2013-14 Preview: Brown Bears

Brown Bears

2012-13: 13-15 (7-7 Ivy)
In-conference offense: 0.98 points per possession (7th)
In-conference defense: 0.98 points allowed per possession (1st)

Brown took a major step forward last season under first-year head coach Mike Martin, and this roster has the ability and size to perform even better in 2013-14. The Bears played the spoiler in the Ivy race, beating Princeton 80-67 and taking league champ Harvard to double overtime on the road. The 31-year-old Martin turned the worst defense in the Ivy League in 2011-12 (1.11 points per possession allowed) into the best defense in 2012-13, allowing less than a point per trip in conference play.

Projected starting lineup

That improvement was due in no small part to the arrival of two fantastic international big men, Rafael Maia from Brazil and Cedric Kuakumensah from Togo. Kuakumensah (25 percent defensive rebound rate, 11 percent block rate) was named the Ivy League Defensive Player of the Year as a freshman. Maia, who posted a 15 percent offensive rebound rate and shot 142 free throws, spent the summer playing for Brazil's World University Games team. The Bears' frontcourt will likely be even more formidable now that Dockery Walker, an athletic 6-7 junior will be available.

Brown's unquestioned leader is senior point guard Sean McGonagill, a former Ivy League Rookie of the Year who scored 24 points in the season-ending upset of Princeton. The Bears hope to have the return of junior guard Joe Sharkey, who was the victim of a horrific offseason assault.

Jason Massey and Patrick Triplett time as he attempts to figure out a rotation. McGonagill played 92 percent of available minutes last season and may have to eclipse that mark as a senior.

Brown has the potential to finish as high as third in the league, but the lack of backcourt depth and consistency makes that level of success unlikely. Still, you can expect to see the Bears affect the league race by beating at least one favorite at home.

Projected 2013-14 conference finish: 5th