Louisville Cardinals – Acting Head Coach: David Padgett (Atlantic Coast Conference) David Padgett, who has spent the last three seasons on the staff at Louisville, was named the Cardinals’ acting head coach on Sept. 29…he takes over a team that has two of the top three scorers returning, led senior Quentin Snider, who tallied 12.4 ppg and 115 assists, and junior Deng Adel, who posted 12.1 ppg and 4.5 rpg…they will be joined by five-star recruit, forward Malik Williams…Louisville has been to 42 NCAA Tournaments, including 10 Final Fours, and has won three national championships, the last coming in 2013.
Memphis Tigers – Head Coach: Tubby Smith (American Athletic Conference) Tubby Smith recently completed his first season at Memphis, leading the Tigers to 19 wins with a team that featured eight freshmen and sophomores…in a career that has spanned 26 years, Smith has won 576 games, which includes guiding Kentucky to the 1998 National Championship…junior guard Jeremiah Martin (10.3 ppg, 142 assists) and senior forward Jimario Rivers (6.4 ppg) headline the returning players…the roster will be bolstered with the debuts of Kareem Brewton and Kyvon Davenport, each of whom were named junior college first-team All-Americans last season…the Tigers have been to 26 NCAA Tournament and three Final Fours.
Albany Great Danes
Albany Great Danes – Head Coach: Will Brown (America East Conference) In 16 seasons at Albany, Will Brown has guided the Great Danes to 260 wins, five NCAA Tournaments, five America East titles, six straight postseason berths, and this past year’s 21-14 record, the third-straight 20-win season at Albany…nine players on this year’s roster return next season, including each of the Great Danes’ top five scorers, led by first-team All-America East Conference junior guard David Nichols (17.9 ppg, 111 assists) and second-team selection junior guard Joe Cremo (15.8 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 134 assists)…Albany has been to the NCAA Tournament five times.
Bryant Bulldogs – Head Coach: Tim O’Shea (Northeast Conference) Entering his 10th season, Tim O’Shea has been at the helm on the Bryant program since joining the Division I ranks in 2008…with a CBI berth under their belts, the Bulldogs are looking to take the next step and will do so with three starters and four of their top six scorers returning in 2017-18…leading the pack is sophomore Adam Grant, who garnered NEC All-Rookie acclaim for averaging 13.4 ppg this past season…also returning is senior swingman Bosko Kostur, who averaged 9.6 points and shot a team-best 41.8 percent from 3-point range…Bryant previously played in the 2013 Gotham Classic.
Siena Saints – Head Coach: Jimmy Patsos (Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference) Jimmy Patsos has been at Siena for four seasons and has led the Saints to 69 wins, including a pair of 20-win seasons, and the 2014 CBI championship…in 13 seasons as a head coach, he has 214 career victories, which includes this past year’s 17-17 mark which saw the Saints advance to the title game of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference championship…the Saints return eight players this coming season, seven of whom are letterwinners, including junior guard Nico Clareth, who netted 13.7 ppg last season, and sophomore guard Ashante Shivers (4.0 ppg)…the Saints have been to six NCAA Tournaments.
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.
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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.