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2013-14 American Athletic Conference Post-Mortem

by - Published May 13, 2014 in Columns, Conference Notes
american

A year ago at this time, much about the American Athletic Conference was unknown. The conference had a new name for barely a month, and aside from that, what we knew it had was a bunch of schools that were breaking away from the old Big East. It did have an office – that which had long belonged to the Big East in Providence, even though Providence College would remain in the Big East.

But when the 2013-14 season was over, it was clear the conference had quite a bit going for it on the hardwood. They had the runner-up in the NIT and the national champion – not bad for a conference that barely existed a year before the season ended.

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2013-14 Horizon League Post-Mortem

by - Published May 12, 2014 in Columns, Conference Notes
horizon

Wisconsin-Green Bay has waited a long time to get back to the level of its NCAA Division I glory years of the 1990’s, but the Phoenix did so in a big way in 2013-14.

UW-Green Bay dominated the Horizon League for its first conference title since 1996, when it was on a run of four NCAA tourney bids in six years and back when the Horizon was still known as the Midwestern Collegiate Conference. The Phoenix put together a sparkling 24-5 regular season record and was the class of the conference with a 14-2 league mark.
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2013-14 CAA Post-Mortem

by - Published May 9, 2014 in Columns, Conference Notes
colonial

The new era in the Colonial Athletic Association has begun. While there was plenty of competitiveness, as expected, the conference is in a very different time now with arguably its three signature programs having left over the past two years.

Conference champion Delaware was a study in overcoming adversity all season long. The Blue Hens certainly had enough talent and experience to compete for the title, but suspensions of multiple players, including long ones to Devon Saddler and Jarvis Threatt, could have scuttled this magical season. They were challenged in the conference tournament, including in the title game, but as they did all year, they found a way to win.

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2013-14 Missouri Valley Post-Mortem

by - Published May 8, 2014 in Columns, Conference Notes
missourivalley

The Missouri Valley sent just one team to the NCAA Tournament in 2014, but that team was pretty good – and it brought a lot of attention to the conference. It was a good thing since the conference as a whole has had better years than this one.

Wichita State became the first team to go 34-0 before the NCAA Tournament. The Shockers’ pursuit of an undefeated regular season was a big storyline for much of conference play, especially once it became clear that there weren’t many teams in the Valley that could beat them this year. They pulled it off, including convincing wins in the conference tournament, and then reached 35-0, the first team ever to do that. Their season ended in the second round of the NCAA Tournament in a classic against eventual runner-up Kentucky.

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2013-14 Pac-12 Post-Mortem

by - Published May 7, 2014 in Columns, Conference Notes
pac12

For the Pac-12, the 2013-14 season was a rebound from a stretch of so-so seasons. Six teams made the NCAA Tournament, with three reaching the Sweet 16. A record eight teams won at least 20 games. As a whole, the conference was as competitive as it’s ever been, with five teams tying for third place.

And yet, if you think the Pac-12 has entered some new halcyon days, you might want to stop right there. The conference is in a bit of flux right now, especially when you look at the coaching ranks and, correspondingly, how teams are trending.

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2013-14 Big East Post-Mortem

by - Published May 6, 2014 in Columns, Conference Notes
bigeast

A new era in the Big East began in 2013-14, and it was not hard to tell this was not your father’s Big East. The name was there, some familiar teams were as well, and the conference tournament was once again at Madison Square Garden. For that matter, the campaigning by coaches on behalf of the conference was the same.

But no matter how much it might look like the Big East we all knew, this was different.

For starters, three new teams joined the seven that split from the old Big East. Butler, Creighton and Xavier all left other conferences, and Creighton was a contender right away with a veteran team led by Doug McDermott. Xavier had its ups and downs but managed to reach the NCAA Tournament, while Butler had a depleted roster for new head coach Brandon Miller, in part from an injury to key guard Roosevelt Jones that cost him the season, and struggled.

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2013-14 Ivy League Post-Mortem

by - Published May 5, 2014 in Columns, Conference Notes
ivy

As good as the 2013-14 season was in the Ivy League, it might be just the beginning of a great stretch for the league. The results were great, and there is a lot to be optimistic about going forward.

Harvard won the league as expected, then beat Cincinnati in the NCAA Tournament. For the first time since Princeton in 1983-84, an Ivy League team has won an NCAA Tournament game in consecutive years. The Crimson were basically prohibitive favorites, and while Yale was able to hang around late, the Crimson were never behind in the standings.

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American Eagles 2013-14 Preview

by - Published November 7, 2013 in Conference Notes
american

American Eagles (10-20 overall, 5-9 league)

 

 

 

Projected starting five:

Jr. G Darius Gardner
Jr. G John Schoof
Jr. G Austin Carroll
Sr. C Tony Wroblicky
Sr. F Kevin Panzer

Important departures:

Three starters are gone from last season’s team: G Daniel Munoz (10.3 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 3.6 apg), G Blake Jolivette (6.6 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 1.8 apg) and F Stephen Lumpkins (14.2 ppg, 9.4 rpg, 1.5 apg), as well as part-time starting F Mike Bersch (4.0 ppg, 2.3 rpg).

Returning:

42.8 percent of scoring and 51 percent of rebounding

Additions:

Jr. G Darius Gardner (transfer from Stephen F. Austin)
Fr. G-F Charlie Jones
Fr. G Kade Kager
Fr. G Justice Montgomery
Fr. G Langdon Neal
Sr. F Kevin Panzer (transfer from Nevada)
Fr. G Jalen Rhea
Fr. F Yilret Yiljep

Schedule Highlights:

The non-league slate isn’t overwhelming, but it does have only three home games. They open at George Mason and later play at Ohio State, Northeast contender Mount St. Mary’s and St. Mary’s. Patriot League play will be tough at first as four of their first five are on the road, with four of the next five coming at home.

Projected finish and outlook:

The Eagles will be very much in transition this season, as they suffered fairly heavy personnel losses to go with Jeff Jones’ departure for Old Dominion. New head coach Mike Brennan has some talent on his team, starting with Gardner, who should make an instant impact after leading Stephen F. Austin in assists two seasons ago. Schoof, who made just over half of his three-point attempts last season, and Carroll give him two good options to get the ball to on the perimeter, and there are several other good candidates to join them. Panzer should likewise make an instant impact up front and help Wroblicky, who did a fine job of complementing Lumpkins last season. The Eagles are mainly short on experience and roster continuity, but those will come. While the Eagles lost a lot of scoring, they weren’t a particularly great offensive team last season to begin with. But they can’t afford to repeat being next-to-last in field goal percentage defense given the lack of proven scoring.

Next: Army Black Knights

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Army Black Knights 2013-14 Preview

by - Published November 7, 2013 in Conference Notes
army

Army Black Knights (16-15 overall, 8-6 league)

 

 

 

Projected starting five:

So. G Dylan Cox
So. G-F Kyle Wilson
Sr. G Josh Herbeck
So. F Larry Toomey
So. C Kevin Ferguson

Important departures:

Three starters – F Ella Ellis (17.7 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 1.4 apg), F Jordan Springer (3.4 ppg, 3.9 rpg) and G Kyle Toth (8.2 ppg, 3.1 rpg) – are all gone from last season’s team.

Returning:

54.6 percent of scoring and 55 percent of rebounding

Additions:

Fr. G-F Richard Brown
Fr. F Kennedy Edwards
Fr. G David Hellstrom
Fr. F Mac Hoffman
Fr. F Zach Johnson
Fr. C Kiefer Jordan
Fr. G Scott Mammel
Fr. G-F Tanner Omlid
Fr. G Shane Smith
Fr. F Austin Williamson

Schedule Highlights:

The Black Knights have five home games in non-league play, including a visit from CAA contender Delaware. They also open the season in the All-Military Classic in Lexington, Virginia against Air Force and either VMI or the Citadel in the second game. Road games of note are at Notre Dame and Rutgers. Three of the first four Patriot League games are on the road, but they close with three of four at home.

Projected finish and outlook:

While the Black Knights lost a lot from last season’s team, they have plenty of talent. The biggest adjustment will be to new roles and a concern will be a relative lack of experience as this season could be one of growing pains or a leap into contention. The promising group is led by Wilson, the league’s Rookie of the Year last season who should take over for Ellis in the role of go-to guy. Cox is poised to be one of the best point guards in the league before his career is over, while Herbeck figures to join them in the starting lineup as their most experienced player. They have good depth there as well, allowing them to really get after it at both ends. Toomey and Ferguson have to take steps forward, with Ferguson showing potential as a shot-blocker inside, and there is more depth here as well. They helped Army post the second-best rebounding margin in the league last season. The Black Knights led the league in turnovers by a wide margin last season, making that the biggest area for improvement.

Next: Boston University Terriers

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Boston University Terriers 2013-14 Preview

by - Published November 7, 2013 in Conference Notes
bostonuniversity

Boston University Terriers (17-13 overall, 11-5 America East)

 

 

 

Projected starting five:

Sr. G D.J. Irving
So. G Maurice Watson, Jr.
So. G John Papale
Sr. F Travis Robinson
Sr. F Dom Morris

Important departures:

G Zach Chionuma (1.5 ppg) (transferred to Bryant) is the only player of note who has departed from last season’s team.

Returning:

97.7 percent of scoring and 97.5 percent of rebounding

Additions:

Fr. G Cameron Curry
Fr. C Dylan Haines
Fr. G Cedric Hankerson
Fr. G Braiten Madrigal

Schedule Highlights:

The Terriers will have plenty of challenges in non-league play with just four home games, including a visit from Ivy League favorite Harvard. They play at Connecticut in the 2K Sports Classic, then three games at UC Irvine, and later travel to Maryland and Saint Joseph’s. They start Patriot League play with four of six at home, giving them a chance to get off and running, while they play four of their last six away from home.

Projected finish and outlook:

Don’t be surprised if the Terriers make a grand entrance into the league by being the top team. They have a solid combination of talent and experience, along with some options from a personnel standpoint. They have the league’s best backcourt with Irving and Watson, with Papale’s shooting completing the trio very nicely and three freshmen providing added depth, especially Hankerson. Morris really started to come into his own last year and looks primed to have a big finish to it, while Robinson is simply a solid glue guy. Junior Malik Thomas has long been an intriguing prospect and can be a difference-maker off the bench, while Nathan Dieudonne showed some promise as a freshman last season and the Terriers are high on Haines, a seven-footer who played for one of the best prep coaches last season in Jere Quinn at St. Thomas More. Boston University has long been a program that produces good defensive teams, and last season’s was no different, although they could stand to improve on the glass as they were out-rebounded by almost three per game last season. In all, though, this is the likely team to beat this season.

Next: Bucknell Bison

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