#102 Eastern Kentucky Men's Basketball 2013-2014 Preview

Eastern Kentucky Colonels

2013-2014 Overall Rank: #102
Conference Rank: #2 Ohio Valley

Eastern Kentucky Team Page#102 Eastern Kentucky Men's Basketball 2013-2014 PreviewBuy Eastern Kentucky Basketball Tickets

Eastern Kentucky made a brief appearance on the national radar during the 2012-2013 campaign by winning their first nine games. They followed that up by losing three out of their next four. The national attention may have disappeared, but the Ohio Valley Conference was paying close attention. The Colonels played very well in conference play, ending up with a 12-4 mark, good enough for the second best record behind Belmont. EKU fell in the conference tournament to Murray State, a team they had little trouble with on the road earlier in the season, and ended up in the CIT where they beat Gardner-Webb before falling to Evansville.

2012-13 Record: 25-10, 12-4
2012-13 Postseason: CIT
Coach: Jeff Neubauer
Coach Record: 143-112 at Eastern Kentucky, 143-112 overall

Who’s Out:
Eastern Kentucky will be among the favorites in the OVC, but the loss of Mike DiNunno cannot be overstated. The guard averaged 14.8 points and 4.3 assists during his senior season. He was a superb all around scorer for this team and, more importantly, a great floor leader. Guard Willie Cruz did not see any action last season while dealing with a serious hand injury. That injury has now forced him to retire from basketball.

Who’s In:
Coach Jeff Neubauer will not need much production from his trio of newcomers, but he certainly went out and attempted to replace DiNunno. Walk-on Will Gary will join Isaac McGlone and junior college transfer Monte Burney as newcomers in the backcourt. McGlone, a 6-2 point guard, has had a very successful prep career in Ohio, but he will have to play well above his experience if he wants to crack the regular rotation as a freshman. Burney is much more likely to contribute this season. He is a true point guard. Unlike anybody else on the team, Burney is not a scorer and distributor. He is just a distributor, but he does that extremely well. His tough defense should earn him some quality minutes, especially when EKU wants to get all their perimeter scorers off of the ball.

Who to Watch:
Even without DiNunno, the backcourt is loaded. By the end of January, Coach Neubauer was starting four guards. That was partially due to the talent, but also because the frontcourt was not particularly effective. The same issues may be prevalent this time around. Glenn Cosey will be one of the starters on the perimeter after averaging 15.2 points and 3.2 assists during his first year with EKU. The 6-0 junior was pretty much co-point guard with DiNunno and he can take over those duties full-time if needed. Cosey is the most prolific shooter and efficient outside shooter on the team as well, so moving him off the ball would be beneficial. Corey Walden, another junior college transfer, is also a dynamic scoring threat for the Colonels. He is aggressive attacking the basket, but can knock down some three-pointers too. Walden, who averaged 13.0 points per game in 2012-2013, will help pick up the scoring slack left behind by DiNunno. The talent on the perimeter continues with Orlando Williams, Tarius Johnson, Marcus Lewis and Timmy Knipp. Williams was only eligible in the second semester and missed 11 games with an injury. The Miami (OH) transfer proved to be a very productive scorer during the dozen contests he played in and should be a great option off of the bench. Johnson started all 35 games and provided some size to the backcourt. His size was especially needed when EKU ran four guards. It was Johnson, a 6-5 wing, who was forced to move over to the four spot. He is a strong rebounder and a decent slasher. If Johnson can spend more time on his natural wing spot, this team will not get beat on the boards as bad as they did last season. Lewis is a superb athlete and Knipp is another big guard that can defend some forwards in the OVC. It becomes very clear why EKU ran a four guard lineup for much of 2012-2013. The talent is immense, even without DiNunno.

Final Projection:
But how good this team will be does come down to the frontcourt. Everybody is back, but everybody is just Eric Stutz, Deverin Muff and Jeff Johnson. Those three cannot handle all of the minutes at the four and five spot no matter what, so there will be times when this team plays small. After having one of the worst rebounding margins in the country, the frontcourt must toughen up to at least attempt to neutralize that issue as much as possible. Stutz was playing his best basketball late last season and averaged 8.3 points and a team high 4.7 rebounds. He is the one forward who can be a threat to score in the paint. Muff and Johnson just need to play more productive minutes and stay out of foul trouble, while playing solid defense and hitting the glass. No matter who is on the floor, Eastern Kentucky has a load of talent. When they run into a team with a big and talented frontcourt, they will get pushed around. However, they can still win in those situations using their speed to get open looks from beyond the arc.

Projected Postseason Tournament: CBI/CIT

Projected Starting Five:
Glenn Cosey, Senior, Guard, 15.2 points per game
Corey Walden, Junior, Guard, 13.0 points per game
Tarius Johnson, Senior, Guard, 6.6 points per game
Deverin Muff, Junior, Forward, 2.7 points per game
Eric Stutz, Junior, Forward, 8.3 points per game

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 73.9 (36th in nation, 3rd in conference)
Scoring Defense: 65.8 (152, 4)
Field-Goal Percentage: 46.7 (32, 3)
Field-Goal Defense: 45.3 (287, 7)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 8.8 (6, 1)  
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 35.5 (96, 5)
Free-Throw Percentage: 78.0 (4, 1)
Rebound Margin: -5.7 (330, 12)
Assists Per Game: 14.9 (36, 3)
Turnovers Per Game: 11.8 (58, 1)


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