Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Notre Dame Fighting Irish – (Head Coach: Mike Brey, Atlantic Coast Conference) – In 18 seasons at Notre Dame, Mike Brey has led the Fighting Irish to a record 14 20-win seasons, including this past year’s 21-15 ledger that saw the Irish reach the second round of the NIT…his 403 wins at Notre Dame are the most in school history…Brey welcomes the return of two starters off of last year’s team as well as the No. 10-ranked recruiting class in the country, according to ESPN.com…guard T.J. Gibbs is Notre Dame’s leading returner in scoring (15.3 ppg), assists (107), and steals (37) after logging 1,348 minutes a year ago, the 10th highest total in the country…backcourt mate Rex Pflueger tallied 8.0 ppg and is the Irish’s leading returning rebounder at 4.3 rpg…he also tied Gibbs with 37 steals…the recruiting class is highlighted by four 4-star recruits – power forward Nate Laszewski, shooting guards Dane Goodwin and Prentiss Hubb, and small forward Robby Carmody…Notre Dame, which has made 36 NCAA appearances, played in the 2013 Gotham Classic.
Duquesne Dukes – (Head Coach: Keith Dambrot, Atlantic 10 Conference) – Keith Dambrot, who led Akron to 12 20-win seasons and a school record 305 wins during his 13 years, took over at Duquesne last season and led the Dukes to a 16-16 record – a six-win improvement from the previous year – while the Dukes’ seven Atlantic 10 wins were the most in six years…to continue the turnaround at Duquesne, Dambrot welcomes back two starters in guard Mike Lewis II and swingman Eric Williams Jr…Lewis led the Dukes with a 14.4 ppg as a sophomore last season while Williams, who earned a spot on the Atlantic 10 All-Rookie team, was right behind at 14.3 ppg to go along with a team-leading 8.8 rpg and 43 steals…the Dukes promise to have a new look in 2018-19 with the addition of five Division I transfers…Duquesne will also be bolstered by the tallest recruiting class in school history featuring five players 6-9 or taller…the Dukes have been to five NCAA Tournaments.
Radford Highlanders – (Head Coach: Mike Jones, Big South Conference) – Radford made its third NCAA Tournament appearance in 2018 and won its first-ever NCAA Tournament game in posting a school record 23 wins last season…picked to finish seventh in the preseason Big South poll, the Highlanders placed second and Mike Jones was named Coach of the Year for his efforts…three starters from that team return, led by first-team All-Big South pick forward Ed Polite, Jr., who led Radford in scoring (13.3 ppg), rebounding (7.9 rpg), and steals (68)…guard Carlik Jones tallied 11.8 ppg and handed out a team-best 113 assists last season in earning Big South Rookie of the Year honors…backcourt mate Donald Hicks scored 8.0 ppg.
UIC Flames – (Head Coach: Steve McClain, Horizon League) – Steve McClain guided the Flames to a 20-16 record and title game of the CIT a year ago…the 20 wins marked the first time in 14 seasons that UIC reached that tally and did so by winning nine of its final 10 road games…and the Flames did all this as one of only six teams in the country with a roster featuring three or fewer upperclassmen…UIC started four sophomores at the end of last season and return all but three players…headlining the returning players is the Flames’ leading returning scorer, guard Marcus Ottey, who netted 13.8 ppg to go along with 65 assists…fellow guard Tarkus Ferguson led UIC with 136 assists while scoring at a 10.6 ppg clip…the Flames have been to three NCAA Tournaments.
William & Mary Tribe
William & Mary Tribe – (Head Coach: Tony Shaver, Colonial Athletic Association) – Tony Shaver is the winningest coach in William & Mary history, having led the Tribe to 212 wins in 15 seasons, including 96 over the last five years – the most of any program in the CAA during that span…this past season, the Tribe set school records for points (2,636), field goals (910), 3-point field goals (337), and assists (548) in going 19-1212…William & Mary also led the country in 3-point field goal percentage (.434) and free throw percentage (.810)…three starters return from a year ago, highlighted by forward Nathan Knight, who led the Tribe in scoring (18.5 ppg) and blocked shots (61) while also hauling down 7.3 rpg en route to second-team All-CAA honors…swingman Justin Pierce led W&M with an 8.6 rpg average while tallying 14.7 ppg in earning third-team all-league acclaim…guard Matt Milon (13.0 ppg) rounds out the returning starters.
Head coach Jamie Dixon has guided the Panthers to 307 wins in 12 seasons at the helm of the program, winning at least 20 games in 11 of those campaigns…he has also led Pitt to the postseason all 12 seasons, including 10 NCAA Tournament berths and a trip to last year’s NIT…the Panthers enter the 2015-16 season with four starters returning, including leading scorer Jamel Artis (13.6 ppg, 6.0 rpg) and leading rebounder Michael Young (7.3 rpg, 13.4 ppg), both of whom will be juniors…Pittsburgh has been to 25 NCAA Tournaments with one trip to the Final Four.
GET THIS: Pitt ranks among the nation’s top six programs in winning percentage (.765, 364-121) over the past 14 years. During that span, the Panthers have made one NCAA Elite Eight appearance, five Sweet Sixteen appearances, won six Big East titles, and advanced to 12 of the last 14 NCAA Tournaments.
KEEPING GOOD COMPANY: Pitt is one of only nine schools nationally to advance to the NCAA Tournament in 12 of the last 14 seasons: Arizona, Duke, Gonzaga, Kansas, Louisville, Michigan State, Pitt, Texas, and Wisconsin.
TOP THIS: Pitt is the only team in the last 10 years to post wins over top 15 teams from Connecticut, Duke, Georgetown, Louisville, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Syracuse, Villanova, and West Virginia.
THE MAN: Jamie Dixon is in his 13th season as a head coach with 307 career victories. He already ranks ninth in NCAA history for most coaching wins through 13 seasons.
The Wildcats are coming off their first season as a member of the Atlantic 10…after being picked 12th in the league’s preseason poll, Davidson won the A-10 regular season title and earned a berth in the NCAA Tournament…four starters return for the Wildcats, led by the back court of junior Jack Gibbs (16.2 ppg, 120 assists) and senior Brian Sullivan (12.7 ppg, 124 assists)…head coach Bob McKillop will enter his 27th season at Davidson, having amassed 496 victories…the Wildcats have participated in 13 NCAA Tournaments, eight of which have come during McKillop’s tenure.
HALL OF FAMER: When Bob McKillop strolls the sidelines during the Gotham Classic at Madison Square Garden on December 20, he will do so as a new member of the New York City Basketball Hall of Fame, having been inducted on September 16. Although he has been at Davidson for 27 seasons, McKillop is a New Yorker, born in Queens and growing up in Long Island.
DID YOU KNOW, PART I: The Wildcats are averaging 23.4 wins a year dating back to 2004-05 season. To keep that going, Davidson returns four starters from last season, including all-conference performers Brian Sullivan, Jack Gibbs, and Peyton Aldridge.
DID YOU KNOW, PART II: Each of the last four seasons has seen a Wildcat named conference Player of the Year. Last season it was graduated Tyler Kalinoski. In addition, Bob McKillop was named Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year.
Eastern Washington Eagles
EWU posted a 26-9 record en route to winning a share of the Big Sky Conference regular season championship, the league’s postseason tournament championship, and earning a NCAA Tournament berth for the second time ever (2003-04)…head coach Jim Hayford, the Big Sky co-Coach of the Year, welcomes back five letterwinners and three 2014-15 redshirts, including senior forward Venky Jois, a first-team all-league honoree who averaged of 16.7 ppg and 7.7 rpg…forward Bogdan Bliznyuk was named the Big Sky’s Freshman of the Year for averaging 8.7 ppg and 4.0 rpg last season.
THE FOUNDATION: Head coach Jim Hayford took over an Eastern team four years ago that had been to the Big Sky Tournament just once in five seasons. With 66 victories overall and 39 league wins under Hayford, EWU experienced the best four-year stretch since 2000-04 when Eastern had 69 wins overall and 41 in the Big Sky.
CLASSROOM SUCCESS: For the second year in a row, EWU was honored with the NABC Team Academic Excellence Award. Eastern’s 3.27 team grade point average was the best in the Big Sky Conference in the 2014-15 season, and .20 better than the team’s 3.07 average of a year ago.
VENKY, VENKY GOOD: Venky Jois was named to the All-Big Sky Conference first team as a junior in 2014-15, and then was named to the Big Sky Conference All-Tournament team. He also has a 3.51 grade point average as an interdisciplinary studies major (biology/pre-med emphasis). He is a three-time member of the Big Sky All-Academic team and was a member of the NABC Honors Court as a junior.
Morehead State Eagles
The Eagles went 17-17 and advanced to the semifinals of the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament last season…senior guard Brent Arrington leads a group of six returning players from a year ago after averaging 11.1 ppg to go along with 77 assists and 65 steals…he’s joined in the back court by junior Corban Collins (8.8 ppg, 3.8 rpg)…head coach Sean Woods is in his fourth season at Morehead State…the 35 wins over his first two seasons are the most by any Eagles’ coach in history.
|Martin Jones II||12||G||6-1||171||So.|
NEW BLOOD: MSU welcomes eight new players this season, including two true freshmen (Malik Maitland, Lamontray Harris) and six junior college transfers (Ty’Quan Bitting, Keion Alexander, DeJuan Marrero, Xavier Moon, Treshaad Williams, Ronnye Beamon). Only six players return from last season’s 17-17 squad.
THE BEST: During head coach Sean Woods’ first three seasons at Morehead State, the Eagles won 52 games, which is the most for any coach in his first three seasons in MSU history. Wood came to Morehead State after a successful four-year run at Mississippi Valley State.
Western Carolina Catamounts
Head coach Larry Hunter, who has won 664 games in 35 seasons as a head coach, welcomes back 10 players, including four starters, from a team that went 15-17 a year ago in advancing to the semifinals of the Southern Conference Tournament…leading the way is senior guard Mike Brown, who was the Catamounts’ second leading scorer at 13.8 ppg and their leading rebounder at 6.3 rpg…also back is senior guard Rhett Harrelson, who averaged 11.8 ppg and handed out 73 assists.
HISTORICAL FIRSTS: Western Carolina’s Henry Logan – the program’s all-time leading scorer – helped break the color barrier in college basketball when he signed with WCU in 1964, becoming the first African-American collegiate athlete in the history of North Carolina and perhaps at any predominantly white institution in the southeastern United States. Logan scored an astounding 3,290 points – an average of 30.7 points per game – during his career and was a four-time NAIA All-America selection.
Western Carolina also gave birth to the first 3-point shot in NCAA history as former Catamount Ronnie Carr buried a 3-pointer in WCU’s 77-70 victory over Middle Tennessee State on Nov. 29, 1980.
STAYING HOME: All three Western Carolina assistant coaches call WCU their alma mater. Anquell McCollum played from 1993-96 and is a member of WCU’s 12-man, All-20th Century team. Brigham Waginger played from 2007-10 and shattered the school’s career record for steals by 64, finishing with 285 career thefts. Willie Freeman played for two seasons from 2000-02 and was a starter for the Catamounts from day one and later served as team captain after transferring from Spartanburg Methodist College.