Northern Iowa represented for the Missouri Valley Conference in NCAA Tournament by knocking off everyone’s favorite, Kansas. The MVC figures to once again be one of the most competitive mid-major conferences in the country and Bradley should make their fare share of noise.
The Sports Bank’s 99 in 99 breaks down the 72 power conference college basketball teams and top 27 mid-majors. Everything you need to know about the up-coming college basketball season is right here at your disposal. Click here for teams #74-#99.
By: David Kay
Bradley Braves (T-5th 9-9 in MVC, 16-15 overall)
Projected Depth Chart
F/C: Will Egolf (Jr)/Anthony Thompson (Jr)/Andrew Davis (Fr)
F: Taylor Brown (Jr)/Milos Knezevic (So)/Jordan Prosser (Fr)
SG: Andrew Warren (Sr)/Jake Warren (So)
G: Dodie Dunson (Sr)/Walter Lemon (Fr)
PG: Sam Maniscalo (Sr)/Dyricus Simms-Edwards (So)
Gone: SG-Chris Roberts, F/C-Sam Singh, PG-Eddren McCain (transfer-)
The Braves were a competitive, but inconsistent team last season. They showed flashes in their wins against Illinois and Northern Iowa, but struggled on the road posting a 3-6 conference mark away from Peoria. With an experienced group returning, Bradley should be able to improve upon their 2009-2010 season.
In Warren, Brown, and Maniscalo the Braves bring back their top three scorers from last season. Dodie Dodson who played in just two games last season before suffering a broken arm that sidelined him for the remainder of the year will be ready to go and should add even more experience to the line-up. The weakness of this team will likely come inside where Will Egolf is the only rotation player returning from last year. However, there are not a lot of Missouri Valley Conference teams that possess extremely talented, physical post players so I doubt their inexperience down low will not be a detrimental to their season.
Bradley has finished either fourth or fifth in the MVC in each of the past five seasons. If ever there was a time for the Braves to move near the top of the standings, this figures to be it. Whether or not they can catch Nothern Iowa or Wichita State is the real question.
Player to Watch: Taylor Brown, F
After averaging just 3.4 points and 3.0 rebounds per game as a freshman, Brown made a major jump in his sophomore season putting up 13.5 and 6.9 last year. While he certainly possess incredible talent, off-the-court issues forced him to miss four games last season due to suspension. If he can behave himself and continue to make strides, he could be in for a special year.
Key Non-Conference Games:
11/20 vs. USC (in Springfield, MA)
11/21 vs. UMass/Nex Mexico State (in Springfield, MA)
12/4 vs. Utah
12/8 at Duke
2/18-2/20 TBA (Bracket Busters)
Other 99 in 99’s:
#74 Central Florida
#75 Wake Forest
#76 Georgia Tech
#78 Oklahoma State
#82 South Carolina
#86 Penn State
#87 South Florida
#89 Boston College
#93 Oregon State
#97. Iowa State