Charlotte vs. Georgia Tech- November 16th, 2 PM Atlantic-
Picked eleventh by Sporting News in the Atlantic 10, the 49ers will struggle to improve on last year's 14-16 record. They will count on senior guard Leemire Goldwire's strong outside shooting to be competitive in this tournament. Goldwire averaged the most three-pointers of any player in A-10 last season.
Predicted to finish 7th in the ACC, the Yellow Jackets are the best team from a big conference in the field not named Notre Dame. They lost talented freshmen Javaris Crittenton and Thaddeus Young to the NBA over the offseason and starter Ra'Sean Dickey is academically inelgible for the first semester. There is a big question mark for this young team. How will the inexperienced members of the squad perform when thrust into the spotlight?
Illinois-Chicago vs. Winthrop- 4:30 PM-
The Flames are selected 6th in the ten-team Horizon League. 14-18 last year, Illinois-Chicago lost top scorer Othyus Jeffers to NAIA school Robert Morris. If that doesn't bode poorly for this squad, nothing else does. 6-11 Josh Vandermeer set a school record for blocks last year, but can't do it alone.
We know plenty about Winthrop. Picked to win the Big South, last season saw the Eagles finish the year ranked 22nd with a first round victory over the Irish in the NCAAs. Eight players with no experience are on the roster and will be lead by new coach Randy Peele.
Baylor vs. Wichita St.- 7:00-
Baylor is selected 9th in the Big XII. Bouncing back from a 4 win campaign in '06 (granted the program has been in shambles since 2003, with the tragic shooting of Patrick Dennehy and resignation of coach Dave Bliss), the Bears went 15-16 last year. 5th year coach Scott Drew is confident with the arrival of top-50 recruit LaceDarius Dunn that this Baylor squad will be able to have a winning season for the first time in recent memory.
Selected 5th in the ever-potent Missouri Valley, the Shockers are led by Gregg Marshall, former Winthrop head. Last year's coach, Mark Turgeon, is now employed by Texas A&M. Wichita State has been to the postseason four of the past five years, but must deal with a young and inexperienced roster. Eight of the sixteen players on the roster are freshmen.
Monmouth vs. Notre Dame- 9:30-
Monmouth is pciked to finish 10th in the Northeast Conference, one slot ahead of Long Island. The Hawks lost three of their top seven players from last year's 12-18 team. More importantly, future New Jersey governor Jon Bon Jovi has a home about seven miles from campus. Monmouth returns NEC Rookie of the year Jhamar Youngblood this season. Youngblood scored 12.3 points a contest last year.
Last Year's Standings-
6. Virginia Commonwealth
7. College of Charleston
8. Middle Tennessee State
MVP: Alonzo Gee - Alabama