Friday, November 25, 2005

Teams 29-26

(Oops! Posted #30 (Xavier) already.)

29. Ohio State [Big Ten]: C 6-9 Terrance Dials, PF 6-8 Ivan Harris, SF 6-5 J.J. Sullinger, SG 6-2 Je’Kel Foster, PG 6-4 Ron Lewis**:

Bench: 6-10 Brayden Bell*, 6-9 Matt Terwilliger~, 6-7 Matt Sylvester, 6-2 Sylvester Mayes*, 6-2 Jamal Butler

Coach: Thad Matta

Indiana Fan’s take:

There’s a lot of hype about next year’s recruits for the Buckeyes, but a word of caution for everyone: those kids aren’t playing this year. Except for ESPN, everything else that I've seen this summer can't stop blabbing about how the Buckeyes are back. Not that Thad Matta hasn’t instantly turned this program around, and not that the Buckeyes won’t be good, but they’re missing their best passers (and their best outside shooter, too), and replacing them with selfish player from the MAC who only transferred so that he could show NBA scouts his ability to play the point. I’m not confident in the results, but there should be enough here for Coach Matta to get into the NCAA's.

Newcomer to watch: Bowling Green transfer Ron Lewis will get first crack at starting point guard, but my guess is that Jamar Butler will be a better lead guard for the team.

Top returning players: Dials (15.6ppg/8rpg), Sullinger (10.1ppg/4.5rpg/1.8apg/1.2s), Foster (7.8ppg/3.3rpg/2.2apg/1.2s)

Major Losses: Stockman (12.6ppg/2.8rpg/2.6apg/1.5s), Fuss-Cheatham (5.5ppg/2.1rpg/3.3apg)

28. Miami-Florida [ACC]: C 6-9 Anthony King, PF 6-9 Gary Hamilton, SF 6-2 Guillermo Diaz, SG 6-2 Robert Hite, PG 6-2 Anthony Harris:

Bench: 6-8 Jimmy Graham*, 6-7 Raymond Hicks~, 6-6 Brian Asbury*, 6-4 Eric Wilkins~, 6-0 Dennis Clemente*, 6-7 Adrian Thomas*, 6-1 Lee Butler~, 6-5 Keaton Copeland~, 6-3 Jonathan Stratton~

Coach: Frank Haith

Indiana Fan’s take:

While Virginia Tech was a nice surprise in the ACC, the real shocker was just how well former Big East cellar-mate Miami did as well. But rookie coach Frank Haith turned the Hurricanes into a 16-13 club in the nation’s best conference, and should have them in the NCAA’s this year. The only loss was starter Will Frisby, and the returnees and freshmen should pick up the slack. Not only is Haith adding a very solid recruiting class, but he also persuaded jumping jack Guillermo Diaz to stay another year rather than jumping to the pros. Diaz is such a terror that Robert Hite is often overlooked, but all he did last season was pour in 17 points per game. Anthony King is a developing nighmare inside for opponents, and should terrorize them again this year, while Anthony Harris plays the point about as nice as you could ask, and now has a year of ACC experience (and respect) under his belt.

Newcomer to watch:

Jimmy Graham has an opening with the graduation of Frisby, but Clemente and Asbury might actual contribute more from the wings feeding off the explosive returnees on the perimeter.

Top returning players: Diaz (18.6ppg/4.3rpg/2.6apg), Hite (17.3ppg/5rpg/1.1apg), Harris (12.4ppg/2.5rpg/4.6apg), King (6.3ppg/8rpg/3bpg)

Major Losses: Will Frisby (8.7ppg/6.4rpg)

27. Northern Iowa [Missouri Valley]: C 6-8 Grant Stout, PF 6-6 Eric Coleman, SF 6-3 Erik Crawford, SG 6-3 Ben Jacobson, PG 6-2 Brooks McKowen:

Bench: 6-10 Attila Santos, 6-6 Dylan Grimsley**, 6-3 Adam Viet~, 6-0 Jared Josten~, 5-11 John Little, 6-8 Jermain Raffington*, 6-3 Travis Brown*, 6-2 Mason Stewart*, 5-9 Michael Williams*, 6-0 Bryan Haak*

Coach: Greg McDermott

Indiana Fan’s take:

Five starters return for the Panthers, and Ben Jacobson’s just the kind of player that #1 & #2 seeds fear the most in March. Coach McDermott has a balanced and deep veteran team from a solid conference, which is what is needed to grab the Missouri Valley Conference championship. Grant Stout was fearsome interior defender, and forwards Erik Crawford and Eric Coleman are solid two-way players. Point guard is less solid, but Brooks McKowen or John Little should take over the duties without too much difficulty. Northern Iowa can also bring solid size off the bench with 6-10 Attila Santos and newbie 6-8 Jermaine Raffington. This is a solid, veteran team that should walk away with the MVC crown and make some real noise in the field of 65.

Newcomer to watch: Power Forward Jermain Raffington could add the athletic element that is hard to find in the mid-majors.

Top returning players: Jacobson (17.9ppg/3.8rpg/2.7apg), Stout (11.3ppg/7.7rpg/1.2apg/2.4bpg), Crawford (13.3ppg/4.9rpg/2.6apg), Coleman (10.7ppg/6.4rpg/2apg)

Major Losses: Chris Foster (5.8ppg/1.6rpg/2.9apg)

26. Maryland [ACC]: C 6-9 Ekene Ibekwe, PF 6-9 Travis Garrison, SF 6-7 Nick Caner-Medley, SG 6-4 Chris McCray, PG 6-4 Darryl Strawberry Jr:

Bench: 7-1 Will Bowers, 6-8 James Gist, 6-7 Shane Clark*, 6-4 Mike Jones, 6-4 Sterling Ledbetter, 6-1 Parish Brown*

Coach: Garry Williams

Indiana Fan’s take:

Fear the turtle, The Terrapins were something of a disappointment and lost their most talented player when Point Guard John Gilchrist decided not to come back after feuds with Coach Williams. They were definitely good enough to be included in the Big Dance, but sandwiching understandable losses at Virginia and to UNC in between head-scratching 2nd and 3rd losses to Clemson was what did them in. This club is not particularly deep, but has enough returning to stay in the middle of the ACC pack and at least get to the NCAA first round. Whatever his problems with Garry Williams, John Gilchrist was the team’s best player and made the offense go. Converted two-guard Darryl Strawberry Jr. (yes, Junior) ought to take over the point, but it might be a bit much to ask the Terrapins to jump from the NIT to the NCAA second weekend with only the "addition-by-subtraction" logic. If Chris McCray is gone for the whole season, it may be very hard indeed for Williams to work his magic and get the Terrapins to the NCAA tourney at all.

Newcomer to watch: Parish Brown has to be able to handle the pressure of being an ACC point guard right away, and if neither he nor Strawberry can, it may well be a long season for the Terps.

Top returning players: Caner-Medley (16ppg/6.2rpg/2.2apg), McCray (14.1ppg/4.3rpg/3.2apg), Garrison (10.1ppg/6.5rpg/1.3bpg), Ibekwe (8.4ppg/6.3rpg/1.8bpg)

Major Losses: John Gilchrist (13.9ppg/5.1rpg/5.5apg)


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