Originally posted on The Sports Bank  |  Last updated 9/12/12

Welcome to The Sports Bank’s third annual college basketball season preview series.  Two years we looked at 99 teams in 99 days.  Last year, we were slightly more aggressive and expanded to 111 teams in 111 days and will do so again as we look ahead to the 2012-2013 season.

We will rank the 75 power conference teams and top 36 mid-majors in reverse power ranking order.  We’ll break down rosters, transfers, incoming freshmen, non-conference schedules, and pick a player to watch for each team.

With the recent academic scandal rocking the campus, I have no idea what to do with the Harvard Crimson basketball team in my rankings.  It appears as if star players Kyle Casey and Brandyn Curry will have to withdraw from school meaning Tommy Amaker loses four starters from last year’s Ivy League championship team which advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1946.

HARVARD CRIMSON
Last Season: 1st, 12-2 in Ivy, 26-5 overall
Predicted Ivy Finish: 1st

Projected Depth Chart
F/C: Kenyatta Smith (So)/Michael Hall (Fr)/Ugo Okam (Jr)
PF: Steve Moundou-Missi (So)/Jonah Travis (So)/Evan Cummins (Fr)/Jeff Georgatos (Sr)/Tom Hamel (Jr)
G/F: Laurent Rivard (Jr)/Agunwa Okolie (Fr)/Dee Giger (Sr)
SG: Christian Webster (Sr)/Wesley Saunders (So)/Matt Brown (Jr)
PG: Siyani Chambers (Fr)/Alex Nesbitt (So)

Gone: F/C-Keith Wright, SG-Oliver McNally, SG-Max Hooper (transfer-St. John’s), PF-Kyle Casey (withdraw), PG-Brandyn Curry (withdraw)

2012-2013 Outlook:
The lone returning starter will be Laurent Rivard who suddenly has the responsibility of becoming the team leader.  He shot the ball extremely well last season and must assume the role as go-to scorer.  Christian Webster was one of the team’s most productive role players a year ago and will be thrust into a prominent role as a starter.

Harvard’s top recruit is 6’8 Agunwa Okolie who is a lengthy, athletic wing also capable of playing some four as well.  He will add some depth and help replace the graduated Oliver McNally and Corbin Miller who is serving a Mormon mission meaning he will not play the next two seasons.  Wesley Saunders will once again be a valuable reserve as well.

Curry’s absence from the roster creates a major hole at the point.  Freshman Siyani Chambers will likely take over making his expected learning curve exponentially accelerated in becoming the team’s main floor general.  Alex Nesbitt only appeared in two games last season as a freshman and is the only other option Amaker has at the point.

Losing Keith Wright and Casey will hurt up-front, but luckily the Crimson does have some young talent waiting in the wings.  Steve Moundou-Missi made an immediate impact as a freshman but suddenly becomes the team’s most experienced post presence.  Seldom-used Kenyatta Smith provides some muscle to complement Moundou-Missi’s athleticism.  Seldom-used Jonah Travis will see a more prominent role off the bench while seven-footer Ugo Okam and 6-10 wirey freshman Michael Hall bring a shot blocking presence on the defensive end.  Another newcomer, Evan Cummins might be asked to contribute off the bench as well.

The one thing working in Amaker’s favor is all the bodies he has on the roster since the Ivy League does not allow their programs to offer athletic scholarships.  However a young, inexperienced roster that suddenly has to deal with the losses of Casey and Curry will be especially challenged with a tough non-conference schedule that features seven road games.  The team can still compete for the Ivy League title but it will be anything but a walk in the park to repeat their performance from a year ago.

Player to Watch: Laurent Rivard
Rivard thrived the past two seasons, living on the three-point stripe due to Curry’s playmaking ability and teams having to focus down low on Wright and Casey.  As the only returning starter, he is will need to expand his offensive repertoire from being a spot-up shooter where 71% of his field goal attempts in college have come from downtown.  If I am an opposing head coach, I face guard Rivard this season and make his younger teammates beat me rather than letting him go off from deep.

Key Non-Conference Games:
11/13 at UMass
11/20 at St. Joseph’s
12/4 at Boston College
12/7 at UConn
12/29 at California
12/31 at St. Mary’s
1/19 at Memphis

OTHER 111 IN 111’S:
#78 Xavier Musketeers
#79 Ole Miss Rebels
#80 Clemson Tigers
#81 Oregon State Beavers
#82 Texas A&M Aggies
#83 Providence Friars
#84 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
#85 Oklahoma Sooners
#86 Lehigh Mountain Hawks
#87 Washington State Cougars
#88 Long Beach State 49ers
#89 Belmont Bruins
#90 Vanderbilt Commodores
#91 Dayton Flyers
#92 Houston Cougars
#93 UCF Knights
#94 Old Dominion Monarchs
#95 Oregon Ducks
#96 LSU Tigers
#97 South Carolina Gamecocks
#98 Seton Hall Pirates
#99 Georgia Bulldogs
#100 DePaul Blue Demons
#101 Boston College Eagles
#102 Penn State Nittany Lions
#103 Arizona State Sun Devils
#104 Virginia Tech Hokies
#105 Texas Tech Red Raiders
#106 Auburn Tigers
#107 Wake Forest Demon Deacons
#108 TCU Horned Frogs
#109 Mississippi State Bulldogs
#110 Utah Utes
#111 Nebraska Cornhuskers

David Kay is a senior feature NBA Draft, NBA, and college basketball writer for the Sports Bank.  He also heads up the NBA and college basketball material at Walter Football.com and is a former contributor at The Washington Times Communities.  David has appeared on numerous national radio programs spanning from Cleveland to New Orleans to Honolulu.  He also had the most accurate 2011 NBA Mock Draft and the most accurate 2012 NBA Mock Draft on the internet (Yup, repeat champ… #humblebrag.)

You can follow him on Twitter at David_Kmiecik.

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