ESPN.com's 2008 ShootAround archive

Originally Published: August 10, 2008
ESPN.com

Here are the 2008 ShootAround conference breakdowns you might have missed:

ACC | America East | Atlantic 10 | Atlantic Sun | Big 12 | Big East | Big Sky | Big South
Big Ten | Big West | Colonial | Conference USA | Horizon | Independents | Ivy League | MAAC
MAC | MEAC | Missouri Valley | Mountain West | Northeast | Ohio Valley | Pac-10 | Patriot
SEC | Southern | Southland | Summit League | Sun Belt | SWAC | WAC | WCC

America East

America East Hartford coach Dan Leibovitz has brought a lot of John Chaney, the former Temple coach and Hall of Famer, with him to the America East. Leibovitz had the Hawks on the verge of the NCAA tournament last March, but UMBC won the autobid. Can Boston U. win that honor this season? ShootAround

Atlantic 10

Atlantic 10 In mid-December last year, the Atlantic 10 was on the verge of an explosive re-emergence. But the teams started beating up on each other in conference play, and the league only managed three NCAA bids. Now the A-10 is fighting for national prestige and respect beyond just Xavier. ShootAround

Atlantic Sun

Atlantic Sun Belmont was 12 seconds and two points shy of a stunning upset of Duke in the NCAA tournament. But challenging the big boys was the norm for the Atlantic Sun last season with wins over USC, Bama, Cincy and Kentucky. ShootAround

Atlantic Coast Conference

ACC You know about the ACC's big boys: UNC is the overwhelming favorite to win it all next season, while Duke returns all but one starter from a 28-win campaign. But don't sleep on Miami and star Jack McClinton. ShootAround

Big 12

Big East Even with a host of new faces, Kansas can't be discounted in the Big 12 title race, but Oklahoma's Blake Griffin and A.J. Abrams of Texas will have plenty to say about where the league title ends up. ShootAround

Big East

Big East With all 16 teams headed to the Big East tournament next March, coaches are bracing for a full-out brawl in Madison Square Garden. But they've come to expect that in the supersized conference. ShootAround

Big Sky

Big Sky Montana finished a remarkable 2005-06 season with an NCAA tournament first-round win over 5th-seeded Nevada. But in the two seasons since then, the Grizzlies have fallen mightily. Can they regain their glory? ShootAround

Big South

Big South Gardner-Webb shocked college hoops with a win over Kentucky in Rupp in November. Now the new Big South members will try to knock off the conference's perennial powerhouse Winthrop. ShootAround

Big Ten

Big Ten The Baby Boilers stunned the Big Ten last season, and one year older, can anyone knock off Purdue? Michigan State may be the biggest challenger, while Indiana will try to avoid a season of ignominy. ShootAround

Big West

Big West Cal State Northridge had its first 20-win season in the Big West and tied with Cal State Fullerton and UC Santa Barbara for the regular-season title. But an NIT snub left the Matadors looking for more this season. ShootAround

Colonial

Colonial After George Mason's Final Four run in 2006 and VCU's first-round upset over Duke in 2007, the Colonial couldn't find the national spotlight in the 2008 postseason. Can the CAA rebound in 2008-09? ShootAround

Conference USA

America East With Robert Vaden and Paul Delaney III back and healthy, UAB's strength will be on the perimeter. So the Blazers will be featuring a four-guard lineup early and often. Can they challenge Memphis in Conference USA? ShootAround

Horizon League

Horizon League Gary Waters led Kent State to repeat NCAA tournament berths. Now at Cleveland State, can Waters lead another Ohio school to the promised land? Butler won't go quietly in the Horizon League. ShootAround

Independents

NJIT suffered through a miserable 0-29 season. But new coach Jim Engles has experience taking over programs that have hit rock bottom. Can he work his magic at NJIT? ShootAround

Ivy League

Ivy League Cornell ended the Penn/Princeton stranglehold on the Ivy League last season by going undefeated in the regular season and winning the league's autobid, but the Big Red's achievement was overshadowed by a published report of possible recruiting improprieties at, of all places, Harvard. ShootAround

MAAC

MAAC Siena returns the core of its team which took the MAAC title and beat Vanderbilt in the first round of the NCAA tournament. Is a repeat trip to the Dance preordained for the Saints? ShootAround

MAC

MAC Kent State and Akron duked it out for league surpremacy last season, but Kent State earned the automatic berth and danced. What does the Mid-American Confernece have to do to get two bids? ShootAround

MEAC

MEAC Coppin State was a long shot to win the MEAC tourney last March. But the seventh-seeded Eagles won four games in five days to win the autobid. What can Coppin State and coach Ron "Fang" Mitchell do for an encore? ShootAround

Missouri Valley

Missouri Valley Drake's 2007-08 season was a magical one, with the Bulldogs reaching new heights on the national stage. But coach Keno Davis and Player of the Year Adam Emmenecker is gone, so can new coach Mark Phelps keep Drake in the upper half of the Valley? ShootAround

Mountain West

Mountain West UNLV's Wink Adams may be one of the great but unknown players, but coaches in the Mountain West are well-aware that he will be a leading candidate for the league's player of the year award this season. ShootAround

Northeast

NEC Legendary coach Jim Phelan must have had a smile on his face when Mount St. Mary's earned the school's first NCAA berth since 1999. With all but one key contributor back, the Mountaineers will look to dominate the NEC. ShootAround

Ohio Valley

Ohio Valley High-scoring guard Lester Hudson flirted with the NBA draft, but the Tennessee-Martin senior returned to take the Skyhawks to new heights. Are those new heights the top of the Ohio Valley Conference? ShootAround

Pac-10

Pac-10 The Pac-10 was loaded with talent last season, evidenced by 12 NBA draft picks (and seven of the first 21). But now that all that talent is gone, can the dearly departed be replaced by precocious freshmen? ShootAround

Patriot League

Patriot In a coaches' league, one of the most familiar faces will no longer be roaming the sidelines as Bucknell coach Pat Flannery has walked away from the profession this offseason. On the court, can anyone knock off American, last season's conference champion? ShootAround

SEC

SEC A young Florida team learned just how tough life in the SEC can be. And after a horrific SEC tourney loss (and a verbal and very public lashing from Billy Donovan), can the Gators rebound this season? ShootAround

Southern

Southern Everyone knows Davidson is the prohibitive favorite to win the Southern Conference once again. But has the rest of the SoCon figured out the Wildcats? They'll certainly make it difficult to go 20-0 again. ShootAround

Southland

Southland Texas-San Antonio's season had so much promise, but injuries quickly derailed the Road Runners' compaign. And Texas-Arlington, despite a 7-9 regular-season Southland record, took advantage and won the auto bid. ShootAround

Summit League

Summit League Five years ago, North Dakota State redshirted a trio of freshmen so that they could be postseason eligible as seniors. Now that their time has come, can the Bison knock off Summit power Oral Roberts and go dancing? ShootAround

Sun Belt

Sun Belt The Sun Belt sent two teams, Western Kentucky and South Alabama, to the NCAA tournament last season. The Hilltoppers made the Sweet 16. It might be too much to ask for the Sun Belt to repeat that feat, but Middle Tennessee State is the favorite to head to the Dance. ShootAround

SWAC

SWAC It was a tumultuous offseason in the SWAC ... mainly on the sidelines. Half of the league's 10 coaches are new, and it's going to make winning on a consistent basis even more challenging this season. ShootAround

WAC

WAC JaVale McGee? Gone. Jaycee Carroll? Gone. Justin Hawkins? Gone. Marcelus Kemp? Gone. If you're looking for a familiar name in the WAC, good luck. With 11 of the top 12 scorers gone, what'll happen this season? ShootAround

West Coast

WCC Seven teams have been waiting for Gonzaga to stumble in the West Coast Conference, and for a dozen years, those seven teams have ended the season disappointed. But Saint Mary's and San Diego are much-improved and coming off NCAA tourney seasons, so can they end the Zags' reign? ShootAround