The Atlantic Sun may not be the best conference, but they have had some good teams. Does Florida Gulf Coast going to the Sweet Sixteen ring a bell to anyone? Last year it was Lipscomb emerging from the A-Sun to make the NCAA Tournament. It was their first berth in program history. Will FGCU go back on top? Or will another team make their tournament debut?
Stetson is losing a very large Senior class from a team that had four conference wins last season. That is usually not going to help the program. The Hatters will be led by Sophomore Abayomi Iyiola, who scored 10ppg in just 19 minutes per game last season. Expect to see both of these numbers climb this season.
- South Carolina Upstate
USC Upstate struggled in the A-Sun last season. They only managed to win two conference games, and were a dreadful 0-17 on the road. The Spartans are returning 2 of their top 4 scorers in Deion Holmes, and Malik Moore. They will have to put up big numbers to give this team a chance this season.
- North Florida
The Ospreys will be one of the few teams in college basketball not to have a Senior on their roster. For small conference teams, Senior leadership has proven to be crucial time and time again. According to this, North Florida is a year away from competing with FGCU for the top spot in the A-Sun. Garrett Sams and Ivan Gandia-Rosa are the two leaders for this team.
- Kennesaw St
Kennesaw is one of the teams looking to qualify for their first NCAA Tournament. To do so, they will need to make a big improvement from last season. Tyler Hooker is the top returning scorer to the team. The Owls will be waiting for the spring semester anxiously, because that is when transfer Danny Lewis becomes eligible to play. Lewis was rated 3 stars out of high school and originally enrolled at UCF. Lewis made the move to return home to Atlanta. Look for him to make a big impact for Kennesaw State.
NJIT is another team looking to make their NCAA Tournament debut. The Highlanders bring a decent sized Senior class this season. Abdul Lewis and Diandre Wilson are the top returning scorers from a team that went an even 7-7 in the A-Sun last year.
The Dolphins look poised to improve on last season’s 8-6 conference record. Jacksonville returns their two leading scorers, Jace Hogan, and JD Notae. The Dolphins also adding Ohio St transfer Dave Bell, who will give the Dolphins a big boost inside. Jacksonville is a team that has a real shot at going to the NCAA Tournament.
Even though the Bisons won the A-Sun tournament last season, they were still the 2nd best team. That looks like the case this season as Lipscomb is ranked 2nd. They are returning almost all of their top contributors from last season’s team, with the most important being Garrison Matthews, who scored 21 ppg last season. If this team can maintain their level of play, they can repeat as the Atlantic Sun’s NCAA Tournament team.
- Florida Gulf Coast
Even though they came up short in the conference tournament last season, FGCU brings the best team on paper this season. The Eagles may be losing Brandon Goodwin and Christian Terrell, but they still have Dinero Mercurius and RaySean Scott. Not to mention the arrival of 4 star player Haanif Cheatham from Marquette, and 4 star player Troy Baxter Jr from UNLV. Both of these players should provide big numbers to a team that should head to the NCAA Tournament.