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What to expect from Baltimore area men's basketball teams

What to expect from Baltimore area men's basketball teams
Towson's Mike Morsell (23) takes the ball up the court to the as he's guarded by Northeastern's David Walker in the first half. (Algerina Perna / Baltimore Sun)

Morgan State

Coach: Todd Bozeman (11th season, 159-162)

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2015-16 record: 9-22, 6-10 (t-ninth in Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference)

Tournament result: Lost to No. 1 seed Hampton, 83-81, in MEAC quarterfinals

Preseason poll: Ninth in MEAC

Key nonconference games: at Houston (Nov. 11), vs. Towson (Nov. 15), at Rutgers (Dec. 3), at Penn State (Dec. 21)

Player to watch: Stanley Davis. The 6-foot-4 freshman guard from STEM Academy in Chester, Pa., helped lead the Clippers to a 24-8 record and league championship as a senior. He received interest from Temple, Manhattan and Hampton. "I think he's going to be really good," Bozeman said. "He has great leadership capabilities. Stanley's going to be a major contributor for us. He has a lot of energy, he plays with a strong motor and he can get to the basket."

Skinny: How will the Bears replace leading scorers Cedric Blossom and Rasean Simpson? Blossom, a third-team All-MEAC selection at forward last season, led Morgan State with 15 points per game, while Simpson, drafted by the NBA Development League's Santa Cruz Warriors, affiliate of the Golden State Warriors, averaged 12.2. The duo also combined to average more than 13 rebounds per game. Tasked with replacing Blossom's production in the frontcourt will be junior forward Phillip Carr, the Bears' lone returning starter and a preseason second-team All-MEAC selection. Carr, who averaged 10.5 points and 6.9 rebounds last season, models his game after Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Durant. He has the ability to score inside and on the perimeter, shooting 33.7 percent from beyond the arc last season. He can also protect the rim, leading the team with 35 blocks in 2015-16.

Coppin State

Coach: Michael Grant (Third season, 17-45)

2015-16 record: 9-22, 6-10 (t-ninth in MEAC)

Tournament result: Lost to No. 3 seed South Carolina State, 90-80, in MEAC quarterfinals

Preseason poll: 10th in MEAC

Key nonconference games: at Hofstra (Nov. 11), at Valparaiso (Nov. 14), at Brigham Young (Nov. 17), at Utah (Nov. 18), at Georgetown (Nov. 30), at Clemson (Dec. 4), at Mount St. Mary's (Dec. 22)

Player to watch: Terry Harris Jr. The 6-8 senior forward, a Kenwood graduate, was named to the preseason All-MEAC third team after a junior season when he averaged 12.4 points and 7.2 rebounds , fifth best in the conference. Harris, who tied a team season high with 27 points in an overtime loss to San Francisco last season, finished with eight double-doubles and a team-leading 25 blocks.

Skinny: Who will replace Christian Kessee? Kessee, the Eagles' scoring leader who will play at Memphis this season as a graduate transfer, averaged 14.6 points and shot 39.5 percent from beyond the arc. He was one of three double-digit scorers lost, alongside Trevon Seymore (10.2) and James Sylvester (10). Harris and senior guard-forward Joshua Treadwell figure to pick up the slack, along with senior guard Joseph Gripper, a transfer from Highland Community College in Illinois. Gripper averaged six points, 2.7 assists and 1.4 rebounds while shooting 45 percent from the field and 36.4 percent from 3-point range for the Cougars in 2013-14. Treadwell shot a team-high 44.1 percent from the field and was second on the team in 3-point field goals made (39) for a Coppin State team that liked to fire from deep. The Eagles finished third in the MEAC in 3-pointers made, and have made a 3-pointer in 190 consecutive games, the longest streak in the NCAA.

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UMES

Coach: Bobby Collins (Third season, 28-37)

2015-16 record: 10-22, 7-9 (t-sixth in MEAC)

Tournament finish: Lost to No. 9 seed Morgan State, 65-58, in MEAC first round

Preseason poll: Eighth in MEAC

Key nonconference games: at George Washington (Nov. 11), vs. UMBC (Nov. 13), at Boston College (Nov. 15), at Wichita State (Nov. 20), at Virginia Tech (Dec. 7), at Michigan (Dec. 17), at UTEP (Dec. 21)

Player to watch: Bakari Copeland. The 6-6 senior forward, a preseason second-team All-MEAC selection, averaged 10.5 points and 4.6 rebounds last season, scoring in double digits in 16 of the last 21 games. Copeland took advantage of a change to the NBA draft process and declared early at the end of the season to participate in predraft workouts, but later announced he would return for his senior year.

Skinny: Will the Hawks be able to replace a pair of All-MEAC players? Gone are Dominique Elliott (14.8 points per game) and Devin Martin (16.8), senior leaders that carried the scoring load for UMES. Sophomore Isaac Taylor, Copeland's roommate, never started as a freshman and played just 5.7 minutes per game, but should see an increased workload because of the Hawks' lack of frontcourt depth. UMES lists just four forwards on its 15-man roster. Taylor is the tallest and the heaviest Hawk, at 6-8 and 250 pounds. Helping out in the backcourt will be graduate student Derrico Peck, who shot a team-best 75.7 percent from the field last season, and junior college transfer Michael Chambers, who averaged 14.5 points, 2.9 assists, 4.0 rebounds and 1.3 steals last season at Cape Fear Community College in Wilmington, N.C. "Mike is a prolific scorer," Collins said. "He has proven that he can score at the collegiate level. He also has a very high basketball IQ and is always thinking a play ahead."

UMBC

Coach: Ryan Odom (First season)

2015-16 record: 7-25, 3-13 (Ninth in America East Conference)

Tournament result: Lost to No. 1 seed Stony Brook, 86-76, in America East quarterfinals

Preseason poll: Sixth in America East

Key nonconference games: at UMES (Nov. 13), at Navy (Nov. 23), at Mount St. Mary's (Dec. 7), vs. Towson (Dec. 17), at James Madison (Dec. 23), at Virginia Tech (Dec. 28)

Player to watch: Jairus Lyles. A preseason All-America East selection, the 6-2 junior guard led the conference with 22.1 points, 2.7 steals and 37.2 minutes per game in league games last season. He set a UMBC single-season record with a conference-best 23 points per game last season on his way to earning second-team All-America East honors. Despite missing 11 games, he set UMBC sophomore records in field goals (170) and points (482), and tied the mark in steals (53).

Skinny: Can Odom make the Retrievers competitive in his first season? Odom, who led Lenoir-Rhyne (N.C.) to the NCAA Division II regional finals for the first time in school history, must focus on fixing a defense that allowed 80.6 points per game, third worst in the conference. UMBC also allowed opponents to shoot 49.6 percent from the field, better than only 8-22 Maine. Odom has an experienced group to work with, retaining juniors Rodney Elliott (John Carroll) and Jourdan Grant (Archbishop Spalding) at guard and senior Will Darley (Dulaney) and sophomore Joe Sherburne at forward. Elliott, the 2013-14 America East Rookie of the Year, came back from shoulder surgery to average 12.8 points and 3.6 assists last season. Grant added solid perimeter defense, finishing fourth in the conference in steals per game (1.3) and tied for eighth all-time among UMBC sophomores with 41 steals. The frontcourt should be dangerous from the perimeter, as Darley, who averaged a career-best 11.9 points last season, finished fourth in the conference in 3-point field-goal percentage (.434). Sherburne hit 61 3-pointers, the third most for a UMBC freshman, en route to claiming All-Rookie team honors.

Loyola Maryland

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Coach: G.G. Smith (Fourth season, 31-59)

2015-16 record: 9-21, 8-10 (Eighth in Patriot League)

Tournament result: Lost to No. 9 seed Holy Cross, 72-67, in Patriot League first round

Preseason poll: Seventh in Patriot League

Key nonconference games: at Notre Dame (Nov. 18), at No. 22 Creighton (Nov. 26), vs. Mount St. Mary's (Dec. 3), at Towson (Dec. 7)

Player to watch: Andre Walker. The 6-0 junior guard was named to the preseason All-Patriot League team after being named second-team all-conference last season, when he averaged 14.2 points, 3.4 rebounds and 3.9 assists. Walker was the only Patriot League player to be in the top 10 statistically in points per game, assists per game, steals per game, free-throw percentage and 3-point field-goal percentage. He made nine of 16 shots and scored 22 points to lead all scorers in the Greyhounds' 73-50 exhibition victory over visiting Johns Hopkins on Nov. 3.

Skinny: Can Loyola's experienced roster make some noise in the Patriot League? The Greyhounds return 60 percent of their scoring from last season and 69.3 percent of their rebounds. They are also one of just three Patriot League teams to return two players who averaged at least 13.3 points last season in Walker and senior guard Jarred Jones (13.3). Jones, a John Carroll graduate, finished fourth in the league in rebounding with 7.2 per game and was sixth in field-goal percentage (.500). Also part of the veteran backcourt is junior guard Chancellor Barnard (Glenelg Country), who started 22 games last season, averaging 6.4 points and 3.5 rebounds.

Towson

Coach: Pat Skerry (Sixth season, 76-87)

2015-16 record: 20-13, 11-7 (t-third in Colonial Athletic Association)

Tournament results: Lost to No. 6 seed Northeastern, 71-60, in CAA quarterfinals; Lost to Oakland, 90-72, in Vegas 16 first round

Preseason poll: Second in CAA

Key nonconference games: at George Mason (Nov. 12), at No. 25 Maryland (Nov. 20), at Boston College (Nov. 22), vs. Stony Brook (Nov. 25), vs. Old Dominion (Dec. 3), vs. Loyola Maryland (Dec. 7), at UMBC (Dec. 17), vs. Nevada (Dec. 21), vs. Iona (Dec. 22)

Player to watch: Arnaud William Adala Moto. The 6-7 senior forward and Wake Forest transfer received preseason All-CAA first team honors after leading the Tigers in scoring (13.9 points per game) and rebounds (8.3) en route to being named to the All-CAA second team. Adala Moto, a Cameroon native, had eight double-doubles last season, including three straight at one point, and had a streak of 14 consecutive double-figure scoring games, as well as seven with at least 20 points.

Skinny: Can the Tigers ride Adala Moto and junior guard Mike Morsell to the top of the conference? Morsell, a preseason All-CAA second-team pick after being named a third-team selection at the end of last season, averaged 13 points while shooting 31.1 percent from 3-point range. Towson also welcomes back a key contributor in senior forward John Davis, a starter last season who shot a team-best 37.9 percent from beyond the arc while averaging 10.3 points and 5.5 rebounds. Junior guard Eddie Keith II, sophomore guard Jordan McNeil (Mount Saint Joseph) and sophomore forward Alex Thomas also return. "We are a competitive and potentially deep group that will play with more freedom and better ball movement on offense," Skerry said. "However, we have yet to prove we can sustain the defense and rebounding that has been our trademark and will ultimately define us." Towson has reached the 20-win mark and advanced to postseason play in two of the past three years, and anything short of that this season will be considered a disappointment.

Mount St. Mary's

Coach: Jamion Christian (Fifth season, 63-65)

2015-16 record: 14-19, 10-8 (Fifth in Northeast Conference)

Tournament result: Lost to No. 2 seed Fairleigh Dickinson, 80-75, in NEC semifinals

Preseason poll: t-fourth in NEC

Key nonconference games: at No. 20 West Virginia (Nov. 11), at No. 24 Iowa State (Nov. 14), at Minnesota (Nov. 16), at George Mason (Nov. 18), at Michigan (Nov. 26), at Arkansas (Nov. 28), at Loyola Maryland (Dec. 3), vs. UMBC (Dec. 7), at Bucknell (Dec. 19), vs. Coppin State (Dec. 22)

Player to watch: Junior Robinson. The 5-5 junior guard averaged 12.5 points, second most on the team, and 3.1 assists last season en route to earning All-NEC second-team honors. Robinson, who scored at least 20 points five times last season, led the team with 102 assists, was sixth in the conference in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.23) and shot a team-high 34.2 percent from 3-point range.

Skinny: Can the Mountaineers survive a tough nine-game road trip to start the season? In addition to opening against a pair of top-25 teams (West Virginia and Iowa State), Mount St. Mary's faces two Big Ten teams (Minnesota and Michigan), a strong mid-major (George Mason) and an Arkansas team with Southeastern Conference Preseason Player of the Year Moses Kingsley. The Mount will have to figure out how to replace leading scorer BK Ashe (13.8 points per game) and leading rebounder Gregory Graves (5.5 rebounds per game). Senior forward Will Miller figures to shoulder some of the scoring load after hitting seven 3-pointers en route to a game-high 22 points to lead Mount St. Mary's to an 89-65 win over Hood in an exhibition on Nov. 5.

Johns Hopkins

Coach: Bill Nelson (31st season, 485-302)

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2015-16 record: 13-12, 10-8 (Sixth in Division III Centennial Conference)

Tournament finish: Did not qualify

Preseason poll: Third in Centennial

Key nonconference games: at Lynchburg (Nov. 15), vs. Cabrini (Nov. 18), vs. Salisbury/Staten Island (Nov. 19), vs. York (Pa.) (Dec. 29)

Player to watch: Ryan Curran. The 6-7 senior forward averaged 13 points and a team-best 7.3 rebounds while also finishing third on the Blue Jays in total steals (19) and second in blocks (18).

Skinny: Will Nelson get his 500th career victory at Hopkins? He's 15 away, and he gets back three starters from last year's team, as well as six players that saw action in at least 16 games. Graduate student Sam Gordon, Curran and junior Jesse Flannery combined for 52 starts last season. Also back is graduate student Austin Vasiliadis, who missed the final 19 games with a knee injury. Vasiliadis, a 5-11 guard, averaged 14.3 points, 5.7 assists and 3.0 steals in 31.7 minutes in six game before his injury. He ranks sixth in Blue Jays history in career assists (257) and second in career assist-to-turnover ratio (1.97).

McDaniel

Coach: Kevin Curley (10th season, 123-112)

2015-16 record: 14-12, 10-8 (Fifth in Centennial)

Tournament finish: Lost to No. 4 seed Gettysburg, 68-56, in Centennial first round

Preseason poll: Eighth in Centennial

Key nonconference games: vs. Wilson (Nov. 15), vs. Penn State-York (Nov. 19), vs. Penn State-Schuylkill (Nov. 27), at Marymount (Dec. 19), at City College of New York (Dec. 30)

Players to watch: Austin Cannon and Josh McWilliams. Cannon, a 6-1 guard and Manchester Valley graduate, had a team-best 1.9 assist-to-turnover ratio and the second-most starts last season of any returning player (19), while McWilliams is the leading returning scorer after averaging 5.3 points per game last season. The backcourt duo will be tasked with filling the role left by Wes Brooks, who was second on the team and fifth in the conference in scoring, averaging 14.9 points per game.

Skinny: Who will shoulder the scoring load after the loss of Brooks and forward Tim Stewart? Brooks shot a team-high 64 3-pointers last season while shooting a conference-best 46.7 percent from beyond the arc. Stewart led the team and was fourth in the conference in scoring with 15.6 points per game, while also leading the Green Terror. Both earned first-team All-Centennial honors, the first time McDaniel had multiple players on the first team. Senior forward-center Kevin Yrizarry (Owings Mills) played the third-most minutes per game last season behind Brooks and Stewart, and will likely be called upon even more after averaging 5.1 points.

Goucher

Coach: Tom Rose (Second season, 10-15)

2015-16 record: 10-15, 6-10 (Sixth in Division III Landmark Conference)

Tournament finish: Did not qualify

Preseason poll: Seventh in Landmark

Key nonconference games: at Salisbury (Nov. 15), at Hood (Nov. 22), vs. Saint Vincent at Pittsburgh, Pa. (Nov. 26), vs. Eastern (Nov. 29), at Towson (Nov. 30), vs. Stevenson (Dec. 17)

Player to watch: Chris Outing. The 6-7 senior forward is the top returning scorer from (8.0 points per game), and will be tasked with helping fill the big shoes of leading scorer and All-Landmark second-team selection Kevin Miles (16.7 points per game), who graduated. Outing also collected 5.37 rebounds per game, second most on the team. He added 1.2 blocks per game for a stingy defense that swatted an average of 3.6 shots and averaged 7.4 steals, both third best in the conference.

Skinny: Can Rose help the Gophers take another step forward? Rose, who led Mount Carmel from the bottom of the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association C Conference to the top of the A Conference during his 13 seasons with the Cougars, helped guide Goucher to 10 wins last season, tying the program's most in the past 10 years. Their sixth-place finish in the Landmark was also the highest Goucher had achieved since the conference was established in the 2007-08 season. For the Gophers to improve on last season's record, they'll need to find a way to improve their 3-point shooting, which ranked last in the conference in 2015-16 at 30.4 percent.

Stevenson

Coach: Gary Stewart (Sixth season, 75-61)

2015-16 record: 11-15, 9-7 (Fourth in Middle Atlantic Conference Commonwealth)

Tournament result: Lost to No. 5 seed Lycoming, 89-75, in MAC Commonwealth first round

Preseason poll: t-seventh in MAC Commonwealth

Key nonconference games: vs. Lynchburg (Nov. 18), vs. Skidmore (Nov. 19), at Goucher (Dec. 17), vs. Sewanee (Dec. 29) and vs. Oglethorpe (Dec. 30) in Atlanta

Player to watch: Sean Mayberry. The 6-2 junior guard, a Calvert Hall graduate, averaged 13.3 points last season, third best on the team. He'll be called upon to shoulder some of the scoring load after the Mustangs lost a pair of All-MAC performers to graduation in Erik Fisher (Archbishop Spalding) and Christian Roberts, who combined to average 35 points in 2015-16. In 23 starts, Mayberry ranked second on the team with 5.6 rebounds per game and fourth with 1.5 assists. He scored 20 or more points four times.

Skinny: Can the Mustangs score enough to be competitive? Stevenson returns five players from last season's squad that qualified for the conference tournament for the fifth straight year. But Stewart has his hands full in trying to find replacements for Fisher and Roberts. Mayberry is the only returning player who scored in double digits last season, with senior forward Ryan Hill (4.7 points per game), an Arundel grad, and sophomore guard Korey Hayman Jr. (3.8) the next best options. The Mustangs only averaged 67.7 points last season, fourth worst in the Commonwealth, and had the second-worst average scoring margin at minus-3.8.

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