Friday, November 25, 2005

Might as well start it now!

Top 50 exposition:

2005-2006 college basketball Preview: First Five teams:

Starters: C=Center, PF=Power Forward, SF= small Forward, SG=Scoring Guard, PG= Point Guard
Freshmen/Junior College transfers are denoted by one asterisk (*)
Transfers/Redshirts are denoted by two asterisks (**)
Walk-ons/Players contributing less than 2 pts./game are denoted by a tilda (~)

Top returning players/Major Losses individual statistics are all per game averages from last season: (points=ppg/rebounds=rpg/assists=apg/steals=spg/blocks=bpg)


50. Bucknell [Patriot]: C 6-11 Chris McNaughton, PF 6-5 Donald Brown, SF 6-3 Charles Lee, SG 6-2 Kevin Bettencourt, PG 5-11 Abe Badmus::

Bench: 6-7 Tarik Viaer-McClymont~, 6-8 Darren Mastropaolo, 6-7 John Clark, 6-0 John Griffin, 6-3 Rob Thomas~, 6-11 Josh Linthicum*, 6-7 Andrew Morrison~, 6-5 Holland Mack~, 6-2 Jason Vegotsky*, 6-1 Justin Castleberry*

Coach: Pat Flannery

Indiana Fan’s take:

Bucknell opened eyes last year with it’s knocking off of Kansas, who was a damned good team last year. Kansas still could’ve (and probably should’ve) won, but don’t take anything away from the Bison. Center Chris McNaughton gives them good size inside, but it’s the 6-3 Lee who gets the rebounds, and Bettencourt keeps the opposition honest with his outside shooting, And there is a deep, veteran bench, to boot. Look for Coach Pat Flannery to get a few more impressive wins this season.

Newcomer to watch: It’s unlikely that Josh Linthicum is ready to contribute in a major way, but if he’s ready to spell McNaughton for long stretches, Bucknell is probably way underrated.

Top returning players: Bettencourt (12.6ppg/2.4rpg/2.6apg) McNaughton (12.6ppg/4.7rpg), Lee (12.5ppg/6.4rpg), Badmus (5.3ppg/3.1rpg/3.5apg)

Major Losses: 6-8 Chris Neisz (3.4ppg/2rpg/1apg)

49. San Diego State: [MWC] C 6-11 Mohammed Camara, PF 6-8 Marcus Slaughter, SF 6-4 Matt Thomas, SG 6-3 Brandon Heath, PG 6-1 John Sharper

Bench: 6-8 Trimaine Davis, 6-10 Mohamed Akubar**, 6-3 Kashif Watson*, 6-2 Tyler Smith, 6-11 Brett Hoerner*, 6-6 Kyle Spain*, 6-1 Shaun Weinstein~, 5-9 Richie Williams*, 6-5 George Wright-Easy~, 6-3 John Krimmel~, [6-5 Lorenzo Wade**]

Coach: Steve Fisher

Indiana Fan’s Take:

The Aztecs have two amazing players in Brandon Heath and Marcus Slaughter. Slaughter wisely pulled out the NBA draft and should dominate a weaker Mountain West conference. Brandon Heath’s stats are jaw-dropping, how is a player with this sort of game so off everyone’s radar. Hopefully that’ll change this season. The key to this season for SDSU should be whether a solid point guard is found to free up Heath for the wing, or whether Heath will have to do the job of 2 or 3 perimeter players again. Coach Fisher was much-maligned in Ann Arbor, but he does teach defense, and if he can get this club to play that defense, and get solid production from newcomer Mohamed Akubar, then that should be enough to let Slaughter & Heath carry the Aztecs to an NCAA bid.

Newcomer to watch: Florida transfer Mohammed Akubar who at 6-10 is surprisingly quick and has range out to the 3-point line. He could be in the starting line-up in a hurry, as could Kashif Watson. If Watson is able to display solid ball-handling and decent shooting skills, he could bump Sharper to the bench.

Top returning players: Heath (18.3ppg/3.5rpg/3.7apg/2.2spg), Slaughter (17.8ppg/9rpg/1.3apg/ 1.4spg/1.1bpg), Thomas (6.1ppg/3.4rpg/1.5apg), Sharper (6ppg/1.5rpg/1.3apg)

Major Losses: Chris Manker (6.8ppg/2.7rpg/1apg), Chris Walton (6.3ppg/2.6rpg/1.5apg)

48. Northeastern: [CAA]: C 6-9 Bennett Davis, PF 6-9 Shawn James, SF 6-3 Bobby Kelly, SG 6-3 Aaron Davis, PG 6-0 Juan Jose Barea

Bench: 6-7 Mark Washington, 6-6 Janon Cole, 6-5 Matt Smith*, 6-4 Chris Brickley*, 6-2 Adrian Martinez, 5-10 Jerome Kirkland~, 6-9 Benson Egemonye*, 6-6 Chris Coffey~, 6-4 Shae Pinkney~, 6-6 Jeff Farmer~, 5-10 Dipo Poopola~, 6-3 Chris Cyprian*

Coach: Ron Everhart

Indiana Fan’s take:

Well, this is maybe my least likely pick, but I firmly believe that the Huskies will deserve an at-large bid. Can the Colonial Athletic Association get two teams in? Betting money would say no, figuring that teams like Iowa State, Oklahoma State, or Colorado will be overrated enough by being in a “Big” conference that the committee will exclude some more deserving mid-major team like Northeastern who would probably lose in the first round as well. But I think that the addition works for the CAA, who already had #13 conference ranking in the RPI, and with the drop-off of the WAC, the WCC and C-USA conferences, and with the add of Northeastern (#50 overall last year) I think the Colonial jumps up the RPI ladder high enough to get two teams in. Juan Jose Barea is perhaps the best point guard in the nation, and Shawn James may be the best returning shotblocker. The Huskies will miss Marcus Barnes scoring, but enough experience returns that the slack should be taken up, and Barea & James should be scary first-round match-up.

Newcomer to watch: Chris Brickley from Trinity High School in New Hampshire set the state record for most three-pointers made in a single season. His shooting touch could free up Barea, or just give the NU star some more assists.

Top returning players: Barea (22.2ppg/4.3rpg/7.3apg), James (10.3ppg/7.6rpg/5.4bpg), B. Davis (8ppg/6.4rpg), A. Davis (6.9ppg/2.9rpg)

Major Losses: Marcus Barnes (15.9ppg/2.8rpg/1.1apg)

47. Alabama [SEC] C 6-10 Jermareo Davidson, PF 6-7 Chuck Davis, SF 6-7 Jean Felix, SG 6-5 Justin Jonus, PG 6-2 Ron Steele:

Bench: 6-9 Richard Hendrix*, 6-9 Evan Brock, 6-6 Alonzo Gee*, 6-3 Albert Weber, 6-2 Ray George*, 6-10 Yamene Coleman*, 6-0 Brandon Davis~, 6-11 Shawn Taylor~

Coach: Mike Gottfried

Indiana Fan’s take:

The Tide was overrated all last season, and probably will be again. I’m not a fan of the SEC, they pile up big wins, but when the going gets rough, SEC teams tend to choke. Mike Gottfried has done an excellent job of assembling talent, and last year’s version of the Crimson Tide poured in some big wins, notably when they embarrassed Mississippi State, but since Antoine Pettway has been gone, I’ve just seen no heart in this team. They’ll be more inside-oriented on offense, as their best players are probably Davis, Davidson, and Hendrix. Ron Steele should still be able to run some fast-breaks, but expect a more standard offense this year instead of the freewheeling attack that the departed Earnest Shelton & Kennedy Winston led.

Newcomer to watch: Richard Hendrix may be the best prep player who didn’t enter the NBA draft. It still might take him a season to find his spots, but expect to see at least some amazing highlights on Sportscenter featuring Hendrix.

Top returning players: Davis (13.9ppg/6.8rpg/1.8apg), Davidson (7.6ppg/7.9rpg), Steele (7.9ppg/ 3.5rpg/5apg)

Major Losses: Kennedy Winston (17.9ppg/5.4rpg/2.6apg), Ernest Shelton (13.9ppg/3.4rpg/2apg)

46. Syracuse [Big East] C 6-11 Darryl Watkins, PF 6-8 Terrence Roberts, SF 6-5 Louie McCroskey, SG 6-3 Eric Devendorf*, PG 6-2 Gerry McNamara:

Bench: 6-8 Arinze Onuaku*, 6-7 Dayshawn Wright~, 6-7 Demetris Nichols, 6-2 Josh Wright~, 6-5 Andy Rautlins*, 6-9 Matt Gorman**, 6-8 Ross DiLiegro~, 6-4 Xzavier Gaines~, 6-5 Todd Burach~, 5-10 Logan Gabriel~

Coach: Jimmy Boeheim

Indiana Fan’s take:

Of the remaining Big East teams that might be able to squeeze out a 7th NCAA bid, my bet is on the Orange. Terrence Roberts has been stepping up, and should be the solid low-post counter to the outside presence of Gerry McNamara, Demetrius Nichols, Louis McCroskey and the freshman Eric Devendorf. Boeheim needs the Wrights to show up this year to at least be a dependable part of the rotation if he is going to get this team to the Big Dance. Cincinnati in particular is probably more talented, but look for the Orange to finish ahead of the Bearcats in the standings due to respect from the refs, if not just from the new members unfamiliarity with how to combat the 2-3 zone.

Newcomer to watch: Eric Devendorf could be vital in freeing up McNamara for shots. If Devendorf can hit reliably and create space, McNamara may well find this to be his most productive year.

Top returning players: McNamara (15.8ppg/2.3rpg/4.9apg), Roberts (7.2ppg/3.9rpg), McCroskey (5.6ppg/2.9rpg/1.2apg), Watkins (3.7ppg/3.3rpg), Nichols (3.9ppg/2.1rpg)

Major Losses: Warrick (21.4ppg/8.6rpg/1.5apg), Pace (10.8ppg/5rpg/3.8apg), Edelin (4ppg/1.3rpg/1.8apg), Forth (4.6ppg/5.1rpg)


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