#70 Bucknell Men's Basketball 2017-2018 Preview


Bucknell Bison


2017-2018 Overall Rank: #70

Conference Rank: #1 Patriot

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Bucknell finished last season with a Patriot League regular season title and a conference tournament title. The Bison then gave West Virginia a great game in the First Round of the NCAA Tournament, where they lost 86-80. This time around Bucknell will be even better. Coach Nathan Davis boasts an impressive frontcourt led by Nana Foulland and Zach Thomas. Foulland averaged 15.0 points and a team high 7.8 rebounds and 2.1 blocks during his junior year. He will again dominate the paint on both ends of the floor. Thomas, a 6-7 senior, led the team with 15.9 points per game and added 6.6 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.1 steals. Thomas also connected on an impressive 40.9 percent of his three-point attempts. There is not a team in the Patriot League that can stop this frontcourt. 
2016-17 Record: 26-9, 15-3
2016-17 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Nathan Davis
Coach Record: 43-23 at Bucknell, 184-62 overall
Who’s Out:
The Bison lose their 10th and 11th players on a squad that usually went nine deep. John Azzinaro and D.J. MacLeay both averaged fewer than nine minutes per game during their senior seasons. Azzinaro would knock down some three-pointers and MacLeay was strong on the glass.
Who’s In:
With their top nine players returning, there is not much need for the four incoming freshmen to make an impact right away. Jimmy Sotos and Jordan Sechan will add options on the perimeter. Sotos was a very nice pickup for the Bison and he could step right into a backup point guard role. John Meeks is a 6-6 forward who can get up and down the floor in a hurry and knock down some shots. He will likely spend some time adding some strength and working on his game before making an impact. Center Paul Newman will add depth in the post. At 6-9 and 240 pounds, Newman has the size to compete right away, but he should have a year or two before the Bison need him to make an impact.
Who to Watch:
While the frontcourt may grab the headlines, the backcourt is loaded too. Stephen Brown is back for his senior season after averaging 11.1 points and 4.8 assists. He is also a superb perimeter defender. Like Brown, junior Kimbal Mackenzie is a very consistent outside shooter. Both of them shot over 40 percent from beyond the arc and both can score by getting to the basket as well. Avi Toomer and Nate Jones split starting time in the backcourt. Toomer had a promising freshman campaign, averaging 3.2 points and 2.3 rebounds. He is not going to score much again as a sophomore, but Toomer is emerging as a solid glue guy who can do a bit of everything. Matt O’Reilly will add another shooter to the bench. He was inconsistent as a sophomore though and could be pushed by the freshmen.
Final Projection:
There is plenty of depth on the perimeter, but the frontcourt depth is even better. Nate Sestina is back after a promising sophomore season that ended early with an injury. He was fifth on the team in scoring with 4.8 points per game and added 3.7 rebounds. However, it is sophomore Bruce Moore who has the most potential in the frontcourt. He will spend another year in the shadows of Thomas and Foulland before taking over the starring role in the frontcourt in 2018-2019. With so much experience and depth, Bucknell should cruise to another Patriot League title. They will probably lose a couple games along the way, but this will be a team to remember come March when looking for a double digit seed that can pull off an upset in the NCAA Tournament.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA
Projected Starting Five:
Stephen Brown, Senior, Guard, 11.1 points per game
Kimbal Mackenzie, Junior, Guard, 11.9 points per game
Avi Toomer, Sophomore, Guard, 3.2 points per game
Zach Thomas, Senior, Forward, 15.9 points per game
Nana Foulland, Senior, Center, 15.0 points per game
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 76.2 (106th in nation, 1st in conference)
Scoring Defense: 67.9 (63, 3)
Field-Goal Percentage: 48.0 (24, 1)
Field-Goal Defense: 42.7 (112, 2)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 8.2 (103, 5)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 37.9 (52, 2)
Free-Throw Percentage: 68.1 (259, 6)
Rebound Margin: 0.8 (156, 5)
Assists Per Game: 14.6 (100, 3)
Turnovers Per Game: 13.3 (208, 3)