Mount St. Mary’s
Coach: Jamion Christian (fifth season, 63-65) 2015-16 record: 14-19, 10-8 (fifth in Northeast Conference) Tournament result: Lost to No. 2 seed Fairleigh Dickinson, 80-75, in NEC semifinals Preseason poll: t-fourth in NEC Key nonconference games: at No. 20 West Virginia (tonight), at No. 24 Iowa State (Monday), at Minnesota (Wednesday), at George Mason (next Friday), at Michigan (Nov. 26), at Arkansas (Nov. 28), at Loyola Maryland (Dec. 3), vs. UMBC (Dec. 7), at Bucknell (Dec. 19), vs. Coppin State (Dec. 22) Player to watch: Junior Robinson. The 5-5 junior guard averaged 12.5 points, second most on the team, and 3.1 assists last season en route to earning All-NEC second-team honors. Robinson, who scored at least 20 points five times last season, led the team with 102 assists, was sixth in the conference in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.23) and shot a team-high 34.2 percent from 3-point range. The skinny: Can the Mountaineers survive a tough nine-game road trip to start the season? In addition to opening against a pair of Top 25 teams (West Virginia and Iowa State), Mount St. Mary’s faces two Big Ten teams (Minnesota and Michigan), a strong mid-major (George Mason) and an Arkansas team with Southeastern Conference Preseason Player of the Year Moses Kingsley. The Mount will have to figure out how to replace leading scorer BK Ashe (13.8 points per game) and leading rebounder Gregory Graves (5.5 rebounds per game). Senior forward Will Miller figures to shoulder some of the load after hitting seven 3-pointers en route to a game-high 22 points to lead Mount St. Mary’s to an 89-65 win over Hood in an exhibition Saturday.
Coach: Pat Skerry (sixth season, 76-87) 2015-16 record: 20-13, 11-7 (t-third in Colonial Athletic Association) Tournament results: Lost to No. 6 seed Northeastern, 71-60, in CAA quarterfinals; lost to Oakland, 90-72, in Vegas 16 first round Preseason poll: Second in CAA Key nonconference games: at George Mason (Saturday), at No. 25 Maryland (Nov. 20), at Boston College (Nov. 22), vs. Stony Brook (Nov. 25), vs. Old Dominion (Dec. 3), vs. Loyola Maryland (Dec. 7), at UMBC (Dec. 17), vs. Nevada (Dec. 21), vs. Iona (Dec. 22) Player to watch: Arnaud William Adala Moto. The 6-7 senior forward and Wake Forest transfer received preseason All-CAA first team honors after leading the Tigers in scoring (13.9 points per game) and rebounds (8.3) en route to being named to the All-CAA second team. Adala Moto had eight double doubles last season. The skinny: Can the Tigers ride Adala Moto and junior guard Mike Morsell to the top of the conference? Morsell, a preseason All-CAA second-team pick after being named a third-team selection at the end of last season, averaged 13 points while shooting 31.1 percent from 3-point range. Towson also welcomes back a key contributor in senior forward John Davis, a starter last season who shot a team-best 37.9 percent from beyond the arc while averaging 10.3 points and 5.5 rebounds. Junior guard Eddie Keith II, sophomore guard Jordan McNeil (Mount Saint Joseph) and sophomore forward Alex Thomas also return.
Coach: Ryan Odom (first season) 2015-16 record: 7-25, 3-13 (ninth in America East Conference) Tournament result: Lost to No. 1 seed Stony Brook, 86-76, in America East quarterfinals Preseason poll: Sixth in America East Key nonconference games: at UMES (Sunday), at Navy (Nov. 23), at Mount St. Mary’s (Dec. 7), vs. Towson (Dec. 17), at James Madison (Dec. 23), at Virginia Tech (Dec. 28) Player to watch: Jairus Lyles. A preseason All-America East selection, the 6-2 junior guard led the conference with 22.1 points, 2.7 steals and 37.2 minutes per game in league games last season. He set a UMBC single-season record with a conference-best 23 points per game last season on his way to earning second-team All-America East honors. Despite missing 11 games, he set UMBC sophomore records in field goals (170) and points (482), and tied the mark in steals (53). The skinny: Can Odom make the Retrievers competitive in his first season? Odom, who led Lenoir-Rhyne (N.C.) to the NCAA Division II regional finals for the first time in school history, must focus on fixing a defense that allowed 80.6 points per game, third worst in the conference. UMBC also allowed opponents to shoot 49.6 percent from the field, better than only 8-22 Maine. Odom has an experienced group to work with, retaining juniors Rodney Elliott (John Carroll) and Jourdan Grant (Archbishop Spalding) at guard and senior Will Darley (Dulaney) and sophomore Joe Sherburne at forward. Elliott came back from shoulder surgery to average 12.8 points and 3.6 assists last season. Grant added solid perimeter defense, finishing fourth in the conference in steals per game (1.3), and tied for eighth all time among UMBC sophomores with 41 steals. The frontcourt should be dangerous from the perimeter: Darley finished fourth in the conference in 3-point field-goal percentage (.434), and Sherburne hit 61 3-pointers, the third most for a UMBC freshman.
Coach: Bobby Collins (third season, 28-37) 2015-16 record: 10-22, 7-9 (t-sixth in MEAC) Tournament finish: Lost to No. 9 seed Morgan State, 65-58, in MEAC first round Preseason poll: Eighth in MEAC Key nonconference games: at George Washington (tonight), vs. UMBC (Sunday), at Boston College (Tuesday), at Wichita State (Nov. 20), at Virginia Tech (Dec. 7), at Michigan (Dec. 17), at UTEP (Dec. 21) Player to watch: Bakari Copeland. The 6-6 senior forward, a preseason second-team All-MEAC selection, averaged 10.5 points and 4.6 rebounds last season, scoring in double digits in 16 of the last 21 games. Copeland took advantage of a change to the NBA draft process and declared early at the end of the season to participate in predraft workouts, but later announced he would return for his senior year. Skinny: Will the Hawks be able to replace a pair of All-MEAC players? Gone are Dominique Elliott (14.8 points per game) and Devin Martin (16.8), senior leaders who carried the scoring load. Sophomore Isaac Taylor, Copeland’s roommate, never started as a freshman and played just 5.7 minutes per game, but should see an increased workload because of the Hawks’ lack of frontcourt depth. UMES lists just four forwards on its 15-man roster. Taylor is the tallest and the heaviest Hawk, at 6-8 and 250 pounds. Helping out in the backcourt will be graduate student Derrico Peck, who shot a team-best 75.7 percent from the field last season, and junior college transfer Michael Chambers, who averaged 14.5 points, 2.9 assists, 4.0 rebounds and 1.3 steals last season at Cape Fear Community College in Wilmington, N.C.
Coach: Tom Rose (second season, 10-15) 2015-16 record: 10-15, 6-10 (sixth in Division III Landmark Conference) Tournament finish: Did not qualify Preseason poll: Seventh in Landmark Key nonconference games: at Salisbury (Tuesday), at Hood (Nov. 22), vs. Saint Vincent at Pittsburgh (Nov. 26), vs. Eastern (Nov. 29), at Towson (Nov. 30), vs. Stevenson (Dec. 17) Player to watch: Chris Outing. The 6-7 senior forward is the top returning scorer (8.0 points per game), and will be tasked with helping fill the big shoes of leading scorer and All-Landmark second-team selection Kevin Miles (16.7 points per
Todd Bozeman, who is starting his 11th season as coach at Morgan State, needs to find replacements for leading scorers Cedric Blossom and Rasean Simpson.