot in the rotation before getting hurt last season and having to obtain a medical redshirt. The Tribe is a well-oiled machine offensively with this group, and they’re underrated defensively, led by Dixon, so there’s every reason to think they can contend once again this season.

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2013-14 Big Ten Post-Mortem

by - Published July 8, 2014 in Columns, Conference Notes

College basketball seasons always bring us teams that perform superbly in the non-conference season but fall into mediocrity in conference. Many times those teams are the product of cushy non-conference schedules, as well as being exposed by tougher conference competition.

There are exceptions to this every season, though, and the Big Ten had its share of them this year. Those teams’ later downward spirals were about the only difference between the league again being the best in the country, and the consensus that it settled in a notch lower.
… Continue Reading

2013-14 Sun Belt Post-Mortem

by - Published July 7, 2014 in Columns, Conference Notes

When the subject of conference realignment comes up, there are a few conferences that are at the forefront of it, for better or worse. A few seem to be in perpetual realignment, to the point of wondering if the conference administration doesn’t at some point have an identity crisis, especially if the conference’s geographic footprint expands greatly over time.

Enter the Sun Belt, where big changes have recently happened and will continue.

… Continue Reading

2013-14 Big Sky Post-Mortem

by - Published July 1, 2014 in Columns, Conference Notes

The 2013-14 season saw one of the Big Sky’s signature programs, and the one that has given it arguably the biggest NCAA Tournament wins in recent memory, return to the Big Dance. It wasn’t that Weber State wasn’t good; they have been a consistent postseason team. They just couldn’t knock off one particular team in the conference tournament that had their number.

Since reaching the NCAA Tournament in 2007, Weber State lost three times – all to Montana – in the Big Sky championship game. This time around, the Wildcats didn’t have to go through the Grizzlies, who were bounced in the quarterfinals, and handily beat North Dakota in the championship game. It finished what was pretty much a dominating season for them, as they also won the regular season title and dominated the postseason awards.

… Continue Reading

2013-14 MEAC Post-Mortem

by - Published July 1, 2014 in Columns, Conference Notes

Though it is often right around the bottom of NCAA Division I, the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference furnishes some really good teams from time to time. North Carolina Central provided yet another example of that this year.

The 2013-14 season was N.C. Central’s year. The Eagles completed their four-year ascent to the top of MEAC and were easily its best team, winning both the regular season and tournament titles and capturing their first-ever D-I tourney bid. The Eagles finished 28-6 overall, won at North Carolina State, and were competitive in every one of their losses, even giving Wichita State a stiff challenge on the road in December.
… Continue Reading

2013-14 Big 12 Post-Mortem

by - Published June 30, 2014 in Columns, Conference Notes

Top to bottom, the Big 12 was the best college basketball conference in the country this year. Let’s get that out of the way right now.

In fact, when it comes to overall depth, the Big 12 this season may have been one of the strongest leagues in a long time. The conference sent seven of its 10 teams to the NCAA Tournament, the first time in 21 years and just the fifth time ever that a league sent 70% or more of its teams to the tourney. And as good as those seven teams were, the league’s eighth and ninth teams may have spoken most to the Big 12’s depth.
… Continue Reading

2013-14 Northeast Conference Post-Mortem

by - Published June 30, 2014 in Columns, Conference Notes

The Northeast Conference has had a good run in recent years, from one of its best seasons in 2011-12 to seeing a new member become a contender as they become eligible for the conference tournament. The conference always has some good basketball with its top teams, and this year was no exception. Part of that was once again evident in the conference tournament, as the regular season champion once again didn’t take home the title.

Robert Morris has been a mainstay for several years now. You could argue that the Colonials are the signature program in the conference, as they have won at least 12 conference games each of the past seven seasons. The past two seasons, they have won the regular season title by two games. Yet a conference championship remains elusive, as they captured two straight in 2009 and 2010 but have yet to do it again.

… Continue Reading

2013-14 SWAC Post-Mortem

by - Published June 30, 2014 in Columns, Conference Notes

It has been some time since the Southwestern Athletic Conference has had a true heavyweight program, but Southern University may be on the verge of changing that.

Not since Davey Whitney won three regular season titles in four years from 1999-2002 in the second stint of his brilliant career at Alcorn State has the SWAC had a consistent year-in, year-out team to beat. Under coach Roman Banks, though, Southern has won a SWAC tourney title and a regular season title in the last two years. The latter came this season, when the Jaguars won the league by three games despite returning just two starters from the team that nearly shocked Gonzaga in the round of 64 in the 2013 NCAA Tournament.
… Continue Reading

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