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DIVISION I MEN PREVIEWS

The Baltimore Sun

Coppin State

Coach: Fang Mitchell, 23rd season

at Coppin State, 358-302

2007-08 record: 16-21 (7-9 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference)

Arena: Coppin Center (1,720)

Consensus MEAC favorite: Morgan State

Consensus Coppin State prediction: Sixth

Starters lost: Four

Outlook: The Eagles will defend their conference tournament title by building around MEAC Preseason Player of the Year Tywain McKee (16.6 ppg) but are in a rebuilding phase. They will have to rely on 6-foot-9 transfer Rigoberto Sargeant (Canisius) and inexperienced guards to repeat the feat of winning the league after starting last season with a 4-19 record, including 0-8 in the MEAC. The usual sledgehammer preseason schedule has them going to defending national champion Kansas, Purdue, Richmond, Dayton, Wisconsin, Syracuse, Oklahoma and Missouri. But, as everyone learned again in March, you can never count out a team coached by Mitchell. Michael Harper, Lenny Young and Jordan Lee will have to progress quickly in the backcourt.

Loyola

Coach: Jimmy Patsos, fifth season at Loyola, 58-62

2007-08 record: 19-14 (12-6 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference)

Arena: Reitz Arena (2,100)

Consensus MAAC favorite: Siena

Consensus Loyola prediction: Fifth

Starters lost: Three

Outlook: In the past three seasons, Patsos has a 52-40 record and the Greyhounds have become a respected factor in the MAAC. They should be competitive again despite the loss of the entire front line; youth prevails there now in Providence transfer Jamal Barney, Isaac Reid and Jamaar Wright. Guard play should dominate this squad with the return of starters Brett Harvey and Brian Rudolph and super sub Marquis Sullivan, the school's all-time leading three-point shooter and returning MAAC Sixth Man of the Year. Freshman Anthony Wimbush, 6-7, could help considerably up front. With 24 league wins the past two seasons, Loyola's goal is to finish in the top six and avoid the opening-round game at the conference tournament.

Morgan State

Coach: Todd Bozeman, third season at Morgan, 35-29

2007-08 record: 22-11 (14-2 MEAC)

Arena: Hill Field House (4,500)

Consensus MEAC favorite: Morgan State

Consensus Morgan prediction: First

Starters lost: Three

Outlook: It hasn't taken Bozeman long to turn around a floundering program that came within a basket of sweeping the regular-season and tournament titles in the league. Morgan hit numerous high standards, going 12-0 at home, playing in the National Invitation Tournament and producing the Coach of the Year and Player of the Year (Jamar Smith). To take that final step and reach the NCAA tournament, the Bears will be led by juniors and Marylanders (10 of 15 players are from the state). Foremost among the returning players are F Marquis Kately (13.1 ppg, 5.9 rpg) and sharpshooting G Reggie Holmes (12.9 ppg, 62 three-pointers), and Bozeman has recruited well, particularly in the Baltimore-Washington area. Morgan should be right there again.

Mount St. Mary's

Coach: Milan Brown, sixth season at Mount St. Mary's, 60-91

2007-08 record: 19-15 (11-7 Northeast Conference)

Arena: Knott Arena (3,121)

Consensus NEC favorite: Mount St. Mary's

Consensus Mount prediction: First

Starters lost: One

Outlook: The cupboard is overflowing in Emmitsburg with only G Chris Vann missing from a team that beat Coppin in the NCAA play-in game, then lost to national runner-up North Carolina in the Tar Heels' territory. Quick PG Jeremy Goode (14.5 ppg, 5.5 apg) leads a deep returning cast that has two 6-7 players, Markus Mitchell and Sam Atupem, on the front line. The only question about the lineup is whether Jean Cajou or Kelly Beidler will start in the fifth spot. The top defensive team in the conference last season, the Mount will depend on pushing the ball up the court and its good-sized front line to rebound in the Northeast, which is traditionally dominated by guard play.

Navy

Coach: Billy Lange, fifth season at Navy (50-66)

2007-08 record: 16-14 (9-5 Patriot League)

Arena: Alumni Hall (5,310)

Consensus Patriot favorite: American

Consensus Navy prediction: Sixth

Starters lost: One

Outlook: The only missing face from the Midshipmen will be Patriot League Player of the Year Greg Sprink (21.8 ppg, 6.3 rpg), but the prognosticators are expecting a fall by a team that challenged for the league crown. Lange got his first winning season, but two tough losses (at Colgate in the regular-season finale and a three-overtime crusher to Bucknell in the tournament) prevented a higher climb. Guards Kaleo Kina (14 ppg, 4.1 rpg) and Chris Harris (14.5 ppg, school record 91 three-pointers) are back to lead the way. There is plenty of experience to go around and height up front in 6-11 Mark Veacey and 6-8 Adam Teague. Navy's biggest asset could be its versatility among interchangeable parts.

Towson

Coach: Pat Kennedy, fifth season at Towson (45-75)

2007-08 record: 13-18 (7-11 Colonial Athletic Association)

Arena: Towson Center (5,000)

Consensus CAA favorite: Virginia Commonwealth

Consensus Towson prediction: 10th

Starters lost: Two

Outlook: Unfortunately for the Tigers, gaining ground in the tough CAA isn't easy, and they have flattened out after jumping from two league wins to eight in Kennedy's second season. Four newcomers figure to be in the starting lineup for a team that went 0-9 on the road in the league. F Junior Hairston (12.1 ppg, 8.9 rpg) is the lone true regular back, although the team could get defensive whiz Tommy Breaux at some point if his appeal to the NCAA for a redshirt season is approved. Two transfers from Richmond, Brian Morris and David Brewster, and one from Colorado State, Jarrel Smith, loom large in the plans, and returner Rocky Coleman and freshman Troy Franklin will receive plenty of playing time.

UMBC

Coach: Randy Monroe, fifth season at UMBC (57-66)

2007-08 record: 24-9 (13-3 America East)

Arena: RAC Arena (3,824)

Consensus America East favorite: Boston University

Consensus UMBC prediction: Fourth

Starters lost: One

Outlook: It's a tough act to follow for the Retrievers, who won their first conference championship in Division I and gave Georgetown a decent run in the NCAA tournament. They will miss starter Ray Barbosa and important bench players Brian Hodges and Cavell Johnson but have two notable building blocks returning. All-league G Jay Greene is back to be the field general, and all-league F Darryl Proctor (15.1 ppg, 8.4 rpg) has always played bigger than his 6-4 frame. With Greene, UMBC will again take care of the ball, and with Proctor, it will have presence around the basket. Also back is Matt Spadafora, who improved significantly. The Retrievers won 12 of their last 13 regular-season games and should be a contender again.

UMES

Coach: Frankie Allen, first season at UMES

2007-08 record: 4-28 (2-14 MEAC)

Arena: Hytche Athletic Center (5,500)

Consensus MEAC favorite: Morgan State

Consensus UMES prediction: 11th

Starters lost: Three

Outlook: Again, the Hawks are picked to be the conference doormat after undergoing another coaching change. But it shouldn't be long before the veteran Allen, who has coached at Virginia Tech and Howard among other stops, improves them. Only four players return to the roster, and none of them is Ed Tyson, who led the MEAC in scoring at 20.2 ppg. Allen is basically starting from scratch with his own recruits for a school that has had two winning seasons since 1980. He'll begin with regulars Alex Popovich and Gary Lee and the other two returning players, Marc Davis and Josh Bright. With six freshmen, UMES will be young but athletic, so it could be a team that improves by tournament time.

DIVISION II MEN

Bowie State

Coach: Luke D'Alessio, 10th season (184-83)

2007-08 record: 21-8 (13-5 Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association)

Top players: F Curtis Massey, F Duke Crews, C Cassin Diggs

Skinny: All five Bulldogs starters have departed, but, as usual, D'Alessio has recruited talented replacements, headed by 6-foot-10 Diggs (transfer from Pittsburgh) and 6-7 Crews (transfer from Tennessee), and has national tournament aspirations.

DIVISION III MEN

Frostburg State

Coach: Webb Hatch, 10th season (112-129)

2007-08 record: 9-16 (8-10 Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference)

Top players: F Juan Wansley, G Brian Anderson, G Blake Walker

Skinny: More size and more youth mark the Bobcats, who lost their top two scorers and their sixth man but retain 10 players for a far-flung league demanding road warriors.

Goucher

Coach: Leonard Trevino, 19th season (235-231)

2007-08 record: 6-19 (4-10 Landmark Conference)

Top players: G Darrin Boswell, F Marcus Cotton

Skinny: The Gophers figure to be athletic but will have to rely on pressure defense to compensate for a lack of height and hope for better luck after losing four straight overtime games, a division record.

Hood

Coach: Tom Dickman, sixth season (75-54)

2007-08 record: 15-11 (9-7 Capital Athletic Conference)

Top players: G Ryan Junghans, G Tim Abercrombie, G Anthony Bennett

Skinny: Without 6-foot-8 Jesse Gutekunst, the focus shifts outside for the Blazers with three guards who combined for nearly 40 points a game and a dependence on team speed.

Johns Hopkins

Coach: Bill Nelson, 29th season (473-262)

2007-08 record: 16-10 (12-6 Centennial Conference)

Top players: G Collin Kamm, G Scott Weisenfeld, G Pat O'Connell (Loyola)

Skinny: The Blue Jays finished on a high note last season (winning 10 of 14) and should continue the trend on the savvy and ballhandling of their backcourt and another good effort from post man Andrew Farber-Miller.

McDaniel

Coach: Kevin Curley, second season (15-11)

2007-08 record: 15-11 (10-8 Centennial)

Top players: G Ryan Finch, G Kevin Henry, F Chad Arrington

Skinny: McDaniel had its best record since 1985 under Curley and seeks to build on that success with solid guards and the return inside of Josh McKay, who sat out last season with an injury.

St. Mary's

Coach: Chris Harney, fourth season (44-35)

2007-08 record 19-12 (9-7 CAC)

Top players: G Alex Franz (Cardinal Gibbons), F Calvin Wise (Calvert Hall), C Alex Irmer

Skinny: A national tournament team that reached the division's Sweet 16, St. Mary's appears stacked to make another such run, thanks to Harney's vigorous recruiting of the Baltimore area.

Salisbury

Coach: Steve Holmes, ninth season (73-108)

2007-08 record: 7-20 (4-12 CAC)

Top players: G Greg Palmer, G-F Brandon Abney, G-F Sean Whittaker

Skinny: With size coming in, the Sea Gulls should improve, and they will have their first deaf player, G Luther Weedan, a transfer from Gallaudet.

Stevenson

Coach: Brett Adams, 15th season (124-234)

2007-08 record: 7-19 (5-11 CAC)

Top players: G Greg Woody, G Chaise Lancaster

Skinny: After an off season following two straight 20-win campaigns and a name change from Villa Julie, the Mustangs could bounce back with the aid of two big men who were redshirted.

Washington College

Coach: Rob Nugent, eighth season (62-114)

2007-08 record: 5-20 (2-16 Centennial)

Top players: G Tim Kohlrus, G Todd Green, G Andrew Chambers

Skinny: All five regulars and 10 players overall return for the Shoremen, who are consistently giving away height and must improve their shooting to advance in their conference.

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