With all eight rotation players returning from a team that won 26 games a year ago, the Davidson Wildcats will be one of the more dangerous mid-major teams in the country.
All five starters averaged at least 10 points per game last season, so Bob McKillop returns a balanced lineup. The biggest asset of that group is that all five guys on the floor can stroke it from deep.
Leading the charge for the Wildcats will be the experienced frontcourt of Jake Cohen and De'Mon Brooks. Cohen is a four-year starter who was named the Southern Conference's Player of the Year last season by the media. He did not receive that same honor from the league's coaches, but Brooks did. Brooks is more athletic than Cohen and does most of his damage around the basket.
There's no lack of experience in the backcourt either with Nik Cochran, JP Kuhlman and Chris Czerapowicz. Cochran will run the point, Kuhlman is a four-year starter capable of contributing on both ends, and Czerapowicz is a three-point gunner who can go off at any given time.
Three key reserves provide McKillop with plenty of depth. Tom Droney started 25 games last year as a freshman, and his ability to play multiple positions gives Davidson flexibility in the backcourt. Tyler Kalinoski is another three-point threat off the bench, while Clint Mann adds some energy to the frontcourt. With all eight guys back from last year, it's unlikely any other Wildcat will be able to crack the rotation unless there is an injury.
McKillop did pick up a key transfer in Brian Sullivan from Miami, Ohio. The 5-11 guard was an All-MAC Freshman Team selection last year and will help offset the losses of Cochran and Kuhlman when he becomes eligible next season since he must sit out this year due to NCAA transfer rules.
A major conference team would be incredibly fortunate to return as much proven talent as Davidson does this season. With that being said, the Wildcats are without question the team to beat in the SoCon and will be a very difficult out come March Madness.
Player to Watch: De'Mon Brooks, PF
It's pretty impressive that Brooks averaged 15.7 points and 6.2 rebounds despite just playing 22.8 minutes per game last year. There weren't many (if any) frontcourts at the mid-major level as productive as the Wildcat duo in 2011, and Brooks is poised to be even more productive this season.
Key Non-Conference Games:
11/12 at New Mexico
11/22 vs. Vanderbilt (Old Spice Classic)
11/23 vs. West Virginia/Marist (Old Spice Classic)
11/25 vs. Gonzaga/Clemson/Oklahoma/UTEP (Old Spice Classic)
I messed up the 2nd round order, so I'm gonna try this again. Same deal as last time, no trades this time around like I did in my first mock even though projecting them can be fun. I'll do another one in about a month or so after the Super Bowl, Senior Bowl, combine and all that other good stuff.