■ Coach: Steve Donahue, second season.
■ Last season: 9-22, 4-12 (tied for last in ACC).
■ Starters: Ryan Anderson, 6-8, So. (11.2 ppg), Dennis Clifford, 7-0, So. (9.1), Lonnie Jackson, 6-3, So. (8.3), Olivier Hanlan, 6-4, Fr., Joe Rahon, 6-2, Fr.
■ Key reserves: Patrick Heckmann, 6-5, So. (8.3), Danny Rubin, 6-6, Jr. (1.1).
■ Outlook: This group will be good, maybe even by the end of this season, but there won’t be tournament talk until next season. This will be a season about building for the future. The early schedule isn’t daunting, except for a trip to a tournament in Charleston, S.C., so there are a lot of potential W’s. The ACC will be another matter. The young Eagles still aren’t ready to go toe-to-toe with North Carolina, North Carolina State, and Duke. Next season? Maybe. This season’s success will depend on how quickly Hanlan, the Canadian point guard, develops. The coaching staff is excited about him. Clifford and Anderson need to be consistent.
■ Conference: Neither North Carolina nor Duke is favored to win the ACC. N.C. State is the preseason favorite and the Wolfpack are a veteran team that will get an infusion of some highly regarded newcomers. North Carolina has only one returning starter but that doesn’t matter, the Tar Heels will still be formidable, led by James Michael McAdoo. Duke lost Austin Rivers but has plenty of experienced talent, albeit no real star. Miami, Florida, State, Maryland, and Virginia are NCAA Tournament teams.
■ Coach: Joe Jones, second season.
■ Last year: 16-16, 12-4 (third, America East).
■ Starters: D.J. Irving, 6-0, Jr. (11.4 ppg), Dom Morris, 6-7, Jr. (6.8), Travis Robinson, 6-5, So. (5.3), Maurice Watson, 5-10, Fr.; Malik Thomas, 6-7, So. (4.8).
■ Key reserves: Zach Chionuma, 6-5, So. (2.0); Nathan Dieudonne, 6-7, Fr.
■ Outlook: The Terriers play their last season in America East before leaving for the Patriot League and they are not eligible for the league tournament. An NCAA at-large bid is far-fetched so the Terriers will be playing to win the regular-season title and they could do it. Irving is a quick slasher who also leads the team in assists. Morris, a low-post player, will need to up his output. Watson is the son of a coach with a high basketball IQ and should be a key player from the get-go.
■ League: The America East doesn’t have a lot of star players returning so the league is wide open. Vermont has a veteran team but no real star since leading scorer Four McGlynn transferred. Coach John Becker will try to win the league with numbers, balance, and defense. Stony Brook has established itself as a perennial contender. Maybe this will be the year New Hampshire or Maine breaks through. There’s certainly a chance.
■ Coach: Tommy Amaker, sixth season, 92-56.
■ Last year: 26-5, 12-2 (first, Ivy League).
■ Starters: Laurent Rivard, 6-5, Jr. (10.1), Steve Moundou-Missi, 6-7, So. (4.9), Wesley Saunders, 6-5, So. (3.3), Kenyatta Smith, 6-8, So. (0.4), Siyani Chambers, 6-0, Fr.
■ Key reserves: Christian Webster, 6-5, Sr. (4.5), Jonah Travis, 6-6, So. (2.4).
■ Outlook: The Crimson’s two best players are not in school. Kyle Casey and Brandyn Curry were accused in a widespread academic cheating scandal. They could return next season, which means the Crimson would be loaded. Amaker will be searching for a winning combination this season. Webster could be in the starting lineup and no doubt there will be other changes early-on. The schedule is tough, so there will be some frustrating nights. It’s possible, however, that Amaker could develop this group into a contender by January.
■ Conference: Princeton is a clear favorite, led by preseason player of the year Ian Hummer, a 6-7 forward with an all-around game. The Tigers should win comfortably. The reason Amaker may still have a chance is that no other team looks overwhelming. Columbia returns five starters from a 15-15 squad. Penn finished only one game behind Harvard last season but lost two key starters.
■ Coach: Milan Brown, third season, 23-35.
■ Last season: 15-14, 9-5 (fourth in Patriot).
■ Starters: Dave Dudzinski, 6-9, Jr. (9.4), Justin Burrell, 5-9, So. (7.4), Phil Beans, 6-9, Sr. (6.3), Malcolm Miller, 6-6, So. (2.4), G Jordan Stevens, 6-5, Sr. (5.1).
■ Key reserves: Eric Obeysekere, 6-8, Sr. (3.4), Cullen Hamilton, 6-3, Fr.
■ Outlook: The Crusaders lost their two leading scorers and will be hard-pressed on offense. The strength of the team is up front with Dudzinski, Beans, and Obeysekere. Burrell was the Patriot League’s rookie of the year. He’s got to take charge and get the ball to the big guys. Brown has stated he wants him to score more. Continued...