Location: Norfolk, VA
Conference: Colonial Athletic Association
Last Year’s Record: 25-10
Why they’ll make it: With five starters returning, the Monarchs are ready to break the Virginia Commonwealth-George Mason stranglehold on the conference. They weren’t that far away last season; finishing only two games out of first place. What helped them to such a successful season was it’s frontcourt. Led by all-conference center, Gerald Lee, and athletic swingman Ben Finney, the Monarchs out-rebounded its opponents by over seven boards-per-game last season. That helped them win the CollegeInsider.com Tournament championship last season and looks like it’ll lead to a berth to a slightly bigger tournament this season.
Why they won’t make it: Northeastern finished in a third-place tie with ODU last season and has enough talent to throw a serious scare to ODU’s Big Dance dreams. Matt Janning, Manny Adako, and Chaisson Allen, the top-three scorers for the Huskies, all return. The Huskies are primed to move up in the standings and if the Monarchs should falter, they’ll be heading to NCAA tournament.