#141 Holy Cross Men's Basketball 2014-2015 Preview

Holy Cross Crusaders

2014-2015 Overall Rank: #141
Conference Rank: #2 Patriot

Holy Cross Team Page#141 Holy Cross Men's Basketball 2014-2015 PreviewBuy Holy Cross Basketball Tickets

Holy Cross returns every player but one who played any minutes in 2013-2014. And it is not like this was a bad team that will now make a push for a Patriot League title because of their experience. The Crusaders reached the 20-win mark with their CIT win over Brown, before losing in the second round to eventual finalist Yale. Forward Malcolm Miller had a breakout season and will look to build on that success. The 6-7 senior averaged 11.0 points, 5.7 rebounds and 1.9 blocks. He more than doubled his scoring output from his sophomore season and should see yet another significant boost for his senior year. If Miller can take that next step, this is a team that will be disappointed to end up back in the CIT.

2013-14 Record: 20-14, 12-6
2013-14 Postseason: CIT
Coach: Milan Brown
Coach Record: 55-67 at Holy Cross, 150-187 overall

Who’s Out:
Even with 14 players returning, the big story out of Worcester, Massachusetts is the one guy who is not back. Dave Dudzinski, a 6-9 center, led the team with 15.1 points and 7.4 rebounds per game. Dudzinski could score in every way imaginable and he really stretched out the defense with his outside shooting ability. This is a team full of shooters, but no big man is going to be as dangerous from outside as Dudzinski.

Who’s In:
With just one player gone, Coach Milan Brown does not have many new faces to work with this season. In an effort to help replace Dudzinski, Holy Cross has brought in some size with 6-8 Riley Criswell and 6-8 Mitchell Hahn. Criswell is more of a big wing than a true forward, but Hahn could see a few minutes here and there to add frontcourt depth. Either way, neither freshman will need to add much this season unless they are ready.

Who to Watch:
While Miller leads the way in the frontcourt, the backcourt trio of Justin Burrell, Anthony Thompson and Eric Green will become the focus of the Crusaders. Burrell, a 5-9 senior point guard, knows how to run an offense. He also led the team with 43 three-pointers. Thompson is another one who can do it all. It was actually Thompson who led Holy Cross in assists and he knocked down 41.4 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc. Green is a more than capable passer as well and with those three eating up most of the minutes on the perimeter, this is a team that should be extremely efficient taking care of the ball. Junior Cullen Hamilton figures to be the sixth man. When his shot is falling, Hamilton can score in bunches. Robert Champion showed spurts of potential during his freshman campaign and at least can give this team some more size on the perimeter.

Final Projection:
If this team is going to make the NCAA Tournament, they will have to find a way to successfully replace Dudzinski. That is an absolutely huge hole to fill, but Taylor Abt and Malachi Alexander are capable. Abt is an experienced 6-8 senior who did earn 14 starts for Coach Brown in 2013-2014, mostly when the Crusaders wanted to play bigger right out of the gate. Despite those starts, Abt did average just over a dozen minutes per game. He is not going to score as much as Dudzinski, yet he is a decent shooter. Malachi Alexander had a very productive freshman campaign, averaging 6.3 points and 4.2 rebounds. Whether he steps into the starting five or not, Alexander will be asked to do more work on the glass and help pick up the scoring slack. This is a group that will seriously compete for a Patriot League title, but the league is going to be tight at the top once again.

Projected Postseason Tournament: CBI/CIT

Projected Starting Five:
Justin Burrell, Senior, Guard, 8.9 points per game
Anthony Thompson, Sophomore, Guard, 9.4 points per game
Eric Green, Junior, Guard, 7.9 points per game
Malcolm Miller, Senior, Forward, 11.0 points per game
Taylor Abt, Senior, Forward, 2.4 points per game

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 67.0 (269th in nation, 5th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 65.2 (55, 3)
Field-Goal Percentage: 43.0 (236, 7)
Field-Goal Defense: 44.0 (195, 6)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 6.4 (144, 7)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 35.3 (126, 7)
Free-Throw Percentage: 73.2 (56, 3)
Rebound Margin: 1.3 (148, 2)
Assists Per Game: 11.4 (265, 9)
Turnovers Per Game: 11.7 (117, 3)


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