SFA looks to continue its dominance over the Southland with an up-and-coming coach and three of the best players in the league. SE Louisiana’s Marlain Veal will give his Lion’s a fighting chance, while Abilene Christian features one of the most experienced rosters in the country.
An experienced conference graduated many of its best players - and perhaps its best team, as Hampton sailed off to the Big South. That leaves a wide open league for the remaining 12, with (probably) four main contenders for the top spot.
After Jairus Lyles’ soul-crushing buzzer-beater snapped Vermont’s NCAA tournament hopes last March, the Catamounts are locked and loaded for a revenge operation in 2019. A healthy Anthony Lamb is a scary proposition for America East foes who dodged a bullet when facing a ‘Lamb-less’ Vermont last year.
The clear favorite here is Rob Krimmel’s Red Flash, as St. Francis returns a plethora of offensive weapons. The tier behind them offers some challengers, but the NEC will likely be “seeing red” this year…
Conference newcomer Liberty looks to make a name for itself after coming over from the Big South, but title favorite Lipscomb has its eyes set on another Tourney bid. Meanwhile, Florida Gulf Coast reloads via the transfer wire and North Florida brings everyone of significance back from last year.
In a conference loaded with 3-point assassins, Montana’s pair of guard dogs - Ahmaad Rorie and Michael Oguine - should separate the Griz from some formidable challengers at the top of the Big Sky leaderboard in 2019.
The Big West had a Big Bounceback in 2017-18, improving to 19th in Ken Pomeroy’s conference rankings after finishing a dismal 29th in 2016-17. With a ton of returning AND new talent, as many as six teams look like real contenders this year…
Bucknell’s recent Patriot League dominance may be in jeopardy with the loss of Nana Foulland and Zach Thomas. Lehigh looks to be the new team to beat heading into 2018-19, but the Bison, Boston U, and Colgate all have legit NCAA Tourney hopes.
The Wacky WAC is a top heavy league this season featuring three squads with legit Tourney aspirations in New Mexico State, Grand Canyon, and Utah Valley, Will the favorites prevail or will the likes of Seattle and Cal State Bakersfield play spoiler?
The top two squads (Belmont and Murray St.) both return a bona fide star, but outside of that, the league has plenty of attrition and uncertainty. They’ll still likely duel at the top, but a few newer threats are looking to emerge…
Mike Daum and the Jackrabbits have climbed to the ‘Summit’s peak’ for three years running - can the decorated Daum and his supporting senior cast make one last stand before sailing off into the sunset?
Rick Stansbury’s magnetic pull on the recruiting trail has the Tops primed for a banner year in Bowling Green, while some budding coaching stars (CC: Grant McCasland, Steve Henson) set their sights on a move up the C-USA ladder in 2019.
Three teams lead the way for the Fun Belt this year as Georgia State, Georgia Southern, and Louisiana fight for the coveted auto-bid to the Big Dance. A tough second tier should make it tough for the league favorites in what promises to be yet another exciting season.
The Ivy is getting deeper and deeper, as more schools pick up talented young recruits with bright futures. Tommy Amaker’s Crimson seem to be the pick of the litter at first glance, but Penn is still lurking, and other contenders are lining up for a shot as well…
The MAC figures to be the most competitive its been in years with the return of 12 out of 15 All-Conference players. Buffalo is the favorite to cut down the nets in March and punch another bid to the Tourney, but the likes of Ball State and Eastern Michigan are hungry for a Tourney berth of their own.
After ruining bracket pools all across America, the 2018 NCAA Tournament darling Loyola Ramblers now have a target on their back as they look to defend their MVC title crown and position themselves for another deep run in the Big Dance.
Gonzaga is once again head and shoulders above the other teams in the WCC, but this year promises to be one of the deeper versions of the conference in recent memory. BYU and Saint Mary’s look to earn at-large bids to the Big Dance, while the likes of San Diego, San Francisco, and Pacific look to play spoiler.
Jim is bursting at the seams to finally preview the Colonial after three years of being shut out. It’s no coincidence that the league name has two “O’s” and zero “D” (yes that joke is horrendous, but it’s true)…
New coaches headline the AAC’s offseason storylines as Dan Hurley and Penny Hardaway embark on new journeys at their respective employers. Will Cincinnati’s regular season dominance be threatened by SMU or UCF, a pair of injury-ridden squads who have now been nursed back to health?
The SEC is as competitive as ever with up to 10 teams having legitimate cases for the 2019 NCAA Tournament. Kentucky is the odds-on favorite, but the likes of Tennessee, Auburn, Florida, LSU, and Mississippi State will look to upend the reign of BBN.
Likely the weakest of the so-called Power 6 leagues, the Pac 12 will have to deal with being a kind of “little brother” to Gonzaga and Nevada on the west coast. The league is relatively wide open (not always a compliment), but the traditional powers will probably make up the upper tiers…
The Big-12 is back and as brutal as ever with everyone chasing the familiar frontrunner. Will Kansas add another piece of hardware to an already crowded trophy case? Or can in-state foe K-State spoil the Jayhawks continuous run of Big-12 titles?
The Big Ten should be as muddled as ever with a slew of teams separated by a razor-thin major. Will Sparty retain their spot atop the league standings? They’ll have to fend off a handful of squads armed with major upside in 2019.