Friday, November 25, 2005

Teams 40-36

40. Northern Illinois [MAC] C 6-11 Jamel Hughes, PF 6-7 Todd Peterson, SF 6-4 Mike McKinney, SG 6-1 Cory Sims, PG 5-10 Anthony Maestranzi:

Bench: 6-10 Bryson McKenzie~, 6-7 Paige Paulsen, 6-6 Ben Rand**, 6-5 Zach Pancratz, 5-9 Quintan Lipkins*, 6-0 Ryan Paradise**, 6-8 Craig Reichel**, Shatone Powers~

Coach: Rob Judson

Indiana Fan’s take:

The Mid-American Conference consistently deserves more than one bid, and if the MVC can contend for three bids, so should the MAC. The Huskies have good balance, lose only one player of consequence from their rotation, and look prepared to translate last season’s success into this year’s payoff. There aren’t any superstars here, but Hughes’ size alone can intimidate opponents into giving up open shots and Mike McKinney’s versatility could have him on the edge of national recognition this year. The Huskies are a balanced and dangerous team, and should not be overlooked. Cory Sims needs to create shots for himself a little more, perhaps, but he, Peterson, and McKinney will make the MAC tourney title repeat a difficult proposition for Ohio.

Newcomer to watch: Quintan Lipkins is the one most likely to help out immediately, at the point. But he’ll have to fight sophomore Ryan Paradise, who was a solid rookie contributor before a nasty wrist injury forced him to sit for a year and a half. Also, transfer Ben Rand could impact in a way he never was able to at the University of Iowa.

Top returning players: Peterson (11.3ppg/4.5rpg/1.2apg), Sims (9.6ppg/3rpg/4.8apg), McKinney (12.6ppg/6.1rpg/2.3apg), Hughes (9.4ppg/4.9rpg/1.9bpg), Maestranzi (8ppg/1.9rpg/3.1apg)

Major Losses: Jonathan Byrd (5.9ppg/3.6rpg/1.1bpg)

39. Alabama-Birmingham [C-USA]: C 6-9 Ernest Little, PF 6-7 Demario Eddins, SF 6-5 Richard Jones, SG 6-2 Marvett McDonald, PG 5-10 Carldell “Squeaky” Johnson:

Bench: 6-9 Frank Holmes~, 6-7 Brandon Tobias, 6-6 Lawrence Kinnard*, 6-5 Derrick Broom, 6-2 Paul Delaney, 6-1 Reed Davis~

Coach: Mike Anderson

Indiana Fan’s take:

The Blazers were not the surprise they were a year before, and probably won’t even be as good this season as last, but that’s still nothing to hang one’s head about. There should still be enough oomph in the C-USA to get a second NCAA bid, and UAB looks like the best pick. “Squeaky” Johnson returns to run the show, McDonald is a solid guard, and Jones & Broom should pick up the minutes available with the graduation of the Taylor twins. But the season hangs on the complete game of Demario Eddins, and this year should see him lead the Blazers to the NCAA for a third straight year.

Newcomer to watch: Lawrence Kinnard is the only recruit, and may get some minutes at forward.

Top returning players: Eddins (12.5ppg/4.8rpg/1.7apg), McDonald (10.8ppg/2.6rpg/2apg), Johnson (5ppg/2rpg/4.6apg/2.2spg), Jones (4.2ppg/1.4rpg)

Major Losses: Donell Taylor (15.5ppg/4.4rpg/3apg/2spg), Ronell Taylor (11ppg/3.6rpg/1.7apg), Lewis (8.3ppg/4.6rpg)

38. South Carolina [SEC]: C 6-8 Antoine Tisby, PF 6-9 Brandon Wallace, SF 6-7 Renaldo Balkman, SG 6-6 Terance Kinsey, PG 6-0 Tre Kelly:

Bench: 6-9 Ousmane Konate*, 6-6 Dwayne Day, 6-7 Dominique Archie*, 6-3 Rocky Trice, 5-11 Steven McDowell~, 6-5 Bryce Sheldon*, 6-8 Keving Palacios*

Coach: Dave Odom

Indiana Fan’s take:

At the end of the season the Gamecocks were, as the saying goes, the 66th best team in the country when they won a thrilling shootout versus St. Joseph’s for the NIT title. Some significant production is gone, but enough returns that SC should be able to take the step forward to qualify for the NCAA tourney. As long as Terance Kinsey is healthy, the mismatches he creates should cause opponents to start scurrying, and players such as Tre Kelly, Brandon Wallace, and Renaldo Balkman should all see their stats rise as a result. It’s doubtful that the Gamecocks will go far in this year’s NCAA tournament, but they should be happy in just getting there.

Newcomer to watch: It’ll take a little bit for Ousmane Konate & Keving Palacios to learn the tricks of the trade, but they could provide some sorely-needed energy and size off the bench.

Top returning players: Kinsey (8.9ppg/3.4rpg/1.6apg), Kelley (8.9ppg/1.4rpg/3.6apg), Wallace (5.7ppg/4.5rpg), Tisby (6.6ppg/4.7rpg), Balkman (5.4ppg/4.8rpg/1.7apg)

Major Losses: Carlos Powell (16.4ppg/6.5rpg/1.6apg), Josh Gonner (8.7ppg/1.7rpg/1.7apg)

37. Charlotte [Atlantic-10]: C 6-8 Chris Nance, PF 6-8 Curtis Withers, SF 6-8 E.J. Drayton, SG 6-5 De’Angelo Alexander**, PG 6-2 Mitchell Baldwin:

Bench: 6-9 Courtney Williams*, 6-7 Mitch Mullis*, 6-5 Jerrell Jamison*, 6-4 Travis Gordon~, 6-0 Leemire Goldwire, 6-2 Jerrell Lewis~, 6-7 Antwon Coleman*, 6-8 Tripp Miller~

Coach: Bobby Lutz

Indiana Fan’s take:

There were a lot of personnel losses, but enough returns for another NCAA bid for Bobby Lutz, especially as the 49ers move into a weaker conference. The Atlantic Ten should definitely be a multiple-NCAA bid conference this year, but Charlotte will have a very difficult time passing George Washington for the conference crown. Curtis Withers put up the numbers last year that grab attention, and Baldwin was a solid combo guard that allowed Lutz to capitalize on Brendan Plavich’s shooting. Transfer De’Angelo Alexander hopes to the same thing this year. But will Baldwin be able run the point at a level that Lutz demands? And will the inexperienced bench be able to provide road support throughout the gauntlet of new conference foes? I don’t know the answers, but I have confidence in Coach Lutz.

Newcomer to watch: Oklahoma transfer De’Angelo Alexander should provide quite a scoring punch on the wing. As long as he keeps his head together, he should score in bunches.

Top returning players: Withers (18ppg/8.1rpg/1.8apg), Drayton (8.7ppg/4.6rpg/1.2apg), Baldwin (7.5ppg/2.9rpg/3.8apg), Goldwire (6.2ppg/1.9rpg/1.3apg)

Major Losses: Eddie Basden (15.2ppg/8.4rpg/3.7apg), Brendan Plavich (13.7ppg/2.7rpg/1.7apg), Martin Iti (5ppg/4rpg/1.7bpg)

36. Ohio [Mid American] C 6-8 Leon Williams, PF 6-5 Jeff Halbert, SF 6-4 Mychal Green, SG 6-5 Sonny Troutman, PG 6-3 Jeremy Fears:

Bench: 6-9 Cliff McGowen~, 6-7 Matt Annen~, 6-6 Johnnie Jackson**, 6-3 Whitney Davis, 6-1 Antonio Chatman*, 6-9 Ken Ottrix*, 6-2 Stephen King~, 6-6 Jerome Tillman*

Coach: Tim O’Shea

Indiana Fan’s take:

The Bobcats came out of seemingly nowhere to seize the MAC’s auto-bid. Maybe this year the MAC can garner more than one bid. Four starters return for Tim O’Shea, who has just resurrected this program and made Ohio the favorites for the conference. This team is not particularly big and does not rebound very well, with the exception of Leon Williams. The bench is also pretty experienced, so while there’s plenty of talent in the starting line-up, foul trouble and injuries could cripple this team. But there’s no reason to go looking for doom and gloom. This should be a solid NCAA entrant that will see its season end on the first weekend of the tourney.

Newcomer to watch: Can transfer Johnnie Jackson ever live up to the hype? He hasn’t so far, but perhaps this new setting is just the place for him to get his confidence back and be the sort of impact scorer he was expected to be at Boston College.

Top returning players: Green (15ppg/3.7rpg/1.6apg/1.6spg), Williams (11.9ppg/8.6rpg), Troutman (12.6ppg/3.8rpg/3.1apg), Fears (11ppg/2.4rpg/3.7apg), Halbert (6.7ppg/3.1rpg)

Major Losses: Terren Harbut (8.4ppg/3.9rpg)


Post a Comment

<< Home