#1-NYU-Coach ricktaylor returns all 12 players from last year’s team that won a game in the NT. 9 of the returnees are upperclassmen, which bodes very well for their FB/Press. NYU is not a star driven team and does not have any superstars on their roster, but John Prince will probably be the best player on this year’s team.
Key Non-Conference Matchups: 1/7 PM at Rhodes, 1/9 PM vs. St. Mary’s (MN), 1/10 PM vs. Colorado
#2-Greensboro-In a shocking upset, Greensboro does not hold the #1 spot in these rankings. After a down year of only making the Final Four, Greensboro will look to get back on track. They return 10 guys, 6 of them being upperclassmen, including reigning USA South player of the year Jeffrey Smith (who somehow won it by playing 18 min off the bench). The scary thing is, he might not even be the best J. Smith on the team. It’ll be tough for anyone to beat them this year.
Key Non-Conference Matchups: 1/6 PM at #10 Susquehanna, 1/7 AM at Rowan, 1/7 PM vs. #6 Roanoke, 1/9 PM at Elmhurst
#3-Randolph-Macon-Like NYU, R-M returns all 12 players, five of them seniors and four juniors, from a team that won 20 games and made the NT last year. They are led by senior guard Matthew Wong and junior athletic guy Ronald Llanas (who pumphead mercilessly stole from me). While they have a lot of decent rebounders, the biggest concern with this team is their lack of a dominant rebounder our of their zone.
Key Non-Conference Matchups: 1/7 PM at Colorado, 1/8 PM at Kalamazoo
#4-Drew-They return 9 players, including 5 seniors from last year’s team that got its first loss in the Elite Eight. Drew might be the best defensive team in the country: They have the 2nd best team athleticism, 4th best team speed, and 2nd best team defense in the country, (not counting any incoming freshman). If that isn’t a recipe for press success, I don’t know what is. I’m sure glad I don’t see them in non-con this year.
Key Non-Conference Matchups: 1/6 PM vs. Swarthmore, 1/7 PM (which is loaded with great games) vs. Rowan, 1/8 PM at Colby-Sawyer
#5-MCLA-They return 9 players from last year’s 2nd round team, including reigning Little E Player of the Year, National DPOY, and First-team All-American Joe Monroe. With a point guard James Humphrey and a center Joseph Butler, they’ll go far this year.
Key Non-Conference Matchups: 1/7 PM vs. SUNY IT, 1/8 PM vs. #10 Susquehanna
#6-Roanoke-With the 5 seniors we have this year, I think we’ll be very strong. We return 10 players and 4 starters from last year’s Sweet 16 team. We’re led by stud G Michael Hughey and C Donald Christopher, but Lynn Franqui and George Gloria will also have a lot to do with how far we go. We won’t have the strongest bench, but hopefully it will be good enough to win a decent amount of games.
Key Non-Conference Matchups: 1/7 AM at Colorado, 1/7 PM at #2 Greensboro, 1/8 AM vs. Rowan, 1/8 PM at Washington (MO)
#7-Hamline-They return 9 players and all five starters from last year’s championship game run. They have a great front court with Jonathan Barnett and Joe Gardener, both of whom can rebound and score. Coach zbrent has gone in a different direction with his back court though; he has recruited guards with extremely high athleticism. These high athleticism guards fit perfectly into Hamline’s motion offense and zone defense and as a result they have been wildly successful. I’m not convinced they’ll get back to where they were last year, but I do think they will be very good once again.
Key Non-Conference Matchups: 1/8 PM vs. SUNY IT
#8-Marrietta-They only return 5 upperclassmen, but they are loaded with talent. They are led by their three seniors, guard Leroy Brantner, stud big man John Williamson, and JUCO product Robert McAninch. It will be interesting to see if they ever play McAninch or junior SF Ronald Keller (who might be their best player) at PF this year and let them go off on the slow bigs they’ll be guarded by. They’ll also get contributions from sophomore Peter Anderson, the reigning National Freshman of the Year. They have too much talent not win 25+ games.
Key Non-Conference Matchups: 1/6 AM at Colby-Sawyer, 1/7 AM at Kalamazoo, 1/8 AM at SUNY IT, 1/10 PM at Rhodes
#9-Millsaps-They return 11 players, 9 of them upperclassmen, from last year’s 2nd round team. They’ll be able to score and they’ll play good defense with their high IQs, but they’ll have their biggest problems trying to keep other teams off the glass. Aaron Cornell will probably be their best offensive player, a tough matchup for any team.
Key Non-Conference Matchups: 1/7 AM vs. Elmhurst, 1/8 PM vs. Rowan, 1/10 AM vs. #10 Susquehanna
#10-Susquehanna-They return 10 players (5 upperclassmen) from a team that went to the Sweet 16 last year. They are led by C Martin Andreasen, reigning Commonwealth Conference Player of the Year. If they can get big production from Cruz McLaney, a redshirt freshman, they will be very hard to stop this year.
Key Non-Conference Matchups: 1/6 AM vs. Rowan, 1/6 PM vs. #2 Greensboro, 1/8 AM at St. Mary’s (MN), 1/8 PM at #5 MCLA, 1/9 PM at Rhodes, 1/10 AM at #9 Millsaps, 1/10 PM at SUNY IT