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There are only five schools that have been men’s basketball playing members of Division I in the NCAA since 1948 and yet failed to place a single team in the NCAA Tournament. Northwestern is the most well known of this group, but the Wildcats are joined on the list by The Citadel, Army, St. Francis (Brooklyn) and William & Mary. William & Mary has come close to removing its name from the list in recent years, including losses in the CAA championship game in both 2010 and last season. Last season, the Tribe also captured a share of the league regular season title for the first time since 1983, but only got an NIT bid out of it. This season, they will try to take things one step further and make it to the Big Dance.
William & Mary’s path to the Big Dance will not be easy as they will need to make up for the loss of Marcus Thornton to the NBA and get by quite a few teams standing in their way. This group includes Northeastern, which won the automatic bid last season and played in the NCAA tournament as a 14 seed, falling in a hard-fought Round of 64 game to Notre Dame. James Madison, which appeared in the CIT last season and Hoftsra, which was in the CBI, should also be among the contenders in a deep league, along with both Drexel and Delaware. UNC Wilmington, which tied William & Mary, Northeastern and James Madison for the regular season title last season and advanced to the CIT, looks like it may fall off the pace a bit this year.
Predicted Order of Finish
1. James Madison – The Dukes welcome pretty much everyone back from last year’s co-champions, including Ron Curry in the backcourt and Yohanny Dalembert down low. The team also brings in some talented JC transfers, led by wingman Shakir Brown who averaged a double-double in junior college last season.
2. Northeastern – The Huskies will have a great chance to defend their regular season co-championship and tournament title due to the return of four starters including guard David Walker. However, they will need to rely on newcomers to make up for the loss of their top scorer from last season, Scott Eatherton. Help there could come from freshman power forward Jeremy Miller.
3. William & Mary – Even with Marcus Thornton now playing in the NBA, the Tribe appear to have enough pieces to challenge for the league title again. They will be led by Omar Prewitt, Terry Tarpey and Daniel Dixon, all of whom averaged double digits in scoring last season.
4. Hofstra – Yet another team with four or more starters returning, the Pride have solid depth in the backcourt led by Juan’ya Green and Brian Bernardi, plus wingman Ameen Tanksley. The biggest problem for Hofstra will be a lack of proven bigs down low.
5. Delaware – The Fightin’ Blue Hens return 7 of their top 8 players from last season’s squad. They are led by Kory Holden and Cazmon Hayes in the backcourt and by Marvin King-Davis and Maurice Jeffers down low. Despite having lost 20 games last season, this team appears ready to make a run at the top of the league standings.
6. Drexel – The Dragons return the vast majority of their pieces from last season, but the one key loss is a huge one as Damion Lee decided to take his 21.4 points per game to Louisville. The good news is that Major Canady will be healthy after missing last season with an injury. The experience and depth on the roster alone should make Bruiser Flint’s squad a factor in the league race all season long.
7. UNC Wilmington – The Seahawks lost three starters from last season’s team and will need backcourt mates Craig Ponder and Jordon Talley to step up this year. The team will also need 7 footer C.J. Gettys to develop into a consistent force down low if they want any chance of contending again.
8. Towson – As with most teams in the CAA this season, the Tigers return four starters. The one player not back is leading scorer Four McGlynn, who elected to transfer to Rhode Island. Pat Skerry’s team will have experience this year but everyone above them will as well, and the talent level may not be here to keep pace with the rest of the league.
9. Elon – The good news is that Luke Eddy is back and healthy for the Phoenix. The bad news is that CAA Freshman of the Year Elijah Bryant elected to transfer. His loss may be too much to overcome and this could be a long season.
10. College of Charleston – Earl Grant is entering his second season of trying to clean up the mess left behind in the wake of Doug Wojcik’s dismissal. The experience gained last year by guards Canyon Barry and Joe Chealey will help make things a little better this season for a team that lost 24 games, but probably not too much better.