College Basketball Preview

November 06, 2007|By KENT BAKER

Division I

COPPIN STATE

Affiliation: Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference

Coach: Fang Mitchell, 22nd season at Coppin State (342-281)

2006-07 record: 12-20 (9-9 MEAC)

Arena: Coppin Center (1,720)

Consensus MEAC favorite: Hampton

Consensus Coppin State prediction: Eighth

Starters lost: Three

Outlook: It has been more than a decade since the Eagles prevailed in the MEAC, and they have now been overtaken by cross-town rival Morgan State. The customary meat grinder of an early schedule has them going to Hawaii, Arizona State, Ohio State, Marquette, Indiana and Missouri and making a tournament date with Xavier or Kent State. After that enriches the athletic department's coffers, they will strive to improve their scoring and rebounding outputs in conference play. The strength starts with all-league pick Tywain McKee (17.4 ppg), the MEAC's second leading scorer last season. But he is sure to attract plenty of defensive attention, so veterans Antwan Harrison (9.2 ppg) and Robert Pressey (6.7 ppg, 4.8 rpg) will have to upgrade the offense. Freshman Vince Goldsberry is the probable starter at point guard.

LOYOLA

Affiliation: Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference

Coach: Jimmy Patsos, fourth season at Loyola (39-48)

2006-07 record: 18-13 (12-6 MAAC)

Arena: Reitz Arena (3,000)

Consensus MAAC favorite: Siena

Consensus Loyola prediction: Second

Starters lost: One

Outlook: The Greyhounds are making notable strides under Patsos, who will now be working with his own recruits. Their 18 wins were the most since 1970-71, and with four starters and nine letter winners back, they stand a good chance to reach 20. All-MAAC senior Gerald Brown (22.2 ppg) is the nation's third-leading returning scorer and led the league in steals. Add sharpshooter Marquis Sullivan (13.1 ppg), F Omari Isreal (9.1 ppg, 5.7 rpg), G Brett Harvey (7.4 ppg), sixth man Michael Tuck and 6-10 Hassan Fofana, a starter before being injured, and Loyola has scads of experience. Add transfer G Joe Miles, a part-time regular at Marshall, and this looks like a team that might go a long way. It might not stop at the league tournament semifinals this time.

MORGAN STATE

Affiliation: Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference

Coach: Todd Bozeman, second season at Morgan State (13-18)

2006-07 record: 13-18 (10-8 MEAC)

Arena: Hill Field House (4,250)

Consensus MEAC favorite: Hampton

Consensus Morgan State prediction: Fourth

Starters lost: One

Outlook: The surprise team in the league last season, Morgan went to the semifinals in the tournament before being ousted by Delaware State. Some incoming talent should help continue the momentum upward. Marquise Kately, 6-5, 220 pounds, sat out last season after transferring from Bozeman's former school, California, and local freshman Kevin Thompson (Walbrook), 6-8, 235 pounds, averaged 17.6 points and 11.2 rebounds for the Warriors. Another first-year player, 6-5, 230-pound Ameer Ali, comes with impressive credentials from Camp Springs (18 ppg, 10 rpg). Holdovers Jamar Smith (12.6 ppg, 4.8 rpg), Jerrell Green, 6-9 Boubacar Coly and Reggie Holmes form an experienced nucleus. It has been a long time since the Bears were picked in the upper half of the standings in preseason polls, but nobody takes them lightly anymore.

MOUNT ST. MARY'S

Affiliation: Northeast Conference

Coach: Milan Brown, fifth season at Mount St. Mary's (41-76)

2006-07 record: 11-20 (9-9 NEC)

Arena: Knott Arena (3,121)

Consensus NEC favorite: Sacred Heart

Consensus Mount St. Mary's prediction: Fourth

Starters lost: Two

Outlook: The Mount won its first playoff games in seven years and will be a factor in its conference thanks to a guard tandem that will be among the NEC's best. Leading the charge will be point guard Jeremy Goode (10.1 ppg, 5.0 apg) and Chris Vann (13.6 ppg), the only significant senior on the roster, in a guard-oriented league. Mount St. Mary's needs to be more consistent offensively, but now has experience despite its relative youth. F Sam Atupem and Markus Mitchell will be counted on to supply points. The fifth spot is a tossup between Will Holland and Kelly Beidler. Outside the league, the schedule is challenging (George Washington, Oregon and Oklahoma on the road) plus Winthrop and the traditional showdown with Loyola. The regular season is important in the NEC because the tournament is played at the court of higher seeds throughout.

NAVY

Affiliation: Patriot League

Coach: Billy Lange, fourth season at Navy (34-52)

2006-07 record: 14-16 (4-10 Patriot)

Arena: Alumni Hall (5,710)

Consensus Patriot favorite: Holy Cross

Consensus Navy prediction: Seventh

Starters lost: Three

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