Predicted order of finish with last season’s records
Temple (29-6, 14-2): The Owls have won three straight tournament championships and return all-league forward Lavoy Allen, a skilled offensive player who averaged 11.5 ppg and 10.7 rpg. Argentine guard Juan Fernandez (12.6 ppg, 3.5 apg) has a chance to be a big star. Improvement can be expected from guard Ramone Moore (7.6 ppg).
Dayton (25-12, 8-8): The Flyers won the NIT but it was a disappointing season. Anything short of an NCAA bid would be more disappointment. Chris Wright, a 6-8 forward, is the best player in the league and can improve his numbers (13.7 ppg, 7.3 rpg). He’s complemented by 6-6 Chris Johnson (11.9, 6.9).
Xavier (26-9, 14-2): Xavier lost some key players but the Muskies have the basis of an outstanding backcourt with junior Tu Holloway (12.1 ppg, 3.9 apg) and senior Dante’ Jackson, who will improve on his 6.5 scoring average. Seven-footer Kenny Frease has a chance to be really good.
Richmond (26-9, 13-3): The Spiders won the most games in school history and the bulk of the team returns, most notably league player of the year Kevin Anderson, a 6-0 guard (17.8 ppg, 2.6 apg). Complementing him on the inside is 6-10 senior center Justin Harper (10.6 ppg, 5.4 rpg).
Charlotte (19-12, 9-7): Former Ohio State assistant Alan Major takes over a dangerous team with four starters returning, including former BC player Samari Spears, a burly 6-6 forward who led the 49ers with 16 points per game. He’ll be tough up front along with 6-9 center Chris Braswell (9.5 ppg, 8.6 rpg). Guard Derrio Green (13.1 ppg) could be a big factor if he can improve his outside shot.
Duquesne (16-16, 7-9): Former Northeastern coach Ron Everhart has made Duquesne consistently respectable but this season could produce more with all-league forward Damian Sanders (15.0 ppg, 11.3 rpg) returning along with three other double-figure scorers, most notably guard Bill Clark (14.1 ppg).
Rhode Island (26-10, 9-7): The Rams are annually underestimated, have some early success, but can’t close the deal. Expect a fast tempo, led by 6-8 forward Delroy James (13.2 ppg), attacking the hoop (they shot over 100 more free throws than opponents). Guard Akeem Richmond (8.7 ppg) could make a big step forward.
Saint Louis (23-13, 11-5): This was supposed to be a big season for the Billikens, but then senior point guard Kwamain Mitchell and junior center Willie Reed were suspended after an accusation of sexual assault on campus. Mitchell should return for the second semester, which means the Billikens could be a factor in conference play.
LaSalle (12-18, 4-12): Injuries ruined last season, so the Explorers have a chance to improve behind sophomore center Aaric Murray and 6-6 guard Ruben Guillandeaux, who was one of the casualties. Rutgers transfer Earl Pettis could make a difference, too.
UMass (12-20, 5-11): The Minutemen were young last year and will be again. How much they improve, especially 6-7 sophomore forward Terrell Vinson (9.6 ppg, 5.4 rpg) and senior guard Anthony Gurley (13.6 ppg), will be the key. Freshman guard Daryl Traynham could be a factor.
George Washington (16-15, 6-10): The Colonials will rise or fall behind two guards, 6-5 sophomore Lasan Kromah (11.8 ppg) and 6-1 junior Tony Taylor (9.4 ppg, 4.2 apg). Inside play could be a problem unless 6-11 senior center Joseph Katuka improves dramatically.
Saint Bonaventure (15-16, 7-9): The Bonnies are no longer horrible, as coach Mark Schmidt has shaped things up. He relies a lot on all-league forward Andrew Nicholson, a 6-9 Canadian who averages 16.4 ppg and 7.1 rpg — plus he’s a shot-blocking threat. Overall, the Bonnies still need more around him.
Saint Joseph’s (11-20, 5-11): Coach Phil Martelli has reworked his roster, with four players transferring out. The Hawks will have to rely on freshmen. The two who may have the most impact are 6-9 forward C.J. Aikens and 6-2 guard Langston Galloway.
Fordham (2-26, 0-16): Tom Pecora comes over from Hofstra as the latest coach to try to make Fordham at least respectable. It won’t happen this year. His only player of import is sophomore forward Chris Gaston (18.0 ppg, 11.4 rpg).