After an impressive display against number one seed Villanova in March Madness last season, the Mountaineers are looking to pick up where they left off. The Mountaineers will be heavily reliant on Sr. Guard Junior Robinson to provide the production for the team, after the loss of Elijah Long to the University of Texas and Baltimore native Miles Wilson to the University of Miami. With the huge loss of Long and Wilson, everyone around Junior Robinson needs to step up as well. The conference outlook for the Mount is still very positive, they are widely perceived to be a threat to repeat as NEC champions. They do, however, have a tough start ahead of them. They are participating in the Maui Jim Maui on the Mainland tournament and having already faced Marquette; losing 80-59. They still have to face the likes of number fourteen Notre Dame, Georgetown, and North Florida. With the possibility of starting off their season at 1-3, the Mountaineers must get off to a hot start in conference play in order to have a chance to repeat as NEC champions and to punch their ticket for March.
Names to look out for: Sr. Guard Junior Robinson, Sr. Guard Greg Alexander, Fr. Guard Jonah Antonio
As mentioned before, the Mount’s success this season will be highly dependent on the production from Robinson. Robinson averaged 14.1 PPG last season, but only two assists. Robinson needs to not only be able to average at least twenty points per game, but be that ball distributor that the Mountaineers are craving. Alexander does all of the small things right, he brings the intensity and hustles on every single possession. He has a very underwhelming statistics, but numbers can’t calculate how important he is to the team. All the way from Perth, Austrailia comes Jonah Antonio. Just as a Freshman, Jonah will a huge role on the team. Jonah is a huge threat from behind the arc, but he is streaky. Against Marquette, he shot twenty-two percent from three, that is abysmal. Take this as a small sample size, Jonah is an excellent shooter, but he needs to get into his rhythm. When that happens, he is unstoppable from three.
I expect this team to finish; at the worst, second behind LIU Brooklyn in the NEC. A 20-11 (14-4) record and they will find a way to punch their ticket to the big dance in March, but they will have a short stay and be eliminated in the first round.