William and Mary
COACH: Tony Shaver (10th season at W&M, 103-172; 27th season, 461-293).
OPENER: Nov. 9 vs. Hampton.
5 GAMES TO WATCH: Dec. 1 vs. ODU; Dec. 29 at Purdue; Jan. 5 vs. George Mason; Jan. 19 vs. Drexel; March 2 vs. JMU.
STRENGTH: Perimeter versatility. Gifted all-rookie pick Marcus Thornton improved significantly. Brandon Britt has looked sharp in preseason. Julian Boatner shook a sophomore slump. Kyle Gaillard will play a lot of power forward, but is skilled enough to play the wing. Matt Rum is a "glue" guy. Athletic freshman Terry Tarpey will contribute.
WEAKNESS: Consistent inside muscle. Junior forward Tim Rusthoven has bulked up a bit and is poised for a good season, but he's still giving away some size to most of the CAA's post players. Fred Heldring and Andrew Pavloff have been bit players throughout their careers. The Tribe's outside-in scheme helps compensate for inside shortcomings.
PREDICTION: The Tribe will be better than last season's 6-26 team, whose promising season was scuttled by injuries from day one. The guards can compete. Gaillard's return is big, and Rusthoven is capable of averaging a double-double.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun