As part of our Ridiculously Early 2013-14 previews, we look at how much production each team is losing, and how challenging it will be to replace.
This time last year, I had a lot of faith in SIUE. In fact, I named them my dark horse pick, and thought they might even be able to contend for a bye in Nashville.
I was wrong. SIUEe missed the OVC Tournament in their first eligible season. But there were good moments, including a win at home against Murray State. Will their sophomore effort outpace their first? It could be a challenge.
|[Stats Per Game]||Points||Rebounds||Steals|
|Total Production Lost||35.8||17.8||2.8|
These numbers are somewhat misleading. Jerome Jones, their leading scorer, was suspended for the season in February. After his suspension, SIUE beat the Racers, but closed the season with five straight losses.
The loss of scoring has to be the Cougars top concern. SIUE was 11th in the OVC in offensive efficiency last season, and both Kris Davis and Michael Messer took a step back shooting wise last year. (Although Messer was returning from an injury the year before) One player, Tim Johnson, seemed to break though after Jones’ suspension, and will be just one of two seniors on next year’s squad.
They could also use some more size. The 6’6″ Messer is the largest returning player, and he’s listed as a guard.
Youth is the story of the Cougars right now. If they keep improving, they could be a real threat in two years. This year? It just depends how quickly.