Division I Men Previews

November 11, 2008|By KENT BAKER

Coppin State

Coach: Fang Mitchell, 23rd season

at Coppin State, 358-302

2007-08 record: 16-21 (7-9 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference)

Arena: Coppin Center (1,720)

Consensus MEAC favorite: Morgan State

Consensus Coppin State prediction: Sixth

Starters lost: Four

Outlook: The Eagles will defend their conference tournament title by building around MEAC Preseason Player of the Year Tywain McKee (16.6 ppg) but are in a rebuilding phase. They will have to rely on 6-foot-9 transfer Rigoberto Sargeant (Canisius) and inexperienced guards to repeat the feat of winning the league after starting last season with a 4-19 record, including 0-8 in the MEAC. The usual sledgehammer preseason schedule has them going to defending national champion Kansas, Purdue, Richmond, Dayton, Wisconsin, Syracuse, Oklahoma and Missouri. But, as everyone learned again in March, you can never count out a team coached by Mitchell. Michael Harper, Lenny Young and Jordan Lee will have to progress quickly in the backcourt.

Loyola

Coach: Jimmy Patsos, fifth season at Loyola, 58-62

2007-08 record: 19-14 (12-6 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference)

Arena: Reitz Arena (2,100)

Consensus MAAC favorite: Siena

Consensus Loyola prediction: Fifth

Starters lost: Three

Outlook: In the past three seasons, Patsos has a 52-40 record and the Greyhounds have become a respected factor in the MAAC. They should be competitive again despite the loss of the entire front line; youth prevails there now in Providence transfer Jamal Barney, Isaac Reid and Jamaar Wright. Guard play should dominate this squad with the return of starters Brett Harvey and Brian Rudolph and super sub Marquis Sullivan, the school's all-time leading three-point shooter and returning MAAC Sixth Man of the Year. Freshman Anthony Wimbush, 6-7, could help considerably up front. With 24 league wins the past two seasons, Loyola's goal is to finish in the top six and avoid the opening-round game at the conference tournament.

Morgan State

Coach: Todd Bozeman, third season at Morgan, 35-29

2007-08 record: 22-11 (14-2 MEAC)

Arena: Hill Field House (4,500)

Consensus MEAC favorite: Morgan State

Consensus Morgan prediction: First

Starters lost: Three

Outlook: It hasn't taken Bozeman long to turn around a floundering program that came within a basket of sweeping the regular-season and tournament titles in the league. Morgan hit numerous high standards, going 12-0 at home, playing in the National Invitation Tournament and producing the Coach of the Year and Player of the Year (Jamar Smith). To take that final step and reach the NCAA tournament, the Bears will be led by juniors and Marylanders (10 of 15 players are from the state). Foremost among the returning players are F Marquis Kately (13.1 ppg, 5.9 rpg) and sharpshooting G Reggie Holmes (12.9 ppg, 62 three-pointers), and Bozeman has recruited well, particularly in the Baltimore-Washington area. Morgan should be right there again.

Mount St. Mary's

Coach: Milan Brown, sixth season at Mount St. Mary's, 60-91

2007-08 record: 19-15 (11-7 Northeast Conference)

Arena: Knott Arena (3,121)

Consensus NEC favorite: Mount St. Mary's

Consensus Mount prediction: First

Starters lost: One

Outlook: The cupboard is overflowing in Emmitsburg with only G Chris Vann missing from a team that beat Coppin in the NCAA play-in game, then lost to national runner-up North Carolina in the Tar Heels' territory. Quick PG Jeremy Goode (14.5 ppg, 5.5 apg) leads a deep returning cast that has two 6-7 players, Markus Mitchell and Sam Atupem, on the front line. The only question about the lineup is whether Jean Cajou or Kelly Beidler will start in the fifth spot. The top defensive team in the conference last season, the Mount will depend on pushing the ball up the court and its good-sized front line to rebound in the Northeast, which is traditionally dominated by guard play.

Navy

Coach: Billy Lange, fifth season at Navy (50-66)

2007-08 record: 16-14 (9-5 Patriot League)

Arena: Alumni Hall (5,310)

Consensus Patriot favorite: American

Consensus Navy prediction: Sixth

Starters lost: One

Outlook: The only missing face from the Midshipmen will be Patriot League Player of the Year Greg Sprink (21.8 ppg, 6.3 rpg), but the prognosticators are expecting a fall by a team that challenged for the league crown. Lange got his first winning season, but two tough losses (at Colgate in the regular-season finale and a three-overtime crusher to Bucknell in the tournament) prevented a higher climb. Guards Kaleo Kina (14 ppg, 4.1 rpg) and Chris Harris (14.5 ppg, school record 91 three-pointers) are back to lead the way. There is plenty of experience to go around and height up front in 6-11 Mark Veacey and 6-8 Adam Teague. Navy's biggest asset could be its versatility among interchangeable parts.

Towson

Coach: Pat Kennedy, fifth season at Towson (45-75)

2007-08 record: 13-18 (7-11 Colonial Athletic Association)

Arena: Towson Center (5,000)

Consensus CAA favorite: Virginia Commonwealth

Consensus Towson prediction: 10th

Starters lost: Two

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