There are still plenty of miles left for the Greyhounds to travel in coach Jimmy Patsos' ninth season.

The journey begins again later this week, when Loyola opens the 2012-2013 season at home against Binghamton on Friday night. The Greyhounds have much of last year's team returning, but will have to fill the void left by those who are gone — and one who is there.

With Etherly (13.7 points, 7.5 rebounds), Cormier (13.4 points) and senior shooting guard Bobby Olson (11.1 points) at the core, Loyola will now have to figure out who will be its supporting cast.

Sophomore guard R.J. Williams (29 starts, 4.0 points) was supposed to emerge — and he still should — but the former St. Frances standout has been suspended until mid-January for a violation of team rules.

Cormier (Cardinal Gibbons), who went from being the team's defacto captain as a freshman to a selected captain as a sophomore, will likely run the point until Williams returns.

Freshmen swingmen Jarred Jones (two-time All-Metro selection at John Carroll) and Eric Laster (Delaware state player of the year) will likely play the role that Drummond seemed to thrive in last season before leaving Loyola and the MAAC for Toledo and the MAC.

Junior Jordan Latham (City), who transferred from Xavier two years ago, will likely pick up some of graduated post player Shane Walker's minutes, as will senior forward Julius Brooks and freshman Franz Rassman.

In many ways, this could be two different seasons — the one before Williams returns and the one after he returns from his suspension. Depending on how the Greyhounds do after they get their point guard back, another NCAA tournament appearance might hang in the balance.

-- Don Markus

Morgan State

For two seasons Morgan State has been looking to get back to the NCAA tournament. This year, the Bears will have their best chance to do so.

"I feel pretty good about it. … We have good size and athleticism," said coach Todd Bozeman, who enters his seventh year at Morgan. "I do like the group."

No one will be able to say the team isn't well rested entering the 2012 season. In the offseason the Bears spent six days in August in Nassau, Bahamas, playing three games against foreign competition, relaxing, sightseeing and snorkeling.

MSU kicks off the season at the Old Dominion Tournament with an opening-round game against Texas-San Antonio on Nov. 9. Highlights of the 2012-13 schedule include matchups against South Carolina on Nov. 16 and Virginia on Dec. 19.

While the Bears lost five players from last season, they return last year's leading scorer in senior DeWayne Jackson, a 6-foot-8 forward who posted 12.4 points per game and 3.1 rebounds. Jackson was unanimously voted a Preseason All-MEAC first teamer.

Jackson adds to what Bozeman says is the Bears' greatest strength: their length. They also return a pair of 6-9 players in sophomore Shaquille Duncan and junior Thair Heath. Redshirt junior Ian Chiles, a 7-2 center who averaged 9.4 points as a sophomore and earned Preseason All-MEAC second-team honors, rounds out the group.

Morgan State adds three freshmen to the mix in guards Donte Pretlow (Dunbar) and Rasean Simpson and forward Cedric Blossom, a Columbia native.

"We wanted to get guys that come from winning programs and understand winning. They understand sacrifice and patience to wait for your turn," Bozeman said.

After last season's 9-20 finish, the Bears were picked to finish third in the preseason MEAC poll behind Savannah State and Delaware State. But Bozeman and company have more in mind than a third-place finish. They want to return to March Madness.

"That's the beauty of it," Bozeman said. "Everyone starts off with the same goal."