Eight Prominent Mid-Majors Who Will Lose Elite Status in 2010-11
The 2009-10 season is officially in the books.
That means that seniors have played their final collegiate games and coaches are on the move. It also means that we should start looking ahead to 2010-11 and what it will offer us.
This is a slideshow of eight prominent mid-majors from 2009-10 who should struggle to return to their elite status among fellow mid-majors in 2010-11.
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Northern Iowa Panthers (30-5, 15-3 MVC)
My guess is that the entire college basketball world would love to see Ali Farokhmanesh in the NCAA Tournament one more time.
Unfortunately, that dream can't come true.
Farokhmanesh, Adam Koch, and Jordan Eglseder all played their final collegiate basketball game in the Sweet 16 and will graduate this year.
Farokhmanesh provided consistent three-point shooting, Koch offered his basketball IQ and all-around play, and Eglseder was a seven-foot force on both ends of the floor.
The three seniors were valuable players for Ben Jacobson, who will need more than one year to revive his team to elite status among mid-majors.
St. Mary's Gaels (28-6, 11-3 WCC)
Omar Samhan and Ben Allen combined for 18.5 of their team's 36.6 rebounds per game this season.
Matthew Dellavedova is St. Mary's leading returning rebounder at 3.5 per game.
In order to have another successful year, Randy Bennett will need to improve his guards' rebounding and nab a big man off the recruiting market.
He has the scorers to replace Samhan and Allen, but they won't have opportunities to put the ball in the basket if they can't clean the glass.
Cornell Big Red (29-5, 13-1 Ivy)
Cornell's tournament appearance streak will end at three.
Ryan Wittman, Louis Dale, and Jeff Foote are graduating this spring. So are Jon Jaques and Geoff Reeves. Don't forget to add Alex Tyler and Mark Coury.
Nine Cornell players averaged over ten minutes per game last season. Only two of those players, Chris Wroblewski and Adam Wire, will return for 2010-11.
There's nothing more to say.
Oh, wait. Steve Donahue accepted the Boston College coaching job.
Siena Saints (27-7, 17-1 MAAC)
The best senior class in Siena basketball history is set to graduate at the end of this semester.
Without Ronald Moore running the show, Alex Franklin causing fits for opponents on both ends of the floor, and Edwin Ubiles doing his thing, Siena won't be the same team.
Fran McCaffery bolted for the Iowa Hawkeyes, and it looks like his longtime assistant, Mitch Buonaguro, will assume his role. Although Buonaguro is familiar with the system, it will be difficult for him to alleviate the loss of the three seniors.
Making matters worse for Siena, Ed Cooley did not get the Boston College job, which means he will return to the Fairfield bench.
Fairfield, who without Yorel Hawkins, Greg Nero, and Warren Edney nearly upset Siena in the MAAC Championship.
They are the early favorite to acquire the conference's automatic bid. Without its core, Siena will have fits trying to outlast the Stags.
Northeastern Huskies (20-13, 14-4 CAA)
Although it looks like Bill Coen will still be coaching Northeastern in November, the Huskies, who will lose 50 percent of their scoring when Matt Janning, Manny Adako, and Baptiste Bataille graduate this spring, could endure a significant drop in the CAA.
Adako and Bataille are replaceable ballplayers, but the loss of Janning, who was the team's playmaker, leader, and best scorer, will be the largest inhibitor to Northeastern's success.
Bill Coen is a reputable coach and has a decent incoming freshman class, so the Huskies could potentially be a solid CAA team.
However, you shouldn't expect them to be the tournament contender that they were in 2009-10.
Photo from Hawks Hoops
Kent State Golden Flashes (24-10, 13-3 MAC)
Kent State graduates three starters and three of its four bench players.
Justin Greene and Rodriquez Sherman are good ballplayers, but the Golden Flash won't win with a two-man show. They have a deep, talented recruiting class coming in, but that won't sufficiently mitigate the graduations.
Photo from kentstatesports.com
William & Mary Tribe (22-11, 12-6 CAA)
Nobody anticipated William & Mary's rise from the cellar of the CAA this season, but the Tribe assembled an impressive 22-11 campaign behind the consistent play of its core.
That core played its last game together on March 16 in an 80-72 NIT loss to eventual runner-up North Carolina, and the Tribe won't be the same without its four graduating seniors.
David Schneider, Danny Sumner, Sean McCurdy, and Steven Hess combined for 35.2 of W&M's 67.1 points per game.
The Tribe was so successful this season because of the chemistry these four had together along with sophomore Quinn McDowell and junior Marcus Kitts.
Tony Shaver has a good recruiting class, but it won't replace the four seniors.
William & Mary could once again rise to the top of the CAA in two or three years.
Photo from terrapintrail.com
Coastal Carolina Chanticleers (28-7, 15-3 Big South)
Coastal Carolina finished 2009-10 with a 28-7 record, but missed the Big Dance after dropping the Big South Championship to Winthrop.
The conference could be up for grabs next season as the top teams all lost key players.
However, the Chanticleers will be hit hard by graduations, and even if they find a way to win the Big South, they won't be a tournament threat.
Cliff Ellis will lose three seniors, all of whom started for him in 2009-10. Joseph Harris, Mario Edwards, and Logan Johnson combined for 34.4 of Coastal Carolina's 73.8 points per game and will be sorely missed next season.
Anytime a coach loses close to 50 percent of his scoring, the team is prone to the struggle of finding replacements.
Ellis has rising senior Chad Gray and two promising rising sophomores in Kierre Greenwood and Danny Nieman, but his recruiting class lacks the impact player the Chanticleers would have needed to keep the program among the elite mid-majors.
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