Adnan Hodzic, Lipscomb's Bosnian Beast. Photo Credit: AtlanticSun.org
There's no time like the present—at least for Scott Sanderson and his Lipscomb Bisons.
The Bisons' core consists of four seniors and two juniors and, as we all know, experience is a crucial ingredient for mid-major success.
Adnan Hodzic—who withdrew from the 2010 NBA Draft—and Josh Slater are both seniors and accounted for 39.8 of Lipscomb's 79 points per game a year ago. They make up the best inside-outside duo in the Atlantic Sun and they can also give better opponents fits.
Although Slater turned the ball over 2.9 times per game last year, only 22 Division I players averaged better than his 5.2 assists per game and 1.78 assist-to-turnover ratio.
Hodzic averaged 22.7 points and 9.1 boards per game as a junior. He is one of the best-kept secrets in college basketball despite being the runner-up for the 2009-10 scoring title. With 57 straight double-digit scoring games to his credit, the Bosnian Beast will pour in points against anyone. He scored 18 points at Vanderbilt, Ohio State and Cincinatti and 34 in a narrow overtime loss at Arizona last year.
In addition to Hodzic and Slater, Sanderson returns two double-figure scorers in Jordan Burgason and Brandon Brown.
Burgason, who drained just over three triples per game at a 43.8-percent clip, is an absolute assassin from deep. Although Brown underwent offseason shoulder surgery, he should be 100 percent to start the season. Brown averaged 10.4 points per game as a junior and he is also a reputable defender who usually guards the opponent's top offensive threat.
The Bisons won a meager three non-conference games last season, but they finished 14-4 in the Atlantic Sun. However, they fell short of the conference championship and, consequently, the NCAA tournament.
They have a few must-win non-conference games against Austin Peay (twice), Stillman, Tennessee-Martin and Tennessee Tech. But they also have several challenges including Baylor, Memphis and Alabama.
Expect the Bisons to get off to a better start in 2010-11 and play tough against top competition—like they did for three-quarters of the season-opening game against UNC.