The 2019-20 men’s NCAA basketball season kicks off this week. Here’s an overview of four prominent Boston-based teams.
It’s been 10 years since Boston College last made the NCAA Tournament, and in that span, the team has only finished with a winning season twice. Jim Christian is now in his fourth season coaching the Eagles, and while it’s been a decade since they’ve made a tournament appearance, that didn’t stop Christian from predicting big things for them this season.
“Stop thinking about this, stop thinking about that. Stop thinking about trying to get to the tournament. We need to try to get to the Final Four,” Christian said at the Eagles’ media day. “There are 15 teams. Why are we different? We need to come out here and try to get to the Final Four like everybody else.”
While Christian has high hopes for the season, experts seem to have different expectations for the Eagles. ESPN’s consensus ACC predictions had Boston College finishing in last place. Things don’t get much better with other expert predictions: CBS Sports’ Matt Norlander and NBC Sports’ Rob Dauster are predicting a 13th-place finish for the Eagles.
Nik Popovic, F, senior:
Last season: 14.5 PPG, 7.2 RPG, 1.1 APG
Derryck Thornton, G, graduate senior (transfer from USC)
Last season (USC): 7.7 PPG, 2.8 RPG, 4.3 APG
Jared Hamilton, G, senior
Last season: 6 PPG, 2.1 RPG, .5 APG
Jarius Hamilton, G, sophomore
Last season: 5.6 PPG, 4 RPG, .8 APG
Ky Bowman, G, declared for the NBA Draft
Last season: 19 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 4 APG
Jordan Chatham, G, graduated
Last season: 13.2 PPG, 2.2 RPG, 2 APG
Wynston Tabbs, G, season-ending knee injury
Last season: 13.9 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 2.7 APG
The Terriers are coming off a disappointing 2018-19 campaign that saw them go 15-16 and finish seventh in the Patriot League. Head coach Joe Jones is in his ninth season with the Terriers and has yet to make an NCAA Tournament appearance. Jones has kept the team consistent, winning at least 15 games every season except one since he took over the program. However, they’ve also only won more than 20 games once since Jones has been with the program.
The Patriot League preseason poll has the Terriers finishing in a similar position this season, slating them for a slightly improved fifth-place finish. The Terriers return All-Patriot League Second Team member Max Mahoney, along with a core of younger role players, giving the team a shot at being competitive in the Patriot League this season.
Max Mahoney, F, senior
Last season: 16.5 PPG, 6.6 RPG, 1.7 APG
Javante McCoy, G, junior
Last season: 12.1 PPG, 3.1 RPG, 2.3 APG
Alex Vilarino, G, sophomore
Last season: 6.8 PPG, 2.1 RPG, 1.9 APG
Jonas Harper, G, sophomore
Last season: 5.2 PPG, 1.4 RPG, .5 APG
Tyler Scanlon, F, transferred to Belmont
Last season: 13.8 PPG, 5 RPG, 3.3 APG
Jordan Guest, F, transferred out of the program
Last season: 5.2 PPG, 5.3 RPG, .5 APG
Harvard finished last season tied for the Ivy League regular-season title with rivals Yale. The Bulldogs would prove victorious in the Ivy League Conference tournament, giving Yale a spot in the NCAA Tournament and sending Harvard to the NIT. The Crimson got a six-seed and ultimately lost to North Carolina State in the second round of the tournament.
The expectations are high in Cambridge with Harvard being tabbed as the preseason favorites to win the Ivy League, receiving 15 of the 17 first-place votes. It’s easy to see why, as Harvard returned practically every player who played significant minutes for them last season, with their top nine scorers all returning for the 2019-20 season.
Bryce Aiken, G, senior
Last season: 22.2 PPG, 2.9 RPG, 2.6 APG
Noah Kirkwood, G, sophomore
Last season: 11.1 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 1.9 APG
Chris Lewis, F, senior
Last season: 10.4 PPG, 5.1 RPG, .9 APG
Justin Bassey, G, senior
Last season: 9 PPG, 6.6 RPG, 1.9 APG
Christian Juzang, G, senior
Last season: 8 PPG, 2.8 RPG, 2.4 APG
Northeastern is coming off one of the best seasons in program history, with the Huskies winning the Colonial Athletic Association(CAA) tournament to clinch a bid as a 13-seed in the NCAA Tournament. While the Huskies fell to the Kansas Jayhawks 87-53, it still marked as one of the best finishes for the program ever.
This season, the CAA is as open as ever, with five teams receiving first-place votes in the CAA’s preseason poll. Northeastern is one of those five teams, receiving four first-place votes and being predicted to finish third in the conference. However, with the departure of four of the Huskies’ top six scorers, Northeastern has work to do to win back-to-back CAA titles.
Jordan Roland, G, RS senior
Last season: 14.6 PPG, 2.4 RPG, 1.7 APG
Bolden Brace, G, senior
Last season: 9.9 PPG, 6.1 RPG, 2.7 APG
Tomas Murphy, F, junior
Last season: 8.1 PPG, 3.4 RPG, .9 APG
Vasa Pusica, G, graduated
Last season: 17.4 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 4.1 APG
Shawn Occeus, G, Left to pursue pro career (drafted in the NBA G-league draft)
Last season: 9.9 PPG, 2.7 RPG, 1.9 APG
Donnell Greshman Jr., G, Transferred to University of Georgia
Last season: 9.7 PPG, 4.9 RPG, 3.1 APG
Anthony Green, C, graduated
Last season: 8.8 PPG, 5.3 RPG, .4 APG