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Game Preview - Presbyterian @ Bradley - Defecting to Division I frowned on by NCAA

Presbyterian College Athletic Director Dr. William "Bee" Carlton is retiring, effective February 1, 2010. Carlton has held the top athletic post since 2003, and was primarily responsible for beginning the transition phase for the Blue Hose into Division I athletics. The school can only hope that this is a positive legacy left by Carlton, and not a failed attempt to stick their hands in the NCAA Men's Basketball golden pot.

There are currently 13 schools in the process of reclassifying to Division I, although one (Winston-Salem State University) will return to Division II after the 2009-10 basketball season. To make the jump in basketball, most schools have to add other sports because the NCAA mandates that Division I teams compete in a total of at least 14 men's and women's sports. Presbyterian was no different, adding lacrosse for both men and women, and instituting a women's golf team to get above the threshold.

The brain trust of collegiate athletics has been trying to deter schools from filing for this upgrade. Originally a two-year process, the NCAA instituted a five-year transition period for schools applying to move up. When that didn't yield the results they wanted, the NCAA issued a moratorium on new applications until August 2011.

Due to the fact that they had no conference home, the Blue Hose played 25 of their 30 games away from the Templeton Center, and lost every single one of them. Ironically, they were 5-0 at home, but played in front of an average crowd of 1,562 people. Last season wasn't as bad, as Presbyterian finished 9-2 at home and 3-15 on the road.

Attendance was poor in 2007-08, and got worse last year. The Blue Hose drew more than 1,000 people just twice in 11 home dates, and finished with an average of 777 fans per contest. It remains to be if fans will show up this year, but with an enrollment of 1,300 students and not much of a history of high-level winning basketball, the pins will likely still be heard dropping in Clinton.

Game Preview:

The Blue Hose redshirted three of their best players from a season ago, leaving the team extremely thin in 2009-10. Next season, Presbyterian will be full-fledged members of Division I, and those three players wanted to be a part of history.

In the meantime, the Blue Hose have been getting thrown around the court, losing their first three games by an average of 31 points. They are led in scoring by freshman Jake Troyli, a 6'9" forward who uses his wiry frame to slither through the lane. The other four starters are all 6'4" and under, leaving a potential mismatch in favor of the Bradley bigs.

Presbyterian features just one junior and no seniors this year, so while they are gaining experience, the Blue Hose are going to struggle all year. In December, they face a five-game road trip against North Carolina, Ohio State, Dayton, Marquette, and Florida. Their schedule is brutal, but those are games necessary to have enough funding for their move to Division I.

Last time out:

Presbyterian lost to Illinois 94-48 on November 21. The Blue Hose were led by Troyli with 15 points.
Bradley held off Wofford 56-54 on November 22. The Braves were led by Taylor Brown with 16 points and eight rebounds.

Projected Lineups:

Presbyterian Blue Hose:
G – Kevin Davis – 6'2"
G – Khalid Mutakabbir – 6'4"
G – Walter Allen – 6'4"
G – Chase Holmes – 6'4"
F – Jake Troyli – 6'9"

Bradley Braves:
G – Eddren McCain – 5'11"
G – Chris Roberts – 6'4"
F – Andrew Warren – 6'5"
F – Taylor Brown – 6'6"
C – Will Egolf – 6'9"

Prediction:

The Braves haven't played a great game yet, but it won't take one to knock off the Blue Hose. Presbyterian is young and athletic, but they simply don't have the talent to compete with many Division I schools yet. Bradley wins this one going away by the final of 79-58. Book it!

Book it record: 4-0!  For official game notes, visit BradleyBraves.com

 

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