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William & Mary Tribe 2013-14 Preview

by - Published November 5, 2013 in Conference Notes
williamandmary

William & Mary Tribe (13-17 overall, 7-11 conference)

 

 

 

Projected starting five:

Sr. G Brandon Britt
Sr. G Julian Boatner
Jr. G Marcus Thornton
Sr. F Kyle Gaillard
Sr. F Tim Rusthoven

Important departures:

G Matt Rum (5.3 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 2.7 apg) is the only starter who has departed from last season’s team, and no other significant contributor has departed.

Returning:

91.7 percent of scoring and 84.8 percent of rebounding

Additions:

Fr. G Daniel Dixon
Fr. G-F Omar Prewitt
Fr. G Michael Schlotman
Fr. F Jack Whitman

Schedule Highlights:

Six home games lead the way in the non-conference slate, including visits from Richmond and former CAA opponent Old Dominion. The toughest road games are at Wichita State in the Hall of Fame CBE Classic and at West Virginia. In CAA play, they open February with three straight on the road before four of the next five come in Williamsburg.

Projected finish and outlook:

If there’s a team that can be labeled a sleeper, this one fits the bill. The Tribe wasn’t very far from being 11-7 in CAA play, as they were in a lot of games that they had a chance to pull out. This team has a talented, veteran perimeter unit and an unheralded frontcourt group. Thornton is one of the conference’s best players, and his improvement seems to keep accelerating. Don’t be surprised if he’s among the frontrunners for Player of the Year. Britt simply wants to win and has a supporting cast that will allow him to do that as a floor leader if he stays healthy; he suffered a foot injury in October that slowed him in practice. Boatner played hurt all last year, and it showed as he shot well from long range but only managed to play just over 11 minutes a game. He’s healthy now and had a full off-season, so there’s hope that he can close out his career on a better note. Terry Tarpey is talented and plays hard, and with a year under his belt the sophomore should be even better this year backing them up along with the three freshmen perimeter players. Rusthoven is quietly a solid anchor who will at times get into foul trouble in part because of how hard he plays, while Gaillard may be this team’s X-factor. Fred Heldring, Tom Schalk and Sean Sheldon are also in the mix, and it would help if one of them distinguished himself to be the top reserve. Sheldon has made perhaps the biggest leap of that group since the end of last season. The Tribe was solid offensively last year, but head coach Tony Shaver feels they could have won a few more games with a little better defense, an area where they weren’t horrible but needed to be a little better. In his tenure, the Tribe has done well with their most experienced teams, and this one is right up there, so while few will talk about them as a contender right now it shouldn’t surprise anyone if they’re in the mix near the top come February.

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2013 Big East Tournament quarterfinal quick hitters

by - Published March 15, 2013 in Columns, Conference Notes
bigeast

NEW YORK – Georgetown vs. Syracuse. The rivalry lives on in the context of the Big East just a little longer.

The semifinals are set for the 2013 Big East Tournament, and the first one that set up had many people buzzing. Georgetown and Syracuse will have one last game while both are members of the Big East, which is only fitting considering this is the last Big East Tournament as we know it. That game will be a tough act to follow, but Louisville and Notre Dame will try to do that. Considering the Cardinals and Fighting Irish produced the most thrilling game of the season to date when they went to five overtimes, we know they are capable.

Some quick hitters from Thursday’s games:

… Continue Reading

2013 Big East Tournament second round quick hitters

by - Published March 14, 2013 in Columns, Conference Notes
bigeast

NEW YORK – The quarterfinals are up next in the Big East Tournament. In the second round, we saw Cincinnati blitz Providence early and fend off a rally, Syracuse rally from an early deficit due to a hot shooting Seton Hall team with a very strong second half, Villanova knock off a young St. John’s team and Notre Dame pull away from Rutgers and then hold them off. The four winners take on the top four seeds on Thursday.

Some quick hitters from Wednesday:

… Continue Reading

2013 Big East Tournament first round quick hitters

by - Published March 13, 2013 in Columns, Conference Notes
bigeast

NEW YORK – The first round of the Big East Tournament is in the books, with two quick games on Tuesday night. One came right down to the end with overtime, the second saw the winning team pull away and in a game with much more scoring. Two full days of action are ahead, Providence and Cincinnati opening up Wednesday’s action at noon.

Some quick hitters from Tuesday night’s games:

… Continue Reading

2013 CAA Awards: How one person voted

by - Published March 7, 2013 in Columns, Conference Notes
colonial

The Colonial Athletic Association will hand out postseason awards on Friday night, the eve of the conference tournament as is tradition. The awards are voted on by the conference’s head coaches, SIDs and select media members. As I am one of the voters, sharing how I voted provides a worthwhile look back on the regular season.

This time around, it was a tough call for one major award and an easy call for two of them. For the all-conference teams, it wasn’t as difficult, and easier than that was the All-Rookie team as it wasn’t a big year for instant impact freshmen in the conference. With the All-Defensive team, it was difficult simply because defense is so often a team operation and with no real statistics or metrics for individual players it’s very difficult to evaluate without seeing everyone play more than once or twice. (Steals and blocked shots only tell us so much because it’s easy for players to get into foul trouble attempting both.)

With that in mind, here is a look at how I voted and what went into each vote. On each of the teams, the players are listed alphabetically.

… Continue Reading

2012-13 Big Sky Conference Preview

by - Published November 22, 2012 in Conference Notes
bigsky

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Projected order of finish

1. Weber State (17-3)
2. Montana (16-4)
3. Northern Colorado (13-7)
4. North Dakota (12-8)
5. Portland State (11-9)
6. Eastern Washington (10-10)
7. Sacramento State (9-11)
8. Montana State (8-12)
9. Northern Arizona (5-13)
10. Southern Utah (3-15)
11. Idaho State (2-14)

 

Preseason Player of the Year

G Will Cherry (Montana) – 15.8 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 3.3 APG, 2.6 SPG (11-12)

The senior two-time unanimous selection is the league’s newest Damian Lillard, its newest Devon Beitzel, its newest Rodney Stuckey. Except he’s not because, well, he’s been producing since his sophomore season. A summer injury (more on that later) will impact his status, but he should be back by Big Sky play. If he’s not, or if he’s hobbled, it might be a Peyton Manning-injured situation: talk of him getting MVP votes if the Griz should happen to spiral downward.

 

Preseason Coach of the Year

Wayne Tinkle, Montana

The biggest issue, aside from the Cherry situation, is what to do with everyone else not named Cherry or Kareem Jamar? Mathias Ward is the lone frontcourt player with extended experience, but you can bet Tinkle, a career Euroleague/CBA center will mold the rest of the frontcourt in his image.

 

Preseason All-Conference

Sr. G Will Cherry (Montana) – The best defender in the Big Sky hands down, Cherry has developed a mid-range game to go with it. Plus he can get to the basket like few others in the conference.

Jr. G Kareem Jamar (Montana) – 13.6 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 3.7 APG, 44% 3FG – Jamar can hurt you many, many ways. Jamar is listed as a G/F, and has a game which lends itself to both mid-range and the near low-post.

Sr. G Scott Bamforth (Weber State) – 14.5 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 2.4 APG – One of the best pure shooters in the league, Bamforth has to step up his mid-range game and free throws (a still-solid 87.5 percent, 105-of-120) as Weber looks to replace NBA point guard Damian Lillard.

Sr. F Collin Chiverton (Eastern Washington) – 13.9 PPG, 2.1 RPG, 41% 3FG – Chiverton netted close to 14 points a game while wrestling with a foot injury all of last year. He’s healthy now, which could be lethal for the Eagles as Jim Hayford probably will let Chiverton shoot the lights out every night.

Jr. C Kyle Tresnak (Weber State) – 10.0 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 54% FG – Tresnak is the best post scorer in the conference, hands down, and can play with his back to the basket like traditional centers should. His weakness is rebounding – a 6-foot-10 body, even by marginal standards, should average more than 3.8 rebounds per game. (Tresnak, a 32-game starter, averaged less than power forward Byron Fulton, who came off the bench.)
Coaching changes

Out: Joe O’Brien, Deane Martin (Idaho State); Mike Adras, Dave Brown (Northern Arizona); Roger Reid (Southern Utah)

In: Bill Evans (Idaho State); Jack Murphy (Northern Arizona); Nick Robinson (Southern Utah)

 

What was and what will be

Montana was the Big Sky’s NCAA Tournament entry last season after going 15-1 in conference play and winning the conference tournament. UM’s regular-season title was 20 years after its last outright title was secured, and the Grizzlies went 25-7 overall as head coach Wayne Tinkle won Coach of the Year honors and its backcourt duo of Will Cherry and Kareem Jamar were named to the Big Sky All-Conference First Team.

Damian Lillard was the talk of the conference, and rightly so: he’s playing in the NBA now. Though league runner-up Weber State lost him – and a couple other key cogs – the Wildcats have continually been a Big Sky tournament/title game mainstay. The program has a league-best 455 wins and has played in the tournament championship four times in the last half-dozen seasons.

As the season unfolds, the Big Sky expands to 11 teams; it will expand to a full-fledged 12 in 2014-2015. For now, the tournament gets an extra team and just the No. 1 seed (instead of Nos. 1 and 2) will receive a bye. Newcomer North Dakota comes in from the Great West with a balanced and experienced team and has a chance at the expanded tournament field, and several people were bullish on Sacramento State at a recent coaches conference call.

 

Eastern Washington Eagles (15-17, 8-8)

Projected starting 5: F Jordan Hickert, F Collin Chiverton, F Jaylen Henry, G Jeffery Forbes, G Justin Crosgile

Dearly departed: G Cliff Colimon (16.5 ppg, 66 3-pointers, 160 assists, 52 steals); F Cliff Ederaine (10.5 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 96 assists, 41 blocks, 43 steals); F Laron Griffin (8.5 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 23 blocks, 26 steals)

We’re back, baby: G Chiverton (13.9 ppg, 88 3-pointers, 36.7% FG), G Forbes (6.9 ppg, 31 steals, 48 assists, 62% FG)

Welcome to your new home: G Justin Crosgile (St. Joseph’s; 5-11, 170 pounds), the junior is expected to slide into starting point guard role after sitting out last season; Hayford also has collected a quartet of Europeans (transfer Martin Seiferth and true freshmen Fredrik Jorg, Venky Jois and Thomas Reuter) for his roster.

Games to watch: Non-conference, at Washington State (Nov. 10). Conference stretch, Jan. 17-26 (at North Dakota, at Northern Colorado, at Southern Utah)

Predicted finish: 10-10, Big Sky quarterfinalist. Eastern lost three very good starters and have a very young roster this season with a lot of new faces and interchangeable parts save for Chiverton, who should be the go-to scorer/leader.

 

Idaho State Bengals (9-21, 7-9)

Projected starting 5: G Andre’ Hatchett, G Melvin Morgan, G/F Chris Hansen, F Dejan Kostur, F Nnamdi Ezenwa

Dearly departed: F Chase Grabau (12.8 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 93 assists, 52 steals, 50.6% FG, 37.3% 3-point); G Kenny McGowen (14.7 ppg, 66 assists, 67 3-pointers, 32.5% 3pt, 37.9% FG); G Abner Moreira (7.2 rpg, 6.2 ppg, 14 blocks, 45.8% FG)

We’re back, baby: G Hatchett (7.4 points, 4.5 rebounds, 13 blocks), G Morgan (12.2 points, 57 3pointers, 39.6% 3pt, 83 assists, 55 steals)

Welcome to your new home: Hansen (19 ppg, four rpg) is one of five transfers for new head coach Bill Evans. He is the only sophomore; there is one senior (Neveij Walters) and three juniors. Freshman Clint Thomas, an Idaho native, is the sole non-transfer.

Games to watch: Non-conference, at Oregon (Dec. 8). Conference stretch, Jan. 24-Feb. 2 (at Montana, at Montana State, at Northern Colorado, at North Dakota)

Predicted finish: 2-14, miss the Big Sky tournament. The Bengals lost four of their top five players from last season, which isn’t very helpful. Don’t know if Morgan can do it on his own; they just lost Sherrod Baldwin for the first semester due to academic ineligibility. It might be a long season, but they were predicted to be horrible last year, too.

 

Montana Grizzlies (25-7, 15-1)

Projected starting 5: G Will Cherry, G/F Kareem Jamar, F Mathias Ward, F Eric Hutchison, F Spencer Coleman

Dearly departed: F/C Derek Selvig (9.1 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 38 pointers, 43.7% 3pt, 87 assists, 35 blocks); F Art Steward 9.5 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 33 steals, 52.8% FG 113 FGs)

We’re back, baby: Cherry (15.8 ppg, 105 assists, 83 steals, team leader FG, 3pt, FT makes); Jamar (13.6 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 20 blocks, 36 steals, 49 3ptrs, 147 FGs, 92 FTs); Ward (10.9 ppg, 3.9 rpg53.8% FG, 129 FG)

Welcome to your new home: F Spencer Coleman (15.1 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 56 3ptrs,75% FT 66-88) is one of five newcomers to the Griz; transfer C Marko Kovavevic (JuCo, 6-11, 230) should be another key contributor. UM also has two redshirt Montanans (Morgan Young and Nick Emerson) who can contribute the way Shawn Stockton and Jordan Wood did – by doing the little things, like being a defensive specialist or harasser. Emerson has ability to put up points, too.

Games to watch: Non-conference, vs. BYU in Salt Lake (Nov. 28) or Feb. 23 at BracketBuster. Conference stretch, Feb. 14-March 4 (five road games, including BracketBuster)

Predicted finish: 16-4, Big Sky Tournament champions. OK, so how won’t they win the Big Sky regular season title? For one, Cherry is out indefinitely with a broken foot and Mathias Ward has no rebounding pedigree through his career so far. Why they’ll turn it around and win the Big Sky tournament – head coach Wayne Tinkle has an overall record of 116-71 (.620) and has guided the team to two NCAA tournaments in his seven-year tenure. The Griz have been to the postseason three seasons in a row, no reason to stop now.

 

Montana State Bobcats (12-17, 7-9)

Projected starting 5: G Antonio Biglow, G Xavier Blount, G Christian Moon, F Eric Norman, C Paul Egwuonwu

Dearly departed: G Rod Singleton (7.3 ppg, 105 assists, 61 FT, 75.3% FT, 40% FG); F Shawn Reid (10.6 ppg, 73.8% FT, 62 FTs, 101 FG); F Tre Johnson (8.8 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 29 blocks, 96 FG, 45% FG); C Mohamed Fall (7.2 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 51.7% FG, 78 FG)

Welcome to your new home: Biglow (6-0, 165) redshirted last season after going through NCAA issues and has been considered MSU’s best player since he was signed back in February of 2010. Averaged 22.4 points per game as a JuCo sophomore; he’s one of seven new people Brad Huse has on his roster.

Games to watch: Non-conference, at Oregon State (Nov. 25) or Feb. 24 at BracketBuster. Conference stretch, Feb. 14-28 (four road games, including BracketBuster)

Predicted finish: 8-12, miss the Big Sky Tournament. Where to begin? For the second straight year, Brad Huse brings in seven new players (variety of reasons, from graduation to NCAA to extra scholarships). That is a big issue, unless you ask Huse. The Missoula native is going into the final year of his contract, but that doesn’t seem to bother him: Eighteen of the 22 seasons he’s been a head coach, he had one year to prove himself.

Delaware Blue Hens 2012-13 Preview

by - Published November 7, 2012 in Conference Notes
delaware

Delaware Blue Hens (18-14 overall, 12-6 conference)

 

 

 

Projected starting five:

Jr. G Devon Saddler
So. G Jarvis Threatt
So. G Kyle Anderson
Jr. F Carl Baptiste
Sr. C Jamelle Hagins

Important departures:

G Khalid Lewis (5.2 ppg, 1.8 rpg, 2.6 apg) (transferred) is the only starter lost, while Kelvin McNeil (2.4 ppg, 3.0 rpg) (transferred) is also gone from last season’s team.

Returning:

87 percent of scoring and 83.5 percent of rebounding

Additions:

Jr. F Carl Baptiste (transfer from Saint Joseph’s)
Fr. F Maurice Jeffers
Fr. G-F Marvin King-Davis (redshirted)
Fr. G Sean Locke
Fr. G Terrell Rogers
Fr. G Troy Thomas

Schedule Highlights:

Monte Ross scheduled like a contending team’s coach would for non-conference play. They open in the NIT Season Tip-Off with Penn and possibly host Virginia in the first two games, and it wouldn’t be a shocker if they advanced to New York. More tough road games await at Temple, Duke and Villanova, while home games include visits from Lafayette and Penn. In CAA play, the most noteworthy stretch comes in February, when a stretch of four games in eight days includes three on the road and ends with these three in five days: at George Mason, Old Dominion, and at Northeastern.

Projected finish and outlook:

This is the season Monte Ross has been building towards since taking over. The Blue Hens have a lot going for them, from two of the best players in the conference in Saddler and Hagins to one who was perhaps the hottest freshman at the end of last season in Threatt to a deeper bench. Hagins has improved steadily every year and is more of a leader, and with Baptiste joining him up front he doesn’t have to carry as much of a load and the Blue Hens shouldn’t get out-rebounded again. Saddler is the team’s clear leader and players like Anderson gained valuable experience as freshmen last season. Ross has enjoyed working with this team thus far, and that was a big reason they had the success they had last season. They enter this season ready to contend and see a better postseason bid this time around.

Next: Drexel Dragons

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Drexel Dragons 2012-13 Preview

by - Published November 7, 2012 in Conference Notes
drexel

Drexel Dragons (29-7 overall, 16-2 conference)

 

 

 

Projected starting five:

Jr. G Frantz Massenat
So. G Damion Lee
Sr. G Derrick Thomas
Jr. F Dartaye Ruffin
Sr. F Daryl McCoy

Important departures:

F Samme Givens (11.6 ppg, 7.9 rpg, 1.8 apg) is the only player of any significance the Dragons lose.

Returning:

82.2 percent of scoring and 77.8 percent of rebounding

Additions:

Fr. F Tavon Allen (redshirt)
Fr. F Casey Carroll (redshirt)

Schedule Highlights:

The Dragons open the season at Kent State before hosting Missouri Valley contender Illinois State. They will play in the Anaheim Classic, starting with Saint Mary’s and then playing either Xavier or Pacific in the second game. The toughest road game the rest of the way is at Ivy League favorite Princeton, as they get Atlantic 10 favorite Saint Joseph’s at home to close out the non-conference slate. In CAA play, the Dragons have a four-game home stretch in February followed by the second three-game road stretch.

Projected finish and outlook:

There’s every reason to pick Drexel to win the CAA. The Dragons lose just one player of any significance, and while Givens is no small loss there is plenty coming back. The Dragons will have the conference’s best backcourt, best defense, a veteran cast and plenty of good candidates to take Givens’ place up front. If Ruffin is more like the player we saw as a freshman than the one we saw last year, Givens’ loss will be minimized, and while long known for their defense the Dragons have become a terrific offensive team with Massenat running the show. They led the conference in three-point shooting last season, among other things, and it helps that they bring high-scoring guard Chris Fouch off the bench. There is good leadership all the way around and the intangibles are off the charts, so the Dragons are going to be very difficult to beat this year.

Next: George Mason Patriots

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George Mason Patriots 2012-13 Preview

by - Published November 7, 2012 in Conference Notes
georgemason

George Mason Patriots (24-9 overall, 14-4 conference)

 

 

 

Projected starting five:

Jr. G Bryon Allen
Sr. G Sherrod Wright
Jr. F Johnny Williams
So. F Erik Copes
Jr. F Jonathan Arledge

Important departures:

Three starters are gone from last season’s team, all of them important and not just individually: F Ryan Pearson (17.0 ppg, 8.2 rpg, 1.8 apg), F Mike Morrison (9.8 ppg, 6.6 rpg, 1.9 bpg), G Andre Cornelius (6.7 ppg, 2.3 rpg)

Returning:

55.1 percent of scoring and 54.8 percent of rebounding

Additions:

So. F Anali Okoloji (transfer from Seton Hall)
Fr. F Marko Gujanicic
Fr. G Patrick Holloway
Fr. F Jalen Jenkins
Fr. F Michael Rudy

Schedule Highlights:

The Patriots have one of the better non-conference schedules in the conference. They open at Virginia and at Bucknell before playing in the Paradise Jam. A date with Maryland in Washington, D.C. in the BB&T Classic is sandwiched in between home games against America East contender Boston University and Northern Iowa, and they close the slate with road games at Richmond and South Florida. In CAA play, they end January and begin February with five of seven on the road, and the only home games in that stretch are against Drexel and Delaware.

Projected finish and outlook:

The Patriots might have as much talent as anyone in the CAA. The reason they aren’t picked higher is that there are a couple of questions about this team as of now that could be answered affirmatively, and as such it’s not hard to imagine them contending for the top spot this season. They lose three players in Pearson, Morrison and Cornelius that formed the core of last season’s team and won a lot of games together, and that’s not easily replaced. There is undeniable talent among the holdovers, though, starting with Wright, who could easily be an all-CAA player. If he is ready to become the go-to guy, one big question is answered already. Another is who makes up for Morrison’s know-how and presence defensively; Copes could do a lot to answer that question, as could Arledge if he takes the next step. Copes and Vaughn Gray were both suspended for the first three games of the season because of student-athlete conduct violations, which is not a good way to start the season. Allen will be pushed by sophomore Corey Edwards and Patrick Holloway, which gives Paul Hewitt a plethora of options at the point, and Allen could even play off the ball on occasion. Okoloji should get minutes right away, and the freshmen are a talented bunch. Only two teams gave the ball up more than the Patriots last season, and they were a solid team at both ends of the floor as they led the conference in scoring and were third in field goal percentage defense. This team could have similar success to last season’s team and possibly more.

Next: Georgia State Panthers

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Georgia State Panthers 2012-13 Preview

by - Published November 7, 2012 in Conference Notes
georgiastate

Georgia State Panthers (22-12 overall, 11-7 conference)

 

 

 

Projected starting five:

Jr. G Devonta White
So. G Cameron Solomon
Fr. G R.J. Hunter
Jr. F Manny Atkins
Sr. C James Vincent

Important departures:

Four starters from last season’s team have departed: G Jihad Ali (12.5 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 1.4 apg), C Eric Buckner (10.8 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 3.5 bpg), G James Fields (9.6 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 2.9 apg, 1.9 spg) and G Josh Micheaux (7.7 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 3.6 apg, 1.5 spg)

Returning:

31.8 percent of scoring and 24.7 percent of rebounding

Additions:

Jr. F Manny Atkins (transfer from Virginia Tech)
Jr. F Denny Burguillos (junior college transfer)
So. G Cameron Solomon (junior college transfer)
Fr. F Marcus Crider
Fr. G R.J. Hunter
Fr. F T.J. Shipes
Fr. F LaRon Smith
Fr. G David Travers

Schedule Highlights:

Georgia State opens the season with a bang as they head to Duke and Brigham Young, but it lightens up a bit after that. They have seven home games, including a visit from Southern Miss, and the toughest road game after the first two may be at Rhode Island just before Christmas. The Panthers will have a chance for a nice start in CAA play as four of the first five are at home before they play four of five on the road.

Projected finish and outlook:

The Panthers enter their final season in the CAA in a similar situation to Old Dominion, and not just because they’re leaving. Like the Monarchs, they don’t have much returning and thus have a lot unknown. What they have going for them is some good young talent, a solid holdover point guard in White, and a coach who knows how to install an edge to his team and showed that last season. The younger Hunter should contribute right away, as should Crider, while Atkins will play right away and help and the junior college transfers should be in the mix right away. There aren’t many expectations for this team, as few are picking them this high, but after what Hunter did last year there is some reason to believe he can get the max out of this team and wind up better than many think.

Next: Hofstra Pride

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