Air Force Conference: Mountain West. Coach: Jeff Bzdelik. Outlook: Bzdelik coached the Denver Nuggets for 2-½ years before being fired...
Conference: Mountain West.
Coach: Jeff Bzdelik.
Outlook: Bzdelik coached the Denver Nuggets for 2-½ years before being fired midway through last season and replaces Chris Mooney, who left for Richmond. Air Force went 18-12 last season and has four starters returning, including junior Dan Nwaelele of Inglemoor High School. But center Nick Welch, maybe the team’s best all-around player, is out for the season after having ankle surgery.
Sunday schedule: Game 1, Northern Arizona vs. Air Force, noon; Game 2, Texas-Arlington vs. Miami, 2 p.m.; Game 3, Morgan State vs. Washington, 6 p.m.; Game 4, UNC-Greensboro vs. UW-Green Bay, 8 p.m.
Monday schedule: Game 5, Loser Game 1 vs. Loser Game 2, noon; Game 6, L3 vs. L4, 2 p.m.; Game 7, Winner Game 3 vs. Winner Game 4, 6 p.m.; Game 8, W1 vs. W2, 8 p.m.
Tuesday schedule: Game 9, L5 vs. L6, noon; Game 10, W5 vs. W6, 2 p.m.; Game 11, L7 vs. L8, 6 p.m., championship game, W7 vs. W8, 8 p.m.
Tickets: Whole session passes, good for all 12 games, are $60. Tickets for individual sessions are $10 for the afternoon session, and $25 for the evening session. If UW wins, it will play in the evening session each day.
Coach: Frank Haith.
Outlook: The Hurricanes went 16-13 a year ago, and 7-9 and tied for fifth in the rugged ACC. With four starters and 86 percent of their scoring from a year ago returning, the Hurricanes are regarded as a team that could break through nationally. However, Miami will be at less than full strength here as point guard Anthony Harris is out with a hairline fracture of his right foot. The team’s best player is guard Guillermo Diaz.
Coach: Butch Beard.
Outlook: Beard, a former NBA player who was a Sonic in the 1972-73 season, is rebuilding once again after losing three starters and the top six scorers from a team that went 14-16 last season. Beard will build around 6-foot-8 junior center Timothy Berkley and 5-9 sophomore guard T.J. Mathis. UW coach Lorenzo Romar called Morgan State “a quick, athletic team … a scrappy group.”
Coach: Eddie McCarter.
Outlook: UTA was 13-15 last season but has all five starters back, led by senior forward Steven Thomas, who was a first-team all-conference pick last season, averaging 17.1 points and 7.9 rebounds. McCarter is 165-195 in 13 years.
Conference: Big Sky.
Coach: Mike Adras.
Outlook: NAU had a down season a year ago, going 11-17 and finishing seventh in the Big Sky. But with four starters back, the Lumberjacks could be contenders again this season. NAU was the highest-scoring team in the Big Sky last season at 76.4 points per game and likes to shoot the three-pointer. The roster includes guard Kelly Golob, a graduate of Olympia.
Coach: Mike Dement.
Outlook: Dement, coach at Greensboro from 1991 to 1995, returns after having coached at SMU for nine years before being fired in 2004. Greensboro was 18-12 a year ago and has been picked to win the Southern Conference this season with two of the team’s top three scorers from last season returning, including forward Kyle Hines, who was the conference freshman of the year.
Coach: Tod Kowalczyk.
Outlook: The school that Washington State coach Dick Bennett put on the map from 1985 to 1995, UW-Green Bay is now known as a team that likes to fire away from long range, hitting a league-best 37.3 percent of its three-pointers last season. The Phoenix went 17-11 last season but returns just one starter, junior forward Josh Lawrence.