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James Madison Dukes 2012-13 Preview

by - Published November 7, 2012 in Conference Notes
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James Madison Dukes (12-20 overall, 5-13 conference)

 

 

 

Projected starting five:

Sr. G Devon Moore
Sr. G A.J. Davis
Sr. F Andrey Semenov
Sr. F Rayshawn Goins
Sr. C Gene Swindle

Important departures:

Two starters are gone from last season’s team: G Humpty Hitchens (14.9 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 3.7 apg) and F Julius Wells (8.6 ppg, 5.6 rpg)

Returning:

73.6 percent of scoring and 85.4 percent of rebounding

Additions:

Fr. F Taylor Bessick
Fr. F Dimitrije Cabarkapa
Fr. G Charles Cooke
Fr. G Ron Curry
Fr. G Andre Nation

Schedule Highlights:

The non-conference slate has some challenges but also some winnable games that would get this veteran team going. They open with the Legends Classic at UCLA and at Duquesne and later play in the Las Vegas Classic against San Jose State and San Diego. The Dukes also take on Richmond at home and head to Miami (Ohio), and they close the non-conference slate at Florida Atlantic. They will be challenged at the end of CAA play as three of the last four are on the road, but a three-game homestand in the middle of the slate could help.

Projected finish and outlook:

Last year was one to forget for the Dukes, and Matt Brady will get at least one more year to get this team going. He comes back with a veteran team, and that term isn’t being used lightly as they have five fifth-year seniors. As Brady noted at media day, they have to use that experience to their advantage. The perimeter can be excellent, as Moore has shown himself to be a good player and leader but now has to take that to another level, while Davis can score and Semenov has battled injuries constantly through his career but is as tough and competitive as they come. Goins and Swindle can give them production inside, with Goins now in better shape. Curry, Cooke and Nation will be too good to keep on the bench for long, and perhaps one benefit of all the injuries last season is that some of the projected reserves this season (Enoch Hood and Arman Marks come to mind) are better since they will be more experienced than had the injuries not happened. The Dukes are a true wild card in that one doesn’t know what to expect based on a lot of conflicting data; this is a team that could wind up in the top three just as easily as they could be in tenth place, but the veteran makeup of this team is reason to think they’re more likely to wind up near the former and quite possibly higher than this selection.

Next: Northeastern Huskies

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Northeastern Huskies 2012-13 Preview

by - Published November 7, 2012 in Conference Notes
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Northeastern Huskies (14-17 overall, 9-9 conference)

 

 

 

Projected starting five:

Sr. G Jonathan Lee
Sr. G Joel Smith
Fr. G-F Zach Stahl
So. F Quincy Ford
So. F Reggie Spencer

Important departures:

F Kauri Black (4.4 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 1.2 apg, transferred to Tulsa) is the only starter who departed, while G-F Alwayne Bigby (3.3 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 1.2 apg) and Ryan Pierson (1.9 ppg, 1.1 rpg) also transferred (to Rhode Island and Vermont, respectively) and G-F Kashief Edwards (5.5 ppg, 1.9 rpg) graduated.

Returning:

76.2 percent of scoring and 69.3 percent of rebounding

Additions:

Fr. G Derrico Peck
Fr. G-F Zach Stahl
Fr. G-F David Walker

Schedule Highlights:

Northeastern’s non-conference slate isn’t as loaded as it has been in other years under Bill Coen. In fact, they have as many home games (six) as road and neutral site games. They open with cross-town rival Boston University at home, head to Ivy League favorite Princeton and host America East contender Vermont before heading to the Great Alaska Shootout. After that, a four-game homestand awaits, featuring UMass and La Salle. Early on in CAA play, we’ll find out something about this team as four of the first six games are on the road, including trips to George Mason, Drexel and Delaware.

Projected finish and outlook:

The Huskies are a sleeper contender this season, especially after a couple of players transferred this off-season. While Black and Bigby helped, neither lived up to their potential and Pierson didn’t improve from his freshman season. What they return is an underrated and experienced backcourt, with Lee as the team’s unquestioned leader although he’ll miss some early time with a foot injury. Ford’s ceiling is very high, and he’s only begun to show how good he can be. Spencer is the X-factor, as he had some good moments as a freshman but also the inconsistency one expects of a freshman and some offensive limitations. If he makes a nice leap, the frontcourt will be in better shape. The big keys for the Huskies besides Spencer’s development are some freshmen filling in as role players and taking better care of the ball after only Towson committed more turnovers last season. Stahl played well in the Huskies’ summer trip and looks to be the freshman most ready to contribute immediately, while Walker has a bright future and Peck should get minutes. Northeastern can contend, but they’ll need to improve defensively as well, so while the personnel is there to be a sleeper there’s some work to be done. The thinking here is that they will make the improvements and the senior backcourt will drive this team a long way.

Next: Old Dominion Monarchs

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Old Dominion Monarchs 2012-13 Preview

by - Published November 7, 2012 in Conference Notes
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Old Dominion Monarchs (22-14 overall, 13-5 conference)

 

 

 

Projected starting five:

So. G Dmitri Batten
Jr. G Donte Hill
Jr. F Richard Ross
Sr. F Nick Wright
Sr. C DeShawn Painter

Important departures:

Four starters are gone from last season’s team, three of them very important contributors: G Kent Bazemore (15.4 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 3.1 apg, 2.1 spg), F Chris Cooper (10.5 ppg, 10.1 rpg, 1.3 bpg), G Trian Iliadis (85 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 2.3 apg 1.5 spg). G Marquel DeLancey (4.0 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 2.3 apg) also played in all 35 games last year, starting 29 of them.

Returning:

38.6 percent of scoring and 32.9 percent of rebounding

Additions:

Sr. C DeShawn Painter (transfer from North Carolina State)
Fr. F Ekene Anachebe
Fr. G Aaron Bacote
Fr. G Deion Clark
Fr. F Stuart McEwen
Fr. G Ambrose Mosley
Fr. G Keenan Palmore

Schedule Highlights:

As has often been the case, the Monarchs have a challenging non-conference slate in front of them. They open the season by hosting the Liberty Tax Classic with Holy Cross, Morgan State and UTSA. Later trips include Murray State, College of Charleston and Virginia, while they host Richmond, arch-rival VCU and UCF. In conference play, February begins with a tough stretch that might say a lot about where this team ends up: at Georgia State, George Mason, at Drexel, Northeastern and at Delaware.

Projected finish and outlook:

In the Monarchs’ last go-round in the CAA, there is a big newness factor as seven of their 12 players have never checked into a college game and the all-important point guard spot is wide open since Batten is really more of a wing. There is still some talent, with Hill looking last year like he could become a go-to guy on the wing in the future, which is now, Batten able to score and Ross already back from a broken wrist suffered during the summer. Ross has always been a “potential” player, and there’s never been a better time for him to start realizing some of that. Painter comes with the rep of having played in the ACC, but he’s never been an offensive star and may not give the big boost one might expect right away. The freshmen have talent, although it’s likely that a couple of them (such as Anachebe and McEwen) redshirt this year. The Monarchs were good but could never get over the hump last season in part because of offensive struggles, but good rebounding and forcing over 15 turnovers a game helped them finish fourth. They’ll need to repeat some of that to have another top-four finish this time around, and someone will need to emerge since there doesn’t appear to be much star power at first glance.

Next: Towson Tigers

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Towson Tigers 2012-13 Preview

by - Published November 7, 2012 in Conference Notes
towson

Towson Tigers (1-31 overall, 1-17 conference)

 

 

 

Projected starting five:

So. G Kris Walden
Jr. G Mike Burwell
Jr. F Marcus Damas
Jr. F Jerrelle Benimon
Sr. C Bilal Dixon

Important departures:

Three starters have departed from last season’s team, led by C Robert Nwankwo (12.5 ppg, 10.1 rpg, 2.4 bpg). Also gone are G Deon Jones (7.0 ppg, 4.5 rpg) and F Erique Gumbs (5.5 ppg, 4.8 rpg).

Returning:

38.7 percent of scoring and 24.1 percent of rebounding

Additions:

Jr. F Jerrelle Benimon (transfer from Georgetown)
Jr. G Mike Burwell (transfer from South Florida)
Sr. C Bilal Dixon (transfer from Providence)
Jr. G Rafriel Guthrie (junior college transfer)
Fr. F Barrington Alston
Fr. G Jerome Hairston
Fr. F Marquis Marshall
Fr. F Timajh Parker-Rivera
Fr. G Jeremy Schulkin

Schedule Highlights:

The Tigers don’t have quite the non-conference challenges they had to begin last season, but it doesn’t let up this time around as they play at Georgetown, Temple, Oregon State, College of Charleston and America East contender Vermont. Only two home games are on the slate, against North Dakota State and Coppin State. In CAA play, the Tigers could get going after the first two games are on the road, as they then play five of six at home.

Projected finish and outlook:

It’s easy to say Towson will be better this season when one looks at their record last season. But the Tigers seem poised to make a significant leap thanks largely to a big jump in the talent base, although there will still be growing pains as the many newcomers to integrate add to the challenge. Walden and Damas figure to be joined by three transfers in the starting lineup, one that will have much better ball-handling and scoring ability. Walden led all CAA rookies in assists last season and will have better players like Burwell and Benimon to get the ball to, plus the improved ball-handling means the Tigers can’t be pressed into submission the way they were last season. Dixon gives them an experienced player up front, but he has had his struggles staying out of foul trouble in his career. The freshmen are a talented group as well, with Alston and Hairston likely the most ready to contribute right away. While one shouldn’t expect the Tigers to jump to the middle of the CAA, the future outlook from this season will look much brighter along the way and at the end, and second-year coach Pat Skerry should have them poised for much better days.

Next: UNC Wilmington Seahawks

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UNCW Seahawks 2012-13 Preview

by - Published November 7, 2012 in Conference Notes
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UNCW Seahawks (10-21 overall, 5-13 conference)

 

 

 

Projected starting five:

Fr. G Craig Ponder
Jr. G Tanner Milson
So. G Freddie Jackson
Sr. F Keith Rendleman
So. F Cedric Williams

Important departures:

Three starters are gone, all via the transfer route: G Adam Smith (13.7 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 1.6 apg), Donte Morales (7.2 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 1.5 apg) and K.K. Simmons ( 7.0 ppg, 1.8 rpg, 1.9 apg)

Returning:

53.1 percent of scoring and 71.1 percent of rebounding

Additions:

Jr. G Marcus Graham (junior college)
Sr. G Tyree Graham (transfer from Rutgers)
Fr. G Chris Dixon
Fr. C C.J. Gettys
Fr. F Luke Hager
Fr. F Alex Kilmartin
Fr. G Craig Ponder (redshirted)
Fr. F Dylan Sherwood

Schedule Highlights:

The Seahawks won’t have it easy, but it won’t be like last year when they had to travel all over the place. But they have five home games on tap, with road dates at Ohio, Purdue, Davidson, Richmond, Marshall and Georgia Tech. In CAA play, they catch a break by getting George Mason and Drexel just once each.

Projected finish and outlook:

A year after the Seahawks looked to be starting over, they appear to be doing just that again as three underclassmen transferred in part because the program was declared ineligible for the NCAA Tournament due to low APR scores. The Seahawks once again are a team heavy in freshmen and sophomores, and although they have one of the conference’s best players in Rendleman and a rising star in Williams they also have a lot of questions. Ponder returns after redshirting last season, and should immediately run the show as their most talented floor leader. Milson and Jackson are capable perimeter partners, while Tyree Graham could start right away as well as one of the team’s most experienced players despite being a newcomer to the program. The real strength is up front as there is potentially very good depth behind Rendleman and Williams, the latter of whom made big strides late last season. Last season was a rebuilding year, but this season looks to be another one in Wilmington as they try to build for being eligible for postseason play again in another year.

Next: William & Mary Tribe

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William & Mary Tribe 2012-13 Preview

by - Published November 7, 2012 in Conference Notes
williamandmary

William & Mary Tribe (6-26 overall, 4-14 conference)

Projected starting five:

Jr. G Brandon Britt
Sr. G Matt Rum
So. G Marcus Thornton
Jr. F Kyle Gaillard
Jr. F Tim Rusthoven

Important departures:

Two starters have departed: G-F Quinn McDowell (12.5 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 1.6 apg) and G Kendrix Brown (4.0 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 1.6 apg)

Returning:

72.3 percent of scoring and 70.8 percent of rebounding

Additions:

Fr. F Sean Sheldon
Fr. G-F Terry Tarpey

Schedule Highlights:

The Tribe will get some challenges in non-conference play as they have road games at Purdue, Vanderbilt, Richmond and Wake Forest. Home games are hard to come by, with just four on the slate, and aside from the aforementioned road games it’s not an overwhelming schedule. Early in CAA play, they play three straight on the road before coming home for three straight.

Projected finish and outlook:

Last year was one to forget for the Tribe as they were ravaged by injuries and never got untracked. McDowell was never 100 percent and Gaillard had to redshirt, and the inconsistency of Britt and Boatner didn’t help. It’s a new year, though, and there is good talent returning primarily on the perimeter. Britt and Thornton can create all day, while Rum can play off them well as the third guard. If Boatner finds his stroke again, which is not a given since he had knee surgery over the summer, the Tribe will have as deep a perimeter unit as any team in the conference, especially since Tarpey will be too good to keep on the bench. Gaillard’s return is a big boost up front, where Rusthoven very ably held down the fort as well as could be expected last season. With Gaillard back and sophomore Tom Schalk ready to make a jump after they hoped to redshirt him last year, the frontcourt in theory will be significantly better this time around. Gaillard gives them more options, including defensively, and if others up front like Schalk and Fred Heldring benefit from the experience they gained last season, it will be a blessing in disguise. Only Hofstra allowed opponents to shoot a better percentage from the field last season, and if the offense struggles at times again the defense will have no choice but to be better. William & Mary is usually a team with little margin for error, and this team doesn’t look any different in that regard.

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2011-12 ACC Post-Mortem

by - Published May 19, 2012 in Conference Notes
acc

Kendall Marshall, Leslie McDonald, Dexter Strickland.

Those three Tar Heels were supposed to anchor the North Carolina backcourt entering the 2011-12 season. With Reggie Bullock and P.J. Hairston, the Tar Heels figured to have one of the deepest set of guards in the country to pair with a great front line led by Tyler Zeller and John Henson. And that’s before accounting for Harrison Barnes, projected to be one of the best wing players in the country.

But injuries decimated North Carolina’s backcourt, forcing coach Roy Williams to run with little-used freshman Stilman White and jack-of-all-trades Justin Watts in the team’s most important game of the season, an Elite Eight clash with Williams’ old squad, the Kansas Jawhawks, in St. Louis. … Continue Reading

Idaho State makes a decision

by - Published March 15, 2012 in Conference Notes

Last Thursday, Idaho State finally made it’s choice, hiring Montana assistant Bill Evans as it’s head coach. So far, reaction has been mixed by at least one of the couple of forum posts dedicated to the decision as well as the local scribe’s feelings. Here’s the traditional “welcome to town” article. We shall see what transpires from here; we’re also awaiting word on the NAU coaching search.
Coming Monday/Tuesday: A look at Montana’s matchup with Wisconsin in the NCAA tournament; other postseason matchups and thoughts.

The Big Sky Championships: who’s gonna win

by - Published March 6, 2012 in Columns, Conference Notes

This is what the head honchos wrote on Monday:

Big Sky (March 3)
Top seed: Montana. The Big Sky regular-season championship came down to the final game, in which the Grizzlies avenged their only loss in Big Sky play by beating Weber State in Missoula.
Tournament stakes: Although Weber State and Montana have 23 wins apiece, neither team will reach the NCAA Tournament without the Big Sky’s automatic bid. If either team claims the Big Sky championship, it will probably enter the NCAA Tournament as a No. 15 seed. If any other team finds a way to win, it would likely receive a No. 16 seed.
Spoiler alert: No. 3 Portland State. The Vikings are the only other team in the tournament with a winning record, and Portland State won six of its final seven. Although they fell short in games against Denver, Wyoming, Oregon, Montana and Weber State, the Vikings kept games close against a few heavy favorites. This lineup featuring mostly juniors and seniors could find a way to make a run.
Predicted champ: Montana. The Grizzlies have lost just twice at home this season, and that was to San Francisco and Nevada by a combined nine points. Since mid-December, the Grizzlies have been shredding opponents, winning by double digits in 14 of 18 victories. A championship game against Weber State would likely be a thriller, but the Grizzlies should be heading back to the NCAA Tournament for the second time in three years.

Here’s three reasons why the Griz will capture it all.
1) Dahlberg Arena. There are benefits to having one of the loudest, tightest, most packed game-to-game arenas in the Big Sky. It averages roughly 4,500 a game, but can jam in almost 7,500. Montana is 41-6 at home in the past three seasons. And did I mention it gets loud in there when the Griz go hunting?

2) Will Cherry. The junior guard, recently named First Team All-Big Sky Conference, netted 16.1 points per game and 3.3 assists per game in Big Sky play. He’s money at the line, sinking 82.6% of his foul shots 71-of-86) and sinks 49.7% from the field (87-of-175). More importantly, he was the league’s Defensive Player of the Year honors after pacing the conference with 2.6 steals per game (sixth in the nation) and spearheaded a Griz defense that allowed a league-low 61.4 points per game, a league-low 39.8% shooting, and a league-low 32.8% from 3-point range.
And did I mentioned he held Weber State’s Damian Lillard, the conference MVP, to 19 points on 7-of-19 shooting, including a 2-of-11 3-point effort. If you watched that game, you noticed Lillard was hounded by Cherry every time he touched the ball in the winner-take-all game last Tuesday. Lillard did have three steals, but had no assists – and Lillard is a point guard.

3) The veteran presences and leadership. Of the five key contributors to the Griz, most of them have started much of their careers. Senior Derek Selvig has played in 91 games, starting 57 of them. Classmate Art Steward has played in 61 games in two seasons, starting 47 of them. Juniors Cherry and Mathias Ward have played in a 91 games, the most possible, and Cherry has started 80 of them. Sophomore Kareem Jamar has played in 56 games and started 37.
And we haven’t even touched on the coaching staff that’s been there since 2006 – or the fact the Griz have been to the last three BSC title games. So let’s touch on that by repeating it – UM has been to the last three BSC championship games.

Playing catch-up: the Big Sky all-conference team & “first-round” analysis

by - Published March 5, 2012 in Conference Notes
bigsky

Well, a lot has happened since yours truly was able to take a breath and get back to Big Sky updates.
First, we’ll look at the all-conference team.

Individual Award Winners
MVP
Damian Lillard, Weber State

Newcomer of the Year
Collin Chiverton, Eastern Washington

Freshman Of the Year
Dylan Garrity, Sacramento State

Defensive Player of the Year
Will Cherry, Montana

… Continue Reading

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